After years of shying away from talking about infertility, it seems more and more women and men are coming forward to reveal the struggles they’ve faced in conceiving a child — and that includes many Hollywood stars. In recent years, dozens of the world’s most famous figures have opened up about their tumultuous journeys to parenthood, from complicated and painful IVF treatments to heartbreaking miscarriages.
Their powerful stories serve to highlight that fertility issues are more common than you think and that there’s no one right way to become a parent. From Anne Hathaway to Tyra Banks, here are some celebrities who’ve spoken candidly about dealing with fertility issues.
Shortly after confirming she was expecting another child, Anne Hathaway opened up about her struggles to get pregnant for a second time.
“I think that we have a very one-size-fits-all approach to getting pregnant,” Hathaway said, per The Boston Globe. “And you get pregnant and for the majority of cases, this is a really happy time. But a lot of people who are trying to get pregnant: That’s not really the story. Or that’s one part of the story. And the steps that lead up to that part of the story are really painful and very isolating and full of self-doubt. And I went through that.’’
In her pregnancy announcement on Instagram, Hathaway also made sure to send “extra love” to those dealing with infertility.
Gabrielle Union and husband, NBA player Dwyane Wade, struggled for years to have a baby, undergoing several failed IVF cycles and multiple miscarriages. The two were eventually able to welcome a child via a gestational carrier and Union has since made a point of speaking out about those issues and how common they are.
“Fertility issues strike so many people,” Union told Today earlier this year. “You do not have to be lurking in the shadows, going to your doctor’s appointment in full disguise. You are not defective. You are part of a very, very, very large community that understands every step you have been through. There is hope.”
Chrissy Teigen is known for being candid, and she has that same no-filter approach when it comes to talking about fertility struggles. Having gone through several rounds of IVF, the star says it’s important to connect with others who have experienced similar issues to know you’re not alone.
“You hear stories about IVF working the first try,” Teigen told The Cut. “But you’ll hear a lot more stories about when it takes a few times. Ours didn’t work the first time, and it was devastating. You realize that a lot of it is luck, and you can’t blame things on yourself.”
Celine Dion has openly discussed the fertility treatments she underwent prior to each of her pregnancies. Having sought help from a fertility specialist with her first child, she opted to try IVF the second time around. It took several rounds to conceive her twin boys and the singer later revealed that she suffered a miscarriage in between.
“I never gave up,” Dion said in 2010 of her attempts to get pregnant for a second time. “But I can tell you that it was physically and emotionally exhausting.”
Kim Kardashian-West and husband Kanye West share four kids, the last two of which were delivered via a gestational carrier. The reality TV star has been open about the fertility issues she’s faced, speaking up about the topic on both “Keeping Up With Kardashians” and in other public interviews.
“I didn’t know that I was going to be so open with [my fertility challenges],” she told Glamour in 2015. “But meeting people at my fertility doctor’s office who are going through the same things I’m going through, I thought, Why not share my story? It’s been really emotional.”
Prior to welcoming their two daughters, Nicole Kidman says she and husband Keith Urban endured a”rollercoaster ride with fertility.”
She told “60 Minutes,” “Anyone who’s been in the place of wanting another child or wanting a child knows the disappointment, the pain and the loss that you go through trying. We were in a place of desperately wanting another child. I couldn’t get pregnant.”
Kidman also faced fertility issues in her first marriage to ex Tom Cruise, eventually leading them to adopt two children, Isabella and Connor.
In her HBO documentary “Life Is But a Dream,” Beyonce Knowles revealed that she had a miscarriage before giving birth to her first child, Blue Ivy. The singer spoke openly and honestly about the heartbreak it caused her and husband Jay Z, saying, “I picked out names. I envisioned what my child would look like.”
She also said that that the experience led her to write “the saddest song” she’s ever written in her life.
“And it was the best form of therapy for me because it was the saddest thing I’ve ever been through,” she said.
Elizabeth Banks has spoken publicly about how she and her husband Max Handelman used a gestational surrogate to help them have children.
“It was a womb issue for me,” she said in a 2012 interview with Lucky magazine. “Embryos wouldn’t implant.”
Of the process of surrogacy, she said, “It’s a big leap, inviting this person into your life to do this amazing, important thing for you. But our surrogate is so extraordinary, and she’s still in our lives. She’s like an auntie.”
Tyra Banks has also been outspoken about her fertility struggles, opening up about the multiple IVF treatments she underwent in an attempt to get pregnant with her first child.
“I’ve had some not happy moments with that, very traumatic moments,” Banks revealed to People in 2015. “It’s difficult as you get older. It’s not something that can just happen.”
Mariah Carey shares twins, a son and a daughter, with ex-husband Nick Cannon. But the road to having kids wasn’t exactly simple. In an interview with Barbara Walters, Carey revealed that she suffered a miscarriage and used a combination of acupuncture and fertility treatments to conceive.
“The main thing I did that was tough was to go on progesterone like every month … and then when I was pregnant, I had to stay with the progesterone for 10 weeks,” Carey said. “It minimizes the chance of miscarriage by 50%.”
Before welcoming daughter Winnie via a surrogate, Jimmy Fallon and wife Nancy Juvonen struggled to start a family. The “Late Night” host opened up about their rocky road to parenthood on the “Today” show.
“We’ve tried a bunch of things,” he said. “Anyone who’s tried will know, it’s just awful.”
Before welcoming her children with husband Chris Henchy, Brooke Shields tried various types of fertility treatments to get pregnant, including artificial insemination and IVF. Since then, the actress hasn’t shied away from talking about how difficult it was to cope with infertility.
“The whole process was quite an ordeal, and we became slaves to the time of day and to little vials of liquid,” she told Fertility Today. “We’d find ourselves out at dinner with friends, and then we’d have to sneak off to a coat room, where we’d huddle over syringes and a travel-size cooler filled with small bottles of drugs.”
Hugh Jackman spoke about the painful experience he and wife Deborra-Lee Furness went through while trying to conceive, including a miscarriage and several rounds of IVF.
“It is a difficult time. The miscarriage thing — apparently it happens to one in three pregnancies — but it’s very, very rarely talked about,” the actor said in an interview with Katie Couric. “It’s almost secretive. But it’s a good thing to talk about. It’s more common and it’s tough, there’s a grieving process you have to go through.”
The couple has since gone on to adopt two children.
Sarah Jessica Parker
After welcoming their eldest child, Sarah Jessica Parker and husband Matthew Broderick had difficulty getting pregnant a second time. After years of trying, the couple ultimately welcomed twin daughters via a surrogate.
“We’ve been trying to expand our family for a number of years and we actually have explored a variety of ways of doing so,” the actress told “Access Hollywood” after revealing that they were expecting more children. “[Surrogacy] was one of the things we discussed with seriousness that had real possibilities for us.”
After years of trying, Angela Bassett and husband Courtney B. Vance decided to have their children via surrogacy. The actress has spoken honestly about the decision in the past. In 2013, she told Jet Magazine that, “After trying and trying, I, unfortunately, couldn’t have my babies. It was my reality. I heard about the surrogate option and it worked out beautifully.”
Jaime King spent nearly five years trying to conceive her first child, enduring five rounds of IVF, 26 attempts at intrauterine insemination (IUI) and multiple miscarriages The actress spoke honestly about her journey to getting pregnant in a moving Instagram post.
“I love you, I support you and I am here for you,” she wrote. “No one should suffer in silence or shame as I believe in this world- we are all one.”
Marcia Cross welcomed her twin daughters at the age of 44 and has been frank about the difficulties of conceiving at that age.
“Before I hit 30, I was already longing for kids,” she told Health in 2008. “But for years, love and marriage eluded me. In my early 40s, I considered adoption, and I tried getting pregnant on my own through a sperm donor, but neither worked out … It’s very, very difficult to get pregnant in your 40s. It’s costly and tough on your body and your relationship.”
Giuliana Rancic underwent three rounds of IVF shortly before being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36. The E! host and her husband, Bill Rancic, welcomed their son via gestational carrier in 2012.
To those who are also dealing with fertility struggles, Rancic told “The Real” co-hosts, “What I would say to someone is just keep the faith, and know that when it happens for you, you will forget about all that heartache, and you will forget that struggle, and you will replace it all with wonderful memories.”
Trista Sutter now has two kids with husband Ryan Sutter, but the former “Bachelorette” star admits that becoming parents wasn’t as easy as she expected.
“When you get married you believe, ‘Okay, the next natural thing is to have babies.’ When that doesn’t happen you start to question your relationship, you start to question yourself, even God,” Sutter said in 2015. “It’s a very difficult thing to not be able to do anything about making a dream of yours come true and questioning whether something is wrong with you. So that was definitely a dark time in my life.”
Hilarie Burton shared her fertility struggles in a moving Instagram post after welcoming her second child with husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The actress revealed that the couple suffered through multiple miscarriages while trying to conceive another child. It took five years of trying before the duo welcomed a baby girl in 2018.
“I don’t want her birth to cause any other woman to weep at her kitchen table,” Burton wrote in her announcement. “If anything, my wish is that she would restore hope for others. Fertility is a fickle thing. And for the other couples out there who have had dark days, we want to introduce our miracle baby to you and send you our love and support in finding yours.”
After suffering from a miscarriage in 1997, Emma Thompson gave birth to her first child with husband, actor Greg Wise, two years later via IVF. Though they wanted a second child, later attempts at IVF were unsuccessful. in 2003, the couple informally adopted former Rwandan child soldier Tindyebwa Agaba, whom they met when Agaba was a teenager.
“I couldn’t have more children, and that was hard; but perhaps if I had [had more], I’d have missed out on this extra act of mothering that I’ve had with Tindy,” Thompson said of the experience in 2010. “Because there was space in my life for him, and I don’t think there would have been space if I’d had another young child around.”
Tia Mowry-Hardrict welcomed her second child, a daughter, with husband Cory Hardrict in 2018, nearly seven years after they had their son. The actress, who had previously been open about her challenges with endometriosis, discussed her struggles to conceive a second child.
“I didn’t let my infertility issues define me or define what my goals were and what I wanted out of life,” she said of her experience, per People. “We did try for a long time. It was hard. But I didn’t give up.”
Over the years, Maria Menounos has been open about battling infertility, especially in light of a surgery she underwent to remove a brain tumor in 2017. In 2018, the former E! host revealed that she and husband Keven Undergaro were considering surrogacy, particularly since there was concern over whether her body could handle IVF.
“It’s hard. I really would love to have the experience (of pregnancy) once, but I feel like God is going to tell me,” Menounos told “Today” of their plans to have children.
Jordana Brewster and her husband, Andrew Form, used a gestational surrogate to carry both of their sons.
The actress has since opened up about the decision, telling Yahoo! Parenting in 2015, “For me, it wasn’t a choice. I needed to use a surrogate. Sometimes I feel a little left out when other moms talk about what their birth experience was like, and I feel the loss of not having carried or having been able to carry. But luckily I keep my circle tight and close, so I never feel judged.”
In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg revealed that he and wife Priscilla Chan were expecting their first child together. In a public post announcing the news, the Facebook CEO got uncharacteristically personal about their struggles to conceive.
“We’ve been trying to have a child for a couple of years and have had three miscarriages along the way,” he wrote. “You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child. You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone. It’s a lonely experience.”
The viral message led to an outpouring of support from others who experienced similar situations. The couple has since expanded their family even more, welcoming a second child, another daughter, in 2017.