For some moms, conceiving a baby biologically is near impossible. For others, it’s almost as if they become pregnant just by thinking about expanding their family. While some women spend years trying to become mothers, others don’t give it a second thought until they see a positive pregnancy test.
You might not realize it, but celebrity moms are just the same. Some celeb moms pop out babies faster than they can update their Instagram accounts, while others have to overcome significant obstacles toward building the family they want so badly.
From difficulty conceiving naturally plus painful and emotional hormone treatments to long adoption journeys with drawn-out legal battles, these celebrity moms crossed every line imaginable to bring home a baby.
We average moms may only dream of what life is like as a celebrity, but seeing this side of them- the side that’s focused on being not just a powerful woman but also a powerful mom- is both humbling and inspiring. Despite the struggles and the inexplicably challenging journey, these moms made their dreams of having a family a reality. So what if they had to face soul-crushing obstacles to get there- our celebrity moms came out on top with a baby in their arms.
15 Madonna's Not So Smooth Adoptions
Madonna has a reputation for being unconventional, and that hasn’t ended now that she’s a mom of six. Her first two children, Lourdes and Rocco, were born by conventional means. Lourdes’ dad is Carlos Leon and Rocco’s dad is Guy Ritchie. But after a visit to Malawi that centered on humanitarian efforts, Madonna wound up adopting baby David and bringing him home.
Controversy swirled at the time, with critics calling Madonna out for snatching baby David from his biological father. After her second child came home from Malawi- daughter Mercy- Madonna was criticized by then-president of Malawi, Joyce Banda, the Telegraph commented. Banda suggested that Madonna expected endless gratitude for her adoption of the children. It didn’t help that all of Madonna’s children have surviving relatives- prompting naysayers to suggest she invest in keeping biological families together rather than growing her own brood.
14 Power Couple Kim And Kanye Plan The Family
Although rumors swirled about Kim and Kanye’s choice to implant only male embryos during the couple’s second pregnancy, Kim denied the accusations. Regardless, their son Saint was born after a trying journey with IVF that was well-documented on the couple’s reality TV appearances. Kim had trouble conceiving Saint, but she also had placenta accreta and preeclampsia with that pregnancy, People reported.
It’s no surprise then, after her health struggles, that Kim turned to a surrogate to carry her and Kanye’s third child, daughter Chicago. US News quoted Kim as saying that having a surrogate was “not as easy as I thought it would be emotionally, but it’s so worth it.” Despite her health challenges, and surgeries to attempt to repair damage to her uterus, Kim successfully welcomed her third baby without any major medical scares.
13 Sarah Jessica Parker's Surrogacy Turns Scary
Back in the days of Myspace, Sarah Jessica Parker was expecting her twin girls via surrogate. She and husband Matthew Broderick already had a son, James, who was six, but they wanted more kids. But, as Today reported at the time, Sarah Jessica couldn’t conceive. So she and her husband discussed their options, and decided on surrogacy. They were thrilled when the woman they chose fell pregnant with not one baby, but two.
Unfortunately, the media somehow identified Parker’s surrogate, which resulted in the woman being followed, having her computer and phone hacked, and receiving threats. Paparazzi even chased a woman that they thought was the surrogate, but who was actually a friend of the surrogate who was 9 months pregnant at the time. Thankfully, the surrogate- and the babies- were all fine, and Marion and Tabitha are healthy and happy today.
12 Iconic Singer Celine Makes Family Memories
Although Celine began dating her husband Rene in 1987 and the two married in 1994, they spent years trying to have children. According to the singer’s Wikipedia page, in 2000, Celine had surgery to increase her chances of conceiving with IVF. In 2001, their son Rene-Charles was born. After Rene-Charles, the couple struggled to conceive again.
Celine suffered a miscarriage in 2009, and the power couple’s journey with IVF was well-documented in the media. It took at least six in-vitro treatments and nine years, but the couple welcomed fraternal twins Eddy and Nelson in 2010. Unfortunately, Dion’s husband, who was also her manager, had struggled with poor health since a heart attack in 1991. In 1999 he was diagnosed with throat cancer, in 2009 had a heart procedure, and in 2013 underwent surgery for a recurrence of throat cancer. Rene passed away in 2016 from a heart attack.
11 TV Mom Courtney Cox Faces Real Life
Courteney Cox and David Arquette tried for years to conceive a child, they told People, starting with their marriage in 1999. It took five years, however, to have daughter Coco. Before their little girl was born in 2004, Courteney had told the magazine that she had difficulty with pregnancy. “I get pregnant pretty easily,” she said, “but I have a hard time keeping them.”
Courteney couldn’t even give the magazine a clear number, only explaining that the couple had suffered “quite a few” miscarriages. They used in vitro fertilization to conceive Coco and had planned on using it again to try for a sibling for their girl. Unfortunately, their plans to give Coco a sibling didn’t work out, and the couple later divorced in 2013. Arquette went on to have two children with now-wife Christina McLarty.
10 Mogul Mom Mariah Mothers Twins
Mariah Carey has a reputation for doing things “big,” and her marriage to now-ex-husband Nick Cannon was no exception. The two met during the taping of one of Mariah’s music videos, and they were married in 2008. The couple is rumored to have suffered a miscarriage before they conceived their twins, who were born at 35 weeks gestation in 2011.
Mariah used acupuncture and fertility treatments to conceive the twins, the Washington Post reported, still hopeful even after the miscarriage. Fortunately, despite the risks, Mariah carried on with progesterone shots for 10 weeks and Moroccan and Monroe arrived healthy and happy. Although Mariah and Nick separated in 2014 and received the final divorce decree in 2016, the two continue to publicly co-parent their exceptionally bright (and photogenic) twin boy and girl.
9 Model Teigan Makes Plans For Daughter
It wasn’t an easy journey for Chrissy Teigen and her husband John Legend to arrive where they are today- parents to daughter Luna and expecting their second child. In 2016, while she was pregnant with Luna, Chrissy told People that she was excited to see how John would be as a dad to their daughter.
In fact, after undergoing rounds of IVF treatment, including giving herself shots during photo shoots, Chrissy chose the embryo that would later become baby Luna. She explained: “I picked the girl from her little embryo. I picked her and was like, ‘Let’s put in the girl.’” That said, the couple announced in late 2017 that they were expecting their second baby- a son- although Chrissy hasn’t had an easy go of it. She noted on Twitter that she’d gained more weight this time around, and that morning sickness was making her miserable.
8 Actress Nicole Kidman Creates Unique Family
During her marriage to Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman adopted two children- Isabella and Connor. Although she had experienced an ectopic pregnancy early on in their marriage, the media reported it as a miscarriage in bid for publicity. Still, due to the adoption of her first two children, some speculated that Nicole would only be a mom of two.
But Nicole later married country crooner Keith Urban, and the two had their first child together in 2008. The two didn’t reveal how they fell pregnant or whether there were any difficulties, but their second child arrived via gestational surrogate in 2010, according to ABC News. With two adopted children and two biological children- one carried by another woman- Nicole’s made a unique family, and she has no qualms about sharing it.
7 Long Road Leads To Jamie King's Two Babies
Actress Jaime King has never been shy about sharing her life experiences, even when it comes to her personal pain with endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome. People reported that Jaime shared on Instagram about her path, which included eight years battling pain and undiagnosed conditions. Not only that, but Jaime persevered through five miscarriages, an ectopic pregnancy, and five rounds of IVF.
In addition to all that, Jaime and her husband spent 4 ½ years trying to conceive, which involved 26 intrauterine inseminations with no results. But her story has a silver lining, something she is quick to point out to followers and fans who may be experiencing the same heartbreak. She and husband Kyle Newman now have two children, James and Leo, to show for their difficult and trying journey.
6 Cancer Survivor Giuliana Rancic Beats Multiple Odds
She started out as an anchor for E! News, but Giuliana Rancic went on to launch a clothing line and star in a reality TV show with her husband, Bill. The pair appeared on Giuliana and Bill for four years, during which fans watched their journey dealing with Giuliana’s breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Even before they found out about the cancer, Giuliana and Bill had trouble conceiving. Their fertility challenges started in 2009 and by 2010 they attempted IVF. It was successful, but Giuliana had a miscarriage at nine weeks gestation. Another IVF attempt failed, and afterward, the cancer was discovered. But even after the devastating news, Bill and Giuliana persisted. While battling the cancer, they found a surrogate, retrieved Giuliana’s eggs, and their son Edward Duke was born in 2012, E Online reported.
5 Six-Kid Brood For Actress Angelina Jolie
She’s an actress, filmmaker, and humanitarian, but perhaps her biggest accomplishment is becoming a mom to her six children. Angelina Jolie began her journey with adoption with ex-husband Billy Bob Thornton in 2002, but the couple split before the adoption was finalized. That made Angie a single mom to baby Maddox, whose adoption was part of an international investigation over visa fraud and money laundering, ABC News reported. Fortunately, Angie’s adoption was deemed lawful, and she went on to adopt Zahara and Pax on her own, too.
After she partnered with now-ex-husband Brad Pitt, he adopted the three kids, and the couple had daughter Shiloh together. Twins Knox and Vivienne were born in 2008, according to the actress’ Wikipedia page- but no artificial means were involved, BravoTV reported. Although if Angie wants to grow her family following her cancer prevention treatment, she’ll have to use adoption again.
4 Comedian Rosie O’Donnell Campaigns For Adoption
Rosie O’Donnell doesn’t mince words when it comes to her thoughts on adoption. After adopting three children over the course of five years, Rosie defended herself against critics who said it was easier for celebrities to adopt than for regular folks. People quoted her as saying that she retained five lawyers and paid thousands of dollars for them to locate birth mothers either through agencies or their own networks.
Although she had plenty of funds, it took Rosie over a year to “locate” her first child. At the time, Rosie was married to wife Kelli Carpenter, who later carried the couple’s fourth child herself. Daughter Vivienne was conceived through artificial insemination and arrived in 2002. Following the couple’s split, Rosie later adopted a daughter with new wife Michelle Rounds. When that marriage ended, Rosie was reportedly awarded custody of the girl.
3 Iconic Singer Nell Carter Struggled To Build A Family
Actress-singer Nell Carter was a single mom to one biological daughter and two adopted sons, People reported, at the time of her passing in 2003. The award-winning mom underwent a “rigorous” home study in 1989 before adopting the boys, something she attributed to her fame at the time. However, her adoption journey didn’t end there.
Nell took custody of a baby girl she named Mary, but days later, the birth parents came to her home and asked for money. Because the parents hadn’t signed their rights away yet, Nell recognized their actions as a ploy for money, and she returned the baby. What seemed to be her final attempt at growing her family ended when she helped a pregnant woman with housing and living expenses. When she gave birth, the woman took off with the baby and was never heard from again.
2 Writer Shonda Rhimes Refutes Adoption Rumor
If you haven’t heard of her already, Shonda Rhimes is everyone’s favorite writer- her resume includes Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Scandal. But she’s also a mom of three children, and, as she wrote on WhoSay, “adoption made me a mother and built my family.” Her first two children, both girls, were adopted. Shonda wrote that she keeps her girls out of the public eye, but that she’s proud of the fact that they’re adopted.
So when her third child arrived and she Tweeted about it, Shonda wasn’t exactly surprised that people assumed her third daughter was adopted as well. But this time, Shonda used a gestational surrogate to carry her daughter, something she acknowledges as an “incredibly awesome gift.” That said, Shonda explained that it doesn’t matter how a child comes into your family, and she just focuses on being a great mother.
1 Adoption First For Actress Katherine Heigl
You probably loved her most as Izzy in Grey’s Anatomy, but I’ll forgive you if you preferred her performance in another film or show- Katherine Heigl is not only a good actress, but also a humanitarian and hands-on mom. Her sister Meg was adopted from South Korea, so when Katherine and her husband Josh Kelley were ready to start their family, that’s where they turned. Daughter Naleigh came home in 2009 following open heart surgery shortly after birth.
In 2012, the family expanded by one with adopted daughter Adalaide. It’s clear that adoption was the couple’s first choice, but their third baby arrived the “traditional” way. People announced the pregnancy, quoting Katherine as saying she “wasn’t sure pregnancy was even in the cards for us,” as she was of “advanced maternal age.”