In Hollywood, Katherine Heigl is not considered one of the easiest people to work with. In fact, she has a bit of a reputation for being “difficult,” which is not entirely fair, although she did admit to People that she is “absolutely a neurotic actor.” That said, motherhood has changed Heigl in many ways and has made her realize what’s really important to her, and on the top of that list is her family.
Speaking of family, Heigl and her husband, Josh Kelley, are the proud parents of three little ones. They adopted their first two children, Naleigh from South Korea in 2009, and then Adalaide, from Louisiana, in 2012; and then in 2016, Heigl gave birth to their son. At the time, Heigl wasn’t even sure if getting pregnant was in the cards for her because of her maternal age. Not that this would have mattered too much, because she and Kelley were also considering adopting again, or fostering.
Heigl always knew she wanted to adopt, because she grew up with an adoptive sister, and it was something that felt natural and right to her. But it did come with certain challenges in the beginning. Below are 20 little-known details about Katherine Heigl and her family, and all the wonderful ways motherhood has impacted her life.
20 She Adopted Naleigh From South Korea (She Always Knew She’d Adopt)
Katherine Heigl always knew she wanted to adopt, and this is something she has spoken about in multiple interviews. She and her husband, Josh Kelley (who she married in 2007) made the decision to adopt their first child, Naleigh, from South Korea in 2009.
"My sister Meg is [of Korea], and my parents adopted her three years before I was born. I wanted my own family to resemble the one I came from, so I always knew I wanted to adopt from Korea,” Heigl told Scholastic Parent & Child (via Us Weekly).
She also told Redbook in 2010: "Adoption has been a part of my life and a part of my family, so it was how I wanted to start. It felt natural and right to me."
19 Her Second Child, Adalaide, Was Adopted From A Little Closer To Home
After Katherine Heigl and Josh Kelley welcomed Naleigh into their home, they were not done having children and decided to add to their family with another daughter, Adalaide. Unlike their first child, the couple decided to look a little closer to home when it was time to adopt this time.
"This was fascinating because we started the adoption process again and we thought we were gonna adopt internationally," Heigl said on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (via USA Today). It is a lengthy process to adopt internationally, so the couple started “exploring the idea of domestic adoption — just exploring.” But they got lucky because her representative contacted her with the good news that their daughter would be born in four weeks, if they chose to adopt domestically (Adalaide was born in Louisiana).
18 Katherine Didn’t Think Pregnancy Was In The Cards For Her — But Later Had A Biological Child
Katherine Heigl knew she wanted her family to consist of more than two children, but before the birth of her son, she and her husband, Josh Kelley, were exploring all options.
"We've known for a while that we wanted to add to our family and frankly didn't really care how we chose to do that,” she said, according to Sydney Morning Herald. “We were considering adoption again, fostering, or pregnancy if possible. Seeing as I have never been pregnant and as my gynecologist reminded me last year, I'm of advanced maternal age, I wasn't sure pregnancy was even in the cards for us…” but it was, and she gave birth at the end of 2016, when she was in her late '30s.
17 She Struggled To Bond With Naleigh At The Beginning (And It Broke Her Heart)
Katherine Heigl is very honest about her struggles as a parent, and adoption is not a choice that should be made without careful consideration. She spoke about this with Redbook, saying, “I don't think it's for everybody, and I don't think everybody should adopt — I'm not some crazy idealist. It's not about the cause for me. But I do think no one should ever rule it out.”
She has also addressed how, in the beginning, she battled to form a bond with her daughter, Naleigh. "'I fought incredibly hard for my daughter to accept me as a mother. Her rejection almost broke my heart," she told a paper (via Daily Mail).
16 Some Kids Love Having Their Photo Taken, And Joshua Is One Of Them
Some children won’t sit still long enough to have their photo taken, others protest and simply refuse, but Katherine Heigl is able to make as many memories as she wants when it comes to her toddler, Joshua, because he is happy to oblige — a glance at Heigl’s social media is also testament to this statement.
“He really does love looking at himself in the camera...or a mirror...or any reflective surface he can find,” she wrote, adding, “I guess we’re all a little guilty of that these days.” If little Joshua loves being in front of the camera, maybe one day he will follow his mom’s footsteps and become an actor.
15 Katherine Heigl Says Her Kids Are A Lot More Interesting Than She Is
Katherine Heigl has spoken about her children many times in interviews and expressed just how much she loves being a mom. And she’s eager to share this part of her life with her fans, which is why she often shares photos of her children on her social media.
Entertainment Tonight notes that her son has also made an appearance on national television, and Heigl spoke about this, saying, “I just keep tossing that kid out in front of the cameras ... all of my children! I’m just so proud of them and I think they're so amazing and find them far more interesting than me in so many ways. So it’s easier for me to push them out there in front of the camera... sorry kids!”
14 Her Son Is A Curious Little Fella, And He's Also A Big Ball Of Joy
The third child Katherine Heigl and Josh Kelley welcomed into their home was also their first biological child and first son, Joshua. Watching him grow up has been a beautiful experience for the parents, and Heigl spoke about her son, and the joy he brings her, in a post on social media to celebrate his first birthday (he was born in 2016).
“He is everything and more than I could have hoped for and he has brought our family even more joy, love, laughter, abundance, bliss and yes, exhaustion and exasperation too!” She wrote. “It’s been a hell of a year and I could not be more grateful for it or him!”
13 Katherine’s Children Have Made Her Life Chaotic, And Wonderful
Katherine Heigl is in her '40s now, and a lot has changed for her in the last two decades. She has gained a new perspective, and she is focused on what is truly important to her. “There’s a perspective that was missing in my 20s that I now have,” she told Today in 2018. But she also has her hands full, and in addition to raising her three children, her sister’s teenage daughter, Maddie, also lives with her family.
“It’s a total circus,” she admitted. “We are knee-deep in diapers and at the same time we’re like, ‘OK Maddie, we’re going to have to start looking at colleges this year.’”
12 The Proud Mama Feels As Though Motherhood Has Defined Her Purpose
Motherhood is challenging, and there are many days when moms feel so worn out and unappreciated that they wish they could spend the day on the sofa and not move a muscle. But it also has a lot of positives, and Katherine Heigl has definitely experienced the latter because she is so enthusiastic about motherhood that she feels it is her purpose. She chose to share these thoughts with fans by taking to social media and expressed her gratitude about becoming a mother.
Speaking of the family she and Josh Kelley have created, she detailed the life-changing effects motherhood has had. “[Motherhood] defined my purpose, grounded my existence and filled every nook, cranny, and corner of my souls with the most profound love...” she wrote.
11 There May Be More Kids In Katherine And Her Husband Josh Kelly’s Future
Katherine Heigl and Josh Kelley are the proud parents of three children, and if Heigl’s interviews and social media posts are anything to go by, then she truly loves her kids and values her role as a mother. But the couple may add to their brood in the future, at least, that’s what Heigl hinted at in a 2012 interview with E! News — at the time, her son was not born.
"I definitely want more kids. I think we've agreed to three but I'm pushing for four," she said.
Considering they have three now, Kelley may feel the family is complete, but Heigl’s comments certainly make it seem as though she would welcome baby No. 4.
10 Katherine Loves Creating Special Moments With Her Little Ones
Children grow up so quickly, and this is a statement that most parents will make at one point, as they wish they could stop time and keep their child small forever — before they grow up, become more independent, and need their parents less. But sometimes, you forget to cherish the moments.
Katherine Heigl shared on social media that she tries to take moments— like this one, where she gets to snuggle in bed with her babies — and savor them. She explained that she wrote a post on her blog, Those Heavenly Days, for “anyone, like me, who's felt a bit adrift or lost in the day to day hustle. It's for anyone who has lost the spark of gratitude that keeps all the good stuff front and center but are desperately trying to get it back. My post is all about how I cultivate more good days then [sic] bad. More bliss, joy, laughter and love…”
9 Children Have The Ability To Change A Parent’s Life, And Katherine Heigl Knows All About That
Katherine Heigl doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to her acting, and Vanity Fair notes how she was labeled as someone who was “difficult” to work with. She also made headlines for withdrawing her name from an Emmys nomination, claiming the material she was given to work with didn’t deserve an award, and she has criticized other work she’s done.
Heigl admits that she’s a “neurotic” actor, but motherhood has changed her life in many ways, for the better. "I have a deeper understanding about what really matters and whose opinion really matters," she told People. "I'm not going to lie, I'm absolutely a neurotic actor...But I'm less atwitter, and I'm less defensive, and I'm less afraid of what everybody thinks of me."
8 The Loving Mama Cried When She Sent Her Daughters Off On Their First Day Of School
Katherine Heigl is not the most well-liked celebrity in the industry, but for all her perceived flaws, there is something no one can take away from her, and that is her skills as a mother. She is also a particularly dedicated and loving mom, who endeared herself to fans when she spoke about how she cried when her girls went off to school — something so many parents have experienced.
On Naleigh and Adalaide's first day of school, the proud mama shared this sweet photo, and discussed how she cried a little when she saw them get on the bus. However, this emotion didn’t last long, and after they had pulled out of sight, she dried her eyes and rejoiced that she only had one child (her son) who needed her attention for the next seven hours.
7 She’s Happy When She Gets Time Off Work And Spends Her Days With Her Kids
Katherine Heigl reminds herself to cherish every moment she spends with her children, perhaps because she is aware that one day, these children will be out of the house. This is also why she has strived to find a balance between being working and being a mom. In fact, this is one of the reasons why she wanted to work less so she could shift her focus to her family.
"I felt like my priorities were messed up," she told Good Housekeeping of the time when she was working hard, not long after she adopted Naleigh in 2009. "I was putting so much time and energy into just my work, but I was raised [to believe] that family comes first."
6 This Family Has Really Impressive Costumes Because Dressing Up Is Important
Being able to spend quality time with her children is something that Katherine Heigl places a lot of importance on. She loves to have fun with them, and it seems that one of the ways for them to achieve this is by dressing up, and Heigl took to social media to share this sweet photo of her kids in their “heirloom-worthy costumes!”
This was their look for Halloween in 2018, and Heigl was clearly pleased because she took to social media to thank the seamstress who made the costumes, and added, that it was a “fun” time, commenting on how “Halloween was a blast and my kids' costumes were amazing!”
5 Adalaide Has A Fantastic Sense Of Humor (And Her Mom Is So Proud)
Adalaide became a part of Katherine Heigl’s life in 2012. She was an infant when Heigl and Josh Kelley adopted her, and when she celebrated her seventh birthday in 2019, Heigl wanted to share how much she had grown, but also the wonderful personality she has.
“Overnight she has gone from the baby girl who quietly observed everything and everyone around her with a sort of hawkeye precision, to the seven-year-old gal who’s turned that uncanny ability into a superpower of feisty fierceness laced with a wicked sense of humor and an easy compassion,” Heigl wrote, while sharing a photo of her daughter which captured her personality.
4 Spending Quality Time Together Is Super Important To This Bunch
Katherine Heigl scaled back on her work commitments when she became a mother so she could focus on raising her family. She didn’t want to miss out on seeing them grow up, and although she has found a way to balance her professional life with her personal one, she definitely appreciates all the time she can get with her kids.
Like most children, Heigl’s kids use technology, but she limits screen-time, especially at meal times, to ensure that they connect as a family and actually have meaningful conversations. “We do need to talk to one another, too, and make eye contact,” she told People.
3 She Believes Her Son Is Going To Have All The Girls Swooning Over Him
Katherine Heigl is a dedicated mom, and from the moment her son, Joshua Bishop Jr., was born, she was completely in love with him. "We're at the point where we're really obsessed with him,” she told People, just weeks after her son’s birth (he was born in December 2016). “With a newborn, you're forced to be still...and you have this beautiful reason to do that.”
She also found that her daughters were happy to be big sisters to the new addition, and admitted, “This little boy is going to have all these girls fawning over him.”
2 Katherine Heigl Has Found A Clever Way To Add Greens To Her Children’s Meals
Getting children to eat their vegetables is a tough task for many parents, which is why they have to get creative when feeding them. For some, it’s done with a fun game, others opt for a reward system, but Katherine Heigl simply disguises all those healthy greens by giving her children smoothies packed with goodness.
She took to social media to share her clever trick, explaining how she is able to give her children “spinach hidden in a fruity, creamy smoothie.” She also admitted that they have a “Smoothie Saturday,” a day to have “delicious, nutritious and filling” smoothies, as a family.
1 Her Girls Have Very Different Personalities (She Says This Photo Sums That Up)
Every child is different (which is why a blanket approach to parenting seldom works) and Katherine Heigl’s two daughters each have their individual quirks, likes, and dislikes. The actress chose to address these differences in a photo of her daughters, which was taken as part of their trip to Toronto, although they made a little stop in Washington, D.C., to explore the Washington Monument first.
Speaking of this photo, Heigl stated that it “says everything about their personalities!” And went on to explain how “Naleigh tries to hold it up while Adalaide tries to push it down!”
Sources: Us Weekly, USA Today, Sydney Morning Herald, Katherine Heigl Instagram, Today, Entertainment Tonight, Today, E! News, Daily Mail, Vanity Fair, People.