Money can’t buy you happiness—and though it sure can help—it won’t buy you a baby, either. Despite having access to some of the best doctors and resources available, the reality is that reproduction is a biological issue that affects everyone—even the wealthiest and most famous celebrities. Stars really are just like us.
Whether they’re talking about their fertility, infertility, or not wanting to have kids altogether, many of the most high profile celebs have a story. But the tides are changing, and they’ve started opening up the conversation by sharing their own reproductive challenges, offering comfort and support to other women who are going through it too. Here are eight celebrities who have been public (whether they wanted to or not) about their own fertility journeys.
The former First Lady of the United States revealed in her memoir, Becoming, that she suffered a miscarriage and then used IVF to conceive her two daughters, Malia and Sasha. In an interview with Good Morning America, Obama said she felt lost, alone, and like she had failed. "I didn't know how common miscarriages are, because we don't talk about them. We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we're broken."
Photo via @kimkardashian on Instagram
Kim K has been extremely public about the challenges faced in carrying her first two children. In those two pregnancies, Kim experienced preeclampsia and placenta accreta. After learning that her life could be at risk if she attempted to carry another child, she and her husband opted for surrogacy to complete their family with a third child. And Kim says it was an incredible experience: “I would recommend surrogacy for anybody.”
Photo via @beyonce on Instagram
The notoriously private superstar opened up about her first miscarriage in her 2013 documentary, Life is But A Dream, describing it as “the saddest thing I’ve ever been through.” Later, she alluded to miscarriage in the film that accompanied her 2016 album, Lemonade, referencing all her children “living and dead.” But the most recent, and perhaps most explicit, mention of the multiples miscarriages suffered by Beyonce and her husband, Jay-Z, come from the rapper himself, rapping in his song 4:44, “I apologize for all the stillborns / 'Cause I wasn't present, your body wouldn't accept it."
Photo via @chrissyteigen on Instagram
Cookbook author, Lip Sync Battle co-host, and social media darling Chrissy Teigen has been pretty fearless in her fertility journey, speaking candidly in interviews about her experience conceiving two children via in-vitro fertilization (IVF). “Ours didn’t work the first time, and it was devastating,” she shared in an interview with The Cut. “I think hearing stories is just really important.” And while pregnant with her second child, Teigen also shared that as part of the IVF process, they were able to pick the sex of each of their children, giving a brother to their little girl.
Photo via @cobiesmulders on Instagram
In 2015, actor Cobie Smulders revealed in Women’s Health that she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer while filming season 3 of How I Met Your Mother, when she was just 25 years old. After multiple surgeries over the course of two years, they were able to remove the cancer. She was told she would not be able to conceive a child, but as she wrote in Lenny Letter, “Thankfully, gratefully, cancer did not get the best of me. The best of me now lives on in my two little women, baby girls I was lucky enough to be able to make with my own body.”
Photo via @mindykaling on Instagram
When it was announced last year that actor Mindy Kaling was pregnant, she managed to keep the details of her pregnancy extremely private, while the media swirled with rumours. To this day, we don’t know the father of her baby or if her pregnancy was planned, but we do know she’s raising her baby as a single mother and the rest is none of our damn business.
Photo via @mrchrismcmillan on Instagram
For the duration of her entire career in the spotlight, actor Jennifer Aniston has been dragged through the tabloids. Headlines claiming she was pregnant have included, “Pregnant!”, “Pregnant and alone!”, “Marry me, I’m pregnant!”, “Twins for Jen!” and more. In 2016, enough was enough. Jen penned an op-ed for Huffpost condemning the absurd scrutiny of women’s fertility, writing, “We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves.”
Photo via @lenadunham on Instagram
Polarizing Hollywood figure Lena Dunham has openly documented her challenges with endometriosis on social media. After ten years of chronic, unbearable pain and nine surgical procedures, she told Vogue earlier this year that she opted to undergo a hysterectomy. And while she’s come to terms with the fact that she’ll never carry her own children, despite always hoping to, she will soon “start exploring whether my ovaries, which remain someplace inside me in that vast cavern of organs and scar tissue, have eggs.”
Photo via @whitneycummings on Instagram
Last year, comedian Whitney Cummings revealed (through Twitter and in more detail in her memoir) that she froze her eggs at age 32. “I feel like I was dating people just because I was on a deadline,” she says in Vanity Fair. Now 36, Whitney writes in her book that freezing her eggs was like an “insurance policy” on her body, allowing her to tackle her career goals and find the right guy without the added pressure of a ticking biological clock.
Help knix the stigma by sharing your story. Join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #FacesofFertility and show your support with a custom-designed semi-permanent tattoo.