Celebs Who Struggled To Have A Family

This article contains discussions about miscarriage, mental health issues, and traumatic childbirth and pregnancy experiences. 

Bringing a child into the world is a life-changing experience that can completely alter a person's perspective. Supermodel Karlie Kloss once called becoming a new mom, "The greatest joy that I never knew" during an interview with Today. Meanwhile, Janet Jackson described to Billboard how becoming a parent changed her priorities and outlook on life. "Day after day and night after night, holding my baby in my arms, I am at peace," she explained. "... In those moments, all is right with the world." Unfortunately, wanting to build a family isn't always so easy, and these celebs who struggled to have a family have all experienced the grief of that truth firsthand. 

The subject of maternal health, including prenatal, perinatal, postnatal, and pregnancy complications, is a difficult one for many to experience. It can also be a hard one to talk about. Even though one in four pregnancies may end in miscarriage, the topic can sadly all-too-often be associated with stigma and shame. Each of the individuals in this feature bared their souls about the intimate details of their struggle to conceive including fertility treatments, complicated pregnancies, and postpartum depression. However, by speaking out about their experiences, these celebs have helped to normalize the topic for others. By spreading awareness on the subject, they may have also helped to provide comfort to the many people experiencing similar.  

Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union didn't really see herself having children. However, as she told People, becoming a stepmom changed that. The "L.A.'s Finest" actor told the outlet that her maternal instinct kicked in while helping to raise the three children of Dwayne Wade, the NBA star she's been married to since 2014. Union decided to take the dive and subsequently dealt with one failed IVF round after another. In her book, "We're Going to Need More Wine" (via People), the star opened up about her experiences.

"I have had eight or nine miscarriages ... my body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant," she wrote. The "Being Mary Jane" star noted that the constant questions about her childless status didn't exactly help. "People mean so well, but they have no idea the harm or frustration it can cause," she added. However, Union didn't give up and wrote that she was ready to do anything to have a child with her beau. 

In 2018, the couple's prayers were answered, when Kaavia James entered the world via surrogate, per Page Six. Proud papa Wade gushed on Instagram about the child's arrival, quoting lyrics from "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers to do so. Kaavia, a.k.a. "Shady Baby," is now a budding celebrity in her own right, and her hilariously serious facial expressions have even inspired a book and a fashion line. "People see themselves in Kaav," Wade told People, "Some days you want to give people shade."

Britney Spears

In 2021, Britney Spears tried to break free from the restrictive conservatorship that controlled her life for 13 years. During her legal battle, she delivered a statement to the court describing her desire for autonomy, per Variety, where she testified, "I deserve to have a life." One part of her extensive plea for freedom saw her laying bare her frustration with having her reproductive rights restricted. Spears alleged that she had a birth control device fitted in her uterus and was forbidden to remove it. 

"I was told right now in the conservatorship, I'm not able to get married or have a baby," she explained about the IUD. "But this so-called team won't let me go to the doctor to take it out because they don't want me to have children — any more children." The superstar is already a mom to sons Sean and Jayden with ex-husband Kevin Federline. Months after the conservatorship ended, Spears announced on Instagram that she was expecting her third child with fiancé Sam Asghari.

In the post, the "Stronger" singer opened up about her insecurities as a mom, writing that she felt attacked by the media when she was pregnant in the past. She added, "When I was pregnant I had perinatal depression ... I have to say it is absolutely horrible." At least she knows there's one person she can lean on. "I'm always going to support her," Asghari told Men's Health. "She is another blessing that happened to me."

Carrie Underwood

Country music powerhouse Carrie Underwood has been setting the entertainment world on fire for the better part of two decades. In 2010, the "American Idol" winner married NHL hockey player Mike Fisher, and their son, Isaiah Michael Fisher, was born five years later. As she opened up to CBS News the couple began trying for a second child in 2017. Unfortunately, Underwood experienced three miscarriages in two years during the process.

"Of course you wonder if it's you, what am I doing wrong, or what have I done wrong," the devoted Christian told People. "But the miscarriages made me get real with God and say '... If this isn't meant to happen, then I need to accept that and know that someday I'll understand why.'" However, when she thought a fourth miscarriage was incoming, she got understandably angry, telling CBS News, "I was like ... 'Either shut the door or let me have a kid.'"

Maybe that conversation did the trick. On the second episode of "Mike and Carrie: God & Country," Fisher explained that he had a sense that God was going to gift them a son called Jacob. In 2019, Jacob Bryan Fisher made his entrance into the world. On Instagram, Underwood shared a post of her bundle of joy being cradled by his doting dad along with the caption, "Our hearts are full, our eyes are tired, and our lives are forever changed."

Chrissy Teigen

In August 2020, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend announced that they were expecting their third child. However, the two suffered a devastating loss when their son, who they named Jack, was stillborn after health complications during pregnancy in October of that year. In an emotional essay written for Medium, Teigen revealed that the baby was just 20 weeks old. 

After keeping it to themselves for a month, Teigen opened up about the couple's loss on Instagram. "We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before," she wrote. The model and TV star received many messages of support, but some called her out on social media for sharing photos from the hospital, which included one of her holding Jack. Responding to the criticism, she wrote in her Medium essay, "These photos are only for the people who need them. The thoughts of others do not matter to me."

During a joint interview with "Good Morning America," the "Cravings" cookbook author acknowledged that Legend was uncomfortable taking the heartbreaking pictures. However, her husband ultimately saw the power and impact of the post and how it helped others. The "All of Me" singer praised his wife's courage in sharing their experience and added, "The crazy thing about having a miscarriage is you don't walk away with anything, you have this emptiness, and we wanted to take the photos so we had something to remember him by."

Mariah Carey

For Mariah Carey, becoming the most successful selling female artist in music history was easy. Sadly, having her first child was not. Before giving birth to twins Moroccan and Monroe with TV host Nick Cannon in 2011, the pop superstar experienced a crushing miscarriage, as she explained on an episode of "20/20" (via ABC News). Determined to try again, she made some major lifestyle changes.

"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," she shared with Barbara Walters on the show. She added that doing so apparently halves the chances of miscarriage. 

Speaking to US Weekly in 2010, Cannon shared that the "Emotions" singer also adhered to a strict daily acupuncture routine in a bid to maintain optimum health. "I think it helped her quite a bit, because it was a good de-stressor," he asserted. Apparently, it worked and the twins were born on the couple's third wedding anniversary. Cannon and Carey divorced in 2014. However, they have apparently amicably co-parented the twins ever since. 

Serena Williams

In 2017, female tennis GOAT Serena Williams was expecting a child with her husband,  Alexis Ohanian. Soon, she would be facing a life-threatening ordeal, per Vogue. The tennis champ's heart rate dropped while she was having contractions, and their daughter, Olympia, was subsequently delivered via an emergency C-section. When she first cradled her baby, she recalled, "That was an amazing feeling ... and then everything went bad."

Per the outlet, Williams has a history of blood clots in her lungs. During labor, she experienced difficulty breathing and told the nurse she needed a CT scan and a heparin drip. As Williams wrote in a personal essay for Elle, all she got was resistance, with the nurse reportedly responding, "I think all this medicine is making you talk crazy." The scan ended up showing several clots in her lungs and the sports star underwent multiple surgeries during her six-day nightmare in hospital. There, she experienced multiple complications including a ruptured C-section wound, internal bleeding, and a large hematoma in her belly. 

Writing for Elle, Williams suggested that much of her experience could have likely been avoided if the medical staff would have listened to her from the start. As she noted, the issue may reach well beyond her own experiences. "In the U.S., Black women are nearly three times more likely to die during or after childbirth than their white counterparts," she wrote. "... Being heard and appropriately treated was the difference between life or death for me."

Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simspon has never held back in being candid about her life. So when her third pregnancy proved difficult, she wasn't shy about sharing the details. Speaking to US Weekly, the singer and fashion mogul revealed that she first gained an unprecedented amount of weight, something that she's struggled to maintain a healthy control over her entire life. However, as she told Bloomberg there were more health challenges to come.  

At 34 weeks, the "Irresistible" singer was hospitalized with a severe case of bronchitis. The oxygen levels of Birdie, her baby-to-be, plummeted and Simpson was placed on a breathing machine. "I couldn't breathe. I was 260 pounds. She was a very big baby. We were like, 'Just take her out.'" According to E! News, the star's C-section was consequently scheduled for a month ahead of her due date. Per the outlet, in her memoir, "Open Book," she wrote, "This was kind of the pregnancy from hell. When I wasn't being hospitalized for bronchitis ... I was breaking a toilet seat leaning back."

In March 2019, Birdie was born to the family, which includes father Eric Johnson, and siblings, Maxwell and Ace. Toward the end of her hospital stay, the star posted on Instagram to share, "Baby girl was monitored and is doing amazing! Sending love and prayers to all the mothers who are going or have gone through this. OUCH." 

Courteney Cox

During the eighth season of "Friends," Courtney Cox's character, Monica Geller-Bing, stood by as her character's best friend welcomed a baby daughter into the world. What viewers didn't know is that the actor had just experienced a miscarriage behind-the-scenes. "That was hard," she told Matt Lauer for NBC News, "Oh my God, it was terrible having to be funny." As she revealed during the interview, Cox had actually experienced a series of miscarriages after discovering her blood possessed a rare antibody that attacked each fetus.

Still, she didn't give up. Per People, in 2004 she and David Arquette, whom she was married to at the time, welcomed daughter Coco into the world. Speaking to Lauer that same year she described how her family history made her heartbreaking experiences with miscarriages all the more difficult. "It was really weird because everyone in my family has kids. I mean, they pop out like it's nobody's business," she explained.

In 2018, the star helmed the weekly docu-series "9 Months" on Facebook Watch in a bid to share the stories of pregnant women across the nation, with all the emotional highs and lows that may bring. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, she highlighted the importance of sharing such experiences. "If I can share any light or give any wisdom to somebody or hope, I would share anything I can," she said, noting that it's important for people to know they're not alone if they're struggling. 

Lea Michele

When Lea Michele got pregnant with her first child, she had already given up trying. Speaking to Katherine Schwarzeneggar on the star's "Before, During & After" Instagram Live series (via Perez Hilton) in 2021, the "Glee" alum revealed she faced several pregnancy obstacles. On top of an irregular menstrual cycle, which can make conception difficult, the star had also received multiple surgeries for symptoms relating to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). 

By her third procedure, she was feeling hopeless about her chances of conceiving. "I was like, 'Let's just stop.' I kept thinking, Maybe this isn't going to happen," she told Schwarzeneggar. "Then we got pregnant." Although the pregnancy felt like a miracle, Michele experienced various complications which made the first trimester absolutely terrifying. "I experienced very heavy bleeding, some which was scary to the point that we rushed in the middle of the night to the hospital," she said in the episode. Michele was put on bed rest and remained scared and uncertain as to whether her pregnancy would last. 

In August 2020, a son, Ever Leo, was born to Michele and her husband Zandy Reich, per Us Weekly.  A few months after giving birth, the "Glee" alum assured Health that while her pregnancy was difficult, her experiences with PCOS could have been far worse. "I am very fortunate," she said. "There are way more extreme versions of PCOS that women have a lot of difficulty with — mine is not as intense."

Alanis Morissette

Alanis Morissette is unquestionably a force of nature. At 44, the seven-time Grammy winner wanted to have a third child with hubby Mario "Souleye" Treadway and nothing was going to stand in her way. In an interview with Self, she said, "I always wanted to have three kids, and then I've had some challenges and some miscarriages so I just didn't think it was possible ... [I] felt so much grief and fear. I chased and prayed for pregnancy." Per Today, those prayers were answered, as the new mom announced the arrival of her son, Winter Mercy, on Instagram in 2019. 

The "Jagged Little Pill" star has also been open about her experiences with postpartum depression. She told Self that initially, she put off getting help for it after the birth of her first child. However, she was informed by a doctor that simply pushing through the pain would only make her symptoms worse. Speaking to People in 2017, Morisette stated of her PPD experience, "There are days I'm debilitated to the point where I can barely move." The singer shared that those symptoms included insomnia, chronic pain, and intrusive visions of her family being hurt. 

Though she's been open about her struggle, Morissette acknowledged that it's not an easy subject to talk about, telling the outlet, "The stigma remains in a really big way." To steady herself through her symptoms, the star said that she had thrown herself back into her music and began writing songs. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.


In 2011, the news of Beyoncé's exciting first pregnancy was overshadowed by bizarre rumors which suggested that the "Formation" singer was faking her baby bump. The odd conspiracy theory began after the superstar appeared on the Australian talk show, "Sunday Night HD," with what some interpreted to be a momentarily deflating stomach. Per TMZ, a representative for the star called the claims, "stupid, ridiculous, and false." Bey had her own thoughts on the matter, and in sharing them she discussed her prior miscarriage experience.

Opening up on the topic in the 2013 documentary "Life is But a Dream," (via Reuters), the "Halo" singer cited the rumors as being one of the silliest she'd ever heard about herself. "To think that I'd be that vain ... especially after losing a child. The pain and trauma from that just makes it mean so much more to get an opportunity to bring life into the world," she explained. 

In 2019, the singer, who shares daughter Ivy Blue and twins Sir and Rumi with her husband, Jay-Z, told Elle that losing a baby may have helped her become a better mom. "Having miscarriages taught me that I had to mother myself before I could be a mother to someone else," she said and described the experience as one of the most devastating things she'd ever experienced. She noted to the outlet that despite her colossal success, being a mom remains the achievement that brings her the most joy. 

Nicole Kidman

Despite her incredible career, in 2021 Nicole Kidman revealed that she carried one significant regret, telling Marie Claire, "I wish I'd had more children, but I wasn't given that choice." In an interview with Who (via ABC News), the mother of four once explained that she had miscarriages, an ectopic pregnancy, and failed fertility treatments on her journey to conceive. "I've done all the stuff you can possibly do to try to get pregnant," she explained. Instead, Kidman and her first husband, Tom Cruise, adopted two children, Isabella and Connor, before they divorced in 2001.

When the "Big Little Lies" star married musician Keith Urban in 2006, they were able to bring a daughter, Sunday Rose, into the world together. As Kidman told Who (via ABC News), she was surprised but overjoyed when she realized she had managed to get pregnant. "The percentages were so low," she said. "It is the miracle in my life." However, when the pair wanted to try for a second child, they had to take a different route and in 2011, Faith Margaret joined the family via gestational carrier. 

Speaking about her fourth child on "60 Minutes Australia," the Oscar-winner talked about the frustration and grief of experiencing fertility issues. She also shared how much love and appreciation she felt for the woman who carried her fourth child. "I get emotional even talking about it because I'm so grateful to her," she said.


Hours before taking the stage at a 2016 concert, Halsey had a miscarriage. The artist proceeded with the show anyway, telling Rolling Stone, "It's the angriest performance that I've ever done in my life." The "Graveyard" singer told the outlet that they felt their demanding schedule was to blame for losing the baby. "I beat myself up for it," they lamented. " ... I want to be a mom more than I want to be a pop star. More than I want to be anything in the world."

There was another health complication that threatened Halsey's plans to become a mom. In 2017, the singer wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post (via People) that they had received various surgeries for endometriosis. "I'm in total agony right now," Halsey wrote following the procedures and added that the disease is as hard on a person's mental wellbeing as it can be physically agonizing. Two years later, the singer revealed to Rolling Stone that a doctor had suggested her body was now healthy enough to carry a child. Previously, she'd considered freezing her eggs to make it happen. "I didn't think that having a family was something I was going to be able to do," she told the outlet. 

In 2021, Halsey announced on Instagram that she and her boyfriend Alev Aydin were now joined by baby Ender Ridley. She accompanied a picture of the three together with the caption, "Gratitude. For the most "rare" and euphoric birth. Powered by love."