15 Celebrities Who Opened Up About Their Experience With Stillbirth

Martha Sorren | Nov 13, 2019 Celebrity Moms
15 Celebrities Who Opened Up About Their Experience With Stillbirth

Joy-Anna Duggar and Austin Forsyth

Many celebrities live rich, blessed lives, but they're still human just like all of us -- and that means they're susceptible to the same random pregnancy woes as anyone else. These 15 have felt the pain of having a stillborn baby, which is one of the most unimaginable realities to have to endure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 100 pregnancies end in stillbirth, which is when the baby passes away before or during delivery. 

A stillbirth is different than a miscarriage in that stillbirths are classified as pregnancy losses after 20 weeks. Before that time frame, the end of a pregnancy is considered a miscarriage, per the CDC. In both cases, however, there's not always a reason for the miscarriage or stillbirth. Sometimes terrible things just happen.

The statistics do not spare the wealthy or the famous, and the number of celebrities who have dealt with stillbirths may be even higher due simply to the fact that not everyone likes to talk about this kind of trauma. However, some celebrities have opened up about their stillbirths, and many of them had similar things to say.

Understandably, for many of these celebrities, the loss of their child changed how they view life, because they realize how short it is. Others talked about how it's the kind of loss that is impossible to get over, no matter how much time passes. Another common refrain was that the stillbirth sometimes made them worry for future pregnancies, lest those end in tragedy as well.

Sadly, the chance of having a stillbirth is part of life for any pregnant person, but nobody who has one is alone. And these celebrities are right there experiencing that same sorrow.

  • Keanu Reeves

    Keanu Reeves
    Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

    After Keanu Reeves' partner, Jennifer Syme, gave birth to their stillborn daughter, she passed away a few years later. The stillbirth happened in 1999, just a month before the baby's due date, according to MSN. Syme died in a car accident in 2001.

    MSN reported that Keanu later opened up to Parade magazine about his grief stemming both of those incidents. "Grief changes shape, but it never ends. People have a misconception that you can deal with it and say, 'It’s gone, and I’m better.' They’re wrong. When the people you love are gone, you're alone." 

    He added, "I miss being a part of their lives and them being part of mine. I wonder what the present would be like if they were here – what we might have done together. I miss all the great things that will never be."

  • Joy-Anna Duggar


    In July, Joy-Anna Duggar's pregnancy with her husband, Austin Forsyth, ended at 20 weeks. She posted about it on Instagram, writing, "We only had her for 20 weeks, Life is fragile and precious. So thankful the Lord gave her to us for that short time! She will be in our hearts forever!" 

    A couple of months later, Joy-Anna said she was up for trying to have a child again once she was a little more healed from this understandably difficult experience.

  • Michelle Duggar

    Michelle and Jim-Bob Duggar
    Peter Kramer/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

    Joy-Anna's mother, Michelle Duggar, also experienced a stillbirth. The 19 Kids and Counting star's pregnancy ended when the baby's lack of heartbeat was detected in 2011. According to the Daily Mail, the couple planned to name the little girl Jubilee Shalom.

  • Wendy Williams

    Wendy Williasm
    Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

    Talk show host Wendy Williams had a long journey to becoming a mother to her son Kevin. She told Essence magazine that she experienced several pregnancy losses in her life, including two at five months along. 

    "That's when you have the clothes already picked out, the nursery is already painted. They ask you do you want a funeral or do you want the cremation," Williams said. "We went through that not once but twice, me and my husband. So our Kevin is a hard-won child."

  • Katey Sagal

    Katey Sagal in Grand Hotel
    Mitch Haaseth/ABC via Getty Images

    Married... with Children initially wrote actress Katey Sagal's real-life pregnancy into the show, according to the Daily Mail. But when Sagal experienced a stillbirth at nearly eight months along, the pregnancy was written out in a dream sequence on the show. The Daily Mail reported that Sagal later spoke about how hard the whole thing was for her. 

    "I could not wrap my brain around [it]," she said. "[They say that] 60 percent of it is God's will and there's no medical reason -- and that's what I was told. And I just couldn't let go of the control of somehow, [the notion that] I had done something wrong."

  • Lily Allen

    Lily Allen
    Darren Gerrish/WireImage for National Portrait Gallery

    In 2010, singer Lily Allen had a stillbirth at six months along and almost died days later from a blood infection. "I nearly died. But I was numb and I didn't care. I'd just lost my baby and that is a reflection of how numb I was," she told E! News, adding that the whole experience "was horrendous and something I would not wish on my worst enemy."

  • Amanda Holden 

    Amanda Holden smiling
    Neil Mockford/GC Images/Getty Images

    Britain's Got Talent Judge Amanda Holden had a stillborn boy named Theo in 2011. "People say they miscarried a baby, which is a horrible thing in itself, but giving birth and having a miscarriage are two totally different things," she said, according to the Telegraph. "I always want to make sure you know he was stillborn."

  • Jackie Kennedy

    Jackie Kennedy
    Howard Sochurek/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

    Jackie Kennedy's second pregnancy with John F. Kennedy ended in a stillbirth in 1956, one month ahead of her due date. That news came after her first pregnancy had ended in miscarriage at three months. Afterward, she went on to have three more children, although one son died in infancy in 1963.

  • Lela Rochon

    Lela Rochon
    Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/Getty Images

    Actress Lela Rochon once had a pregnancy end in its fifth month. She eventually went on to have a daughter and son, but said that those pregnancies were "pins and needles" for her, waiting to see if her children would be okay. 

    "Losing a child changes everything you feel and do from there," she said to Mocha Manual. "You never truly get over that kind of loss and you never trust your body again until you see a healthy child come. When my daughter came and she was healthy and happy, it made everything okay."

  • Linda Evangelista 

    Linda Evangelista
    Venturelli/GC Images/Getty Images

    Having a stillborn child is a hugely traumatic thing, but supermodel Linda Evangelista didn't let her 1999 stillbirth change her mind about having children forever. In 2006, she spoke to People about her second pregnancy, saying, "I embrace it. I believe I'm doing everything to go through this as smoothly as possible. I'm either doing yoga or exercising every day."  

    Her son was born in October of that year.

  • Kelly Brook

    Kelly Brook walking on the street
    Splash News

    Although a stillbirth is categorized as a pregnancy that ends at 20 weeks or later, actress and model Kelly Brook considers the end of her six-month pregnancy a miscarriage. "In my mind, it was a miscarriage. That was how I was going to deal with it," she said, according to the Mirror. "But the hospital were insisting otherwise. They kept on asking me for a name ... Thankfully, my mum was there to give me support. We both said 'No Name.'"

  • Ricky Schroder

    Ricky Schroder and Andrea Bernard
    Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

    Ricky Schroder and Andrea Bernard are no longer together, but they once went through a really traumatic time as a couple. According to People, Andrea's fourth pregnancy ended in her sixth month when her placenta separated from the wall of the uterus. 

    “We named him Seth Michael. Seth means 'perfect in God’s eyes.' Even though he went when he did, it doesn’t change how important he was," Andrea said. "We have a little granite headstone for him here on our property that says, 'Families are forever,' and his name is on it."

  • Barbara Eden

    Barbara Eden
    Harry Langdon/Getty Images

    I Dream of Jeannie star Barbara Eden had a stillborn baby in 1971. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that she went through a really hard time after that, especially with her then-husband. "My deep depression destroyed our relationship and after 15 years together we divorced," she said.

  • Annie Lennox 

    Annie Lennox
    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Singer Annie Lennox's son Daniel was stillborn in 1988. The experience changed her perspective on life. "It had an immense impact on me," she said, according to the Telegraph. "It made me realize that the human condition is immensely fragile and strong at the same time."

  • Gary Barlow

    Gary Barlow
    Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Apple

    In 2012, singer Gary Barlow and his wife, Dawn, had a stillborn daughter named Poppy, according to the BBC. The two spent an hour with their child after the stillbirth, which Barlow said was an "amazing" and "incredible" time. 

    But even though they experienced a terrible tragedy, not everyone was kind. "People say things like, 'You've got three other kids' and people don't really understand your pain. It makes it more painful," he said.

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