Just like any frightened preemie parent, celebrities can only wait in fear while they hope and pray that their little one will get stronger in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Here are showbiz mothers who went through a roller-coaster of emotions after giving birth to preterm babies. Several are also mothers of twins, who risk being born prematurely. Thank goodness, these amazing born-too-early kids are thriving now!
Both the children of ex Mediacorp DJ Jamie Yeo, 41, arrived prematurely. Yeo has two children, Luke, with her current husband Rupert, 38, and Alysia, 7, with her ex-husband Thorsten Nolte. Both may have been born preterm but are healthy now! Alysia, who was 10 weeks premature and weighed 1.2 kg when she was born, was hospitalised for four weeks. Yeo recounts that she had not even known that she’d gone into labour with Alysia, mistaking it for just experiencing stomach cramps.
Yeo has also talked in the past about feeling guilty about not being able to produce sufficient breastmilk, sharing that she “cried about it and (she) felt so guilty. When Aly was born, she was so small, it was heart-wrenching”. Luke, who was born last August, arrived at just 35 weeks. Luke was in the hospital for three weeks before Jamie took him home. (Photo: Instagram /Jamie Yeo)
Wonder actress Julia Roberts, 50, married to cinematographer Daniel Moder, 49, gave birth to twins Phinnaeus and Hazel Moder at 36 weeks In October, more than two months before Phinnaeus’ and Hazel’s due date, Roberts had early contractions and was put on bed rest. The Oscar winner underwent a C-section on 28 November,2004 to deliver her twins, who are now 13 years old. Roberts also has another son, Henry Daniel Moder, 11. (Photos: Popsugar, Closer Weekly)
Maleficent star Angelina Jolie, 43, and Fury actor Brad Pitt, 54, welcomed their twins Vivienne Marcheline and Knox Leon, now 9, early. However, Jolie shared that she’d expected the premature birth, saying “I knew that like all twins they’d be premature, so when I saw they were big and screaming with healthy lungs, I was at peace.”
Following the much anticipated birth of the twins, Jolie and Pitt reportedly sold the first pictures of them and their twins to Hello! gossip magazine for a record breaking price of US$7.5 million ($10.3 million). The celeb parents donated the proceeds of the sale to the Jolie-Pitt children’s charity. The former husband and wife are also parents to Shiloh Nouvel, 12, Zahara Marley, 13, Pax Thien, 14, and Maddox Chivan, 16. (Photos: Daily Mail, Goodfullness.net)
The much-longed for twins of radio personality Melody Chen, 40, and husband, actor Randall Tan, 44, entered the world last November. Born several weeks early, Reuben Michael and Maegan Riley, spent their first months in NICU. Chen took to Instagram to describe hers as a “truly harrowing start to [our] parenthood journey from the emergency C-section to the constant worry about their survival”. Tan also shared how he’d felt about the health scare, saying “these two bundles of joy decided to give daddy a heart attack when they decided that enough is enough and come out to meet everyone.”
To mark Prematurity Awareness Month that same month, Chen sent a message to all preemie families, as well as the staff at NICU wards. She said, “Here’s a little love going out to all the preemies and preemie parents coping in their own individual parenthood journeys and not forgetting, the dedicated medical staff of every NICU ward. You are all truly God’s angels.” (Photos: Instagram/Melody Chen and Randall Tan)
The son of Scary Movie actress Anna Faris, 41, and her ex-husband Chris Pratt, 39, arrived nine weeks early in 2012. Now 5, Jack, was in NICU for a month after his birth. The Avengers: Infinity War star told People magazine that he and Faris “were scared for a long time”, adding that “(they) prayed a lot”. In an interview with Redbook magazine, Faris said her waters broke when she was seven months pregnant. Stating that she was in denial at the time, she confessed, “I was completely unprepared for anything dramatic like that to happen.” She called her obstetrician but “it never really occurred to [me] that Jack was coming”. She was put on bed rest, but went into labour a week later.
Pratt also revealed how he’d felt when his son was born, “I played him country music and I sang to him, and I made him promises in that moment…about what kind of dad I wanted to be and I just prayed that he’d live long enough to let me keep them.” As any proud mother would, Faris says that “although he was so tiny, he looked so good to [us]”. (Photos: Instagram/Anna Faris and Chris Pratt)
The third child of television personality Vanessa Lachey, 37, son Phoenix, was born 10 weeks early in December 16, after her waters broke at 29 weeks while mummy was on bedrest in hospital. The Dancing With the Stars alum, married to married to singer/TV personality Nick Lachey, 44, revealed, “I remembered thinking ‘I hope the baby’s okay and don’t worry about me. Just make him okay.’” Her husband also said he’d “never felt so hopeless”.
As Phoenix, now 18 months, is a preemie, the mother of three notes that her youngest child’s milestones aren’t exactly on par with his siblings. She told People, “What I have to do for [myself] now as a mom of a preemie is to not count the milestones.” Lachey is also mum to Brooklyn Elisabeth, 3, and Camden John, 5. (Photos: Instagram/Vanessa Lachey, Instagram/Nick Lachey)
The twin sons of power chanteuse Celine Dion, 50, and her late music producer husband Rene Angelil were conceived after six rounds of IVF treatment. Dion has revealed that she was actually carrying three babies, but one hadn’t made it. Though twins Eddy and Nelson, now 7, were born premature and need to be incubated for few days, both were pretty healthy, weighing in at 2.38kg and 2.55kg. Dion told The Daily Mail the inspiration for her sons’ names. Nelson was named after Nelson Mandela, while Eddy was inspired by her other hero, Eddy Marnay, who had written all French songs for her at the beginning of Dion’s career. Dion also has an older son, Rene-Charles Angelil, 17. (Photos: Instagram/Celine Dion)
Host Sherri Shepherd, 51, of The View and her then-husband Jeff Tarpley, 51, went through countless fertility treatments before conceiving their son, Jeffrey Charles, now 13. Born at only 25 weeks, he had life-threatening health complications ― not only was his brain bleeding badly. He had holes near his heart and in his intestine. Jeffrey was only discharged when his health improved after spending three months in the NICU.
Shepherd had been pregnant with fraternal twins, but sadly, her daughter did not survive. Although he has some developmental delays, for which he gets therapy, Jeffey didn’t develop the cerebral palsy his doctors feared he would! Furthermore, Jeffrey sweetly walked his mother down the aisle in 2011 when Shepherd tied the knot with her screenwriter Lamar Sally, 47, with whom she has since split from. (Photos: Instagram/Sherrie Shepherd)
The youngest child of country powerhouse couple Faith Hill, 50, and Tim McGraw, 51, alarmed her parents when she arrived eight weeks early in December 2001. When doctors found that Hill’s amnioticfluid was low, they decided to deliver Audrey, now 16, immediately. The tiny bundle was in the hospital for three weeks. Hill recalls, “It was an emergency. We didn’t know what the outcome was going to be. It was frightening; it was alarming. We said a lot of prayers.”
Hill confessed to People that the not being able to hold her newborn daughter for the first few days was the “hardest thing” she had needed to do in her life. For McGraw, his toughest moment was “seeing her in her little Isolette [incubator]”, “not being able to feed her and seeing her lose a little weight”. The couple are also parents to Maggie Elizabeth, 19, and Gracie, 21. (Photos: Instagram/Faith Hill)
When Bethenny Frankel, 47, delivered her daughter Bryn via C-section in May 2010, the mite was five weeks early. Little wonder that that The Real Housewives of New York star likens her baby, who was in the NICU for four days after, to “a little doll”. Frankel, who was then with her ex-husband Jason Hoppy, 47, doesn’t know why Bryn was born prematurely, says, “My doctor says there are two reasons for premature labor: Infection of ‘unknown reasons’. I didn’t have an infection, so who knows? I’m an early riser. Maybe Bryn is, too.”
Bryn, who is named for Hoppy’s late brother Bryan, gained a decent amount of weight ― 0ver 300 g ― by the time she was a month old as she had weighed 2.15kg at birth. (Photos: Starcasm, Mum’s Lounge)
The twin sons of actress Brooke Mueller, 40, and her ex-husband, Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen, 52, made their appearance seven weeks early. Noting that she hadn’t had the “easiest pregnancy”, Mueller had to deal with preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and cholestasis. She described visiting her newborn twins, Bob and Max Sheen, now 9, at the NICU, “Words can’t express how amazing and shocking to see two human beings that came out of me. But I was scared. Our babies had so many tubes on them, it was frightening.”
Sheen told Entertainment Tonight that Max had an ejection fracture when he was born. Giving details of the “pretty common” condition, he explains, “It’s the volume at which the heart pumps and how much blood the heart can pump. There wasn’t anything that any other premature child, especially a twin, doesn’t normally go through.” (Photo: NY Daily News)