Katherine Heigl is making the press rounds this week as she promotes the two-part second and final season of her Netflix show Firefly Lane. And during appearances on The View and The Drew Barrymore Show, the actor got candid about motherhood, and all the love and heartbreak that comes along with it.
Heigl, 44, has three children with her husband of 15 years, Josh Kelley; they adopted their daughters Naleigh, 14, and Adalaide, 10, in 2009 and 2012, respectively, and welcomed their biological son, Joshua, 6, in 2016.
But during her interview on The View, the former Grey’s Anatomy star said motherhood isn’t all rainbows and sunshine as she, somewhat, expected it to be. The co-hosts of the ABC talk show aired a clip from one of Heigl’s prior appearances, in which she introduces a young Naleigh who comes running up to her onstage with open arms.
Heigl started tearing up in real time, as Naleigh, Heigl’s sister Meg, and mom Nancy sat in the audience.
When asked why that moment was so meaningful for her, Heigl explained that Naleigh “came to us at nine months [old]” — three days before she was scheduled to head back to work.
"At the time, becoming a new mother, I was just like, 'I got it! I can handle this.' They've told us we can have it all. We can have careers and have families, and it's all going to be great. It’s all going to work out. [But] I never saw that baby,” Heigl stated, matter-of-factly. “I was at work with three triplets who were playing my goddaughter and I spent more time with them than I did my new daughter.”
“She bonded with my husband, of course,” Heigl continued. “He was with her. So I was always afraid that I had missed that opportunity to really bond with her and that she didn’t love me. And that moment? Yeah.”
Naleigh watched as her mom spoke about her internal struggle, smiling at Heigl after she glanced over at her.
Heigl also stopped by The Drew Barrymore Show later in the week and expanded on the importance of motherhood and building a solid relationship with her daughters.
“I have a very, very strong mother and we’re very close. We talk twice a day, every day — coffee and cocktails,” she said, laughing. “And, well, I don’t think that’s going to happen for me. I don’t think my girls will call me twice a day, every day.”
Heigl looked for Naleigh in the audience before Barrymore added how important that “connection” and “female friendship” is.
“Absolutely,” Heigl replied.
The actor added that she does butt heads with her own mom, who recently refused to make her a birthday cake on Thanksgiving because the holiday “is for pies, not cake.”
“I said, ‘But it’s my birthday!’” Heigl explained, noting her Nov. 24 birthday. “And she said, ‘Too bad, that was inconvenient of you to choose to be born on Thanksgiving.’”
For the record, Heigl joked that, as “mean” as her mom is, they are the best of friends.