Elizabeth Banks has a massively successful career as an actress, producer, writer, and director (most recently of the new Charlie’s Angels reboot) so it’s hard to imagine anyone questioning anything about her. But there is one area that she says she still feels judged about: surrogacy.
Banks and her husband, Max Handelman, have two sons—Felix, 8, and Magnus, 7—who were both born via a surrogate. In a new interview with Porter magazine, she opened up about the subject saying surrogacy was the option the couple chose due to fertility issues (which she called a “broken belly”).
“Women’s reproductive issues were things you would whisper about in small circles,” she said. “[Now,] there’s #ShoutYourAbortion and IVF Facebook groups. I definitely think I’m still judged for what I’ve done and that people don’t understand my choices, but I don’t feel I owe anybody any explanation. And, if my story helps people feel less alone on their journey, then I’m grateful for that.”
Surrogacy has certainly become a more vocal topic in mainstream media and Hollywood in recent years. Along with Banks, celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Kardashian, and Gabrielle Union have opened up about using a surrogate. “People want to see the bump, hear that you got hemorrhoids; they want to know you’re like them,” Union has said about her decision to use a surrogate after years of struggling with infertility. “I was like, ‘This is going to seem like the most Hollywood shit ever. Will I be embraced as a mom?’ It’s terrifying.”
And at this year’s Glamour Women of the Year Wards, comedian Michelle Buteau spoke candidly about owning her decision to use a surrogate—also after spending years (and thousands of dollars) on infertility treatments. She’s now the proud mother of twins, Hazel and Otis. “I wanted to find the good in all of it, because that’s what you do sometimes. And so when my surrogate was pregnant and going into labor, my husband, my mother, and I went to the bar next door and had a bottle of Malbec,” she said.
“I just want to let you guys know that whatever you want in life, I want it for you,” Buteau added. “It might not be the way you planned or you want, but never give up because you can get your shit together and get what you want in life.”