40 Women You Didn’t Know Had a Miscarriage
These women share their heartbreaking stories of loss so others know they aren't alone.
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Miscarriage is defined as the loss of a fetus prior to the 20th week of pregnancy. Although clinically recognized miscarriages are common, according to Rachel A. McConnell, MD, a fertility specialist at Columbia University Fertility Center, occurring in approximately 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies, it’s a conversation many are still reticent to have. These 40 women living life in the public eye are trying to change that, sharing their personal stories to bring fertility struggles and miscarriage out of the shadows and into the spotlight.
Perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of miscarriage, aside from the painful emotional, mental, and physical toll it takes on women, is that there isn’t one cause that’s more prevalent than another, making it hard to pinpoint the how or the why.
“There are different factors that can increase the risk of a miscarriage such as hormonal problems, infection, uterine abnormalities, cervical abnormalities, uncontrolled diabetes, thyroid disease, and advanced maternal age,” says Dr. McConnell. “However, most miscarriages occur due to abnormalities of the fetus, about 50 percent of miscarriages are due to abnormal chromosomes of the fetus.”
These are the stories of women with familiar names and faces who know the pain of fetal loss all too well.
Kathie Lee Gifford
In 1992, Kathie Lee Gifford, then co-host of Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, announced to the world on live television that she had suffered a miscarriage. “Frank and I were planning our second baby to be…to come…this fall…this spring…. I just wanted to tell everybody myself,” she said on air. “Until you experience [a miscarriage] yourself, you really don’t understand the heartbreak of it.” Already mom to son Cody, Gifford later became pregnant again and gave birth to her daughter, Cassidy, in 1993. Interestingly, there is a new test that may be able to detect miscarriage risk.
Actress and model Jaime King endured five miscarriages and multiple rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF) before she became pregnant with her son James. During a 2019 appearance at #BlogHerHealth Summit, King explains that she was diagnosed with endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) at the age of 20. “I went undiagnosed for a really long time,” she said. “I lost my first baby at that age. And I continued to miscarry and miscarry, and it took many years for me to have my first child, and when I was going through this, I cannot explain what it felt like—that this one thing that we’re told as women is that our gift is that we can carry life, and all of a sudden someone says, ‘Oh, maybe that might be in question.'”
Former E! News personality Giuliana Rancic was very open and honest about her quest to get pregnant on her reality show Giuliana & Bill, which chronicled life with husband Bill Rancic. After experiencing a miscarriage, the couple found a surrogate to carry their son Duke to term. Unfortunately, according to People, subsequent attempts to have another child via the same surrogate weren’t successful as she miscarried twice. These are eight myths about miscarriage that need to be squashed.
In her 40s, iconic actress Jane Seymour decided she wanted to have children with then-husband James Keach (the couple divorced in 2015). The process was not a smooth one. According to an interview with Psychology Today, she suffered two miscarriages before undergoing IVF treatments. At 45 she delivered twins John and Kristopher.
During an episode of the daytime talk show The Real, co-host Loni Love revealed she suffered a miscarriage in her 20s. The comedian was eight weeks into the pregnancy when she lost the child. “I just never wanted that feeling again, because I was already afraid,” she said. “I had so much love for that baby. That’s why I don’t take it lightly. After that, I made sure I would never get pregnant again because I didn’t want to go through that. I felt like it was a person I was letting down.” Here’s what not to say to a friend who has miscarried.
Journalist Barbara Walters endured three miscarriages before adopting her daughter Jackie with then-husband Lee Guber, according to ABC News. A pioneer in her field, Walters didn’t take much time for herself after each emotional experience. “I had had several miscarriages,” she said in an interview with NBC News. “And when I did, they were never reported. And I would take a couple of days off then, and go back to work.” According to Kecia Gaither, MD, Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, often miscarriages occur before a woman even knows she is pregnant. “The majority of miscarriages occur within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy,” she says.
Talk show host Wendy Williams has been quite vocal about the trouble she had carrying a baby to term before giving birth to her son Kevin in August 2000. “I fought tooth and nail to be a mother,” Williams said in a PBS special, American Masters: The Women’s List. “I suffered several miscarriages including two at five months. 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.”
In 2010, Lisa Ling took to her old show The View to share that she had experienced a miscarriage. She was seven weeks into the pregnancy when her doctor shared that there wasn’t a heartbeat. “We actually [hadn’t] been trying that long,” she says. “I don’t know that I took it as seriously as I should have because it happened so fast. But then when I heard the doctor say there was no heartbeat it was like bam, like a knife through the heart.” If you’re trying to conceive and are feeling bombarded by information, these are nine pregnancy myths you can safely ignore.
At the age of 25, actress Valerie Bertinelli suffered a miscarriage two months into her pregnancy. To make the heartbreak even worse, her father passed away nine months later. “Pa wanted grandchildren so badly,” says Bertinelli in a 1987 interview with People. “Goddamit, I wish we hadn’t lost the baby so Pa could have at least seen the next generation.” She would later give birth to a son, Wolfgang Van Halen, in 1991.
After having a complicated pregnancy with her daughter Bryn, reality TV star Bethenny Frankel was surprised to learn she was pregnant again without actively “trying” with then-husband Jason Hoppy. At seven weeks her doctor was able to detect a heartbeat, however, the next day she describes to Glamour bleeding heavily to the point where Hoppy picked her up from work and immediately took her to get checked out. ” In the exam room the doctor ran an ultrasound, looking for the heartbeat,” she recalls. “Something was wrong. ‘I’m not finding it,’ he said. Jason said, ‘I don’t see it.’ And I’m like, ‘Is this a miscarriage?’ I didn’t know.”
As the frontwoman for the musical group Lady Antebellum, Hillary Scott was inspired to write a song after suffering a miscarriage in 2015. The song “Thy Will” was the result of her heart-wrenching experience. In an interview with Good Morning America, Scott explained why it was so important for her to share her story. “This is something that is not talked about very often,” she said. “I also feel like there’s this pressure that you’re supposed to be able to snap your fingers and continue to walk through life like it never happened.”
Actress Susan Lucci portrayed All My Children’s Erica Kane for four decades, working with some of the wildest storylines ever played out on television. During a particularly controversial plotline involving abortion, Lucci was struggling with her personal pain of suffering a miscarriage, which she discusses in her memoir All My Life. The cast and crew had no idea she was pregnant at the time, she writes: It was incredibly unfortunate that her personal and professional plot twists played out simultaneously.
Lisa Marie Presley
Already mother to a daughter Riley and son Benjamin from a previous marriage, Lisa Marie Presley tried for two years to conceive to have children with her husband Michael Lockwood. Prior to giving birth to twins Finley and Harper in 2008, she candidly revealed that she had suffered several miscarriages. In an interview with People, Presley attributes this to an issue with her blood. “My blood was too thick and would clot, which caused several miscarriages,” she said. “The moment I took blood thinners, I got pregnant.”
Country singer Carrie Underwood was enjoying life as a mother to her son Isaiah when she and husband Mike Fisher decided to expand their family. She experienced three miscarriages during that time. “In the beginning, it was like, ‘Okay, God, we know this is, just wasn’t your timing. And that is all right,” she told CBS Sunday Morning. “We will bounce back and figure our way through it.’ And I got pregnant again in the spring and it didn’t work out. Got pregnant again, early 2018. Didn’t work out. So, at that point, it was just kind of like, ‘Okay, like, what’s the deal? What is all of this?'” Fortunately, Underwood’s story reached a happy ending. She gave birth to son Jacob in January 2019.
When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced to the world that he and his wife Priscilla Chan were expecting a baby girl in 2015, he grounded the good news with some sobering information. Chan had experienced three miscarriages before becoming pregnant with their daughter. “We’ve been trying to have a child for a couple of years and have had three miscarriages along the way,” he wrote on Facebook. “You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child. You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone. It’s a lonely experience.”
In her HBO documentary Life Is But a Dream, entertainment powerhouse Beyonce Knowles-Carter shared her personal experience with miscarriage. “About two years ago, I was pregnant for the first time,” she shares. “And I heard the heartbeat, which was the most beautiful music I ever heard in my life. I picked out names. I envisioned what my child would look like . . . I was feeling very maternal. I flew back to New York to get my check-up —and no heartbeat. Literally the week before I went to the doctor, everything was fine, but there was no heartbeat.” Knowles-Carter refers to this as “the saddest thing I’ve ever been through.” Today she is mother to Blue Ivy and twins Rumi and Sir.
After undergoing surgery to rid her cervix of precancerous cells, Brooke Shields learned that scarring from that procedure was hindering her ability to get pregnant. She became pregnant after her first round of IVF, but miscarried. Later Shields and husband Chris Henchy would have two children, Rowan and Grier. In her book Down Came the Rain, she shares her experience miscarrying and the subsequent postpartum depression she experienced after giving birth to Rowan.
Singer Celine Dion and now late-husband Rene Angelil tried desperately to get pregnant again through IVF when their son, Rene-Charles, was eight years old. After announcing what appeared to be a successful round of treatment resulting in a pregnancy, Dion’s spokesperson announced it had ended in a miscarriage. She would later give birth to twins Nelson and Eddy, but that, too, was not without its complications. Initially, she was carrying triplets, she said in an interview with Quebec TV. But she lost one of them: “He chose to let go to give space to his brothers to grow,” she told the news program.
British singer Lily Allen has experienced the heartbreak of miscarriage twice—once in 2008 and again in 2010. The second time around, she was six months along in her pregnancy. “I held my child and it was really horrific and painful, one of the hardest things that can happen to a person…I nearly died,” she said in an interview with The Sun on Sunday. “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.” Dr. McConnell says that secondary miscarriage is considered recurrent pregnancy loss which is defined as two or more failed clinical pregnancies, which occurs in less than 5 percent of cases.
Parent to daughter Apple and son Moses (with ex-husband Chris Martin), Gwyneth Paltrow opened up about miscarrying a third child in an interview with Daily Mail. “I had a really bad experience when I was pregnant with my third. It didn’t work out and I nearly died.” In the 2013 article, she admits she was longing for another baby but had not yet decided if she should try to conceive again. If you’re struggling with fertility, these are 13 surprising reasons you may not be getting pregnant to investigate.
Without going into deep detail, Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell revealed she had lost a pregnancy in 2018 via an Instagram post sharing the ups and downs of her year. However, she thanked her fans for providing much-needed positivity while coping with the loss. “The support and affection so many of you show me lifts me up during even my darkest days, one of which happened last year after I lost the child of my hopes and dreams,” she wrote. Mitchell is currently pregnant again and due to give birth in the fall of 2019.
In April 2019, Hilaria Baldwin took to Instagram to share something very private: She believed she was miscarrying. “I always promised myself that if I were to get pregnant again, I would share the news with you guys pretty early, even if that means suffering a public loss,” she wrote to her social media following. “I have always been so open with you all about my family, fitness, pregnancies…and I don’t want to keep this from you, just because it isn’t as positive and shiny as the rest.” She later confirmed her suspicion by writing on Instagram again: “There was no heartbeat today at my scan…so it’s over.”
Olympian Shawn Johnson East was thrilled to learn that she refers to as “unexpectedly pregnant” in 2017, even documenting the moment she saw that the pregnancy test was positive. Unfortunately, her excitement was short-lived. “The past 48 hours have been some of the happiest, scariest, and saddest times of my life,” Johnson captioned a YouTube video of the events that unraveled. “My husband Andrew and I found out that we were unexpectedly pregnant, only to find out hours later some tragic news. I have been crying more than I ever have, but am still optimistic for what is next.”
Comedy icon Joan Rivers hoped to build a bigger family after giving birth to her daughter Melissa in 1968. Unfortunately, Rivers’ plans were sidelined. “I wish I had had 10 children,” she said in an interview with People in a 1993 interview. “After Missy, I had two miscarriages and a tubular pregnancy. Not having more is my only regret in life.” Tubular pregnancy, more widely known as ectopic pregnancy, is defined by the American Pregnancy Association as what occurs when “a fertilized egg attaches itself in a place other than inside the uterus.”
In a 2018 interview with Tatler, Nicole Kidman opened up about the grief she experienced after losing two pregnancies during her marriage to Tom Cruise. The first, an ectopic pregnancy, and the second a miscarriage. “That yearning. It’s a huge, aching yearning,” she says. “And the loss! The loss of a miscarriage is not talked about enough. That’s massive grief to certain women. The flipside of going through so much yearning and pain to get there is the feeling of ‘Ahhhh!’ when you have the child.'” This is the scientific reason why the mother-child bond is so powerful.
Before conceiving their twins Moroccan and Monroe, Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon revealed the singer had suffered a miscarriage. “It kind of shook us both and took us into a place that was really dark and difficult,” Carey said in an interview with Access Hollywood. “When that happened…I wasn’t able to even talk to anybody about it. That was not easy.”
Miscarriages come in many different ways, and for actress Kate Mara the process was slow. After taking a positive pregnancy test, her doctor couldn’t find the embryo during a scan. Mara had what is called a blighted ovum: According to the American Pregnancy Association, this occurs when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall, but the embryo doesn’t develop. During an interview on Dr. Berlin’s Informed Pregnancy Podcast, Mara explained that it took three months for her body to miscarry. “Everything just took so much time, by the time it was all over,” she said. “It just dragged out forever,”
In 2018 country singer Jana Kramer admitted she had all but given up on having a second child after experiencing three miscarriages. On Instagram, she shared the painful news that after her last round of IVF she lost her last embryo. “I was devastated,” she wrote. “I felt like I failed as a woman, and as a wife. IVF wasn’t an option again because it’s too expensive so I felt defeated.” However, in June 2018 Kramer shared the exciting news that she was, indeed, expecting again. In 2019 she and husband Mke Caussin welcomed their son Jace.
In her memoir Becoming, Michelle Obama reveals she had fertility issues when trying to conceive and experienced a miscarriage. “We were trying to get pregnant and it wasn’t going well,” she writes in the book. “We had one pregnancy test come back positive, which caused us both to forget every worry and swoon with joy, but a couple of weeks later I had a miscarriage, which left me physically uncomfortable and cratered any optimism we felt.”
Real Housewives of Atlanta star Porsha Williams welcomed a baby girl to the world in March 2019, but her road to motherhood was not without its complications. “I’ve had a miscarriage before in my past, which I’ve also been open about because I suffer with fibroids and had to have a myomectomy,” she told People after announcing she was pregnant for a second time. “So just the fear of, ‘Is the baby going to be okay? Will I make it full term?’ All those questions that you ask if you’ve had a miscarriage before.”
Just one week after announcing she was pregnant with her second child in July 1994, a spokesperson for Whitney Houston shared the heartbreaking news that the singer had miscarried. “She’s sad but they hope to have more children,” spokeswoman Emily Bear told the Associated Press. Houston would suffer another miscarriage two years later.
Gabrielle Union revealed she has had eight or nine miscarriages while trying to conceive. On Instagram she shared thoughts on her fertility struggle. “For lots of people/families who have been on their own unique fertility/family creation journey, hope can feel like a cruel joke that plays on repeat,” she wrote. “You stop letting yourself get excited and you don’t dare utter any updates. You carry it all. It can feel isolating and depressing. You wonder if you are defective. You are not. You wonder if you are worthy. You are.” Union was diagnosed with a condition called adenomyosis, which is believed to have contributed to her fertility issues. “Adenomyosis is a medical condition in which endometrial tissue implants within the endometrial wall,” explains Dr. Gaither. “It can result in the uterus becoming enlarged; cause prolonged menstrual bleeding, cramping, abdominal pressure/bloating, and associated infertility and miscarriage.” Learn more about endometriosis here.
Former 7th Heaven star Beverley Mitchell opened up about learning she was pregnant with twins in 2018, only to have her dreams dashed a few weeks later when she miscarried. “This was a shock,” she wrote on her blog Growing Up Hollywood. “Honestly, my first instinct was to say I was fine, and to be honest; I was trying to be. I thought I had to be, for my family, for myself.” Several months went by before Mitchell was ready to share her experience publicly, saying “with time has come healing, but it took time.”
Actress Demi Moore drops a lot of bombs in her memoir Inside Out, but perhaps one of the most raw is experiencing a miscarriage while dating actor Ashton Kutcher. According to The New York Times Moore was six months along in the pregnancy when the loss occurred. The child, a girl, was to be named Chaplin Ray.
As the meteorologist and third-hour co-host of Today, the country wakes up with Dylan Dreyer each day. She has been very open and honest with her morning show audience about a personal struggle with secondary infertility. Dreyer had an increasingly difficult time getting pregnant again after welcoming her son Calvin to the world, and when she was finally faced with a positive pregnancy test, she suffered a miscarriage. Fortunately, in July 2019, Dreyer and husband Brian Fichera delivered some exciting news—they are pregnant again, expecting their second child, according to an interview with People magazine. “Secondary infertility is common, about 50 percent of infertility presentations are due to secondary infertility,” says Dr. McConnell. “It is very common in women who delay other pregnancies until they are 35 years old or older.”
Singer Halsey experienced a miscarriage at the age of 21, hours before she was set to perform a high-profile concert. “I beat myself up for it because I think that the reason it happened is just the lifestyle I was living,” she said in an interview with Rolling Stone. Although she wasn’t drinking or doing drugs (the extracurricular activities people expect from famous musicians), However, Halsey says she was in the hospital consistently due to dehydration and overwork.
In an intimate interview with USA Today, Pink revealed she experienced her first miscarriage at the age of 17, and then suffered several more in the years that followed. “When that happens to a woman or a young girl, you feel like your body hates you and like your body is broken, and it’s not doing what it’s supposed to do,” she says. “I’ve had several miscarriages since, so I think it’s important to talk about what you’re ashamed of, who you really are and the painful (expletive).” Pink now shares two children with husband Carey Hart.
While married to ex-husband David Arquette, actress Courteney Cox underwent IVF treatment and endured a number of miscarriages before carrying her daughter Coco to term. “I had a lot of miscarriages and I don’t think that’s something people shouldn’t talk about because it’s … unfortunate, but it happens,” she said in an interview on Busy Tonight. Because of her own experience, Cox launched the show 9 Months with Courteney Cox on FacebookWatch to share her personal journey to pregnancy as well as the stories of many others.
Big Bang Theory star Melissa Rauch penned a deeply personal essay about her own miscarriage for Glamour. “The miscarriage I experienced was one of the most profound sorrows I have ever felt in my life,” she writes. “It kick-started a primal depression that lingered in me. The image of our baby on the ultrasound monitor—without movement, without a heartbeat—after we had seen that same little heart healthy and flickering just two weeks prior completely blindsided us and haunts me to this day.” In the essay, Rauch announced she was pregnant again with what would become her first child, but wanted to share her story to let other women struggling with fertility to know they aren’t alone.
After welcoming her son Matthew to the world in 1996, it would be eight years before Olympic ice skater Nancy Kerrigan would give birth again. This was not for lack of trying. Kerrigan experienced a heartbreaking six miscarriages before conceiving. “Once, the pregnancy was far enough along we actually told our son and he was so excited,” she says in an interview with People. “How do you explain [a miscarriage] to a little kid? Having to tell them that it was now gone and they had to take it out? He asked why and we had to explain, ‘Because it’s dead. It’s not alive anymore.’ That was awful.”
- Rachel A. McConnell, MD, Fertility Specialist at Columbia University Fertility Center
- Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln
- American Pregnancy Association: "Ectopic Pregnancy"
- People: "Giuliana Rancic on Fertility Struggle: We Lost Our Last Embryo"
- Psychology Today: "See Jane Run"
- ABC News: "Barbara Walters Shares One of Her Biggest Regrets"
- NBC News: "A Daughter's New Horizon"
- Essence: "Wendy Williams Opens Up About Motherhood, Miscarriages, and Marrying a Younger Man"
- People: "Valerie Bertinelli Gets Her Sexiest Role Yet, But She'd Rather Be a Mom"
- Glamour: "Bethenny Frankel: I'm Ready To Talk About My Miscarriage"
- Associated Press: "Whitney Houston Suffers Miscarriage"
- People: "'RHOA's' Porsha Williams Is Pregnant Six Years After Suffering Miscarriage"
- People: "The Rivers Run Together"
- People: "Lisa Marie Presley's Twin Baby Girls!"
- CBS Sunday Morning: "Carrie Underwood on Getting Beyond 3 Miscarries, To Joy"
- Us Weekly: "Celine Dion Lost a Third Baby While Pregnant with Newborn Sons"
- The Sun: "Lily Allen: Horror Left Me Numb"
- Daily Mail: "Gwyneth Paltrow opens heart over devastating miscarriage and how she longs for another child"
- YouTube: "The East Family: pregnancy + heartbreak"
- Tatler: "Nicole Kidman on heartbreak, miracle motherhood, and Big Little Lies"
- Huffington Post: "Halsey Bravely Opens Up About Having a Miscarriage Hours Before a Concert"
- Access Hollywood: "Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon: We Are Pregnant!"
- American Pregnancy Association: "Blighted Ovum: Symptoms, Causes, and Prevention"
- Informed Pregnancy Podcast: "Kate Mara"
- Instagram: Jana Kramer
- USA Today: "Pink opens up about therapy, miscarriage at 17"
- Glamour: "Actress Melissa Rauch Announces Her Pregnancy and Reflects on the Heartache of Miscarriage"
- People: Nancy Kerrigan Opens Up About 'Devastating' Series of 6 Miscarriages