Adrienne and her husband welcomed their first child together via surrogate last month.
Adrienne Bailon Houghton is opening up about the birth of her son, Ever, and the special way she welcomed him into the world. ET's Deidre Behar spoke to Adrienne and her husband, Israel Houghton, about life as parents to the newborn, whom they quietly welcomed via surrogate last month.
"I hope that even by me not giving the information, it hopefully inspired somebody to say, 'I don’t owe this to anyone, I don’t owe an explanation to anyone about why, how,' and I think that there is that saying, 'Get out of my uterus.' As women, we have people constantly prying and asking questions that sometimes are just inappropriate and sometimes you don't wanna share, and I hope that this encourages somebody to know that they don’t have to feel bad about it," Adrienne says about why she and Israel chose to keep the pregnancy a secret.
"They don’t owe anybody that explanation," she notes. "That, more than anything, that it is their journey to own, and it is all their own, and it is between them and their family and the people that love them."
While this is Adrienne's first baby (Israel has four children from a previous relationship -- sons Jordan and Israel and daughters Mariah and Milan), the decision to use a surrogate to carry their son wasn't an easy one. In fact, it came after the former The Real co-host underwent multiple rounds of IVF, which were taxing on both Adrienne and the married couple as a whole.
"I know it sounds weird, but after everything I've been through, multiple miscarriages, I've done IVF eight times, so, I feel like to some extent, I owed it to myself to give myself that privacy, to give myself the right to have something sacred and something just for us, and our family," Adrienne says. "And that ultimately, I wasn't going to disappoint anyone. I think it's hard enough to deal with your own disappointment when you go through things like this, that it gets that much harder when you feel like you have to now explain to everyone else."
"A lot of women will relate to this, but when you go through miscarriages or something like that, when you've announced already, you find yourself, when you're telling them what’s happened, comforting them as well," she adds. "And it takes so much out of us. Women are so strong, and I think we go through so much, that I wanted to go through this without anyone else's opinions but ours."
While this journey wasn't what she initially imagined for herself, Adrienne said it all worked out exactly as it was supposed to.
"I hope that that message also encourages somebody not to give up and more so, not just to give up, but to be open to different versions of your dream. I have to say, this journey obviously with surrogacy is not what I initially thought my journey to motherhood would be like at all," Adrienne shares. "I imagined beautiful maternity photos, and what it would look like being pregnant, and I dreamed of that, and I still dream of that, and I’m hoping that that doesn't mean that that's not gonna happen for me in the future. But I remember literally telling my sister maybe two days after Ever was born, and just being like, 'I would not change a thing.'"
The couple previously revealed they have five embryos left, and Adrienne hopes to get pregnant in the future. "All the kids, all the kids!" she exclaims when asked what they plan to do moving forward. "Honestly, that would be our dream. We're like 'Cheaper by the Dozen' over here!"
"My dream would be that I will carry one day and the thing is, when you only have one embryo left, you can't test your body if it's never been proven to carry full term. And now that I've got five, there's more opportunities to try, so that's my hope. That's the goal and I've not given up on that dream."
And while the entertainer is hopeful she'll be able to carry a baby in the future, Adrienne said all her hang-ups and worries went out the window when she had her son in her arms.
"I can't imagine myself saying that a year ago," she continues. "I can't imagine myself saying, 'Oh, I want to go through this and this heartache and this struggle,' and it's so weird when you're in it to be like, 'I wouldn't change a thing, I would not change the process. I would not change how long it took. I would not change anything about my journey.' And that's where faith comes in, where you're like a year in, saying to yourself, 'Oh wow, God, like it happened exactly,' and people will type, 'It'll happen when it’s supposed to happen,' and you'll be fighting it the whole way."
"There's so many things that you think you're gonna think when you're gonna be a mom, and it just changes," the 38-year-old TV personality adds. "It goes out the window when you're holding that baby. You're like, 'Hey, I don't care that you don't have maternity photos to show for it.'"
Adrienne not only got the chance to hold Ever in her arms right after he was born, but she helped deliver him. The couple told ET that they opted for a home birth, which not only allowed them to have all their loved ones around, but also allowed them to take part in the birthing process.
"Obviously, with COVID protocols and all those kinds of things, you're limited to how many people can be in the room," Adrienne explains. "I wanted [our surrogate] to have support. I wanted to make sure we had support. My sister, obviously, I wanted her to be there, my mom to be there, and so, guess what? With the home birth you don’t have those limitations."
"You can have everyone in the room there to have that experience with you," she says. "So, literally, my mom was there, my sister was there, and literally tucked in a room right behind us was my niece, his daughter, so, they met him within minutes of being born."
And their family was able to get the special moment on camera. While Adrienne called it "cringy" at first, she said that the skin-to-skin moment with Ever was "an out-of-body experience."
"My sister filmed it, and when I watched it back, -- it's actually so cringy, because you have an out-of-body experience," Adrienne says. "You’re not thinking about, 'Oh, what do I look like?' So, when I watched it back, I literally was just saying over and over again, 'I love you so much, I love you so much, I love you so much.' I actually got a chance to pull him out. We did skin-to-skin and right on me."
Israel described the moment as zen, and even recorded a few songs just for the occasion.
"It’s all this instrumental," Adrienne explains. "Well, not an album, you just recorded a bunch of songs for this moment, and that was playing in the background."
"He scored Ever’s birth for sure, it was absolutely beautiful," she adds.
Israel's album, Worship Anywhere, featuring Adrienne, releases everywhere on October 7.
For more on their family and Adrienne's surrogacy journey, check out the video below.