Katherine Heigl on the Need to 'Protect' and 'Prepare' Her Daughters (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
William Shirakawa for PARENTS
It's been quite the year for Katherine Heigl and her family. The Firefly Lane actress isParents' April cover star, posing for the magazine alongside her husband, Josh Kelley, and their three kids for their special pets issue.
ET exclusively debuts Heigl's cover, and inside the mag, she gets candid about what it's been like raising her kids over the last year. Heigl adopted 12-year-old Naleigh from South Korea when she was 9 months old, and adopted Adalaide at birth here in the U.S. She and her husband of 13 years, Josh Kelley, are also parents to 4-year-old son Joshua.
"They do have more questions as they get older," she says of Naleigh and Adalaide's questions about their biological parents. "We have said to them, this is your story. We don't have any information about your biological fathers, but we do have a bit about your biological mothers. If you guys want to talk more about them, you can have as much or as little information as you want. Tell us what you're comfortable with knowing."
Heigl's sister Meg was adopted from Korea three years before she was born, and as the actress tells Parents, "looking beyond skin color was the norm for me."
"I just believed that love is love -- it doesn't matter what we look like," she shares. "But then when I asked my sister, Meg, if she had been treated one way when she was out in public with our parents and a different way when she was out by herself without them, she said, 'Oh yeah, all the time!' That made me realize that I had been so naive."
"At first, I got angry. But I had to calm down and realize, okay, this isn't about how it makes me feel. It's about how I need to protect my daughters and prepare them for the world, because I can't change society in one fell swoop," she adds.
Heigl penned an emotional post on social media last summer about how she would explain George Floyd's death to her Black daughter. While her and Kelley's home base on a Utah ranch has protected their kids from certain things like the harsh Hollywood spotlight, they're still very much aware of others.
"The other day, Adalaide came home from school and acted out what she heard from her friends. Like, 'Omigosh, your dad’s music! Your mom’s movies!' She’s like, yeah, I know. My parents are famous, I got it," Heigl says. "And for Naleigh, I think it’s a little bit embarrassing. But the nice thing is that we’ve been a part of this community for 12 years, and our kids get to see us live just like everybody else, away from the hoopla and the paparazzi."
Heigl's son, meanwhile, is obsessed with other things like Spider-Man and the Hulk. And between three kids and the dogs and cats she's rescued, Heigl says her family is complete.
"Before the pandemic, I thought that we needed one more child to complete this home. I wasn't sure if we would go the foster-care route or adoption or maybe another pregnancy," she shares. "But now I have completely changed my mind. I am very content with my three!"
"This is the longest period I have consistently spent with my children," Heigl admits. "At first I loved cooking inspired meals, but now I'm like, 'Kids, just make yourself a sandwich."