Annette Bening Gushes That She Is ‘Very, Very Proud’ of Transgender Son Stephen Ira

In a rare private comment on her personal family life, Annette Bening opened up about her transgender son Stephen Ira — and like any proud mom, she couldn’t resist gushing about her oldest child with husband Warren Beatty. Born as Kathlyn Elizabeth, Stephen began to transition at the age of 14. He is now 27 and, according to Bening, he has managed his transition and all of the years that have followed with true “style” and “intelligence.”

Bening’s comments on her son came during an interview with AARP published on Nov. 25. In the midst of the conversation, Bening revealed Stephen had texted her about a novel he recently gave her called Little Fish. In the award-winning novel by Canadian author Casey Plett, a 30-year-old trans woman discovers that her devout Mennonite grandfather might have been transgender himself. (Sidebar: if Bening and Stephen have their own little book club and this represents the caliber of content, we want in.)

That text exchange about Little Fish prompted the normally circumspect Bening to shift into proud-mom-mode. “He’s managed something that’s very challenging with great style and great intelligence,” she said, adding, “He’s an articulate, thoughtful person, and I’m very, very proud of him.”

Bening and Beatty are also the parents of Benjamin, 25, Isabel, 22, and Ella, 19 — the youngest of whom recently headed off to college at Juilliard. So, Bening finds herself in a new phase of motherhood: empty nesting. “When I was younger, part of me thought I could save my children from having to suffer, which was, of course, ridiculous. They have to go through their struggles,” she told AARP. “They’re very much their own people now.”

Earlier this month at the Toronto International Film Festival, she admitted to Closer Weekly that she really misses her children now that they are out in the world being their own people. But, ultimately, she knows the bond she shares with them transcends any distance.

“There’s love for your parents, your family, your spouse, your partner, your friend, but the nature of your connection you have with your children, there’s nothing like it,” she said. “It has its own character — it’s so serious and so powerful, and it’s a prism through which I see everything.”

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