How Katherine Heigl overcame adopted daughter's rejection

Apr 9, 2012 at 6:45 p.m. ET

No mother-daughter relationship is ever perfect -- regardless of if the daughter is adopted or if her new mother is one of Hollywood's biggest actresses.

How Katherine Heigl overcame her daughter's rejectionEven though so many celebrities make parenthood via adoption look easy, Katherine Heigl begs to differ. She and husband Josh Kelley welcomed 10-month-old Naleigh into their family from Korea back in 2009, and admits that one part of motherhood hasn't exactly been smooth sailing ever since.

"People are always talking about the strong bond between mother and daughter -- this magical connection -- but we didn't have that," said the One for the Money actress in an interview with German weekly newspaper, Bild am Sonntag.

She continued to describe the first weeks with Naleigh as "the hardest time in my life."

"I fought incredibly hard for my daughter to accept me as mother," she explained. "Her rejection almost broke my heart."

Heigl thought to cope by immersing herself in her career, which "made the already difficult process of getting closer take even longer... When I realized that, I immediately cut back on work."

After leaving Grey's Anatomy, Heigl watched her new daughter take well to her husband, which made Heigl wonder if she might be the problem. "At first I blamed myself and thought I was a bad mother. It took a while before I could admit to myself that the lack of trust had nothing to do with me."

Thankfully, with much time and effort invested, Heigl and her 4-year-old daughter have found that mother-daughter connection. What's next? "I'd like to fly to South Korea with the family, to show her the country that she comes from."

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