For so many people, finding out about a pregnancy comes with it a whirlwind of emotions, and everyone deserves to share that news on their own terms. But for women in the public eye, there’s an added layer of protection that can be taken from them — something that Drew Barrymore and political staffer Huma Abedin unfortunately know all too well.
Serving as a guest on The Drew Barrymore Show, Barrymore asked Abedin what it felt like when she found out The New York Times was going to leak a story about her pregnancy with her ex-husband, Anthony Weiner, who was embroiled in his first of multiple sex scandals in 2011. Abedin told Barrymore that at the time, she was just about eight weeks pregnant with her first child, Jordan, whom she gave birth to in December of that year.
.@HumaAbedin and Drew discuss the trauma of having their pregnancy news leaked to the media.
— The Drew Barrymore Show (@DrewBarrymoreTV) January 25, 2022
Days after her husband was outed for cheating on her with other women, the 45-year-old tells Barrymore she got a phone call from a friend who didn’t know she was pregnant, telling her the NYT was about to report her private news. “He obviously didn’t know, and I was so mad,” she shares. “I had so much rage. I felt like this deep secret — I hadn’t told anybody; we told our parents and our siblings. And so he said do you want to tell Hillary [Clinton, her boss at the time], do you want to call people? And I said no — I dare them, I dare them to run the story, I’m not even twelve weeks pregnant.”
“Of course they did, and I was so shattered,” she continues. “I was so broken by not being able to share what, for me, was a once in a lifetime gift.” To this day, Abedin says she’ll “wander around and when I’m in the shower or shopping I’ll say ‘I’m pregnant.'” Getting choked up, she said, “I say it because I never got to say it before, and yesterday Jordan said to me, ‘Mommy you’re pregnant?’ I’m like ‘no, no, no’ but it reminds you that there are things that do stay with you.”
Sadly, Barrymore had a similar experience when she was newly pregnant with her 9-year-old daughter, Olive. The talk show host revealed, “I had just found out I was pregnant and I walked out of her [OBGYN’s] office, and someone I work with, Chris Miller, got these calls, ‘We know she’s pregnant, we’re breaking the story.’ He’s like, ‘You guys always talk like this, we’re in a no comment group. Come on you’re being silly,’ And they’re like, ‘Well take a look at this,’ and it’s the picture and I was stupid enough to carry the sonogram in my hand. I was depressed, or saddened kind of that I didn’t get to have that be a private thing, a moment, or just to wrap my head around it.”
At the time, Barrymore believed news that she’d relapsed in her sobriety was about to leak, as she’d publicly struggled with substance addiction since she was a teenager. “When I got that phone call… it wasn’t the pregnancy I feared. It was being caught drinking,” she admits. “I felt like this was my shame, and I was almost relieved when it wasn’t that. When people find out your deepest, darkest secrets — and I experienced that when I was 13 years old and got outed and thrown into an institution — I have such PTSD from that, that I think if someone’s going to catch me drinking again, I’m going to lose my career, lose my job that I love so much, and it’s so traumatizing and that was my thing and it carries with it so much shame.”
It’s so heartbreaking to hear that these women weren’t able to share such personal news on their own terms, and it’s so unfair that expecting parents in the public eye aren’t given the privacy and dignity they deserve. Here’s hoping they are able to heal from those types of violation and move forward in peace and safety.