Actress Jaime King opens up about her struggles with infertility
I wait by the phone for my interview with Jaime King, I wonder what she’ll be like. I expect vulnerable, closed and abrupt. What I get, though, is resilient, honest and, well, really rather lovely. Once a troubled teen model, Jaime is now a contented woman who is loving motherhood and living her dreams.
With multiple films and the hit series Hart of Dixie under her belt, Jaime King is Hollywood elite. And she has the director husband to boot. She first met Kyle Newman 10 years ago, while working on the set of his film, Fanboys, but love didn’t blossom until after filming had finished.
“I had a very strict work ethic. Actors can get lost in the idea of a beautiful relationship, not me. I continually focused on my scenes. Six months later when we met again, it was as if I’d never seen him before. It was love at first sight. Our destiny.” Within three months of dating, the couple had moved in together, before getting married in 2007. It was only when they started trying for a family that the going got tough.
Jaime had five rounds of IVF treatment and suffered five miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy before she conceived her first son naturally. James Knight was born in October 2013. Last year, she bravely went public about her struggles with overcoming infertility.
“Women grow up believing they are able to have children. When disease or illness takes that gift away, it is soul destroying. So many pregnancies result in miscarriage. As a woman you feel so broken. It’s not talked about enough. I wanted to raise awareness in order to help others.”
Jaime certainly wishes that she had been more open about her pregnancies and what she was going through at the time.
“For seven years I went through IVF. Filming at the time, afraid of letting colleagues down, I’d miss clinic. I had no protection or support and I had to be at work rather than receive treatment for what I truly wanted – a baby. Hollywood is harsh. I’m sad I wasn’t honest about it at the time; it could have helped change things.”
She has no regrets, though, as it has made her who she is today and she admits that she appreciates things more.
“I’m grateful I went through that part of my life though, because I believe every part of our journey forms us as human beings.”
As she moves on to talk about her eldest son James, she lights up: “He is a loving, adventurous little boy. Strong, both physically and spiritually. That little boy has brought me a superman cape of gratitude.”
Then I bring up the infamous photo she posted of her breastfeeding James at eight months, and ask her to explain why she decided to share the moment.
“Why not? Whatever the subject, be it motherhood or something else, there’s a dire need for responsibility when it comes to social media. Famous or not, people continually hide behind their computers. I chose not to.
“I want women to be able to celebrate their choices without judgement. I put a picture of myself on Instagram. I took off all my clothes. It’s a blanket image, a statement to all to love themselves, whatever. Shot in stark light, I was hiding nothing, simply asking: ‘Why can’t people support free choice and expression?’”
From 2011 to 2015, King played the role of Lemon Breeland in the hit show Hart of Dixie, the fourth and final season of which ended in March. Will she miss it? “The cast loved each other, but we could fight like family. It was the most intimate and intense experience, probably the best of my life. I’m so sad it’s over.”
Unlike her co-star Rachel Bilson, whose real-life pregnancy was worked into the script for Hart of Dixie’s fourth series, King had to go to great lengths to hide hers in Season Two. “Being pregnant on set was a joke. I was given so many props to cover my belly: tables up to my chin, bouquets of flowers in front of me. They so clearly tried to hide the fact; it was hilarious. When the programme aired, Twitter hosted games of ‘spot the bump’!”
Jaime couldn’t be happier after the birth of her second son Leo, although admits that she found things tougher this time around.
“Pregnancy was much more difficult. I suffered terrible migraines and I didn’t sleep well. I managed it all with meditation.”
It obviously did the trick, because now Jaime has such a positive mental attitude and exudes energy. It’s this energy that allows her to juggle motherhood with her work. Her latest venture is with Sapling, and her collection of children’s clothes designed in collaboration with the Australian brand.
Jaime has poured her heart and soul into the collection, which contemplates childhood, motherhood, imagination and the universe.
“It took a year and a half. Every painting, colour, design, all the drawings, the affirmations, such as ‘shining bright’ and ‘being brave’, I designed myself.”
Jaime shares the same ethos with Sapling: love of the earth and love of organics. The partnership allowed her to create affordable, non-toxic, vegetable-dyed designs. I wanted to make sure that, if I did a collaboration, it was hands on.”
“I want the parent to see the child in the clothing, and feel happy. I want to make everyone’s lives a little easier.”
A force for good, it feels as if Jaime is on a mission. I end our phone call by asking what her hopes are for the future and her reply is
as positive as our entire chat.
“As people, we never stop evolving. And that’s the beautiful thing about art, too. I’m excited about bringing all my ideas to fruition. As I keep learning, so I hope to keep leaving a positive footprint behind.”
I’m in no doubt she will.