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When it comes to pregnancy, Anne Hathaway has been publicly sensitive to those who have suffered fertility challenges and loss. After all, she’s one of them.

As Vanity Fairs April 2024 cover star, the Oscar winner and longtime actress reflects on the message she shared when she announced in July 2019 that she was expecting her second child. “It’s not for a movie…,” she captioned a black-and-white photo of herself with a baby bump. “#2 All kidding aside, for everyone going through infertility and conception hell, please know it was not a straight line to either of my pregnancies. Sending you extra love.”

Nearly five years later, Hathaway tells Vanity Fair, “Given the pain I felt while trying to get pregnant, it would’ve felt disingenuous to post something all the way happy when I know the story is much more nuanced than that for everyone.”

As she puts it, “I wasn’t going to feel ashamed of something that seemed to me statistically to actually be quite normal.”

Up until that point in 2019, Hathaway had already welcomed her firstborn son, then-3-year-old Jonathan, with husband Adam Shulman, but had not yet spoken as openly about her own fertility struggles. As she shares with Vanity Fair, she suffered a miscarriage years prior in 2015. Compounding the painful experience, the actress was also performing for six weeks at the time in a one-woman off-Broadway show, Grounded, centered on a female U.S. Air Force pilot who is grounded when she gets pregnant. 

“The first time it didn’t work out for me. I was doing a play and I had to give birth onstage every night,” she tells Vanity Fair

Backstage after shows, she shared the personal news with visiting friends. “It was too much to keep it in when I was onstage pretending everything was fine. I had to keep it real otherwise… So when it did go well for me, having been on the other side of it — where you have to have the grace to be happy for someone — I wanted to let my sisters know, ‘You don’t have to always be graceful. I see you and I’ve been you.'”

With tearing eyes, she says, “It’s really hard to want something so much and to wonder if you’re doing something wrong.” The star ultimately gave birth to her second son, Jack, at the end of 2019

After learning miscarriages are far more common than what many people may realize, “I thought, Where is this information? Why are we feeling so unnecessarily isolated?” Hathaway recalls. “That’s where we take on damage. So I decided that I was going to talk about it. The thing that broke my heart, blew my mind, and gave me hope was that for three years after, almost daily, a woman came up to me in tears and I would just hold her, because she was carrying this [pain] around and suddenly it wasn’t all hers anymore.” 

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