January 19th, 2012
04:23 PM ET

Katherine Heigl: It took a while to gain daughter's trust

When Katherine Heigl and husband Josh Kelley adopted daughter Naleigh in 2009, 33-year-old Heigl wasn't expecting to not bond with their new baby right away.

The "One for the Money" actress tells CNN that at first, Naleigh gravitated more toward her husband.

"[Josh] would just come into the room and make her giggle and make her laugh," Heigl recalls. "I would always think, 'Something's wrong, something's wrong. She doesn't like me, she doesn't want me.' So I think it is sort of a female thing."

Naleigh did eventually start to trust her new mom, although Heigl admits it took about a year "of us working on our relationship before she really trusted me," she says.

"You don't think of that when you are going through an adoption," Heigl continues. "I mean, she had spent nine months in someone else's arms. She was well cared for and loved in her foster home...[T]hat is who she knew and who she responded to, and then they shove her into my arms and I want that immediate [mother] and child thing and she is looking at me like, 'Who are you and why did you just steal me away from these people?'"

The bond between Naleigh and her husband, she goes on, "was effortless."

"[Josh] hadn't put any pressure on himself, he was just himself, where I was trying to be the perfect mother and everything she expected or thought she expected," Heigl says. "I learned a lot from him, actually. I started following his lead, [and] just had to let it go. And have enough perspective to know that this will come around, this child will come around."

As evidenced in the music video for Josh Kelley's musical tribute to his daughter, Naleigh certainly did. The music video for the song, titled "Naleigh Moon," was directed by the actress, who has said that she's also hoping to adopt again.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XnnjwIwxes&w=560&h=315]

soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. inambjose

    buy a new coach handbags for more detail coach 2010 with confident

    February 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. At Ease

    Remember Pearl Harbor and after 18, she can work for Apple in China to help her "mommy" buy a daddy or bring another present home for P.R. purposes....

    January 29, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  3. eldono

    Considering the types of roles KH plays in the movies, I'm not surprised the adopted daughter might hold back trust. Smart kid.

    January 29, 2012 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  4. David

    The children are all orphans, that is the law in the US. When we adopted there were no children in the state that we were allowed to adopt because of our age and the age of the few children that were up for adoption. Our only option was foreign adoption and it was the most wonderful thing we have ever done.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mrs. Charles

    Some of these ridiculous, racist comments are so outright disgusting... this is a child we are talking about and a couple who had the decency to open their own to a child in need. Whether the child be from the united states or abroad, who are we to say who is deserving of a loving, happy home with parents? I mean, damn, did you even read the article??? And these celebrities with money have the right to adopt the child of their choosing just as anyone else!

    January 26, 2012 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. Diana150

    queenbee10, this gotta be one of the most stupid things I have read in a long time...

    January 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ateacher

    This child was first taken from her birth mother, then taken from her foster mother and given to ANOTHER stranger. It is possible that she has attachment issues and a little patience and lots of love finally smoothed things out; Kudos to the new mom!

    January 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. pm

    Can't we all just be happy for them? Damn, there are some hateful people out there.

    January 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. T

    Gee it might have something to do with the fact the child is raised by her male Nany. Perhaps if Katherine raised this girl and spent time with her, she might develop the bond that comes naturally when you physically give birth to a child.

    Did she think she was buying a dog that would give her entertainment and unconditional love?

    Judging from her reaction on the Jimmy Kimmel show the other day when her daughter did not "perform", I would say the daughter is afraid of mommy.

    Katherine should have bought a dog...

    January 23, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • pm

      I'm glad to know that someone who knows Catherine and/or Josh and knows how much time she spends with her daughter has cleared things up for us. The start of your third sentance says it all: "Judging". Who the h*ll are you to judge anyone?

      January 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. TamaraR.

    I was adopted from S.Korea as an infant and was raised in a Caucasian family. I love my family with all of my heart. I am asked all the time do I want to find my 'real' family. Why would I do that? The family who raised me and loved me is as real as it gets.

    January 23, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • pm

      Thanks for some perspective on this...I know Americans are ignorant and provincial...I'm sorry you have to put up with most of us...

      January 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Unbelievable

    There are so many hateful people online today. Did any of you who chose to spout off such hateful comments ever research as to what made her adopt outside of the US? Do you know if she can even have children naturally? I'm guessing you probably didn't and instead just typed hateful comments to make yourself look funny or perhaps even feel better about yourself.
    I don't care what color or nationality any child is – it doesn't know hate and looks to be cherished as all babies should be. Hate and prejudice are taught by those who can't let go of the cancer that eats away at you.
    While I don't know this family, I wish them happiness and nothing but the best. That child IS precious and she obviously has two loving parents, regardless of how she was blessed with them.

    January 23, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  12. queenbee10

    Maybe she was that way because instinctively you looked nothing like her (with the blond hair) at least the daddy had dark hair, as would be customary among Asians

    January 23, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
    • pm

      Nice try queenbee10...but there are bigger trolls than you out there, so no one is taking your bait but me...

      January 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. momof2asians

    I am the mother of two asian children (Korean) my son took to us right away, my daughter cried for nine months. i thought i would go crazy. today, almost 10 years later, she is a bright child who could talk a dog off of a meat truck. I am sooooooooo lucky to have her.

    January 22, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • sabrina

      Your daughter is lucky to have you too. Every happiness to you and your family

      January 22, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Donna smith

    I am speechless. What a beautiful song.

    January 22, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. Daniel

    heigel is ugly, the husband is ugly and the kid is ugly...they're perfect for each other! Seriously, are there no children in the US / Canada that need parents, why are all these celebrities going over seas and adopting 'visable minorities', trying to one up each other?

    January 22, 2012 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
    • momof2asians

      @ daniel because in this country you can do unspeakalbe things to your children, have them taken away ,returned after 40 hours of parenting classes so that you can do unspeakble things again. Only after the child is so messed up are they offered for adoption. Not many people out there equipped to take care of children that have gone through horrible abuse. D**ckhead!

      January 22, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  16. TheHuntresss

    Actually, she chose to adopt a baby from Korea because her little sister was adopted from Korea as well, and it had a big impression on her. Good on them, they are an adorable family!

    January 21, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  17. SArah Michelle

    Beautiful song – and a beautiful family. Thank you for adopting a child to love who had no parents – it is one of the most unconditional things people can do.

    January 21, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  18. fostermom

    FYI- In foster child situation, the court has the right to terminate the parents rights, the biological parents do not have to sign over their rights. And there are many children in foster homes that are available for adoption but no one wants them because they are "too old", "too damaged" and you do not get the publicity you get from adopting children from another nation.

    January 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marky

      fostermom, I was not only a foster parent for 13 years, I was the foster parent trainer in the county I lived in. If you are really a foster parent you know how hard it can be for the state to get termination, particularly if the child is in care voluntarily. We had a child who was with us for years and the state was not able to get termination. Finally, the mother decided the child would be better off in adoption, but only if we adopted him. This child was blond, blue-eyed perfect child, but mom would only agree to him being placed with us, so there s/he was "free for adoption", but not to the general public. Had we not agreed AND been approved, she would not have signed away her rights. The stste would NEVER have gotten termination, there were not enough grounds, but she could NEVER have cared for him either. You should also know, as a fostermom, foster parents have first right to adopt any child they have had longer than 6 months, and the child will not be released for the general public unless the foster parents decline. Many foster parents are in a "fos-adopt" situation anyway, in which they lose several children to terrible bio homes before they ever get to adopt anyone, let alone a young child. For a "real" foster parent, you sound pretty judgmental; I have to question whether you really are a fostermom, or you have little experience.

      Few older children in the system who finally become available are not pretty damaged by their bio families, or by being in several foster homes, even if the homes are really nice. My years of experience as a foster parent, a person who worked adoptions, and as an adoptive parent both internationally and domestically, I don't think people get more attention for international at all. I also think you are too flip about how people choose to build their families. Not everyone can even endure what it takes to adopt at all, so they shouldn't be criticized for how and where. It's much easier to get pregnant and get back in shape.

      January 20, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  19. maria

    Maybe your daughter don't love you because she knows you adopted her just for Status" like Madonna,Angeline,Sandra Bullock,and many other......why this people don't adopt American children? they go to Africa and bring kids here just to be reconized it makes me sick they like chinese kids because the said those are the SMART ones ...how sad! we have millions of children in this Country who need a family ,parents in their life.it makes me mad when I read this looser adopting kids form other Countries! The kid at the photo don't even look happy ..ha!

    January 20, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Katy

      Have you tried to adopt domestically? Please help me find these millions of children in the US you speak of that are available for adoption. Many times the biological parents will not sign over rights to make them legal for adoption into forever families so these kids stay in foster homes. Domestic adoption through private agencies is very expensive perhaps up to 50K and the birthmother has the right to change and it is their right. I believe Katherine H. has a sister that was adopted from Korea so perhaps that is why she chose the birth country of her sister. Love does not see boundaries. All kids deserve a family. It makes me sad when people see kids from other countries as less deserving of a family.

      January 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • CreepedOut

      Not even the smartest kid in the world would stay smart if it was raised by you, Maria.

      January 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ashley

      You might want to get your facts straight, sweetheart...for starters, Sandra Bullock's adopted son was born in the United States. Also, your grammar and spelling make YOU sound like the loser (not "looser" – as you so eloquently put it).

      January 21, 2012 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
    • dostoevsky

      I believe Katherine's sister was adopted and also Naleigh is a special needs child. It is a lot harder for a special needs child to be adopted.

      January 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • pm

      One of the worst grammatically written blogs I've tried to read for a long time. You know that if you can't spell or know how to use the English Language, people don't believe what you are writing, regardless if it is true? English as a 2nd language courses would help.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Richard Fore

    Nice try, looser. I wouldn't say that about somebodies kid. I still feel bad for the kid tho, shouldv'e been adpoted by a nice g@y couple like NPH and his hubby.

    January 20, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  21. duh

    bonding with the nannies, they mean

    January 20, 2012 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Marky

      I am so tired of people like you not checking your facts before you post some obnoxious comment. They take care of their own child, but being the parent of a Korean daughter myself, let me tell you, life is much better for a child who has no family if they are adopted, rather than growing up in even a lovely orphanage, only to be an adult with no family ties (extremely important in Korean culture) and wishing you could go to university and have a real job with a real future. They are doing much better now, but Koreans don't believe in adoption except within families, and they especially do not like any korean mixed children to stay in their country. They aren't as bad as "truth', but not a lot less. Guess he would fit right in, especially in North Korea.

      January 20, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  22. alecia


    January 19, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Charlie Crack

    I agree with you Truth. Your name is accurate. Truth is what you speak. Email me at ch_crack@yahoo.com to hear more facts. Email me to hear the TRUTH the liberal media doesnt want you to know.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  24. truth

    Why do these total idiot celebrities adopt little n!gger babies? This just makes me so sick. Are they so afraid to stretch out their privates to have one of their own? These idiots in HOLLYWIERD are whats destroying this country and the world. Decadent Scuuumbags with no morals. It wouldnt suprise me if there is another great flood washing away the filth of the world like thie trash in the entertainment industry.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Missy

      Then it might behoove you to wear a life vest at all times.

      January 19, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • ?

      Jealous man with tiny peen so very, very angry. That's the truth!

      January 20, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • crdc

      you are a sad, sad person. So much hate against innocent babies. Really??? you can justify that?

      January 20, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
    • @ truth

      Hate to break it to you, but the baby isn't black.

      January 20, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • andilayne

      Yep if that flood ever gets here you'll be the first to go.....for being a racist ignorant wretch.

      January 20, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Me

      You suck! Get a life you idiot!

      January 20, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Rachel


      January 20, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • worldisamess

      First of all, they didn't adopt at an african american baby, she was asian you idiot. Deciding to give a home to a child already born instead of having your own child is a beautiful thing. Maybe they can't have their own, dd you think of that? You are to big of a biggot to take that into consideration.

      January 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • darkhorse

      I had no idea you could get a decent Wi-Fi connection in a trailer park.

      January 21, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      Better get off the computer – don't be late for your tea party meeting...

      January 22, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Bad spelling: Check
      Completely missing the point of the article: Check
      Religious/Final Judgement/Noah's Ark Reference: Check

      Ladies and gentlemen, we have a troll!

      January 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mortalc01l

      Oh goodie! Another "compassionate" Christian.. You delusional, self-righteous bigots with your sub 90 IQ's and your utter lack of education make religion look SOOOOOO appealing to the rest of us.

      You are a judgmental cretin.

      January 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • FBI1

      It puts the lotion in the bucket!

      January 24, 2012 at 5:48 am | Report abuse |
    • pm

      @Truth...you are the vile filth that is destroying our country. Your bigotry and misinformed ignorance is why hate groups exist. My guess is that you were taught racism growing up and that your are either too stupid or intellectually ignorant to discover that hatered, bigotry, racism and intolerance are why our world is the way it is.

      January 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • raenanda

      Uhhhh responders. I think its VERY transparent that this post is a fake and intended to elicit a strong response. What is really interesting is to see the same bigotry hurled right back with comments like "trailer park" and "tea party". Hate to break this to you, but you're a racist. Tell us, what does it feel like to be a bigot?

      January 26, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  25. mom

    What a cute kid! I'm glad she's warming up to Katherine. It takes time for a kid to adjust to changes ...

    January 19, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  26. caroline

    What a lovely song.......

    January 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  27. carrieanne

    Men arent under the same self imposed pressure as women to be perfect nurturers so it is easier for babies to bond with dad. But get past that barrier and youre home free!

    January 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • queenbee10

      Maybe Asians are predisposed genetically to look for things like DARK hair –dad has dark hair like Asians do and mom has something that is almost unheard of–blonde hair–I'm betting it was a visual that threw the child off–maybe all minority children have programmed in their genes–to be wary of things with white or light hair and weird (nonbrown or black) colored eyes. Could be the visual. Had to grow accustomed to it.

      January 23, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • HAHA

      queenbee10, you're an idiot! Babies do not come out of the womb automatically knowing who their mommy is by their lappearance. It's the heartbeat. Besides, she already said she lived for 9 months with a foster family. She became attached to the foster mother, then being handed over to another "mother" is just a bit confusing to someone who cannot even begin to understand what is going on.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • AmericanSam

      Queenbee, that's an interesting theory. Genetic disposition to look for nurturers who appear similar to you are. @HAHA, perhaps you should open your mind a little. Not saying you're not right; just that genetic cues may have something to do with it. And why would you call this person an idiot? It's just rude. You could say something like, "I disagree, and here's why..." Name calling is not a mark of an intelligent response.

      January 26, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • VegasRage

      This has nothing to do with culture, this has to do with adoption. Myself having been adopted can attest there are a number of challenges to overcome for both parents and child. Children, and even those adopted at birth go through abandonment anxiety. Feelings of not belonging or not knowing where you come from are always in the back of your mind especially throughout childhood. This little girl no doubt old enough to be very aware of her situation and the issues are going to be more pronounced for her than an adopted infant.

      January 26, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  28. O RLY?

    Asians are the way to go.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |

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