Celebs Who Have Opened Up About Their Own Abortion Stories

On May 15, 2019, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law an abortion bill that is considered the United States' most restrictive — banning abortion in all cases with exceptions only if the mother's health is at risk, or if the fetus has "fatal anomalies" that would likely result in death outside of the womb. The Alabama bill came on the heels of Georgia's "heartbeat bill," which prohibits abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, with some exceptions for the health of the mother, the viability of the fetus, as well as cases of rape and incest — as long as any incidents are first reported to law enforcement and the procedure takes place before the pregnancy's 20 week mark. 

According to The Washington Post, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Utah have also passed new, restrictive abortion bills. In an effort to shed light on the nuances of the issue, many celebrities have been speaking out about their own experiences with terminating pregnancies. Stories have come out from both sides of the issue. No matter one's personal belief regarding abortion, it can be helpful to hear others' personal experiences — listening to one another and sharing stories can unite us all. Here's a look at the celebrities who have opened up about their own abortion stories. 

Sharon Osbourne

Sharon Osbourne is nothing if not brutally honest. The talk show host and former reality star has never shied away from laying it all on the table for the whole world to see, no matter the subject. Of course, Osbourne's 2004 tell-all with the Daily Mail was no exception. During the interview, the TV star alleged that "everybody has something in the closet," and revealed her own "big mistake": the abortion she had when she was only 17-years-old. 

"I was two months gone when I realized," Osbourne told the publication. "I went to my mum and she said, without pausing for breath: 'You have to get rid of it.'" The rockstar wife went on to describe how angry her pregnancy made her mother, and how she'd refused to accompany her daughter to the procedure. Osbourne said she "howled [her] way" though the entirety of the abortion.

"I would never recommend it to anyone because it comes back to haunt you," Osbourne revealed. "In life, whatever it is, you pay somewhere down the line. You have to be accountable."

Busy Philipps

The day Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the controversial "heartbeat bill" into law, Busy Philipps used her late-night talk show platform to open up with viewers about her own experience with abortion. "I hope that whatever it is that you believe personally... that maybe you'll be open to hearing what I'm saying," Philipps began her monologue, going on to reveal that one in four women will have an abortion before age 45. "Maybe you're sitting there and thinking, 'I don't know a woman who would have an abortion,'" Phillips said. "Well, you know me. I had an abortion when I was 15 years old."

This wasn't the first time Philipps publicly addressed her abortion. The former Dawson's Creek star wrote about her experience in her 2018 memoir This Will Only Hurt a Little (via Entertainment Tonight), revealing that her then-boyfriend's mother was less-than-supportive of the decision, calling Philipps "selfish" and accusing her of murder. 

Still, the star is dedicated to using her celebrity status to shed more light on the issue. "I think that we all need to be talking more and sharing our stories more," Philipps said, tearfully addressing her late-night audience. 

Amber Tamblyn

After Busy Philipps' emotional monologue on Busy Tonight, women started taking to social media to post their own experiences with abortion, using the hashtag #YouKnowMe in reference to Philipps' revelation that many people may not think they know a woman who's had an abortion. Amber Tamblyn — who has long been a champion for women's rights and a steady voice throughout the #MeToo movement — was one of those women, as she revealed in a tweet on May 16, 2019.

"In 2012, I had an abortion. It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make. I still think about it to this day," Tamblyn wrote in a message to followers. "But these truths do not make me regret my decision. It was the right choice for me, at that time in my life. I have not a single doubt about this. #YouKnowMe." 

Of course, Tamblyn's reveal was met with mixed reactions, though the majority of Twitter users seemed to side with the former Joan of Arcadia star. "I hope you run for office one day," one user replied. "You [took] the time to share this very personal and painful experience. ...You are amazing."

Jameela Jamil

Unlike her prim and proper Good Place character Tahani, Jameela Jamil never shies away from being vulnerable and brutally honest about the real issues women face on a day-to-day basis. In February 2018, the actress and activist launched I Weigh — a social media movement which encourages women to measure their weight by the qualities they love about themselves instead of by a number on a scale. The star has also called out heavily airbrushed photos of herself, and has even gone so far as to show fans her own bodily "flaws," such as stretch marks

So, it should come as no surprise that Jamil wasted no time in speaking up about her beliefs regarding the abortion restrictions recently signed into law by several states. "I had an abortion when I was young, and it was the best decision I have ever made. Both for me, and for the baby I didn't want, and wasn't ready for, emotionally, psychologically and financially," Jamil tweeted to followers on May 13, 2019. "...if Georgia becomes inundated with children who are unwanted or unable to be cared for, it will be hard to find great fostering for them all."

Sinead O'Connor

Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O'Connor identifies as pro-choice, but in a 1991 interview with the Belgian magazine Humo, the musician expressed just how difficult her own experience with abortion was. 

When asked about the inspiration behind her song, "My Special Child," O'Connor responded, "The song itself is about my experiences, when I had an abortion last year, how I felt and how I handled it [...] I had become happily pregnant and was crazy about the father of the baby. But it didn't go well between us. We argued a lot. I was on tour and was constantly nauseous. I didn't know what to do and he wasn't really interested in the baby."

The songstress continued, explaining that once she fully understood that the father of her baby wouldn't be around often to play an integral role in the child's life, she knew she had a difficult choice to make. Ultimately, she chose not to have the baby — but O'Connor admitted the decision was immensely difficult for her. "It wasn't a decision I had made light-heartedly," the singer told the publication. "No one does."

Minka Kelly

Actress Minka Kelly hasn't spent much time in the spotlight since rising to fame in Friday Night Lights and appearing in recurring roles on hit TV shows like Parenthood and Jane the Virgin. However, Kelly is far from forgotten by fans and pop culture buffs, and the actress leveraged her wide-reaching platform on Tuesday, May 16, 2019, to draw attention to the ultra-restrictive abortion ban Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law on May 15. 

"When I was younger I had an abortion. It was the smartest decision I could've made, not only for myself & my boyfriend at the time, but also for this unborn fetus," Kelly wrote to followers in a lengthy Instagram post accompanied by a photo collage of the 25 men who cast votes in favor of Alabama's controversial abortion law. "By looking at the photo of all the men who are making this mess, I find it hard to believe that if it were the autonomy of a man's body, health and life in question, I can't help but be certain we wouldn't be having this conversation in the first place."

Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Handler has long been open about her personal beliefs regarding abortion and a woman's right to choose. In a June 2016 essay published in Playboy, Handler wrote candidly about her experiences with abortion — revealing that she had not only one, but two abortions at age 16. The comedian revealed that her parents were the ones to take her to Planned Parenthood for her first abortion, because, according to Handler, they recognized that, "the idea that [she] would have a child and raise it by [herself] at that age, when [she] couldn't even find [her] way home at night, was ridiculous."

Handler went on to admit that she became pregnant by the same guy soon after, and had to "scrape together the $230 to pay Planned Parenthood" for the procedure. "Getting unintentionally pregnant more than once is irresponsible, but it's still necessary to make a thoughtful decision," Handler wrote. "I'm grateful that I came to my senses and was able to get an abortion legally without risking my health or bankrupting myself or my family."

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj is known for songs like "Super Bass," "Beez in the Trap," and "Va Va Voom," — fun, boppy tracks designed to inspire feelings of fun-loving confidence, a don't-mess-with-me attitude, as well as spontaneous dance parties. However, with her third studio album, The Pinkprint, Minaj allowed fans to experience a more vulnerable side of their favorite artist when she subtly revealed in the track "All Things Go" that she'd once had an abortion. 

"My child with Aaron would've have been sixteen any minute," Minaj can be heard saying in the song. In December 2014, the star opened up to Rolling Stone about the real story behind the lyrics, telling the publication, "I thought I was going to die [when I discovered I was pregnant.] I was a teenager. It was the hardest thing I'd ever gone through." 

Minaj told Rolling Stone the experience has "haunted [her] all [her] life," but admitted she doesn't regret the choice she made as a teen. "It'd be contradictory if I said I wasn't pro-choice. I wasn't ready. I didn't have anything to offer a child."

Milla Jovovich

Milla Jovovich's name is synonymous with strength thanks to her starring roles in movies such as The Fifth Element, the Resident Evil series, and No Good Deed. In fact, her success as an action/science fiction movie star led VH1 to dub her the "reigning queen of kick-butt" (via Catwalk Yourself). 

The Ukrainian-born actress and model's formidable strength once again made headlines in May 2019 — but this time, it was her emotional fortitude and vulnerability that had folks talking. On May 15, 2019, Jovovich took to Instagram to condemn HB 481, otherwise known as Georgia's controversial "heartbeat bill." 

"This makes Georgia the sixth state to pass such a restrictive six-week abortion ban," Jovovich wrote to followers. "I myself went through an emergency abortion [two] years ago. I was [four and a half] months pregnant and shooting on location in Eastern Europe. I went into pre term labor and told that I had to be awake for the whole procedure. ...When I think about the fact that women might have to face abortions in even worse conditions than I did because of new laws, my stomach turns."

Gloria Steinem

When it comes to the issue of abortion, activist, journalist, and outspoken feminist Gloria Steinem is a staunch believer in a woman's right to choose — she explained the origins of her beliefs in an October 2015 interview with NPR's Terry Gross

Revealing that she became pregnant at 22, Steinem told Gross that she felt as if there were only two options: have an abortion, or marry the man with whom she had gotten pregnant. "I just knew that if I went home and married, which I would've had to do, it would be to the wrong person; it would be to a life that wasn't mine," Steinem told Gross.

The activist dedicated her 2015 book, My Life on the Road, to the (now-deceased) doctor who risked his career to perform an illegal abortion on the young Steinem, writing (via HuffPost), "...he said, 'You must promise me two things. First, you will not tell anyone my name. Second, you will do what you want to do with your life.' Dear Dr. Sharpe ...I've done the best I could with my life. This book is for you." 

Tess Holliday

Tess Holliday has been making a splash in the fashion industry since she arrived on the scene in 2014, and continues to do so wherever she goes. After appearing on the October 2018 cover for Cosmopolitan UK, Holliday face backlash from the likes of Piers Morgan and various social media users who felt that openly celebrating her size 26 body was "dangerous." 

"To everyone saying I'm a burden to the British health care system, I'm American so you don't have to worry about my fat a–," Holliday tweeted in response to her haters. Of course, as an American, Holliday has her own opinions about the controversial abortion bills being introduced in multiple states — and the star once again took to Twitter to make a statement. 

"I'm from Mississippi, living in California, married with [two] kids, & I had an abortion," Holliday wrote. "My mental health couldn't handle being pregnant again & I made the best decision for ME & ultimately my family. It wasn't the 'easy thing to do,' it was excruciating on many levels. ...Do I regret it or question my choice? Not at all."

Toni Braxton

In Toni Braxton's 2014 memoir, Unbreak My Heart, the songstress revealed (via The Atlantic) that she underwent an abortion procedure in her early 30s after becoming pregnant with her then-boyfriend, Keri Lewis. At the time, Braxton was using a prescription acne medication known to cause serious birth defects, such as brain and heart deformities. Though she had "major misgivings" about abortion, the singer ultimately decided to go through with the procedure — something she believes God later "punished" her for by "giving [her] son autism."

Braxton sat down for an interview with Nancy O'Dell in May 2014, shedding more light on other factors that played into her decision to have an abortion, as well as the guilt she still feels. 

"I felt selfish because I was thinking, 'I'm going through bankruptcy — there's things going on with my life and I can't give this kid any future,'" Braxton revealed. "I am not really embarrassed about it, I am more ashamed of myself for doing that because I could've figured something out financially — that was just an excuse I was making for myself."

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg's frank outspokenness didn't just begin when she joined ABC's The View. The Oscar-winning actress has been using her platform to shine light on issues close to her heart for decades. Case in point: the essay she penned for 1991's The Choices We Made — a collection of essays written by people impacted by abortion. 

In her essay, Goldberg revealed that she became sexually active at age 13, and having never been taught about birth control, became pregnant at 14. Instead of asking for help, Goldberg wrote that she panicked, took hot baths, and "drank these strange concoctions" other girls had told her about in an effort to terminate her pregnancy. According to Goldberg, she eventually performed a dangerous procedure on herself using a coat hanger, which she believes led to the end of her pregnancy (via People). 

In her essay, the star revealed why she opted to go through the scariest moment in her young life alone, writing, "At that moment, I was more afraid of having to explain to anybody what was wrong than of going to the park with a hanger, which is what I did." 

Jemima Kirke

In the very first season of HBO's Girls, Jemima Kirke's character, Jessa, discovers she is pregnant and makes the decision to have an abortion. Her friends rally around her and even schedule an appointment for the procedure (to which Jessa never shows); however, the free-spirited young woman miscarries soon after. 

The first part of this plot line actually mirrors Kirke's own life all too well. As she revealed in a video for the Center for Reproductive Rights, Kirke became pregnant in 2007 with her then-boyfriend — a person she wasn't sure she wanted to be "attached to" for the rest of her life. "My life was just not conducive to raising a healthy, happy child," Kirke admitted in her testimony. "I just didn't feel it was fair. So, I decided to get an abortion."

Kirke went on to reveal that while she had scrounged up enough money to pay for the abortion, she didn't have enough to cover anesthesia. Still, she went through with the procedure. "I still see shame and embarrassment around terminating pregnancies," Kirke revealed. "So I have always been open about my stories... especially with other women."

Billie Jean King

Billie Jean King will forever be known as one of the world's greatest tennis champions — and the athlete was played to near-perfection by Emma Stone in the 2017 movie Battle of the SexesHowever, while King will always be celebrated for her tennis court triumphs and being an icon for the LGBTQ community, something most people don't know about the beloved tennis player is that she once had an abortion.

Though she was married at the time, King felt she was neither emotionally or mentally prepared to bring a child into the world. "The reason I had an abortion is because I was not in a good place," King revealed in an interview with Makers. "I was just finding out about my sexuality. I was trying to figure my life out. ...I just did not want to bring a baby into the world."

King continued, saying that she believes that any child who is brought into the world should be wanted and welcomed. "I did not want the child to be born under the circumstances I was in," King revealed. "I just did not think it was right for the child."

Steven Tyler and Julia Holcomb

In 2011, a woman by the name of Julia Holcomb opened up to LifeSiteNews.com about an abortion she had during the course of a three-year "live-in relationship" with Aerosmith frontman, Steven Tyler. 

Holcomb, who claims her mother signed over guardianship at the request of Tyler, revealed to the website that she and Tyler became pregnant one year into their relationship. She then went on to describe an apartment fire she and her unborn baby remarkably survived five months into the pregnancy, only for Tyler to subsequently pressure her to have an abortion. Though Holcomb resisted Tyler's urging multiple times, she eventually gave in and had the abortion with the singer by her side. However, as she revealed to LifeSiteNews, she still regrets the decision to this day.

Holcomb told the website, "I wish I could go back and be given that chance again, to say no to the abortion one last time." Tyler reflected on the experience in the Aerosmith autobiography Walk This Way (via LifeSiteNews.com), admitting, "It was a big crisis [...] I was pretty devastated. In my mind, I'm going, 'Jesus, what have I done?'"

Sherri Shepherd

In a February 2012 episode of The View, Sherri Shepherd got emotional in a debate with Elisabeth Hasselbeck regarding a Texas law which requires women seeking abortions to have a sonogram before the procedure, look at images of their fetuses, as well as listen to any present fetal heartbeats. Hasselbeck thought the law made sense, arguing, "You would never go through any medical procedure like that... without looking at the scientific evidence." Shepherd, however, vehemently disagreed with the notion — and touched on her own experiences with abortion while explaining why. 

"I'm speaking as a girl who had a lot of abortions," Shepherd said (via HuffPost). "And I swear to God, if they had shown me a picture of the fetus... I would have put my child in a lot of situations that wouldn't have been good because I didn't have the mental capacity to deal with having a child."

In 2008, Shepherd had opened up about her multiple abortions, telling Precious Times (via HuffPost) that in her younger years, she was in a "very physically abusive relationship," slept with multiple men, and ended up having "more abortions than [she] would like to count."