Celebrity couple Ian Somerhalder and Nikki Reed have stirred up a bit of controversy after speaking candidly on a pregnancy podcast about how they decided to start a family.
Somerhalder has relatives in Bay St. Louis, and the couple welcomed their first child, Bodhi Soleil Reed Somerhalder, in August.
The controversial episode of Dr. Berlin’s Informed Pregnancy Podcast has since been taken down, but various media outlets have reported direct quotes from what was seemingly intended to be a lighthearted story.
Dr. Berlin initially asked how long the couple had been together before deciding to have kids, Jezebel reports. The two described how Somerhalder told friends he decided he was going to marry Reed after their second night together, which Reed found out later and called “so presumptuous.” Somerhalder began talking about children two months later.
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“The truth is,” Reed said, “I’ve never met anyone who was more sure of what they wanted... Everything I’ve ever done in my life I’ve felt was at a really accelerated pace. I thought I moved quickly. And this was the first time in my life that I said, ‘I’m gonna move really slow.’”
Somerhalder explained he was 35 and it was time to “stop messing around.”
“You know it was interesting,” Reed adds. “I didn’t know if I wanted kids...I love kids and I wasn’t sure I didn’t wanna be a mom, I just didn’t know, you know?”
To clarify, Dr. Berlin asked when they really decided to have a child.
Somerhalder had an immediate answer: May (2016), and launches into a story about a trip they took to Barcelona with another couple.
Jezebel posted the transcript of what followed:
Somerhalder: But unbeknownst to poor Nikki, she didn’t realize that I was gonna go in her purse and take out her birth control and...by the way, it was the beginning of the pack, so I had to pop all of those suckers out...
Co-host Blyss Young: Nikki! How’d you feel about that?
Reed: [laughs] There’s a photo of me, and I look like—
Somerhalder: There’s a six-minute video where she’s freaking out.
Dr. Berlin: I want that photo.
Reed: You know what, I might actually have it. I’m sure I do.
Somerhalder: When we’re done, I’ll show you. I have the video.
Reed: There’s a video? Why are you always taking a videos of me and I don’t know it?
Somerhalder: I was in the video, you nerd! Lindsey took the video with my phone!
Reed: Oh, maybe that’s why!
Young: You’re a nerd by the way.
Reed: I know. I’ll own it.
Somerhalder: What’s so cool is there’s this video of me with this handful of these little pills. [Lindsey] is sort of like interviewing Nikki, like, ‘How are you feeling,’ and I went like this, and Lindsey so expertly put it on slow motion, and you just see them...and they slowly go into the toilet.
Reed: I’ve never seen this. Was I drunk? Was I coherent?
After Internet commenters and media outlets latched on to the story, Reed took to Twitter on Friday to express her dismay, calling the stories “irresponsible journalism.” She said she felt “UNFORCED” and was upset the story was casting “a dark shadow over one of the happiest most memorable days of my life.”
Then, the couple changed their tune Saturday with a more sympathetic statement expressing support for the conversation around reproductive coercion.
“We never expected a lighthearted interview we did poking fun at EACH OTHER and how WE chose together to get pregnant, a goofy moment in Barcelona with our two best friends and the anticipation of the start of our journey together as we went from two to three, to turn into something representing a very serious matter.”
Reproductive coercion involves “behavior intended to maintain power and control in a relationship related to reproductive health,” according to The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and it is strongly linked to intimate partner violence.
Those behaviors include “explicit attempts to impregnate a partner against her will, control outcomes of a pregnancy, coerce a partner to have unprotected sex, and interfere with contraceptive methods.”
Planned Parenthood gives examples of reproductive coercion:
▪ hiding, withholding, or destroying a partner’s birth control pills
▪ intentionally breaking condoms or removing a condom during sex
▪ not withdrawing during intercourse when that was the agreed upon method of contraception
▪ removing contraceptive patches, rings, or IUDs
▪ attempting to force/ coerce a partner to have an abortion against their will
▪ controlling abortion-related decisions
One out of four adolescent females reported their abusive male partners were trying to get them pregnant through interference with planned contraception, forcing them to hide their contraceptive methods, the ACOG said.