When New Year’s Eve star Katherine Heigl and her husband, singer Josh Kelley adopted their then 10-month-old daughter Naleigh from South Korea in 2009, the 33-year-old new mom was devastated when the mother-child bonding process didn’t immediately transpire for the two.
“People are always talking about the strong bond between mother and daughter, this magical connection – but we didn’t have that,” Katherine reveals in an interview with German weekly newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
“[The early days with Naleigh were] the hardest time in my life,” The Ugly Truth actress adds. “I fought incredibly hard for my daughter to accept me as mother. Her rejection almost broke my heart.”
In all truth, Katherine admits that her daughter’s initial rejection was so upsetting that she threw herself into her work which, in turn, “made the already difficult process of getting closer take even longer. When I realized that, I immediately cut back on work.”
“At first I blamed myself and thought I was a bad mother,” Katherine describes, feeling even more confused when little Naleigh bonded with her father. “It took a while before I could admit to myself that the lack of trust had nothing to do with me.”
Now, the mother-daughter duo have overcome their obstacles and are definitely a happy, bonded pair – so much that Katherine has no reservations about taking their darling 4-year-old daughter to visit her birth country.
“I’d like to fly to South Korea with the family,” she says, “to show her the country that she comes from.”