Sandra Bullock is getting candid like we’ve never seen before.
Appearing on Red Table Talk Wednesday, the 57-year-old actress spoke with hosts Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris about a slew of topics, primarily focusing on her life with her 11-year-old son Louis and 9-year-old daughter Laila, whom she adopted in 2010 and 2015, respectively. During the conversation, she opened up about their adoption stories, saying how she “found out about both babies” when she was in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where her mom is buried:
“It makes me really emotional, but I feel beyond a shadow of a doubt that my mother brought me these children. I knew I would be a mother. I knew I wouldn’t be a mother at a young age.”
Noting she was more focused on her acting career at the time, she ultimately “just knew” being a mother was her “path” when she held her son for the first time at 10 days old. As for Laila, the Miss Congeniality star fostered the little one before finalizing the adoption in 2015 — the process of which Sandra described as an “out of body experience”:
“It’s a system that exists and people don’t know about it because it’s a difficult thing to talk about. It gets deep and it gets dark. When I first went through the process myself, you have to prove that you are a capable parent, and you are in the judgment cage.”
Although she almost gave up “halfway through” the process, she continued and went through with it. However, it still didn’t come without its trials and tribulations as her daughter, who had been in three different systems before finding her forever home, understandably dealt with trauma that made it difficult transitioning into Bullock’s home:
“I had my kids in my closet with their little beds because I was so afraid to not have them super close to me and I would walk in and I wouldn’t be able to find her. She’d be in the closet with all her clothes on, on a bookshelf, hiding, she’d always be ready to leave. She’s always telling me she’s leaving. It sometimes was hilarious, because she was just all power and she says, ‘I’m leaving you’ and I said, ‘I’m going to be right behind you. You can leave, but I’m right here.’”
“I saw triggers happening on a daily basis that I could not identify because I took it personally. … At that time, it was really hard to separate yourself and not be hurt because all you wanna do is love, but guess what? Your love is not gonna cut it right then and there.”
During this entire process, the Academy Award winner had also started dating her longtime partner Bryan Randall, a professional photographer who she hired for Louis’ fifth birthday. Calling him a “saint,” Bullock recalled how she told him she was expanding her family at the time:
“We hadn’t been together that long. I said, ‘Remember that NDA you signed when you photographed my son?’ I said, ‘You know, that still holds. He said ‘Why?’ I said, ‘I’m bringing a child home when I come back from Toronto.’ He was so happy, but he was scared. I’m a bulldozer. My life was already on the track and here’s this beautiful human being who doesn’t want anything to do with my life, but the right human being to be there.”
She then added of their current co-parenting situation:
“He’s the example I would want my children to have. I don’t always agree with him and he doesn’t always agree with me, but he is an example even when I don’t agree with him. But if they can take away from that and that is where they feel drawn to, he’s the exact right parent to be in this position.”
The Oceans 8 leading lady went on to speak on the realities of being a white mother raising two Black children and navigating the topic of racism:
“As a white parent who loves her loves her children, I’m scared of everything. I know I’m laying all kinds of existential anxiety on them. I have to think about what they’re gonna experience leaving the home. … I’ve been schooling Lou since he was 6 years old and popped that hoodie on his head. I let him see everything. I let him process it, he knows how the world works, he knows how cruel it is and how unfair it is and now Laila knowing it. … I let them teach me and tell me what they need to know. I thought I was educated and woke, but guess what? I wasn’t.”
While she recognizes how it’s hard to see her as a white woman raising two Black children, she urged those to see their love as “the evidence.” She even honestly admitted to wishing that her skin color “matched” her children, explaining:
“To say that I wish our skins matched, sometimes I do, because then it would be easier for how people approach us.”
Elsewhere in the conversation, the momma of two recalled the horrifying details from when a stranger broke into her home while she was there alone in 2014:
“I’m in the closet going, ‘This doesn’t end well.”
As Sandra explained, the intruder had entered her place on “the one night” her son was staying with their nanny:
“It was the one night that our nanny goes, ‘Let me just take him to my apartment which is up the street because you’re going to be out late,'” she remembered. “Had he been home, I would’ve run to the closet, which is now my official closet but that was his bedroom, and it would have changed our destiny forever. … So why was he not home on that one night? And the violation of that. I wasn’t the same after that. I was unraveling.”
Eventually, she developed PTSD from her traumatic experience and sought a form of therapy called EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy to help her process what happened.
Sandra really did NOT hold back in this chat! You can view the entire discussion with her (below):
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[Image via Adriana M. Barraza/WENN]