Ian Somerhalder and his wife Nikki Reed’s storybook romance has always been picture-perfect to fans, but now, as the actors embark on raising their first child together, they’re causing outrage.
Somerhalder, best known for his role in “Vampire Diaries,” first got together with the “Twilight” actress in 2014, and it wasn’t long before they decided to live happily ever after in April of 2015.
And on July 25, the two welcomed their first child into the world, daughter Bodhi Soleil Reed Somerhalder.
However, as the doting parents shared their whirlwind love story with the world on Dr. Berlin’s Informed Pregnancy podcast, Somerhalder happened to reveal the way they decided to try for a child.
Thank you @fitpregnancy for such a sweet cover shoot and for allowing me to feel so comfortable talking about some of the most intimate and exciting moments of my life. And of course, thank you for including @bayouwithlove and encouraging a discussion on sustainable fashion and the positive impact that has had on my journey to becoming a mama 🙂 (link in bio)
Now, some people are calling him an abuser.
The actors dished on the time they vacationed in Barcelona, Spain, revealing that was the moment they knew they wanted to try getting pregnant. But, as Somerhalder recalled, it might not have been a mutual decision at all:
“We decided that we wanted to have children together, and it was just time. But unbeknownst to poor Nikki, she didn’t realize that I was going to go in her purse and take out her birth control.”
He explained that it was, for the record, a lot of work to dispose of all her birth control, saying:
“By the way, it was the beginning of the pack, so I had to pop all those suckers out. It is a lot of work, especially after a little bit of sangria.”
After additionally admitting he videotaped himself in the act, he clarified that he threw out her pills only after discussing starting a family with Reed, however, he later said:
“Actually, now thinking about it, I guess I kind of decided [to start a family].”
But after their seemingly innocent chat on the podcast, people began slamming Somerhalder, saying what he did fell into the realm of reproductive coercion:
— jas (@eIenarya) September 21, 2017
Ian Somerhalder throwing out Nikki Reed’s birth control w/o her permission is disgusting. Reproductive coercion is a form of abuse
— Taryn Rosé (@Q_Taryntino) September 22, 2017
Can’t believe how many people are defending this, this not ok. It will never be ok.
— Alice Ragonese (@ragonese_alice) September 23, 2017
just. stop. talking. instead of making excuses why don’t you take a deeper look at your actions. or was that ENTIRE interview a lie?
— next (@lolawantswhat) September 24, 2017
What Ian Somerhalder did to Nikki Reed was a violation of her reproductive rights. She gave no consent and was in fact filmed freaking out
— Summer (@summersansa) September 22, 2017
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, reproductive coercion is, in part, the “behavior that interferes with contraception use and pregnancy.”
The organization references examples of this kind of coercion, listing “sabotage of contraceptive methods, pregnancy coercion, and pregnancy pressure.”
Once Somerhalder and Reed caught wind of the controversy they seemingly unintentionally caused, they immediately addressed it:
A note from us! pic.twitter.com/qRwOUclDAK
— Ian Somerhalder (@iansomerhalder) September 23, 2017
Their note read, in part:
To anyone who has been affected by reproductive coercion, we are deeply sorry. That is an extremely serious issue, and women’s rights is something that is incredibly important to both of us. It is something we’ve been very vocal about, and something that is very close to our hearts.
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 our journey together as we went from two to three, to turn into something representing a very serious matter.
However, if this somehow sheds light on a topic that definitely needs mainstream attention, then we are grateful for the unintended consequence. It’s a shame that outlets chose this as their way into a very serious discussion, as we are certainly not qualified to be the faces of this topic.
We are two happily married people who chose TOGETHER to have a baby. The end. Love, Nikki and Ian.
Though they definitely took a lot of online criticism for their remarks, their decision to focus on the issue at hand, reproductive coercion, sent a powerful message to all those who slammed them.