Actress Hilarie Burton gave birth to a baby daughter in February 2018. But her journey to get to that point was an extremely difficult one. Burton, who is married to Walking Dead actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, was desperate for another child to complete her family, but for a while it seemed like it wouldn’t happen. Now that it finally has, she’s spoken out about the physical and mental struggles she went through.
Burton began her career with MTV – she was one of their “video jockeys” back as far back as 2000. Then, a couple years into that gig she appeared on Dawson’s Creek, playing herself. But her real big break as an actress came when she was cast in One Tree Hill in 2003. She played Peyton Sawyer, a role that won her plenty of critical acclaim.
Burton met fellow actor Morgan thanks to his work on the long-running horror series Supernatural. In 2009 Morgan’s co-star Jensen Ackles was dating his future wife Danneel Harris, who happened to be Burton’s fellow actor on One Tree Hill. So Ackles decided to set up Burton and Morgan – after Burton had divorced her first husband, Ian Prange, of course.
The date went very well indeed. “We ended up back at my house drinking shots of tequila,” Morgan reminisced to the Huffington Post in 2015. “She was really cool and somehow I talked her into going to — I was on my way to do a movie called The Resident in New Mexico and she was on her way to Paris — and I talked her into, instead of going to Paris, to come and see me in New Mexico. And I ruined her life and now she’s stuck with me.”
Of course, Morgan didn’t actually ruin Burton’s life – far from it in fact. In May 2010 it was announced that the couple, who preferred to keep their private life under wraps whenever possible, had had a baby together. This was little Augustus, called “Gus” by his parents. Burton had retreated from public life while she was pregnant.
It took a while for the couple to speak publicly about raising a child together, but when they appeared at the Twilight: Breaking Dawn premiere in 2011 they finally did. Gus was beginning to learn how to speak, the couple told E!Online, and loved to say “no.” “Everything is a first,” Morgan said. “It’s been spectacular.”
Although they had had a child together, Burton and Morgan weren’t actually married yet – or at least they claimed they weren’t. They denied rumors that they’d gotten married in secret, but they also sometimes referred to each other as “husband” and “wife.” When Inquirer asked Morgan about the situation in 2015, he said that no official marriage had taken place, despite admitting that they occasionally say they are married.
“I’m not technically married yet, but we say we are and eventually we will be,” he said. “I can’t stop working is the problem. So it’s hard to seal that deal.” Indeed, Morgan was very much in demand as an actor from 2015 onwards. That year, he began starring on The Good Wife, and also had a small role in Batman v Superman as Bruce Wayne’s father. And in 2016 he made his debut as Negan on the hugely popular zombie show The Walking Dead.
Burton was likewise very busy. In 2015 she began starring in the science fiction show Extant, and the following year she was cast in a recurring role in the TV remake of Lethal Weapon. But come September 2017, there was some exciting news. As Burton and Morgan walked the red carpet at the Emmy Awards, it was clear that Burton was expecting a baby.
But when the baby came along in February 2018, some unexpected news came along with it. Burton, who had been so determinedly private for years, took to Instagram to write about her experience becoming a second-time mom. It turned out that there were plenty of things – quite upsetting things – which the wider world had never known about the actress.
Burton began her post by talking about her husband. He was heading to Europe to do some conventions, she said. “And he’s self-aware enough to know his track record for ‘spilling the beans’ isn’t so great (bless his heart!). So before he starts tripping up in an attempt to maintain our privacy, he asked that I go ahead and post something about our little girl’s birth. But before I do that, there’s something I really want to say to all the women out there who are trying.”
“It took a long time for Jeffrey and I to have this baby,” she wrote. “The first time I got pregnant, it took a year and a half. I surprised him on Christmas with baby Seahawk booties. We cried. We celebrated. We picked out names. And we lost that baby.” But there was even worse to come. “More losses followed, and as so many couples know, it was heartbreaking. It still is heartbreaking.”
She described the toll it had taken on her. “Every morning of the five years it took us, I’d open my computer at the kitchen table and see the news and I’d grow bitter over the endless parade of celebrities showing off their bumps and babies. I’d weep out of jealousy for how easy it was for them,” she wrote. “Didn’t they know something could go wrong? Didn’t they know that there were other women out there struggling?”
“It pained me to see the corporate sponsored baby showers and magazine covers capitalizing on this human miracle that wasn’t happening for us,” Burton continued. “So when this pregnancy started, we were cautious. I didn’t want to celebrate for fear of jinxing it.” It was an understandable fear, especially for somebody who was in the public eye.
But, thankfully, everything had worked out in the end. The baby in Burton’s Instagram pictures looked happy and healthy. “Now that she is here, I just stare at her in wonder all day. I see her in her daddy’s arms and I don’t take any of it for granted,” Burton wrote. “She screams bloody murder and I smile because she is so wildly alive.”
Then, Burton got to the final point of her message, and it was a touching one. “Now that folks know she’s here, I don’t want her birth to cause any other woman to weep at her kitchen table. If anything, my wish is that she would restore hope for others,” she wrote. “Fertility is a fickle thing. And for the other couples out there who have had dark days, we want to introduce our miracle baby to you and send you our love and support in finding yours.”
“Please meet George Virginia Morgan,” she signed off with. “She was born February 16th. Her daddy delivered her. We love her very much.” Needless to say, people were delighted to hear the good news. The post quickly racked up thousands of likes. And in the comments section, people were inspired by Burton to share their own stories.
“This post means so much! Blessings come when you least expect them. I’m struggling with infertility myself. Some days are harder than others, but hopefully one day my bundle of joy will come,” one person wrote. Another comment read, “This post is everything. It’s refreshing to hear people talking about the struggles with fertility. It is still a taboo subject.”
After her struggle, Burton certainly deserves a bit of time to relax with her family, and based on her Instagram that’s exactly what she’s doing. Morgan appears to have gone the other way a bit – he went out and got a tattoo on his left fist in honor of his daughter! He also let slip some news about future children when he appeared on the Howard Stern Show on April 9.
There would be no more. “We’re tapping out,” Morgan told the host. “I’m 52! Two is perfect. A boy and a girl. We tried since Gus was born to have another and hit a rough go… lost a couple. It was an emotional ride.” But there was a happy ending, of course. “So now we have our little girl. We’re done,” he concluded. Now their family is complete.