The local actress and her thespian husband Randall Tan struggled to conceive for nine years. After suffering a miscarriage in 2012 and a failed IVF attempt in early 2017, Melody conceived naturally and announced she was four months pregnant in July 2017. In November 2017, the couple announced the arrival of their twins Reuben Michael and Maegan Riley!
The babies arrived prematurely a few weeks before that, through an emergency C-section at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, and were then transferred to Singapore General Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Melody said in an Instagram post that “it truly was a harrowing start to our parenthood journey from the emergency C-sect to the constant worry about their survival”. Thankfully, the babies are now happy and healthy and the couple often post about them on their social media accounts.
Mrs Fandi Ahmad was her husband’s biggest cheerleader during his footballing days and is now often seen supporting her kids too. But the ex-model was struck with a mystery illness in 2008 after she slipped and fell in the bathroom of the couple’s Jakarta home. It left her bedridden, paralysed and wheelchair-bound for over a year, and she also suffered seizures and a cardiac arrest. Doctors were never able to determine why all this was happening. She also later had a benign tumour the size of a 50-cent coin growing at the front of her head; it was removed in mid-2012. The mother of five credits the support of her family and friends for helping her get through this dark time.
Who can forget the adorable blonde girl in movies such as E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Firestarter? She may have been a star at the age of seven but Drew had to go through a lot of hardship before she achieved success again as an adult. Her father was a violent alcoholic and her mother took her clubbing at just eight years old. By age 12, Drew was in rehab. Her mother later put her in a mental institution for a year-and-a-half before she emancipated herself from her parents at age 14.
It took a few years of being a Hollywood outcast to get her foot firmly in the door again but what a career this 44-year-old has had! She was in the hit Netflix comedy Santa Clarita Diet, which ran for three seasons, started her own make-up collection (Flower Beauty) and has even written two memoirs. But most notably, she’s a loving mum to two daughters, Olive and Frankie.
“Everything in my life has been a butterfly net of information, how to hold it, harness it and then use it to be my best parent,” she says.
Beauty vlogger Lindy (affectionately called “Bubz”) revealed in her book, A Beautiful Mind, A Beautiful Life: Guide To Being Unstoppable, that she was bullied when she was younger, because of her mixed-race parentage. The Chinese-Northern Irish beauty, who has over 760,000 followers, also suffered a miscarriage in 2016. And pregnancy wasn’t easy for this mother of two. She suffered from polyhydramnios – a condition where there’s an excess of amniotic fluid in the amniotic sac – and pubis symphysis dysfunction, which causes a lot of discomfort and pain in the pelvic area and made it extremely difficult for her to sleep.
Today, Lindy often shares sweet and candid snapshots of her life with her super adorable kids, Isaac and Ayla, as well as gives refreshingly honest and open insights into her struggles with motherhood and health.
She was amazing in Mary Poppins, but you might not know that the talented actress struggled with a stutter when she was a child. From the ages of seven to 14, Emily had such a debilitating stutter that she could barely hold a conversation and even speech therapy classes didn’t help. She used to talk in funny voices or accents as she felt that she could speak better if she wasn’t doing so in her own voice. When she was 12, a teacher asked her to be in a class play because he had heard her impersonations and thought she was funny. Emily performed well in it and it sparked her love for theatre and acting.
Since finding fame, the mum of two girls, Hazel and Violet, has worked with the American Institute for Stuttering and has also said that her stutter returns at times, when she’s extremely tired and also when she was pregnant.
While growing up on her parents’ farm near Johannesburg in South Africa, Charlize had an alcoholic father who often threatened her and physically abused her mother, Gerda. When Charlize was 15, her dad came home drunk one night – and he had a gun. After firing a few shots around the house, he ended up at Charlize’s bedroom door, banging and shouting that he was going to kill them both. Gerda grabbed a gun and shot him dead.
Charlize has said that she knew her mother had no choice and that she would do the same thing if her own daughter were in danger. Gerda has always been supportive of Charlize’s career and, in fact, bought her a one-way ticket to Los Angeles when she was 19, to pursue her acting dreams. She made it, of course, and is now an Oscar-winning actress and a doting mum to a son, Jackson, and daughter August.
Lum May Yee
The former actress and model was diagnosed with stage 2A breast cancer in 2015 and underwent four rounds of chemotherapy. While she has admitted that it was a brutal experience (she experienced hair fall as a result of the chemotherapy), her positive mindset and family support helped her get through it. The mum of two boys was also motivated by the thought that she wanted to see her kids grow up. She also said that the experience taught her to manage stress better and showed her who her true friends were.
READ MORE: Survivor Stories: “I Didn’t Think I Would Be Battling Breast Cancer At 29”
Before Harry Potter became a worldwide sensation, the now-bestselling author and mother of three struggled as a single mum, even signing up for welfare benefits in order to support her family. In 1990 when she gave birth to her first child, she also had to cope with her mother’s death and getting divorced from her first husband. Rowling revealed that she also suffered from clinical depression and contemplated suicide.
Years later, thanks to the success of the Harry Potter books and movies, Rowling became the world’s first billionaire author. She has since lost her billionaire status, as she has given away so much of it to charity and also because of the high rate of British taxes she has had to pay.
She famously said, “I’m prouder of my years as a single mother than of any other part of my life”.
She’s the lovable, funny and always fashionable Gloria Pritchard on the award-winning sitcom Modern Family, but Sofia has had her fair share of challenges in the past. The Colombian-American actress started out as a model and made her first professional appearance at 17, in a Pepsi ad that was aired in Latin America. She married her high-school sweetheart at 18 and had a son the year after but they divorced two years later and she became a single mum.
Sofia revealed that being a young single mum motivated her to be responsible and work hard to give her son a good life. She has certainly come a long way, having been named the highest-paid actress on TV for her role on Modern Family for the seventh year in a row in 2018. The natural blonde often posts about her son, Manolo, on her Instagram account, and is no doubt proud of his success as a model and actor. She has also gone on to find love again — she married True Blood star Joe Manganiello in 2015.
READ MORE: This Single Mum’s Business Story Will Make You Believe In A Woman’s Strength
You might refer to her as the Goddess of Pop or the Queen of Reinvention but did you know that Cher struggled with undiagnosed dyslexia for many years? It was so traumatic for her that she avoided reading for most of her childhood (and yet she reads many movie scripts now!) and left school when she was 16, after getting mostly Fs and Ds on her report cards over the years.
In fact, it was only when Cher was 30 and her daughter Chastity (now son Chaz) was getting tested for dyslexia that she went through the test and was diagnosed along with her child too. Despite the odds, Cher has managed to have a very successful singing and acting career and still performs to adoring crowds today, at the age of 72.
This Canadian songstress and mum of one has been singing since she was very young but her childhood was far from easy. She grew up in a poor and often abusive family environment, and started singing in bars at eight years old so she could earn some extra cash for the family. Unfortunately, when she was 22, her mother and stepfather were killed in a car accident and the burgeoning star had to put her career on hold to look after her younger siblings.
She earned money by performing in a resort and it was only when her youngest brother left school that Shania moved to Nashville to pursue her singing career. She released her self-titled debut album in 1993, at the age of 28, but it saw little commercial success. Her second album, The Woman in Me (1995), kickstarted her widespread success, but it’s her third album, Come On Over (1997) — with famed singles such as”You’re Still the One”, “From This Moment On” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” — that really cemented her status as a star.
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Text: Balvinder Sandhu / Additional reporting: Elizabeth Liew