SANDRA GETS CANDID
THE ACTRESS REVEALS WHY HER KIDS WILL ALWAYS COME FIRST
How a disaster led to love
Children weren’t always on the cards for Hollywood sweetheart Sandra Bullock. By the time she hit her forties, she was enjoying screen success with films such as Miss Congeniality 2, but had started to think that it might be too late for her to start a family.
However, when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, all of that changed.
“Katrina happened. And I knew. Like, just something told me that my child was there. It was weird,” Sandra (53) tells.
The actress, producer and philanthropist, who is mum to Louis (8) and Laila (6), began the adoption process shortly after the disaster, but it was timeconsuming and draining. “It was this process of filling out forms, being judged about who you are as a human being,” she says.
It was several years before she got to meet Louis. In that time, a huge amount had gone on in her life, including a divorce from then-husband Jesse James.
The adoption may have taken a while, but the bond between her and Louis was instant. “I just said, ‘Oh, there you are.’ It’s like he had always been there. It’s like he fit in the crook of my arm. He looked me in the eyes. He was wise. My child was wise.
The beautiful thing that I was constantly told was, ‘The perfect child will find you. You will find your child.’”
Sandra’s own childhood was unconventional. Born in Arlington, Virginia, her voice coach father John (93) and German-born opera singer mother Helga − who died in 2000 of cancer at the age of 58 − moved Sandra and her sister Gesine (48) back and forth between Europe and the US for her mother’s performances.
Despite her nomadic upbringing, Sandra has put down roots in Louis’ hometown, buying a house in New Orleans’ popular Garden District so he can grow up there. Sandra says it was Louis who encouraged her to find her daughter, whom she adopted in 2015. “Louis has a very strong way and he’s a fine leader, and he led me to Laila.” Unsurprisingly, the Oscar winner is a big advocate for adoption.
“There are hundreds of thousands of children that are ready to be your child. You’re a forever parent the minute you accept the love of that child.
“And it’s amazing to me how we can take away people’s happiness by telling them this is the box you have to stay in. There is no box.”
She continues, “I’m all for Republican,
Democrat, whatever, but don’t talk to me about what I can or can’t do with my body until you’ve taken care of every child who doesn’t have a home or is neglected or abused. It makes me teary-eyed. Let’s all just refer to these kids as
‘our kids’. Don’t say ‘my adopted child.’ No-one calls their kid their ‘IVF child’ or their ‘Oh, s***, I went to a bar and got knocked-up child.’ Let’s just say ‘our children’.”
Sandra, who is currently dating photographer Bryan Randall (52), says that her children are now her complete focus. “So my priorities are my kids, my kids, my kids. My family. My family. That’s it.
“Everything is about them being okay, being in school, having what they need, their moments. I need to be there for every single moment they have. It’s harder for me to leave them than I think it is for them when I leave. I don’t leave that much and I don’t work that much any more.”
She hasn’t completely left the public eye, though. She received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress for Gravity in 2013 and was also named “Most Beautiful Woman” by People magazine in 2015. This year, she’ll appear in a post-apocalyptic horror film, Bird Box, with John Malkovich. She is also currently promoting her lead role in new heist comedy Ocean’s 8, playing Debbie Ocean. Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna and Helena Bonham Carter make up the rest of the stellar cast.
Sandra says it was wonderful working with a group of mainly women. “We were able to bond and connect because we were working crazy long days. We were draped all over each other on a couch at midnight and once we let our guard down and realised we’re in the company of safe people, I think we all sort of began the vomit fest.”
The actress believes the film is about more than clothes, burglary and fancy jewellery.
“It’s about women taking care of each other. Women being good to each other, women stepping back and letting the more gifted step forward in the heist or whatever. Recognising talent and saying, ‘Go out and shine. I’ve got your back.’”
Sandra was in the process of adopting Louis in 2010 when she split from her husband of almost five years Jesse James (below), amid claims he’d repeatedly cheated on her.
The cover girl has shifted her focus to her kids Louis and Laila (pictured below with boyfriend Bryan), but she has taken on a few film roles, such as Ocean’s 8 and Gravity (top).