Katherine Heigl on how she talks about race with daughters | Inquirer Entertainment

Katherine Heigl on how she talks about race with daughters

/ 03:11 PM December 07, 2020

Katherine Heigl

Katherine Heigl with daughters Adalaide (L) and Naleigh. Image: Instagram/@katherineheigl

When it comes to race, American actress Katherine Heigl admitted to singer Kelly Clarkson that she did not know at first how to broach the topic with her daughters.

Heigl and husband Josh Kelley have two adopted daughters. Naleigh, 12, is of South Korean heritage, whereas Adalaide, 8, is African American. They also have a son, Joshua, who Heigl gave birth to in December 2017.


Clarkson asked Heigl on “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” aired Dec. 3, how her experience has been talking to her daughters about Black Lives Matter. This was in light of the racial tensions in the United States this year, notably due to the deaths of African Americans Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in the hands of police, that have spurred protests in many states.


Watch their conversation here:

“I just didn’t know how to have this conversation with Adalaide or Naleigh or I didn’t know how to say there will be people in this world that don’t like you simply because of the color of your skin,” Heigl said. “I just didn’t know how to say that because my job as their mother is to build up their self-esteem and encourage self-confidence and I just thought I’m gonna take a piece of their soul with this.”

Heigl shared what they started doing at home, instead, was to watch different programs together as a family. These programs, which tackled certain issues, became the gateway for Heigl to speak to Adalaide about racism.

“There was one in particular that was dealing with racial issues and some nasty ugly things were said and we stopped it to talk to Adalaide and say, ‘Adalaide you know that if somebody ever said something like that to you or treated you that way, that has nothing to do with you, that is completely about them,’” she said.

Adalaide, however, seems to have a good head on her shoulders, with Heigl adding, “And she’s ‘I know, I know. I already know I’m totally beautiful and super cool.’ OK, perhaps we should work on humility then. Your confidence seems fine.”


Clarkson hailed Heigl for her efforts, saying this means she’s doing a great job educating her children. She also shared her personal experience with her daughter, who’s a character of her own.

“My little girl, she’s so independent and like full-on and it drives me insane and sometimes I cry at night. But also, at the same time, you don’t really wanna break her little spirit because you’re a force and that’s who you are, so just be the force, I guess,” the singer said.

Heigl finds the COVID-19 pandemic an interesting time since she gets to bond more with her children and learn about their different personalities. 

It’s been interesting this time, there’s sort of uninterrupted time with them because I’ve always been a working mom and I’m always here and then gone, here and then gone. Having this sort of uninterrupted time to kind of get to know them now, they’re totally different now than they were five years ago, two years ago,” she said.

“Their little personalities are blooming and Adalaide is a spitfire, but I want to courage that in a —  I keep saying — for good, not evil.” Cody Cepeda/NVG


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TAGS: Adoption, Black Lives Matter, Katherine Heigl, Kelly Clarkson, racism

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