James Van Der Beek and his wife, Kimberly, are opening up about their healing process following a series of tragic miscarriages, including two that were life-threatening and occurred within seven months.
While speaking to ET via Zoom, the Van Der Beeks recounted the tumultuous events and how they’ve been trying to move on past heartbreak as a family. James and Kimberly are parents to five children together — Olivia, 10, Joshua, 9, Annabel, 7, Emilia, 5, and Gwendolyn, 2.
“I’ve had, actually, five miscarriages total, but the last two were significant in that they hospitalized me. Those were incredibly difficult, emotionally and physically,” Kimberly told ET’s Rachel Smith. “I just felt like I was going to pass. I didn’t know that I was going to live through it. It became pretty dark.”
“I just have faint glimpses of what happened with James, because I kept losing consciousness,” she continued. “He was there giving me comfort, and love, yeah, just a rock.”
James said that on his part, it helped to give each other space, and to talk to friends about what he was going through.
“I would definitely encourage anybody, especially men, because I can speak to that side of it, to reach out to friends and family and loved ones to talk about it,” he said. “And give ourselves space, that time to grieve. I was talking to a friend who went through the same thing recently and I said, ‘How are you doing?’ and he was still going through it. I said, ‘The world moves on faster than you heal, doesn’t it?'”
“He looked at me and said, ‘Yeah, it really does,'” he added. “Because everyone has their life, they’re really busy, there’s all kinds of craziness going on. But my advice to anybody would be to really take that time and recognize that the world will move on a lot faster than you, so give yourself that space.”
The former Dawson’s Creek star also told ET that when it came time to break the sad news to their five children, he and Kimberly “didn’t try to dance around” the situation.
“We were really honest with them,” he explained. “We told them really just the basic facts of what had happened and what wasn’t going to happen. Because they get it. They understand sadness, they feel it. If you’re feeling it, they feel it.”
With May being Trauma Awareness Month, James and Kimberly have partnered with American Red Cross to encourage others everywhere to give the gift of life and donate blood. Kimberly credits doctors for using emergency blood transfusions to save her life, twice.
“Other people donating blood saved my life twice. Twice,” she said. “So I just want to tell everybody that’s donated, thank you.”
In November 2019, James revealed during a live episode of Dancing With the Stars that Kimberly had suffered a miscarriage.
“My wife, Kimberly, and I went through every expecting parent’s worst nightmare. We lost the baby,” the actor, who was paired with pro Emma Slater, said at the time. “The little soul that we had expected to welcome in our family took a shortcut to whatever lies beyond. You never know why these things happen. That’s what I’ve been telling my kids. All you know is that it brings you closer together.”
“It breaks you open. It opens up your heart, it deepens your appreciation. It makes you more human,” he continued. “I really didn’t think I would be dancing tonight, but Kimberly from her hospital bed said to me, ‘I am not done watching you dance.’ Kimberly, I love you … I’m dancing for you, I’m dancing for us, so here we go, babe.”
In June 2020, James took to Instagram to reveal that his wife had suffered yet another miscarriage, 17 weeks into her pregnancy.
“After suffering a brutal, very public miscarriage last November, this time we kept the news to ourselves,” he wrote. “Once again…the soul we’d been excited to welcome into the world had lessons for our family that did not include joining us in a living physical body.”
James continued on, sharing that they rushed Kimberly to the hospital “for another harrowing night of blood transfusions.” He added that while trying to be by his wife’s side “something kept running through my head, again and again, which I now feel compelled to share: We’ve got to take better care of each other.”
“There are no words to ease that pain… to make the process hurt less or to solve it quickly,” he wrote. “But the way out of it? Starts with an open, broken-hearted contemplation of this question: How can we take better care of each other?”
Hear more on in the video below.
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