John Legend has opened up about the miscarriage of his son Jack, sharing the impact the loss had on his relationship with Chrissy Teigen and revealing it "tested" them.
The couple tragically lost their third child, a baby boy, in September 2020, due to a pregnancy complication, with the pair sharing their heartbreak on social media at the time.
Now the singer, 43, has revealed how the tragic loss "tested" their family, but ultimately strengthened their relationship.
“We were tested,” he told The Guardian. “It was a tragedy. But I think it strengthened our resolve and our resilience because we were there for each other. We came out even more sure of who we were as a couple and as a family.”
After the miscarriage, Legend's wife Teigen shared a series of candid black-and-white photos of her and Legend in hospital together immediately after the couple's loss.
While the images prompted something of a backlash, the family also experienced a wave of support and Legend said it is that aspect of the response that the couple chose to focus on.
“It was raw, sharing our experience,” he says. “I was worried but our instinct was to do it because people knew we were pregnant and Chrissy felt like she needed to tell the story completely about what happened.”
Legend, who shares son Miles, three, and daughter Luna, six, with Teigen, says he was "amazed by the outpouring of love and support" the couple felt after sharing their story.
“Also, we found out how many other families have gone through this. It was a powerful and brave thing that Chrissy did to share that because it made so many people feel like they were seen and that they weren’t alone."
In terms of what has helped him through emotionally, the singer says his music played a role in the healing process.
“There’s music dealing with grief and what it feels like to mourn, and to try to pick up the pieces after you’ve lost something,” he says.
“When you lose a pregnancy and you have to go through that grief together, it can be really difficult for a family. Hopefully creating music out of it can be healing for me and for other people too.”
Legend isn't the only celebrity to open up about the impact baby loss has had on his family.
In 2020 Meghan Markle opened up about her pain after revealing she suffered a miscarriage during the summer.
In a deeply personal article, the Duchess of Sussex explained that despite how common miscarriage is, many still feel they have to carry the “unbearable grief” in silence and often feeling laden with “unwarranted” shame.
"I dropped to the floor with [Archie] in my arms, humming a lullaby to keep us both calm, the cheerful tune a stark contrast to my sense that something was not right,” Meghan wrote.
“I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second.”
Markle also described what it was like for Prince Harry to go through the miscarriage with her.
"Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband’s heart break as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of mine, I realised that the only way to begin to heal is to first ask, 'Are you OK?'” she continued.
In 2016, when the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall and her husband Mike also suffered a miscarriage, Zara Tindall revealed the impact the loss had on the family.
“I have a very supportive family, Mike's incredible – and it's hard for the guys too," she said. "It's very different for us [women] because we're carrying the child, but for guys I guess it's kind of that helpless feeling, which must be incredibly high and horrible for them. At the end of the day they've still lost a child too."
The impact of miscarriage on a relationship
According to the NHS, approximately one in eight pregnancies end in miscarriage and many more miscarriages happen before a women realises she is pregnant.
A recent study from the Imperial College London found that 8% of partners experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) three months after their partner experiences miscarriage. One in 25 continue to suffer from PTSD up to nine months on.
Jane Brewin, chief executive of the baby loss charity Tommy’s, says: “Baby loss can have a deep and lasting impact on both parents, and this [Imperial] study gives a voice to many who have suffered in silence, highlighting the profound consequences that can have for their mental health and wellbeing.
“The message is clear; partners are vulnerable to the same psychological problems as mothers and specialist support must be made available to either or both bereaved parents.”
How can couples navigate baby loss?
“There is no right or wrong way to grieve,” he said. “But be understanding of each other's needs and discuss what would be a fitting way to be there for each other, give each other strength and the emotional space to mark the shared experience together.”
Karahassan believes it is important for men not to prescribe to gender roles while processing grief.
“I hear the phrase ‘staying strong’ a lot from men whose partner has had a miscarriage,” Karahassan continued.
“A man may wish to keep calm and carry on, work on problem-solving and attempt to fix the issue by not talking about it so as to try and help his wife to forget or not get upset.
“This stops the father from connecting to his own grief, whilst also alienating himself from his partner who wants to connect over the pain of a miscarriage. This results in two people unable to fully connect over a shared life experience.”
Brewin says that it’s “vital” to recognise that partners experience the same loss and grief when it comes to miscarriage.
“Miscarriage can be incredibly lonely, and that isolation is magnified for those who feel they have to hide their heartbreak," she said.
"Partners often feel huge pressure to be strong and supportive, holding it all together for the mother and wider family. Attitudes to miscarriage and grief must change so that anyone who wants to open up or ask for help feels able to do so.”
Help and support
For more information and support visit stillbirth and neonatal death charity, Sands UK.
Tommy’s funds research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, and provides pregnancy health information to parents.
The Miscarriage Association provides support and information to anyone affected by miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or molar pregnancy.