E.It is not without a certain irony that Sofia Vergara has become the highest-paid television actress today in a series called “Modern Family” of all things. In it she plays Gloria, the Colombian, second and significantly younger wife of a furniture manufacturer. Gloria is a bombshell who through this marriage becomes the stepmother of two grown children, a down-to-earth housewife and a gay son who has adopted a Vietnamese daughter with his partner.
“Modern Family” is one of the most successful sitcoms on US television, loved by the audience, praised by critics for their wit and the casual portrayal of non-traditional family relationships.
The topic of artificial insemination has not yet been dealt with. So far, this has only played a role in Sofia Vergara’s real life. She was with the successful New York businessman and millionaire heir Nick Loeb, 39, for several years. In the summer of 2012, the two announced their engagement, and in April 2013 Sofia Vergara said that Loeb had fertilized a few of her eggs and had two embryos frozen.
The 42-year-old already has a son from an early marriage. Manolo is 22. Therefore, having a child together is “not so important” for her, but it is for her fiancé, and since she is not getting any younger, she used modern medicine to take precautions so that she is ready when she is ready . A year later, however, the two announced their separation. Loeb explained that he wanted children and a family, but that she wanted to concentrate fully on her acting career, for which he fully understood: “She knows how quickly it can be over, she always said she wanted her 15 minutes of fame fully savor. “
Banal bosom miracle – also in reality?
But now the agreement seems to be over. He wants a court ruling to prevent her from destroying the two female embryos without his consent. Pretty much all of the American media are covering the case. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that the dispute raises difficult ethical questions in dealing with frozen embryos. And on the other hand to Sofia Vergara herself, whose fame has long since outlasted 15 minutes. America is at her feet. No wonder with the figure, the face – and the story.
“For me it is like killing.”
She was 17 and a student at a Catholic school when a photographer spotted her on the beach in her Colombian hometown of Barranquilla. As a host of various entertainment shows, she became a star in the Latin American world, appeared in a few Tyler Perry films until the role of Gloria in “Modern Family” came in 2009. A stroke of luck for both sides.
Because the series character and actress have long since merged in an almost eerie way. It goes so far that Gloria’s television son is also called Manolo and her criminal relatives are mentioned with a wink – Sofia Vergara has a drug addict brother and one who was murdered in Bogotá. Gloria is also not only the attractive, but rather banal bosom miracle, as Sofia Vergara always appeared in early interviews and roles. She is a luxury creature and at the same time a humorous and devoted family man.
The writers have evidently recognized her potential and, with the support of the award-winning scripts, helped her to a Pygmalion-like transformation. The star became an old Hollywood school star who is already being compared to divas like Sophia Loren. A beauty who rules her body and knows how to use it to her advantage with style and charm. Sofia Vergara does not enter the countless talk show stages that are tearing around her, she rolls over them like a huge, foaming wave, leaving viewers and hosts alike refreshed and exhausted.
With her openness, which, unlike other stars, never seems flirtatious, she effortlessly chatted into the hearts of the audience. For example when she talks about her exhausting cup size (around 80F). Or talked about her preference for cakes (“I’ve never seen a movie star eat so many carbohydrates!” A presenter once said, while Vergara replied, shaking her head: “These are not ‘carbohydrates’, this is cake!”). Or criticizing the “nonsense” that you feel “sexier” when you are over forty than when you are twenty (a younger body simply does less work!).
Like “Modern Family”, Sofia Vergara also plays with all Latin American clichés – and uses them to her advantage. Her hair is actually blonde and just dyed darker to match the typical Latina. She has long since given up getting rid of her Spanish accent and instead cultivated it as a trademark.
The crucial question, when does life begin
Sofia Vergara is now engaged to her fellow actor Joe Manganiello, 38. And apparently she is now facing a problem similar to that with Nick Loeb: It would be strange, given her grown son, to have another baby. “But Joe wants babies, and if it makes him super happy – then …”, she told the magazine “Vanity Fair”, which just dedicated a cover story to her.
No wonder then that the American media are now styling the dispute over the embryos of the sitcom star into a “court drama”. Especially since it touches on far-reaching questions that concern American society in the age of reproductive medicine: When does life begin? Are embryos a kind of human being and can they “belong” to someone at all?
After the dispute became known, Nick Loeb issued a statement. For him, human life begins at the time of fertilization, he said in a statement that the news channel CNN quoted. He wanted to have the embryos carried to term by a surrogate mother as planned. He also offered to waive any maternal or financial support from his ex in writing, but to include her if she changed her mind.
Meanwhile, Sofia Vergara’s lawyer said she had never intended to destroy the embryos, but wanted them to be “frozen indefinitely”. “For me it is like killing,” Loeb wrote this week in a very personal article for the “New York Times”. “A woman can bear a child even if the man is against it, shouldn’t a man who is willing to take on all parental responsibility have a right to do so?”
Separation because he wanted a child and she didn’t
He was the child of divorce and had been dreaming of a family for as long as he could remember. An ex-girlfriend had an abortion and to this day he regularly thinks about how old his son would be. Already with his first wife he tried in vain to father a child. And a woman who should have carried his and Sofia’s child to term had a miscarriage. In the end, the search for another surrogate mother made it clear to him how differently he and Sofia had a desire to have children: “When I was approaching forty, I gave her an ultimatum. When she refused, we broke up. “
As is customary with artificial insemination, Loeb and Vergara have signed papers stating that the embryos will be destroyed if at least one partner dies. And they can only be carried out with the consent of both parties. Loeb now wants to have that changed in court.
There are said to be around 600,000 frozen embryos in the USA – and fierce fighting is raging over some because of the unclear legal situation. In Chicago, Illinois, a 33-year-old is fighting over the right to have fertilized egg cells destroyed with his sperm donation. He had given in to the request of his girlfriend at the time, who wanted to freeze embryos because of an upcoming cancer therapy and the resulting infertility. At that point it was already clear to both of them that they did not want a long-term relationship. But now the donor has changed his mind and does not want to become a father “against his will”. A first court ruled that the wish to become a mother outweighed the man’s wish. On the other hand, he complained and is now waiting for the result.
In the case of a divorced couple in Texas who argued for five years, a Houston court in 2008 ruled the man who wanted to forbid his wife from carrying the embryo that they had once created together.
Married couples who have become happy parents thanks to in vitro fertilization and who now do not know what to do with the remaining embryos are also faced with difficult decisions. Some donate them; around 70 percent of American fertility clinics offer this option. According to the health authorities, around a thousand embryos were implanted in other women in 2012, and a third developed into a child.
Adoption of an orphaned embryo is possible
A donation is also possible through organizations whose procedure is sometimes reminiscent of matchmaking agencies. Couples who want to have children create portfolios in which they present themselves with a photo, religious affiliation and income situation.
Donors can also make choices based on their preferred parenting method, political beliefs, or eating habits. Many of these agencies are offshoots of churches or organizations that fight against abortion. The Christian embryo adoption and donation program “Snowflakes” advertises on its website with the slogan “Did you know that you can give birth to your adopted child yourself?” Women’s rights activists criticize this “strong personification” of embryos and the equation of embryo transfers with adoptions what is legally inadmissible.
Other couples donate the fertilized egg cells for medical purposes, such as Alzheimer’s research, and have to deal with the debate about stem cell research. And then there are those who part with the unused embryos with a ceremony that resembles a memorial service. As well as those who find it difficult to destroy and therefore let the mother insert the embryos at a point in time that makes it impossible to carry them to term.
So this is the tricky terrain Sofia Vergara has entered with her frozen eggs. She may have her body like no other in show business at the moment. But because she is also Gloria, who millions of viewers have regarded as a family member for over five years, her embryos now also belong to half of America.