How Sophia Bush’s ‘Hard and Painful’ Fertility Journey Led to Self-Discovery

How Sophia Bush’s ‘Hard and Painful’ Fertility Journey Led to Self-Discovery featured image
Getty Images / Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor

Sophia Bush’s intuition was right all along. In a newly published essay penned for Glamour, the 41-year-old actress and activist recounted her “hard and painful” fertility journey with ex-husband Grant Hughes—and how it laid the foundation for her journey to self-discovery. Bush and Hughes tied the knot in June of 2022, yet the I Am a Voter cofounder confessed that she was close to calling off the wedding ahead of their nuptials. At the time, she chalked it up to a case of cold feet but later uncovered deeper truths.

On Her Health and Fertility Journey…

“After the wedding I found myself in the depths and heartbreak of the fertility process, which was the most clarifying experience of my life,” she wrote. “It feels like society is finally making space for brutally honest conversations about how hard and painful any fertility journey is, but I kept mine private.

I was trying to get through months of endless ultrasounds, hormone shots, so many blood draws that I have scar tissue in my veins, and retrieval after retrieval, while simultaneously realizing the person I had chosen to be my partner didn’t necessarily speak the same emotional language I did.

As I lost track of how many examination tables I had lain on alone, I felt something in me seismically shift. Six months into that journey, I think I knew deep down that I absolutely had made a mistake. It would take my head and heart a while longer to understand what my bones already knew.”

When the One Tree Hill alum received an offer for a play in London, she embraced it as a welcome distraction. However, when she fell ill overseas and her body struggled to recover, she was forced to bid adieu to the West End production. This was during the summer of 2023. Just one month later, she returned to Los Angeles and initiated divorce proceedings.

On Her Freshly Cultivated Support System…

What followed in the wake of her divorce proceedings was the growth of a special support system. “Groups of women in my life started opening up about issues they were going through in their own homes,” she wrote. “We really wrapped one another up in support. It was tragic and hard. But it was also beautiful. There were moments of incredible sadness because no one signs up to get married thinking it’ll end.

The days when we knew people needed to laugh, we sent inspirational memes and silly TikToks. We read books written by great therapists and shared emo quotes from poets. Our ‘Begin Again’ Amazon shopping list, which we created for the ones moving out and starting over, has now been forwarded to so many other women.”

On Her New Relationship…

Within that empowering circle of women, she developed a romantic relationship with former American soccer player Ashlyn Harris. “It really took other people in our safe support bubble pointing out to me how we’d finish each other’s sentences or be deeply affected by the same things. When you’re so in the trenches of hardship—plus you have the added weight of having to go through it on a public stage—it can be hard to see anything but what’s right in front of you.”

Headlines about her new relationship quickly surfaced, and rumors spread widely. Yet, Bush emphasizes that she’s found “real joy” amidst it all. Her essay doesn’t push to refute inaccurate accusations but rather to illuminate her newfound clarity.

On Self-Discovery…

While Bush acknowledges that she’s always understood her sexuality as existing “on a spectrum,” she finds solace in identifying as queer. “Would I have liked to make the public part of this journey a choice for myself, and not have it taken from my lips and set ablaze by gossip blogs and bottom-feeder online bots? Of course. I’m very aware, though, as we discuss bullying and harassment and being outed without consent—that I’m incredibly lucky this happened in my adulthood. I really love who I am, at this age and in this moment.”

“I am so lucky to be here, now. I have real joy. It took me 41 years to get here,” she concluded. “And while I marvel at it, I will also make space for people’s pain. But I will not carry anyone’s projected shame. When I take stock of the last few years, I can tell you that I have never operated out of more integrity in my life. I hope that’s clear enough for everyone speculating out there, while being as gentle as I possibly can be.”

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