Human Interest

Bachelor alum Michelle Money on reconnecting with son she placed for adoption: ‘My heart was complete’

Michelle Money is a reality television personality best known for appearing on three shows in ABC’s “The Bachelor” franchise: “The Bachelor,” “Bachelor Pad,” and “Bachelor in Paradise.” While she became a fan favorite, Michelle had a secret that she only revealed last year: she had a child, a boy, whom she placed for adoption when she was 15. She said that the decision to choose adoption was “not an easy one but it was the right one,” and her son’s adoptive parents gave her letters and pictures for the first few years of his life.

Still, she wanted the opportunity to meet her son again one day. “I have my daughter who is the love of my life and am hopeful that at some point I will have my son in my life as well!” She said in an interview with US Weekly. “I know I will never take the place of his adoptive parents, but I would absolutely love to have some place in his life if he will have me!”

Last week, Michelle appeared on a podcast with Reality Steve, a blogger best known for spoiling the endings of the “Bachelor” shows, as well as supplying behind-the-scenes gossip, producer manipulation, and — with his new podcasts — candid interviews with former contestants. When Michelle was interviewed by Reality Steve, she opened up about her adoption and how she was able to reconnect with her son.

She explained why she chose to reveal her adoption story last year on “Marriage Boot Camp.”

“I never planned on talking about it,” she said. “I don’t ever want to put him and his family in a position that they’re not ready for. And I didn’t know what he knew about me, or if he even knew who I was. But we did this particular drill that really kind of got us digging deep and it just evoked a lot of emotion for me, so much that I was back in the correction office, bawling, going, ‘I don’t want to do this’.”

So for the first time, she talked publicly of how she got pregnant at 15 and chose to give her son life. “I live in Utah, which is a very conservative, predominantly Mormon culture. And I made the decision to keep my son, not have an abortion, and then to place him for adoption,” she explained. “And I did it openly. I didn’t go fly away and hide, pretend like it didn’t happen. I kind of just owned it and went to school until I was showing, and then I did homeschool.”

“What came from that experience, going through that at such a young age,” she continued, “really messed with me emotionally, for obvious reasons. But to experience the kind of love you have for a child at the age of 16, and then hand him, give him away… I mean, this is something that you just can’t explain. And there’s this disconnect with people for the rest of your life. So for me it was just this struggle with not only mourning the loss of my son, but also dealing with the judgment from people knowing that I got pregnant, and that I had sex before I got married.” She said that she spent years feeling lonely, inadequate, and undeserving of love, battling those feelings for most of her life. But she said she finally had been able to let those emotions go and move on from them.

She also revealed in the podcast, for the first time publicly, that she was able to find her son, because his parents watched “Marriage Boot Camp.” “He is now in my life,” she revealed. “I met him. He is the most incredible 19-year-old boy who has had the most remarkable life, who is kind, and amazing, and everything that I could have ever wanted for him, he had, from these incredible parents. Had I not gone on that show, he would not be in my life.”

Michelle had a closed adoption, but his parents were also from Utah, and were able to deduce that Michelle was their son’s birth mother. She had been able to figure out who his parents were, but respected their privacy, and followed him for most of his life from the outside, keeping tabs on him through social media. “I would never want to insert myself into his life. I never wanted to invade his privacy,” she said. “I’ve always just kind of been hoping that he’ll reach out to me. His parents, because they had known my name, they watched ‘The Bachelor,’ they had been watching me on every show, they followed me, and without telling him, just kind of kept tabs on me as well.” When they saw the episode where she talked about the adoption, they realized that they needed to tell their son about Michelle, because he had begun to mention wanting to find his birth mom. They felt like the time was right.

“So I got a call from an attorney that was like, ‘I have reason to believe that you are the birth mother to this family’,” she explained. “And it was like, yeah, I know his name, I know everything about this family, I know where they live, and I was just bawling. It was the most beautiful, amazing… I can’t tell you, my life has changed so much in the last year. The most incredible things have just kind of fallen into my lap, that being one of them.”

“I never realized how big of a hole I had in my heart,” she said. “It was kind of in the back of my mind, always. It never goes away. But the day that I met him, it was the most beautiful, incredible experience, and getting to know him, and his life, and to have him look at me and say, ‘Thank you so much for the parents that you gave me, and for the love that they have shown me, and for making that decision,’ and the next morning, I woke up the next morning, and my heart… I hadn’t ever felt that before. It was like my heart was complete.”

Michelle has another child, named Brielle, and her daughter has been able to connect with her son as well. “He’s been over to my home, and we’ve done family get-togethers, and it has been the most beautiful, incredible experience of my life.”

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