Adrienne Bailon Houghton has embraced motherhood with the utmost grace. So much so that her husband Israel Houghton cannot stop praising her motherly instincts. ”I think it's just the most attractive, sexiest thing about her,” the Gospel recording artist told BET Lifestyle during a recent Zoom call.
The first-time mom gushed from ear to ear as her husband of nearly six years sang her praises. “I think it makes a huge difference when you have a partner that's super hands-on. I've been totally blessed,” she detailed about the support she continuously receives from her mate.
We recently sat down with the couple, who married in 2016, to chat about a variety of topics, including welcoming their son Ever James in August after a long journey of IVF cycles and miscarriages.
“While I was really open about my struggles, a lot of it I kept to myself because this was a sacred journey for me. Obviously, the baby being on the way was a sacred experience,” Adrienne shared with us. “It's so funny, Jeannie Mai would always tell me you've got to share your story one day, and I told her I absolutely will. I just want it to be able to encourage someone and bring them hope. I feel like we're on that journey where we now can tell somebody not to give up. There is hope.”
“The journey is not the way I thought it would be. I obviously never thought that it would have a child through a surrogate," she recalls. "I always imagined that I'd be pregnant with beautiful maternity photos and all those things. And while I thought that [surrogacy] would take away from my journey as a mother, the moment I held my son, I knew I would not change a thing about how we got here!”
Both Adrienne and Israel believe everything happens in divine timing. “We've learned that probably more than anything, just the timing of God. You've heard the phrase that man makes plans, and God laughs,” Israel said, before Adrienne chimed in, “Literally, that’s our story.”
She added, “It may not go exactly the way you planned, but it goes exactly the way God has it planned out, and it's going to be just as beautiful. [...] Even with The Real ending. I knew that Ever was on his way, and I'm not gonna lie, I was conflicted because this has been my ultimate dream and I really want to be able to be 100% a mom and give that type of energy. So when it ended, it was bittersweet, obviously. But at the same time, I was like, ‘Wow, God, you really be having a plan.’ I can be the full-time mom that I've always wanted to be.”
Since his at-home birth in California, the infant has been closely nurtured by his parents. At the time of the interview, the little one has already traveled to Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. “He's doing his little world tours,” Israel told us with a chuckle, before adding his son has already been on the beach.
“The first month I didn't care about my phone or social media. I would find my phone days later under a pile of things like diapers, laundry, or brand-new toys. I'd be like, ‘Oh, that's where my phone is,’” Adrienne shared with a chuckle before admitting people once thought she was obsessed with her phone. “We were surviving just fine—me and that boy!”
On Monday (Sept. 20), Ever received a warm welcome from his family at the couple’s beautiful home in New York, which has been under renovation for the last year and a half.
“It is done and we are going to be stepping into a brand new home! His nursery is finished,” Adrienne happily told us earlier this month. “I'm excited to bring him home to New York.”
When it comes to warm bottle duty, the family has an impressive system in place, affectionately called “Ever’s Bottle Service.”
“At night we got this little group text with our family that’s called ‘Ever’s Bottle Service’ and we make a celebration out of every feeding,” Israel told us exclusively about the family's current nightlife. “It's just been great.”
As for other significant milestones, the cutie has also locked in his first baby photoshoot since his surprise birth announcement. Ever has also made waves on social media with his heartwarming support of his dad's new album, WORSHIP ANYWHERE.
“I had a onesie made for Ever, which was like a band t-shirt for Israel & New Breed. It’s so crazy the feedback. People were like, “Are these available? We want one for our kids.’ And I was like should we drop onesies as merch for this Worship Everywhere album?"
The duo recently dropped the onesie merch. "Miracle signs and onesies is what we call it!”
According to the proud parents, their little one has already picked up their love for music—and lullabies, which Israel says he’s learned to write on the spot.
“He cries on rhythm,” Israel shared with a chuckle before Adrienne confirms adding their little one has great lungs. “We can work with that.”
With the new album on repeat during their recent family road trip from Lake Tahoe to Santa Fe to see Israel's mom, the couple noticed their son reacted positively to the uplifting songs, a feeling the couple hopes all listeners feel when they press the play button.
The whole ride, we listened to the album,” Adrienne recalled. “It’s like those records that you want to put on that you're like, this makes me feel good, it encourages me. I think more than ever, the world needs that.”
Israel added, “I am biased—of course—but I really do think this is the best thing we've ever done. And I normally say that around every project, but this one is way different.”
FYI: The Worship Anywhere album will be released on October 7.
Editor’s Note: This story/interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.