Update: Jenny McCarthy and Evan photoshoot and interview in People

09/21/2007 at 11:55 PM ET

Update September 21st: Photos, quotations, and book excerpts added. Check out this week’s People for the full excerpt.

Originally posted September 19th: Actress Jenny McCarthy, 34, and her son Evan Joseph, 5, appear on the cover of People magazine this week in promotion of her new book, Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism, to discuss their story, and to promote awareness of the autistic spectrum.

Click below for all the photos and interview highlights.

 On Evan’s other signs of autism: He had a fascination withdoor hinges — I told people he was going to be a mechanic. At themall, he and I had to ride the escalators 100 times. And my friendswere amazed that he could sing an entire Dave Matthews song and notmiss a word. I thought I’d given birth to somewhat of a genius. But hehad very little ‘original’ speech.

On putting on a brave face in public: After the diagnosis, I couldn’t lie in bed and cry. Instead, I had to promote my book, Baby Laughs.Yes, I had to do a week of comedy about my baby, to sell this book, soI could pay for his autism. I know people like to think celebrities areimmune from problems. Don’t let designer shoes fool you. At Live withRegis and Kelly, Kelly said, ‘How’s your baby boy doing?’ It made mewant to cry, but I couldn’t. ‘Really great!’ I replied. I immediatelywent into a joke.

On the end of her marriage: Johnwas starting to get angry at me because he felt ignored. The onlyfantasies I wanted to imagine were Evan being able to say, ‘I love you,Mommy.’ I didn’t care if I never had sex again.

John eventually moved out at Jenny’s request.

AsJohn packed up, I looked at Evan. It was the only moment I was actuallygrateful for autism. Even when John said, ‘Daddy’s moving into adifferent house,’ Evan just stared off.

On in-home therapy:After Evan completed the UCLA program, Jenny sought in-home treatment,the average cost of which was $75 an hour, adding up to $2,250 a week.When she was placed on a yearlong waiting list for state funding, theactress decided to pay for it herself.

Isank into my chair. I had taken out a second loan on my house, so Icould cover it for now. When I talked to other families, the story wasthe same: They’d refinanced their house or borrowed money. Just know ifI ever come out with my own dumb perfume line, this is why.

On her newly public role: I don’t want to come across like a preacher. All I’m doing is showing there are things you can do to ease autism.

On Evan: At 3 he had the skills of a 1-year-old. [Now] people are shocked when they meet him.

Jenny had mentioned on Oprah that she temporarily broke up with Jim Carrey when Evan’s condition started worsening again. She recalls,

Inthe following weeks, Evan was starting to act a little more kooky. Hehad developed a bad obsessive-compulsive disorder that experts sayhappens with a lot of autistic children. One day, he wouldn’t stopscreaming until all the doors in the house were closed. I called myagents and told them I would be taking some time off. Until I could getEvan healthy again, I couldn’t play mom and actress. Sadly, I also knewI couldn’t play girlfriend.

Tocombat the OCD tendencies, doctors prescribed antifungal drugs toremove yeast from Evan’s intestines and he started to recover soonafterwards.

Two weeks intothis, I was watching Sponge Bob with Evan, when the most amazing thinghappened. He giggled at a joke. My body went into shock. Then ithappened again. I started screaming. It was such an abstract joke thatI knew it meant he was no longer in a confused daze, but was growingmentally and emotionally.

Evan’s therapist couldn’t believe the burst ofdevelopment. He was social and for the first time wanted hugs fromMama! Words can’t describe the feeling of your baby wanting to be heldafter years of rejection.

On Evan’s progress: Notlong later, a therapist came over to evaluate Evan to see if he stillqualified for state-funding and was astounded by his progress. Before abowl of airplanes and a bowl of animals, she asked Evan where a trainwould go. He placed it in the bowl of vehicles and said,

Iwent on an airplane. I went to Canada and saw deer and Santa. Then wewent in Mama’s trailer and I played with the fans and ate chips whileMama worked.

The woman slowly looked up at me and said, ‘What’s going on?’

Evan still sporadically repeats a few words and flaps his arms, but it is clear he has made tremendous strides.

Forthe most part, you would never be able to pick him out of a crowd asbeing a little unique. He is now 5, and since he is able to completelycommunicate, I ask him questions I so badly wanted the answers to. WhenI asked him why he flapped his arms, he replied, ‘Because I get SOEXCITED, and then I fly just like the angels do.’

How can I argue with that?

On mothers with children with autism: There’s a special place in heaven for mothers with autistic children. And I’m going to be the first one to buy them a drink.

On Jim Carrey: [Wehave a] beautiful relationship — and I’m glad to say there are threeof us in it. Jim reacted better than anyone ever did. He was intrigued.He asked questions. Beyond doubt it was written in the stars that Jimand Evan were a pair. He’s actually helped Evan get past some obstaclesI couldn’t. I sometimes call him the autism whisperer. He speaks alanguage Evan understands, and Evan feels safe with him.

On having more children: Let me take a drink ofwater on this. I’m done having children. I always thought I’d have atleast four or five. But I got my ass kicked.

Source: People; People, October 1 issue, pg 120-129

FILED UNDER: Kids , News

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Monica on

I love Jenny McCarthy – I read her books Belly Laughs and Baby Laughs. I’ll have to get this one.

daphneesmith on

Cute mom/son pic! Very handsome pair. And I can’t believe People is devoting their cover to something other than Britney’s latest disaster, whatever one thing that might be.

Christine on

I love Jenny. I have read all of her books and although I do not have an autistic child, I will be getting this one too so I can better understand the disease!!!

mayor on

I believe the correct term should be “son with autism”. Her son is first and foremost a person, having autism is secondary.

daphneesmith on

Mayor, I know what you’re saying and I do remember from Special Ed classes in college that there ideally the terminology is person-first (person with a disability vs. disabled person) but “Fighting for My Son With Autism” is simply not practical for the mag cover.

polina on

I have always like Jenny but this website http://www.childrenofthenewearth.com/free.php?page=articles_free/mccarthy_jenny/article1 makes her sound very strange. So is she now saying her son isn’t a “crystal” he’s just autistic? Can anyone explain this?

Nichole on

Mayor- Does it really matter to you how this gets termed? She is doing what she thinks is best for her child.

I just hope that people realize a few things after reading this article:

1. THERE IS NO CURE FOR AUTISM! NO CURE! Changing a diet can help, but there is still no cure. Changing the diet DOES NOT help all children, though.
2. Some kids with autism do not want to be “cured”. I have an autistic 13 year old, and he says he is fine the way he is. I agree. He’s perfect as himself.

Yes, having a diagnosis of AUTISM is a scary thing, but with the right support, a child can and will thrive. My son goes to school at a normal school with special support. He has friends that are “normies (as he puts it)” and kids that have a challenge or two. He loves his puppy, his sister, and his game systems. He plays baseball on the Challenger League. He plays soccer on the VIP division of the AYSO league. He still has some issues, but he’s happy with himself, and we’re happy with him JUST THE WAY he is.

Jen on

Amen, Nichole. Amen.

preesi on

Nicole? our sons could be twins they sound so similar…

Christine on

As a mom of a 4yr old with autism – I’m thrilled she’s being heard. I (personally) am glad she is my voice.
Gluten and casein free along with supplements HAVE helped my son’s health and development tremendously. So have RDI and really good structured program.

I did take notice of the cover as it was pointed out on Oprah that these kids aren’t autistic. They have autism…it’s like saying “I am cancer” rather than “I have cancer”…(if you want to get into semantics – lol!)

Anon on

Christine – Good point. I’d much rather be described as a “woman with cancer” than a “cancerous woman”.

Tary on

Mayor – not everyone in the world feels the need to subscribe to continual political correctness. It’s a magazine cover, it needs to be short, punchy, and they have only so much space to work with.

Lindsay on

Thank you, that’s driving me nuts. All the magazines and blogs continue to point out the fact that her son has autism. Who cares, so do how many other children? It’s bad enough he has to live with the label in school or elsewhere but to see it all the time in mags is sad. He’s a child, let him be.
You’re also right that it should be “her son with autism”. It just shows you how uneducated so many people still are about developmental disabilities. It’s quite sad considering it’s 2007 and most people with developmental disabilities live completely normal lives.

Kelly on

Who gives a rats *** about how its worded. I think that its wonderful to finally see this one a magazine cover. As a mother with a 4yr old autistic child, I am so glad to see someone is doing something and speaking up. Im thrilled that Autism is finally getting recognized and more research is being funded for. I wouldnt want to change my son, but I would like an answer to what caused this and if there is anything that can help him. Lindsey I think your comment was just rude. Do you even have an autistic child?? Bc if you dont , you dont know the first thing about what its like and what it means for us parents that do, to see more attention being brought to the epidemic climbing disability. I think what Jenny is doing is awesome!! Go JENNY!! I cant wait to read her book.

FC on

Who knows if she even had control over how the cover was printed. It’s just nice to see a decent story on the cover.

But, anyway, I’m glad to see her reaching out and sharing her story. And Asher looks a lot like his dad, John, as he gets older. 🙂

Amy on

I wonder if she is mad about the cover because on Oprah she went on and on about how he isn’t autistic, he has autism. She said she hated the term autistic.

aury on

1. that baby looks so much like his daddy.

2. i have an all-new respect for jim carrey. i hope they’re together for a long time to come.

daphneesmith on

I have to ask, though, do people also object to the term “diabetic” or is that OK to use?

Shelby on

Her son is battling a spectrum disease. If it doesn’t “matter” to you then go ahead and say it however you want. However, for those of us personally affected by it or watched Oprah will continue to express the disease in the correct terms. I agree with the above poster that THERE IS NO CURE! Autism cannot be cured no matter how hard you try but yes some of the “symptoms” can be less noticeable. I truely believe in the gluten/caisein free diet as I’ve seen it worked but that would about as far as I would take it. I currently do not have any children but have worked for a family with twins one of whom was has autism and this is going on 5 years now. They have spent themselves into debt with all of these promises of treatments and “cures”. It is sickening the way some doctors/”practioniners” prey on needy parents who are just trying to make their children “normal”. There comes a point when you have to say this is my child and i love him and i will do what is in my personal and financial power to help him but not at the expense of missing out on his life. This is not directed at Jenny who I believe is doing an incredible job but more of my employer. I love that little boy so much but I embrace him for all that he is. For those of you who have children with autism I’ve been looking into something that someone told me recently. That grandparents with Alzeiheimers are the grandparents of children with autism. This is theory has been been true with 3 families I’ve talked to by either Maternal/Paternal grandparents/great grandparents. Thanks!

Carrie Jo on

Polina- Jenny has spiritual beliefs that are related to her son’s autism, but she doesn’t talk about it in the general public because many people think it’s weird and she doesn’t want her spiritual beliefs to over-shadow the importance of getting the word out about autism.

M on

daphneesmith: my sister prefers to be called “a person with diabetes” rather than “a diabetic.” everyone is different though. i have marfan syndrome and don’t mind being called a “marf”. some people say handicapped, some say disabled, some say challenged, etc. i understand the people who are upset by the cover title. i’m sure jenny had nothing to do with it though. i am excited that someone is discussing autism though. my husband has a very mild case and so many people are afraid of the word autism and we’ve found it’s difficult to get treatment for adults…

Julie on

< >

They are “pointing it out” because she wrote a book and is doing publicity for it. If I recall correctly, no one knew Holly Robinson’s son had autism until he was much older than Jenny’s son. She’s choosing to put it out there in the form of a book. Good for her for raising awareness. I do wonder how her ex-husband feels about all this, not a peep from or about him.

Beverley on

Nichole, I only hope that my five year old with autism turns out the same way as your son. Thanks for the encouraging words.

I hope that people don’t think that Jenny McCarthy is now the leading expert on autism. She is an actress who likes to make money any way she can. She has written books before, because she doesn’t get acting jobs anymore.

Autism is not curable at the moment and I hope she doesn’t delude anyone into thinking that it is. I appreciate the attention this brings to autism, and that’s all.

Does anyone know if she is donating any of the profits from her book to autism research or for programs for kids with autism? If not, then I am suspect of her motivation.

Poppy on

Personally, I’d rather “be depressed” than “a person with depression”. The latter makes it sound like it’s a tumor growing on your shoulder or something, rather than a condition.

Anya on

Polina- I’m so confused too! That website completely threw me off guard. It sounds very strange and though I don’t understand it, it makes me not want to understand it!

He is so handsome & cute! She is beautiful! I hope that his father is still in his life.

Nicole on

As a former classroom aide to autistic children (whom I loved dearly, unfortunately, I was irritated at the way a school district was run, that was the reason for my departure) I applaud all parents of children who have any disabilities, it is hard work and you should be commended on your daily battle. I hope that all of your children grow to be the best that they can with the love and encouragement that they deserve, my hats off to you all!

I also have a tremendous amount of respect for Jim Carrey, not knowing too much of his personal life I am thrilled to know that he embraced Jenny and Evan for who they are and giving them the support that they need!

Emily on

Loving Jim Carrey!
Give the politcal correctness a brake already- i am epileptic, i am also blonde, petite, smart and sassy. It is a contributor to my life,responses, personality and is part of who I am. People should enjoy the article respect Jenny’s determination and get over everything else!!!!

Anais on

I think it’s great that her and Holly Robinson-Peete are raising awareness about autism. And I think it’s so great that Jim Carrey is so supportive! This reminds me of John C McGinley, who works tirelessly raising awareness and advocacy for down’s syndrome, something my sister has. Thank you to all of them for helping stop the stigma of mental disabilities.

Meg on

I have so much respect for her and Jim after reading this article, and it really did teach me and my roommates more about the disease. I wish for the best for Evan and he is a beautiful child.

nicole on


Hea on

Well said Nichole!

I’ve been taught that autism is not a disease. It’s a developmental disorder.

sarah on

not meaning offense to jenny here but she almost talks about autism as though it is something that has trapped her son and that doesn’t sit well with me.
one of my best friends has autism and her mother has spent 19 years trying to ‘release’ her from what she calls the ‘autism prison’. shes been on diets of all descriptions, in therapy and every other possible thing that anyone could think of. she has come out of it all a very different girl to what the one she was when she was little. she still has a lot of issues but she functions ok now. she once said to me ‘i’m not a normal girl trapped by autism. autism is the way i am’.

that said i think its fantastic to see that jenny is out raising awareness about autism.

Danika on

I read the book last night cover to cover- it was SO GOOD– Half of the proceeds are going to the UCLA hospital where Evan received therapy- Jenny has gone to great lengths to help Evan- in the book -numerous times says she is not a dr.- these things worked for him-they won’t work on every child- I def. think we are over vaccinating our children-something MUST be done

Christine on

Just adding again about the semantics:
I’m not anal about terminology nor am I offended at the term “autistic”.
I say “He has autism”…if he is referred to as autistic I’m not bothered by it, but I do refer to as him “having autism” when it’s brought up.

Also, I only tell people who need to know/people who work with him. I kept a blog about out challeneges as a family, but I stopped about 6 months ago. Even though he is only 4, I have to respect his privacy and I wonder how he’ll feel reading some of the things I wrote as he gets older.

Another mom on


Nobody has said CURE. Like Jenny said on Oprah, you don’t get cured when you get hit by a bus. You recover. I am also a mom, of a child (7 yo) with ASD, and my son is recovering. Great that your son likes who he is the way he is. However, my son didn’t like pooping until his butt bled or the acid reflux that made his chest feel like it was on fire. He didn’t like not being able to communicate with me or anyone else. He didn’t like not sleeping through the night. Thank God I didn’t listen to all the naysayers that said he couldn’t get better, because, guess what? HE HAS. He is RECOVERING. I’m not judging you but cannot speak for all of us. You don’t have the right.

meggy on

As a elementary/special ed major in college, i am offended on People magazines title “My Austistic Son”. The correct term is my son with autism. Jenny also explains after her son was done with the ULCA program, she got on a waiting list for federal funding for his treatment. She has plenty of money and why does she need the federal money.Eventhough she paid for it by herself, she still put her name on this list. There are many families out in this country with children that have autism and deserves that funding. Recent figures show that 1/150 children born in the United States will have autism.

sandy on

This is going to be one of those posts that goes on and on I am sure, (and after this, I don’t EVER plan on reading ANY article on this site about Autism) BUT I have to point out, AUTISM IS NOT A DISEASE. I am sick of hearing that! I have a 6 year old son on the spectrum and call it what you want, an autistic child,a child with autism, I don’t care, just don’t call it a DISEASE. Unless you are hands on with this spectrum DISORDER, don’t even comment on it!

Annoyomus on

Sandy- ITA! I have an Autism Spectrum disorder myself, and I find it very offense when people refer to Autism and the Autism Spectrum as diseases. Autism and all the disorders on the Autism Spectrum are jus that-disorders, NOT dieases.

All of that said, I am not the least bit offended by the People Magazine title: My Autistic Son. Why? Because the title is actually correct! The word Autistic is an adjective basically meaning: “A person that has Autism”. So, basically, the title IS saying, “My son who has Autism”. It’s just saying it by using the adjective Autistic. Anyway, like people have pointed out, there’s only so much space on the cover of a magazine!

Sweet Emmy on

I have a 4 year old with a sensory disorder, kind-of a mild form of autism. I believed that he and his father had autism and finally got the sensory issue confirmed last year. My sons fathers family was very much against the diagnosis until they went to therapy and saw how it has helped him. He has been in treatment and I look back at all the things that were so hard to do as a young child with him wishing I knew then what I know now. I wanted to bring up, that I noticed that a lot of you posted you have a 4 year old with autism? Strange.

Meg on

Sandy, why can’t I comment on it? I realize now that ‘disease’ isn’t the right term to describe it, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t talk about how it affects me. No, I don’t know anybody with autism, but I was still touched by the article about Jenny and Evan and bought the magazine specifically to read it. I bought it so I could learn more about the DISORDER. I know nothing about autism and wanted to learn more, and I did.

It may not have affected me personally, but I have done some charity work where I worked with children with autism, and no, they don’t tell mention the fact that it’s not a disease. I think you were a little harsh in your comment.

Cece on

re the debate about semantics. Plenty of adults refer to *themselves* as autistic. Plenty of adults with Aspergers call themselves ‘Aspies’. They do not subscribe to this notion that they are “people with autism” anymore than gay people describe themselves as “people with gayness”. In my opinion – as the mother of an autistic child and someone who has looked into the autistic/Aspergers adult communities – it is no more offensive to say ‘autistic child’ than it is to say ‘blonde child’ or ‘deaf child’ or ‘black child’ or ‘gifted child’.
And proper therapies for autism do work. ABA programmes have been proven to be effective.

Jessica on

Who cares how the cover is worded (coming from an ex-special ed teacher, now in admin.), as long as the magazine is devoting time and its cover to this very needed cause? I’d much rather see wrong terminology on the front of People than see Britney’s latest breakdown!

Very cute kid – and I love her haircut!

Charity on

Kudos to all you moms out there who have kids with autism. I don’t doubt it’s tough but thanks for speaking up! It’s great to hear about what’s worked for your kids versus what Jenny McCarthy talked about in the article.

Even if the wording on the cover of People isn’t quite right, I’m glad to see autism getting some coverage. When we have 1/150 babies born with this disorder we need to be paying more attention to it, IMO.

sandy on

I don’t believe my comment was harsh at all, I am so tired of judmental people commenting on something they just don’t understand. Autism is obviously something near and dear to me and I am so tired of the misconceptions people make about it. As I said in my first post, Autism is not a disease, but a very complex spectrum DISORDER, but it is also something that makes my son the person he is, a strong willed genius little boy who loves life to the fullest and sees the best in everything, and everyONE, too bad more of us weren’t like that.

hlv on

I loved watching Jenny on Oprah. I can remember when my children reached milestones and how excited I was to tell family and friends. That’s how Jenny is. There may be no cure but she feels there is recovery. How lucky we are to have someone to give us hope. For parents who have heard from docs “your child will never say this or do that” to have someone say “hey maybe they could” is so exciting and I can see why Jenny would want to share that with everyone.

Nancy on

I just want to say my son is almost 15yrs old and he has Aspergers disorder. It doesn’t go away, and it takes a lot of time and patience. I found that he is not going to change. We need to just learn how to teach him the way he can learn. He does not understand things the same way we do. I give anyone credit that has the patience and time to raise a child with this disorder. It really doesn’t take money. It takes patience and time along with a lot of explaining. Time goes on and we grow along with my son and his disorder. He teaches us new things everyday.

D. on

I’m late in posting to this article because I wanted to read all the stuff about what Jenny had to say on both Oprah and in People.

I’ve always been wondering why the incredible increase of autism when it used to be like 1 in 10,000 and now it is like 1 in 100, with the majority of the diagnoses being boys. Gosh, even autism rates in Scotland climbed 18% in just one year. In fact, three of my close friends have a child with autism (we were all friends before they got pregnant) so this hits close to home for me.

Jenny’s comments about the vaccines really made me think. I went back to look at my childhood vaccination records, and I see how my vaccines were staggered starting when I was two years old, and were administered one at a time, allowing several months between each. None of that MMR stuff all at once.

I then went to the CDC web-site to see what their vaccine schedule suggests (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/wk/mm5551-Immunization.pdf), and I am truly shocked! They recommend the first vaccines start at birth with the HepB vaccine! Influenza at six months. MMR at 12 months. Rotavirus at 2 months.

I’m not a PhD scientist, but I can’t believe that kind of vaccination schedule or the amount of drugs pushed into children from birth to age 24 months cannot have anything but bad effects which could explain the incredible increase in children being diagnosed with all sorts of health problems. Sure, it could be the environment or the food, but goodness, one cannot discount the role vaccine drugs play when it is there in black and white on the CDC web-site.

It is like we are putting so many things in the bodies of these little babies all in the name of preventing diseases (and diarrhea), and here the babies have yet to develop the necessary foreign-matter integration tools to accept or work with the vaccines. As a result, all those foreign matters being injected simply overwhelm the body and result in the body rejecting or being damaged by the ingredients in the vaccines thus the result is a child with a serious health or disability problem.

Heck, there’s lots of ingredients in those vaccines I won’t let in my body so why would I put it in a baby’s body?

Rachel Smith on

I went to 6 different stores to purchase your new book and all were out. I was so dissapointed. My son is 3 1/2 and was diagnosed almost 2 years ago. My son was born 3 months early and it has been an up hill battle since his birth. He has an older brother and younger brother. I watched your episode on Oprah and I thought you came up with some pretty good points. Well I know you must be busy. Good luck with everything. If you have a chance, please try to write back.
Rachel Smith
Mommy to 3 boys, Brandon 5, Ryan 3 1/2 and Gavin 2 years.

Denise Furginson on

I am a grandma whose grandson was diagnosed in the “Autistic Spectrum” and we were very suspect about his vaccinations as he “became” autistic after his third round of vaccinations. We thought the most important thing was to “get the toxin out” of his little body. By the grace of God we discovered PureBodyNow.com who sells chelating foot pads. We just put one on his food before bed and it “drew” the toxins out. We also use, with great success, essential oils from YoungLiving.com. We use BrainPower and Clarity. We also have him on a wheat/sugar free diet. I encourage all to use the alternative therapies we used. They worked miracles for our sweet Shane, and I pray they do the same for your loved one, or ones.
Best wishes, Grandma Dee

Mondee on

I just wanted to say that I give Jenny alot of kudos. Here is a mom that truly LOVES her child, she put everything aside and connected to her son> it takes one hell of a person to do everything she and Evan accomplished in just a couple of years and for Jim I think he is a true gentleman that truly LOVES his FAMILY. This is excaltly what the world needs THANK YOU Jenny Jim and Evan for showing that FAMILY still exists.