Mercedes Ruehl talks about 'powerful relationship' with son

06/20/2008 at 04:00 PM ET

Actressme_brian_55067055_max_cbbjpgPortraying sculptor Louise Nevelson on stage in Edward Albee’s Occupant allows actress Mercedes Ruehl to "poignantly and deeply" examine the relationship between "mothers and sons."  It’s a dynamic Mercedes, 60, knows well. 

Mom via adoption to an 11-year-old son named Jake, Mercedes herself had a son 33 years ago who was adopted.  In 1996, aided by a private investigator, Mercedes tracked down the then 21-year-old whom she later learned was named Chris by his adoptive family.  Mercedes recently revealed in an interview with the New York Times that when asked whether he was willing to meet his birth mom, Chris replied "anytime, anywhere, any day." Within a week, the mother and son duo were reunited in a Boston hotel room.  Recalled Mercedes of that first meeting,

We just looked at each other and we laughed and we hugged each other. I thought I was going to cry. We just felt so shy, we just giggled.

Now, Mercedes said she and Chris — who plans to see Occupant soon — share a "powerful relationship," with Chris filling the role of Jake’s godfather.  She added, 

It’s not easy, but it’s rich. 

Jake is Mercedes son with longtime partner, artist David Geiser.

Source:  The New York Times; Photo by Brian Ach/

Thanks to CBB reader Judy.

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Nancy on

I wonder why she gave up a child for adoption when she was 27 years old? That seems unusual because she was somewhat older, not a teenage mother.

Sarina on

As an adoptive mother of a wonderful 14 year-old, I tend to approach these birth mother/birth child “reunion” stories with great trepidation–because I always end up feeling like the child’s adoptive parents get lost in the shuffle. While it’s wonderful that Ms. Ruehl and her birth son have re-connected, please let us not forget his family who have loved and parented him, and will do so for the rest of their lives. I know that someday, my son will want to meet his family of origin, and we will help him do that. But he is our son, always will be our son, down to the bottom of our hearts!

zelda on

She may simply have not been in a position to take care of a child on her own, or she may not have felt emotionally in a place to be a good parent. I have one acquaintance who placed her child for adoption when she was 23.

I think we just need to respect any woman who has the strength to know she is not ready — for whatever reason and at whatever age — to be a parent. Not only teenage girls may find themselves in this position.

My husband is adopted, and I thank God his birth mother placed him because his parents are incredible and he was raised in a very loving and stable home she may not have been able to provide for him at the time.

CM on

i was thinking the same thing nancy but then i just figured i guess when your not ready at any age maybe its better to give the child to a family that wants a child

meghan on

She may have been struggling financially, I’m not sure.

Jay on

I was wondering the same thing…why did she give him up for adoption at that age? Well, whatever the reason is, it’s nice to see that they have a relationship now.

Karen on

I did a quick search and she was quoted as saying she didn’t have “the emotional development or the economic capability” to raise a child. The quote came from an associated press story about the Lifetime movie “Mom at Sixteen”.

Michelle on

I looked at her page on imdb and it looks like she started her acting career just after that, so maybe at the time she was a struggling actress and was financially (or emotionally or mentally) unable to care for a child.

Courtney on

I just met someone a couple weeks ago who is 30 and giving her 6 year old up for adoption. SHe can not provide financially or really in any way. WHat struck me as really odd is she is keeping her 4 year old…

THere are many reasons why kids are givin for adoption and its not always teen moms….