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Jenny McCarthy: Evan 'Has the Best of Both Worlds'

03/02/2009 at 08:00 AM ET
Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Landov

For Jenny McCarthy, sharing her son’s personal journey in the public eye to raise autism awareness was not a choice that came easily to the actress — that is until, she says, she struck a deal with God. “I kind of made a deal with God, saying, ‘If you help me and you show me how to heal Evan, I promise I will teach the world how I did it,’” she explains. Calling Evan “the poster child for hope,” Jenny reveals that these days, her little boy — who has “lost his autism diagnosis” — is a completely different kid.

“He is the most talkative, social, six-year-old little boy, who loves to play with his friends.”

Of her continued relationship with actor Jim Carrey, Jenny reveals that the bond between her two main men is stronger than ever. With Evan gaining a new “best friend” in Jim, the 36-year-old model is thrilled that her son is surrounded by strong male figures, but explains that the special role of dad is sacred. “Evan’s dad [director John Asher] has remained Evan’s dad. So I feel like Evan actually has the best of both worlds,” she says.

Despite leading an “incredibly quiet and subdued” life, when Jenny is in need of some entertainment, she need go no further than her very own living room. Having developed a love for acting out “scenes in a movie,” Evan, along with Jim, certainly knows how to put on a show!

“He memorizes [the scenes] and Jim knows the parts. Like The Grinch: They’ll act it out in the living room and Evan — I’m so scared to say it! — is an amazing mimic and actor, so he’ll do the scenes verbatim with Jim. I have the best seat in the theater every night in the living room.”

Source: Michigan Avenue

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Showing 34 comments

beth on

was never a big fan of jenny’s as a celebrity, but LOVE her now. Love her books, her fight with autism, and her relationship with her son and Jim. LOVE HER!

gigi on

i’ll say it again….
i just cant think of two people who belong together more than these two. they are a lovely family.

Diane on

Can I just say, I’m glad that her son is doing better. But, at the same time, making deals with God doesn’t work. God doesn’t make deals.

Alex on

Diane, Jenny has the right to her beliefs, as does everyone on this site. It is not your place to tell them what God does and what He doesn’t do. I am not massively religious myself, but I was a little offended by your comment.

On the subject of this lovely little family, they are an inspiration on so many levels. They are such fighters and I think we all can take something from that ethic.

jacky on

i used to love her, but lately she has really been bothering me with statements she has made. while evan may have improved i want to stress that there is NO CURE for autism. i wish she wouldn’t give parents false hope for a cure. while i wish there was a cure, and i hope it comes soon, it isn’t here yet. i just believe her message could cause harmful false hope in too many families.

Anna on

Somehow her line about how she made a deal with God, seems so insensitive. What does that say about children that don’t get cured? That they weren’t worth it?

If she truly has “the cure” than why are we not hearing about thousands (millions?) of other children being cured from autism because of her cure? Does the cure she found only helps for her son?

I believe her son never had autism, he was misdiagnosed (like many other children) but she can’t let it go, she needs to be this Messiah for her won ego or something.

CTBmom on

I agree with Alex,
Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, and Diane…how do you know that God doesn’t “make deals”.
One night in July of 1996, I had a huge meltdown because my sister-in-law got pregnant with her 3rd child, by a man she had only been with literally 2 months and all I wanted was to be a mom and knew that biologically it would never happen. As I sat there in my darkened bedroom, I realized that people having babies, was just a fact of life and that it wasn’t fair to my husband, family and friends, or myself to fall apart everytime I found out someone was having a baby. That night, I walked over to my window and I prayed harder than I ever had in my life that God would help me accept what I had been dealt. I told Him that I all I had ever wanted was to be a mother. That I didn’t care whether it was through birth or adoption…I just wanted to be a mom. I asked God if he made this happen for me, that I would promise to raise the child in church and become more involved in church myself. I also prayed that if it was His will that I was never to be a mother, that He would just give me peace and help me to accept it. When I got done praying, I felt such a sense of calm, and immediately felt like He had heard me. Less than 5 months later, I got a phone call from the sister of a friend of mine, asking me if I wanted to adopt her baby. My beautiful son was born in April 1997, and it was several months later, that I realized that he had been born almost exactly 9 months from that night I had made my deal with God. While the timing could just have been coincidence, I believe that God heard my prayers and gave me my son. Sorry this post is so long, lol.

l on

I’m with Jackie and Anna on this. Her continuous claims that she “cured” her son’s autism isn’t going to help autistic children in the long run. If her son was really misdiagnosed (which I, too, believe) then it’s very distracting that she has established herself as the spokesperson for autism, let alone as the apparent healer for a disease that to this day isn’t curable.

Cheryl on

Jenny, quit talking about yourself and start thanking all the specialists who have worked with your son. I am so tired of hearing about how YOU have cured your son. And while you are at it, please explain why Jim has said that Evan was non-verbal when they met, but in your first book you claim that Evan began speaking a couple of weeks into the diet, well before he started therapy and before you even split with your husband. AND the first thing Evan said was that he wanted to go swimming…yet now your story is that Jim has taught Evan to love water, he hated it before.

And if Evan is cured, why don’t you bring him on to the Oprah show and other engagements you have so that all of us can see him instead of just taking your word for it? I could go on, but I am going to go play with my autistic son.

Mary-Helen on

I think she’s a very devoted mom who wants to do the right thing for her child like everyone else. However, I think her methods may be wrong. I do not have an autistic child, but I find it odd that only her son has been “cured” while millions of other children have not been blessed. Not to mention it’s irresponsible to promote vaccines as the cause without any evidence to back it up. I think she does a disservice to the families that are coping with autism, but I don’t think it’s because she means to. I think she sees something that wasn’t talked about before that needed a voice and wanted to help (although I think her son may have been midiagnosed).

Cheryl on

And now that I’ve finished my mini-rant, I also want to add that I am glad to see her acknowledging Evan’s dad as someone special in his life.

jasmine on

Aww, CTBMom, thanks for sharing your story. That’s great!

Aelys on

It’s obvious how much Jenny loves Evan and Jim… but I’m with those who wish she stopped saying she cured Evan. Although I’m genuinely happy Evan improved, there’s no cure for autism at this point and saying that she cured her son is completely unfair to families who struggle with their child(ren)’s autism and raises false hope.

mary on

Like others on this chat. I agree to say a child is “cured” is dangerous. He may have matured. And in fact he still has autism but is reacting in different ways. It scares me that some may mistake it as hope that there is a cure. In fact it is false hope. I admire her and others out there being vocal about autism. I just wish she would carefully use/choose her words.

Shelby on

I have said this multiple times and usually get reamed for it on past posts about Jenny. Let me stress that I do find it wonderful that she is speaking out about autism at a time when it greatly needs to be known about. However, I do find her wording of “cured” irresponsible. There are hundreds of thousands of children who will never be CURED, in fact I do not believe that Evan is cured. I am familiar with the program and therapies that she is using as I watch a young boy who has gone through similar ones. Most parents cannot afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars necessary for these “treatments” in which a vast majority of the doctors are looking to gain a profit. I would NEVER, EVER expose my child to “Chelation Therapy” which is not meant for little, sweet bodies because they can’t handle it. Why would you ever want to put your child in harm’s way (and possible death as witnessed by the death of 2 little boys who died going through this therapy for autism treatment). DAN! or Defeat Autism NOW! is a scary group to me and I encourage everyone to be very careful about what they expose their children to. Indeed, I believe that diet changes can make a difference and there are some great occupational therapies that do wonders as well but….Love you children regardless of any disorder they may have. Too often milestones and joyous moments are missed when we try to “cure” an incurable disorder.

Beverley on

Jenny claims that Evan has “lost his autism diagnosis”. There is only one way for that to have happened and that is that he was never autistic. Doctors can misdiagnose things, and since autism is not something that just up and disappears, I think Evan was misdiagnosed, and Jenny continues on acting like the expert on autism to make money and keep her name in the spotlight. After all, how much “acting” has she been doing lately?

Kara on

I’ve seen Jenny on talk shows and she always said that Evan has RECOVERED from autism. She specifically doesn’t use the word “cured.” She compared it to being hit by a bus, because if you’re hit by a bus, you recover from it, but you aren’t cured. That was just from a couple of talk shows… maybe all of you read/saw something different where she used that particular word.
At any rate, I’m happy that her son has made such a transition, but I know that many families will never get to experience that, and I agree she should give more credit to the specialists who have helped Evan.

Helen on

As an educator who has done a tremendous amount of research on the subject of autism, I am saddened to hear that Jenny McCarthy claims that her son has “lost the autism diagnosis.” The very nature of the article’s last paragraph (memorizing lines and scenes) is very symptomatic and common among children with autism. She should simply not spread around false information.

l on

Kara, I’m pretty sure that I have read a quote from Jenny here on CBB where she used the words ‘cure’ and ‘autism’ implying her son was cured from autism (unfortunately CBB’s search engine doesn’t seem to work properly, “error -page not found” pops up every time I click a post, so I can’t find it). I remember that she got a lot of flack for saying this, not only on this website, but also from other sites that picked up that same interview. She must have heard the criticism, and that is probably why she is using such strange wording like “lost his autism diagnosis”.
I don’t want to repeat myself, she may have brought attention to autism, but what she is doing now is a disservice to the cause, IMO.

Sara on

CTBmom – Your story gave me goosebumps. Someone was listening, and someone got their answer. Absolutely beautiful.

Jess on

Helen, I agree. When I read that, the first thing I thought was that it sounded like a very ritualistic behavior, possibly even a stim.

I would like to add that not every doctor will agree on a diagnosis. I am an ABA therapist, and some of the high-functioning children I work with (clearly on the spectrum to anyone who knows about autism, but a doctor who doesn’t specialize in it may think they are just ‘quirky’, etc.) did not get the autism diagnosis from every doctor they’ve seen. Autism isn’t cured, it’s managed.

boombody on

I am a PhD psychologist and there is NO cure for autism. I am familar with the methods of “treating” autism that Jenny’s son has endured, as the clinician is here in the city I live in. They are controversial to say the LEAST (chelation, hyperbaric chambers, supplements, etc.). Children with autism can make great strides and progress with intensive treatment and early intervention and symptoms can diminish to the point that they no longer “meet criteria” for an autism diagnosis– it is true! “Cured”– no.

I agree that she is doing a HUGE disservice to the autistic community.

Adrianna on

I guess I’ve understood her differently in all of the interviews I’ve read. She seems to stress that her son isn’t cured but has “recovered from a vaccine injury”. She’s also said he still suffers from seizures among some other things.

Michelle on

I commend Jenny for being a strong advocate for her son, but I agree with many of the other posters-her choice of words her son’s “cure” of Autism is dangerous and very misleading to the millions of families whose children are diagnosed with autism. Being a special education teacher who directly works with individuals with autism, I know first hand that children “on the spectrum” have a wide variety of abilities and that no two children with autism are alike. My problem with Jenny’s platform is she is someone who has every last option in treatment available to her when so many others do not. I think that she should take a hard look at her situation and acknowledge the fact that perhaps her son could have been misdiagnosed or at least acknowledge that perhaps he just had language delays and sensory issues, which are often misdiagnosed as autism. Because he responded so well to treatment and so quickly, I might add, leads me (a professional in the field of Autism) to believe that he was probably misdiagnosed. More power to her, thought, at least she does keep Autism research in the spotlight which is a benefit to the families of children who actually do have Autism.

Diane on

God doesn’t make deals with us. My apologies for offending anyone, as that wasn’t my intention.

Humans make deals with each other to get what they want. God give us what we need, not what want. If you don’t accept that, fine, but it’s the truth. You are treating God as if he was a human.

Alex, I wish you congratulations on your son. But, I can say that you had a baby because God wanted you to, not because you made a deal with him.

CelebBabyLover on

I, too, am a bit upset by Jenny stating the Evan has “lost his Autism diagnosis”. Believe me, I know more than most people just how much of a fact it is that Autism is something that there is no cure for. Why do I say that? Well, because I am on the spectrum myself! Thanks to therapy and, in my opinion, just my maturing and growing, my condition has improved a lot over the years. However, I know I’ll always have it. Not only that, but I fully accepted that fact AND I actually have no desire to be cured! While living with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) can be hard at times, I love my life for the most part and wouldn’t change it for the world! I don’t ever question why I have ASD, either. The way I see it, God made me that way for a reason!

All of that said, I do believe Evan may have been mis-diagnosed, but not in the way most people seem to think. I believe that what happened is that he was diagnosed with classic Austim, when in fact he has a form of high-functioning Autism, such as Asperger’s Syndrome. That’s the category of the spectrum I happen to fall under (high-functioning), and I, too, was intially mis-diagnosed.

Instead of Classic Autism, however, I was initally diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Devolepmental Disorder, Not otherwise Specified). Techincally, that is also on the Autism spectrum (I say “techincally” because what really, it’s basically just a catch-all name for “this person definently has some sort of developmental delay, but we have no idea what it is!”).

Anyway, if Evan actually has high-functioning Autism, that could very easily explain why he responded so well to treatment and seems to have improved so rapidly.

Brandy on

I don’t believe her son’s autism was cured because he was never in my opinion autistic in the first place. It’s wrong to make people think there is a cure for autism.

sara brouse on

I have followed the saga of Jenny McCarthy’s son since a good friend of ours has a son with autism. They read her books avidly and it did give them (and countless other families) false ideas that vaccines cause autism, which they do not (medically proven in untold number of research studies). She is constantly contradicting herself–she said her son never cracked a smile until he was a year old, then she said he was fine until he got his 1 yr vaccines?? There were likely signs prior to the time when he was having trouble that were completely ignored. She is the spokesperson for misinformation–although it’s great to have a celebrity champion for autism, it would be nice if it was someone truly informed and not spreading false rumors or hope. Now that he’s “cured”, again which is suspect, it has ignited a frenzy of people spending thousands of extra dollars on gluten free products just for a glimmer of hope, when special ed educators I am close to say they can’t even tell a difference in the majority of kids… Autism Speaks seriously needs to counter detail her or find a new spokesperson who can provide info & some hope, be a celebrity for raising money to actually find a cure for all kids, and get rid of people who are only doing more harm than good in the fight against autism. It is a serious & real disease, and while I’m happy her son is better too, not everyone has that luxury or luck, really. She just needs to be quiet & get out of the spotlight.

CelebBabyLover on

sare brouse- Autism is NOT a disease! As I mentioned earlier, I am on the spectrum myself. Let me tell you, about the one and only thing that really bothers me about having an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is that so many people constantly refer to Autism and ASDs as diseases.

I don’t think of myself as sick, and don’t appreciate others thinking of me that way, either. Yes, Autism can be very severe sometimes, and even sometimes cause physical problems. However, so can conditions like Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy, and you don’t see them being called diseases!

Anyway, I DO agree with your views regarding Jenny’s comments on vaccines causing Autism. In fact (and I really, really hope this doesn’t stir up the whole vaccines and Autism debate yet again!), when I heard about the recent court ruling that vaccines, at least in healthy children, don’t cause Autism, Jenny was the first person I thought of! I thought, “I wonder how she’s going to explain her claim that vaccines caused her son’s Autism now!”

In anycase, I am a firm believer that Autism, at least in most cases, is genetic. I have no doubt in my mind that I contracted Autism in the exact same way I was brought to life in the first place: my parents’ genes (in fact, one of my parents actually shows a few “autistic traits”. That term is used in the Autism community to refer to a person who doesn’t actually have Autism or ASD, but shows some of the charecterisics of it.).

All of that said, while Jenny is certainly spreading some mis-information, I think the general public is guilty as well. For example, if I see or hear someone referring to Autism as a serious, devestating disease one more time, I’m going to scream! As I said before, Autism is NOT an illness. Is it serious or devestating? Well, that’s something I’m not going to deny. Yes, Autism CAN be serious and/or devestating (particularly for the parents in the latter case).

However, what upsets me is that, when people hear someone say Autism is serious or read about it in a book or on a site like this, they often probably think that’s ALWAYS the case. That’s where the mis-information piece comes in. I’m here to tell you that Autism is NOT always serious, and it’s NOT always something that needs to be met with a “the world is coming to an end!” mentality.

Some of us with ASDs live very happy, healthy lives. I, for example, have no physical issues (well, I DO have some sensory issues, but I consider those more physcological than physical) and, for the most part, love my life. As I said in my previous post, I don’t even wish my life were any different than it is!

I’m all for Autism research, and I certainly think awareness needs to be raised, but I DON’T think Autism always needs to be treated as something horrible. My biggest piece of advice is this: Never give up hope, and never assume that your child will never improve! Just because, for example, your autistic three-year-old can’t talk doesn’t mean he never will (I am a perfect example of that!). Also, your autistic five-year-old might have a strong dislike for being touched, or maybe s/he gets upset easily and throws frequent tantrums.

However, ten or even five years later, that may not be the case. Both of the afore mentioned things were true of me when I was little, but with therapy and the tincture of time and maturity, I improved! :) There was also a third thing that helped me, and that was that my parents never gave up hope (heck, they still haven’t!). :)

Christina K on

I think that Jenny is telling ” her story” this may not be the story of the millions of other children out there with autism. This is the story of Evan’s battle. He had a diagnosis which he no longer has. Maybe he wasnt as severely impacted as some other childrem, maybe it was the right therapy at the right time, whatever it was ..it worked for her family, and she is telling her story to bring hope. The same way that ” let me hear your voice” brings hope and I dont know very many people who would dispute that book. Can Autism be cured? I dont know, but children can be helped in some instances and that to me is amazing and something to be shared, we all need hope. We dont have to listen to everything she is saying or try everything she is trying, but I believe that we need to keep fighting for our children, sometimes that’s what helps us get up every morning.

teri on

Let’s not forget Jenny McCarthy is the one who got a preschool teacher fired becuase she asked if her son had a brain problem! The person was trying to help her and that’s the thanks she got! That’s the kind of person she is-lack of empathy for anyone outside her little circle. Did she ever apologize or get the person’s job back-I seriously doubt it!

Jillian on

God totally makes deals. He just doesn’t let on that he planned to do it all along.

CelebBabyLover on

teri- While I think Jenny’s actions may have been a bit drastic, I DON’T think it’s very professional or nice for a teacher to ask if a child has a brain problem! If a teacher is concerned that a child might developmentally delayed, then she should be a little more tactful about how she asks the parents about it than Evan’s teacher was, in my opinion!

For example, a teacher could say, “I’m concerned because your son doesn’t seem to play with other kids very well,” or “Your son seems to have a really hard time learning, and that worries me”. Even, “I’m concerned that your child may be developmentally delayed,” would be approprite in my opinion.

I think a huge part of the reason why people get so sensitive about others asking if their child has brain problem is because, in the past, terms like that were largely used to refer to people with mental illness or who were otherwise “crazy”.

Anyway, I mostly agree with Christina K, but I need to point out that it is impossible for someone with Autism or ASD to lose their diagnosis. If you have Autism or ASD, you have it for life.

Christina K on

Teri- I also agree that a teacher should never be asking if a child has a “brain problem” almost every parent would be shocked, hurt and angry by that type of “feedback”. I would want that teacher to be disciplined as well, do I think that the teacher should have been fired? No. But that wasnt Jenny McCarthy’s decision to make it was the school boards. It was their responsiblity to make the right decision as to the level of discipline for the teacher.

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