Steve Howey and Sarah Shahi: Our Twins Brought Us Closer Together

01/13/2016 at 01:00 PM ET

Having a child changed everything for Steve Howey and Sarah Shahi.

“We used to go on vacations all the time, but then suddenly Sarah was pregnant,” the Shameless actor tells PEOPLE of life prior to son William Wolf‘s birth in 2009. “All our energy was going to the baby.”

But when the couple welcomed twins Violet Moon and Knox Blue last March, they felt a little more prepared for what was in store.

“It is not easy, but all three are beautiful babies,” says Howey. “We’re a very close-knit family, just bigger.”

Shahi, 36, gave birth to Violet (who is the older twin by two hours) and Knox at their Sherman Oaks, California, home — a decision the couple made after watching a documentary called The Business of Being Born.

“You have more control during a home birth and with hospital births, there is a system in place and we didn’t like the whole system,” Howey explains. “[Sarah] did not like the idea of being injected with stuff and having a c-section.”

Steve Howey Sarah Shahi twins Violet Knox family photo
Christa Renee

Howey says he helped deliver the babies with the aide of a doula, midwife, and — for the twins — a licensed OB/GYN, and contends that he understands home births are “not for everybody.”

Naming their brood was a little easier: Howey says the pair “went through a bunch of different names” before settling on Moon as a middle moniker for Violet, as it is Shahi’s mother’s maiden name.

“Moon is the English translation of Sarah’s mom’s name,” he shares. “[We] were going to name her Moon, but we decided that was better as a middle name. We liked Ruby and Olive — we liked colors for a girl — and then I came up with Violet.”

He calls Knox’s moniker “old timey” and says Wolf is named as such because he “wanted to go with an animal name.”

“Names are tough because one person loves it and another person hates it, but these kids were not going to be named Steve or Michael or anything like that,” he says.

Just a couple of months after giving birth, Shahi flew her newborns with her to New York City, where she was filming Person of Interest.

Meanwhile, Howey, 38, stayed with Wolf in Los Angeles, where he was filming Shameless.

“It wasn’t ideal,” admits Shahi. “But we made it work with lots of communication.”

Recently reunited in Los Angeles, Shahi says she and Howey are “in the trenches together” as they establish their routine.

“It can be overwhelming,” says Howey, who gives their nanny a lot of credit for making their lives easier.

“But Sarah and I work really hard now to schedule workout time together. Or we’ll run to the kitchen and do a tequila shot really fast — just do something together. Then it’s right back into the playroom or changing a diaper.”

For more from Howey and Shahi, including how the twins get along (or don’t!), pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

— Patrick Gomez

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Alessa949 on

Moon does not mean mom in Farsi. The Farsi words for mom are “madar” (mother) and Maman (mama, mommy). I have no idea why these people are making things up but it’s bewildering to me that they’re inventing words and lying about it

Helvetica on

Shahi’s mom is Iranian, and she speaks Farsi, so she probably did not invent this.

DaGuest on

Actually, they have it a bit mixed up. In Farsi, mah means moon or month.

Sally on

Lol, the comments above. Remember this is peopleDOT, they don’t get things said right many many times.

Kate on

Yes, because women who have to have C-sections sit around thinking, “You know, a C-section sounds like so much FUN!” It’s not as if it’s something that ends up being done to save one or both lives.

I’m so sick of the f-cking mom shaming by these hippy dippy types I could scream.

Izzy on

Moon is Sarah’s mother’s maiden name. Did no one read that or did you just get stuck on the nameberry meaning??? My biggest question is…did People get it right that Violet is two HOURS older than Knox? I’ve never heard of this much space between the birth of twins at home. Two minutes, maybe. But, two HOURS???

jessiemaystorm on

@Izzy, it says in the article that she had a home birth with the twins, meaning they were birthed naturally rather than by c-section. 2 hours between vaginal deliveries is not unusual.

Pippi on

@Kate Woah. Why the negativity? I must’ve missed the part of the article where they went on and shaming Moms who choose to give birth in the hospital or having C-Section. All I read was it was their preference to have a home birth instead because Shahi doesn’t like the system in place at hospitals. Didn’t see any shaming part tho.

Tee on

Izzy, it would be pretty natural for there to be that type of time span between twins when they’re birthed vaginally with no medication!

I LOVE hearing celebrities discuss their home births and this is particularly interesting since she birthed twins at home! Fun article to read!

pksodhi on

they didn’t say moon means mom, they said “Moon is the English translation of Sarah’s mom’s name,”

sharon32 on

I guess people here cannot understand English. Is it so hard to comprehened why the girl’s middle name is Moon. “Moon is the English translation of Sarah’s mom’s name,” Sarah’s mother’s name is Mahmonir. Do a google search…and you will see that Mahmonir or Mahmunir means ‘radiant moon’. Its a beautiful name.

Mr. Sunshine on

Beautiful family. She is simply stunning!

Lydia on

Having worked L&D, I found “The Business of Giving Birth” to be obnoxious and full of misinformation. Any woman who wants to make a birth plan, can sit down with her OB and make a plan to deliver the way she would like…walking around, being in different positions for labor as well as delivery…all are common choices in hospital births. If you are getting an attitude from your doctor, be straight up and tell them you need to be able to make choices, not just have things happen however they happen. I’ve never seen anyone forced into having a c-section when it was safe to do a vaginal delivery. I have, however, seen babies die when distress was too much for the baby, but vaginal delivery was insisted on because “I don’t want a c-section!”. I have also seen a few who were brain injured, when mom’s plan was more critical than getting the baby out. Home delivery is gaining in popularity, and many like the idea of a midwife. I woukd rather have a nurse-midwife if doing a home delivery, and I would want back up that was very much at hand. I don’t know that I would want to plan my delivery based on some actor’s opinion, either. And seriously? Did the people correcting the source of Violet’s name even READ the article? It’s not the translation of “mom”, it’s the translation of her given name!

Denise on

@Kate-Enlighten me, where in the article did it allude to shaming women for c-sections??? I think doth protests too much. The guy said they made a choice for them and realized home births ar, and I quote”not for everyone”. So I think your response says more abt you and your projected guilt over doing so, even tho birth any way is just that-birth.

Jen on

My twins were natural, no c-section, no drugs, but I was in a hospital. They were 20 minutes apart. My doctor broke the bag of water closest to the cervix and that was who was born first.

Xan on

@Kate I thought the same about people not wanting c-sections and those being an emergency-only situation until one of my best friends admitted that she had scheduled a c-section for her son because she had a lifelong fear of labor. Not something I would do, and I’m seven months pregnant myself, but lets remember that every situation is different.

Nowhere in the article were women who got c-sections shamed. If anything, it was the system that’s in place currently that leads to so many births ending in c-section that received a jab.

Jenna on

There’s a reason why systems are in place in hospitals. They don’t just “inject you with stuff” or force a c-section unless they feel it medically necessary. We forget C-sections save lives in emergency situations especially in a high risk twin birth if baby B flips and can’t get out vaginally. What if she had run into complications during the home birth? Was she willing to risk brain damage or even death to her twins if they couldn’t get them out right away? Why do they talk about having “more control” during childbirth at home. Everyone knows you can’t control what happens in childbirth. Plus, are you a medical Dr? No – didn’t think so. So how would you have full control anyway if you don’t know what needs to be done? As well, not everyone can afford to have an OBGYN come to their house. Please don’t use these “famous” people as an example of good child birth decision making.

cyclone on

“but these kids were not going to be named Steve or Michael or anything like that”, says the guy named Steve, LOL! Those kids are beautiful and the boy twin has gorgeous eyes.

sososad on

I hope they vaccinate.

bllylbuk on

““Moon is the English translation of Sarah’s mom’s name,” “