Annette Bening Opens Up About Her Transgender Son Stephen Ira: 'I'm Very, Very Proud of Him'

"He's managed something that's very challenging with great style and great intelligence," the actress said of her oldest child

Annette Bening is proudly talking about her oldest son, Stephen Ira.

Bening, 61, said in a recent interview that Stephen managed his transition with "style" and "intelligence" after identifying as transgender at age 14.

"He's managed something that's very challenging with great style and great intelligence," Bening told AARP in an interview published Monday. "He's an articulate, thoughtful person, and I'm very, very proud of him"

Bening's sentiment is one that her husband of nearly 30 years, Warren Beatty, shares.

Beatty called Stephen, now 27, his "hero."

"He's a revolutionary, a genius, and my hero, as are all my children," the Bonnie and Clyde actor, 82, told Vanity Fair back in 2016.

Annette Bening, Stephen Beatty
Bauer-Griffin/GC Images; Instagram/Stephen Beatty

Now a writer, Stephen made headlines back in 2015 for speaking out after the publicized death of 17-year-old Ohio transgender teen Leelah Alcorn, who died by suicide after her parents took her out of school when they learned she identified as a girl.

"Give this young woman the peace in death that she deserves and work for what she wanted, work for the things she needed while she lived," Stephen tweeted, later adding, "IF YOU CAN'T HANDLE HAVING A TRANS KID, DON'T HAVE KIDS."

Stephen Beatty
Stephen Ira. Stephen Beatty/Instagram
Annette Bening (L) and Warren Beatty
Annette Bening, Warren Beatty. Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

Bening and Beatty are also parents to 25-year-old son Benjamin and daughters Isabel, 22, and Ella, 19, who recently headed to college at Juilliard, officially making the two A-list parents empty nesters.

"When I was younger, part of me thought I could save my children from having to suffer, which was, of course, ridiculous," Bening added to AARP.

"They have to go through their struggles," she told the outlet, adding that all four of her kids are "very much their own people now."

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to

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