by CBB interviewer Tracy Bobbitt of Crib Rock Couture:
On April 5th, French Creole beauty Aonika Laurent Thomas, 37, (Fantastic Four) and her husband, actor Sean Patrick Thomas, 37, (Barbershop, Save the Last Dance, Cruel Intentions) were treated to a New Orleans-style baby shower, hosted by and in the home of their dear friends, director Tim Story (Fantastic Four, Barbershop) and his wife, Vicki.
Expecting their baby — it’s a girl, they revealed — on Wednesday, May 14th, Sean and Aonika invited the Celebrity Baby Blog to document their shower and spoke to us about their fertility struggle.
Click below for the photo and interview highlights.
It’s befitting that the shower took place at the Story’s home, because it was Vicki Story who introduced Aonika and Sean at her husband Tim’s birthday party in 2003. She admits that she made the introduction with the hopes that Sean and Aonika would begin dating. The ploy obviously worked, as the couple has been together ever since. They were married on April 22, 2006.
Aonika’s cousin, designer Chimene Clarke-Holmes of Fleur De Lis Events, fulfilled the couple’s “Creole cravings” and desire for a New Orleans-inspired shower by transforming the Story’s modern residence into a vision of Vieux Carré.
Her motto for the French Creole affair was “Laissez bon temps rouler!” which loosely translated means “Let the good times roll!” Clarke Holmes hired Chef Latee Braud of the Creole Chef Restaurant and Chef Damon Stalworth of Great Western Catering to fashion all the couple’s favorite southern dishes for the day-long event: Creole-style shrimp scampi, gumbo, red beans, rice, Cajun crab cakes, and honey mustard chicken wings. For dessert, guests were treated to bread pudding and peach cobbler accompanied by specialty drinks courtesy of Cliff’s Concoctions.
The gorgeous centerpiece cake created by Rosebud Cakes of Beverly Hills, CA was surrounded by baby gifts galore, including an Orbit stroller courtesy of celebrity nursery designer Shalena Smith of Ga Ga Designs.
Taking time out from the day’s festivities, Aonika and Sean revealed that their road to pregnancy was not a smooth one, as they experienced difficulties both conceiving and carrying to term. According to Aonika, in September of 2007 they began to consider other methods of conception, but instead made the choice to temporarily “stop trying.” Miraculously, that’s when she became pregnant.
Aonika describes Sean as a “hands-on father to be” who’s accompanied her on every prenatal appointment and diligently caters to her pregnancy cravings — going on impromptu runs to Pinkberry for frozen yogurt, and at other times, bringing home her favorite caramel sundaes.
While the couple wasn’t planning to learn the sex of the baby prior to delivery, during the 4-D ultrasound the technician simply announced, “She’s doing great.” They were thrilled. Sean says they’ve narrowed the list of potential names for their daughter down to three, but aren’t sharing those names quite yet.
At the close of the day’s shower festivities, the party guests gathered together pool side, where Sean and Aonika were each presented with a small, white box.
Unbeknowst to them, Chimene Clarke-Holmes conceived of a ceremony paying tribute to the pregnancies Sean and Aonika have lost and in celebration of the baby girl arriving. Chimene explained to the party guests that in Native American tradition, for a wish to be granted, one must capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it. The butterfly would then take that wish directly up to heaven and to the Creator.
Emotion-filled, Sean and Aonika whispered their wishes and opened their boxes releasing a flurry of monarch butterflies into the sky. There wasn’t a dry eye amongst the guests as family and friends took in the ritual’s profound significance for the couple.
Sean recently completed acting in the film project Burrowers, due for release later this year, and the talented duo recently co-wrote the film, Yellow Moon, which they’ll produce through their company, Dark Horse Productions. Dark Horse has optioned three novels the Thomas’ intend on adapting and producing as well.
The couple agrees, however, that their first priority is the production called parenthood, and they both look forward to spending time off work to focus on the baby. Aonika, who plans to breastfeed and has created a natural birthing plan, is scheduled to give birth at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles, CA on or near her due date of Wednesday, May 14th.