Elizabeth Banks Says People Judge Her for Using a Surrogate to Have Her Children

Elizabeth Banks and husband Max Handelman share two sons — Felix, 8, and Magnus, 7

Elizabeth Banks is a mom and no amount of criticism about how she became a mother can take that away from her.

The Charlie’s Angels director, 45, recently opened up in a cover story for Net-a-Porter’s Porter Edit, about welcoming her two children, sons Felix and Magnus, via surrogate.

Banks said she was unable to carry her sons due to infertility issues, which she referred to as her “broken belly.” But even though she had no control over her circumstances, the star said she feels like others judge her for using a surrogate to have children.

“I definitely think I’m still judged for what I’ve done and that people don’t understand my choices, but I don’t feel I owe anybody any explanation,” she explained to the outlet, before acknowledging the silver lining in her situation.

“If my story helps people feel less alone on their journey, then I’m grateful for that,” she said.

Elizabeth Banks
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Banks shares Felix, 8, and Magnus, 7, with her husband Max Handelman.

The working mom — who also starred in, wrote and produced the new Charlie’s Angels — has previously made it clear that spending time with her kids is non-negotiable, despite her busy schedule.

While speaking to PEOPLE in June, the actress said she felt “excited to show my kids their mom at work” and encouraged her colleagues to do the same.

“I grew up with a working mom and she imparted incredible work ethic in me,” Banks said. “I like involving them in my work. I think it’s important that as a working woman and a leader on my movie sets that I show other women it’s okay to bring their kids to work.”

“I have a very open policy about parenting on my set,” she continued. “I think that parenting is your number one job… we should be having whole lives. I don’t need to separate my work from my kids as much as I used to. I think there’s [an] old stigma around that.”

“I throw all the rules out and I invite my kids into my work life because I want to be with my kids,” she said, before adding, “and I want to do great work!”

Elizabeth Banks
Elizabeth Banks. Amy Sussman/Getty Images

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In addition to speaking to Porter Edit about using a surrogate to welcome her sons, Banks discussed her 16-year marriage to Handelman, 46, and how they’ve made it work after all this time.

“Twenty-seven years. It’s the thing I’m most proud of,” she said of her husband, who she met on the first day of college and has been with ever since. “I do think people grow together or they grow apart. We definitely grew together.”

“We were constantly making decisions that kept us close,” Banks went on, noting that Handelman changed careers and joined his wife in the industry “to combine our professional and personal goals.”

Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman
Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman. Jeff Spicer/Getty

Of course, the pair have endured their fair share of bumps in their relationship over the years — but that hasn’t made them any less committed to each other as partners and parents.

“[We’re] a little traditional when it comes to marriage,” she admitted. “I think there are people that go into marriage thinking: ‘If it doesn’t work, I’ll get divorced.’ That’s not me.”

“You’re going to have bad moments,” Banks added. “You’ve committed to something. Do you value it or don’t you?”

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