"I was too old to carry a child," Katey Sagal tells PEOPLE of deciding to try surrogacy

By Patrick Gomez
March 27, 2017 10:45 AM
Maarten de Boer/Getty

While Katey Sagal is probably best known as big-haired mom Peg Bundy on Married… with Children, the actress was actually a real-life mom of two while filming the hit Fox sitcom.

Sarah and Jackson were both born when I was on MWC and both had a little nursery next to my dressing room,” Sagal, who is featured in the current issue of PEOPLE, says of becoming a mom with second husband Jack White (no relation to the White Stripes founder of the same name).

“Once you make the choice to have little ones, you just see it’s a very big commitment. I brought them into this world and I didn’t want to let them down.”

Sagal, 63, cherished becoming a mom to Sarah, 22, and Jackson, 21. But after she and White split in 2000 and she married Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter in 2004, she thought she might be done having kids.

“When Kurt and I first got together, he wasn’t interested in having any more children,” says Sagal, who currently stars in the new CBS sitcom Superior Donuts. “He was happy being the stepparent to Sarah and Jackson. But he’d never had his own biological children, so about five years into the relationship we started toying with the idea of maybe we should raise a child together.”

“At this point I was too old to carry a child,” explains Sagal, who documents her life and motherhood journey — including the devastating stillbirth of her first child, Ruby — in her memoir Grace Notes. “So at first we explored adoption, but that proved to be way more difficult than I expected,”

So the couple decided to attempt surrogacy.

“We went through the whole in vitro fertilization process and our embryos were not really strong, but we thought, ‘Let’s give it a shot and if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be,’ ” she says. “And if it wasn’t, we weren’t going to do it.”

“But then our little Esme came through,” Sagal says of welcoming her baby girl via surrogate in 2007. “That’s why we call her our little miracle, our beautiful miracle.”

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As her children get older, Sagal has become increasingly interested in sharing her story with them. In fact, her memoir started out as musings about her life that she’d originally intended just to share with her kids.

“I’m obsessed with this idea of knowing your history,” says Sagal. “And I wanted my children to have something — not that I’m going anywhere any time soon!”

Grace Notes is available now.

For more from Sagal — including how struggling with her weight as a teen led to a 15-year drug and alcohol addiction — pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

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