Marta Milans Talks Pursuing IVF While Playing a Foster Mom in 'Shazam!' : 'Gives Me a Lot of Hope'

Marta Milans shares the joys and frustrations of playing foster mom Rosa Vasquez in the Shazam! films while undergoing IVF to start a family with husband Julian

Marta Milans Opens Up About Playing a Foster Mom in Shazam amid Her Own IVF Journey photo where she's sitting on ledge for tout please Courtesy of Marta Milans Courtesy of Marta Milans *Marta and her husband Credit: Patricia Salinero
Photo: Patricia Salinero

Marta Milans is living out her dreams on the big screen, in more ways than one.

The actress, 40, is returning to the second film in the Shazam! series, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, as foster mom Rosa Vasquez, the emotional support for the kids that make up the film's cast.

Speaking with PEOPLE, Milans opens up about why she thinks the character has struck a chord with a lot of fans and will continue to do so in the new film, to be released next month.

"I believe part of the reason why people gravitate towards mama Rosa so much and why the character of mama Rosa is such a central hardcore to the film to both films — and you'll see that more in the second film, it's explored even deeper — I think it's because people relate to this character on a visceral level," she says.

"It feels very real that you believe that she's a foster mom to all these kids because you believe that this family is a real family, with love for one another even though they're all found, not biological," she continues. "And I think the fact that people have gravitated towards this character so much is because I have a lot of that essence in me already. Being able to explore that in both films was wonderful."

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Marta Milans Opens Up About Playing a Foster Mom in Shazam amid Her Own IVF Journey photo where she's sitting on ledge for tout please Courtesy of Marta Milans Courtesy of Marta Milans *Marta and her husband Credit: Patricia Salinero
Courtesy of Marta Milans

While she is not yet a mom off-screen, Milans shares with PEOPLE how she and her husband Julian — who tied the knot last year — have been trying to start a family, recently turning to in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

"I am not going to lie. It hasn't been easy. I got married last year and was very excited about trying to get pregnant right away," she says.

"Sadly, this business — I think any business that women have to devote their utmost dedication to their career — it's hard to combine with motherhood. So I was waiting for the right moment, and of course, there never is that right moment. By the time I was able to try and I did have a pregnancy, sadly it was an ectopic pregnancy."

Milans and her husband were processing their pregnancy loss and exploring their options ahead of her starting to film. She began IVF during filming.

"It's such a medical process. You have to go to this doctor's office, and there are all these decisions you have to make that you didn't know you would have to decide," she says. "Like, 'am I going fertilize one now, or do I feel like I want to have our embryos frozen?' So that has definitely not been easy. But I have a great partner, and I am not giving up."

In the aftermath of her ectopic pregnancy and the beginning of her IVF journey, Milans took time to process before starting to open up to other women about her experiences.

Marta Milans Opens Up About Playing a Foster Mom in Shazam amid Her Own IVF Journey photo where she's sitting on ledge for tout please Courtesy of Marta Milans Courtesy of Marta Milans *Marta and her husband Credit: Patricia Salinero
Courtesy of Marta Milans

"I realized in talking about this with friends and colleagues in my industry that, once I would bring it up that they would share, 'I've had miscarriages' or 'two of my kids are IVF,' " she says. "Some of these are friends are people I grew up with in my Latin community back in Spain or people I've met here, and it made me think, 'why is this something that we don't talk about? What is the stigma or shame associated with this?'"

"Women, we have to always deliver. We have to always be at the top of our game. And if we're not getting pregnant, it's because something is wrong with us. And whether it's conscious or not, that is the reality, that we're not talking about this," Milans says, explaining why she feels it's important to share her story. "We're not showing up for each other as a community of women, not only Latin women but women in general."

Milans recalls hearing actress Meryl Streep quote Carrie Fisher while accepting the 2017 Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes, in saying "Take your broken heart, make it into art."

"I thought, 'Wow.' Take a broken heart — something that puts us in an extreme position of vulnerability as women and women that want to be mothers — and use this to help other women. Use this to normalize the conversation because there's nothing wrong with us."

Noting that many women are choosing motherhood later in life, she continues, "It's just a reality. It's harder for everybody. So let's show up for one another. Let's talk about it and be there for each other as a community."

Milans has learned to rely on community, like neighbor and Zen Mama podcast host Sarah Wright Olsen, to navigate the ups and downs. She's also getting immense support from her partner.

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Andrew Toth/Getty Images

"In my case, my husband has been there for me in the best of his capacity. Sometimes that's just holding your hand and knowing you're not alone going down this road."

One of the difficulties that Milans and many women in the Hispanic and Latino face is the constant barrage of questions surrounding pregnancy after marriage.

"I don't want to generalize the Latino or Hispanic communities, but what I think brings us together is this sense of family. There is a more acute sense of family. I love that, I grew up in that in that community. So to me, it's beautiful that it maintains the bonds of family togetherness, but the flip side of that is everybody's all up in your business," she says with a laugh.

"I was sort of the exception in the family because I was very adamant about the career that I wanted to take on, but I have definitely been in a cultural environment where it's, 'Oh Marta, what's going on?'"

Milans compares balancing the culture of the country she grew up in and the one she currently calls home to the balance of career and motherhood.

"I had to choose. And it's unfortunate that we have to choose as women. They say, 'You can have it all.' I don't think that's true. I think you can have it all, but definitely not at the same time. And choosing when to have it all and how to have it all, sometimes it's not up to you."

Milans speaks deeply of her faith and how her role continues to instill faith in her that she will be a mom when the time is right but admits it can be complicated as well.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)
Warner Bros.

"My preparing to try to be a mom, being in the middle of doing this movie, it inspired me a lot because I thought, 'There's many ways of being a mother,'" she says. "And I get to play a mother in this movie who is a foster mom. We don't know the reason she's a foster mom, it's not explained, but it made me think maybe God is sending me this to say, 'Marta, it's going to be okay. You will be a mom.'"

"Knowing that there are so many ways of being a mom that you can explore, it gives me a lot of hope. It was certainly constantly in the front of my mind while making this movie, inevitably."

Milans is looking forward to continuing her journey, all while celebrating the March 17th release of Shazam! Fury of the Gods.

"I can't wait for us to be together and celebrate something so big together, to share with a global audience a beautiful story that maintains the heart which made the first one so successful. Which is it's all about family."

Recalling one heartfelt moment without sharing spoilers, Milans says she thanked the writers for "giving me one of the most beautiful lines, that sets a movie about family, and about being home and feeling like you're home and you're loved."

Moving ahead, she's keeping in mind the advice she's getting from those sharing their stories with her along the way — and encourages those who are going through their own journeys to reach out to her on Instagram.

"The most valuable advice I've received was from one of my closest girlfriends, who is a mom of two and has gone through her all her own ordeals. She said to me, 'The moment you decide you want to be a mother, and you start trying, you already are a mother,'" Milans says.

"The journey to motherhood has started," she continues, tearing up. "It's really terrifying sometimes in your life, when you're like, 'I don't know if it's going to work.' But when you see from that perspective of 'The fight is already starting.' That one thing to make a dream come true is already in the process, just trust the process."

"I'm happy to be of support, being of service to this community that I think is in need of public support. If I can be a voice to that, I'll feel better."

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