Padma Lakshmi on the Media Attention Surrounding the Identity of Her Baby's Father: 'Mortifying'

"At that time, it was splashed all over the newspapers and it was mortifying," Padma Lakshmi said of the identity of her baby's father on a new episode of PEOPLE's podcast Me Becoming Mom

Padma Lakshmi and her daughter
Photo: Padma Lakshmi/Instagram

Padma Lakshmi is opening up about the spark in media attention when she was pregnant with her daughter.

On a new episode of PEOPLE's podcast Me Becoming Mom, the Taste the Nation host, 51, says it was "mortifying" when speculation about her baby's father became a major news story. Lakshmi welcomed daughter Krishna Thea with Adam Dell in 2010 and did not share Dell's identity at the time.

"I was sort of between relationships without going into the specifics. It definitely complicated the situation, and as we know, our society is a patriarchal society, so I knew that it was not the ideal way, obviously, to be in the situation I was in," the cookbook author tells host Zoë Ruderman, Head of Digital at PEOPLE.

"I was just happy. That stuff was certainly there. It was in the background, it was always like a white noise presence," the Taste the Nation: Holiday Edition, which is streaming on Hulu now, star says. "It certainly was icky when the press started snooping around in various countries — not just America, but in India, England, Australia. At that time, it was splashed all over the newspapers and it was mortifying."

"But on the other hand, it was inconsequential because the main event was that I was going to be a mom," she adds.

Subscribe to our new 12-episode weekly podcast, Me Becoming Mom, to hear celebrity moms open up exclusively to PEOPLE about their extraordinary roads to motherhood.

Lakshmi began dating Dell in 2009, two years after she divorced novelist Salman Rushdie.

Last year, she celebrated her 50th birthday from quarantine with Dell and Krishna while reflecting on the "mix of misery and elation" from the past year.

"But personally, at home things were peaceful," Lakshmi wrote. "We made a cocoon for our family. We lived for the first time all under one roof. We became closer."

The 12-episode weekly Me Becoming Mom podcast explores the various roads to motherhood through different interviews with both celebrity guests and experts in the field. Topics on the show include IVF, adoption, surrogacy, single parenthood, same-sex couples, home births, pregnancy loss, unexpected and surprising birth stories, among other subjects.

Guests on the show include Alyssa Milano, Hoda Kotb, Jillian Michaels, Shawn Johnson East and more.

Lakshmi currently hosts the holiday edition of her hit show Taste of the Nation, is available in Hulu.

Like previous episodes of Taste the Nation, each episode of the new special will highlight unique traditions through the lens of a different immigrant culture and city, like Korean New Year in Los Angeles and Cuban Christmas in Miami.

Lakshmi, who executive produces the series, started the show to uncover the roots and relationship between America's food, humanity and history — highlighting stories that challenge notions of identity, belonging, and what it means to be American along the way.

The Top Chef star considers this series her passion project. "This is what American food looks like. This is the original. This is the real America," she's previously said.

Taste the Nation: Holiday Edition is available on Hulu now.

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