The rumour mill, where all the best stories live, reports that the Portuguese multimillionaire professional footballer Cristiano Ronaldo will soon be taking possession of twin babies. A surrogate womb has been employed, the Sun has reported, to give Ronaldo extra members of his brood.
Ronaldo is already a devoted father to Cristiano Jr who came about via similarly unemotional circumstances. No doubt this is irrelevant. No one who has sat through Anthony Wonke’s 2015 documentary ‘Ronaldo’ would doubt the intensity of the footballer’s bond with his little boy. Amongst the glitzy lifestyle, the worshipping crowds, the fast cars and private jets, here is a tale of school runs, bedtime books and endless one-on-one daddy and son kitchen suppers. A flattering director cannot manufacture the warmth Ronaldo clearly has for his son, or the enthusiasm in which he’s embraced parenthood.
Still, how Cristiano Jr came to be, I find interesting. Behind any surrogacy story, there is a woman with a uterus, who carried the baby, pushed him out and then waved him off forever. That plays on my mind.
The concept of surrogacy is a funny thing. More than a handful of celebrities have admitted to using surrogacy in order to have children: America’s Next Top Model’s Tyra Banks spoke openly about her struggles to conceive and failed attempts at IVF before eventually welcoming her son York, saying in the announcement of his birth: “As we thank the angel of a woman that carried our miracle baby boy for us, we pray for everyone who struggles to reach this joyous milestone.”
68-year-old Robert De Niro and his wife, 56-year-old Grace Hightower, welcomed a little girl via surrogacy in 2012. Nicole Kidman and her husband Keith Urban used a surrogate in order to have their second child, after Kidman spoke publicly about problems with fertility.
Perhaps most famous of all, Elton John employed a surrogate in order to have two sons, Zachary and Elijah, with his partner David Furnish, prompting controversy on a number of fronts. Domenico Dolce, of Dolce and Gabbana, ended up in a “war with words” with Elton after referring to surrogate children as “synthetic” and referring to it as “wombs for hire”. A member of the Italian parliament even waded in to compare surrogacy to “eugenics”, while others responded to reports that the mother had been paid £20,000 with outrage, considering the singer’s huge net worth stretching into the many millions.
It’s clear, then, that surrogacy is not without its critics. In the past, detractors have taken issue with a perceived “added convenience” of employing a surrogate: women are often accused of being “too posh to push”, while single men are accused of cutting women out of their lives so they don’t have to deal with the aggro of an ex-wife, maintenance payments or dual parenting arrangements, or being gay and hiding it.
With a surrogacy, the argument has gone, one can have babies, heirs, legacy, a little head to sniff and think “this is mine”, without the need (or admin) of a woman.
Personally, if a partner of mine broached the idea of surrogacy, I would have to point out that it was utter madness. I would find it humiliating for a man who I was involved with to buy a family elsewhere – and the whole process strange, cold and businesslike. All of which brings us back to those rumoured surrogate twins, Cristiano Ronaldo and his very gorgeous 23-year-old girlfriend, Georgina Rodriguez. And gosh she is world-class gorgeous. So slinky in her gym kit on Instagram, so perfect on the red carpet touching his elbow supportively, so avid in her spectating of Real Madrid play Rea Betis yesterday evening. I couldn’t even wear her tiny thong as a headband without chafing.
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Rodriguez’s dedication to her role as Ronaldo’s other half is beyond reproach; in fact, no one on the planet can deny she is linked with him. So what must she think of surrogacy as an idea, one that may affect her life in future? I wonder how she feels about such a transaction, and whether it causes her any scruples. Personally I know where I would stand: “Find yourself someone else to accompany you on the red carpet if that’s your game” would neatly summarise my response.
“Sassy backchat” like that is possibly why I am currently writing this column in an East London back bedroom masquerading in an office, wearing a Phase Eight jumper dress covered in cat hair while Georgina Rodriguez is, most probably, choosing summer yachting bikinis. Good for them, if the rumours are true. But the concept still makes me shiver.