Susan Sarandon is a firm believer in the power of prayer because she is convinced her words to a higher power helped her realise the miracle of motherhood. The Oscar-winning actress was told she'd never be able to have children without surgery after she was diagnosed with endometriosis while she was filming The Hunger in the early 1980s.
Sarandon, who was raised a Catholic, admits she wasn't devastated by the health news because she didn't have a boyfriend at the time and had no firm plans to become a mum, but her life changed while she was shooting a film in Italy with Sir Anthony Hopkins.
She explains, "For years I didn't use birth control and I went to Italy to do a movie about Mussolini with Anthony Hopkins and I started seeing this young guy. He was Italian and spoke great English and was gorgeous. He was a nice guy, loved his family, loved Italy, and I finally got a chance to embrace my Italian side, which was why I decided to do the movie in the first place.
"I was gonna learn Italian and everything. And I had been praying, actually praying - because there's so many great churches in Italy - to find some more meaning in my life 'cause at this point, I felt really overqualified for my career. I was working but it wasn't enough and I felt this disconnect and I was 38.
"Nobody understood how this happened but I found myself pregnant. Everyone was telling me, 'You are crazy. Your career's going so well, you can't have a baby now and what are you gonna do and you barely know this guy... I just thought, 'You know, this is something I'm not overqualified for, this is gonna be really an interesting thing...' and so I said to Franco (Amurri), 'I've decided that I'm gonna have this baby and if you wanna be part of it, that's great. If you don't, that's great too.'
"I thought, 'What if this was an impossibility and it's happened, clearly it's meant to happen...? Let's just go for it.' And the rest is history. And I never had any regrets."
Sarandon gave birth to daughter Eva Amurri in March, 1985. She has since had two sons with former partner Tim Robbins.
The actress still has major ties to Italy - she is an honorary citizen of Ragusa in Sicily, where her grandfather was born. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1916, when he was just 15.
Vidal and his partner Howard Austen were on holiday in Ravello in the summer of 1984, when the Dead Man Walking star, who was in town shooting a movie, discovered she was pregnant with her then-boyfriend Franco Amurri's child.
She tells Vanity Fair magazine, "Gore always says Eva was conceived at Ravello. I was staying with them (Vidal and Austen) and bought the (pregnancy) kit in town, so he and Howard were the first to know the test was positive."
Sarandon remained in Europe after becoming a first-time mum the following March (85), and the Oscar winner reveals Vidal was always there to lend a hand.
She explains, "After Eva was born, I was in Ravello with her. I was nursing, and she had these terrible allergies. It was so difficult for me and for her, but Gore and Howard were such a comfort!"
The pair's relationship continued to grow over the years, with Vidal later becoming the godfather to her second child with actor Tim Robbins, Miles Guthrie.
The playwright passed away last summer (Jul12) and Sarandon insists she will also remember him as a great friend: "The most amazing thing about Gore is that he... (had) the world's biggest heart... (and) always had my back."
The Thelma & Louise actress, who suffers from uterine condition endometriosis, made the surprising admission during a special chat with Scottish actor Alan Cumming as part of his new Lucid Conversations private sessions, which was held in New York on Monday (06Feb12).
Sarandon was describing the difficulties she had experienced trying to fall pregnant when she came clean about her romp with Italian director Franco Amurri back in the 1980s.
She told the audience, "It (endometriosis) grows like a vine. It can do all kinds of horrible things. But, you know, the kind of guys that I was seeing weren't really very good candidates for father at that time. So I wasn't looking to have kids really. And then...
"If anyone out there's having trouble getting pregnant. Go to Italy. Have a summer and don't worry about it and eat and drink and... f**k, and you'll probably get pregnant. And that's what happened with Eva. On the Spanish Steps."
Sarandon's confession shocked Cumming, who replied, "Seriously? On the Spanish steps? That's where Eva was conceived, on the Spanish steps?", before raising his glass and toasting the actress, saying, "Cheers to that!"
The Californication star, 26, exchanged vows with retired Major League Soccer player-turned-U.S. TV sports presenter Kyle Martino in Charleston, South Carolina on Saturday (29Oct11), reports Usmagazine.com.
The wedding reunited Sarandon with her former partner Tim Robbins as they proudly watched Amurri walk down the aisle.
A source tells the website, "Tim and Susan seemed very happy to celebrate (Eva's) big day together. It was a very fun affair."
Amurri is Sarandon's daughter with Italian director Franco Amurri.
Amurri, Sarandon's 24-year-old daughter with Italian director Franco Amurri, took the saucy dance lesson for her steamy role on hit U.S. TV show Californication.
The young star invited her mother to join in the fun - and Sarandon admits she jumped at the chance to learn how to work the pole because it helps to keep her feeling young.
She explains, "My kids are so funny they bring me into the present. I go to concerts and I went and I learned how to pole dance with my daughter when she was doing Californication. It's very difficult and you have to be in very good shape. It's hard!"
The Dead Man Walking star has two sons with longtime partner Tim Robbins: Jack, 20, and Miles, 17.
The actress, who lives with her family in New York, admits she cannot wait to send Miles off to college in another state so she can gain back her social freedom.
She says, "I do (like nesting) but I'm also very good at visiting them in foreign places! I'm so ready (for an empty house).
"The thing is, when you have kids you're such a captive to their school schedule so you get an invite or you wanna go someplace or something, you have to be back (by a certain time). I'm very hands on so I have to break that habit."
Sarandon is also mother to actress Eva Amurri, from her previous relationship with director Franco Amurri.
Eva Amurri, Sarandon's daughter with Italian director Franco Amurri, played Jackie, a woman who studied during the day and worked as a stripper by night, on a recent episode of David Duchovny's hit TV series.
And Sarandon insists she had no qualms about the 24 year old getting naked onscreen because she knew Amurri would enjoy herself.
Speaking before the show aired in the U.S. on Sunday (11Oct09), she told the New York Daily News, "I think if she were playing something that was going to be really hard for her psychologically or damaging, I'd be more concerned, but she had a really good time with the sex thing.
"She plays a woman who, as far as I can tell, is really in charge of her life and is not a victim. So it sounded to me like it would be a blast. I've already seen little bits and pieces of some of the nudity and she looks beautiful."