Maria Menounos Welcomes Baby After 10 Years of Infertility Struggles

Maria Menounos is officially a mother, having welcomed daughter Athena Alexandra alongside husband Keven Undergaro via a surrogate on June 23. The 45-year-old former E! News anchor, who underwent surgery to remove a pancreatic tumor in January, called holding her baby for the first time "the most special moment of [her] life" after a 10-year journey to become a mom. 

"The doctor literally grabbed her and hiked her onto me," Menounos told Us Weekly. "I sat with her on my chest, and Keven and I kept looking at each other like, 'Oh, my God.' It was just pure joy." She continued of the "euphoric" feeling of having her own child, "For so long, I've felt something's been missing. I'd go to kids' birthday parties, and I'd be a little sad because I wanted my own family. And now I feel so grounded, like I finally know where I belong."

Menounos had to go through a difficult decade-long journey before holding her daughter in her arms. After first going through IVF treatments due to fertility issues, the media personality was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2017. After having the tumor removed, Menounos was advised by her doctor not to carry a child. Menounos and Undergaro, 55, then sought out surrogacy but had their first surrogate fall through in 2020. The couple continued on, however, and in February announced they were expecting their first child. 

In January, when Menounos was diagnosed with a pancreatic tumor, she remembered "guttural crying" alongside her husband, calling the diagnosis a "nightmare." Having the tumor removed successfully, however, Menounos joked it was all part of her motherhood journey: "The fibroid was the size of a baby. I have a C-section scar, basically, even though I never had a baby – I gave birth in a different way!"

Menounos also revealed in her birth announcement feature that Athena was born in Milwaukee the very night she and her surrogate had an emotional discussion about her motherhood journey. "She and I were in my room just chatting, and I showed her all of Athena's stuff and her clothes and I just started bawling about how I've been waiting for her," the new mom recalled. "I was like, 'My husband keeps saying I'm being impatient, wanting the baby to hurry up and come.' I told her, 'It's not that I'm impatient. I'm just so excited to meet her.' So she left the room, and her contractions started at two in the morning."