Celebrity

Maria Menounos welcomes first baby.
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Maria Menounos & Keven Undergaro Welcome First Baby Via Surrogate

“I’m so grateful for her.”

Maria Menounos is a mom for the first time. The 45-year-old television presenter and actress welcomed her first baby via surrogate with her husband Keven Undergaro, and they could not be more excited about it.

Menounos and her husband welcomed their daughter, a little girl named Athena Alexandra, on June 23. “It the most special moment of my life,” she told Us Weekly. “The doctor literally grabbed her and hiked her onto me. 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.” Undergaro told the magazine, “It was like Christmas morning times a million.”

The couple first announced that they were expecting in February, with Menounos telling Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest on Live! with Kelly & Ryan that they had found a surrogate with the advice from friends like Zoe Saldaña and Kim Kardashian, who welcomed 5-year-old daughter Chicago and 3-year-old son Psalm via surrogate.

Athena’s arrival comes after 10 long years of fertility struggles, beginning in 2012 with Menounos’ first IVF treatment. So it should come as no surprise that they view her as their “miracle baby,” with Menounos telling Us Weekly, “I’m so grateful for her.”

Menounos has also expressed heartfelt gratitude for the surrogate who carried Athena, telling Ripa and Seacrest in February that she was “so grateful” for her “amazing” surrogate while trying not to cry.

Now that Athena is at home, loving her and taking care of her has become a family event. Menounos, who lost her mom Litsa to brain cancer in 2021, told Us Weekly that her house “is on happy crack!” She added, “My dad, her Abuelita, her baby nurse, all of us just, it’s just so much love. People say you won’t care about your dogs anymore, but if I’m not squishing Athena, I’m squishing them.”

It’s especially exciting for Menounos to become a mom after battling pancreatic cancer while waiting for her daughter to be born, a diagnosis that had her terrified she would not ever get the chance to meet her baby. “I hadn’t really cried, but I just started guttural crying,” she told Hoda Kotb about her diagnosis at the time, “because I’m like, ‘How could God finally bless me with a baby after 10 years, and now I’m not going to meet her?’”

Fortunately she managed to beat cancer, and now she and her husband get to just enjoy their little miracle baby.