Parents are suppose to teach their children the ways of life, right? Not so with Nicole Ari Parker and Boris Kodjoe. The Hollywood couple recently opened up about their daughter’s illness, and how little Sophie changed their perspective on life.
“We went from being the hot Hollywood couple with a perfect-to-be baby to completely devastated, shocked,” explained Boris. The actor and his wife discovered that their oldest child, Sophie, had spina bifida shortly after she was born. “It was something we couldn’t possibly have ever anticipated. We were helpless, we were lost. It took us quite a while to find our bearings and get used to this new norm that we were facing.”
Spina bifida is a defect in which part of the spinal cord is exposed through a gap in the backbone. The condition often causes one to be paralyzed and could be the source of mental handicap.
Although Sohpie has been battling with spina bifida all of her life, the little one has never let the condition get the best of her. “Sophie was actually instrumental in teaching us,” said Nicole Ari Parker of her daughter as a newborn. “Her spirit, her attitude was always, she was this little baby who was always smiling and she looked at us like, ‘Why are you crying?’”
It is this spirit of hope that the Kodjoes operate in when parenting their daughter today. “Someone said, ‘Answer the question that’s asked,'” said Nicole of the speculation that sometimes arises due to Sophie’s inability to be independent. “Don’t worry about what’s going to happen when she’s 14. If a 5-year-old classmate comes up to you and says, ‘Mrs. Kodjoe, why are you always here?’ and I say, ‘To help Sophie go to the bathroom.’ That’s the answer to the question. And you know what happens? They all go, ‘okay.’ And I don’t have to put any more on it. So that was the beginning of my healing process was each day at a time.”
Boris and Nicole Kodjoe have two kids, Sophie and Nicolas, together.