Four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening is opening up about her family life, speaking about her son Stephen, 27, and how he gracefully navigated his journey after identifying as transgender at age 14.
“He’s managed something that’s very challenging with great style and great intelligence,” the actress told AARP the Magazine while discussing a text exchange they had about a book Stephen gave her called "Little Fish" that focuses on a transgender woman who finds out her Mennonite grandfather may have been trans. “He's an articulate, thoughtful person, and I'm very, very proud of him."
Bening, 61, and husband Warren Beatty are parents to four kids. In addition to Stephen, they have son Benjamin, 25, and daughters Isabel, 22, and Ella, 19.
Bening says after years of raising their brood, they've entered a new phase of their lives as empty nesters since Ella has left to attend Juilliard. "I think we're both still adjusting to the quiet at home,” she said.
Will having a quiet home be good for Bening? She thinks it might.
"A lot of women have a period of incredible growth after their children are no longer with them on a day-to-day basis,” she said.
The "Kids Are Alright" star says her notion of parenting has certainly evolved over the years.
“When I was younger, part of me thought I could save my children from having to suffer, which was, of course, ridiculous," she said. "They have to go through their struggles.”
Bening also says all her children have embraced adulthood.
“They're very much their own people now," she said.
Stephen himself has been an outspoken supporter of transgender rights. “IF YOU CAN’T HANDLE HAVING A TRANS KID, DON’T HAVE KIDS," he tweeted following the death of transgender teenager Leelah Alcorn in 2015.
Beatty, who has been married to Bening since 1992, is as proud of Stephen as his wife.
“He’s a revolutionary, a genius, and my hero, as are all my children,” Beatty told Vanity Fair in 2016.