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Padma Lakshmi says speculation about her baby’s father was ‘mortifying'

The "Top Chef" host reveals that media coverage about her daughter's father was "icky," especially when "press started snooping" in other countries.
Padma Lakshmi
Padma LakshmiGetty Images
/ Source: TODAY

"Top Chef" host and cookbook author Padma Lakshmi is opening up about how the frenzied media coverage of her pregnancy with her now-11-year-old daughter impacted her.

“It certainly was icky when the press started snooping around in various countries — not just America, but in India, England, Australia,” the 51-year-old told Zoe Ruderman on the latest episode of PEOPLE’s podcast “Me Becoming Mom. “At that time, it was splashed all over the newspapers and it was mortifying.”

In 2010, Lakshmi gave birth to her daughter, Krishna Thea Lakshmi-Dell, with venture capitalist Adam Dell. At the time, Lakshmi did not name Dell as the father of her daughter, so speculation about the identity of her child's dad became headline news.

"I was sort of between relationships without going into the specifics," Lakshmi explained. "It definitely complicated the situation, and as we know, our society is a patriarchal society, so I knew that it was not the ideal way, obviously, to be in the situation I was in."

The mom and activist went on to say that while public speculation about the identity of her daughter's dad was "in the background" like a constant "white noise presence," the coverage didn't stop her from enjoying her pregnancy.

"I was just happy. That stuff was certainly there," she said. "On the other hand, it was inconsequential because the main event was that I was going to a mom."

The "main event" of motherhood was something Lakshmi said she wasn't sure she would be able to experience without medical intervention. In 2006, Lakshmi was diagnosed with endometriosis — a painful condition in which the lining of the uterus grows inside other areas of the body. As a result, she was told "it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to become pregnant naturally."

"That put the issue very front and center in my mind and I was devastated," Lakshmi explained. "I really didn’t know if I was going to be able to have children, and I knew I wanted to have children."

The "Taste The Nation" host went on to share that when she finally find out she was pregnant, she was both surprised and overjoyed.

"I think I was just so elated that my body had come through for me," she added.