Sherri Shepherd recalls doctors saying her son would be ‘paralyzed' and 'unable to speak’ in birthday tribute post: ‘But God said different’

Suzy Byrne
Sherri Shepherd and her son Jeffrey at Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios last year. (Photo: Steven Diaz/Walt Disney World Resort via Getty Images)
Sherri Shepherd and her son Jeffrey at Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios last year. (Photo: Steven Diaz/Walt Disney World Resort via Getty Images)

Sherri Shepherd is reflecting on the “best birthday gift” she ever received: the birth of her son Jeffrey in 2005.

The one-time co-host of The View took to social media on Monday as she turned 52 and the boy turned 14 to share a story about when Jeffrey was born prematurely at just 25 weeks and weighed one pound, 10 ounces.

Shepherd, who appears in the Netflix show Mr. Iglesias, shared that her special needs child, who has developmental delays, “fought to live” despite negative prognoses from doctors saying he “would be paralyzed, unable to speak and a host of mental challenges.” She added, “But God said different.“

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Now, 14 years later, “Jeffrey still can bring me to tears at what he can do,” she wrote.

While Shepherd admitted that she still has “no clue” what she’s doing as a parent, “I know I love him with all my heart.” She also prayed that he grows into an “independent man” who can take care of himself.

She gushed, “You are my heartbeat and you are my life.”

The single mom, who had Jeffrey with her first husband Jeff Tarpley, said last year that when it comes to parenting her son, her overarching rule is not to compare him to “typical children.” She said, “He is who he is.”

And who is he? A teen with a knack for comedy, which is why he’s been taking an improv class, where he gets to be “silly.” She said he has showbiz aspirations too. “I said, ‘You’re going to be a doc?’ And he goes, ‘No, Mommy, I have to make people laugh.’”She mused that he could end up on Saturday Night Live, adding, I “just want other people to love him too.”

In another interview, Shepherd said Jeffrey was the catalyst for her recent weight loss. While she was eating a candy bar, he asked, “'Mommy, if you die, who's gonna be my bodyguard?' she recalled. “‘Who's gonna take care of me if you die?' And that's when I went cold turkey and stopped sugar because boys need their mamas." She has since dropped 25 pounds.

Shepherd is also the legal mother of a child that she and her second husband, TV writer Lamar Sally, had via a surrogate after they separated in 2014. While Talley has sole custody of the child, Lamar Sally Jr., who was born that August, a Pennsylvania court ruled the following year that Shepherd is the legal parent of the child. She supports him financially, but there is no relationship beyond that.

“He never has to worry about anything as long as I’m working,” Shepherd said on Dr. Oz in 2017. “He’s on my health insurance. He’s got a life insurance policy in case anything happens to me. He’ll be taken care of the way Jeffrey [her other son] is. I’ve just chosen to take myself out because I think it’s worse for a child with two parents not getting along.”

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