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.“
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. Ozin 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.”
Sherri Shepherd out and about in recent years
Sherri Shepherd out and about in recent years
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 27: Sherri Shepherd is seen on November 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Hollywood To You/Star Max/GC Images)
CULVER CITY, CA - OCTOBER 28: Sherri Shepherd attends Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre Hosts Opening Night Performance of 'Quack' at Kirk Douglas Theatre on October 28, 2018 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)
CULVER CITY, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Sherri Shepherd attends the screening of 'Brian Banks' during the 2018 LA Film Festival at ArcLight Culver City on September 22, 2018 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Rachel Luna/Getty Images for Film Independent)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN -- Pictured: Sherri Shepherd -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 16: Actress/comedian Sherri Shepherd visits Build Studio on July 16, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 10: Sherri Shepherd attends a private celebration of The 70th Anniversary of Israel hosted by the Consul General of Israel, Los Angeles, Sam Grundwerg on June 10, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
TRIAL & ERROR -- Season: 2 -- Pictured: Sherri Shepherd as Anne Flatch -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
INGLEWOOD, CA - MARCH 24: Sherri Shepherd (far L) and Kym Whitley (far R) attend Nickelodeon's 2018 Kids' Choice Awards at The Forum on March 24, 2018 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
CELEBRITY FAMILY FEUD - 'Sherri Shepherd vs. Ian Ziering and Tommy Chong vs. Derek Fisher & Gloria Govan' - The celebrity teams competing to win cash for their charities feature former co-host of 'The View' Sherri Shepherd and actor Ian Ziering, best known for his roles in 'Sharknado' and 'Beverly Hills, 90210.' In a separate game, family members of actor/comedian Tommy Chong ('Cheech & Chong') and five-time NBA Champion Derek Fisher (Los Angeles Lakers) along with his fiancée, television host and actress Gloria Govan, will compete on an all-new episode, SUNDAY, JULY 15 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (Byron Cohen/ABC via Getty Images)
STEVE HARVEY, SHERRI SHEPHERD
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 13: Sherri Shepherd attends The Cinema Society with Ravage Wines & Synchrony host a screening of Marvel Studios' 'Black Panther' at The Museum of Modern Art on February 13, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Actress Sherri Shepherd attends the 9th Annual AAFCA Awards at Taglyan Complex on February 7, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
BURBANK, CA - FEBRUARY 03: Sherri Shepherd (L) and Kym Whitley with her son, Joshua Kaleb Whitley attend the Los Angeles premiere for Disney Channel's 'Zombies' held at Walt Disney Studio Lot on February 3, 2018 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/Getty Images)
BURBANK, CA - FEBRUARY 03: Sherri Shepherd attends the Los Angeles premiere for Disney Channel's 'Zombies' held at Walt Disney Studio Lot on February 3, 2018 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 22: Sherri Shepherd is seen at the Los Angeles Mission Thanksgiving Meal for the homeless at the Los Angeles Mission on November 22, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 03: Actress Sherri Shepherd attends SAG-AFTRA Foundation Conversations with 'Claws' at SAG-AFTRA Foundation Screening Room on October 3, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vincent Sandoval/Getty Images)
TO TELL THE TRUTH - Sherri Shepherd, Lauren Ash, Curtis Stone and Joshua Malina make up the celebrity panel on 'To Tell the Truth,' Episode 306, airing SUNDAY, AUG. 26 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (Lisa Rose via Getty Images)
TO TELL THE TRUTH - Sherri Shepherd, Joshua Malina, Ryan Hansen and Ayesha Curry make up the celebrity panel on 'To Tell the Truth,' Episode 307, airing SUNDAY, AUG. 5 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network, streaming and on demand. The panel is presented with a variety of participants with interesting stories, from a former White House pastry chef to a competitive dog groomer and a lady with 1000 cats. (Lisa Rose/ABC via Getty Images)