Kate Mulgrew, a star of the hit Netflix series Orange Is The New Black, carried out a search for the daughter she gave up for adoption almost four decades ago — but it took a coincidental encounter with a nun for Mulgrew, now 59, to finally make contact with her daughter, who was 20-years-old when she finally spoke to her birth mother.
That heartbreaking story is one of many in the new autobiography by the former Star Trek: Voyager star.
The book is entitled Born With Teeth and reveals several other painful episodes in the life of the actress known to fans of the Netflix women-in-prison drama as Galina “Red” Reznikov — but beloved by Star Trek devotees as Captain Kathryn Janeway, the first female starship commander in the various versions of the legendary franchise.
According to the book, the current Orange Is The New Black star barely got a look at her baby when she gave birth in 1977.
The baby was quickly whisked away because Mulgrew and her mother had agreed that neither were capable of adequately caring for the child at that time — though the then-young, up-and-coming actress initially hoped her own mom would take over the child-rearing duties while she pursued her burgeoning career.
Mulgrew spent two decades trying to locate the long-lost child fathered by an aspiring theater director David Bernstein — who wanted her to get an abortion. But Mulgrew recounts slapping the baby’s father when he made that suggestion, which was offensive to her Irish-Catholic upbringing.
Finally, Mulgrew by chance ran into a nun whom she had once asked for information about the child — and that led to a 1997 phone call to Mulgrew by her daughter, who is named Danielle, when Mulgrew was filming Star Trek: Voyager.
“Time stopped,” Mulgrew told People Magazine. “There was this voice, unrecognizable, but I knew it was her.”
Danielle also recalled the call in detail.
“I remember three questions came from her. The first one was, ‘Are you pretty?’ And then the second one was, ‘Are you happy?’ And then the third one was, ‘Do you believe in God?’ That is Kate in a nutshell,” the long-lost daughter said.
“I wasn’t thinking, just desperate to keep my daughter on the line,” The Orange Is The New Black star told People, recalling the culmination of the search for her daughter. “The fact that I asked her if she was pretty let alone if she believed in God, shows how out of it I was. I have no recollection of asking Danielle these questions and find it fascinating that Danielle remembers them so clearly.”