Sandra Bullock is good at keeping secrets.
The actress managed to keep her son Louis Bardo Bullock's adoption under wraps until awards season ended in 2010, and she managed to keep her daughter Laila Bullock's adoption a secret until today. Posing with her kids on the cover of People's Dec. 14 issue (on newsstands Friday), Sandra explains how and why she was determined to protect her 3-year-old daughter's privacy.
"From the ruse I had to construct so that Louis didn't have to lie to his friends at school, to the stories I constructed for friends and coworkers as to why I was absent all the time, the subterfuge was pretty elaborate," she says. "But there is always the chance that the bonding process wouldn't happen or that the CPS [Child Protective Services] workers would feel I wasn't a suitable match. So I had no problem lying and fabricating stories to keep things on lockdown."
Sandra, first fostered Laila says she feared that the adoption process would be compromised due to the attention she receives. Keeping Laila hidden from the public eye proved to be a difficult, and inevitably impossible, task. "It felt very much like witness protection," she admits.
Until the time was right, Sandra had hoped to keep her family out of the news. She even went so far as to deny expanding her family during a press conference for Our Brand Is Crisis in October. The reporter who asked about Sandra's adoption news had most likely seen photos of them already, as she and Laila had been photographed during an emergency room visit before the adoption was complete. "Unbeknownst to me, a photographer had followed us and taken a photo of us in line," says Sandra, whose boyfriend, Bryan Randall, photographed the family for People. "The next day, I learned that a photo of her was being shopped around for sale to every outlet around the world. I had promised and legally agreed to protect her from something like this, and here I was chasing down lawyers—having them begging them to keep her safe—and tabloid outlets were claiming so many things that were inaccurate. All this just for money. I had to make sure CPS [Child Protective Services] knew what was fact and fiction."