2012 Sexiest Celebrity GRANDparent: Martha Stewart

Martha and granddaughter Jude in the nursery at daughter Alexis’s condo (September 2012 cover of Martha Stewart Living

Grandparenthood is the cherry on top of her successful life

By Mary Ann Cooper

For her power, creativity and worldwide recognition, Martha Stewart is our choice for 2012 Sexiest Celebrity GRANDparent. It’s a grand thing!

Her mega popular website MarthaStewart.com, magazines and television appearances bring her into millions of our homes as a lifestyle guru. But it’s Martha’s tireless work on behalf of animals that is particularly appealing among her many accomplishments. She’s received the National Humanitarian Medal from American Humane Association for embodying “the true American values of compassion, caring and hope.” As AHA further notes, “Martha Stewart has long been an advocate for animal adoption, proper pet care and human-animal interaction. In addition, she has created the Martha Stewart Center for Living, which — through animal-assisted therapy and other programs — ensures that all people can continue to live healthy and robust lives, even as they age.”

Martha Stewart has spent her entire career uttering her key signature phrase, “It’s a good thing.” But these days she says there’s “nothing better” than having grandchildren.

Life has not always been a “good thing” for Martha. She’s lived through a rocky marriage that ended in divorce in 1990, served out a prison sentence and lived through the embarrassment of things written about her in her daughter Alexis’s tell-all book, Whateverland: Learning to Live. It could have been a relationship-ender for Martha and Alexis, but something happened a few months earlier that prevented them from becoming estranged — the birth of Jude Stewart.

Previously, Alexis had struggled for years to become a mom, spending more than $25,000 a month on fertility treatments. Alexis once told People magazine, “Having my own kid is the most important thing in my life. I’m trying everything I can.” In 2011 her efforts paid off. Alexis had a little girl, Jude, through a gestational carrier, transforming Martha into a grandmother.

“I am really thrilled to share some very exciting news with you,” Martha told her TV show audience. “On March 8, little baby Jude, my first grandchild, was born. It’s very exciting and Alexis and the baby are doing very well. They’re home in New York in their apartment and I stopped in last night after a business trip and I got to see her when she was about 36 hours old — she is very alert and doesn’t cry. Ideal baby…. I’m happy for Alexis that she doesn’t cry…and she is eating well and doing all her natural things and she’s cute and she has Lexie’s pouty little mouth. Alexis is a great mother, and I am a grandma!”

Alexis announced on her satellite radio show Whatever with Alexis & Jennifer, “She was born at 1 in the morning … and [Martha] brings this huge box from Bergdorf [Goodman]. I open it up and I look inside, and it’s full of baby clothes, all with embroidery. I’m like, ‘Wow, I guess I’m going to be allowed to buy myself something pretty nice because all this stuff’s going back!’ If the kid can’t see it, why the 100 dollar [clothes]?”

When Alexis welcomed her second child, a son named Truman, who was born via surrogate just before his older sister Jude celebrated her first birthday, Martha took to her Twitter account again: “Baby Truman, Alexis’s second child, born two days before Jude’s b-day. Now I am a grandma twice! Nothing better!”

There was also “nothing better” than Jude’s birthday party, with Martha hosting the event. People magazine said that the affair featured three birthday cakes in different flavors that were topped with marzipan animals. The head table was adorned with Steiff stuffed animals, which are among Martha’s favorite collectibles.

Although Martha uses the term “grandma” in her public statements and tweets, it’s not a term her own grandchildren use. Alex told her radio audience, “Martha is going to be called ‘Martha.’ She seemed to have no problem with it. …I was like, ‘Do you really want to be “Grandma”?’ I don’t like the term grandma!”

Yet in almost all other respects, Martha is a typical grandmother who can’t get enough of her grandkids. A visit from one of them while she’s working makes her day. Martha blogged, “After practicing yoga between the morning and afternoon shows, my granddaughter, Jude, came to the studio for a visit. She is curious about everything!” And even when Martha is on a business trip, she’s thinking about her grandkids. Martha blogged during a trip to Churchill, Canada, “I came across a collection of adorable little animals made out of caribou hides. Studying these whimsical creatures, I instantly had a vision of a beautiful mural that would hang in my grandchild’s room.” And when she headed off to the Bahamas for a short vacation, Alexis and baby Jude came along. Martha blogged, “It pleased me to no end to see how intensely curious baby Jude was about everything during our stay. Sharing this time with Alexis and Jude was simply the best!”

For Martha Stewart, being a grandparent is not just a good thing — it’s the best!

Mary Ann Cooper is a celebrity journalist and author of Grandeur: The Personal Reflections of Famous Grandparents.

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