MARCIA CROSS CHOSE CAREER OVER SICK BABY

Published on: October 22, 2004

Marcia Cross plays supermom Bree on the hit series "Desperate Housewives"--but in real life, she backed out of an adoption because she refused to sacrifice her career to be a stay-at-home mom!

DESPERATE

That's the stunning charge of Jessica Ridner, 32, whose heart was broken in May when the actress decided not to adopt her child--just as production was gearing up for the darkly humorous ABC drama about the secret lives of suburban housewives.

"Marcia had promised me that she would be a stay-athome mother to my baby, but it was all a big lie," Jessica told The ENQUIRER.

"Two months after she backed out, I saw promos on TV for 'Desperate Housewives.' Everything made sense. I understood why Marcia changed her mind--she was working!

"Marcia had been planning to go back to working long days, leaving my baby in the hands of nannies and hired caretakers--even though she knew that wasn't what I wanted for my child.

"She had to have been filming the show while we were waiting for the baby to be born. She outright lied to me, and I'm still very, very angry.

"I was giving up my baby so he would have a better life, but she had no intention of being the kind of mother I wanted for my baby."

The ENQUIRER first reported in June that never-married Marcia, 43, had contracted to adopt Jessica's baby. But when the baby was born prematurely with some health problems, Marcia allegedly got cold feet. The adoption was canceled.

"I was shocked," said Jessica. "Everything was set. Marcia had even picked out a name--Harrison. Marcia called me and said the adoption was off. She said she didn't have time to come to Nebraska and be with the baby in the hospital.

"I didn't understand how she could back away so coldly. What kind of mother can't take the time to be with her sick child? But now I know. Her work came before her baby."

When contacted by The ENQUIRER, Marcia's publicist refused to comment on the situation.

Jessica named the baby boy Nickolas Matthew--Nick Knack, for short.

He weighed just 3 pounds, 4 ounces, but was breathing on his own and doctors were optimistic that he would make it.

Tragically, a week later, he died.

"Marcia sent me $300 toward the funeral, but she didn't send flowers or even a card. And I never heard from her again," said Jessica.

Jessica, a recently divorced single mother of five, works full-time in client services for Hewlett Packard, but she'd much rather be home with her kids.

"I leave work, go to the store and go home to cook for them and help them with their homework--all the things a real mom does," she said. "I have no choice but to work. But Marcia, who has plenty of money, had promised me that she'd be a homebody for at least the first few years of my baby's life.

"Obviously, her words meant nothing."

The ENQUIRER has learned that the "Desperate Housewives" star is still hoping to adopt.

"A baby is still in her future plans," Marcia's mother, Janet Cross, told The ENQUIRER. "Marcia's new show came at a good time, to distract her about what happened to the baby she planned to adopt earlier this year. But Marcia still has her dream to become a mother."

CHILDLESS

But heartbroken Jessica thinks Marcia would be better off childless.

"In my opinion," she concluded, "Marcia should stick to being a mom on TV--because in real life, she simply isn't willing to give what it takes to be a real mother in the truest sense of the word."

--ROBIN MIZRAHI