Stephen and Cher Lair have watched Ellen DeGeneres’s talk show hundreds of times. But the Apex couple never expected to join the long list of celebrities they’ve seen on stage with the comedian.
That all changed after a video of Cher Lair learning she would finally have a girl – to join their family of six boys – went viral. It’s gathered 7 million YouTube views, and counting, on top of dozens of news articles.
Her joyous reaction at the gender reveal party drew the attention of “Ellen.” The episode featuring the Lairs aired Thursday.
And the viral fame has been unusual, to say the least. Stephen Lair, who runs a senior care business in Chapel Hill, said the media attention has been so crazy that they haven’t had time to stop and think about the pregnancy.
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“The word that both of us kept using was just ‘surreal,” Stephen Lair said Friday in a phone interview. “It was a whirlwind.”
On April 7, a friend of the Lairs posted a video of their “gender reveal” party held the day before. They cut into a cake to discover the inside was pink, indicating they would have a girl. Cher Lair nearly fell to the floor as others cheered.
After just a day online, Stephen Lair said, the video started making the Internet rounds, and within a week, the couple found themselves in a Los Angeles studio dressing room getting prepped to be on the show.
“It just kind of washes over you like, ‘Wow, she’s waiting on us. We’re the guests,’” said Stephen Lair, 37. “Then we walk off stage, and Michael Douglas is waiting there. We get to shake his hand, and he says he’s happy for us.
“It was just crazytown.”
On “Ellen,” Cher Lair, 36, acted as if being in front of a live audience and millions of TV viewers was nothing new.
She used self-deprecating humor to explain her rhyming name and the size of her family, which has grown over almost 14 years of marriage.
“I’m one of two,” Cher Lair said. “He’s one of two. Our parents are both one of two. They think we’re insane.”
They knew they wanted at least three kids, she said, but then figured, “We’re not done, maybe four? At four we thought, well, that doesn’t seem – let’s go, let’s go again.”
At that point, she buried her head in her hands, getting a rise out of the audience. Stephen told DeGeneres he couldn’t imagine what life would be like if they had stopped having children. Their six sons are ages 2 to 13.
On the show, Stephen said the couple had finally resigned themselves to a houseful of boys when they found out a daughter would be arriving in August.
“It’s a mom-daughter thing that I’ve wondered about,” Cher Lair told DeGeneres. “I wanted to know it, I wanted to experience it.”
She revealed she has bought clothes or shoes for a baby girl every time she got pregnant, just in case that somehow helped.
But after the sixth straight boy?
“I gave it away,” Cher said, acknowledging the irony.
DeGeneres presented another cake in front of the Lairs, saying she couldn’t pass up the chance to see that now-famous reaction of Cher’s.
And inside was another surprise: an invitation to return to Los Angeles to be DeGeneres’s Mother’s Day episode.
Predictably, Cher’s hands shot up to cover her delighted face.
In the meantime, many have asked the family if they’ve picked a name for their lone girl. Stephen said they didn’t announce their sons’ names until they were born, and they’re not changing now.
“Mom keeps the name under lock and key,” he said.
Doran: 919-460-2604; Twitter: @will_doran