The 53-year-old Hollywood star shot to fame in the 2002 hit movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, in which she played a single woman whose family dream of seeing her settle down and have children. And in real life, Nia desperately wanted to start a family, but had to deal with several miscarriages and unsuccessful IVF treatments.

“It was a sad process for me to become a mom and a long process,” Vardalos told People. “I felt so embarrassed that I couldn’t have a biological child.”

Nia and her husband, former Cougar Town actor Ian Gomez, tried for many years to have children. They went through 13 rounds of IVF and were also unsuccessful in their hopes for a surrogate in their nine-year struggle to become parents.

In the end, Nia and Ian turned to the foster system in the US and in 2008, they were overjoyed to be told they had been matched to a three-year-old girl. The actress and writer feels blessed to have been given the opportunity to raise her 10-year-old adopted daughter Ilaria.

“I am so grateful and can’t imagine my life without her,” she smiled.

Nia also revealed that her heartache over becoming a mom was one of the reasons it took so long to release a sequel to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which she wrote and produced as well as starred in.

The actress felt she couldn’t get back into character and play a mother until she had some experience of parenting in real life.

“I wouldn’t know the emotions of what to write. I just said, ‘I can’t do it,’ ” she added.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 sees Nia’s character Toula struggling with parenthood and her marriage to Ian – played by John Corbett. Nia desperately tries to put the spark back into her relationship while also trying to raise a rebellious daughter who fights against her family’s Greek traditions.