Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder responded to the backlash over their recent birth control comments

In the days following an interview with the celebrity couple, Ian Somerhalder and Nikki Reed responded to the major criticism they received, and we’re glad to see they addressed the issue head-on.

Last week, in an interview on the Informed Pregnancy podcast, Reed said that Somerhalder flushed her birth control pills down the toilet when they decided they were ready to have kids — and implied he did so without asking.

While the couple only intended this to be a light-hearted, if even humorous comment, the internet was quick to point out that the story is extremely problematic, because it seemed to imply that the actor was taking Reed’s reproductive decisions into his own hands — without her consent.

In a joint statement issued on Somerhalder’s Instagram, the couple wrote: “To anyone who has been affected by reproductive coercion, we are deeply sorry. That is an extremely serious issue, and women’s rights is something that is incredibly important to both of us. It is something we’ve been very vocal about, and something that is very close to our hearts.”

They added that the comments were made in a “lighthearted interview poking fun at each other,” but are grateful that their comments “shed light on a topic that definitely needs mainstream attention.”

We’re heartened that they addressed why throwing out someone’s birth control pills without their knowledge is an act of sexual violence, and that tampering with birth control in any way is a form of abuse, even if they were joking and were both ready to start trying to get pregnant.

It could have been easy to ignore or dismiss the backlash, so major kudos to the couple for using this as a teachable moment.

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