Woman Welcomes Baby with Girlfriend, Ex-Husband Is Their Sperm Donor — and They All Live Together (Exclusive)

·7-min read

"We'll just keep figuring it out as we go," says mom-fluencer Linda Fruits, who lives with her girlfriend Maddy and her ex-husband Chris — as well as a growing band of kids

Courtesy of Linda Fruits Linda Fruits and girlfriend Maddy with baby Arlo
Courtesy of Linda Fruits Linda Fruits and girlfriend Maddy with baby Arlo

A mom-fluencer had it all: a great husband, two young sons, a house in a suburb of Florida. Now, she has something even better: a happy home with her girlfriend, their new baby, and her now-ex who is also their sperm donor.

On Tuesday, blogger Linda Fruits and girlfriend Maddy welcomed their son Arlo.

"Maddy woke me up at 3:00 a.m. saying she thought her water broke. We quickly showered and headed to the hospital and by 6:03 p.m. we had our beautiful boy, Arlo — all 6.8 lbs. and 19 inches of him," Linda tells PEOPLE exclusively. "I was just so pleased he was here and Maddy was okay."

"Watching Maddy give birth (and being on the other side of the bed) was absolutely incredible," she adds. "My eyes were flooded with tears of love, joy and relief. The whole birthing process can either strengthen a bond, or break one and I have never been more in love with her than I am this very moment."

As for the rest of their family, Linda says her ex-husband "is delighted" to have "another boy" in the house and that their sons Elliot and Owen "are so excited to meet him."

Courtesy of Linda Fruits Baby Arlo
Courtesy of Linda Fruits Baby Arlo

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Back when she was married, Linda, 33, says she "had everything I wanted on paper," but things didn't feel right.

"I was still missing something," she shares. "I just wasn't really aware of what it was yet."

She and her husband, Chris Harrington, 37, had been married since 2016 and dated for years before that. They met at the bar where Linda worked, became best friends, tied the knot, and had kids, now three and five. But a physical connection evaded them, at least from Linda's side. Intimacy "felt like an obligation or something," she recalls. She even asked her best friend, 'Do I need to have an open marriage? Because I can't sleep with him.'"

When their kids entered day care, the young mom had time to breathe and to "sit in her skin," as she puts it. Then, she stumbled onto "lesbian TikTok," where she was surprised to find herself attracted to some of the sapphic content creators there.

After a lot of self-reflection, Linda decided to come out to her husband. "No person should go this long without wanting to be held or kissed or touched," Linda says. "And I wanted him to have what he deserves."

Courtesy of Linda Fruits Linda Fruits with girlfriend Maddy, ex-husband Chris and their kids
Courtesy of Linda Fruits Linda Fruits with girlfriend Maddy, ex-husband Chris and their kids

Still, saying the words was difficult.

"I loved our family and I didn't want anything to change," she explains, which is why she ended up "sobbing uncontrollably" while springing the news on Chris as he was getting out of the shower. Fortunately, he accepted Linda's revelation with grace.

"I grew up around gay and lesbian people. My parents had a lot of friends that had come out late in life," says Chris. "It all made sense."

The pair, who are still in the process of getting divorced, naturally decided to end their romantic partnership. But then, "we started asking … okay, so what do we do now? Do we get divorced? Do we separate our assets? Do we split up our children? ... That's what everybody does, right?" Chris remembers of the pivotal moment.

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Because they enjoyed co-parenting together and were still close, they opted to stay put in their home after their Aug. 2021 split. "We work well day-to-day," says Chris, who owns two businesses. "We love waking up with our kids in the morning and taking care of them together."

They moved to opposite sides of the house and began seeing other people. Chris started dating first, while Linda took some time. When she downloaded HER, a lesbian dating app, she wasn't looking for a relationship. She just wanted to explore this new side of herself: "I was by no means looking to meet someone and fall head over heels in love with them."

But shockingly, she did fall in love. After her first date with one woman fell flat because of a lack of chemistry, she arranged to meet up with Maddy, a 36-year-old E.R. physician's assistant. "There wasn't a lot of pre-communication," Linda says. "Just like, Hey, let's meet up. Okay, great. See you there.'"

"I honestly thought I was going to get catfished just because of how beautiful she was," Maddy recalls.

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But their axe-throwing date went beyond well. Both women fell fast, and Maddy told Linda she loved her within the first few weeks.

Although "there was a lot" for Maddy to take in when she learned about Linda's unconventional home life, it didn't change her feelings. "She was very open about where she was and what was going on," Maddy says.

On their second date, Maddy had a confession, too. She told Linda she'd dreamed of becoming a mom for a long time, and had been looking for a sperm donor to have a baby by herself. "I was like, 'Great, you can have one of my kids,'" Linda jokes.

But after seeing how great Maddy was with the kids, Linda began to think about asking Chris whether he might be up for donating his sperm, helping Maddy achieve her goal.

When Linda finally popped that question to Chris a few months later, he agreed — but was frank about not wanting to be a "silent donor." He intended to actively raise the child as their live-in father.

Courtesy of Linda Fruits The Fruity Bunch
Courtesy of Linda Fruits The Fruity Bunch

After five tries, Maddy got pregnant using an at-home insemination kit, and the three adults, who by now all lived together, began prepping for their new life as a parental trio: "The Fruity Bunch," as Linda lovingly refers to their expanding family.

As for explaining their new living arrangement to their two sons, Linda says her oldest son didn't mind that "mommy and daddy don't share the same bed."

When at one point he asked about why Maddy was still in the house, Linda let him know how "lucky" they were.

"Some people only have one parent in a house who loves them. Some have two. But we're lucky enough that we have three parents who are here to watch over you" Linda recalls telling him. "It makes Mommy a better person and it makes Papa a better person. Maddy helps us be happier."

"He never asked that question ever again. It was like he really understood," she says.

Courtesy of Linda Fruits Chris Harrington with baby Arlo
Courtesy of Linda Fruits Chris Harrington with baby Arlo

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In November, Linda announced Maddy's pregnancy on her blog. While they received plenty of support, they got some public pushback from nay-sayers who don't approve of their unconventional domestic arrangement as well.

"It confuses a lot of people," says Chris, while Linda adds that "there's people saying it's narcissistic."

"And then I have people who have been through divorces and they're like, you have no idea how much my inner child loves this for your children," she says. "A lot of people all right are like, 'How do I get this deal?' I'm like, 'Well, I lucked out. Let me tell you.'"

Even though it's not easy, and the three parents must constantly improvise around everyday hiccups, a shared Google Calendar (and lots of love and dedication) helps keep them all running smoothly. "We'll just keep figuring it out as we go, what works best for all of us," Linda says.

For more about this extraordinary family, check out Linda Fruits' book, The Mom Life: The Sweet, the Bitter and the Bittersweet Fruits of Motherhood, which discusses not just her own family life, but "everything no one told her" about being a mom.

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