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Posted Thu, September 23, 2010 9:30am EDT

Wow! Motherhood Completely Transformed These Stars. Did Having A Kid Change You Too?

Diapers aren’t the only things that get changed when a baby enters the picture — often it’s the mothers themselves.

Nicole Richie tamed her inner wild child, Katherine Heigl checked out of Grey’s AnatomyJennifer Lopez mended ways with her mom, and Halle Berry just got sexier (if that’s possible!).

Nicole Richie
“I feel extremely blessed to live the life that I’m living,” Nicole Richie says of being mom to daughter Harlow, 2, and son Sparrow, 1. Indeed, since settling down with musician fiancé Joel Madden, 31, the former Simple Life star, 29, has put her party girl ways — which included drugs and a DUI — well behind her. “I’ve just accepted responsibility for what I’ve done,” Nicole explains, “and I don’t really try and look at why I did it.” Since adopting her new lifestyle, the reality star turned designer has also changed her style. Says the fashion icon, “I don’t wear jewelry because [Harlow] puts it in her mouth, and I don’t wear heels because I run around after her.”

Read How To Get Nicole Ritchie’s Boho Look!

Katherine Heigl
“It’s a life-altering experience,” says Katherine Heigl, 31, who quit Grey’s Anatomy while on maternity leave following the September 2009 adoption of daughter Naleigh, 22 months. “I realized how very, very important my family is to me,” says the star, who is married to singer Josh Kelley, 30, “and I want to be more available to them.” When Naleigh, born in November 2008, began walking and talking last spring, Katherine knew she’d made the right decision. “If I were missing that right now, I would just be devastated.” Now focusing on big-screen work (“I can do a film for three months and then have the whole rest of the year off,” she says) Katherine is itching to expand her brood. As she told German magazine Gala, “We would love to have a second child, adopted or biological.”

Jennifer Lopez
J.Lo has grown a lot since giving birth to twins Max and Emme in February 2008. “Before, my work was my main priority — even above myself,” she says. “My main priority now is that my kids are happy.” Besides scaling back her workload, she’s stepped off the scale. “I’m not the monster I used to be in the exercise department,” the 41-year-old admits. Perhaps the most weighty issue motherhood resolved is the rift between J.Lo and her mother, Guadalupe, which began when she skipped college to become an entertainer, continued over her bad choices in men, and ended when her kids with hubby Marc Anthony were born. Says J.Lo, “She gave me a card saying, ‘The way you feel about Max and Emme, I feel about you.”’

Read Halle Berry and Her Ex Are Putting Their Daughter First

Halle Berry
“I was happy that whole time,” Halle Berry recalls of being pregnant with daughter Nahla, 2½. “I felt good, I had energy, I was like Superwoman.” Giving birth in March 2008, however, was a different story. “It’s the most glorious thing you’ll ever do,” says Halle, 44, “but the aftermath is not so glorious! So now I’m having to exercise, eat a little bit differently, take a lot more vitamins.” It was worth it. “I do feel sexier,” she notes, “because I’m now more in line with my purpose for being on the planet.” That includes leaving behind a legacy her girl can be proud of. Says Halle, who split from Nahla’s dad, Gabriel Aubry, 33, in April. ”I don’t want my daughter to look back at my work and think, ‘Mom sold out.’”

–Mark Marino