Talking about her in vitro fertilization journey has been freeing for Julianne Hough.
The actress, dancer and singer, 31, began the IVF process last summer, her husband Brooks Laich previously revealed. And now, she is opening up about why being candid regarding the couple’s road to conception has been an overall positive experience.
“The best part about being open is when you really don’t have anything to hide, it’s just liberating and free,” Hough told PEOPLE on Tuesday at the Roven store-opening event in Los Angeles’ Venice neighborhood. “The thing at hand that felt so heavy to carry doesn’t feel so heavy anymore. It’s not a burden.”
In fact, adds the former Dancing with the Stars pro, “It’s actually a freedom where not only do I feel free, but then people can see themselves in that freedom and have the courage also to talk about it. I really, truly believe that when we keep things inside, that’s where illnesses come from.”
“That’s where pain comes from — physically, emotionally, mentally. So the more we not only just talk about it, but through it, . That is what I believe in. And so I’m an open book,” Hough continues. “I might not be everybody’s cup of tea as far as how open I am, but it makes me happy.”
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Over the summer, NHL player Laich, 36, revealed on an episode of his iHeartRadio podcast How Men Think that he and Hough began the IVF process shortly before she turned 30 last July.
Laich told PEOPLE following the episode that he’s more appreciative than ever for his wife, who has been a “warrior” through the process.
“Knowing she has endometriosis, it could potentially make things challenging in the future to conceive naturally,” he said of their decision to start IVF. “That was just a looking at the big picture and what we want as a family.”
In addition to starting IVF, the America’s Got Talent judge froze some of her eggs last year, and “the commitment that she made to us having a family is something I’ll never forget,” Laich added.
RELATED VIDEO: Brooks Laich Says Julianne Hough Was a “Warrior” During “Super Challenging” IVF Process
While the athlete acknowledged going through IVF is a usually “private” experience, he told PEOPLE that he and Hough want to fight the stigma that may come with fertility issues by speaking out.
“The outpouring has been incredible,” Laich said of the support they’ve received since going public with their own journey. “Text messages from friends that I didn’t even know were considering it, messages on Twitter and Facebook, Instagram, people thanking us for opening up about that. I just hope it helps people.”
Hough and Laich tied the knot in July 2017 during a romantic, outdoor wedding on Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and celebrated their two-year anniversary this past summer with touching Instagram posts.
So is there a baby in the cards for the duo next year? “I don’t know. Who knows,” Hough tells PEOPLE now. “We’re taking it one day at a time, and who knows what will happen?” (People.com Latest News) More