Vampire Diaries actor Ian Somerhalder and his wife, Twilight star Nikki Reed, have issued a statement clarifying their intentions after a joke that they made about him throwing out her birth control pills spiralled into an almighty shitstorm on social media.

The couple, who welcomed a daughter earlier this year, recently appeared on Dr. Berlin’s Informed Pregnancy Podcast, when the host asked when they decided to have kids. “When you threw out all my birth control pills!” Reed laughed, adding that this was “presumptuous” of her husband.

Somerhalder went on to explain that the couple were on holiday with friends in Barcelona when they decided that the time was right to mutually start families. He added that “unbeknownst to poor Nikki,” he had also gone into her purse and taken out her birth control pills.

“This was the beginning of the pack, so I had to pop all of those suckers out,” he said. “There were like 25 of them. It’s a lot of work, especially after a little sangria.” He and a friend later filmed Nikki “freaking out” as they flushed the pills down the toilet.

It seemed like fairly lighthearted banter in the context of the podcast (which is embedded below), but some interpreted their comments as if Somerhalder had tried to force or coerce his wife into pregnancy, and social media quickly began to pile on.

Frustrated with the backlash, Reed took to Twitter overnight to blast outlets that had reported the story for using “false narratives” and twisting a “funny interview” for the sake of gossip and cheapening an important issue.

The couple also released a joint statement on Nikki Reed’s Twitter account, clarifying that their decision to start a family was one hundred percent mutual, and saying:

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.

We never expected a lighthearted interview we did poking fun at EACH OTHER and how WE chose together to get pregnant, a goofy moment in Barcelona with our two best friends and the anticipation of our journey together as we went from two to three, to turn into something representing a very serious matter.

However, if this somehow sheds light on a topic that definitely needs mainstream attention, then we are grateful for the unintended consequence. It’s a shame that outlets chose this as their way into a very serious discussion, as we are certainly not qualified to be the faces of this topic.

You can hear the relevant section of their chat at around the 5:40

Source: People
Image: Getty Images / Christopher Polk