Shawn Johnson Reveals Her Surprising Reaction to Daughter Drew's Request to Do "Big Girl Gymnastics"

As Shawn Johnson's 3-year-old daughter Drew inquires about the family business, the Olympic gymnast is doing her best not to flip, she tells E! News, and keeping her coach at the ready just in case.

By Sarah Grossbart Oct 01, 2023 10:00 AMTags
Watch: Shawn Johnson & Husband Andrew East Expecting Baby No. 3

Shawn Johnson's 3-year-old daughter Drew is ready to handspring into the family business. But did her recent request to do "big girl gymnastics" when she gets older make the Olympian want to flip? 

"Yes and no," the 31-year-old admitted in an exclusive interview with E! News. "I mean, it's so far away. Who knows?" For now, continued Shawn, currently expecting her third child with husband Andrew East, Drew is doing "a little gymnastics class and she loves it. It's really sweet." 

And though the 2007 world champion told E! News in July, "I have this weird fear that our accomplishments will set an unhealthy expectation on our children" she's doing her best not to get worked up about her toddler following in her chalk-covered footsteps.  

"I'm not too worried about it," Shawn continued. Though the Nashville resident noted if it veers into double back salto territory, coach Liang Chow—the man that led her to a gold and two silver medals at the 2008 Olympics—is on notice. 

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"I will have to have my coach move here if that were ever the case," she said of the Iowa-based pro. "Or he'll help me find a coach. We'll see."

Because as much as Drew may have a genetic advantage, Shawn knows the biggest leg up is a love of the mat. "I have a lot of friends who will say, 'Oh, is my daughter good? Do I need to be putting her in X, Y and Z?'" the athlete explained. "And I always tell them, 'The greatest chances of success with any kid is for a kid to love what they do. Because a lot of times the people who make the Olympics aren't the best and most talented. They've just loved it enough to work through every hurdle that has come their way."

Which is why she's here to shepherd Drew's fascination with flips and 2-year-old brother Jett's obsession with bikes. "Can't get the little boy off of the bike: inside the house outside the house, off the stairs," Shawn shared. "He's a wild child." 

No matter the hobby, she explained, "the more a kid loves it, the more effort they're willing to put in. So just put them in everything and find what sticks." 

Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

For now, though, Drew is more focused on sticking the role of eldest sibling than any dismount. 

"She's just as excited as ever," Shawn said of Drew, who has her mind set on having a little sister, despite the fact that they're waiting to learn the baby's sex. "She now is in love with feeling the baby kick. And she's asking what makes the baby giggle and when can she dress the baby up and all these different things. It's really cute." 

Though, the Nashville resident could do without one frequent inquiry: "She asks me every day, 'Is the baby coming today?'" shared Shawn. "I'm like, 'No, I hope not.'"

Because, admittedly, Shawn needs to put in some work of her own before her baby's December arrival. 

While she and retired NFL long snapper Andrew, 32, have chosen names and made plans for a nursery, otherwise this go-round they've gotten "so much more lax," she said, "to the point where I started to panic because I haven't done anything."

One task that's definitely on the list is dreaming up some thank you presents for her labor and delivery staff, inspiration striking when she teamed with Bio-Oil for the brand's Labor of Love campaign. 

Having delivered care packages to Tennessee's Williamson Medical Center Sept. 26 for the initiative, Shawn is planning to come up with a little something special for the labor and delivery team that was by her side when she delivered both Drew and Jett. As she put it, "My labor and delivery nurses are a godsend and there's no way to thank them enough."

Photo by Danielle Del Valle/Getty Images FOR Bio-Oil®

Plus the gifts can double as goodbye presents, with Shawn planning for this third c-section to be her last. 

"I adore babies," Shawn raved. "But my babies are so large that pregnancy is a little tough. Three c-sections, three 9-, 10-pound babies, it's just a lot."

And while she's told Andrew—one of five siblings—that she's "completely open" to the idea of adoption should they wish to expand their family further, "I do think as of right now, this will be the last pregnancy go around," Shawn revealed, "which is a little sad and somber, but beautiful too."