20 Famous Childless Women on Why They Didn't Have Kids
Every day we're bombarded with news of celebrity babies and pregnancies--but a slew of super-famous and accomplished women have been straight-up honest about their decision not to have kids of their own. From Stevie Nicks to Oprah and Cameron Diaz, we look at 20 amazing ladies and what they've said about their choice.
"I definitely don't want to have kids...I don’t think I’d be a great mother. I'm a great aunt or friend of a mother...I don’t want to spend that kind of time. I don't want to have a kid and have it raised by a nanny. I don’t have time to raise a child.”
- Chelsea Handler, The Conversation With Amanda de Cadenet, April 2013
"If I had kids, my kids would hate me...They would have ended up on the equivalent of The Oprah Show talking about me; because something [in my life] would have had to suffer and it would've probably been them."
- Oprah Winfrey, The Hollywood Reporter, December 2013
“I’ve thought about this a lot lately. I never thought I’d be this age and not have kids. But my life has also gone in a million ways I never anticipated...I kept feeling like I’d wake up with absolute clarity, and I haven’t. And we have a pretty great life together. The chance that we’ll regret it doesn’t seem like a compelling enough reason to do it. I may wake up tomorrow with that lightning bolt, and I’ll have to scramble to make it happen.”
- Jennifer Westfeldt, New York Times, March 2012
Dita von Teese
"My sisters have children. I love children but at this stage of my life...I was married to someone who was not cut-out to be a father. He could hardly take care of himself, let alone a child, so I changed my views, adapted accordingly, thought: 'It's OK not to have children.' Now I'm just going to watch how my life unfolds and see what happens. I'm not going to be less of a person if I don't have children. It will work out the way it is supposed to."
- Dita von Teese, The Independent, July 2007
Would you consider that you've lived a fulfilled life if you never get married or have kids?
"Yeah, I will. I won't have kids [laughs] but I may still get married. But I would have lived a very fulfilled life if I had gotten married and had kids, too. But I'm very religious and I at some very deep level believe that things are going to work out as they're supposed to. The key is to be open to that and to appreciate the life that you've been given."
- Condoleezza Rice, Ladies’ Home Journal, October 2010
"I have come to believe there are three sorts of women, when it comes to questions of maternity. There are women who are born to be mothers, women who are born to be aunties, and women who should not be allowed within ten feet of a child. It's really important to know which category you belong to... Now, listen—if you put a baby in front of me, rest assured: that baby is going to get cuddled, spoiled and adored. But even as I'm loving on that beautiful infant, I know in my heart: This is not my destiny. It never was. And there is a curious rush of joy that I feel, knowing this to be true—for it is every bit as important in life to understand who you are NOT, as to understand who you ARE. Me, I'm just not a mom... Having reached a contented and productive middle age, I can say without a blink of hesitation that I wouldn't trade my choices for anything."
- Elizabeth Gilbert on her blog, May 2014
"I grew up in a big old family with eight kids younger than me and several of my brothers and sisters came to live with me early on in my life. I've loved their kids just like they're my grandkids, and now I've got great grandkids!... They call me 'Aunt Granny.' Now I'm GeeGee, which is great-granny. I often think, it just wasn't meant for me to have kids so everybody's kids can be mine."
- Dolly Parton, People Country, May 2014
"It's so much more work to have children. To have lives besides your own that you are responsible for—I didn't take that on. That did make things easier for me. A baby— that's all day, every day for eighteen years...Not having a baby might really make things easier, but that doesn't make it an easy decision. I like protecting people, but I was never drawn to being a mother. I have it much easier than any of them. That's just what it is. Doesn't mean life isn't sometimes hard. I'm just what I am. I work on what I am. Right now, I think, things are good for me. I've done a lot. And I don't care anymore."
- Cameron Diaz, Esquire, August 2014
“Something about family and trying to relate it to the movie with, ‘Oh, if I was to have a child how many kids do I want?’ And ‘do I want a boy or a girl?’ I didn’t realize you could place orders, I honestly didn’t realize it was like a drive-through, that you could talk to a little electronic voice.”
- Jennifer Aniston, ABC News, August 2013
"It's like, ‘Do you want to be an artist and a writer, or a wife and a lover?’ With kids, your focus changes. I don't want to go to PTA meetings.”
- Stevie Nicks, InStyle, March 2002
"Honestly, we'd probably be great parents. But it's a human being, and unless you think you have excellent skills and have a drive or yearning in you to do that, the amount of work that that is and responsibility—I wouldn't want to screw them up! We love our animals."
- Ellen DeGeneres, People, March 2013
"There have been times when I wanted children and other times I've been grateful not to have them. I am a mess if I have to say goodbye to my dog for longer than five days. I don't know how I would deal with kissing my children as I left for work. I know there are women who are able to do that. I don't know if I could."
- Anjelica Huston, Cinema.com, November 2011
"'I'm not that big a fan of marriage as an institution, and I don't know why women need to have children to be seen as complete human beings."
- Marisa Tomei, Manhattan, 2009
"I'm a woman of a certain age who doesn't have kids and never really settled dow ...I enjoy kids but not for long periods. I think they're adorable and funny and sweet, and then I have a headache."
"When I was 5, my fantasy was to have a hundred dogs and a hundred kids. I realized that so much of the pressure I was feeling was from outside sources, and I knew I wasn't ready to take that step into motherhood. Being a biological mother just isn't part of my experience this time around."
Portia de Rossi
"There comes some pressure in your mid-30s, and you think, 'Am I going to have kids so I don’t miss out on something that other people really seem to love? Or is it that I really genuinely want to do this with my whole heart?' I didn’t feel that my response was ‘yes’ to the latter. You have to really want to have kids, and neither of us did. So it’s just going to be me and Ellen and no babies--but we’re the best of friends and married life is blissful, it really is. I’ve never been happier than I am right now.”
- Portia de Rossi, Out, May 2013
Dame Helen Mirren
"It was not my destiny, I kept thinking it would be, waiting for it to happen, but it never did, and I didn’t care what people thought…It was only boring old men [who would ask me]. And whenever they went, ‘What? No children? Well, you’d better get on with it, old girl,’ I’d say ‘No! F*** off!’”
- Dame Helen Mirren, British Vogue, February 2013
"I'm completely happy not having children. I mean, everybody does not have to live in the same way. And as somebody said, 'Everybody with a womb doesn't have to have a child any more than everybody with vocal cords has to be an opera singer."
- Gloria Steinem, Chelsea Lately, October 2011
"I would have been a terrible mother because I'm basically a very selfish human being. Not that that has stopped most people going off and having children."
- Katharine Hepburn, Kate Remembered by A. Scott Berg, published in July 2003
"No, I've never regretted it. I'm so compulsive about stuff. I know that if I had ever gotten pregnant, of course, that would've been my whole focus. But I didn't choose to have children because I'm focused on my career and I don't think as compulsive as I am that I could manage both."
- Betty White, CBS Sunday Morning, May 2011
"Oh, yeah, that’s perfectly fine for somebody who wants to. But at that time I didn’t want to—and I’m glad I don't—have any children. God only knows what I would have done with them, poor things. I really do like kids, but there wouldn't have been room in my life to raise children. I was so involved with my career and I would have had to give up the career in large part because I could not possibly have shortchanged the child...It's hard to raise children and to do right by them. There are too many kids anyway. There’s too many people."
- Lily Tomlin, Metro Weekly, April 2006