29 Famous Childfree 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. We look at 29 amazing ladies and what they've said about their choice.
Sarah PaulsonIn an interview with The Sunday Times Style Magazine, Oceans 8 actress Sarah Paulson spoke of her 32-year age difference between her and lady lover Holland Taylor and the fact her eggs are frozen.
"I love kids but I'm very impulsive and I was afraid that I would have children and regret it," Paulson told the publication. But, in case she changes her mind, her eggs are on standby.
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Sarah SilvermanThe super-cool, ageless actress-comedian took to Twitter to explain that she chose herself over having kids, writing, "As a comic always working & on the road I have had to decide between motherhood & living my fullest life & I chose the latter." Straight-up talk. We wouldn't expect anything less.
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Renée ZellwegerZellweger doesn't mince words when talking about not wanting kids. In an interview with the London Times in 2008, she said, "Motherhood has never been an ambition. I don't think like that."
Rachael RayThe celebrity chef simply doesn't have the time and would rather devote it to her fur baby. "I think that I'm 40 years old, and I have an enormous amount of hours that have to be dedicated to work," she said in a 2009 interview with Salon. "For me personally, I would need more time to feel like I'd be a good mom to my own child. I feel like a borderline good mom to my dog. So I can't imagine if it was a human baby ... I feel like it would be unfair, not only to the child but to the people I work with."
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Jane FallonWhile her longtime partner, Ricky Gervais, writes children's books, he isn't interested in having any of his own, telling Britain's Red magazine that he and Jane didn't want to lose that freedom or independence. And Fallon concurred and took to The Guardian to frankly write about her relief in not having to be a parent. "Thankfully, my partner, Ricky, felt the same [about parenting] — not that I would make a terrible mother, or if he did think that he thoughtfully kept that to himself, but that he wasn’t keen on parenthood, either. We were happy with our decision and we still are."
Ashley JuddIn her 2011 memoir All That Is Bitter and Sweet, the Harvard grad wrote, "I figured it was selfish for us to pour our resources into making our 'own' babies when those very resources and energy could not only help children already here, but through advocacy and service, transform the world into a place where no child ever needs to be born into poverty and abuse again. My belief has not changed. It is a big part of who I am."
Candace BushnellThe Sex and the City author said in a 2003 interview that her work is her child. "I think it's a career where you have to put the career first. I don't have kids but — and luckily everyone isn't like this — I think if you have that passion, in a way, your career is your child."
Mavis LenoThe former Tonight Show host and his wife of nearly 40 years mutually agreed to not have children. "I had made up my mind when I was little that I would never get married or have children, so I had no agenda," Mavis told the L.A. Times magazine in 2009. She did, obviously, change her mind when it came to marriage as she and Jay have been married for nearly 40 years.
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Chelsea Handler"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," comedian Chelsea Handler said on the Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet back in April 2013.
She'll stick to dogs, thank you very much.
"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
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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
Dolly PartonShe may have married youngbut kids were never going to be part of her story.
"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
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"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
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"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 down ...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."
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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
"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
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