Becoming a parent isn’t for everyone. People make decisions to forgo this part of life for a number of reasons, whether it be to focus on a career or other important matters, or because they simply accept that it’s not in the cards for them. Whatever the reason, Hollywood stars are no different. Here is a look at multiple celebrities who’ve spoken out about being childless.
1. Miley Cyrus
Child star Miley Cyrus first entered the Hollywood spotlight after starring in the Disney Channel hit series, Hannah Montana. We all met her when she was a kid and watched her grow into a woman, and today, the singer and actress revealed she has no plans to bring a child into the world.
Cyrus told ELLE in a 2019 interview that her decision not to have children stems from the world’s current climate crisis. She doesn’t think there are enough resources to go around for everyone and she doesn’t want to bring a child into a world like this. Cyrus said, “Until I feel like my kid would live on an earth with fish in the water, I’m not bringing in another person to deal with that.”
2. Kim Cattrall
While we all loved Kim Cattrall in Sex and the City, the star opened up about how her role as Samantha Jones impacted her ability to have children. She said in a 2017 interview with Piers Morgan that she didn’t have the time, having worked 19 hours a day while filming the series.
“Being a biological mother just isn’t part of my experience this time around,” Cattrall added in a 2003 interview with Oprah Winfrey. The actress noted that when she was five years old, her dream was a have 100 dogs and 100 kids. Soon enough, however, she realized it was all a result of outside pressure and that she actually wasn’t ready to take on motherhood.
3. Tracee Ellis Ross
Black-ish actress Tracee Ellis Ross said she constantly checks in with herself to ensure that the decisions she makes are for herself and not for someone else. She added, “I think there are a lot of babies, isn’t that part of what’s going wrong, there’s too many? Some people could be working on the world being a better place, or just being happy.”
The actress told The Times in 2018 that most women “fall back on” the idea that the point of life is to find a husband and procreate. She, on the other hand, made it clear that she isn’t interested in giving into the expectations of a patriarchal society, and won’t have children if it doesn’t feel right for her.
4. Cameron Diaz
Over the years, acclaimed actress Cameron Diaz has frequently been questioned about when she plans to start a family. In a 2014 interview with Esquire, she revealed that although she enjoys protecting people, she has never been drawn to motherhood. She said that while “not having a baby might really make things easier…[it] doesn’t make it an easy decision.”
It seems a lot can change in six years, for on January 3, 2020, the actress and her husband Benji Madden welcomed their first daughter, Raddix Madden. The Charlie’s Angels icon was 47 years old at the time, and took to Instagram to share her and her husband’s excitement at their new addition to the fam.
5. Helen Mirren
Oscar-winning British veteran actress Helen Mirren has spoken candidly about never becoming a mother. She said during the 2016 taping of ABC’s Popcorn with Peter Travers that while not starting a family was never a conscious decision of hers, it’s the result of always being “too engaged in [her] life as an actress.”
Her words supplemented her 2013 interview with British Vogue, where she admitted that having children has never been part of her destiny. But just because she has accepted this doesn’t mean others have as well. The actress said that whenever “boring old men” tell her to hurry up and get on with having kids, she cusses them out. Atta girl!
NEXT: These Hollywood icons chose to forgo having children as a way to focus on something else
6. Renée Zellweger
Four-time Golden Globe recipient and Academy Award-winner Renée Zellweger seemed to have traded in having children for winning accolades. She bared it all in a 2008 exclusive interview with the London Times, which took place three years after the end of her four-month marriage to Kenny Chesney.
The actress said motherhood has never been an ambition of hers. She pointed out she never has expectations of what she wants to accomplish by a certain age. Zellweger added: “I just take things as they come, each day at a time, and if things happen, all well and good. I just want to be independent and be able to take care of myself. Anything else is just gravy.”
7. Jennifer Aniston
Friends star Jennifer Aniston has long been the target of relentless tabloids, who have done everything from spreading pregnancy rumors about her to diagnosing why she remains childless. Among those reasons, she told InStyle in 2018 that tabloids have referred to her by saying “she’s selfish and committed to her career” or that she “can’t keep a man.”
Aniston clapped back at the haters, saying there is too much pressure on women to procreate and that if they don’t, they are labeled “damaged goods.” She added that not only is this unfair, but maybe her purpose in life isn’t to become a mother and instead to chase some other dreams.
8. Ellen DeGeneres
In 2014, People asked one of the world’s most famous comedians and TV hosts, Ellen DeGeneres, about whether she and her wife of five years at the time, Portia de Rossi, had any baby fever. DeGeneres said that while she believes they would be “great parents,” they’ve decided to opt out on pursuing that life track.
DeGeneres argued that becoming parents is a huge responsibility and — not to mention — a ton of work, so unless partners have the skillset and a true yearning to have children, they shouldn’t. Besides, she says, “We love our animals!” She’s not the only Hollywood icon on our list who treats her animals as children.
9. Portia de Rossi
Australian model and actress Portia de Rossi told talk show mogul Oprah Winfrey that while it was love at first sight when she first met wife Ellen DeGeneres, it took her three years to come clean about her feelings. The reason? She feared that coming out as gay would mean the end of her career on Ally McBeal.
Fast forward many years, and de Rossi and DeGeneres are said to be in a happy and supportive relationship. De Rossi echoed her wife’s attitude towards child rearing, telling Out magazine in 2013, “You have to really want to have kids, and neither of us did.” She’s got her best friend by her side and she says married life is blissful. What more could she want?!
10. Stevie Nicks
Considered by many to be the “Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” former Fleetwood Mac frontwoman and massively-successful solo artist Stevie Nicks has long used her personal life as the muse behind her music. Gliding around on stage in bohemian-style shawls, Nicks sings of love and loss, with a career spanning more than four decades.
As a result of her constant life on the road, starting a family took a backseat in Nicks’ life. The iconic rockstar spoke to InStyle in 2002 about her decision not to have kids, saying, “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.”
NEXT: These Hollywood celebrities welcomed something else in their lives instead of children.
11. Chelsea Handler
Respected talk show host Chelsea Handler has chosen what many call “otherhood over motherhood.” On The Conversation with Amanda De Cadenet in 2013, the Hollywood icon said she doesn’t want to have kids because she doesn’t think she’d be a very good mother. She added that she doesn’t have the time to raise a child on her own and she wouldn’t want her kid to grow up with just a nanny.
Handler further described this sentiment in her 2019 book, Life Will Be the Death of Me. She says she always knew she didn’t want to be the mother of children, so she opted to become a dog mom instead. Chelsea says she decided to adopt her dog Chunk at the age of 27 after her friend told her she doesn’t do anything for anyone and that she’s not making any contribution to society. That’s one way to give back!
12. Winona Ryder
Minnesota-born Oscar-nominated actress Winona Ryder made a name for herself in the entertainment scene after her iconic portrayal of Lydia Deetz in the 1998 fantasy film, Beetlejuice. While she has come to create quite a successful Hollywood career for herself, she says one thing is still hard: ignoring people’s judgments about her decision not to have children.
Ryder spoke to The Telegraph in 2014 about a conversation she had with her father. She said that while she felt insecure about being 42 years old at the time, her father told her that there are other ways to have children in her life, like spending time with her brother’s kids. But one thing Ryder says she knows for sure is that she’s “got to stop listening to other people” when it comes to their views on motherhood.
13. Alison Brie
GLOW star Alison Brie is another Hollywood A-lister who has revealed her decision to remain childless with husband Dave Franco. She told The Sunday Times in 2018 that she really doesn’t want to have kids: a decision she is happy with because it saves her the stress of worrying about when to get pregnant.
The actress added that she thinks it would be too stressful to raise a child, discussing her other responsibilities, “I think about how much we’re involved in our cats’ lives. Oh my God, if it was a child!” She does have a point, if we do say so ourselves.
14. Oprah Winfrey
Famed television host Oprah Winfrey opened up to People in 2019 about her decision not to marry or have children. Her biggest takeaway? That she doesn’t regret either of those decisions she has made in her life. In fact, she stands by them completely.
According to Winfrey, working on The Oprah Winfrey Show made her realize that motherhood wasn’t for her. She recalled, “I realized, ‘Whoa, I’m talking to a lot of messed-up people, and they are messed up because they had mothers and fathers who were not aware of how serious that job is.'” Noticing the “responsibility and sacrifice” required to be a mother, Winfrey decided it didn’t fit in with her career, which saw her working 17-hour days.
15. Rachael Ray
Renowned TV personality and celebrity chef Rachael Ray claims that while she doesn’t have time in her day to prepare meals for a family of her own children, she has come to accept it, because she is perfectly content being a mother to her pet dog.
She said during an interview with Salon in 2009 that while she feels like a “borderline good mom” to her dog, she just doesn’t think it’d be the same story if she had an actual child. “I feel like it would be unfair,” she admitted, “not only to the child but to the people I work with.”
NEXT: Fans were surprised to hear the reasoning behind why these celebrities chose otherhood instead of parenthood.
16. Betty White
Considered a pioneer of TV, living legend Betty White is said to have had a longer career in television than any other entertainer. She is the first female producer of a sitcom, Life with Elizabeth, and is regarded as one of the first women to manage what happens both in front of and behind the camera.
With such a fruitful Hollywood career, it’s no wonder she never had time to start a family. White spoke to CBS Sunday Morning in 2011 about her decision not to have children, saying she never regretted it. According to White, she made the decision not to have children so that she could focus on her career, as she doesn’t think she would’ve been able to manage a family and career all at once.
17. Jon Hamm
Actor and comedian Jon Hamm is best known for his role as complicated advertising exec Don Draper in the much-renowned AMC drama, Mad Men. While we would never go so far as to say Hamm is similar to his on-screen character, who he called “dismal and despicable” in an interview with The Guardian, we will point out one thing they have in common.
In a 2012 interview with Us Weekly, Hamm was quoted as saying, “I’d be a terrible father!” He added, “I see my friends who have children and I’m like, ‘Dude, how are you even upright, much less here at work at 6 a.m.?'”
18. Kylie Minogue
World-famed Australian singer-songwriter and entertainer extraordinaire Kylie Minogue is regarded as one of Australia’s top-selling musicians. And even though she has amassed an international fan base, her journey hasn’t been all that easy. She withstood a number of difficult relationships and even survived breast cancer.
When speaking to The Sunday Times in 2018, Minogue opened up the fact that for all the twists in her career, she had never become a mother. She said that while she doesn’t believe motherhood was part of her destiny, it would be a lie to say some part of her isn’t sad that that never became a reality for her.
19. Christopher Walken
Acclaimed actor Christopher Walken first started performing at the age of three. He became a familiar face in 1950s television shows, while he was just a kid, and carried on that momentum well into his adult years as an Oscar-winner. It was because of this dedication to his career that the Hollywood star never settled down to have children.
In a 2013 interview with The Guardian, Walken spoke of never becoming a father and even attributed some of his success in show business to that. He said that it was because he didn’t have kids that he was able to survive during periods in which he was out of work.
20. Dolly Parton
She is a country music megastar, philanthropist, and actress. And not to mention, she is also considered by many to be America’s fairy godmother. Superstar singer-songwriter Dolly Parton first came onto the music scene in 1962 and has been on a nonstop epic career journey ever since.
In 2014, she got candid in an interview with People Country, speaking about starting a family. She said, “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 often think, it just wasn’t meant for me to have kids so everybody’s kids can be mine.”
21. Gloria Steinem
Journalist and political activist Gloria Steinem is recognized for being one of New York magazine’s columnists and the co-founder of Ms. magazine. When she published “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation” in 1969, she made a name for herself as one of the most renowned feminist leaders of the 20th century.
It’s no wonder, then, that she has such an empowering view on not starting a family of her own. She told Chelsea Lately in 2011 that she doesn’t think everyone needs to live life in the same way. In Steinem’s words: “Everybody with a womb doesn’t have to have a child any more than everybody with vocal cords has to be an opera singer.”
22. Fiona Apple
Award-winning singer-songwriter Fiona Apple has made it loud and clear that having children is of no interest to her. She did, however, have an interesting take on parenting. In an interview on NPR in 2012, Apple said that while she is not interested in having kids of her own, she is interested in learning how to parent.
To explain her reasoning behind this, she gave the example of work ethic. She said that if she’s having issues with her work ethic, then perhaps it will help her to read up on ways parents train their children how to work hard.
23. Sarah Paulson
Awarded the distinction of being one of Time magazine’s Most Influential People in 2017, Sarah Paulson is known for her spectacular Hollywood career. The American Crime Story and Ocean’s 8 actress has spoken out a number of times about her decision to focus on the work side of her life instead of having children.
She told Town & Country in 2018 that she wouldn’t like to look at her child and think to herself: “‘You’re the most extraordinary thing that ever happened to me, but also the death knell.'” She echoed this sentiment in a 2019 interview with The Sunday Times Style magazine, when she said that while she does love children, she didn’t want to have kids and later regret it.
24. Ashley Judd
Hollywood superstar Ashley Judd has an acting career that has spanned over three decades. Having grown up in a family of artists, it’s no wonder Judd chose this career path as well. In her 2011 memoir, All That Is Bitter and Sweet, she spoke about her decision not to start a family of her own.
She revealed that she thinks it’s selfish to put resources into having children of her own if there are already so many children in the world who lack resources. In her opinion, she can better dedicate her time to advocacy and service to make make the world a place where no one is born into abuse or poverty ever again.
25. Rashida Jones
At 42 years old in 2018, acclaimed Parks and Recreation actress Rashida Jones welcomed her first child with her boyfriend, Ezra Koenig. But four years prior to this, Jones had spoken out about accepting a life without having children of her own.
In a 2014 interview with The Guardian, the actress said that while it has taken her some time not to feel like “some sort of loser” for not having kids, she is finally at a place where she is happy. Apparently lots can change in a matter of only four years, and her father, acclaimed musician Quincy Jones, must be elated to have another grandchild.
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