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13 Celebrities Speak Out About Being Childfree by Choice

Having a child is a momentous decision. It’s also a very personal decision. There’s nothing quite like being a celebrity without children: if you’re female, that is. Tabloids and paparazzi spend an inordinate amount of time speculating as to whether this actress or that singer is pregnant. They also wonder what’s wrong with them if they choose not to have any children. Here, 13 celebs discuss making the decision to be childfree.

Cameron Diaz

Although it would be amazing to have the wonderfully talented Cameron Diaz as a mother, she’s made the choice not to have any children. Speaking in the August 2014 issue of Esquire, Diaz says: ‘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.’ She goes on to note that it’s not something she chose lightly. ‘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.’ (1)

Betty White

America’s Grandmother, Betty White, never had children of her own, and she’s pretty vocal about why. ‘I love children,” Betty explains in 2015 to Entertainment Tonight. “The only problem with children is they grow up to be people and I just like animals better than people. It’s that simple.’ It’s not the end of the world though, as she has all of us to adore her! (2)

Jennifer Aniston

Jen is basically the poster child for being childfree. Tabloids speculate daily on whether or not this is her ultimate choice or if she’ll ever have a baby. Since the days of Brad Pitt, the media have been stalking her belly waiting for something to appear. She’s, unsurprisingly, getting a little fed up of this. In an op-ed to the Huffington Post in July 2016, Aniston writes that ‘The sheer amount of resources being spent right now by press trying to simply uncover whether or not I am pregnant (for the bajillionth time… but who’s counting) points to the perpetuation of this notion that women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not married with children.’

Stressing the importance of changing the narrative, she brings our attention to the generations of little girls in the world who are looking to the media and learning that they are incomplete without being mothers. Aniston says ‘We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. … Let’s make that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as examples. … We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own “happily ever after” for ourselves.’ (3)

Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Handler is another woman very vocal about not wanting to have children. ‘I don’t think I’d be a great mother. I don’t want to have a kid and have it raised by a nanny. I don’t have the time to raise a child.’ she said on The Conversation With Amanda de Cadenet in 2013. (4)

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton never needed to have children, as she comes from a large family with many siblings. ‘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,’ she tells People. ‘I’ve loved their kids just like they’re my grandkids, and now I’ve got great-grand-kids! 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.’ (5)

Renee Zellweger

In answer to Extra’s question regarding whether she was craving having a baby, Renee replied ‘I’ve never really thought like that about anything in my life, really. I’ve always been kind of open to whatever may be. Curious to see what’s next. I’ve never been deliberate about what would make me happy in my life.’ (6)

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi have been married since 2008, but don’t plan on having children any time soon. Speaking of their choice to remain childfree, Ellen says in an article for People, ‘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.’ (7)

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey has never daydreamed about having children. ‘If I had kids, my kids would hate me,’ Winfrey is adamant ‘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.’ (8)

Kim Cattral

Famous for playing Sex and the City’s Samantha, Kim admits that there are certain parallels between herself and her character. ‘I enjoy kids but not for long periods. I think they’re adorable and funny and sweet, and then I have a headache.’ She once thought about having children and even went as far as to look into sperm banks, but then ‘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.’ (9) (10)

Helen Mirren

In her typical refreshing language, Mirren states that women never ask her why she hasn’t had children. She says that throughout her life it was always ‘only boring old men. And whenever they went, “What? No children? Well, you’d better get on with it, old girl”, I’d say, “No! F*** off”!’ Commenting that children simply weren’t on the cards for her, Mirren says ‘It was not my destiny. I kept thinking it would be, waiting for it to happen, but I never did, and I didn’t care what people thought.’ (11)

Not Just Women

Although it’s mostly women who come under fire for not having children, there are some celebrity men out there who choose not to procreate.

Bill Maher

The talk show host once joked ‘Don’t you think we should stop celebrating spawning? … I don’t dislike children, I just don’t particularly want to be around them a lot. The problem is, neither do their parents.’ (12)

Christopher Walken

Walken and his wife have been married 50 years this year, but have never had children. The prolific actor told The Guardian that his career would ‘absolutely not’ be possible had he had the responsibilities that come with fatherhood. ‘I’m sure many of the kids I knew as a child would have continued in show business, but they had kids of their own, had to do something dependable. I didn’t, so I could get by even in periods of unemployment.’ (13)

Ricky Gervais

Gervais’ wife wrote an article for The Guardian in 2016, in which she writes about their decision to not have children. ‘I gave it a lot of thought over the years. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t making a terrible mistake. In the end, it came down to the fact that I didn’t think I’d be a good mum. … Thankfully, my partner, Ricky, felt the same – 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. And as we’re both the youngest children of large families, the pressure was off. Our elder brothers and sisters had already started on the next generation by the time our decision was made. Had either of us been an only child I imagine we wouldn’t have had it so easy. We were happy with our decision and we still are.’ (14)

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