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Dolly Parton, Oprah Winfrey and 6 Other Celebrities on Why They Chose Not to Have Kids
Many of today's biggest stars are opting out of parenthood. Find out the very personal and honest reasons why these 8 celebrities chose not to procreate.
Having children — or not — is a deeply personal choice for anyone, and celebrities are no different: Many stars are opting out of parenthood and embracing a nontraditional family structure.
The American family has changed over the past 50 years, with recent studies showing less than half of American adults today are married with children, and the percentage of kidless unions are growing as well. Here are eight celebrities who opened up about their reasons not to procreate.
1. Oprah Winfrey
Academy Award winner? Check. Emmy winner? Check. She might even be our future POTUS! But one title Oprah has no interest in? That of “parent.” The TV legend has been with partner Stedman Graham for more than 30 years, but kids have never been part of their life together. “I never had children, never even thought I would have children,” Winfrey told Extra TV. She further explained her decision to Good Housekeeping UK, saying, “I didn’t want babies. I wouldn’t have been a good mom for babies. I have the patience for puppies, but that’s a quick stage. When people were pressuring me to get married and have children, I knew I was not going to be a person that ever regretted not having them.”
2. Ricky Gervais
We imagine funnyman Ricky Gervais would be a hilarious, fun-loving dad, but the actor and his longtime partner, writer Jane Fallon, decided not to add any extras (sorry, we had to) to their family dynamic. Gervais revealed to RedOnline that he couldn’t embrace the life-changing aspects that kids bring along with them, “People say: ‘Why don’t you have children?’ And I say, ‘No, the question is why do you have children?’ No, never regretted it. I love my nieces and nephews, but you can give them back.”
3. Ellen Degeneres
Ellen DeGeneres is one of the biggest stars in entertainment today and known for spotlighting charitable causes and helping deserving people on “The Ellen Degeneres Show.” In her personal life, the comedian prefers her four-legged dependents over the idea of having kids, as she explained to Good Housekeeping. “They offer unconditional love in ways humans can’t — plus, they don’t talk back.”
DeGeneres, married to wife Portia De Rossi since 2008, told 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!”
4. Helen Mirren
Academy Award-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren has been married to film director Taylor Hackford since 1997. Hackford has two grown sons, but Mirren never had children of her own. She shared her decision to put her career before kids with ABC News’ Peter Travers in 2016. “I was always too engaged in my life as an actress. At that time, I couldn’t comprehend that you could incorporate a child into that without letting a child down in some way.”
Mirren wasn’t a huge fan of being questioned about it either, as she told British Vogue in 2013: “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*ck off!’” Quite.
5. Bill Maher
The controversial talk-show host is lobbying for a new national holiday: I Didn’t Reproduce Day. Maher has made his case on his award-winning HBO show, “Real Time With Bill Maher,” and proposes the day will recognize the contributions of single people. “So having kids or not having kids, there’s not a moral dimension to it. It’s just your taste. I don’t want to have kids for the same reason you do — because that’s what each of us wants. I get it. Lots of people have kids. Although I must say, no one in the world ever looks happier than when Maury Povich says, ‘You are not the father.’” Sounds like Maher will keep working on changing politics, not changing diapers.
6. Ashley Judd
Ashley Judd has always been very maternal, but she knew since her teenage years that she didn’t want to have kids. Judd shared the intimate reasons in her autobiography, “All That Is Bitter and Sweet: A Memoir.” “The fact is that I have chosen not to have children because I believe the children who are already here are really mine too. I do not need to go making ‘my own’ babies when there are so many orphaned or abandoned children who need love, attention, time and care,” she wrote.
Judd has been a tireless advocate for organizations that work to end human trafficking and care for its victims and wanted to focus on helping people in need instead of having children of her own. “Through advocacy and service [we can] transform the world into a place where no child ever needs to be born into poverty and abuse again,” she added. Amen!
7. Dolly Parton
Country icon Dolly Parton has been married to husband Carl Dean since 1966, and while the couple decided not to have children of their own, they helped raise several of Parton’s younger siblings. In fact, her younger siblings refer to her as “Aunt Granny,” which is also the name of one of the restaurants in Parton’s Tennessee theme park Dollywood.
In 2014, Parton told People magazine, “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! I often think it just wasn’t meant for me to have kids so everybody’s kids can be mine.”
8. Betty White
A pioneer of television with a career spanning more than 75 years, 96-year-old Betty White has been beloved for generations for her work both on and off the screen. Though married three times, motherhood is not something the actress, comedienne and animal activist has ever wanted. “I love children. The only problem with children: They grow up to be people, and I just like animals better than people. It’s that simple,” she told ET.
Betty holds the Guinness world record for the longest TV career for a female entertainer and tells the publication she couldn’t be happier with her choices. “I have no regrets at all. None. I consider myself to be the luckiest old broad on two feet.” And we feel pretty lucky to know her.
What Do YOU Think?
What's your reaction to these celebrities' reasons for not having kids? Is consciously not choosing to procreate on trend? ? Let us know in the comments below!