25 celebrities open up about their reasons for remaining child-free

February 23rd, 2021

There are so many reasons that people don’t have children. And if you did decide to have them and know what hard work it is, you can probably appreciate why it’s not for everyone!

Unfortunately, people sometimes feel the need to ask why a person doesn’t have kids – and it’s not only a rude question, but it can be a painful one.

Celebrities are no strangers to prying questions, so those who are child-free have often been prodded to give a reason. We have no doubt that the times they’ve told a questioner it was rude and inappropriate never made the final cut of the interview, but these celebrities decided they would share:

1. Oprah Winfrey

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Oprah and her partner Stedman Graham have long faced prying questions about their decisions not to get married or expand their family. And the media mogul has been open about her decision-making process over the years.

From seeing people on her talk show who have failed to be good parents and witnessing the toll it took on their kids, to simply putting her career first and not wanting to raise children after her 17-hour workdays, Oprah has always known that returning home to her partner and dogs were enough.

In 2019, she told USA TODAY that she did get to flex her maternal instincts in her own way though:

“I have not had one regret about that. I also believe that part of the reason why I don’t have regrets is because I got to fulfill it in the way that was best for me: the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa,” she said. “Those girls fill that maternal fold that I perhaps would have had. In fact, they overfill – I’m overflowed with maternal.”

2. Stevie Nicks

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Rock legend Stevie Nicks knows deep-down that her mission has always been to bring music to the world and that having kids wouldn’t have given her the time to do that the way she wanted. And she loves her role as “aunt” to the kids that are in her life.

At one point, she said she would simply let whatever was meant to happen, happen, even if that meant adoption (which of course turned into false headlines about how not having a baby was her “greatest regret”).

But in a 2002 interview she was upfront about it being a deliberate choice:

“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.”

3. Jane Fallon

The author and her partner, funnyman Ricky Gervais, both agreed that children weren’t for them – and they were grateful to know they were both on the same page.

In an essay for The Guardian in 2016, she wrote frankly about their decision:

“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.”

Of course, the paper decided to focus on her tongue-in-cheek comment about never being a grandparent being a “disastrous oversight”!

4. Tracee Ellis Ross

The actress has always been very honest with herself about how she would like to live her life. But pushy questions from nosey people who asked if she regretted her decision when her character on Black-ish got pregnant elicited this response to Vanity Fair:

“I literally have said to people, for real, no joke, ‘Why don’t you just get out of my womb? Like, get out of my uterus? What are you doing in there? And why are you asking those questions? And what makes you think you can ask that?’ Part of what patriarchy has created for women is this siloed-off experience, with one answer for what a good life looks like.”

5. Betty White

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Believe it or not, people are still asking Betty White if she regrets not having children after her long and distinguished career!

“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,” she told CBS.

6. Winona Ryder

Back in 2014, the actress recalled a conversation with her father to The Telegraph in which she admitted to being worried that she was missing out on something by not having kids. Luckily, he reminded her of something very important:

“Well, I was talking to my dad last year and saying, ‘What if I can’t have a kid?’ and he said, ‘There are other ways to have children in your life.’ That’s true — and I get these amazing doses with my brother’s kids. But I’ve got to stop listening to other people. It’s crazy the stuff women will tell you.”

7. Chelsea Handler

Handler didn’t mince words when she said she had no desire at all to change her life by having children. In 2013 she said in an interview on Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet:

“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,”

8. Miley Cyrus

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It’s always so aggravating to hear people say “you’re young, you’ll change your mind” when women in their 20s are vocal about not wanting children. But Miley Cyrus seemed pretty sure when she told Elle:

“We’ve been doing the same thing to the earth that we do to women. We just take and take and expect it to keep producing. And it’s exhausted. It can’t produce. We’re getting handed a piece-of-shit planet, and I refuse to hand that down to my child. 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.”

9. Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston has faced more pressure than most actresses when it comes to questions about marriage and children. And it’s an issue the tabloids just won’t let go of. But she’s chill about the whole thing, telling Carson Daly as far back as 2014:

“I don’t have this sort of checklist of things that have to be done and…if they’re not checked then I’ve failed some part of my feminism, or my being a woman, or my worth or my value as a woman. I’ve birthed a lot of things, and I feel like I’ve mothered many things. And I don’t think it’s fair to put that pressure on people.”

10. Kim Cattrall

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Cattrall has spoken up for women around the world who are rightfully offended by being called “childless,” as if their lives are missing something.

“It sounds like you’re less because you haven’t had a child,” she told ABC News. “There are many different ways to be a mom in the world.”

Prior to that, she told The Advocate:

“I enjoy kids but not for long periods. I think they’re adorable and funny and sweet, and then I have a headache…Being a biological mother just isn’t part of my experience this time around.”

11. Margaret Cho

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Margaret Cho didn’t want to leave any room for doubts about her final decision not to become a mother.

As Slate reported, she was upfront about her love of maternal instincts in her 2004 Revolution performance, saying:

“I look at children and feel nothing. I ovulate sand.”

12. Portia de Rossi

After marrying comedian Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi was pelted with questions about whether the two would have children someday. And the fact of the matter is, they just didn’t want to.

She told Out Magazine:

“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.”

13. Aisha Tyler

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Fed up with women always being asked about children, the actress wanted women to know that not having children was a perfectly normal choice.

“I wanted families [and] couples to know that it was a valid choice not to get on this crazy merry-go-round of IVF and tens and tens of thousands of dollars,” she said. “I wanted people to feel—men and women—it’s okay to say, ‘I love my marriage, I love my life, I choose not to have children.'”

14. Renee Zellweger

Renee Zellweger

Oddly enough, the actress has been asked by the media if she’s ever “craved” having a baby.

But US Weekly had the final answer:

“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 that deliberate about my life and the things that I would require in order to be happy.”

It’s not the first time she’s told an interviewer that she simply doesn’t need a child in order to be happy.

15. Helen Mirren

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Helen Mirren made it clear she found the whole business of asking the question quite annoying, according to The Daily Mail:

“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!’”

16. Dolly Parton

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Dolly Parton is not only happy with her decision to remain child-free, but she told People Country in 2014 that her nieces and nephews have been enough:

“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-grand-kids! 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.”

17. Rachel Ray

In a 2009 interview with Salon, chef Rachel Ray said she barely had time for her dogs much less a human child.

“I’m not too busy for children in general. I love working with them, I love hanging out with them, I love cooking with them. I think that I’m 40 years old, and I have an enormous amount of hours that have to be dedicated to work. 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.”

18. Alison Brie

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In 2018, the Glow star told The Times of London that not wanting kids took a lot of pressure off and that she’s perfectly happy with her furry family:

“I don’t really want to have kids. It’s great because I don’t worry about when I should get pregnant—between seasons, while we’re shooting the show —I don’t think about it every day. It would be nice, but I think of all the things that would be so stressful. I think about how much we’re involved in our cats’ lives. Oh my God, if it was a child!”

19. Lily Tomlin


In a 2006 conversation with Metro Weekly, Tomlin said she liked kids plenty, but she and partner Jane Wagner chose not to raise their own:

“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.”

20. Ashley Judd

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Ashley Judd doesn’t need to have biological children to feel a responsibility towards the kids already on this planet.

“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. I have felt this way since I was at least eighteen,” she said.

21. Megan Mullally

In an interview with GQ, Megan Mullally said that she and Nick Offerman thought about having kids and even tried but ultimately decided that it wasn’t meant to be, which is just fine by her.

“I never had a burning desire to have children. But then I met Nick, and I thought ‘This is the only person I’d do this with.’ So we tried, but I was a little long in the tooth for that sort of thing. But we didn’t turn it into a soap opera. We tried for about a year or so, and it didn’t happen, and took that to mean it wasn’t meant to be.”

22. Katherine Hepburn

Katherine Hepburn

“I would have been a terrible mother, because I’m basically a very selfish human being,” the Hollywood icon once admitted.

23. Condoleezza Rice

The former Secretary of State has always relied on her faith to show her the way, and having kids just wasn’t in the cards. In 2010, she told Ladies Home Journal:

“I won’t have kids 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.”

24. Jon Hamm

Kids With Friends Q&A

Decided not to be a parent isn’t just a woman’s personal choice. Plenty of men have decided fatherhood is not for them either, like Jon Hamm.

“I’d be a terrible father! 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.?'” he said in 2012.

25. Christopher Walken

Christopher Walken Shankbone 2009 Vanity Fair

Men have a lot longer to decide whether or not they want biological children, but no matter what age, Christopher Walken isn’t going to be changing diapers in this lifetime. He decided that long ago when he chose acting instead.

“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,” Walken told The Guardian in 2013. “I didn’t, so I could get by even in periods of unemployment.”


There are plenty of good reasons not to raise children. But at the end of the day, it’s such a personal choice that we should really stop asking people.

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Source: Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE Australia