Some of the most well-known and celebrated actors and actresses have made the decision to not become parents, and their reasons differ greatly; from not wanting to have to divide their attention between a career and their offspring, to simply not liking children, having no ambition for motherhood or fatherhood, or feeling they would make a poor parent.
But regardless of their reasons, their decision is their own and their willingness to speak out about not wanting to become parents has also served as a reminder that having children is a choice, and it’s not something that should result in judgment or be a talking point in interviews or tabloids — take Jennifer Aniston as an example, it seems the world has a fascination about whether or not she will ever have children.
These individuals have made their decision to not have children based on what they think is best for their own lives, but on the other end of the scale, there are those who would love to become parents and have not been able to. Below are 20 A-listers who don’t want children, and a few who really want to care for a little person, but have not been able to conceive naturally, despite sometimes years of trying.
24 Helen Mirren Likes Kids, But She Doesn't Want To Be Their Mother
Every individual feels differently about having children, and their reason for not wanting them are seldom the same, for Helen Mirren it’s not because she doesn’t like kids, in fact, she thinks they are “so funny and so sweet,” but she also never wanted her own. She told Sydney Morning Herald,
"I have never had a moment of regret about not having children. Well, I lie. When I watched the movie Parenthood, I sobbed for about 20 minutes.
It was about the whole story of being a parent and how it never stops, even when you're a grandparent. I realized I would never experience that, and for about 20 minutes, I sobbed for the loss of that and the fact that I never experienced it.” This remains the only time.
23 Stevie Nicks Feels Children Would Have Shifted Her Focus From Her Art
Singer and songwriter Stevie Nicks has accomplished a great deal in her life and she is celebrated for the contribution she has made to the music industry throughout her career. But would she have had the same career and creative vision if she was to become a mother? This is a question Nicks thinks is best answered with a “no.” She spoke about her lack of desire for motherhood with InStyle in 2002 (via E! News), 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."
22 Jon Hamm Says He'd Would Be A Bad Dad
It’s not just women who do not want to become a parent, but also men, and for Jon Hamm, his reason for not procreating is really quite simple; he doesn’t think he would be any good at it. Hamm has previously spoken about his lack of desire to get married, having come from a broken home, but also told Us Weekly in 2012, "I'd be a terrible father!"
He then joked about the responsibilities of parenthood, saying, "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.?'"
21 Portia De Rossi Is Perfectly Content With Life With Ellen DeGeneres As It Is
Portia De Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres have been happily married since 2008, and neither one of them feel they need children to complete their relationship. De Rossi spoke candidly with OUT about how her marriage is fulfilling enough as it is without any new additions, although she has questioned whether she will miss out, she has decided she won’t. She said,
"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."
20 Renee Zellweger Simply Has No Ambition For Motherhood
Renee Zellweger is a brilliant woman, she’s also a woman who has been unafraid to speak about not wanting children, or rather, not planning to have them. She was married to Kenny Chesney for just four months, and during their short-lived romance, she did not have grand plans to start her own little family. She told London Times (via People),
"Motherhood has never been an ambition. I don't think like that. I never have expectations like ‘when I’m 19 I’m going to do this, and by the time I’ve hit 25 I’m going to do that.’
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.”
19 Rachael Ray Is A Dog Mom, But She Doesn't Want A Human Baby
If Rachael Ray was a mom, all the neighborhood kids would want to be invited over for dinner because of her superb cooking skills. But she’s not a parent, nor does she want to be (although everyone still wants to get invited over to her house to sample her food). She spoke about this in an interview with Salon, saying,
"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….I feel like it would be unfair, not only to the child but to the people I work with."
18 Christopher Walken Didn't Want To Choose A Dependable Career
Christopher Walken is one of the most celebrated actors, with 133 acting credits on IMDB, some dating back to the 50’s. There is no denying that Walken has had an impressive career, but acting can be unpredictable, and there is not always a constant salary, which is something the actor realized because he told The Guardian his lifestyle would not have allowed for children.
"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 publication. "I didn't, so I could get by even in periods of unemployment."
17 Sarah Paulson Made A Decision That Has Her Best Interests At Heart
Sarah Paulson has been with Holland Taylor since 2015 (the pair have a 32-year-age gap) and she got very honest about her decision to not have children during an interview with Town & Country. She explained that she didn’t want to have to choose between her professional life, and motherhood, saying, “I don’t want to be torn. I don’t want to look at my child and say, ‘You’re the most extraordinary thing that ever happened to me, but also the death knell.’" She also noted how her own mother struggled to balance motherhood and a professional life, and after seeing this she decided to make a decision that was best for her.
16 Alison Brie Really Doesn't Want To Have Kids
Alison Brie and Dave Franco exchanged vows in 2017, but it may be just the two of them in their relationship because Brie told The Sunday Times she doesn’t really think about a future with kids — at least, not at this point in her life. She said,
"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!"
15 Chelsea Handler Gets Why People Become Parents, But She's Not One Of Those People
Many celebrities have chosen not to have children, not because they don’t think they are wonderful little creatures, but because they don’t want to make sacrifices, or feel their career would not have allowed for a family. But Chelsea Handler is different because she doesn’t want to have children because she really doesn’t like them. She didn’t hold back when she told Amanda de Cadenet for L/Studio,
"I definitely don't want to have kids because I don't like them."
She went on to explain that she realizes why people want kids, saying, "I totally get it. So many of my friends have kids, but I don't think I'd be a great mother. I'm a great aunt or a great friend of a mother."
14 Aisha Tyler Doesn't Have Regrets
Aisha Tyler was college sweethearts with her husband Jeff Tietjens, and the pair married young, but despite being in a loving and committed relationship for almost two decades (the pair officially divorced in 2017), children were not apart of the couple’s relationship. According to Madame Noire, Tyler spoke about this, saying,
“I was with someone at 19 and I was married at 23 and I didn’t want kids when I was in my 20s. I wasn’t mentally prepared to take care of them, I was focused on my career.”
Later, when Tyler was in her 40s, she thought about kids, and the publication notes the couple tried fertility treatments but were unable to conceive, however, Tyler has no regrets.
13 Gloria Steinem Realized There Were More Options Than Just Marriage And Babies
Gloria Steinem was married to Dave Bale from 2000 to 2003, but she has never been a woman who felt she needed a husband or children to feel complete. She discussed this in a 2014 interview with Jennifer Aniston for the Feminist MAKERS Conference, explaining,
"I accepted it for a long time and I thought, 'Okay, I'm getting married. I'm having children. I'm definitely doing that, just not right now.'
I'd put in in the future and then, fortunately, the women's movement came along and made me realize I was actually happy and that there were more ways to live than one."
12 Lily Tomlin Had No Room In Her Life To Raise Little Ones
Like many other actresses, Lily Tomlin has played the role of a mom onscreen, and her latest, and perhaps most hilarious version of a woman who is also a mother is in the series, Grace and Frankie. But she’s happy she was never a mother in real life and told Metro Weekly in 2006 why this was, saying, "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."
11 It's Taken Rashida Jones Some Time To Be Comfortable With Life As It Is
A question Rashida Jones probably doesn’t appreciate answering is whether or not she wants to be married or have children, and although she certainly does not have to justify her reason for not wanting these things, she did tell The Guardian she is content with the way her life is.
She said, “I’m happy, but the fact that I'm not married and don't have kids, it's taken me a long time to get to a place where I actually am okay with that, where I actually don't feel like I'm some sort of loser.”
10 Betty White Couldn't Have Managed Her Career And Have Been A Mom
Betty White never chose to have children, and she has never regretted that decision either, she told CBS Sunday Morning (via Heavy). She spoke about the reason she decided motherhood was not for her, explaining, she would have had to say goodbye to her impressive career to truly dedicate herself to one thing. She said,
“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.”
9 Tracee Ellis Ross Plays An Onscreen Mom And That's Enough
Tracee Ellis Ross plays Rainbow Johnson, a character who is a mom on Black-ish, but when it comes to having children herself, she’s not convinced this is something she wants. Speaking to The Times, Ross revealed the big reason she hasn’t had kids, saying, "The husband and the babies are the expectation of what's supposed to happen at a certain point, and people fall back on, 'Well, that’s the point of the human species, procreation.’ And I’m, like,
'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."
8 Sarah Silverman Wants Children When She Wants Nothing Else More
Sarah Silverman is one of those women who is a firm believer that you should never say never, but when it comes to her career she has so much drive and ambition, that it’s hard to imagine something she would want more.
It’s this approach that has made her decide she does not need to become a mother, and she explained this in an interview with The Daily Beast. She said,
"I want to have kids when there's nothing else I want more, and I can make them my world. I figure, I'll be a super-young-grandma age when I have kids.
Grandparents are way more laid-back anyway. I'll just go straight to grandmother-hood, like Diane Keaton."
7 Margaret Cho Says Babies Really Scare Her
Sarah Silverman’s comments on motherhood may make it sound like she’s open to the idea one day, but Margaret Cho’s answer about whether she wants children or not is much clearer; she doesn’t.
She told Salon babies scare her more than anything, and that they come with a lot of responsibility. "Frankly, I just don’t want to love anyone that much. I have my own problems with love, and I have processed and played the same games for a lifetime, but what if I had to do that with someone I actually MADE?!”
6 Oprah Feels Her Offspring Would Have Hated Her
Oprah Winfrey is one of the most loved people in the world, and she is deeply respected for all that she’s accomplished. But despite having the support she has, Winfrey is convinced that if she were to have had children, they would not have liked her. Actually, she thinks they would have hated her because there would have to have been a comprise between motherhood and her career.
She told The Hollywood Reporter, "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."
5 Winona Ryder Understands Children May Not Be In Her Future
Winona Ryder is an independent and brilliant woman, but there are many things she feels she doesn’t need or have an interest in; like not wanting to be a big movie star.
However, she would like children, although it may not happen.
Ryder told The Telegraph she has “baby fever,” but giving birth may not be a possibility for her. She said, "This is a little personal but I’m 42 and, 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.'"
4 Gabrielle Union Is A Step Mom But She's Struggled With Fertility
Gabrielle Union is a stepmom to her husband Dwayne Wade’s three boys. For this reason, Union is absolutely a parent, and a loving and dedicated one at that, previously telling InStyle,
"For all of us who have nontraditional families; for all of us who care for children that we did not birth, the nurturing and the care and the love will propel you to heights you didn’t think were possible."
But she is on this list because she has openly struggled with infertility and failed treatments. In her book, We’re Going to Need More Wine (via People), Union wrote, “For three years, my body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant — I’ve either been about to go into an IVF cycle, in the middle of an IVF cycle, or coming out of an IVF cycle.”
3 Lena Dunham Can't Have Children And She Longed To Have The Feeling Of Pregnancy
Lena Dunham revealed in an essay for Vogue in 2018 (via People), she had struggled with endometriosis which led her to have her uterus removed in a total hysterectomy.
She cannot have children, and she had always wanted to become a mother.
She wrote, “I wanted to know what nine months of complete togetherness could feel like. I was meant for the job, but I didn’t pass the interview." But she has also come to terms with it, writing, "And that’s okay. It really is. I might not believe it now, but I will soon enough. And all that will be left is my story and my scars, which are already faded enough that they’re hard to find.”
2 Angela Bassett Opened Up About Her Fertility And Eventually Her Journey Into Motherhood
Angela Bassett is a mom to two children; a son Slater Vance, and a daughter Bronwyn Vance, who she shares with her actor husband Courtney B. Vance. But it was a very long and complicated journey filled with failed fertility treatments before she was able to welcome her fraternal twins into the world, via surrogate. In 2013, she spoke to JET Magazine about trying to conceive naturally, saying,
“After trying and trying, I, unfortunately, couldn’t have my babies. It was my reality.
I heard about the surrogate option and it worked out beautifully.”
1 Early Menopause Ended Kate Walsh’s Baby Dreams
There may have been a time in Kate Walsh’s life when she wanted to have children, and she told More magazine (via People) she would “definitely love to be a parent.” However, early menopause stopped her from being able to conceive naturally.
She spoke about this in an interview with SiriusXM’s Conversations with Maria Menounos, saying, "I don't have children. I'm not going to have kids. I went through early menopause.” She also explained that early menopause is becoming more common, although the reason is not immediately clear.