Starting a family or deciding not to have children is not an easy decision. We are often raised that the societal norm is to fall in love, get married and have kids – in that order.
While that may be the common path for some, it doesn’t apply to everyone. Some people choose to never marry and remain in long-term relationships without ever saying “I Do”.
Others plan to focus their energy into their careers, charity work and hobbies that improve the quality of their lives.
Find out which celebrities have chosen to avoid growing their families and why. Some of these may surprise you!
It’s no secret that Oprah does not have any children. She never married, despite being with her boyfriend, Stedman Graham, since 1986.
The couple never wed, because Oprah didn’t feel that she could handle the responsibilities that title holds.
“If you ever interviewed him, he would tell you that had we married, we would not be together today,” Oprah said of Stedman. “Because he’s a traditional man and this is a very untraditional relationship.”
Not having children was something that Oprah settled on early in life. In seventh grade, while her friend wrote out the names of her children in Home Ec class, she had other ideas.
“While she was having those kind of daydreams, I was having daydreams about how I could be Martin Luther King.”
She is still certain that was is the right choice for her.
“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,” she said.
Her decision to not marry and not have children goes against so many societal norms. But it seems to have worked for her proving that you can rise from poverty and abuse to becoming a household name.
You may remember seeing her on the cover of many tabloid magazines claiming that she was pregnant. As it turns out, none of those rumors were never true.
Fed up with the constant discussion around her having children, she put an end to the rumors in an interview and is not shy about her feelings on motherhood.
“I don’t like [the pressure] that people put on me, on women—that you’ve failed yourself as a female because you haven’t procreated,” she told Allure.
She goes on to explain that mothering is more than just making and raising little humans of your own.
“I don’t think it’s fair. You may not have a child come out of your vagina, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t mothering — dogs, friends, friends’ children,” she said.
You can imagine how ticked off she gets when people keep bringing up the subject and criticizing her decision.
“This continually is said about me: that I was so career-driven and focused on myself; that I don’t want to be a mother, and how selfish that is.”
Jay Leno and his wife, Mavis have opted to be child-free. The comedian’s long-time wife, who is 4 years his senior, takes full credit for the couple’s decision not to have children.
After watching The Honeymooners when she was a young girl, it influence the decision that impacted their lives.
“I would see a young woman who was very attractive, and a thousand times smarter, and she’s living in this little tenement hovel with her husband, Ralph, and then this Ed Norton, who has an even hotter wife,” Mavis said. “These men spend all their time talking about what a drag the wives are and asking how can they get away from them. It’s perfectly obvious the women are the ones trapped.”
Not only did she not want to have children, she also never wanted to marry.
“I remember telling my mother when I was 7 or 8 that I was never going to get married or have children,” continued Mavis. “To me, this is the way women get caught.”
She changed her mind about marriage, but never changed her stance on growing their family.
Next we find out why another talk show host and several actresses have opted to not have children.
Having kids is a 24/7 job that never ends. Even when they’re off to college or married with families of their own, you can still expect a call for help every now and again.
Some people do not have that “need to breed” and while they may experience pressure from the outside world about their life decisions, they are firmly happy with their choices and the way their life is turning out.
After marrying in 2008, the celebrity couple has been vocal about not having children.
“You have to really want to have kids, and neither of us did,” says Portia. “So it’s just going to be me and Ellen and no babies.”
She doesn’t think that her marriage is any worse for their decision.
“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,” she added.
Ellen is completely on the same page as Portia.
She wrote in her book, Seriously… I’m Kidding, “We thought about it. We love to be around children after they’ve been fed and bathed. But we ultimately decided that we don’t want children of our own. There is far too much glass in our house.”
While they may not have the pitter-patter of little human feet, they still have their hands full with little creatures.
“We have two dogs, Mabel and Wolf, and three cats at home, Charlie, George and Chairman. We have two cats on our farm, Tom and Little Sister, two horses, and two mini horses, Hannah and Tricky, We also have two cows, Holy and Madonna. And those are only the animals we let sleep in our bed,” Ellen says.
While their stance on having children is no secret, it doesn’t stop the tabloids from coming up with rumors. Portia even appeared on Ellen’s show after a pregnancy report surprised.
She joked to Ellen, “So I hear we are having a baby. I probably should have told you before the tabloids told you.”
While there are no babies in the future for these two, they are perfectly happy with their lives together right now.
Cameron Diaz is a household name, from her long successful career in Hollywood. While the Charlie’s Angels star may seem like she has it all, children were never in the cards for her.
“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,” she said.
Admitting that having children is an all-day every-day job for the rest of your life is a lot to endure, especially with the busy schedule Cameron has.
“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,” she says.
She is happy with the life she has made for herself.
“I like being forty-one. I love it. So much shit just falls away. Fear, mostly. It’s the best age. That’s when a woman knows how to work things, or she doesn’t care about that anymore. You just stop being afraid. You don’t worry about what men think. You just don’t worry that time registers anything awful.”
The Leatherheads star has no plans to become a parent. In an interview with the London Times, Renée said, “Motherhood has never been an ambition. I don’t think like that.”
The 48 year-old actress just takes it one day at a time.
“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.”
She was engaged to Jim Carrey in 2000, later having a brief relationship with musician Jack White. In 2005 she married singer Kenny Chesney, but 4 months later obtained an annulment. In 2009, she dated Bradley Cooper, but they separated in 2011. Since 2012 she has been in a relationship with musician, songwriter and producers Doyle Bramhall II.
Renée seems to know what she wants. Not every woman wants to have kids, and from the sounds of it if it happens, it will happen. If it doesn’t she’s not going to freak out about it.
Helen Mirren has many accolades to her name- Damehood, Oscar, Emmys, Baftas, Golden Globes, but parent is not among them.
While missing out on becoming a mother is something that made her sob, once for 20 minutes, she has no regrets.
“I love children, they are so funny and so sweet, but I never wanted my own,” she said. “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 the story that pulled on her heartstrings.
“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.
“Then I got over it and I was happy again,” the pop culture icon added.
The Queen star married Director Taylor Hackford in 1997, her partner since 1986 and became a stepmother to his two sons from previous marriages.
“I’m so happy I don’t have children. But I do love children and I’ve got family, and Taylor has children that I’m involved with – and with great pleasure – but it’s just not for me.”
Having children of her own was just not in the cards.
“I’m just not interested. I’ve no maternal instinct whatsoever. And I don’t think I’m so unusual. I think an awful lot of women don’t really want children but feel they ought to. They think there’s something wrong with them if they don’t want to, but it’s not true,” she said.
This next Golden Girl explains why she never had a baby and one country star had no interest in settling down.
Even though these celebrities do not have biological children of their own, it doesn’t mean that they don’t love kids. Some have step-children or are involved in organizations that help kids in their community.
Obviously, their choices have turned out for them but they can often become frustrated with what is said about them in the tabloids. These celebrities have set the record straight about why they made the decision they did, and that they are happy about it.
Betty White put her career above having a family.
“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 said.
The Golden Girl also adds that she never regretted the decision to not have children.
Her big regret was not marrying late husband Allen Ludden sooner.
“I spent a whole year, wasted a whole year that Allen and I could have had together, saying, ‘No, I wouldn’t marry him. No, I won’t. No, I won’t leave California. No, I won’t move to New York.”
After 2 previous failed marriages, she ended up marrying Ludden in 1963 and remained his wife until his death in 1981.
White never remarried, and once told Larry King “Once you’ve had the best, who needs the rest?”
White has also said, “I had lovely relationships, but not anything in the league of Allen.”
While Betty White has no biological children of her own, her third husband Allen Ludden, did have 3 children and she says she is blessed to still have them in her life.
After growing up with 8 younger siblings, Dolly Parton decided that she wasn’t meant to have kids.
“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 Country. “I’ve loved their kids just like they’re my grandkids, and now I’ve got great-grand-kids!”
That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t love kids, she is very close with her nieces and nephews and loves them as her own.
Her husband Carl Dean is Uncle PeePaw to their nieces and nephews and she is 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,” she said.
Her maternal instincts may have never gotten use in her immediate family, but many children have benefited from her non-profit Imagination Library, which offers free books to preschoolers.
“I think kids relate to me because they think of me like a Mother Goose or a Fairy Godmother,” says the singer. “I’m like a cartoon character – my voice is little and I’m an excitable little person like them! I’m very childlike in that way, in my nature.”
Ashley Judd says that she doesn’t have children because there are so many orphaned children who need love.
“I figured it was selfish for us to pour our resources into making our ‘own’ babies when those very resources and energy could not only help children already here…” she wrote.
She is passionate on her stance on this subject.
“…but through advocacy and service transform the world into a place where no child ever needs to be born into poverty and abuse again,” she explained.
The Double Jeopardy actress is a well-known political activist after experiencing a traumatic event in her life.
As a sexual assault survivor, she had to make the tough choice after she was abused.
“If abortion had not been safe and legal at that time, I would have been forced to carry to term and deliver a child that was conceived in rape,” Judd said.
What do you think of these celebrities’ decisions? They’re all different and they have their reasons, but are they missing out on an important part of life?