It seems like not a week goes by that Sarah Paulson doesn't sign on to a new project. Whether she's portraying a "nasty woman" in American Horror Story: Cult or gearing up to play a tyrannical nurse for her upcoming Netflix series Ratched, Paulson perpetually has a lot on her plate. It's this passion for her work, the actress stated in a recent interview with Town & Country, that leaves little time for anything else — including raising children.
Paulson, who is currently starring in historical drama The Post, told Town & Country that she wants to take back the word "selfish" — especially when it comes to wanting to focus on one's own career interests rather than becoming a parent.
"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,'" Paulson told Town & Country. "It was hard for my mother to be everywhere, to come to the school play and make a living. I’ve always known what I wanted out of my professional life, and I didn’t want to turn around and go, 'If I had only made the choice to just dedicate this time in my life to me.' It’s selfish, but I think the word selfish gets a bad rap."
The actress, who is currently dating Two and a Half Men star Holland Taylor, is hardly alone in her desire to not pursue parenthood. Many stars, from Oprah Winfrey to Ashley Judd, have publicly declared their decision to not have children. Deciding whether or not to become a parent is a deeply personal one, and it's a topic that Paulson has obviously put plenty of thought into.
Paulson isn't the only star having a major career moment to talk about why she doesn't want to have children. Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross, who won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy in 2017, spoke at Glamour’s Women of the Year Summit about not following the parenthood path, despite the pressure to do so.
"Someone tells me about their friend who adopted a child at 52 and how 'it’s never too late for your life to have meaning,' and my worth gets diminished as I am reminded that I have 'failed' on the marriage and carriage counts. Me! This bold, liberated, independent woman," Ross told the Women of the Year Summit audience. "I’m a good friend, a solid daughter, a hard worker, my credit is good, I take out the garbage before it gets smelly, I recycle, and I won a Golden Globe! I’m killing it! So, why? Why do I get snagged this way?"
It's frustrating to hear that even incredibly successful women feel the pressure to have kids when they would rather remain childfree. Having kids should never define a person, and choosing not to have them doesn't prohibit someone from having a full or happy life. Plenty of people are childless by choice, and they should never be shamed for it.
Like Ross, Paulson's career gives her immense happiness. She told Town & Country it's not about the accolades she receives (like, say, multiple Emmy nods) but actually acting that brings her joy.
"It’s extraordinary that critics keep noticing my work. But the fact is, I got to play all of those incredible characters. And that has to be the reward. The joy is always in the work."
For audiences, that same joy comes from watching Paulson work — clearly, the star found her true calling.