Brace yourself for a guilt trip: July 24 — that's Sunday — is Parents' Day. We're willing to bet you haven't bought a card. Why does Hallmark make us jump through these hoops?
While everyone else is toasting mom and dad, we thought we'd highlight a few famous folks who, for whatever reason, never reproduced. Some were (and are) stepparents, some raised animals, and some, as Jennifer Aniston recently put it, don't accept the outdated notion that they are "somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not married with children." More power to 'em. Here, 15 child-free celebrities sound off on why parenting never panned out for them. In the cases of Aniston and longtime fatherhood-denier George Clooney, it's a matter of never say never, but there's no judgment either way. There's no shame in putting career above kids or simply not wanting to add to the planet's population. Besides: Isn't Betty White everyone's grandma by now? Get more entertainment news here: 15 Celebs Who Got Married & Stayed Married — To The Same Person Weird Rom-Com Couples That Didn't Quite Work The 18 Most Epic Musical Romances Ever
Photo: Jim Smeal/BEI/BEI/Shutterstock.
The ultimate grandma figure isn't a grandma. The 94-year-old actress was wed three times and had three stepchildren through her third marriage to the late Allen Ludden, but never reproduced on her own.
"I love children," the
last year. "The only problem with children is they grow up to be people and I just like animals better than people. It's that simple."
Photo: Theo Kingma/REX/Shutterstock.
Walken and his wife, Georgianne, have been married since 1969, but remain childless. The 73-year-old actor
told The Guardian
that his prolific career would "absolutely not" be possible had he been a father.
"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," the former child star said. "I didn't, so I could get by even in periods of unemployment."
Rickman married his longtime love, Rima Horton, just four years before dying of pancreatic cancer in January 2016 at age 69. The
actor spoke about the possibility of parenting in 1998.
"You should remember I am not the only one involved," he
told The Guardian's Suzie Mackenzie
. "There is another person here. I would have loved a family. Sometimes, I think that in an ideal world, three children, aged 12, 10, and 8, would be dropped on us and we would be great parents for that family."
"I would have been a terrible mother, because I'm basically a very selfish human being," the late film icon is quoted as saying in A.O. Scott Berg's
. "Not that that has stopped most people going off and having children."
Photo: Roger Askew/REX/Shutterstock.
"Don't you think we should stop celebrating spawning?" the 60-year-old talk-show host
once quipped in his stand-up
"I don't dislike children, I just don't particularly want to be around them a lot," he added. "The problem is, neither do their parents." So...that's a no.
Photo: Matt Baron/BEI/BEI/Shutterstock.
DeGeneres, 58, and her wife of eight years, Portia de Rossi, have been vocal about their decision to not be parents.
"I don't want to have one," the talk-show host
once told Jay Leno
. "I don't want to have six. I don't want to have any. They're precious to look at and I love them; we have nieces and I love them very much. [But I] don't want 'em."
Though 48-year-old Judd has never given birth, she has spoken of caring for needy children.
"The fact is that I have chosen not to have children because I believe the children who are already here are really mine, too," the divorced actress wrote in her memoir,
All That is Bitter and Sweet
. "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."
Photo: Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock.
The 70-year-old country legend has no regrets about not having kids with her husband of 50 years, Carl Thomas Dean.
"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 told
. "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."
Leno's wife, Mavis, once explained to the
why the couple, who have been married since 1980, never had children.
“I remember telling my mother when I was 7 or 8 that I was never going to get married or have children,” the 66-year-old comedian's wife shared. “To me, this is the way women get caught.”
The 62-year-old Winfrey's longtime partner, Stedman Graham, has a daughter of his own, but raising children has never been part of her plan.
"If I had kids, my kids would hate me," she told
The Hollywood Reporter
. "They would have ended up on the equivalent of the
show talking about me; because something [in my life] would have had to suffer and it would've probably been them."
The 55-year-old's longtime partner, Jane Fallon, wrote an essay for
about the couple's child-free lifestyle.
"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," she wrote. "And as we’re both the youngest children of large families, the pressure was off. Our elder brothers and sisters had already started on the next generation by the time our decision was made. Had either of us been an only child I imagine we wouldn’t have had it so easy. We were happy with our decision and we still are."
Photo: Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock.
"It was not my destiny," the 70-year-old Oscar-winner, who is married to director Taylor Hackford, told
. "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! Fuck off!’"
Aniston, 47, has left open the possibility of having a child with husband Justin Theroux, but for now, she's secure in her decision to not let society dictate her lifestyle.
"Yes, I may become a mother some day, and since I’m laying it all out there, if I ever do, I will be the first to let you know," she wrote in a
recent essay for The Huffington Post
. "But I’m not in pursuit of motherhood because I feel incomplete in some way, as our celebrity news culture would lead us all to believe."
Photo: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock.
Like Aniston, Clooney could still switch up his currently child-free existence by having a baby with wife, Amal. The 55-year-old actor has famously made bets that we wouldn't father a child, but played it coy when
interviewed by Charlie Rose
"I haven't really [thought about kids]," Clooney shared. "I've thought about it I suppose, but I haven't really. It hasn't been high on my list. I've been asked a lot lately because I've gotten married."
She plays a mother of two on
Grace and Frankie
, but Lily and longtime partner Jane Wagner, whom she wed in 2013, have remained child-free.
"God only knows what I would have done with them, poor things," she once told
. "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...it’s hard to raise children and to do right by them. There are too many kids anyway. There’s too many people."
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