Actor Jennifer Aniston is done with people assuming she’s leading a miserable life because she’s single and child-free. She has a fabulous career, is in great shape and has no regrets about the way her life has turned out. But the image of being heartbroken after her split with actor Brad Pitt and more recently, Justin Theroux, hasn’t evaded her.
Jennifer, who will be on the cover of InStyle’s September issue, told the magazine: “The misconceptions are ‘Jen can’t keep a man,’ and ‘Jen refuses to have a baby because she’s selfish and committed to her career.’ Or that I’m sad and heartbroken. First, with all due respect, I’m not heartbroken. And second, those are reckless assumptions. No one knows what’s going on behind closed doors. No one considers how sensitive that might be for my partner and me. They don’t know what I’ve been through medically or emotionally. There is a pressure on women to be mothers, and if they’re not, then they’re deemed damaged goods. Maybe my purpose on this planet isn’t to procreate. Maybe I have other things I’m supposed to do.”
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We’re definitely cheering Jennifer on as she tears apart stereotypes and harmful assumptions. As she mentioned, the pressure of having a child about is very real and unfortunately, women across the world just can’t seem to escape it.
Take a look at other celebrities who have spoken up about choosing not to have children:
“There are women who do it. On the other hand, there are a lot of women writers who never get married and don’t have kids. I am married, but I didn’t marry until I was 43. I knew when I was young that if I had to make a choice between being married and being a writer, I would have chosen to be a writer. I think it’s a career where you have to put the career first. I don’t have kids but — and luckily everyone isn’t like this—I think if you have that passion, in a way, your career is your child,” said Candace Bushnell in a 2003 interview.
“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, but through advocacy and service transform the world into a place where no child ever needs to be born into poverty and abuse again. My belief has not changed. It is a big part of who I am,” writes Ashley Judd in All That Is Bitter and Sweet: A Memoir, 2011.
“We’d probably be great parents. But it’s a human being, and unless you think you have excellent skills and have a drive or yearning in you to do that, the amount of work that that is and responsibility—I wouldn’t want to screw them up,” wrote Ellen DeGeneres in a 2014 People essay.
“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! 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,” revealed in Dolly Parton to People Country, 2014
“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.” —Betty White, CBS Sunday Morning in 2011.
“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.” —Helen Mirren in Vogue, 2013.
“I accepted it for a long time and I thought that ‘Okay, I’m getting married. I’m having children. I’m definitely doing that, just not right now.’ I’d put it 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.” —Gloria Steinem at the Feminist MAKERS Conference in 2014.
“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. That did make things easier for me. A baby—that’s all day, every day for eighteen years…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.” —Cameron Diaz, in a 2014 Esquire interview.
“Not at all [do I feel the pangs of motherhood]. They are actually getting less and less as I get older, which is starting to worry me. I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to work! When I was 21 or 22 I was like, ‘I can’t wait to be a mother. Now I’m like…[makes shocked face and gasps]. I don’t know…” —Jennifer Lawrence, in a 2017 E! interview.
“I would have been a terrible mother because I’m basically a very selfish human being. Not that that has stopped most people going off and having children.” —Katharine Hepburn in Kate Remembered, 2003.
“I’ve thought about this a lot lately. I never thought I’d be this age and not have kids. But my life has also gone in a million ways I never anticipated. I kept feeling like I’d wake up with absolute clarity, and I haven’t. And we have a pretty great life together. The chance that we’ll regret it doesn’t seem like a compelling enough reason to do it. I may wake up tomorrow with that lightning bolt, and I’ll have to scramble to make it happen.” —Jennifer Westfeldt in a 2012 New York Times interview.
“People assume I’m desperate for a baby. And yes, I would love to have a baby. But I’m 28, and I’ve been married three and a half years. I love my life, but it doesn’t feel incomplete right now.” —Khloé Kardashian in Redbook, 2013.
“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.” —Oprah Winfrey in a 2013 Hollywood Reporter interview.
Portia de Rossi
“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.” —Portia de Rossi in a 2013 Out cover story.
“I don’t think I’d be a great mother… I don’t want to have a kid and have it raised by a nanny. I don’t have the time to raise a child.” —Chelsea Handler on a 2013 episode of The Conversation With Amanda de Cadet.
“I have no maternal instincts whatsoever. I am barren. I am bone-dry. When I see children, I feel nothing. I ovulate sand.” —Margaret Cho on her 2003 album Revolution.
“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.” —Renée Zellweger in the London Times, 2008.
“I try not to listen to the shoulds or coulds, and try to get beyond expectations, peer pressure, or trying to please—and just listen. I believe all the answers are ultimately within us. When I answered those questions regarding having children, I realized that so much of the pressure I was feeling was from outside sources, and I knew I wasn’t ready to take that step into motherhood.” —Kim Cattrall in O Magazine, 2003.
“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.” —Stevie Nicks to InStyle, 2002.
“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. 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. 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.” —Jennifer Aniston in a 2014 Allure interview.
“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.” —Sarah Silverman in a 2010 Daily Beast interview.