In a culture obsessed with baby bumps, these celebs say they have no regrets about not becoming a mom.
Dolly Parton has sold over 100 million albums, has won nine Grammys, and even has her very own theme park—but one thing the country-music legend has never had is a child of her own. And she is perfectly at peace with that decision.
When the 71-year-old singer appeared on the Today Show this week to promote her new children’s album, I Believe In You she told Matt Lauer, “God has a plan for everything. I think it probably was his plan for me not to have kids so everybody’s kids could be mine. And they are now.” And Parton has certainly taken good care of the world’s kids—her charity, Imagination Library, which sends new books to preschoolers all across the U.S. and Canada to help instill a love of learning, recently mailed out its 100 millionth book.
In honor of Dolly, here are six other celebs who say their life is perfectly lovely without a child:
The 45-year-old actress, who has taken a break from movies for the last couple of years and married singer Benji Madden in 2015, has been honest about not feeling the call to motherhood. She told Esquire magazine, “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… I was never drawn to being a mother.”
Though she says she hasn’t ruled out the possibility of having kids some day, 48-year-old Aniston—who has been the subject of “is she or isn’t she?” pregnancy rumors since she was married to Brad Pitt back in the early 2000s—has blasted the media for questioning her child-free life. She has written in the Huffington Post: “The sheer amount of resources being spent right now by press trying to simply uncover whether or not I am pregnant…points to the perpetuation of this notion that women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not married with children… We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves.”
The 48-year-old author of Eat, Pray, Love knew early on that being an “auntie” rather than a mom felt right for her. As she wrote in her blog: “Those of us who are natural-born aunties are luckier. We love children, we enjoy children, but we know in our deepest heart that we are not supposed to have children of our own. And that is absolutely fine, as not every woman in history needs to be a mother, or would be good at it… But even as I’m loving on a beautiful infant, I know in my heart: This is not my destiny. It never was. And there is a curious rush of joy that I feel, knowing this to be true—for it is every bit as important in life to understand who you are NOT, as to understand who you ARE.”
Though she has helped educate hundreds of girls in South Africa through her Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy, the 63-year-old Queen of Media has never raised children of her own. “If I had kids, my kids would hate me,” Winfrey told THR. “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 added that even as a kid, while her friends were dreaming of getting married and having babies, she always dreamed of being the next Martin Luther King.
The 49-year-old cooking guru has famously said that she is so busy with a career that she loves that she can barely find time to be a good mom to her dog, much less a human baby. Still, she finds plenty of time to work with and cook for kids, through her Yum-O! foundation, which gets children excited about cooking healthy food, raises money to feed hungry children across America, and provides scholarships for young people who want to train to work in the food industry.
The 47-year-old comedian and actress—who says she never wanted children when she was growing up—tried for a while after marrying attorney Jeff Tietjens. But after struggling with infertility, she and her (now ex) husband made a deliberate decision to forego IVF treatments and enjoy their child-free lives. She told HuffPost Live: “I wanted people to feel—men and women—it’s okay to say, ‘I love my marriage, I love my life, I choose not to have children.’”