22 Celebrities Who Are Unapologetically Childless By Choice (And We Love Them For It)

There's no doubting that some people were just born to be mothers. From the day they're put on this earth, they exude an undeniable motherly instinct and can't wait to experience the joys of raising a child. For others, that feeling comes a little later in life. However, while motherhood is an admirable path many women take, it's important to recognize that procreation just isn't for everyone.

Despite the pressure society puts on women in particular to breed, not everyone has big dreams of early morning school runs and playdates. Being a woman doesn't automatically mean you have a burning motherly desire — and it's about time we recognized more widely that wanting to be a mom isn't necessarily the default. In fact, a 2019 study found, on average, women are asked 19 times over the course of their childbearing years if they want to have kids, which then transforms into being asked if they want more once they've given birth.

Thankfully, there are plenty of famous faces who are going against the grain to let the world know it's totally normal to aspire for a life without parenthood. From comedian Chelsea Handler to pop superstar Miley Cyrus and her godmother, Dolly Parton, here's what some of the biggest stars have said about their decision to be unapologetically child-free.

Miley Cyrus doesn't want her child to live on this planet

Miley Cyrus can't be tamed, but she can buy herself flowers, thank you very much. The pop star made that independent attitude very clear during a 2019 interview with Elle, in which she also confessed she had no plans to bring children into the world.

Part of the reason why, Cyrus explained, is all the global issues the world is facing. Speaking about the preconceived misconceptions she feels are put on her as a woman, she shared, "We're expected to keep the planet populated. And when that isn't a part of our plan or our purpose, there is so much judgment and anger that they try to make and change laws to force it upon you — even if you become pregnant in a violent situation. If you don't want children, people feel sorry for you, like you're a cold, heartless b**** who's not capable of love." She added that she wouldn't even consider procreating until a drastic change is made in the world. "We're getting handed a piece-of-s*** planet, and I refuse to hand that down to my child. Until I feel like my kid would live on an earth with fish in the water, I'm not bringing in another person to deal with that."

The following year, Cyrus doubled down on her stance during an interview with SiriusXM Hits 1's "The Morning Mash Up," confessing that she never really was that interested in the idea of becoming a mom in the first place. And that's absolutely fine.

Dolly Parton is childless, but helps millions of children

Perhaps one of the most famous women on the planet to never become a mom, Dolly Parton has spoken several times about how not procreating benefitted her career, despite believing she'd have made a great mom. Speaking to The Guardian in 2014, the Grammy-award winning star shared she would have found it difficult to leave her children behind in order to work and tour. "Everything would have changed. I probably wouldn't have been a star," she said. Still, she reiterated that she has zero regrets about her decision, adding for herself and her husband, Carl Dean, "It wasn't meant to be. Now that we're older? We're glad."

The Queen of Country Music may never have welcomed her own children, but she's given back to other people's kids tenfold as a result. Since the mid '90s, Parton's Dollywood Foundation has funded a scholarship program that provides students in Sevier County, Tennessee who graduate high school with a $500 dollar grant (via Imagination Library). 

Parton explained on "The Oprah Conversation" that never having children facilitated this kind of charity work. "I didn't have children because I believed that God didn't mean for me to have kids so everybody's kids could be mine, so I could do things like Imagination Library because if I hadn't had the freedom to work, I wouldn't have done all the things I've done," she explained, referring to millions of books her foundation donates to children around the world. "I wouldn't be in a position to do all of the things I'm doing now."

Chelsea Handler is thriving without any kids

A decade before comedian Chelsea Handler went viral on TikTok  for her "A day in the life of a childfree woman" video, she made it abundantly clear to audiences she had no desire to become a mom, providing practical reasons why she came to that decision. "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," she admitted on "The Conversation With Amanda de Cadenet" in 2013.

And that's far from the only time Handler has explained her reasons for remaining child-free. During an episode of "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," the comedian admitted her tolerance is just too low to properly help a child with their cognitive development. "I'm not equipped with what it takes to answer all those questions from children because they don't just ask you once," she said.  Fair enough!

Despite the criticism, Handler's decision to remain vocal about not wanting children has left a positive impression on fans. "So many women have reached out to me like, 'Thank you for saying you don't have to be, you're not worthy in this world when you become someone's mother and wife, you're worthy before that.' And I understand some people want children. Go get one. But for the people that don't we're doing the world a favor too," she said on "The Drew Barrymore Show" in January. Plus, with adorable dogs like hers, who needs kids (via Instagram)?

Kelsea Ballerini's marriage ended over children

Kelsea Ballerini has been vocal about how her decision not to have children ended her marriage to fellow country singer Morgan Evans. During a very candid conversation on the "Call Her Daddy" podcast in February 2023, the "Peter Pan" singer admitted that while the pair initially agreed on kids early on in their relationship, she later changed her mind. "He was ready... And I was like, 'I'm not there yet, and I can't do that to save this and give you something that I'm not ready for,'" she said. Ballerini further explained she once considered freezing her eggs, but, after Evans seemingly urged her not to, she chose divorce. "He wants something out of life... [and] I'm not there. And whether I'll get there or not, I don't think it's with this person if it is," she said, admitting she still doesn't know if she ever wants to have children. A source for Ballerini told People around the same time, "She feels too young to have a family. There are things that she wants to accomplish first. She loves working and is not ready to take a break."

It seems Ballerini made the right decision for herself in the long run. On her divorce EP "Rolling Up the Welcome Mat,"  she sang about buying a house big enough for children and changing her stance about it. Ballerini revealed on Instagram the EP had been streamed a whopping 18.63 million times in the first week, so, clearly, focusing on her career is working for this country queen!

Tracee Ellis Ross doesn't buy into marriage and babies

Despite playing a mom of five on "Black-ish," Tracee Ellis Ross won't be getting married or having children just because it's what expected of her — and she made that very clear during a 2018 interview with The Times. "The husband and the babies are the expectation of what's supposed to happen at a certain point, and people fall back on, 'Well, that's the point of the human species, procreation.' And I'm, like, 'I think there are a lot of babies, isn't that part of what's going wrong, there's too many?'" she asked. "Some people could be working on the world being a better place, or just being happy."

Ellis Ross also got real about experiencing menopause in January 2023, noting that she felt content with never having had children. "Is it my fertility that is leaving me? Is it my womanhood? Or is it really neither?" she astutely questioned during an episode of "We Can Do Hard Things With Glennon Doyle." Although the 50-year-old actor admitted she sometimes feels a little disappointment she never had a biological child, she has no regrets about being childless because knows she's killing it when it comes to life. "[I] remind myself, like, 'I woke up every morning of my life and I've tried to do my best, so I must be where I'm supposed to be,'" she said, noting how happy she is she gets to spend her time doing what she loves with the people she wants. Talk about living your best life!

Ellen DeGeneres shut down Jay Leno when he asked about babies

Ellen DeGeneres has been pretty outspoken about not wanting children of her own, despite how much she enjoys being around them and how many she invited on to her now defunct talk show, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." When asked on "Today" in 2015 about if she would like to have kids, she replied, "I think I would. But that's not enough to have kids. I love kids. But that's such a big commitment. And it seems long-term. It seems like a commitment that you have to stick with. And I just don't know if I can — it's too risky." The star, who married wife Portia De Rossi in 2008, then jokingly added she knew she'd probably compare her child to all the talented kids she met on the show. Her mom, Betty DeGeneres, has also been pretty blunt about why the comedian will likely never have children, telling Us Weekly in 2019, "Ellen has far too much class."

Of course, DeGeneres' take on parenthood wouldn't be complete without a little sense of humor, so it makes sense that she has used her determination to not become a mom as fuel for some hilarious moments. During a 2012 appearance on "The Tonight Show," she clapped back at Jay Leno after he quizzed her on rumors she was looking to have a baby, by quipping, "I'm here for your sperm," teasing she'd like the talk show host to be her donor. Well, that's one way to shut someone down!

Portia de Rossi is on the same page as Ellen DeGeneres

One of the most important parts of being in a childless relationship is ensuring your partner is on the same page. Luckily for Ellen DeGeneres, her wife Portia de Rossi is. The "Arrested Development" actor told Out in 2013 when she hit her thirties, she felt pressure to have children, but ultimately knew it wasn't the path for her. "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?'" she shared. "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. So, it's just going to be me and Ellen and no babies — 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." Now that's something to aspire to!

De Rossi admitted the pressure only continued, pointing out that her mother has said he'd like her and DeGeneres to have kids. "It's just one big rumor that doesn't seem to go away, and, at this point, I feel like I'm disappointing the whole of America, not just my mother," she explained on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" in 2014. But we love how she's stayed steadfast in knowing what's best for her.

Marisa Tomei never needed a baby to make her feel fulfilled

Another woman sticking to her guns and shunning the notion that a woman needs marriage and babies to be happy? Marisa Tomei. The "In The Bedroom" actor has remained outspoken about making sure she dances to the beat of her own drum in her life, telling Manhattan Magazine in 2009, "I'm not that big a fan of marriage as an institution, and I don't know why women need to have children to be seen as complete human beings." You go, girl!

A separate source later confirmed to Closer Weekly that Tomei is more than happy focusing on her career rather than trying to become a mom. "[It] wasn't something she ever truly pursued — even in her twenties. Work has really been her life force," they said, noting the star has never wanted a traditional home life. "She is living life to the fullest and getting offers other actors would kill for. Her success is a combination of talent and incredibly motivated hard work." You can say that again!

Quite clearly, making the choice to focus on work has served Tomei well. Along with enjoying a slew of big roles over the years, she is also an Oscar winner– so we'd say she's doing quite well for herself.

Dame Helen Mirren had some choice words for men who asked her why she never had kids

Ladies, if a man (or anyone for that matter!) gets on your case about when you're going to have kids, just copy these choice words said by none other than Dame Helen Mirren. The veteran actress told Vogue U.K. in 2013 that she decided after seeing a childbirth video in school that parenthood probably wasn't going to be the path for her. Despite being certain in her decision, Mirren revealed she was frequently questioned about her childish lifestyle by "boring old men" throughout her young adult years. But she knew exactly how to respond. "Whenever they went, 'What? No children? Well, you'd better get on with it, old girl,' I'd say, 'No! F*** off!'" Epic.

Mirren later explained during a 2016 appearance on "Popcorn With Peter Travers" that one of the biggest reasons she shunned mommy-life was to focus on her career; a choice it's safe to say most definitely paid off for the multi-Oscar winner. "I was always too engaged in my life as an actress. At that time, I couldn't comprehend that you could incorporate a child into that without letting a child down somehow. It was never an absolute conscious decision, it was just, 'Oh, maybe next year, maybe next year, until really there was no next year." 

Hey, she's a dame, so she must be doing something right!

Renée Zellweger never felt bound to life's forced milestones

By playing the iconic role of Bridget Jones, Renée Zellweger pretty much encapsulated the idea that wanting to fall in love, have kids, and live happily ever after together was the ultimate dream. But that's not the case for Zellweger in real life, and we can't get enough of her refreshing take on what a woman really needs to be happy.

In 2008, the star admitted to Express that becoming a mother and starting a family had never really been on her priority list. "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,'" she shared. "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." We sure love to see it!

Despite never having children of her own, it seems like the star still has a maternal side. Daily Mail shared photos in January 2022 of the star looking every inch the doting caregiver when she hit the park with her boyfriend Ant Anstead's kids. Adorable!

Lily Tomlin is grateful every day she's not a mom

While she's happy for anyone who decides to have children and takes on the parenthood journey, Lily Tomlin has no problem admitting motherhood wasn't the life for her. "I didn't want to — and I'm glad I don't — have any children. God only knows what I would have done with them, poor things," she told Metro Weekly in 2006. Continuing, she added, "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." Tomlin, who married Jane Wagner in 2013, shared she felt she would've made a good mom, but is particularly glad she never went down that path because, in her opinion, there are already too many people in the world.

Tomlin also reflected on her decision in a 2015 The Guardian interview, admitting the state of the world made her extra glad she stuck to her guns. "We say every day, 'I'm so glad we didn't have any children.' When I think of the world now, I don't want to even deal with having to raise a child," she said. Later, in 2019, she admitted on "Hiking with Kevin Nielson" she almost considered using a sperm donor before ultimately deciding against it. "It would've been terrible," she confessed. 

One thing that didn't turn out terrible, though? Tomlin's life and career.

Ashley Judd called having a baby 'unconscionable'

Ashley Judd has been pretty outspoken throughout her career about different social issues, and she had some pretty good reasons for not wanting to ever become a mom. In 2006, she made it clear that she didn't think it was particularly moral to have a baby biologically. "It's unconscionable to breed, with the number of children who are starving to death in impoverished countries. I know it's a strong opinion a lot of people won't agree with and that's not to say someday I might not feel a different impulse," she explained to Sunday Mail. However, she noted she never felt the urge to transition to motherhood herself.

Judd, who was married to Dario Franchitti from 2001 until 2013, wrote candidly about her decision to remain childless in her 2011 memoir, "All That Is Bitter and Sweet." "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," she wrote. She also noted that her stance was unlikely to change because those beliefs formed a big part of her.

Today, Judd is still just as passionate about social justice and has partnered with a number of different charities to make the world a better place.

Oprah Winfrey doesn't need her own children to take care of kids

Another world-famous woman who has been pressed countless times about why she remained childless, Oprah Winfrey decided against having a biological child and instead took it upon herself to help young girls via her charitable efforts. "I knew I was not going to be a person that ever regretted not having [kids], because I feel like I am a mother to the world's children. Love knows no boundaries," the former daytime talk show host explained to Good Housekeeping U.K. in 2017. She went on to say that she felt she didn't need to carry a child to feel a connection to them and want to give them a better life. "If the love is real, the caring is pure and it comes from a good space, it works," she said. Case in point? The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, where the star currently dedicates much of her time and effort.

The childless icon also joked to The Hollywood Reporter in 2013 that had she decided to welcome a biological child into the world, they probably would have resented her. Six years later, she explained to People that hosting "The Oprah Winfrey Show" for so many years deterred her from spawning because she saw firsthand how many people had issues relating the way they grew up. However, she declared she absolutely felt no regrets about never starting a family with her longtime partner, Stedman Graham. 

Kim Cattrall taps her maternal instinct in other ways

Of all the main "Sex and the City" girls, there's only one who turned her back on the idea of a traditional family — Kim Cattrall. "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," she told Oprah.com.

Speaking to the outlet about her decision to remain childless, Cattrall admitted that for a long time, she thought she wanted to have kids, to the point she even once visited a sperm bank and was very close to choosing a donor. She then recalled stopping the process somewhat abruptly after realizing she wasn't doing it because she herself truly wanted it. "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," she shared. Now, she puts that maternal instinct to good use by helping young actors who ask for advice and through dedicating her time into charities and foundations. Indeed, she said she considers her work projects to be like her children. 

"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," she said. Being one of the most recognizable faces on TV and doing her bit to give back? It seems like she's certainly winning to us.

Alison Brie focuses on her fur babies

Alison Brie may be a proud cat mom, but she has no plans to welcome any human children with her husband, Dave Franco any time soon. The actress has been vocal about her decision not fitting within her life, explaining during a 2018 interview with The UK Times, "I don't really want to have kids. It's great because I don't worry about when I should get pregnant — between seasons, while we're shooting ["Glow"] — I don't think about it every day." The former "Community" star added that she felt juggling motherhood and work would bring too much stress to her life, joking, "I think about how much we're involved in our cats' lives. Oh my God, if it was a child!"

Brie clearly wasn't kidding, either. The star frequently shares photos of her fur babies on Instagram and even revealed in February that she brings them along with her when she knows she'll be away for a while filming. "When we shoot on location...the whole family comes with," she captioned one photo, which showed one of her cats in several different poses. Adorable!

Stevie Nicks wants to help moms, but not be one

Stevie Nicks has always given us the vibe she's probably a little too cool to be hanging out at daycare (although, imagine how cool it would be if you turned up and THE Stevie Nicks was there?), and clearly, she agrees. The Fleetwood Mac rocker told InStyle in 2002 that she made a conscious decision never to become a mom, explaining that instead, she gave all her attention to her first love, music. "It's like, 'Do you want to be an artist and a writer, or a wife and a lover?' With kids, your focus changes," she explained, bluntly adding, "I don't want to go to PTA meetings."

Nicks, who has also been open about her decision to have an abortion, addressed her childless status once again during an appearance on "ABC Downtown" in 2001. The "Dreams" singer said she felt she held different purpose that may even benefit those who chose to embrace a more traditional life. "My mission maybe wasn't to be a mom and a wife; maybe my particular mission was to write songs to make moms and wives feel better," she said. Go your own way, indeed.

Still, the Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer, who's managed to maintain an insanely popular career for several decades, probably said it best herself when she told The Guardian in 2020, "I am a totally free woman, and I am independent, and that's exactly what I always wanted to be."

Sarah Silverman didn't feel she could have it all

Sarah Silverman has made no apologies for her decision not to become a mom, even injecting a little humor into her explanation. In 2017, the "School of Rock" star made it pretty clear why she chose her career over motherhood, tweeting, "As a comic always working & on the road I have had to decide between motherhood & living my fullest life & I chose the latter." She then pointed out that's it's a decision many men don't have to make, quipping, "So this is just a lil f*** all y'all bc u can't be a woman w/out sacrifice & that's the fact jack."

Silverman later spoke about eschewing motherhood again that same year in a monologue for her "I Love You, America" special. "I love kids, to an insane degree. That said, loving kids and having kids of your own are two very different things. And the thought of having my own baby completely paralyzes me," she said. "How do people have kids so easily? It's such a huge decision. It's f***ing forever."

But that doesn't mean Silverman doesn't still experience mixed feelings about motherhood. "It's a sadness for me because I love kids. I ache for kids," she shared on an episode of the "WTF with Marc Maron" podcast in 2016, admitting she still felt a lot of pressure to procreate. "But I love my life more. You can't have it all. You really can't."

Aunt Mary J Blige

Mary J Blige is happy being an aunt over a mom, thank you very much. And hey, what's wrong with being the fun aunt with a baby in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. The singer shared her thoughts on becoming a mother during a 2022 appearance on E!'s "Daily Pop," where she admitted she never wanted to go through the experience of giving birth and raising a child. "I like my freedom to go and move and do what I want to do. I don't want to have to tend to someone all the time," she confessed. Blige also noted that her multiple nieces and nephews are enough for her, as they've been evidence for how difficult raising kids really is.

The star seems to have always had other things on her mind over a biological child, telling O Magazine in 2006, "I don't want any biological children right now. You know what I want? Property — lots and lots of real estate all over the place." And that's exactly what she got. Blige may be childless, but she's certainly not losing out on fulfilling her dreams. The hip-hop star is worth $20 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth, which will get her plenty of lavish (child-free) properties.

Sarah Paulson saw how hard it was to work and raise a child

Sarah Paulson is another star who chose work over motherhood, telling Town & Country in 2018 she felt she wouldn't have been able to dedicate the time necessary to care for a child. "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,'" she confessed, adding that the belief in part came from watching how difficult it was for her own mother to be a working parent. "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," she shared.

It seems like that decision most definitely paid off. Paulson can live happily in the knowledge she didn't embark on motherhood knowing she wasn't 100% into it, and her career has only gone from win to win outside of the home. With huge roles in the likes of "American Horror Story" and "Ratchet" under her belt, this star is not slowing down anytime soon!

Playing a mom on screen was enough for Allison Janney

Allison Janney had a refreshing take on why she never actually became a parent, despite one of her biggest roles being a mother on the series, you guessed it, "Mom." She opened up about her life choices on "The Drew Barrymore Show" in 2021, admitting she may have had kids had she found the right person to raise them with but is fine that she didn't. "I wasn't ever really confident that I wanted to have kids, and I would rather regret not having kids than have kids and regret it," she shared. Along with not being keen on the idea of motherhood, Janney confessed a traditional marriage never really appealed to her, either. "At this time in my life [I'm] getting to know who I am and what I want," she said. "So I'd love to eventually find someone to share my life with, but if it doesn't happen, I think I'll be just fine." Seriously, we just love Janney's take on life — and she's so right!

Janne had some similarly inspiring words about not feeling the urge to become a mom during a 2016 interview with Bust where she discussed her role in "Tallulah," a film where she once again played a mother. "Not every woman needs to be a mother, and some really shouldn't be," she shared. 

Christina Hendricks is 'one of those people' who doesn't want kids -- and proud of it!

Christina Hendricks married Geoffrey Arend in 2009, but that doesn't mean things have to go love, marriage, and baby carriage. In fact, in 2014, the "Mad Men" star admitted they were both on the same page with not wanting children and they were more than happy enjoying their two-person household. "It seems like it's expected that you'd want to have kids. It's just very normal for people to say, 'Well, when you guys have kids...' And then when I say, 'Actually I don't think we're going to do that.' People will say, 'Oh, you say that now...' It doesn't bother me, though," she told Health.

Though Hendricks and Arend split in 2019, she admitted that plenty of people actually sent her messages of gratitude for being so open about the fact she'd prefer to remain sans children. "There were a lot of people who came and thanked me for saying it out loud, and I thought, 'Well isn't it sad, that we can't say it out loud?'" she confessed to The Times. "I really don't understand the hullabaloo around it. There's people who have kids and people who don't have kids. We're the people who don't have kids." Well said!