Thursday, September 13, 2012

Childfree Celebrity Spotlight: Oprah Winfrey

Although I've known for a long time that Oprah was childfree-by-choice, I did not feature her on my Childfree Celebrity Spotlight page because she never openly discussed her childfree status.  And no wonder.  When your multi-billion dollar empire is built on the cash-cow market of moms, it's your job to make them feel that moms are the greatest and most important people on earth, so it's probably not in your best interest to rub it in their faces that you deliberately did NOT choose their lifestyle.

Once Oprah's network talk show went off the air, however, things changed - a little.  She began to open up about her choice not to have kids and stated that it was a deliberate decision that she feels very comfortable with.  When asked how she feels about not having children, she said:
Really good. No regrets whatsoever. Gayle grew up writing the names of her would-be children, making little hearts and putting children's names in them. Never occurred to me to do that. I never had a desire. And I don't think I could have this life and have children. One of the lessons I've learned from doing the show is just how much sacrifice and attention is required to do the job of mothering well. Nothing in my background prepared or trained me to do that. So I don't have any regrets about it at all. And I do feel like I am a mother in a broader sense—to a generation of viewers who've grown up with me.
In this interview with Barbara Walters, Oprah discusses her decision at the 7:30 mark.  Note how Barbara dropped the "regret" bingo on her.

Want to see what other celebrities are childfree by choice? Check out my list and be sure to let me know if you learn of others so I can be sure to add them!


Parasol said...

Christina Hendricks, Jon Hamm, and Vincent Kartheiser - a MadMen trifecta of childfree celebs.

Also, Bill Maher.

I love this series and your blog in general!

Dave said...

Singer/actress and 1980s teen pop icon Deborah (Debbie) Gibson appears to be childfree. Now 42, she has never been married and has never expressed an interest in having children. At 34, she posed nude for Playboy - how many 34-year-old women have the body to do that?

And don't forget TV funnyman Jay Leno. It is great when he has Bill Maher as a guest - two great childfree funnymen bantering back and forth.

Parasol said...

Sorry, I see you've covered at least two of those already! For some reason they didn't show up when I was reading on my device last night.

House of Sykes said...

Theodor Seuss Geisel, more commonly known as Dr. Seuss never had children of his own. His saying was, "You have them; I'll entertain them."

Freelance Feminist said...

What I have to say sort of ties in to the "Childfree Celebrity" theme because by letting us know that there are childfree celebrities out there, you are giving us more validation for our choice:

You know what a big, big, BIG reason is for the fact that I'm so steadfast about remaining childfree? Validation. The childfree celebrities, the opinions expressed on this blog, the commenters, the posts by regretful moms, the veil lifted on the secrecy surrounding the darkside of parenthood, the knowledge that there are other childfree people out there, have all helped me firmly decide to be childfree. And I'm normally a wishy-washy person who has trouble sticking to her guns and saying "no"!

Had I just looked at your list of "100 Reasons to Not Have Kids," and never looked at your blog again, I probably would still be on the fence today, even though the reasons listed really resonated with me. It's amazing how easy it is to doubt yourself. So thank you, thank you, thank you for providing a platform where we can discuss these issues and have our collective voices be heard. I think it does everyone a lot of good.

shell said...

Oprah is a somewhat "nurturing" type of woman. But she is very driven. I am a very nurturing type of woman who is not very driven.
Do you think the desire to have children is an INSTINCT? If it was then wouldn't ALL women have it ? I don't think it's been studied enough.
I am very nurturing towards my animals. I liked playing with dolls as a little girl. I "mothered" my dolls as well as my pets as a child.
I have several pets and have always had pets as an adult. I regard them as my surrogate children. But I never wanted my
own children.

Almost all young people want to have sex. But how many of them want to have a baby to take care of ?
ha ha i'll bet not many-IF they think about what it involves. !
Some may think they want that baby but the reality of a job that is 24/7 with no pay and no days off that lasts 20+ years and means your needs now come last soon wears off.

Nicole G said...

It's so refreshing to "hear" someone say that they felt so adamantly, even from childhood, that having children was not in the cards for them.

It seems like all you ever hear from celebrities and moms (and wannabe moms) is how they've ALWAYS wanted to be mothers, have kids, whatever, since they can remember.

Not once has anyone ever vocalized to me the opposite feeling -- the one I have -- to have never wanted children. My adolescent fantasies were of briefcases, business suits, and international travel -- not diapers, midnight feedings, and soccer games.

I hope more public figures start to feel that they too can open up about the choice to remain child free.

Dave said...

Ashley Judd has been pretty open about her not wanting kids.

Family of Two said...

I'm not an Oprah fan personally, but I like that she touched on something another comment above mentioned - that being that she has known that she did not want kids from a very young age, or rather that the desire has never been there for her. That's so refreshing to hear as thats exactly how I feel. At 6 I wasn't telling everyone I was childfree by choice (not that I had a choice at that point but I think you get what I'm saying) but I wasn't the one playing house, or picking out baby names.

As for other celebs to add - Rachel Ray! She's my childfree celeb hero. I think it's cool that she's built a name for herself around a traditionally female role - cooking, and her show is very family friendly, yet she does not have or want children.

I feel a lot of similarity with her love to cook - love dogs - married to a great guy - understand why people would want children but know without a doubt they're not for me.

I'm new to childfree blogging - just checking out some others in the blogger community and came across yours - keep up the good work!

Temujin said...

And I wonder how many celebs are actually lying when they say they've always wanted kids. I imagine many of them were on the fence or reluctant to have kids but had them anyway, and then they felt compelled to say that they always wanted them. Strange how people are so quick to believe celebrities when they talk about wanting children, even the ones who are clearly untrustworthy....

Unknown said...

Wow, can't believe Barbara Walters looked sad and concerned when she was asking Oprah if she ever regretted not having kids. Thanks for posting!

Alex said...

Not a celebrity but an important and famous historical figure. Queen Elizabeth the 1st. She was one of the greatest ruler's England ever saw and she refused to marry or have children.