Childfree icons


Taylor Swift

“Taylor doesn’t have a child. And in our patriarchal society, when does a woman change? When she becomes a mother. Maybe one of the main reasons why we don’t accept Taylor as an adult is because childless woman remains a strange figure in our society. We don’t know how to accept childless women as adults. I’m gonna thank you, Taylor, for not having kids yet because we really need more childless women out there showing their path.” NPR music critic Ann Powers.

“I don’t know if I’ll have kids,” Taylor says.

“It’s impossible not to picture certain scenarios and how you would try to convince them that they have a normal life when, inevitably, there will be strange men pointing giant cameras at them from the time they are babies.”

Taylor Swift (photo credit: Luke Johnson / The Seattle Times)
Photo credit: Luke Johnson, Seattle Times

Oprah Winfrey

“I realised, ‘Whoa, I’m talking to a lot of messed-up people, and they are messed up because they had mothers and fathers who did not realise how serious that job would be.’ “

“If I had kids, my kids would hate me, because something (in my life) would’ve had to suffer, and it would’ve probably been them.”

“You may not have biological children of your own, or even changed a nappy, but does that make you any less of a mother?”

In 2007, the star founded the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, a boarding school in South Africa which houses 172 girls. And, speaking to Good Housekeeping magazine, Winfrey explained that the project makes her feel as if she has children of her own.

“It is more rewarding than I would ever have imagined. I was doing this to help them, but it has brought a light to my life that I can’t explain.”

Photo credit: Phil Poynter, Trunk archive

Dame Helen Mirren

“I’m so happy that I haven’t had children. Well, you know, because I’ve had freedom. And I’ve so loved my freedom.”

“I never felt the need for a child and never felt the loss of it…. I’d always put my work before anything,” Mirren told AARP in 2015, per Vanity Fair. 

In 2013, Mirren told British Vogue, “[Motherhood] 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…. It was only boring old men [who would ask me].”

Photo credit: Giles Keyte

Dolly Parton

“I think I become more productive through not having children. I never really had the desire to have them. My husband didn’t want them either, so it worked out well.”

“My husband and I, we just think of ourselves as each other’s child. He’s my only child, and I’m his only child.”

She told fellow Non-Mum Oprah Winfrey in 2020: “I didn’t have children because I believe God didn’t mean for me to have kids, so everybody’s kids could be mine, so I could do things like the Imagination Library.”

“If I hadn’t had the freedom to work, I wouldn’t have done all the things I’ve done.”

Photo credit: Getty Images

Debbie Harry

“I’m certainly not the only woman in the world who never had children,” she explained to The Edit. “There are many reasons why I didn’t. We were working very hard, we were happy and we didn’t feel a need. And I always thought: there are a lot of children in the world. I didn’t need to add to that, you know?”

“I don’t think I ever really had the yearning that a lot of women have to have children. I was amazed that anyone would want to have a child,” she laughs.

Photo credit: David Levene, The Guardian
Photo credit: David Levene, The Guardian

Kim Cattrall

“I think kids are funny and adorable and sweet…and then I have a headache.”

Speaking on Radio4’s Women’s Hour, the actress said she considers herself to be a mother despite not having her own children – while discussing the offence she feels at being described as “childless” or “child-free”.

“I have young actors and actresses that I mentor, I have nieces and nephews that I am very close to so I think the thing that I find questionable about being childless or childfree is – are you really?

“There is a way to become a mother in this day and age that doesn’t include your name on the child’s birth certificate. You can express that maternal side very clearly, very strongly.”

She said: “It’s the ‘less’ that is offensive – childless – it sounds like you’re ‘less’ because you haven’t had a child.”

Photo credit: Trevor Haldenby

Kathy Burke

Kathy Burke:  ‘I have no regrets about not having my own (children). It can be seen as being quite selfish, but I’m very happy to be selfish. It is my life and that is what I chose to do with it.’

I think that’s one of the reasons I never wanted children. As a kid, we didn’t have much money. If I have a kid, all my money’s got to go on a kid. Fuck that, I want to spend my money on myself. I had a dog for a while and that was fucking hard enough.”

“Four hundred years ago, I’d have been burned as a witch for not wanting children. Or they’d have dunked me like a big biscuit.”

“I’ve ignored my biological clock and opted out of motherhood all together. It’s very interesting if I’ll be judged the way other women will be judged.” 

Quotes from Kathy’s All Woman on Channel 4. 

Photo credit: Pinterest