Olivia Wilde: ‘The gift of motherhood is selflessness & that’s really freeing’

Olivia Wilde

These are photos of Olivia Wilde at the Women’s Media Foundation awards on Tuesday evening. She was wearing a strange Roksanda dress with a structural blue-and-coral ruffle. The dress is pretty boring, and the “artsy” geometric ruffle looks awkward. Olivia is lucky enough to be able to get away with loose, undone hair and natural looking makeup.

Olivia co-hosted this event. She’s connected to the foundation because her mother, Leslie Cockburn, is an investigative journalist who worked in war zones. Olivia decided to talk up her new mommydom on the red carpet. What she says is sweet and profound, but you get the sense that Olivia thinks she’s the first one to experience motherhood. Let’s see what Livvy has to say about her experience:

She’s selfless now: “The amazing thing about becoming a parent is that you will never again be your own first priority. The gift of motherhood is the selflessness that it introduces you to, and I think that’s really freeing.”

The “amazing” Otis: “He’s a very sweet person,” shares Wilde, who jokes that she and Sudeikis are “getting there” in terms of Otis sleeping through the night. “The empathy that it floods you with — being a mother — I think makes you a better storyteller. I take my place in the world a little bit more seriously being a mother … I hope I can tell stories that somehow benefit the world that Otis will grow up in.”

Her mother: “She taught me the importance of speaking truth to power, to being unintimidated by people telling you to give up. So in terms of my own career, her example of perseverance has been very helpful. My mom was the first person to really introduce me to what it means to really dedicate yourself to your profession, and about self sacrifice. And I think being a mother in a very dangerous profession is even harder, and she knew that she was risking her life, and yet we grew up just admiring that type of passion and bravery.”

[From People]

Let’s cut Olivia a break since she’s still a new mother, and she’s still in the lovey-dovey bonding phase with her son. He’s not old enough to talk back or refuse to do his homework. She’s in full mommy haze and talking about how empathy makes mothers better storytellers. Does that make sense to anyone? I think she’s just happy, effusive, and rambling. On the notion of selflessness, yeah. Those feelings are common. I’m still pretty selfish but have learned to prioritize competing needs since becoming a mother. Every mother learns how to work it out on her own.

Olivia Wilde

Photos courtesy of WENN

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42 Responses to “Olivia Wilde: ‘The gift of motherhood is selflessness & that’s really freeing’”

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  1. Maya says:

    The only think I am going to say is that I agree with the part about her mum.

    Our mothers are the ones who first shows us the way to find our selves and who we want to be. Our mothers are the ones who teach us to either be strong, confident & independent or if we become less confident, meek and unsure in life.

    My mum taught me to speak my mind, always speak the truth unless it hurts someone unnecessarily, respect your husband but also make sure he respects you, women can achieve anything they set their mind to.

    Hopefully my mum is looking down on me from heaven and is proud of who I have become.

    • Nikki says:

      That is beautiful, Maya.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Your mother’s love is alive in your heart, and she is very, very proud of who you have become.

    • red_jane says:

      Maya I was reading your beautiful words thinking about how special your mum must have been, and my little baby girl rolled over next to me in her sleep to put her arm on mine.

      So I just wanted to thank you for inspiring me to think more about the kind of mother I want to be to her and my other kids. I know a lot of the time that I get caught up in the daily routine and forget about the bigger picture. I’m sorry that your mum isn’t around, but she was obviously an amazing woman with an amazing daughter, and I’m sure she would be proud.

  2. AuroraO says:

    Well then I don’t know how I can live with myself for choosing not to have children! I’m the most selfish person in the world, right?

    • insomniac says:

      Yeah! Why can’t you be unselfish like that wonderful Mama June Shannon?

      (Before everyone gets mad, I know most moms aren’t like that. Mine isn’t, thank God. But I can’t help but roll my eyes when I hear about how parenting makes you unselfish. That ain’t always the case, folks.)

      • Betty says:

        Thank you. If parenthood really caused such a monumental shift, wouldn’t our world be a much better place? Our world is filled with mothers who are selfish, narcissistic, abusive to their children, jealous of their childen, emotionally unavailable, etc. I’m not tryng sh*t on motherhood, but I find it strange that all of these celeb moms make such comments, when many of them have extremely dysfunctional relaitonships and children. I find it strange that so many teachers deal with dysfunctional children with clueless/absent parents since parenthood apprently turns everyone into Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama and Jesus Christ rolled into one. I’d be overjoyed to be a mother, but I tire of these quotes that romanticize motherhood in this way.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      I desperately wanted children and didn’t have them. It was the first thing in my life that I truly wanted and didn’t get. I think that gave me a great deal of empathy for other people’s pain that I might not have had if I did have children. I think life’s challenges, and parenthood is certainly one of them, help you to grow and develop emotionally and spiritually. But motherhood isn’t the only experience that does that. And I also think it depends on how open you are to growth. I know lots of selfish, shallow mothers. It doesn’t turn you into a good person if the basics are missing.

    • Etheldreda says:

      I’ve always detested this ‘motherhood makes you selfish’ smugness. In my experience, if someone is selfish before they became a mother – or father – they will remain selfish after they become a parent. It’s just that their sense of ‘self’ expands to include their child. It doesn’t mean that they’ve suddenly become full of kindness to humanity as a whole.

      • QQ says:

        THANKS!!! narcissists don’t get “cured” once they have a baby, likewise people that were nice decent human beings don’t somehow devolve after having kids

      • Wilma says:

        Though on some days I do feel kinda Jeckyll and Hyde

  3. Kiddo says:

    What in cartoon-character-hell is that thing clinging to the waist of that dress? Is it hate-hugging her?

    • Jaderu says:

      It’s the Dorito Christmas tree skirt. Not like they’re gonna get to use it anyway.

  4. Sugar says:

    She named her baby Otis? Otis?!

    All the name makes me think of is that Otis was the town drunk on the old Andy Griffith show.

    • BJ says:

      Other the baby I know only one Otis, and that’s Otis Redding, which is pretty cool. I heard they named the baby after him (and the second name Alexander is a tribute to Olivia’s b eloved late uncle, journalist Alexander Cockburn).

  5. Melanie says:

    See, I always cut her slack when she switches from first person to second person like she does here. When she talks about experiences she’s had, I’ve noticed that she has a tendency to start off talking about herself saying “I” and then begins to make generalizations saying “you” and then switches back again. Saying “you” will always come off as more preachy and know-it-all, in a way. So I don’t think she really has any feelings of superior knowledge; she has just always switches between first and second person making it seem like that.
    Anyway, I like her a lot. My boyfriend and I met her and Jason at the World Series Game 2 in Kansas City, and she is *SO* pretty in person and really sweet as well. Not only did they take pictures with everyone who asked but they would have actual conversations with them, really down to earth, sweet couple. Have a feeling she’s a great mom.

  6. Jess says:

    Does she have funky shaped ears or something? She constantly wears her hair like this , I can’t think of one time she wore it differently. She always look gorgeous though.

    • GByeGirl says:

      I always wear my hair in front of my ears because it’s uncomfortable to tuck it back. I also get migraines when I use hair accessories too often. ‘Tis a shame because my ears are freakin’ adorable.

      • Jess says:

        Lol, well let those cute thangs out every now and then! 🙂 I didn’t think about it being uncomfortable, good point. I was rear ended years ago and now I can’t wear pony tails for long because my neck hurts, I have long and heavy hair!

  7. ali says:

    All I got is her and Sudeikis will break up in the next year.

    • Jessica says:

      I don’t know I’ve met them several times. They are a really good couple, and I think they could be in this for a while.

  8. Luciana says:

    Otis sounds like ear infection. Otitis? I don’t know how you guys say it in english.

    This woman gets better as she ages. Beautiful.

  9. Jayna says:

    She’s a new mom. It’s sweet. Leave her alone.

    I’ve never found her that beautiful or interesting. But I watched The Third Person the other weekend with Olivia as Liam Neeson’s younger love interest and it had other great actors like Adrien Brody, Maria Bello. James Franco had a small part. Mila Kunis was in it. First, let me say, there is a scene with Mila that I thought, wow, this girl can really act. The same with James Franco. I came away with new respect for both of them. Adrien is always great.

    But I was shocked at how much I thought Olivia did a great job in the movie and she was strikiing in the movie. I guess I had always thought she was average looking, but in the movie a very striking woman. And she had a nude scene standing nude out in the halfway in the doorway of Liam’s hotel room as he looked her up and down. The girl has a great body, beautiful boobs, not big, but great.

    The movie was so fascinatingly bad and had me scratching my head with the intersecting stories and had to go on blogs about the movie and interviews with Haggis to think about the ending and what Director Paul Haggis was trying to achieve.. But Liam and Olivia, as the leads, kept the movie interesting for me. So I guess I didn’t give the girl enough credit before. The camera does like her and she can act. And her daddy issues with Liam as her affair were very believable.

    She’s a new mom and in love with her baby. She’s allowed to swoon in interviews.

    • Ice says:

      I watched that movie, too, and actually loved the puzzle of the story and the big twist at the end. I do, however, agree with you about Olivia. Her acting in the movie was incredible; that one scene where she was trying to hit Liam’s character had me in tears. That movie combined with role on “Her” and “Drinking Buddies” made my opinion of her acting do a complete 180 degrees for the better. I can’t wait to see what roles she takes on next!

      • Jayna says:

        Yeah, the big twist threw me. I enjoyed the movie, but I could see why it got a lot of bad reviews. But I agreed with many reviews that the director really had a big vision and went for it and that it just didn’t completely work but better to fail brilliantly than to do mediocre. But as a home movie, it held my interest all the way through and I spent a lot of time reading about it afterwards to decipher things. I was underwhelmed at first by the ending and it was a huge surprise to me. But after reading a lengthy director’s interview with Paul Haggis and what he was trying to achieve and what it all really meant and really thinking about it, and Liam’s character and what everything symbolized, I came away with a respect for the scope of what he was going for and more respect for the movie even if it fell flat in some areas. At least, it really had me thinking afterwards.

        I hated the movie score throughout, but Paul Haggis was raving about it and who he chose, like it was some great idea.

        Yeah, the twist with Olivia’s character stunned me, and that scene with Liam and her was great. Your heart did break at that point and you understood her more.

        The same with Mila’s scene at her ex’s home. Mila’s acting in that scene was incredible. The same with Franco. I can never get past his creepy persona anymore, but he showed great range in that scene and made me forget who he was.

        And what Liam’s character was willing to do at the end, the betrayal, kind of hits you in the gut for Olivia’s character.

        It all left me thinking and why I sought out blogs by other viewers who had discussed it and reading interviews about it.

  10. L&Mmommy says:

    I agree with the selflessness part. Now that I’m a mom, my needs come second always. They’re always on my mind but I don’t think that’s freeing. I find mylself resenting the fact that I will never be first again sometimes(often?!). I love them more than I love myself but at the same time they are sucking the life out me lol.

    • Jayna says:


      Wait until they are all teens and what you mostly get from them is me, me, me, and yet you aren’t getting the warm, sweet cuddles from them adoring mommy anymore. My older sibling says at this age they literally are sucking the life out of her, and she feels most days unappreciated by the two teenagers, except thankfully she still has a tween who is very attached to her. She said she has a new appreciation for our mom when three of us were all in our teens at the same time. She said she misses the days when they were younger and so little and sweet and she got much back in return at least for all she gave, or at least most days. Her kids are great kids, but it’s just a more selfish age now.

    • Mikeyangel says:

      I agree with you for myself personally. I always try to put the kids first, and at times find myself resenting them for it. Not their fault. Guess I need to quit having kids. I am having major medical issues right now and have to prioritize myself a bit more, and it makes me feel like crap. Had to take my two year old out of dance:(

      That being said, my step sister has 3 biological kids and is step mom to 3 more and she is the most selfish, horrifying mother in the world. Who goes to DisneyWorld for a week with her two youngest (who won’t even remember) and leaves her 8 year old with his dad, who was not doing Disney? She sleeps til 11 every day, while the 8 year old gets up for school, gets himself ready, and walks to school? She has a lock on the outside of the 2 year olds room so she can sleep til 11. If one is selfish prior to kids, chances are they will be selfish after.

      • priss says:

        Uh, my 8 year old gets himself up, dressed, packs his lunch, and walks to school every morning, and it’s not because I’m “selfish.” It’s because I want him to be independent and able to take care of himself as much as possible. (I only WISH I got to sleep in, but alas, I have 3 year old twins, too.)

    • Hawkeye says:

      I wish my own mother had gotten some of that selflessness pixie dust sprinkled over her, because she definitely wasn’t thinking about me or my brother when she abandoned us. I know there are a lot of fantastic mothers out there, but let’s not whitewash motherhood as some sort of magic that always transforms people. Good people can be good mothers, and not-good people can be not-good mothers, and vice versa on both counts.

      • L&Mmommy says:

        So sorry to hear that you mom abandoned you and your brother.
        Motherhood is very difficult and some women just cave under the pressure. I, for one NEVER sugarcoat it, when people who don’t have kids ask me I always make sure to give them the pros AND cons and I tell them to make sure that this is what they truly want because it’s cruel to have them and then treat them like crap because they regret it.

  11. Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

    Unpopular opinion alert: Sometimes I think that if a person needs to have ME: The Sequel to cut through the selfishness, that person might just have a ton of ego. I am a child of abandonment, but having thought of it, I truly believe my opinion would stay the same were it not the case. The mothers may rake me over the coals for thinking that because shouldn’t judge mothers, which is fair enough, but we’re still in a place wherein it’s completely reasonable for mothers to judge people who don’t have children. So, what’s selfless about that? I kind of think that that mindset gives the game away.

    I know I’m going to receive a drubbing for saying this.

  12. Cinderella says:

    If I looked just a fraction as good as Olivia after giving birth, I’d be gushing all of the time, too. (Not downplaying her love for little Otis, though).

  13. PJ says:

    “She taught me the importance of speaking truth to power, to being unintimidated by people telling you to give up. So in terms of my own career, her example of perseverance has been very helpful…I hope I can tell stories that somehow benefit the world that Otis will grow up in.”


    I’m sorry but, why is it that it’s always the sh*ttiest actresses out there that are constantly waxing poetic and spewing out this type of garbage about their “craft”??? (See: Alba, Biel, et al) I mean, notice how the Meryl’s, Viola’s and Amy Adams’s of the world don’t have ever have to because their indescribable talent just IS. They must read the embarrassing interviews these ishes give and have a good chuckle! Good Lord…

    • BJ says:

      Actually she is a better then average actress (at least!), who improved a lot lately(and I thought she was good in the first place). Just read some of the other commenters’ remarks (the conversation between Jayna and Ice) about her latest performances a bit higher in this same page.

      She was absolutely fantastic in Drinking Buddies, she was great in Thrid Person earlier this year. Her little cameo role in ‘Her’ was also very powerful. And she stole the show in ‘Butter’. Not to mention how good she was as 13 in House.

  14. Nope says:

    Such a double standard, depending on who the celebrity is and who’s doing the write-up. At least be consistent on the same website.