Hilary Duff says she was ‘judged’ for having a baby, ‘pigeonholed’ as a mom

Hilary Duff Grabs Iced Tea With Son Luca
Hilary Duff was a cohost on The Talk Thursday when they brought up Jennifer Aniston’s longstandingpoint that she shouldn’t be judged for not having children. The Talk mentioned Aniston’s essay for The Huffington Post, which came out in July, and her Marie Claire interview last month, where she said she shouldn’t be “whittled down to a sad childless human.” Aniston was asked again about this on a recent British talkshow, Lorraine, and she repeated her point that tabloids are unfair to women and that “we’re reduced down, if we don’t have a baby or a white picket fence or a husband then we’re useless.” Aisha Tyler posed the question to The Talk pane “have you ever been judged through a narrow lens?” and that’s when Duff said that she gets judged for being a mom.

“I see her point and she is such beautiful role model, and a smart woman to have the courage to say these things in Hollywood. But like I feel like I was judged for having a baby and now, I’m pigeonholed for being like a ‘mom,’ but then lots of women in the industry that don’t have a child yet are judged for like not having a child.

“It’s crazy that women we are the most in demand and the most desirable but the most judged and the hardest on one another. So much scrutiny. No one cares about men’s personal lives as much as women.”

Aisha Taylor: “No one says to like a 45 year-old man ‘You don’t have kids yet, oh so sad.’”

[From The Talk via People]

She was responding to a specific question so it wasn’t as bad as I initially assumed. Duff’s career now is all about pap walks and social media and trying to drum up interest in her personal life. Don’t get me wrong she seems harmless and superficially “nice,” albeit clueless, I just haven’t read one article about how she had kids too young or which reduces her to being a “mom.” Aniston played into the “childless” narrative by talking about it post-split with Pitt, but it was very much real and the tabloids harped on it. Duff may feel judged and that’s real to her, but she’s not dealing with anything like what Aniston went through.

Hilary Duff & Luca Comrie Out And About In LA

Hilary Duff Grabs Iced Tea With Son Luca

Hilary Duff and Son Lucca Go To Dinner

Photos credit: FameFlynet

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39 Responses to “Hilary Duff says she was ‘judged’ for having a baby, ‘pigeonholed’ as a mom”

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  1. Nemera77 says:


    she is pigeeonholed for having a baby… Aniston pigeonholed for not.. Jennifer played the “I will have a baby for years”.. now that she hasn’t she wants to be the spokesperson for “everyone picked at me for not having a kid”..

    all of it is Tabloid mess. And why do either of them care. They are still working and making money.

  2. OTHER RENEE says:

    I couldn’t like get past the number of times she said “like.”

  3. Nicole says:

    Yea I don’t remember all the judgement. Jamie Lynn Spears was judged…you were not

    • jwoolman says:

      Yes, that was a peculiar comment about being judged for being a mom. She wasn’t a young teenager, she was in her twenties. Perfectly normal to have a kiddo at that age. Maybe she was just trying to get in on the being judged thing and couldn’t really think of anything…. or maybe somebody was judgy once because they thought she was a teen mom since she looks younger than she is (my mother had that problem). That’s really a different issue if so.

      But Hilary has never been deep. I remember when she was on Lizzie Maguire, she always seemed so out of touch when doing things with other kids in the Disney stable. The other kids were just at a higher level, both professionally and personally. Even when older, she always came across as nice enough but shallow in interviews, and not really interested in improving as an actor or learning from the very good adult actors around her. She liked being famous and having fans. The one really passionate about acting was her older sister, who had the skills Hilary lacked but didn’t have the look that Hilary had. I always though Hilary could make a good model, but she was never going to be much of an actor or a singer. She was even getting worse as she got older. I tried to watch her in a TV movie when she was in her early twenties and it was too awful to watch, had to switch the channel. She and her sister starred in another movie, Material Girls, and her sister was very obviously much more skilled as an actor even though Hilary should have fit the role pretty well (being rich since birth and very interested in material things herself).

  4. Sixer says:

    I agree that somehow it’s always a woman’s fault: too pushy, not pushy enough, out at work, not working, selfishly having too many children, selfishly having none.

    But y’know. Celebrities reduce it all to their own narcissism, whether they’re women or not. So there’s that, too.

  5. Lucy2 says:

    I don’t really see how she was judged for that, but if she feels that way, that’s unfortunate.

  6. giulia says:

    “Reduced down”

  7. Bejkie says:

    What was she trying to say with ‘the most in demand and the most desirable’ part? I’m confused…. Is she talking just about actresses? Plus I don’t really believe she’s pigeonholed as a mum. I forgot she had a kid. Actually to be honest, I forgot she existed at all.

    • AG-UK says:

      Exactly what has she been doing? I don’t even know what she did in the first place I have lived over here too long I am sure it’s a show but didn’t come on here.

      • Alix says:

        Her career isn’t what it once was, and rather than acknowledge that she’s no longer a big draw, she’s blaming motherhood. Honey, Meryl Streep had four kids and still managed to find work, so shut yer pie hole.

      • Lorelai says:

        Her show is actually pretty popular – it just started its 4th (I think?) season and I know tons of people who watch it. I’m not really sure what she’s complaining about…

  8. Melody says:

    Oh honey, you’re Heigl-ing the only career brand revenue stream you have left…

  9. BendyWindy says:

    I’m sure my opinion will be unpopular, but I agree with her. She got a LOT of judgement, maybe not from industry types (I have no idea), but on sites just such as this one for having a child and getting married “young.” And she was really only young by Hollywood standards. People were talking about how she married Mike Comrie and “locked him down” quickly and all sorts of other crap.

    Nearly every article written about her on this site is about how she’s managed to stay famous for nothing and walking around town with her kid and being a Hollywood mom. No mention of the fact that she is still acting and putting out music.

    I’m not even a fan, but I certainly agree with her that post-baby, she took a break and when she came back, nobody wanted to take her seriously. I find that silly because by all accounts she’s a hard worker and she was really popular at one time. I know that taking a break can hurt your career, but all the reasons people mentioned were about how she took time off to have a baby. As if that’s…wrong.

    • Jenn4037 says:

      Thank you for eloquently stating what I couldn’t.

    • jwoolman says:

      She was popular as a young teenager because the Disney casting directors liked the way she dressed, they thought it fit the character (Lizzie Maguire). She was about 13 at the time. Kids liked the character and they really aren’t very discerning about talent. Hilary was the weakest actor on the show by far. The other kids even in small roles acted circles around her, and the adults were great. But she was good in the first season because she was more directable and the character was scripted as close enough to her in real life (as is usually done with very young actors). Hilary actually did less well with the role as time went on, I suspect a change in director and second season syndrome when the writers run out of good ideas (tell-tale sign was famous people showing up playing themselves). I think her mom started pushing the people involved with the show, pushing her daughter to the forefront and pushing away the other two kids in the original trio more into the background. By then they couldn’t recast. The other girl actually quit because of Hilary’s mom, apparently. It wasn’t so noticeable because they scheduled episodes out of order timewise.

      At the end of the series, Hilary’s mom (who had always wanted to be an actress or entertainer herself) became the executive producer of a series of fairly dull movies starring Hilary, and they also sent her off on a singing tour which I thought was cringeworthy (she’s a very weak singer without serious enhancement) and very unfair to her – she was not good at it at all and looked very tired and stressed. The kids loved her anyway because blonde and tv …. Barbie doll come to life, I guess. But that was the period that Hilary became became very uncharacteristically thin and by the time she did the sequel to Cheaper by the Dozen, she looked scarily gaunt. Fortunately she seems to have recovered.

      I always thought she would be a lot happier as a mother, the type who would spend a lot of time with the child or children – it really is a much more important job and would bring her more joy and fulfillment than trying to be an actress and singer, two roles she was never that well suited for. Her mother had just brought her along while her older sister was trying to get into show business. It was never her own true passion.

      • Lex says:

        Hmm I think you’re being a little harsh.
        No one on Lizzie could act, especially the parents.
        She improved somewhat – her teen movies were fine (nothing stellar) and she carved out a nice singing career for herself. She was no better nor worse than any other pop stars. If you are a serious singer, you don’t become a pop star. She fit the market and she had many fans. Her latest album was actually quite nice – more mature but also quite catchy.

        Yeah she had a rough patch in there, weight wise, but seems to have overcome it. She exercises a lot now and seems strong and healthy. It’s tough being a child actor – tougher than we all know.

        Hilary is, at least, more talented than her older sister (who brings nothing to the table). Hilary was in Casper meets Wendy, shall we not forget?!?!?

        I am actually interested in watching Younger so i’ll give it a go. I am not expecting an award winning performance but if she inhabits the character well enough, that’s all that is needed.

      • Kkkkatie says:

        My daughter IDOLIZED Hilary and she was the first concert I took my daughter to see!! (a HUGE surprise to her I weaseled meet and greet tickets and she still has the pic of her and Hilary on her wall, she’ll be 22 in May)
        Hilarys show was AWESOME! I made my way close to the stage to watch for awhile because I believed she was singing live and that proved it! She is actually a pretty good singer, and she got better with every album! Ever heard “Dignity”?

  10. Brandi says:

    I wouldn’t say her career is only pap walks. She is on a current television show called Younger. I have never watched it as the premise simply doesn’t appeal to me but she is working.

  11. GreenieWeenie says:

    I bet she just got a lot of judgment from people around her, too. Your agent, your whatever….people saying “now is not the time to have a baby.”

    I definitely feel like there’s a lot of interest in your personal life as a woman when you don’t want that interest. Then, there’s absolutely ZERO interest in your personal life when you need it. Or you’re not allowed to claim it! For example, I was the only person in my cohort to finish my PhD on time and do very well (only one other person finished but has a year of rewrites). I had a baby at the start of my program and I feel like the fact that I had a baby, was a primary caregiver, and did better than everyone else is a demonstration of exceptional time management, etc….but everyone says DO NOT MENTION a baby in your cover letters. Why not?! Because I had no childcare, I couldn’t attend conferences or network or even live on campus like all the other students did. I can’t explain that without mentioning a baby so I just look bad. It’s all bullsh*t. Women are judged at every step of the game.

    • jwoolman says:

      Actually, those who have a clue know how difficult it is to juggle infants and small children with graduate-level academic work – and would be quite impressed that you were able to swing it. It would show focus, determination, organizational skills, and multitasking ability to the max. Men often just rely on their wives to be in charge of home and kids, so their career trajectory is relatively unaltered unless they decide to be equal partners. But women typically do all the tasks for home, kids, and professional/academic activity.

      Would have wiped me out (and pretty much did my mother, low energy is genetic…). I have a hard enough time dealing with a cat or two. This is why when feasible, women will sometimes take a hiatus from professional work or drop to part-time when the children are very young. A friend who is a Ph.D. chemist did that. Her husband was a lawyer- just starting out and not rich by any means, but he could make enough money for them to be comfortable if they were frugal. She actually got further training eventually so she could work with chemical patent law.

  12. Erinn says:

    What the hell? I loved Lizze McGuire as a kid. I liked her for a while when she tried the whole music thing. But this girl is so out there.

    Where was she being judged for having a kid? Honestly – I have not read a single thing where she was judged for this. If anything – she’s been pigeonholed as a Disney kid.

    At the same time though – she’s really not that talented. She was a cute kid, but beyond that, she hasn’t really found anything that sticks. She tried hard to be sexy for a bit, and she couldn’t really pull it off that well. Her music was average at best. Her acting really isn’t great. She couldn’t transition well from being a beloved tween character to an adult. The people that loved Lizzie moved on, and she never really caught up with other actresses in her age range. She didn’t have the skills to be a standout.

    She was so big as a Disney star – and I think she assumed she’d stay that way. But nobody cared all that much about ol’ Lizzie McGuire once they grew up. She never proved her acting (or singing) chops, she’s gotten some small – medium level parts on shows – mostly guest staring roles. She has a show now, I guess. But I’ve never seen it. So what’s left to talk about? She married a famous hockey player who came from a very rich family – that was news worthy in a gossip sense. She had a baby – people eat it up when their old TV favorites start a family. Her divorce became public knowledge. I mean, sure. It probably sucks to feel like you’re stuck in one spot – but as awful as it is, at least she’s still being talked about.

  13. msw says:

    This trick shopped her baby pictures and pap shots EVERYWHERE and now she is complaining about the image? STFU.

  14. Hfsni says:

    What hurt aniston was when she was married to brad and he kept giving interviews on how he wanted kids and was trying to persuade her to have them…..then he leaves her for a woman who had 6 or 8 kids with him…and not just that but he also wanted kids so bad he adopted a bunch….so it puts out the narrative that if u want to keep a man u need to have kids…but that would be so messed up if a woman who doesnt want kids would have them for a guy…shell never love the kids and the kids will know it.

    • jwoolman says:

      Brad talked about wanting kids, but never said he offered to be the primary caregiver or at least co-equal caregiver. I can understand why Aniston was hesitant. He wanted her to take the risks of pregnancy and then also try to juggle her acting career with being the primary caregiver. Maybe she didn’t want to just let nannies raise them and maybe she didn’t feel she was enough of a superwoman to handle it all and felt Brad wouldn’t be much help. Women in Hollywood usually have a much shorter useful life than men, so she would be losing prime career time while his best roles were likely to come when he was older.

  15. Kate says:

    She is just not that talented and at this point, being a mom is the most successful part of her brand.

    • Mltpsych says:

      She actually is on a show called Younger on TV Land that is really good. She plays a millennial who heads a Millenial imprint at a publishing house and she is actually pretty good in it. The show has become fairly popular.

      • naomipaige says:

        I saw an episode, and really wasn’t impressed with her. I guess she’s not everyone’s cup of tea!

  16. Tanakasan says:

    I didn’t even know she had a child.

    Nice to see she’s getting work. For years I feel like the only place I’ve seen her is pap shots of her walking down the street with coffee in her hand.

  17. JenB says:

    I’ve always found Hilary to be sweet. Admittedly, I used to watch Lizzie Maguire and was not a tween and the time. I don’t recall her specifically being reduced to just a mom but I think there is an element of truth to what she says. Women get judged for everything. Often most harshly by other women.
    You don’t have kids: How selfish of you? You’re missing out on the greatest joy life has to offer.
    You have kids: You get grouped into “the minivan majority” and other subtle insults. How selfish of you to have children considering overpopulation and the stress on the environment, etc.
    I think the lion’s share of the ridiculous judgement is still give to women who are child-free but moms take some shade too.

  18. DuckGoose says:

    I actually can relate to this feeling. I definitely felt that people at work treated me differently after I had kids, in terms of professional opportunities as well as social inclusion. Although very rarely I felt it coming from men, it was almost always from other women!!! “Oh you must feel so sad not being with your kids since you’re at work! Do you miss them?” “We’re all going out for drinks, but you probably want to go home to your kids, right?” I’ve asked my husband–has anyone EVER said anything like that to you at work?! I sometimes think people are trying to awkwardly relate and assume I’m living the cliche of the sad working mom who misses her kids. Stop it people!

  19. perplexed says:

    I thought more people judged her for her veneers.

    Maybe she feel her acting opportunities diminished once she had a kid. But then again she wasn’t really a great actress to begin with. And acting is highly competitive.

  20. Beau Kitty says:

    Well she IS a mom. But so are other great actors who do other things. She’s not nearly experienced the foolishness Aniston has (and does), and her talent as an actor isn’t about that anyway. If anything she’s been pigeonholed as a Disney child star as Erinn pointed out. She grew up, but really never made that cross over into Holloywood away from the Disney tree. Nothing to do with motherhood, only to do with her branding and the roles she’s taken on.

  21. naomipaige says:

    Oh, boo hoo! Get over yourself!!

  22. kimbers says:

    The fact is in a world that idolizes who’s loudest, shinest and more pretty Hilary is just a mom. She doesnt have that “it” factor that makes millions of ppl want to keep up with her life. She’s a serious person and that’s okay. She’s trying to put a square into circle.

    Hailey chick singer girl from pitch perfect 2 is the same way. Talented and pretty, but her vibe is fuddy duddy and she’s trying sooooo hard to be trendy. Classic beauties should never do that. Jmo