Allison Janney: ‘I would rather regret not having kids than have kids and regret it’

I will ALWAYS have love for Allison Janney purely because of The West Wing. But her pre- and post-West Wing career has always been pretty amazing too. She works constantly in film and television, and she won an Oscar (and a slew of other major awards) in 2018 for her work in I, Tonya. I was amazed when she turned up in Bombshell for a cameo as Susan Estrich, and she makes guest appearances in TV shows all the time. She’s amazing. Allison is currently winding down the final season of her hit show, Mom. That show has been airing for eight seasons, which is insane. Anyway, that’s why Allison Zoomed into Drew Barrymore’s talk show, to chat about Mom and a bunch of other things, including Allison’s new short, silver hair and how Allison never needed a husband or kids.

While she never made an intentional decision not to get married or have kids, Janney is happy focusing on herself and her career, the Mom actress, 61, said during an appearance on Tuesday’s episode of the Drew Barrymore Show.

“I think if I’d found the right guy at the right time and wanted to have kids, I probably would have with the right partner,” Janney told Barrymore, 46. “Because 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…I really am at this time in my life getting to know who I am and what I want. 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.”

[From People]

It’s not like Allison is unlucky in love or whatever – she’s just spent all of her adult life doing whatever the f–k she wanted. I remember reading about her decades ago, living in a beautiful LA home she bought herself, with a young lover who adored her, and throwing parties for friends every weekend. I think she’s just… fabulous. Willfully fabulous. And this is really good: “I would rather regret not having kids than have kids and regret it.” DAMN.

26th Screen Actors Guild Awards - Arrivals 2020

Photos courtesy of WENN, IG.

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50 Responses to “Allison Janney: ‘I would rather regret not having kids than have kids and regret it’”

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  1. LightPurple says:

    She continues to be AWESOME

    • Astrid says:


    • AlpineWitch says:


      I am going to steal what she says about kids and use it any time someone still asks me why I didn’t have kids (they still ask and I am in perimenopause!)

      • NCDancer says:

        Girl, yes! I love her for saying that. I feel exactly the same way, if I had found the right person at the right time, I might be a parent. But I did not and I am fine with that. Our lives are not less than because of that.

  2. Bettyrose says:

    Word! Let’s normalize being child free when you’re not emotionally cut out to be a parent. I have so much respect for the great parents I know. And part of that respect is acknowledging it’s a challenging job that not everyone can do.

    • Levans says:

      I also think it’s important to frame it as a choice. Plenty of people are cut out for it but choose not to, and that’s okay! You can be good and something and not want to do it….hello me with writing! I have been told I’m a good writer but boy do I hate doing it.

      • AlpineWitch says:

        This happened to me with singing, you can have a great voice but still hate singing.

      • Bettyrose says:

        Levans- ITA! I was speaking about myself and my own mother, but yes it’s a valid choice to not have children even if you have the potential to be a great parent.

        @alpinewitch Can we trade? I love singing but even my otherwise adoring pups will leave the room when I do.

    • tcbc says:

      And even if you are emotionally cut out to be a parent, you can still choose not to have children, for whatever reason, or for no reason at all. There’s nothing wrong with choosing not to procreate.

      • Lily says:

        Agreed. Self awareness and emotional intelligence doesn’t factor into people’s decision-making on whether or not to have kids.

        You could argue the most emotionally immature, by default, don’t have the self awareness required to make such considered choices 😉

    • Mac says:

      There are many people who have kids who aren’t emotionally cut out to be parents.

      • AlpineWitch says:

        By my experience, a lot of my friends aren’t cut out to be parents… unfortunately for the kids!

    • Mustang Sally says:

      I am 57 and never had kids, never regretted it. I love to work, am close to my husband’s children (I married a divorced man with 2 children) and my 2 nieces (and now I am a great aunt!). I earned a 2nd Bachelor’s degree, an MBA and now am studying for the CPA exam. I love my work and career and work in industries that are demanding and help others. I’ve worked in the medical field, addiction & recovery, you name it. Not everyone is cut out to be a mom. My husband’s ex wife remarried and she had 2 more children and is an AMAZING mom – she has that nurturing mom gene. I envy her for her love, compassion and patience. Much like Allison I knew I would regret having kids and lived my life accordingly. Bless all the moms and non-moms out there – you are ALL awesome.

      • Christine says:

        No, YOU are awesome! Having kids is a simple matter of sperm and egg. Your giant brain is far more important and tricky. Men have been applauded, for centuries, for putting their career first. It’s about effing time women get this same chance.

  3. El says:

    As a mom myself, I get so tired of women (much more than men) getting asked about having /not having children. I can both know having children was the right choice for us and understand it isn’t the right choice for everyone. I have an easier time understanding not wanting children or feeling ambivalent about them then not liking dogs. Dogs seem so perfect to me but I understand not everyone feels that way. Why do we bug so many people about having children when they don’t want or can’t have them? End of rant. And yes her reply was great.

  4. Kelly Sunshine says:

    I’m child-free by choice, and I have had so many people tell me that I will regret not having children. I like my life the way it is, and I know I will never regret not being a parent.

    Not everyone is cut out to be parents. I think that some people have kids, just because it’s expected of them, not that they truly want to be parents.

    • Mac says:

      I am child free by choice and, at the age of 50, have never had a single regret. I was very fortunate to have a mother who raised us to make our own choices independent of what society or custom dictates we should do.

      • Dee Kay says:

        I’m in my late 40s, my spouse and I are childfree by choice, and never had one single regret. And we never will. We knew what was right for us and living our lives the way we want to.

  5. SusieQ says:

    Adore her statement! I’m engaged, and people keep asking if my fiancé and I are going to have kids. He already has two nearly grown daughters from his first marriage, and I’m ambivalent about kids.

    It’s such an intrusive question. And because I’m 35, these same people also add that I’m running out of time. It’s just unbelievably rude.

    • schmootc says:

      So annoying! I also used to hate the, “Oh, you’ll change your mind.” Please, just shut up. Sure, some people do change their minds, but don’t go patronizing me like that! Like I don’t know what I want. I also felt like there was an element of parents wanting others to be parents to validate their own choices. Nope.

    • Bettyrose says:

      SusieQ About 5 years ago I still looked like I was in my 30s and so I guess young enough for people to think my life was their business… a woman I’d just met asked if I had children. I said no I didn’t. She then asks if my partner has kids. Which was so rude after I just said I didn’t. If my partner had kids I would have said something like “I don’t but my partner’s kid spends weekends with us.” So it’s like she was asking specifically if my partner has a family I’m not a part of.

    • Agreatreckoning says:

      ***It’s such an intrusive question. And because I’m 35, these same people also add that I’m running out of time. It’s just unbelievably rude.***

      I’m married with an adult daughter and it always irritates me/us when people ask those questions and add the time bs too.

      I once responded on her behalf, “Her ovaries appreciate your concern.”.

      Allison Janney gave the gift of a great response.

  6. square_bologna says:

    I so agree with Allison Janney, it’s better to have a few regrets without children than to have them and make a mess of their upbringing. I’m very selfish with my attention and must have hours of solitude every day in order to be happy and healthy; I would have been a disaster as a mother. The world has enough bad and even mediocre parents already.

  7. Case says:

    I really love stories like this. As someone who has been habitually single most of her 20s — I really love my life! I have a great job and a nice home I bought myself. I have hobbies and friends and love to travel. If I met someone who would really add something special to my life romantically, I’d welcome that. And if I felt like having a child with that person would be fulfilling, I’d welcome that too. But right now, those things aren’t a priority. I don’t feel there’s a single thing missing from my life.

  8. lucy2 says:

    I always thought she was married – I kind of love her even more that she’s like “Nah, just doing whatever I want!”
    I relate a lot to what she said. If I had found someone and gotten married, I bet I would have ended up with kids, but I’ve never, ever had the urge. I expected to regret it, but I honestly haven’t so far, especially in the current world.

  9. Lizzie says:

    That is something it’s not all right to ask about. What a comment to make, ‘you’ll regret it if you don’t’ is so rude.

  10. S808 says:


  11. Lily says:

    She’s an inspiration. Hilarious. Smart. And her silver pixie cut is amazing.

    Seth Rogen and wife said the same thing about their choice not to have kids, adding they might only regret not having kids in the last 10 minutes of their life, but they certainly don’t (and won’t) regret being kid free the rest of the time.

    ‘You don’t need to have kids in order to be fulfilled in life’ needs to be normalised and shouted from the rooftops.

  12. Boogaloo Shrimp says:

    She has a point. Motherhood is not for everyone.

  13. Lady Keller says:

    I love my kids, but damn is it hard some times. I respect anyone that chooses not to have kids. Quite frankly a lot of parents out there should have taken that route. I wouldn’t change a thing, but I will admit that I am jealous of child free women. I’d love to go hiking for a few hours, or pull my paintbrushes out of storage and create something, or just stay up late without having to worry about getting up early the next morning.

  14. Abbess Tansy says:

    Wow, what she said really resonated with me. It’s exactly how I feel. But I wasn’t in an emotional position to have kids and didn’t want to put them through my issues so I didn’t have kids.

  15. Beth says:

    I love her so much! People telling woman or couples who decide not to have kids that they’ll regret it is one of the reasons I started telling nosy people I’m sterile even though I’m not-that seems to be the only time they realize they overstepped a personal boundary. People who demand children of others tend to have a very narrow view of what a family is and that bothers me-like my nieces and nephews can’t mean as much and I’m going to panic on my death bed because I didn’t procreate. Even if I do, that’s my own worry, no one else’s.

  16. Gippy says:

    I always wanted to be a mom. I loved working when I did, then was smacked in the face with infertility. We went into what we decided was our last round of IVF (shoutout to Barbados Fertility Centre if anyone is looking for a beachier & cheaper option). It was a dark time for me and I was trying to imagine life without kids. I loved hearing about all the awesome women who didn’t have children by choice or otherwise. Since we wanted children we’re fortunate our last round brought us twins. Now I stay home with two 16month toddler, and they’re nuts. I love it, but even after all it took to get them here I still miss my moments of me time occasionally. I have friends who are child free after infertility and ones who made the choice of their own accord, and they are all f*cking fabulous and do a lot more fun sh*t than we do lol. Being a mother or not, doesn’t define you as person.

  17. Margot says:

    Yes! We need more of this line of thinking!

  18. emu says:

    Wow. good for her. Love that line of thought. I am waffling myself.

  19. Faye G says:

    She is awesome and I love hearing stories about strong, independent women who don’t take crap from anyone! The amount of intrusion we single/CF women deal with about our personal reproductive business is astounding. I love her line and I’m going to use it next time.

  20. Mattie says:

    Weird!! Just had this conversation yesterday about my choice to not have kids.
    While I do love kids, I’m just too selfish to be a mother. I truly don’t regret my choices not to have them.

    She has that It Factor that draws you into whatever part she is playing

  21. laura-j says:

    That’s exactly how I feel. Wasn’t with the right person who would be a good co-parent when I was reproductive age, decided I didn’t want to do it alone, and never looked back. Now that I’m 50 I’m with someone who would be a great dad, but we both agree we don’t want kids and are happy as we are. (He has the vascetomy to back that up!)

  22. Amando says:

    I’m child free by choice as well. It will be nice if the day came when we don’t have to explain ourselves though.

  23. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    I really hate the “you’ll regret it” part. What would I regret? Not having children around the house? IF I ever felt that way, I could foster children or find other ways to have kids in my life. But I think they mean not having my own biological children, which says a lot about THEM and how they (wrongly) think only biological children count.

  24. TheOriginalMia says:

    Just had my sister’s mother accuse me of wanting to steal her child (my sister). Sigh… If I wanted a kid, I could get one. At 50, I don’t have to explain my reasons for not procreating. It’s no one’s business, but my own.

    Allison is so cool. Saw her on a Property Brothers show and she’s a great aunty to her manager’s kids.

  25. Jaded says:

    I’m 68, never married, never had or wanted kids. When I was in my early forties I had to have a total hysterectomy and I was living with a fellow then. I can’t tell you the number of times we got the “hey when are you guys going to have kids you’re not getting any younger” crap from the happy breeder couples. When I told them I COULDN’T have kids because of the hyster, but that I never wanted them anyway, you could hear a pin drop. People really can be so thoughtless and insensitive sometimes.

  26. Meime says:

    My 3 best friends are child free by choice. Two of them are happily single (while the other is happily married.) They are all thriving and living very fulfilling lives. I happen to be married with one child, but I didn’t feel those things were necessary either; I just happen to meet someone I really felt I could spend a life with and build a small family with. And as a mom that doesn’t seem to vibe with other many other moms, I actually love that my 3 best friends aren’t moms! I love my family and would never give them up, but this is not the only way to live a life of joy, love, and achievement.

  27. Christine says:

    I love her so much. More women need to say this out loud, and own it. It’s utter [insert four letter word here], that once you are a certain age, as a woman, every single person on the planet feels the urge to ask when you will have kids.

  28. Likeyoucare says:

    I can’t have kids, the first 4 years of my marriege is battling fertility treatment it caused strain in my marriage.
    After the 8th iui, my husband said maybe we were not mean to have kids. So, now we agree to stop taking any treatment and just focus on ourselves and plan to travel the world.
    We are happy but unfortunately, this is the second year we couldnt travel cause of the pandemic.

  29. Monica says:

    I am Alison. I didn’t intend to never marry or have kids. I just never found someone I wanted to have that life with. Now I know that’s for the better. I’m an artist, and as I’ve leaned into that, I see how rightfully “selfish” an occupation it is. I’ve often said, if I had had kids, I would have loved them to pieces, they would have added to my life, but they would have had many times in their growing up years wondering why Mom is so unhappy.

  30. Hotsauceinmybag says:

    I love this. Makes me so happy that we are normalizing women deciding whether they want to and are ready to have children. I know I do not want children. I have never envisioned myself being a parent and I don’t think I’d be a good one at that. I like children but I don’t love them and my ideal life just isn’t a home filled with children for years on end. In addition to that, I was sexually assaulted by a family member as a child and I’m still dealing with that. I have trust issues and I can see those issues causing me to spiral if I have children.

    I’m turning 30 and my friends who are partnered/married have babies on the brain. A few months ago I was with two friends and they kept saying “We think you’d be an amazing mom! Maybe when you find the right person, you’ll change your mind.” That really annoyed me. I told them “You know, people that know that they DO want children are never told ‘you’ll change your mind.’ So why do you think that people who know that they DO NOT want children will change their mind?” That helped something click for them and they now don’t make those comments.

    Maybe I will change my mind. But I don’t see that happening. I value my free time, my freedom and my money. I’m hoping to find a partner that doesn’t want children but lots and lots of dogs (and maybe a cat or two 🙂

    P.S. I do love infants! Absolutely love them! I love holding them and soothing them and making them giggle. I don’t even mind changing a pooey diaper every now and then. But I know they don’t stay like that forever lol

  31. Anna says:

    Wow, she is so gorgeous with that grey pixie cut! Absolutely stunning!