Actor Patricia Clarkson—an Academy Award nominee for Pieces of April and widely known for roles in productions like Easy A, The Station Agent, and Sharp Objects—went viral for her reasons for never getting married or having children.
In a recent interview on iHeartPodcast's Table for Two with Bruce Bozzi podcast, Clarkson, who referred to herself as a "single, straight Southern woman who never married and never had children," shared her thoughts on why she chose not to become a mother.
She expressed her admiration for her sisters who have children and her joy in being an aunt, but she emphasized that not having children doesn't define a woman's worth:
"I have so many sisters who have beautiful children, and they now have beautiful children. I love being an aunt, I love it more than— probably more than acting, which is odd. They’re on par."
"But I’m telling you, these are gorgeous children, but that doesn’t have to define every woman.”
Reflecting on her own choices, Clarkson mentioned that she considered the possibility of marriage and motherhood at a younger age, even recalling a relationship with an artist when she was 38.
However, she realized that her passion for her career and a desire for commitment to parenthood conflicted.
Having grown up with supportive parents who sacrificed for her, she felt the weight of the responsibility of being a parent and was apprehensive about not being able to give her best.
"I had a window to have a child, but [at] the end of the day I loved working, and I grew up with great parents who sacrificed everything for me. And you have to really be committed to having children."
"You have to be a great parent, and I was afraid I couldn't be."
Clarkson said she did not "want to fail at being a parent," adding:
"I'm fine failing as an actor. I didn't want to fail at being a parent.”
Clarkson shared an anecdote about her mother's support for her decisions, recalling an illuminating conversation she had with her mother:
"My mother said, ‘Patty, I just don't want you to wake up at 50 and be unhappy.’ I woke up at 50 in stilettos and a thong. I’ve had a great sexy-ass life.”
“And it’s not that my whole life is that. I love being an aunt, I love being a sister, I love being a daughter, I love being a great best friend."
I’m a very good friend, I think. It’s not what I wanted to define me because I didn’t want to fail.”
Many applauded Clarkson's candid observations.
The actor had previously mentioned her perspective on marriage and motherhood in a 2013 interview with The Guardian.
At the time, she asserted that her choice was not deliberate but rather a result of not feeling the desire for a permanent romantic relationship or parenthood, noting that she doesn't have either "gene."
Clarkson, who currently stars in the film Monica, has received praise in recent years for her performances in projects like She Said and State of the Union, earning her third Primetime Emmy for her role in the latter.