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Celebrity Couples Taking a Pass on Parenthood

Hollywood is in the middle of a baby boom these days, with famous new moms and dads constantly making headlines. But there are some celebrity couples, from Oprah and Stedman to Ellen and Portia, who've decided to go childfree.

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Billionaire Oprah Winfrey may not have raised any children of her own, but she’s certainly made a difference in the lives of countless kids thanks to her generous philanthropy. Still, Winfrey (who suffered sexual abuse as a child and, at age 14, gave birth to a baby who died a few days later) has been in a relationship with businessman Stedman Graham since 1986 and did consider adopting children during her multiple visits to Africa over the years. Ultimately, she decided she couldn’t dedicate the time to both caring for children and running a media empire. "I could not... have had this life and lived it with the level of intensity that is required to do this show the way it's done," Winfrey, 58, told Barbara Walters in December 2010. "I'd be one of those people that the kid's coming and saying, 'Mom, you've neglected me.'... So I have no regrets about that. I have none ... not one regret about not having children because I believe that ... it is the way it's supposed to be."

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Food Network star, cookbook author, and all-around media maven Rachael Ray has been married to attorney and musician John Cusimano since 2003, but don’t expect the pitter patter of little feet to be gracing their household … ever. “I have an enormous amount of hours that have to be dedicated to work,” Ray, 43, said on “Nightline” in 2009. “For me personally, I would need more time to feel like I’d be a good mom to my own child. I feel like a borderline good mom to my dog. So I can’t imagine if it was a human baby. I feel like it would be unfair, not only to the child but to the people I work with.” The interviewer, Cynthia McFadden, caught some flack for pressing Ray on the issue by asking, “Do you think you’re missing something?” (Critics claimed she wouldn’t have asked a man the same question.) “I don’t feel like I am. I really don’t,” Ray responded.

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After tying the knot in 2008, comedian and talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, 54, and her wife, 39-year-old actress Portia de Rossi, have been constantly asked if they’re going to have children. "We thought about it. We love to be around children after they've been fed and bathed. But we ultimately decided that we don't want children of our own. There is far too much glass in our house,” DeGeneres wrote in her latest book Seriously...I'm Kidding, released in October. Though false rumors are often swirling about de Rossi being pregnant, the actress sees the coverage as a good thing. “I feel like we kind of get all the same stuff that any heterosexual couple would get in the public eye,” she told The Los Angeles Times in 2009. “And that is great, that is wonderful – including the baby bump.”

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Helen Mirren, 66 – who’s been in a relationship with director husband Taylor Hackford for more than 25 years – admits she simply never wanted the commitment that came with raising little ones. “I always did – and still do – value my freedom too highly. There were men in my life with whom I would like to have had children – this lovely little thing as a memory of this or that relationship. But children grow up and become emotional attachments,” she told the UK-based Saga magazine last year. “They don’t want to see you and they behave like I behaved as a teenager. So no thank you, I just want to be me. There is something wonderful about knowing I can do what I choose, work commitments notwithstanding, without encumbrance.” She clearly had no issue with being a stepmother, however, since Hackford has two children from previous marriages.

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Comedic actor Ricky Gervais and author Jane Fallon clearly have no issue with monogamy since the two have been together for a whopping 30 years. But early into their relationship, they decided to pass on parenthood. "We never wanted to be parents, with all that entails: the loss of freedom, total dependency,” Gervais told the UK’s Red magazine in 2009. But, in true Gervais style, he’s also joked about the topic: "I didn't have a work ethic for such a long time. Imagine if I had a child like me? I didn't start earning until I was 36."

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“Mad Men” hunk Jon Hamm and his girlfriend, “Kissing Jessica Stein” actress Jennifer Westfeldt, have been together nearly 15 years, but this is one couple that doesn’t quite sound like they’ve completely made up their minds about procreating. “I have a lot of friends with kids and a lot of family members with kids,” Hamm told E! in February. “I'm like a six-time uncle. I have enough kids in my life.” But talk to his better half, and the answer seems a bit different. “We’re certainly not opposed,” Westfelt told Vulture.com in September after being asked if the couple wants children. “Our lives have been so crazy the past few years. We’ve been working on separate coasts a lot. I was doing a play; Jon was doing ‘Mad Men.’ I think you have to be ready to be in one place if you’re going to embark on that. We’ll see what the future brings.” Ironically (or not) Jennifer and Jon are currently starring in the comedy “Friends With Kids” as new parents. Will life imitate art?

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Though late-night legend Jay Leno and his wife, women’s rights advocate Mavis Leno, never talked publicly about whether they wanted children or not, considering they’ve been married more than 30 years and are both now in their 60s, we’re guessing they’re not going to become parents at this point. But never say never!

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ONTD, do you want kids?
Tags: ellen degeneres, food network / cooking show stars, helen mirren, jon hamm, oprah, ricky gervais
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