Why Is Jennifer Aniston Still Being Made To Apologise For Not Having Children?

The 52-year-old has opened up about scrutiny she's faced her entire career for not becoming a mother.

Jennifer Aniston

by Beth Ashley |
Published on

Jennifer Aniston is one of the most iconic actresses to ever grace our screens. From her famous role in Friends to her incredible work on The Morning Show alongside Reese Witherspoon, Aniston has served us with some of the most brilliant film and television imaginable. But despite all her talent, all anyone can seem to ask her about is why she didn’t have children.

Tabloids and fans alike have long speculated over why Aniston never had children of her own, and in a recent interview she spoke out on the impact the incessant questions and assumptions have had on her. Aniston spoke to The Hollywood reporter about the unfair scrutiny she’s received for not having kids, with fans assuming she chose a career over her children, and why that (not even necessarily true) assumption has resulted in criticism.

'I used to take it all very personally — the pregnancy rumours and the whole "Oh, she chose career over kids" assumption,’ Jennifer told The Hollywood Reporter. 'This continually is said about me: that I was so career-driven and focused on myself; that I don’t want to be a mother, and how selfish that is.’

The 52-year-old actor said she has accepted that ‘people certainly project onto you,’ but her job was to ‘show you what I’m capable of, and you decide if you want to subscribe’.

You have no clue what’s going on with me personally or medically.

‘You have no clue what’s going on with me personally, medically, why I can’t … can I have kids?’ They don’t know anything.’ Aniston said, adding that the rampant speculation has been ‘hurtful’ and ‘just nasty’.

When eight million couples and 186 million individuals are suffering from some sort of issue with fertility, according to the World Health Organisation, Aniston is right that assumptions around women not having children are hurtful.

It’s ridiculous and potentially emotionally damaging to presume all women are capable of naturally having a child, never mind constantly sharing assumptions that a woman’s lack of children is a choice.

This isn’t the first time Aniston has felt the need to address her not becoming a mother. In fact, this subject seems to come up in most of her interviews. Aniston has had to put up with tabloids comparing her marriage to Justin Theroux to that of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

When Brad Pitt was with Aniston, they publicly spoke about a desire to have children after Friends finished, but the two divorced and he went on to have six children with Jolie. Since then, the world has speculated over Aniston’s heartbreak and questioned why she didn’t continue with her plan to start a family.

Aniston has even been unfairly compared to her Friends co-stars and close friends who do have children, Lisa Kudrow and Courtney Cox, as though all women in the same social circle are expected to follow the same paths. Yet, we never seem to hear about her male co-stars, or any male actors for that matter, on whether or not they are desperate have kids. It’s not controversial for men to sidestep the path of becoming fathers, but women can’t escape their connection to motherhood, whether they want to be a part of it or not.

No matter how much we progress in terms of feminism, we can never seem to let go of the idea that women are supposed to be mothers.

Whether Aniston did choose to focus on her career instead of motherhood, or a medical issue is stopping her from having children, it’s none of our business. And now that she’s 52-years-old (when it would be more difficult to naturally have a child) and she’s been speaking on this issue for years, it’s time to let go of any expectations. They shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

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