There is no universal definition of “family” — some people have multiple children while others have just one — and that’s also true for celebrities, including those who buck societal pressure by not providing a sibling for their child. Maybe some went through a divorce, experienced infertility, prioritized their career over having more children, experienced difficult pregnancies they’d rather not re-live, or simply didn’t feel the desire to expand their brood. And any and all reasons are perfectly valid.
And despite the assumptions that only children are over-indulged or socially awkward, research shows that single kids are not more “narcissistic” than those with siblings, many have strong relationships with their parents, and they may even be more social than their peers with siblings. Take that, stereotypes!
The following celebrities carved their own family paths — Salma Hayek is grateful that she gave birth to daughter Valentina in her 40s. “I feel that I’ve done enough things in life where I can appreciate the time I spend with her as my No. 1 priority and not feel I’m missing out on something…I feel I’m a lot more patient,” she once told People. “I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world.” While Friends star Lisa Kudrow has said that her son is grateful to not share her attention. “[He] made it clear from the moment he could speak that he didn’t want a brother or sister… [and] it just worked out that way anyway — but to this day, he’ll say, ‘Thank you,’” she said in 2017.
Read for more un-apologetic mothers who decided they were “one and done.”
A version of this story was originally published in April 2020.
Jordin Sparks has one child with her husband Dana Isaiah Thomas. Their son — Dana Isaiah Thomas Jr. — was born in May 2018. A little over two years later, Sparks told Us Weekly that she and her husband have no plans to expand their family.
“Yeah, I’m good with one. We’re both good,” the singer said. “I can’t say what’s going to happen in the future, but I’m, like, very sure that it’s still gonna stay just one.”
She later told the publication that her son is “more than enough” and an “amazing” child.
Regina King had one son, Ian Alexander Jr., who tragically died by suicide in Jan. 2022 just two days after his 26th birthday. King shared a moving tribute one year later.
“As we still process his physical absence, we celebrate his presence,” the actor wrote. “We are all in different places on the planet … so is Ian. His spirit is the thread that connects us. I see you in everything I breathe. My absolute favorite thing about myself is being …. Regina the mother of Ian the GodKing. Continue to shine bright, my guiding light.”
Actor Jacqueline Pinol is mom to her son Atlas (born in 2020) who she shares with her husband Jonny Blu. From the time Atlas was 10 weeks old, she has been vocal about the ever-present feeling of mom guilt.
“I feel guilty, as a new mom, taking too much alone time,” she said at PEOPLE’s Mom Talk. “Even getting my nails done … it’s a luxury now…There’s a part of me that wants to [take time at a spa] so bad, but then I’m like, ‘I gotta go home — I gotta pump, I gotta breastfeed, I gotta change his diaper.’”
In 2018 and at age 43, Eva Longoria gave birth to son Santiago Enrique Bastón, whom she shares with husband José Bastón, an event she said was perfect timing. “He was meant to be with me at this stage,” Longoria told Parents Latina. “I’m more patient, and I don’t work as much even though it doesn’t seem that way!”
Glenn Close, Annie Starke
Glenn Close’s only daughter Annie Starke (born in 1988) followed in her mother’s acting footsteps, despite her “profoundly normal childhood,” she told People in 2018. “I’m a little boring. I was a barefoot kid, outdoorsy, never had siblings, but I had cats and dogs, and really surrounded by nature. I credit my parents for keeping me grounded and keeping it normal. I still have my oldest friends since high school. It was a wonderful place to grow up.”
Amy Duggar King
“A women’s body is not a factory!!” Duggar King wrote on Instagram in response to being trolled for only having one child, son Braxton in 2019— despite the rest of the Duggars, who famously have a lot of kids. “I am an only child, and I think I grew up just fine. So, cheers to the mamas who decide to have one child!”
Supermodel Tyra Banks’ son York Banks Asla was born via surrogate in 2016. She told ScaryMommy, “I’m one and done but not by choice,” explaining that her road to parenthood was supremely rocky. “Mine wasn’t just strictly infertility,” she noted of her struggles: “It was also having trouble holding the baby inside of me. After I got past that and then was trying to do the whole surrogacy thing. It was really, really hard. I went through that privately — I didn’t even tell all of my family, but my mom knew. But I think that’s about it. A couple of friends knew what I was going through. And I just wanted to keep that private until my son was born and to be transparent about that. I feel very fortunate that I was able to have my son after many, many, many rounds of IVF.”
Janet Jackson welcomed her son Eissa in 2017 — at the age of 50, no less. The now-single mom admitted to Stellar that “it is hard being a working mother. I don’t have a nanny. I do it all myself. If my mother did it with nine children, there’s no reason I can’t. Of course, when I’m working someone watches him, but it’s my baby and me. It’s not easy at times, but my life has changed. Obviously my baby comes first.”
Dawson’s Creek alum Katie Holmes gave birth to daughter Suri Cruise in 2006 and has been forthright about the struggles of raising her only daughter (whom she shares with ex-husband Tom Cruise) in the spotlight.
“I did recently see some fan site [about her] posted when she was a baby, and it was very intense. We were followed a lot when she was little,” Holmes told InStyle in 2020 of Suri. “I just wanted her outside, so I would walk her around to find parks at, like, 6 in the morning when nobody would see us.”
But it’s clear neither her celebrity status nor her parents’ split has put a damper on Suri’s spirit.
“I love her so much,” Holmes added. “My biggest goal has always been to nurture her into her individuality. To make sure she is 100 percent herself and strong, confident, and able. And to know it. She came out very strong — she’s always been a strong personality.”
Taraji P. Henson
Empire star Taraji P. Henson is proud and protective of her son Marcel, who was born in 1994.
“He has a really good heart. It’s just hard to know that the world can pick him out and turn him into a monster at any given moment,” Henson told People. “That’s what I fear, that’s something that I carry — I think every Black mother does. All parents worry about their kids, but then when you see the news and you see people getting off for killing innocent children with no weapon it’s like, that doesn’t exempt my son.”
Kate Beckinsale is one proud mama of daughter Lily Mo, who was born in 1999 (Lily’s father is Michael Sheen). On the girl’s birthday in 2020, Beckinsale posted on her Instagram: “Happy 21st birthday, you amazing fairy person. I love you my Lily, and you’re smaller than the rain hands. Happy birthday, funniest, best, most brilliant angel face. PS please feel free to finally try a sip of alcohol for the first time.”
Jennifer Hudson and David Otunga welcomed son David Daniel Otunga, Jr. in 2009. Although the couple split in 2017, Hudson remains a loving and present mom, and she does not mince words about how David Jr. changed her.
“Oh, my god, it is the best ever,” Hudson told Parents of motherhood. “He is my little buddy. I could go on and on and on about him if anyone asks me. I tend to go totally overboard, like most mothers do. Everything I see, I now see through a mother’s eyes. I always say, you never know how much your parents loved you until you have a child to love. I have now learned what it takes to raise a child, and all of the things parents do to raise a child.”
Courteney Cox and her only child, daughter Coco Riley Arquette (whom she shares with David Arquette) are thick as thieves — and twins to boot. “Coco! You’re growing up way too fast. Or am I protecting? I love you deep,” Cox commented on one of her daughter’s Instagram posts in 2019.
The “Friends” alum has expressed interest in having a second child with boyfriend Johnny McDaid. “I would love to have a baby now. I mean, I could carry someone else’s egg,” she once told New Beauty. “I may be one of the older people doing it, but I would love to, with Johnny that is.” She added, “I know it’s crazy, but I would.”
Salma Hayek shares daughter Valentina Paloma Pinault with Francois-Henri Pinault. The actress recently told AARP that giving birth later in life (she did so in 2007 at age 41) was her destined path. “It’s painful to have children because you’re worried 24-7, you judge yourself 24-7, and they judge you 24-7. Society does, too,” she told the outlet. “If you have dreams, career dreams, it’s easier to raise children once you have had the good fortune to establish your career. Then you’re not as distracted.”
Kate Moss and her lookalike daughter Lila Grace Moss Hack (born in 2002), whose dad is Dazed Media CEO Jefferson Hack, are close as can be. In 2018, the modeling icon told ELLE UK that having Lila made her “never lonely again. I always had my baby…We’re hanging out as friends because she’s getting older. We can go shopping together, and it’s really fun.”
La La Anthony
It looks like La La Anthony’s son Kiyan, whom she shares with Carmelo Anthony, may have a budding rap career a-starting (his quarantine TikToks are certainly giving us life). And La La credits much of her parenting knowledge to her own mother.
“My mom always made it work with whatever she had to keep our family together, even when she was a single parent,” she told InStyle. “That’s why my goal in life was always not to be broke. It wasn’t about having a career; I didn’t even know what I wanted to do. But I knew what being broke felt like, and I never wanted to have that feeling again.”
Sofia Vergara had her son, Manolo Gonzalez-Ripoll Vergara, when she was 19, and raised him as a single mother. Now, the pair are just as close as ever.
“Every time people compliment me about my son, it is very rewarding,” Vergara told People. “When people compliment me on him, on how well mannered, how charming, funny and well-behaved he is, it makes all the sacrifices worthwhile.”
“I was very young when I divorced his father, so I raised him trying to set the best example and give him the best I could,” she told the publication.
Jenny McCarthy and son Evan (born 2002) make an adorable pair. And she’s been super open with him about her career — including her time as a Playboy cover girl.
“I think people make such a big deal sometimes about it, when I feel like it just comes down to how you raise your child and how you explain things to your kid,” she told People of raising Evan.
“Evan is doing amazing,” she added. “He’s the love of my life. I want to give Evan all my attention, because I am a single mom. I think, this uterus is closed.”
Whoopi Goldberg’s only child, daughter Alexandrea (Alex) Martin, is an actor and producer in her own right. Goldberg gave birth to her in 1973 at 18 years old; Martin’s dad was Goldberg’s drug counselor, Alvin Martin. It wasn’t until Goldberg’s second marriage ended that she and Alex moved to California to pursue Whoopi’s acting dreams.
“I know what it’s like with the food stamps, because my mom has her [welfare] cards framed,” Alex told TheGrio. “Seriously … I remember that. I remember we had the one room space and we slept in the bed together. I remember when we wanted to travel we would drive across the country in broke down bugs. We didn’t have the money to go to movies.”
But all the hard work paid off, since the mother-daughter pair are closer than ever — and Whoopi is now grandma to Alex’s three kids.
“We talk multiple times a day,” Alex told Wendy Williams on her show.
Debra Messing shares son Roman Walker Zelman (born in 2004) with writer Daniel Zelman, to whom she was married from 2000-2012.
“Part of me will always contend with guilt that I wasn’t able to give my son the fantasy that my parents were able to give me,” Messing told More of the divorce. “We really tried. We made sacrifices and compromises… Now we are co-parenting beautifully… We had Thanksgiving together. In my mind, we will be a nuclear family forever.”
Amy Adams and fellow actor Darren Le Gallo welcomed Aviana Olea Le Gallo in 2010. And it’s clear Aviana is quite the straight shooter, like her mom: “I tend to wear very little makeup at home because when my daughter was even younger she saw me putting on makeup and she said, ‘You look like Amy Adams when you do that — I just want you to be Mom,’” Adams told The Guardian.
“So I said, ‘You got it, honey,’” she added.
Lisa Kudrow’s son Julian Murray Stern was born in 1998; dad is French ad exec Michel Stern. Kudrow has spoken out about her choice to be one-and-done, telling The MOMs Denise Albert and Melissa Gerstein in a video Q+A that Julian “made it clear from the moment he could speak that he didn’t want a brother or sister… it just worked out that way anyway — but to this day, he’ll say, ‘Thank you.’”
TV host Wendy Williams had son Kevin Hunter Jr. with ex-husband Kevin Hunter in 2000 and the boy has been Williams’ shining light. “He’s always encouraged me to keep it going,” Williams told People at her Hollywood Walk of Fame induction ceremony. “And never asks me to pull back from anything that I say or that I wear or anything like that. He’s always been very encouraging… So now, it’s just the two of us against the world.”
Hillary Clinton is also the proud parent of an “only” — daughter and fellow activist/philanthropist/author Chelsea Clinton, who was born in 1980.
“Like every working mother, there’s guilt involved in deciding how you’re going to balance family and work,” Hillary told MarieClaire of raising Chelsea while working. “I tried to put as much time into taking care of Chelsea myself as I could. Bill and I alternated reading to her every night; we’d try to have a meal together every day, whether breakfast or dinner. Once a week, one of us would pick what we were going to do that night. We might go to a movie or go bowling or play tennis. I remember one time, Chelsea was about three and a half, and what she wanted to do was buy a coconut and crack it open, because she’d never seen that before. I think it’s a false trade-off to say quality time versus quantity — you have to have both. So if you have long work hours like I did, how do you get rid of things in your life you don’t need in order to put that extra time into your children?”
Nashville star and SHE Media BlogHer Keynote speaker Connie Britton told SheKnows in an exclusive interview that she’s not too keen on giving her son Eyob “Yoby” Britton, whom she adopted from Ethiopia in 2011, a sibling.
“You know, somebody said to me once that you don’t want to be outnumbered by your children, which I think makes really great sense,” Britton said. “As long as I’m single, I don’t know that I’ve thought about it so often. Because on one hand I would love to have a sibling for him, but then I go the other direction and think about how he and I have become such a great little team that I almost wouldn’t want to rock the boat.”
Calista Flockhart adopted son Liam Flockhart (now Flockhart Ford) in 2001 when he was born.
“I have always wanted to adopt a child and I am overjoyed that I have been blessed with a beautiful and healthy son. I’m completely enchanted and awe-struck,” she told ABC News at the time. “I feel extremely fortunate and grateful that I work for such a supportive company that offers a wonderful child-care facility, enabling me to spend a lot of time with my son while I’m working,” she added of the team at Ally McBeal.
Then, in 2002, Flockhart and Liam met Harrison Ford, whom Flockhart married in 2010. “I think Liam was about 6 or 8 months old when I met him and Calista,” Ford told Hollywood Life. “We have been together ever since.”
Lifestyle mogul Martha Stewart and only daughter Alexis Stewart (born in 1965) have certainly had their ups and downs. But although Alexis’ book complains about growing up in the shadow of Martha’s perfection (and states, however jokingly, that Alexis “grew up with a glue gun pointed at my head”), she’s also acknowledged that she’s “proud to be Martha Stewart’s daughter.”
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