While actress Ashley Judd loves children to bits, she realized when she was very young that she did not want any of her own — and with valid reasons. Even after falling pregnant at some point in her life, she remains childless today. Follow along to discover why.
Ashley Judd was only a teenager when her mom, Naomi, and half-sister, Wynonna, formed the powerful country music act "The Judds" in the early 80s.
The singing mother-daughter duo became so successful they charted more than twenty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including fourteen that went to number one. They also won numerous accolades while at it.
Despite being very young at the time, it was inevitable that Ashley Judd would grow up in the limelight. Years later, she followed in her mother and sister's footsteps.
She became an actor starring in a string of box office successes such as "Kiss the Girls," "Come Early Morning," and "Heat." Like many others in the entertainment industry, being in the public eye meant people would constantly probe into her life.
Actress Ashley Judd at the 10th Anniversary Women In The World Summit on April 11, 2019 in New York City | Source: Getty Images
But as the years passed, this unwelcome scrutiny of her life became a norm, and Judd cannot remember the last time she went out without strangers asking her some very personal questions, most curious about whether she had children or not.
At parties, many consider the questions about children an ice breaker or even small talk, but rather than Judd being rude or dismissive about it, she often laughs it off and instead says:
"No, we have pets."
Pets are a big part of her family; however, as simple and truthful as her answer is, the story behind her reasons for remaining childless is far more complicated than she likes to lets on.
JUDD ONCE GOT PREGNANT
The "High Crimes" actress has always been outspoken about being a three-time sexual assault survivor. Unfortunately, after one of these agonizing incidents, she discovered she was pregnant.
Actress Ashley Judd on April 24 2018 in San Francisco California | Source: Getty Images
Due to the unappealing nature surrounding the conception, the "Where the Heart Is" actress chose not to carry the pregnancy to term. Explaining the situation during a candid discussion of the current state of feminism, Judd shared that bearing the child would mean co-parenting with her abuser.
Do not be mistaken, though. Judd has declared before that she loves children. She, however, knew from an early age that she did not want to be a mother and even as an adult, she has never felt compelled to have any herself.
She has always considered herself an antinatalist — a person who ethically views procreation as morally wrong. While her stance may seem controversial, Judd has her reasons for taking the stand, as we'll learn later.
JUDD'S REASONS FOR CHOOSING TO REMAIN CHILDLESS
Judd was only 18 when she decided she did not want to be a mother. She believes that the children already in the world are somewhat hers. She added:
"I do not need to go making "my own" babies when there are so many orphaned or abandoned children who need love, attention, time, and care."
Actress Ashley Judd during the Bloomberg Business of Equality conference in New York on May 8 2018 | Source: Getty Images
She disclosed that during an argument with a childhood friend on the topic, the friend maintained that people with "[Judd's] genes and opportunities are the very people who should have kids."
Judd countered, saying that people with her level of awareness and ability to contribute should, instead of having their own, focus on helping children who are already born and living in poverty, abuse, and suffering.
She felt it was selfish for people to pour their resources into making babies while they could use the same resources to help already existing children and advocate for transformation, so no child ever needed to be born in poverty and abuse. She added:
"My belief has not changed. It is a big part of who I am."
STAYING TRUE TO HER WORD
True to her word, Judd became a mom through "adoption" and has helped children in America and other developing countries. Over the years, she has contributed to these children's shelter, schooling, food, and healthcare needs.
In addition to providing for the children's day-to-day needs, Judd also found her calling in 2002 when Kate Roberts, a stranger at the time, contacted her, asking her to join a campaign that has today impacted millions of lives of children and young adults.
Roberts asked her to become the global ambassador for YouthAIDS, the HIV/AIDS prevention programs at Population Services International, a nonprofit public health organization.
To her delight, when she asked her husband, Dario Franchitti, to join her in the fight against AIDS and poverty, he gladly jumped at the opportunity. They lived in Scotland, and Franchitti offered to accompany her on the "Heart of America" tour.
He remained supportive of her cause and reportedly gave a better public talk than Judd. Judd says her husband's speech in Indianapolis had been humble, inviting, and authentic.
A BROKEN MARRIAGE
The "Someone Like You" actress met the love of her life, Scottish racing driver Dario Franchitti, in the late 90s, and after a two-year engagement, the two tied the knot in a highly private ceremony at Skibo Castle, Scotland, in 2001.
Actress Ashley Judd and husband racecar driver Dario Franchitti on April 10 2012 in Beverly Hills California | Source: Getty Images
Wynonna, Judd's sister, served as the maid of honor, while Franchitti's brother, Marino, was the best man. Years into their marriage, the couple had not had children. However, Franchitti always knew about Judd's stand as an antinatalist, and he remained by her side through her endeavors.
Unfortunately, after more than a decade of marriage, the two divorced but remained friends. In their separation announcement statement, the couple told People:
"We have mutually decided to end our marriage. We'll always be family and continue to cherish our relationship based on the special love, integrity, and respect we have always enjoyed."
Actress Ashley Judd and her husband, Dario Franchitti, at Nokia Theatre Los Angeles on September 23, 2012. | Source: Getty Images
Today, Judd remains active on the speakers' circuit, giving speeches about gender equality, abuse, and humanitarian topics. She also supports numerous causes focused on gender equality and the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls.