Getty images | Instagram/Michelle Pfeiffer Official
Source: Getty images | Instagram/Michelle Pfeiffer Official

Michelle Pfeiffer Did Not 'Need a Man' after Boyfriend Left Her over Adopted Child Yet Had a Son with Him Later

Esther NJeri
May 31, 2022
07:40 A.M.
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After giving up on love, actress Michelle Pfeiffer chose to adopt a baby girl and raise her by herself. Soon after, she met a man who left her because of her daughter. Follow along to find out how they worked out their problems.


Michelle Pfeiffer is one of Hollywood's most well-known actresses, best recognized for her diverse roles in numerous films. She is also a mother of two and enjoys a quiet life away from Hollywood today.

Love and relationships have always been tough to navigate. While some are lucky to find love without necessarily laboring for it, some don't see their happily-ever-after so easily. Michelle Pfeiffer falls under the latter.

American actress Michelle Pfeiffer on the set of "Tequila Sunrise" | Source: Getty Images


By the time she hit her thirties, she had given up on love. Her relationships with Michael Keaton, Fisher Stevens, and John Malkovich and her brief marriage to Peter Horton had ended badly, and she felt lonely and disappointed.

Eventually, she gave up on her dream to one day start a family, but around the same time, she realized she did not need a man to be a family. She decided she would adopt a child in need of a loving home. She explained:

"I'd sort of thought that maybe a husband and children weren't on the cards for me. But a light bulb went on in my head, and it occurred to me that I could go ahead with the family bit on my own."



David E. Kelley and Michelle Pfeiffer at Will Rogers State Park in Pacific Palisades, California, United States on November 17, 1996 | Source: Getty Images

With her mind made up to adopt independently, she started the process. However, luck seemed to be on her side. Despite her initial inhibitions, she met and fell in love with producer and writer David E Kelley, the powerhouse behind TV hits "Boston Legal" and "Ally McBeal."


Two months into dating, they welcomed Claudia home. While it would seem like a lot at once, Pfeiffer thought it was the perfect situation since they would prove themselves as parents right off the bat.

Actress Michelle Pfeiffer and writer/producer David E. Kelley attend "The Substance of Fire" Opening Night Play Performance on January 21, 1993 in Los Angeles California | Source: Getty Images


The "Scarface" actress confessed that the unlikely situation took the pressure off their relationship as they had something else to focus on. She shared:

"It was sort of perfectly timed. I mean, it's a real testament to the kind of person he is, but also to the fact that sometimes the traditional way of doing things isn't always the best."


David E. Kelley and wife Michelle Pfeiffer arrive at the opening night for the Broadway revival of "Come Back, Little Sheba" at the Biltmore Theater January 24, 2008 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images


Unfortunately, things did not flow as smoothly as "The Family" actress had hoped. While Kelley had no qualms about raising their adopted child, he soon realized that Claudia had all of Pfeiffer's attention, and he did not get enough time with his girlfriend.

Pfeiffer became wholly dedicated to raising her daughter, and Kelley would confess that he could no longer compete for Pfeiffer's attention with the little girl.

Actress Michelle Pfeiffer (R) and her daughter Claudia arrive at the premiere of Paramount Picture's "Stardust" at the Paramount Studio Theater on July 29, 2007 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images


And while he was not jealous, he shared that he barely had a moment alone with his girlfriend as their daughter went everywhere with her, even sleeping in their bed every night.

Pfeiffer would get mad at him whenever he suggested they leave the baby with the nanny. Eventually, he could take it no more and moved out of Pfeiffer's Los Angeles home. However, Pfeiffer was not in the least bit bothered. She would say:

"I don't need a man to make me happy."



From the outside, their relationship seemed like it was a done deal. However, their complex relationship dynamic worked in their favor. Pfeiffer mused that instead of skipping their honeymoon phase due to raising their daughter, they got "stuck" in it.

They never had a chance to get tired of each other because they were constantly distracted by their duties as parents. Pfeiffer shared that they never had a moment where they looked at each other and felt unsure of what they were doing.

Actress Michelle Pfeiffer and David E. Kelley pose during the 9th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on March 9, 2003 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images


Shortly after their split, they got back together and married in a nondenominational wedding in Santa Barbara, California, a ceremony that also involved the christening of their then eight-month-old daughter.

The November 1993 wedding came as a surprise to many of their friends, as they had said they would not be walking down the aisle until the following summer.

Michelle Pfeiffer and David E. Kelley at the United Center on June 22, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. | Source: Getty Images


Their marriage, like most, had its challenges, and they sought help from a marriage counselor. Pfeiffer advocates for therapy as it has helped her marriage a lot. She would confess:

"Ultimately, I believe the only secret to a happy marriage is choosing the right person. Life is a series of choices, right?"


A year after their marriage, the couple welcomed their son John Henry Kelley. The excited mother of two shared the progress of her babies' growth, saying that they most often got along due to how close they were in age.


However, they still had their moments of sibling rivalry. Pfeiffer shared that before she became a mom, she did not quite comprehend the extent of gender differences, adding:

"But I certainly believe it now because when they were little, they couldn't have been more different — John was into trucks, Claudia was into kitty cats, and he was eating bugs, and she wasn't."


She was, however, quick to appreciate how much of a blessing her children had been to her. Shortly after John's birth, Pfeiffer, in an attempt to stay committed to her marriage and family, moved to a more rural environment away from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood.

Today, she lives in a rustic corner of northern California on a spread surrounded by a pair of miniature donkeys, horses, cats, and dogs.

The vacation home of actress Michelle Pfeiffer and husband director, David E. Kelley, sits along the scenic coast of Oahu, Hawaii, May 03, 2000. | Source: Getty Images


The "Stardust" actress now leads a quiet life with her family and says she is the family's disciplinarian by default. She also shared that her kids did not mind her working and were very encouraging.

Speaking to Good Housekeeping, Pfeiffer shared that since she took a break from work when the kids were little, they never grew up without a mother.

US actress Michelle Pfeiffer poses with her daughter Claudia (R), her son John (C) and her husband David E. Kelley during the presentation ceremony 06 August 2007, in Hollywood, California | Source: Getty Images

And now that they are older, they understand and are more supportive of what she does. "Because frankly, in the past, they could not have been less interested. Most people in the world have seen more of me on-screen than my kids have." She mused.