Famous childless people
August 24, 2006 4:15 PM   Subscribe

Who are the most famous people of recent times that were married but never had (or will have) children?
posted by vizsla to Society & Culture (64 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
posted by timeistight at 4:24 PM on August 24, 2006


Perhaps you should put parameters on "recent". The last 20 years? Last 50? Last 100?

Gloria Steinem. Simone de Beauvoir. Kate Hepburn. Ayn Rand.
posted by orange swan at 4:24 PM on August 24, 2006


Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles?
posted by Lucinda at 4:25 PM on August 24, 2006


Several Bishops of Rome, Mother Therasa, etc.

HRH the Duke and the Duchess of Windsor?

Thomas Jefferson?
posted by orthogonality at 4:27 PM on August 24, 2006


Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey
posted by onepapertiger at 4:29 PM on August 24, 2006


Charles and Camilla both had children, Lucinda, just not with each other.
posted by orange swan at 4:29 PM on August 24, 2006


orthogonality: Mother Theresa was married?
posted by null terminated at 4:31 PM on August 24, 2006


Siouxsie Sioux and Budgie have been married since 1991 and I don't think they have kids.
posted by kar120c at 4:31 PM on August 24, 2006


Who on earth are "the Duke and the Duchess of Windsor"?

Anyhow, I offer most of the recent Popes and the Dalai Lama.
posted by sour cream at 4:32 PM on August 24, 2006


Thomas Jefferson had kids, orthogonality.
posted by amro at 4:32 PM on August 24, 2006


Tom and Nicole Cruise
posted by Megafly at 4:32 PM on August 24, 2006


The Popes are not married, nor is the Dalai Lama.

The question is *married* childless people.
posted by occhiblu at 4:33 PM on August 24, 2006


Reading the question again, I retract the Popes and the Dalai Lama.
posted by sour cream at 4:33 PM on August 24, 2006


Ok let's say married in the last 100 years but the more recently married the better. Also
1. they must have not had children with anyone else either
2. their marriage had to have lasted at least 10 years.
posted by vizsla at 4:35 PM on August 24, 2006


null terminated writes "orthogonality: Mother Theresa was married?"


Yeah, Catholic nuns are considered married to Jesus. I retract the various Popes.
posted by orthogonality at 4:37 PM on August 24, 2006


"Childfree by choice" has a list of famous childfree people. Not sure how many were married or in long term relationships though
posted by kar120c at 4:38 PM on August 24, 2006


Pat Buchanan.
posted by orthogonality at 4:39 PM on August 24, 2006


I know, orange swan...I thought the question was married couples who didn't have kids with their present spouse. But seeing the new rules, I retract.
posted by Lucinda at 4:40 PM on August 24, 2006


"Who on earth are 'the Duke and the Duchess of Windsor'?"

Wow, now I feel old (although not that old, as the Duke died when I was seven). See here.
posted by litlnemo at 4:41 PM on August 24, 2006


...and suggest Christopher and Georgianne Walker, married since 1969....
posted by Lucinda at 4:41 PM on August 24, 2006


Thanks for the suggestions so far. What I guess I am trying to ascertain is whether childlessness generally kills marriages by looking at what was unique about those cases where this didn't happen. The title I chose was not well-worded.
posted by vizsla at 4:49 PM on August 24, 2006


I would just like to say that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were/are NOT childless. This is a huge fucking pet peeve of mine. They have two children.
posted by peep at 4:51 PM on August 24, 2006


Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford. They have been together since 1986, married since 1997.
posted by kar120c at 4:52 PM on August 24, 2006


peep: Adopted, though, right? Why do I know this.
posted by starman at 4:53 PM on August 24, 2006


sour cream writes "Who on earth are 'the Duke and the Duchess of Windsor'?"

His Royal Highness the Duke of Windsor. Haven't you even seen Follies and heard the line "Windsor and Wally’s affair" in the song "I'm Still Here"?

When King Edward VII abdicated to marry the American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson, he was created "Duke of Windsor", and allowed to retain, like all members of the immediate family, the honorific "His Royal Highness". Wallis Simpson, upon marrying him, became the Duchess, but was never accorded the "HRH" honorific of the Royal family, which estranged Edward from his brother "Bertie", who succeeded him as King George VI. On King George's death, his daughter became, by the grace of God, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.
posted by orthogonality at 4:56 PM on August 24, 2006


Jay Leno and his wife Mavis, married since 1980.
posted by amro at 4:56 PM on August 24, 2006


vizsla writes "whether childlessness generally kills marriages"

Not my friends who boasted of their joy in getting her "fixed" (their word, not mine) before they tied the knot. But then, they're vegans and hate people and the idea of making more.
posted by orthogonality at 4:58 PM on August 24, 2006


Stockard Channing has been in a relationship with Daniel Gillham since 1988. No kids. Not married though, so probably not what you are looking for.
posted by kar120c at 5:02 PM on August 24, 2006


An article from Salon that might help, To Breed or Not To Breed. She talks about studies that show that couples who don't want children are happiest when they don't have children, if I'm remembering correctly.
posted by occhiblu at 5:09 PM on August 24, 2006


Edna St. Vincent Millay.
posted by orange swan at 5:14 PM on August 24, 2006


For some reason, Megafly's response (Cruise/Kidman) made me think of other issue-free thespians:
- Rock Hudson (married only 3 years, though)
- Claudette Colbert
- Joan Crawford (several short marriages)
- Liza Minnelli
posted by rob511 at 5:21 PM on August 24, 2006


Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham.
posted by invisible ink at 5:27 PM on August 24, 2006


Joan Crawford had children - adopted, but definitely hers. Hence, "Mommie Dearest."
posted by clarkstonian at 5:34 PM on August 24, 2006


Oprah Winfrey has never married.
posted by occhiblu at 5:36 PM on August 24, 2006


Dean Koontz
posted by Benway at 5:42 PM on August 24, 2006


Virginia and Leonard Woolf
posted by zadcat at 5:52 PM on August 24, 2006


Lucinda, do you mean Christopher and Georgianne WalkeN?
posted by jeanmari at 6:15 PM on August 24, 2006


Larry and Laurie David.
posted by sweetkid at 6:19 PM on August 24, 2006


Who on earth are "the Duke and the Duchess of Windsor"?

He (as Edward VIII) was briefly was King of Great Britain and Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, and Emperor of India (perhaps you've heard of them?); she was Mrs. Wallis Simpson, the american divorcee for whom he abdicated his throne.

He was the uncle of Queen Elizabeth, of whom you also may have heard.

Doesn't really cut it with the likes of Tom Cruise or Jessica Simpson, but still somewhat well known within their own little circle.
posted by timeistight at 6:24 PM on August 24, 2006


Starman, did you just state that adopting children doesn't qualify a couple as parents?
posted by zoomorphic at 6:45 PM on August 24, 2006


zoomorphic writes "Starman, did you just state that adopting children doesn't qualify a couple as parents?"

Semantics: it doesn't (by itself) qualify them as biological parents. If that's how someone is using it (e.g., a population geneticist), it's perfectly acceptable.
posted by orthogonality at 7:03 PM on August 24, 2006


Dude, you're really uptight about your royalty, timeistight. I'm not sure why we should care about rich famous former monarchs of other people's countries, personally.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 7:25 PM on August 24, 2006


croutonsupafreak writes "Dude, you're really uptight about your royalty, timeistight. I'm not sure why we should care about rich famous former monarchs of other people's countries, personally."

He was His Royal Highness, The Prince Edward, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. And that was before he became Edward VIII, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland, and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India.

He was way better than us!
posted by orthogonality at 7:50 PM on August 24, 2006


Zoomorphic: I thought someone might think that. I was just pointing it out in case it was relevant to the OP, that's all.
posted by starman at 7:57 PM on August 24, 2006


What I guess I am trying to ascertain is whether childlessness generally kills marriages by looking at what was unique about those cases where this didn't happen.

i have many long-married (and might-as-well-be-married) friends without kids. the relationships are happy and decades-long. what do they all have in common? neither partner ever wanted kids, and they were upfront about it (as a couple) from the very beginning. i think the "dead by childlessness" marriages consist of one person who doesn't want kids, and one person who realizes that s/he does. end of marriage.
posted by sdn at 8:31 PM on August 24, 2006


He was way better than us!

From what I've read, he was way worse than us, but he was famous and childless and he not only was the former monarch of other people's countries, but of mine as well.
posted by timeistight at 9:00 PM on August 24, 2006


Christopher Walken.
posted by Radio7 at 9:27 PM on August 24, 2006


- Writer T.S. Eliot and Vivienne Haigh-Wood. Married 1915 - 1947 (her death).
- Economist John Maynard Keynes and ballerina Lydia Lopokova. Married 1925 - 1946 (his death).
- TV personality/cook/writer/OSS agent Julia Child and Paul Cushing Child. Married 1946 - 1994 (his death).
- Writers Iris Murdoch and John Bayley. Married 1956 - 1999 (her death).
- Singer-songwriter team Buddy Miller and Julie Miller. Married 1981 - present.
posted by macguffin at 10:31 PM on August 24, 2006


orthogonality writes "Yeah, Catholic nuns are considered married to Jesus."

Er... bollocks. The idea that nuns are "brides of Christ" is simply an analogy; there is no marriage involved. The reason nuns can't marry other mortals is not because they've married Jesus, it's because they've taken a vow of chastity.
posted by robcorr at 11:41 PM on August 24, 2006


Every member of the Smashing Pumpkins, except Jimmy Chamberlain the drummer.
posted by Devils Slide at 12:32 AM on August 25, 2006


Elton John & David Furnish.
posted by essexjan at 12:34 AM on August 25, 2006


Although I suppose James Iha and Melissa auf der Mer don't count because neither one has ever been married.
posted by Devils Slide at 12:35 AM on August 25, 2006


Dolly Parton and her husband
posted by bluefly at 5:05 AM on August 25, 2006


Cole Porter & Linda Lee Thomas

Charles Laughton & Elsa Lancaster

Raymond Chandler & wife

P.G.Wodehouse & wife
posted by IndigoJones at 5:33 AM on August 25, 2006


Louis Armstrong
Julia Child
posted by browse at 6:38 AM on August 25, 2006


Dick Cavett and Carrie Nye
posted by klpage at 6:51 AM on August 25, 2006


The last Lubavitcher Rebbe (Menachem Mendel Schneerson) and his wife did not have children and remained married until death. He wasn't famous in the same way as many others in this thread, but it seems significant because he and his wife (she was the one with the lineage) were part of a dynasty that essentially died with them.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:26 AM on August 25, 2006


I just saw an episode of Biography on Bob Barker and it stated that he and his wife of well over 40 years were childless by choice. They apparently adopted dozens and dozens of dogs and cats though.
posted by terrapin at 7:47 AM on August 25, 2006


The Duchess of Windsor may have suffered androgen insensitivity syndrome, which would explain the childlessness. Then again, she was also rumoured to have peculiar genitals and to have learnt certain arts in a Chinese brothel... amazing the lurid muck agents of the Royal family will spread against those who piss them off.
posted by jack_mo at 11:25 AM on August 25, 2006


Prime Minister Wilfrid and Mrs. Zoe Laurier had no chidlren, although Wilf is suspected to have fathered a child with his law partner's wife...
posted by philfromhavelock at 9:00 PM on August 25, 2006


Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell.
posted by philfromhavelock at 9:06 PM on August 25, 2006


Former Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker.
posted by philfromhavelock at 9:08 PM on August 25, 2006


Elton John and George Michael.
posted by owhydididoit at 6:57 PM on August 27, 2006


amazing the lurid muck agents of the Royal family will spread against those who piss them off.

Well....

Thing is, I've known old line Baltimoreans, families after whom major streets are named, who knew Wallace in the day, and according to them....
posted by IndigoJones at 8:10 AM on November 26, 2006


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