Are Celebs Setting A Bad Example By Getting Pregnant Before Tying The Knot?

Tue, January 18, 2011 5:36pm EST by 12 Comments

Lisa Wexler is co-author of the new book “Secrets of a Jewish Mother” with sister Jill Zarin and mother Gloria Kamen. Hear what she has to say about the single parenthood trend in Hollywood!

Once upon a time, celebrities, like other mere mortals, were not allowed to get pregnant before they got married. If they did, their careers were ruined. Marriages and abortions were hastily arranged, often by studio magnates. No one wants to return to the days when women -– celebrities or otherwise — were scorned and disgraced because they became pregnant out of wedlock.

Nonetheless, there has been a startling display of celebrities proudly proclaiming their status as unwed mothers these days. Kate Hudson is emulating her mother, Goldie Hawn, who married for the first baby, Kate, and then went on to have another out of wedlock. Halle Berry, Selma Blair, Natalie Portman, Sheryl Crow, Kourtney Kardashian, Angelina Jolie, the list goes on. They are all unwed mothers. Some are engaged or living with their baby daddys, others are not. Each one of these moms has their own story.

Recent research indicates that many people nowadays consider the institution of marriage itself to be obsolete; if one feels that way, then of course the idea of marrying to procreate seems rather quaint and outdated.

But nobody ever seems to ask these celebrities, “Are you doing what is in the best interest of your baby? Have you considered that your child might like to be raised by a committed pair instead of a solo mom?” The media is quick to assume that if a celebrity behaves a certain way, that way is okay. No one wants to judge anyone else’s life choices because we can all point to stories of single-parenthood that worked out fine, and people who grew up in two-parent homes who turned out to be emotional wrecks. And even with the best of intentions, two parent families often wind up as a single parent household because of death and divorce.

So why do I suggest that celebrities ought to think twice before telling the world they are ecstatic about the prospect of un-wed parenthood? Because the fans who watch, listen and copy these celebrities do not have the money and resources that celebrities do. They are the ones who may get fooled into thinking that one parent is just as good or as easy as two, and that somehow their child’s emotional and material needs will be met by magic.

While celebrity moms have all the money they need to raise their children, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, “nearly six of 10 children living with mothers only were near the poverty line” in 1995, clearly showing that it is no easy task to provide for a family alone. In addition, Children in need: Investment Strategies tells us that “75% of teenage pregnancies are adolescents from single parent homes.” If you don’t believe it, watch an episode of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant. Many of the girls are products of teen pregnancy themselves and not from stable homes.

Parenting is very hard work. Even two parents often are not enough. Hillary Clinton made famous the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”, because the words rang true to every parent who ever heard them.

Celebrities both mirror and influence our society. Companies pay them millions of dollars a year because people follow their example. More American children than ever are now being born to out of wedlock mothers. Historically, children born out of wedlock and raised by one parent are statistically significantly less likely to have a successful life, as measured by criteria such as higher education, better-paying careers, and more stable personal lives.

Are these celebrities responsible for these statistics? Probably not. But ought they affirm the values of a two parent home? Absolutely.

It’s very  difficult to generalize about these things; obviously every situation is different.  I don’t know what I would do if I had an unintended pregnancy; it never happened to me. It took me 11 years to have my two children.  I also never found myself wanting a child without having a partner with me to help raise one; I’m not sure how I would have handled that either.

But I think that when society drastically changes its mores, and it seems to be doing that, we all benefit from asking questions.  So let’s start a conversation.

I wish all the mommies and babies well.

–Lisa Wexler

Lisa Wexler, is a talk radio host and the co-author of “Secrets of a Jewish Mother,” with her sister Jill Zarin and her mother Gloria Kamen, coming out in paperback March 1st. She just celebrated her 29th wedding anniversary.

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Jenn Stone

Posted at 11:46 AM on January 19, 2011  

I think ultimately it is up to the mother and or couple to decide whether or not to have a child no matter the status of their relationship. But when we have television shows such as Teen Mom and 16 and pregnant it definitely raises questions. Are these shows helping show teenagers the struggles of being a mom or are they learning that they can be made famous by getting pregnant at an early age. I live in a small town where I am the only one out of my high schools buddies and co workers that didn’t have a baby before marriage. I am married now and have been for only 6 months and when we decide to have a baby we will plan for it properly. Look I know it sucks to be on birth control and to take precautions but thats part of life. And planning for your future and making the right decision is part of being a grown up.

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oh dear

Posted at 4:39 AM on January 19, 2011  

19th century called, they want you back!

talking about statistics. how many of those married and “commited” ralationships actually last? how many children are left with divorced parents? are they happier?

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Posted at 9:58 PM on January 18, 2011  

Marriage is just a piece of paper…why should you need a piece of paper to prove you love someone? The whole thing comes from overly-religious people who think it’s immoral to have a child out of wedlock, being gay is wrong, divorce isn’t an option and you can’t sleep in the same bed until you’re married. I agree with some, like the same bed (so to help avoid teen pregnancy) but some are just like, damn! Back off on the whole gay thing b/c is doesn’t affect you who they fall in love with.

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Posted at 9:46 PM on January 18, 2011  

this is so stupid to be real i believe that no one should live there live based on a famous person each person has there own oppinon and what ever but i think that what celebs do with there life is what they do with there life maried or not and i know fans look up to them but its not there job to show there fans how to live there life celebs just like any other person live there life and if they get pregnent out of wed lock that is there choice planed or not

p.s. my spelling sucks =D

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Posted at 9:24 PM on January 18, 2011  

Christina, if women are SO much more in control of their lives, then why are they having “oops-a-babies” instead of being on birth control like they ought to? Don’t tell me these women actually PLANNED their pregnancies. Looking at their lives you can see that they did not, if they have so much control of their lives, apparently their uterus is left out of the equation. What neglect. Especially they of all people, with all the money and resources they have.

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Posted at 9:06 PM on January 18, 2011  

Just another slut bring a new bastard into the world to sit next to Obama, our first bastard president.

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Oh Moxie....

Posted at 9:17 PM on January 18, 2011  

…what’s wrong? Did you run out of lighter fluid for your cross burnings? Or did your mommy and daddy not love you?

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Posted at 7:48 PM on January 18, 2011  

What a bunch of CRAP! Do ya think it’s a good thing? What ever happened to values? Just old fashioned I guess. All 4 of my kid’s were built after we were married. Wasnt that tough!

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Posted at 6:58 PM on January 18, 2011  

It’s not single parenthood. Most of the examples you listed have two active parents. Just because they aren’t married does not mean that they single parents. Big, big difference.

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Posted at 6:01 PM on January 18, 2011  

Bonnie is always harping on about all the awful things celebrities do and how she doesn’t agree, like some smarmy Midwestern mom..then maybe you should get out of entertainment journalism, honey.

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Posted at 6:10 PM on January 18, 2011  

This isn’t written by Bonnie though Katie.

I would much rather see a celebrity having their child than being forced to abort it for their career.

Women are much more in control of their own lives and I feel that if they don’t want to marry the man who impregnated them then so be it. It doesn’t matter if Hollywood does it or not. Hollywood doesn’t dictate what normal America does despite popular belief. If its OK in a family then its usually OK to an individual.

What matters is being a good parent…not a ring on a finger.

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Posted at 5:52 PM on January 18, 2011  

get over it it’s not a new phenomoneon even oscar winners have gotten pregnant out of wedlock and or had children out of wedlock back when it could ruin your career. Elizabeth Taylor Joanne Woodward & Vanessa Redgrave all come to mind as in Taylor was pregnant when she married Mike Todd 2nd February 1957 Woodward was Pregnant when she Married Newman in January 1958 though she miscarried later during their honeymoon but they eventually had three daughters. Redgrave had 1 son out of wedlock in September of 1969 after having two daughters while married to her first husband Tony Richardson and miscarried a second in the winter of 1971. yet all three of them got a pass because the studios coverd those things up in those days where today they’d get leaked for publicity purposes

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