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Ashley Judd on why she doesn't have children and 'antinatalist' stance explored

Kaitlin Wraight May 2, 2022
10th Anniversary Women In The World Summit
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The recent passing of country singer Naomi Judd has led her daughters, Ashley and Wynonna, to grieve their unexpected loss.

Wynonna Judd, who formed one half of country duo The Judds with Naomi, and Ashley Judd announced on 30 April 2022 they had lost their mother to the “disease of mental illness”.

Ashley Judd, a celebrated actress known for her roles in Double Jeopardy, High Crimes, and Missing, proclaimed in her 2011 memoir, All That Is Bitter And Sweet, that she is an antinatalist when asked about her decision not to have children. With her family life in the spotlight, this admission has resurfaced.

Some fans are unfamiliar with the term antinatalist and want to know more.

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Why Ashley Judd doesn’t have – or want – children

In her memoir, Ashley Judd, 54, said she knew she didn’t want to have children at the age of 18. The actress explained that while she loves children, she doesn’t feel compelled to have her own and is a self-proclaimed antinatalist.

Judd believes there are enough children in the world, many of them orphaned or abandoned, who lack love, care, attention and time, and she would rather focus on providing for them.

Judd has become well-known for her humanitarian and activist work, which focuses on gender inequality around the world and on the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls.

Speaking about her antinatalist stance, she told The Free Library: “It’s unconscionable to breed, with the number of children who are starving to death in impoverished countries.

“I know it’s a strong opinion a lot of people won’t agree with and that’s not to say someday I might not feel a different impulse.”

She also told OnTrend: “I’ve secretly ‘adopted’ countless children in America and other areas of the global south over the years.”

  • CELEBRITY: Naomi Judd’s battle with hepatitis as country singer dies age 76
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What does it mean to be an ‘antinatalist’?

Antinatalism is a term that describes the philosophy that life, even under the best of circumstances, is not a gift or a miracle but breeds harm and imposition. It is an ethical value that holds procreation in negative regard, suggesting it is morally wrong.

The concept of preventing procreation is most commonly related to the climate crisis as activists fear bringing new people into the world against the threat of rising sea levels, mass displacement, and other calamities threatening life already on earth.

However, antinatalists believe birthing children has always led to inevitable suffering. The earliest ideas of antinatalist philosophy can be traced to ancient Greece. Meanwhile, the term itself is believed to have originated from Belgian philosopher Théophile de Giraud and entered the mainstream with the 2006 book by academic David Benatar, Better Never To Have Been: The Harm Of Coming Into Existence.

  • TRENDING: What happened to Charles Jordan, Wynonna Judd’s real father?
Photo by Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Is Ashley Judd married or dating?

Ashley Judd was married to Scottish racing driver and motorsports commentator Dario Franchitti between 2001 and 2013. The exact reason behind their divorce has never been revealed but the pair are thought to have split amicably as Judd tweeted “Family Forever”, tagging her ex-husband following news of their split.

It is rumoured the couple split because Judd didn’t want children while Franchetti did. Franchetti welcomed his first child with his second wife in 2015.

It is unknown whether Judd is currently dating but, before her relationship with Franchetti, she is known to have dated singers Michael Bolton, Michael English and Lyle Lovett, and actors Josh Charles and Matthew McConaughey.

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Kaitlin is a multimedia reporter in her final year of journalism at the University of Stirling. She has interests in film, TV, music and culture, and utilises her social media platforms to share analysis.