Sarah Paulson on being childfree: ‘It’s selfish, but… the word selfish gets a bad rap’
Sarah Paulson covers the latest issue of Town & Country because she is still promoting her supporting role in The Post, the Steven Spielberg movie about the Washington Post’s publication of the Pentagon Papers. Paulson recently covered The Edit to promote the film too, and she talks about a lot of the same stuff, including why she chose not to have kids, and why she’s never particularly wanted to be a mother. She’s 43 years old, her girlfriend/partner is 74 years old, and Paulson just likes to work. She doesn’t have time for anything else other than herself, her own interests, her job and her girlfriend. All of which is fine – I sort of wish Paulson wouldn’t feel the need to “defend” her choice to be childfree, but I’m also sort of pleased that she’s representing those of us who are happily childfree. Some highlights from her
[From Town & Country]
On her cast mates in her latest film, The Post: “These are arguably the most respected filmmakers and actors of their generation. That made it a very extraordinary place to be. It was a pinch me moment.”
On being a working actress in her 40s: “I’ve got a window as a woman of 43. …I’m trying to keep it open with both hands, as wide as possible, for as long as possible.”
On the rise of her career: “Going to the next level means that you’re at the bottom of the next rung. Look, many of them [top-tier actresses] have won Academy Awards. I don’t expect to get offered those roles before them, but I still want them. All it means is that I have to keep working the way I always have, leaving my ego at home and trying to just think about what is true.”
On her relationship with Holland Taylor: “I do not want to be defined by who I share my bed, my home, my soul with. My choices in life have been unconventional, and that’s my business. …Our relationship represents a certain amount of hope and risk. Maybe there’s something brave in it. Maybe it encourages others to make brave choices. What else can I say? We love each other.”
On fear of having children: “I don’t want to be torn. I don’t want to look at my child and say, ‘You’re the most extraordinary thing that ever happened to me, but also the death knell.’ It was hard for my mother to be everywhere, to come to the school play and make a living, I’ve always known what I wanted out of professional life, and I didn’t want to turn around and go, ‘If I had only made the choice to just dedicate this time in my life to me.’ It’s selfish, but I think the word selfish gets a bad rap.”
People do act as if being childfree is the most selfish choice to make, and while I can see that argument, I also see it like Paulson sees it: why is self-interest such a bad thing? Why do I have give everything to a baby when that’s literally the last thing I want for my life? I’m honestly feeling slightly overwhelmed these days because I got a kitten before Christmas and it’s such an adjustment of my schedule (and he woke me up at 2 am this morning). Anyway… I’m Team Paulson. I love her. I think she’s amazing.
Photos courtesy of Victor Demarchelier for Town & Country.