Celebrities Who Had Kids After 40

In 2022, the US Census Bureau published a study that found over the course of 30 years, from 1990-2019, birth rates among women ages 35 to 39 increased by a whopping 67%. The government agency isn't the only one to have noticed the trend. Many news outlets and medical organizations have been pointing out that birth rates among 20-year-olds have been steadily declining as women have been waiting until later in life to start families.

There are a myriad of reasons behind this change, from the increase in the cost of living and suppressed wages to prioritizing careers, relationships, and self-development to more and more women struggling to conceive naturally. But whatever the reason, the choice to wait to have a baby is always a valid one. It's also one you aren't alone in.

A number of celebrities have welcomed babies in their 40s, and many of them had wildly different reasons for waiting. Some weren't emotionally ready to be parents, while others had wanted to have kids for years but physically hadn't been able. Read on to hear their stories and to be reminded that whatever your reason for not wanting kids just yet, you're not alone and it's never too late.

Naomi Watts experienced pregnancy struggles for years

When Naomi Watts first began trying to get pregnant with her then-partner Liev Schreiber back in the early '00s, she struggled. Eventually, desperate for answers, she saw a doctor and had some blood work done. The results, she told InStyle, indicated that she was in perimenopause (or the earliest stages of menopause) and that her odds of conceiving naturally weren't high. She also learned that she wasn't a good candidate for IVF. So the couple began exploring other ways to start a family, such as adoption and surrogacy, but did not stop trying to have children naturally.

Fortunately for the couple, their efforts eventually paid off, and in 2007, just before her 40th birthday, she welcomed her first son, Sasha. A year later he was joined by his brother, Samuel. In the years since, the actor has spoken openly about how much she loves being a mother and how much she cherishes the bond she shares with her now teenagers. However, she once told More (via People) she has one major regret about motherhood. "I should have had more kids, started younger," she said, stressing that her decision to be done at two was more a matter of age than anything else.

Da Brat became pregnant with her first baby at 48

In an exclusive February 2023 interview with People, Da Brat revealed she was expecting a baby at age 48. This is her first child; Da Brat's wife, Judy Harris-Dupart, has three kids from a prior relationship.

The "Funkdafied" rapper, who married Harris-Dupart a little over a year earlier, told the magazine that up until recently, she didn't really consider having kids. "I just thought it wasn't in the cards for me. I've had a great career, a full life. I felt like, because I didn't get pregnant earlier on, then it just wasn't going to happen for me," she said. But then there was a change of heart. "I started looking at life so differently. I was like, I want a little me with [her]. Something special from the both of us that we can share and raise and love unconditionally," she told the outlet. 

The road to motherhood wasn't an easy one. As Harris-Dupart shared on a 2022 episode of "The Tamron Hall Show," "We haven't spoken much about it on social because we have had some ups and some downs on our journey, some complications." Da Brat had to have fibroids and polyps removed early on in the process, and then suffered a miscarriage not long after the embryo was transferred. Thankfully, the second transfer has gone smoother, and the couple (who were in their second trimester when they spoke to People) are hoping to welcome their bundle of joy sometime in the summer of 2023.

Halle Berry felt 'more ready' to have kids in her 40s

One celebrity who has no regrets about when she decided to start a family is Halle Berry. Her first child, Nahla, arrived when she was 41, and Maceo was born when she was 47. In a conversation with Us Weekly, the actor explained that she was grateful she had waited to have her two kids. "You're so much more ready to be a parent after 40 than when you're 20. You know yourself better. You've done a lot of things for yourself, selfishly. When you wait later in life, you can really put your kids forward I think in a more meaningful way," she said.

But just because she was happy about the timing of her two pregnancies, that doesn't mean they were easy. On a 2014 episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," she told the talk show host that her "geriatric" pregnancies came with their own complications. In fact, she didn't even think she'd be able to have her second child given the fact that she was perimenopausal. But, all things considered, she's stated that she'd do things exactly the same way again if given the chance. And as she said in Us Weekly, she encourages other older couples who are thinking about having children to go for it; the joy and fulfillment they bring to your life far outweigh the difficulties you might encounter in getting them here.

Salma Hayek became a mom at the right time

Salma Hayek feels similarly to Halle Berry about becoming a mother later in life. The "Magic Mike's Last Dance" actor, who welcomed her daughter Valentina just days after her 41st birthday, once told WebMD, "I feel that I've done enough things in life where I can appreciate the time I spend with her as my No. 1 priority and not feel I'm missing out on something. I feel I'm a lot more patient. I'm a more fulfilled human being now, and I probably wouldn't have been 10 years ago. She gets a better mother for being born now." She shared the same sentiments with Glamour, discussing how having a successful career before she had her daughter kept her from feeling as if she was missing out on opportunities while she was home changing diapers.

But, as is the case for many of the other mamas on our list, the actual pregnancy itself wasn't a breeze. She told WebMD that while conceiving was easy, she struggled through the following nine months thanks to a difficult case of gestational diabetes (a condition whose risk increases proportionately to a mother's age). The nausea, swelling, and food aversions brought on by her complication made the pregnancy uncomfortable on the best days. Still, she told the outlet, she was open to going through the whole thing again if that's what the universe had in store for her.

Nicole Kidman's motherhood journey has had highs and lows

For Nicole Kidman, the road to motherhood has been a long and often rocky one. As she told Marie Claire in 2007, she suffered both an ectopic pregnancy and a miscarriage when she was still married to Tom Cruise. The couple wound up expanding their family through adoption, bringing home Isabella and Connor in the early '90s. After their marriage dissolved in the early '00s, and Kidman tied the knot with her second husband, Keith Urban, she was ready to try for a baby again.

In 2008, at the age of 41, she welcomed her daughter Sunday. While the occasion was a hugely happy one for the actor, she'd tell Marie Claire in 2021 that she had hoped to have many more of those special moments. "I wish I'd had more children, but I wasn't given that choice. I would've loved 10 kids. ... I love mothering, I love kids: they're quirky, funny and unfiltered. And then you get to see them grow and send them on their way." Kidman and Urban would go on to add one more to their brood, welcoming daughter Faith via gestational carrier in 2011.

Celine Dion went through many rounds of IVF

Much like Nicole Kidman, Celine Dion has been incredibly vocal about her struggles with fertility. The "My Heart Will Go On" singer welcomed her first son, Rene-Charles, when she was 33, but it would take nine years and several rounds of IVF before her twins were born.

According to The Mirror, Dion once revealed that she had six rounds of IVF before finally conceiving the twins. "I thought as long as my health permitted me and unless my doctor thought physically I couldn't do it, then I would go on with the IVF until someone told me to stop," she said. Noting that although the journey was a difficult one, she was more than willing to do it all again if it meant she could have more children. "There's nothing that can top being a mother. I'd like more but I don't know. It's selfish to keep ­wanting more – although I would love a girl."

The Canadian songstress also told ABC News that being a mother has been her most challenging and rewarding job, by far. "I think we are very blessed to have the opportunity and a blessing to be a mother. I think when you are — when you have a child, it's like there's another heart that grows inside of you. You have this like second heart," she told the outlet.

Rachel Zoe welcomed her second after 40

While many of the celebrities on our list agonized over their decision to have children after 40 (either because conceiving was a struggle or because they weren't sure whether they really wanted to be parents), Rachel Zoe certainly did not. The celebrity stylist and reality TV star told SheKnows that her first son, who she had at 39, wasn't planned but she couldn't be more grateful. "It was the best thing that has ever happened to me and Rodger unquestionably, and we just stare at him and love him more every second of the day, if that is even possible," she said. When asked if she would ever consider having a second kiddo, her answer was pretty laissez-faire. "If it is meant to be it will be, and if we are lucky enough to have another one, we will have another one," she said. "I think we are so blessed with Sky and [if] that is all we are supposed to have, then that is OK too."

Zoe did eventually welcome that second child not long after she turned 42. She told People that her second pregnancy was wildly different from her first, but wasn't sure whether to chalk that up to age or if it was simply because every experience is different. Judging by the experiences of many of the other women on this list, we'd have to guess that it was a little bit of both.

Eva Mendes wanted kids when she met Ryan Gosling

For years, actor Eva Mendes was one of Hollywood's premiere bachelorettes. Like George Clooney, she dated and even had a couple of long-term partners, but she seemed to be in absolutely no rush to ever get married or have babies. Then she met Ryan Gosling and everything changed overnight.

The couple, who have been together since 2011, have a relationship that appears to be more committed and stronger than many of the marriages in Tinseltown. In 2014, not long after Mendes turned 40, the couple welcomed their first daughter, Esmerelda. Then, in 2016, they completed their family with a second daughter named Amada. When asked by Women's Health about her journey to motherhood, the actor said having kids was the furthest thing from her mind before she met Gosling. "Falling in love with him [was the turning point] ... Then it made sense for me to have...not kids, but his kids. It was very specific to him," she said.

The decision, it turns out, is one of the best she's ever made. In an interview on "Today," Mendes called motherhood the most creative thing she's ever done. She told host Hoda Kotb that she's loved parenting so much that she's taken an unofficial break from acting so that she could be home with them full-time, and is completely obsessed with her new role.

Iman had her second child decades after her first

World-renowned supermodel Iman had her first child, with former spouse Spencer Haywood, when she was in her 20s. Between caring for her daughter and dominating the runway, the bombshell simply wasn't ready to add to her brood for several years. It wasn't until 2000, when she was several years into her marriage with David Bowie and had just turned 45, that she welcomed her second child.

The model has been quite blunt about the differences between conceiving and raising her two daughters who are over 25 years apart. She told Parade there's been a certain learning curve that comes with having a baby later in life. "The difference between rearing a child in your 20s and one in your 50s is one of patience," she said. "I was at the height of my career when I had my first child, and I took her with me around the world. Then I had to root her in school. It was difficult to leave her behind. Now this one thinks she has it tough because both her old parents are at home with her all the time."

She also shared with the outlet that she felt fortunate she was even able to get pregnant in her mid-40s. "I did IVF, but nothing happened. So I began to think of adoption, and then I got pregnant. It was definitely a miracle," she gushed.

Janet Jackson says holding her child is the 'height of happiness'

Like Iman, Janet Jackson has been incredibly famous for decades. Her career may have her in the studio far more often than on a runaway, but both women are alike in that they have spent years pouring themselves into their craft. Often to the exclusion of other major life milestones, like marriage and motherhood.

It wasn't until 2017, when she was 52, that Jackson welcomed her first baby, a son named Eissa. Despite not ever being sure that having a child was in the cards for her up until that point, the "Rhythm Nation" singer took to parenthood like a fish to water. In a letter she penned for Essence, she wrote, "The height of happiness is holding my baby son in my arms and hearing him coo. Or when I look into his smiling eyes and watch him respond to my tenderness. When I kiss him. When I sing him softly to sleep. During those sacred times, happiness is everywhere." She also shared similar sentiments with Billboard: "Day after day and night after night, holding my baby in my arms, I am at peace. I am blessed. I feel bliss. In those moments, all is right with the world."

Jackson also shared in an interview with "Good Morning America," she's decided to do the whole parenting thing on her own, without the help of around-the-clock nannies and caregivers, as she knows this may be the only shot she gets at being a mom given her age.

Geena Davis wanted to be 'more evolved' before becoming a mom

Oscar winner Geena Davis always knew she wanted to be a mom, but she did not try for kids until she felt like she was truly ready to be a parent. "I thought, 'I'll be more evolved the longer I wait,'" she said on a 2022 episode of "Loose Women," "I did have a sense that I didn't have a lot of self-esteem, but I was really determined that my kids would have self-esteem."

In 2002, at the age of 46, she welcomed her daughter, Alizeh. And in 2008, at the age of 48, she gave birth to twin sons named Kaiis and Kian. She shares her kids with her third husband, Reza Jarrahy, whom she divorced in 2021. 

In an interview with Good Housekeeping, the "Thelma & Louise" actor said that she was glad she'd held off on having children until she was in her mid-40s. "If I'd had kids earlier, I could easily have become one of those mothers who overinvolve themselves and try to live life through their kids," she told the magazine. "I'm sure there are younger people who have figured things out long before I did, but in my case, I became a parent with exactly the right person, at exactly the right time."

Motherhood changed Laura Linney 'on a cellular level'

Laura Linney's decision to not have children until she was in her 40s was a mix of struggling to conceive earlier on and being uncertain she was ready to slow down — and perhaps sacrifice career opportunities — for a child. When she finally did get pregnant, at 49 years old, she kept it a secret until her son Bennett was born. As recapped by ET, she explained her decision to do so on a 2016 episode of "Live! With Kelly." As she pointed out, it had taken her a long time to actually get pregnant and she wanted to make sure she was able to carry the pregnancy to term before she shared it with the world.

But once Bennett arrived, all bets were off. "In the first year of being a mom, I realized there were muscles in my face that had never been used before. When looking at my son, I was smiling in a way I never had before. My face was sore all the time," she told People. She added, "Motherhood changes you on a cellular level. It literally infuses the cells of your body, and they behave differently. Fatigue is different. Joy is different. Fear is different. Anxiety is different. All of your emotions become more potent... I'm so happy that I have a child. He's been such a gift."

Beverly D'Angelo welcomed twins at age 49

Perhaps best known for her role in the "National Lampoon" films and for being Al Pacino's former partner, Beverly D'Angelo was 49 when she welcomed her twins with the "Godfather" actor. The couple conceived the babies through IVF after several years of trying and were thrilled when they both arrived safely in 2001.

According to sources close to the couple who spoke to People, D'Angelo's pregnancy wasn't an easy one. She was nervous and uncomfortable for much of the nine months, but once they arrived she was overjoyed and felt, of course, that the struggles of the previous year had all been worth it.

In an interview with Closer Weekly, the actor observed that her road to motherhood had been less than traditional. "I had a fantasy that when you have kids, you do it in a family setting. After we'd known each other for three months, [Al] looked me in the eyes and said, 'I want you to be the mother of my children.' That's all I had to hear," she said. Two years after their twins arrived, the couple split and engaged in a volatile custody battle. These days, however, they have a much better relationship, having worked through their issues for the most important reason: the sake of their kids.