Betty White is a living legend. When it comes to Hollywood stars, White absolutely bucked tradition by getting more popular with age rather than fading into obscurity. Everyone who knows her, loves her. At 98 years old, the Emmy Award winner has the longest career in showbiz.
But the Golden Girls alum insists that it’s all possible because of one important life decision she made a long time ago. White says that her choice not to have kids is what gave her the legendary career and legacy she has today.
Betty White began her television career right after high school
Betty Marion White was born in Illinois in 1922 but her family moved to Beverly Hills when she was just a child. She had a keen interest in wildlife and forestry but abandoned that as a professional path once she realized women couldn’t become park rangers, at least not at that time.
Her family struggled to get by during the Great Depression. Then after graduating high school in 1939, White began a career in television that would last the rest of her adult life. She started out singing songs on the experimental television show The Merry Widow, Biography reported.
Her career went through several iterations
Instead of sticking to one genre, White moved from singing to game shows to appearing in popular scripted series. She was a well-known panelist on Password, Match Game, Tattletales, The Hollywood Squares, and The $25,000 Pyramid, to name a few.
Later, White earned an Emmy with her work on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She also gained notoriety portraying Rose Nylund on the acclaimed comedy The Golden Girls.
Betty White does not regret choosing not to have children
Over her life, White had three husbands: Dick Barker, Lane Allen, and Allen Ludden. But she never decided to become a mom. When asked if she regretted it, the honorary Mayor of Hollywood said it was a deliberate act.
“No, I’ve never regretted it,” she told CBS Sunday Morning in 2012. “I’m so compulsive about stuff, I know if I had ever gotten pregnant, of course, that would have been my whole focus. But I didn’t choose to have children because I’m focused on my career. And I just don’t think as compulsive as I am, that I could manage both.”
She got to experience motherhood through marriage
While White never had biological children, she did inherit kids through marriage when she wed Ludden in 1963. He had three children from a previous marriage and White was happy to take on her new role as stepmom, which didn’t interfere with her career as much as pregnancy and an infant would.
And she was allegedly happy with that. The List reported that Sandra Bullock recalled a conversation with White expressing those feelings definitively.
“Betty said, ‘You know what? I never had children biologically. I married someone who had three children. And how blessed I was to have those three stepchildren,’” Bullock recalled.
With an impressive career like White’s, she should be proud of all she’s accomplished in her lifetime.