29 celebrities who have opened up about having abortions

29 celebrities who have opened up about having abortions
  • In June 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a 6-3 decision.

  • Roe v. Wade, a landmark ruling, legalized abortion across the US in 1973.

  • Some stars, like Jameela Jamil and Britney Spears, have shared personal stories regarding abortions.

Britney Spears said that she had an abortion while dating Justin Timberlake.

Britney Spears
Britney Spears is a singer.Steve Granitz/WireImage

Spears detailed her relationship with Timberlake, which lasted from 1999 to 2002, in her 2023 memoir titled "The Woman In Me." According to the singer, the NSYNC member "didn't want to be a father" at the time that she got pregnant.

"It was a surprise, but for me, it wasn't a tragedy. I loved Justin so much. I always expected us to have a family together one day. This would just be much earlier than I'd anticipated," Spears wrote. "But Justin definitely wasn't happy about the pregnancy. He said we weren't ready to have a baby in our lives, that we were way too young."

"I don't know if that was the right decision," she added. "If it had been left up to me alone, I never would have done it. And yet Justin was so sure that he didn't want to be a father."

Spears also said that her abortion is "one of the most agonizing things I have ever experienced in my life."

Busy Philipps had an abortion when she was 15 years old.

busy philipps
Busy Philipps is an actor and former late-night host.Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

The actor spoke about her experience on her E! talk show, "Busy Tonight," in May 2019, shortly after Brian Kemp, Georgia's governor, signed a bill into law that banned abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected at six weeks. A federal judge blocked the law in July 2020, ruling that it violated the US Constitution.

"I'm telling you this because I'm genuinely really scared for women and girls all over this country," Philipps said. "And I think that we all need to be talking more and sharing our stories more."

She continued: "No bill that criminalizes abortion will stop anyone from making this incredibly personal choice, but these laws will put more women at risk. Every woman deserves compassion and care, not judgment and interference when it comes to their own bodies."

Since then, Philipps has called for women to share their abortion stories with the hashtag #YouKnowMe, and thousands have answered the call.

"The Good Place" star Jameela Jamil said that getting an abortion was the "best decision" she ever made.

jameela jamil grammys
Jameela Jamil is an actor.Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Images

In May 2019, Jamil shared an article from Slate on Twitter regarding Georgia's law and called it "upsetting, inhumane, and blatantly demonstrative of a hatred of women, a disregard for our rights, bodies, mental health, and essentially a punishment for rape victims, forcing to carry the baby of their rapist."

The actor said that having an abortion when she was "young" was for the better "both for me, and for the baby I didn't want, and wasn't ready for, emotionally, psychologically and financially."

Jamil added that with the law, she believed "many children will end up in foster homes" and the influx will make it "hard to find great fostering for them all."

She also said that the anti-abortion law "is also especially targeted at those without the means/ability to move state. Women who are marginalized, poor or disabled will, as ever, be the ones to suffer the most. The wealthy will have so much more freedom."

"Resident Evil" star Milla Jovovich opened up about having an "emergency abortion."

milla jovovich
Milla Jovovich is an actor.Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

"Abortion is hard enough for women on an emotional level without having to go through it in potentially unsafe and unsanitary conditions," she said in a lengthy Instagram post in May 2019. "I myself went through an emergency abortion two years ago. I was four and a half months pregnant and shooting on location in Eastern Europe. I went into preterm labor and told that I had to be awake for the whole procedure."

Jovovich went on to say that it was "one of the most horrific experiences" she's gone through and her "stomach turns" at the thought of women who may face unsafe conditions in order to get an abortion under new laws.

"The memory of what I went through and what I lost will be with me till the day I die," she said. "Abortion is a nightmare at its best. No woman wants to go through that. But we have to fight to make sure our rights are preserved to obtain a safe one if we need to. I never wanted to speak about this experience. But I cannot remain silent when so much is at stake. #prochoice#prochoicegeneration."

"Arrested Development" star Alia Shawkat had an abortion when she was 20.

alia shawkat
Alia Shawkat is an actor.Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Shawkat said that at the time, her partner "wasn't allowed into the United States because he is Palestinian. I wasn't ready to raise a child alone or to be a mother."

Nicki Minaj revealed her abortion during a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone.

Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj is a singer.Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

"I thought I was going to die," the rapper, who was in high school at the time, said. "I was a teenager. It was the hardest thing I'd ever gone through."

Minaj said that her choice has "haunted me all my life."

"It'd be contradictory if I said I wasn't pro-choice," she added. "I wasn't ready. I didn't have anything to offer a child."

Former "The View" cohost Sherri Shepherd said that she "had more abortions than I would like to count."

Sherri Shepherd 2018
Sherri Shepherd is an actor.Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

The comments, which came from an interview with a Christian magazine called Precious Times, sparked controversy. Shepherd later clarified, telling People in 2008 that the quote from the magazine excluded a part in which she said that she suffered "from a lot of shame and guilt."

Shepherd also spoke about her abortions in 2012 during an episode of "The View." While discussing a law passed that year in Texas that requires women to "receive a sonogram from the doctor who will be performing the procedure at least 24 hours before the abortion." The law also requires the doctor to play the heartbeat of the fetus.

"I swear to God, if they had shown me a picture of the fetus, I would have put my child in a lot of situations that wouldn't have been good because I didn't have the mental capacity to deal with having a child," Shepherd said on the show.

Chelsea Handler had her first abortion when she was 16 years old.

chelsea handler 2017
Chelsea Handler is a comedian.Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

In an essay published by Playboy in 2016, Handler said that she had two abortions in the same year.

"I was going through a very bad stage in my life," the comedian wrote. "I hated my parents and I was having unprotected sex with my boyfriend, who was not someone I should've been having sex [with] in the first place, never mind unprotected sex."

She went on to say that when she first got pregnant, she considered having the baby, but her parents convinced her to go to Planned Parenthood instead.

"When it was over, I was relieved in every possible way," she said.

Handler added: "We all make mistakes all the time. I happened to f--- up twice at the age of 16. I'm grateful that I came to my senses and was able to get an abortion legally without risking my health or bankrupting myself or my family. I'm 41 now. I don't ever look back and think, God, I wish I'd had that baby."

Late "Glee" star Naya Rivera wrote about her experience in her 2016 memoir titled "Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up."

naya rivera 2018
Naya Rivera was an actor.Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP

Rivera said that she had an abortion after her first breakup with ex-husband Ryan Dorsey and showed up to the set of "Glee" shortly afterward to continue working. The actor said that she and her mom went to Planned Parenthood wearing disguises to avoid being recognized by anyone.

"We paid cash, leaving no paper trail, like it was a drug deal," she wrote.

"It was the worst experience of my life," Rivera added. "It was incredibly painful — your body is basically in labor with strong, frequent contractions. I was nauseous and kept going in and out of consciousness because of the pain."

Rivera continued: "When I got up to work the next day, a little more than 12 hours after having a medical abortion, I had to put my cheerleading uniform back on and hope that the skimpy bloomers covered the giant pad I was wearing."

In an essay for USA Today, Rivera said she "knew that in sharing my story, I would be judged for the decision I made. But I wanted to let other women facing the same difficult decision to know that they weren't alone."

Whoopi Goldberg induced her abortion when she was 14.

Whoppi Goldberg Oscars 2018
Whoopi Goldberg is an actor.Christopher Polk/Getty Images

"I didn't get a period," she said in a book titled "The Choices We Made: Twenty-Five Women and Men Speak Out About Abortion." "I talked to nobody. I panicked. I sat in hot baths. I drank these strange concoctions girls told me about — something like Johnny Walker Red with a little bit of Clorox, alcohol, baking soda (which probably saved my stomach) and some sort of cream. You mixed it all up. I got violently ill."

She added: "At that moment I was more afraid of having to explain to anybody what was wrong than of going to the park with a hanger, which is what I did."

Vanessa Williams had an abortion while in high school.

vanessa williams 2019
Vanessa Williams is an actor.Greg Allen/Invision/AP

During a "Nightline" interview, Williams said that her mom didn't learn about her daughter's abortion until the two began cowriting a 2012 memoir titled "You Have No Idea."

"Being pregnant is the most frightening thing that happens in your life," the actor said. "I knew in high school that's something that I was not prepared to do, or fight, or struggle with."

Tennis legend Billie Jean King had an abortion because she "was not in a good place."

billie jean king 2018
Billie Jean King is a tennis icon.Greg Allen/Invision/AP

"I was just finding out about my sexuality," she told Makers. "I was trying to figure my life out. I was trying to get the tour started. I just did not want to bring a baby in the world."

Minka Kelly said that having an abortion when she was younger "was the smartest decision I could've made."

minka kelly 2018
Minka Kelly is an actor.Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

In an Instagram post, the actor said that her choice was beneficial to her then-boyfriend and the unborn fetus.

"For a baby to've been born to two people — too young and completely ill equipped — with no means or help from family, would have resulted in a child born into an unnecessary world of struggle," she wrote. "Having a baby at that time would have only perpetuated the cycle of poverty, chaos and dysfunction I was born into."

She added: "Forcing a child to be born to a mother who isn't ready, isn't financially stable, was raped, a victim of incest (!!), isn't doing that theoretical child any favors."

Toni Braxton spoke about her "gut-wrenching decision" in her 2014 memoir titled "Unbreak My Heart."

toni braxton 2019
Toni Braxton is a singer.Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Braxton said that because she grew up in a religious household, she felt guilty for the choice made in 2001.

"In my heart, I believed I had taken a life — an action that I thought God might one day punish me for," she wrote. "My initial rage was quickly followed by another strong emotion: guilt. I knew I'd taken a life."

Braxton went on to say that she "believed God's payback was to give my son [Diezel, who she welcomed with ex-husband Keri Lewis] autism."

Speaking to Us Weekly in 2014, she said: "I have since realized that my son is special and learns in a different way."

Rose McGowan said that she's "not ashamed" of her abortion.

rose mcgowan 2018
Rose McGowan is an actor and director.Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

In response to a statistic posted by Ultra Violet stating that one in four women have an abortion by age 45, McGowan said: "I was on birth control and it failed. I realized I could not bring a child into my world and simultaneously change the world. I do not regret my decision and it was not made lightly. If you do not want an abortion, don't get one. My body, my choice, my life."

Stevie Nicks confirmed that the Fleetwood Mac song "Sara" was partially about her and Eagles member Don Henley's aborted child.

stevie nicks 2019
Stevie Nicks is a singer.Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

"Had I married Don and had that baby, and had she been a girl, I would have named her Sara," Nicks told Billboard in 2014.

The singer went on to say that the song is "accurate, but not the entirety of it."

Ashley Judd had an abortion and said that if she didn't, she "would've had to co-parent with my rapist."

ashley judd 2018
Ashley Judd is an actor.Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

"I'm a three-time rape survivor and one of the times I was raped, there was conception," Judd said at the Women in the World Summit in New York in April 2019. "I'm very thankful I was able to access safe and legal abortion. Because that rapist, who is a Kentuckian, as am I, and I reside in Tennessee, has paternity rights in Kentucky and Tennessee. I would have had to co-parent with a rapist."

Amber Tamblyn had an abortion in 2012.

amber tamblyn
Amber Tamblyn is an actor.Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

"It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make," Tamblyn wrote on Twitter. "I still think about it to this day. But these truths do not make me regret my decision. It was the right choice for me, at that time in my life. I have not a single doubt about this. #YouKnowMe."

Kathy Najimy was 18 years old when she ended her pregnancy.

Kathy Najimy
Kathy Najimy is an actor.Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Najimy said that she discovered her pregnancy, despite using birth control, after she and her first boyfriend broke up.

"I knew immediately that I was in no position to be a parent," she said during a speech given at a Planned Parenthood event in 2003. "I was a college student on a scholarship with no job, no money, barely my own apartment, and of all things ... a theater major, not even something real. And, although he was a very nice guy, my ex-boyfriend was also in no condition to parent."

Najimy went on to say that she "was entitled to a safe and legal abortion," and she recognized her privilege.

"My choice was only possible because of the treacherous, hard-won battle of those who came before me," she said.

"Teen Mom 2" star Kailyn Lowry said her mom forced her to have an abortion when she was 16.

kailyn lowry
Kailyn Lowry is a reality TV star.Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

In her 2014 memoir, "Pride Over Pity," the reality TV star said that she was raped by her then-boyfriend. She wanted to keep the baby, but her mom told her to get an abortion.

"Looking back, I know why I should have had one because I was 16," she told OK! magazine. "I didn't have a license. I didn't have a job. I had nothing. I was literally with my mom and I don't know if I even had my first job at that point."

She added: "How my mom went about it and the things she said, I think she was embarrassed. So I get upset, but I think now looking back, it was the right decision."

"Girls" star Jemima Kirke had an abortion in 2007 while in college.

jemima kirke
Jemima Kirke is an actor.Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

"I wasn't sure that I wanted to be attached to this person for the rest of my life," she said in a video made for the Center for Reproductive Rights in 2015. "My life was just not conducive to raising a healthy, happy child. I just didn't feel it was fair. So, I decided to get an abortion."

The actor went on to say that she couldn't bring herself to share the news with her mother, so she paid for the procedure herself.

"Dynasty" star Joan Collins has spoken about her abortion in interviews and in her memoirs.

Joan Collins attends the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party
Joan Collins is an actor.Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

While in a relationship with Warren Beatty in her 20s, the actor got pregnant. 

"It would have been absolute career death for me to have done that, even though I wasn't yet getting to a broody period, I got to my broody period a couple of years later but it was just, it would have been unthinkable to have a child," Collins told Piers Morgan in 2010.

She added: "He didn't have any money, I had nothing, and I believe if you are going to bring a child into the world that you have to have a responsibility to that child."

Late singer Sinead O'Connor wrote "My Special Child" after dealing with an abortion.

sinead o'connor
Sinead O'Connor was a singer.AP/Antonio Calanni

"The song itself is about my experience with having had an abortion last year and how I dealt with that and how it made me feel," O'Connor told SPIN magazine in 1991.

The singer went on to say that "the pregnancy had been planned, and I was madly in love with the father of the child," but she and her partner were having disagreements at the time.

"I was on tour, and I was feeling sick all the time," O'Connor said. "I didn't know what to do, and he wasn't really interested in the child. So I was left with the decision of whether or not to have the child, knowing that the father wasn't going to be around. I decided that it was better not to and that I would have a child at a later stage when his father would be around and involved. I didn't feel that I could handle it by myself."

Journalist Gloria Steinem said that having an abortion at 22 was the first time she took "responsibility for my own life."

gloria steinem
Gloria Steinem is a journalist.Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

"[Abortion] is supposed to make us a bad person," Steinem told The Guardian in 2011. "But I must say, I never felt that. I used to sit and try and figure out how old the child would be, trying to make myself feel guilty. But I never could!"

She added: "Speaking for myself, I knew it was the first time I had taken responsibility for my own life. I wasn't going to let things happen to me. I was going to direct my life, and therefore it felt positive. But still, I didn't tell anyone, because I knew that out there it wasn't [positive]."

Tess Holliday said that her "mental health couldn't handle being pregnant again" after the birth of her second child.

tess holliday
Tess Holliday is a model.Joshua Blanchard/GettyImages

In an Instagram post, the model wrote: "If I was still down south, I might not have been able to get the abortion I wanted & needed. My mental health couldn't handle being pregnant again & I made the best decision for ME & ultimately my family. It wasn't the 'easy thing to do,' it was excruciating on many levels, but necessary. Do I regret it or question my choice? Not at all."

Holliday, who had postpartum depression, also told People that getting an abortion was "necessary" because she was "experiencing suicidal thoughts."

"When I found out that I was pregnant again, I thought there's no way I could do this," she said. "I was already, for the first time, experiencing suicidal thoughts. I literally didn't want to go through any day at all. So, the thought of having to do it, to go through all of that again, destroyed me."

"Vanderpump Rules" star Lala Kent opened up about terminating a pregnancy in her book "Give Them Lala."

lala kent 2019
Lala Kent is a reality TV star.George Pimentel/Getty Images

In her book, Kent revealed she had an unexpected pregnancy with an ex-boyfriend when she was 22. She decided to get an abortion because she wasn't ready for motherhood. Her own mom endorsed her decision, telling her, "I would do if I were you."

Kent later told Entertainment Tonight that at the time, she felt "it was not the right situation to bring an innocent life into."

"It's an uncomfortable topic, people have very strong opinions about it, but like I said, it happened whether I wanted it to or not," she said. "It is what it is."

"It's not something I'm proud of. I didn't share it because I'm proud of it," she told ET. "I shared it because it needs to be spoken about, and I'm not the only one that's had to face that decision. And also it's not black or white. It's such a gray topic, which is what makes it so hard to discuss."

April Love Geary revealed she had an abortion in 2014.

april love geary
April Love Geary is a model.Getty Images

In 2019, Geary opened up about having an abortion in response to critical messages she was receiving on social media.

"I've been getting a bunch of DMs saying things like 'how could you support abortion when you're a mother yourself' so this is MY body, MY body after having an abortion in 2014, a miscarriage in 2017, delivering a baby in 2018 and 2019," she wrote, along with a photo of her stomach. "I'm glad I was able to make decisions about MY body without facing any type of punishment."

In January 2021, she opened up even more about her experience in a series of videos on her Instagram story, according to People.

"So my abortion story sucks, but I'll talk about it," she started the video, adding, "I just knew it was the right thing to do so that's what's always kept me feeling okay about the decision."

Geary said that she went to the abortion clinic alone.

"Afterward, [the guy] came and picked me up and took me straight to the airport," she said. "So, you know, I did make the right decision cause, like, who does that after someone gets an abortion?"

She added that therapy helped her heal emotionally after the experience.

"I knew I wouldn't be able to provide a good life for this child," she said. "It just wasn't the right time for me. I don't regret it."

Uma Thurman spoke out about getting an abortion in her late teens.

Uma Thurman at a red carpet event in January 2020.
Uma Thurman is an actor.Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Thurman detailed her experience, which she called her "darkest secret," in an op-ed for the Washington Post in response to Texas's antiabortion law in September 2021.

"I started my acting career at 15, working in an environment where I was often the only kid in the room," the "Pulp Fiction" star wrote. "In my late teens, I was accidentally impregnated by a much older man. I was living out of a suitcase in Europe, far from my family, and about to start a job. I struggled to figure out what to do."

Thurman, who was in the early stages of her acting career at the time, said that she "didn't have the means to provide a stable home, even for myself."

"We decided as a family that I couldn't go through with the pregnancy, and agreed that termination was the right choice," she added. "My heart was broken nonetheless."

Musician Phoebe Bridgers revealed her own experience in May 2022.

Musician Phoebe Bridgers poses at a red carpet for the 2022 Billboard Women in Music Awards.
Phoebe Bridgers is a singer.Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Bridgers spoke out in response to the leaked Supreme Court opinion that showed the court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.

"I had an abortion in October of last year while I was on tour," the singer wrote in an Instagram story.

"I went to Planned Parenthood where they gave me the abortion pill. It was easy," she continued. "Everyone deserves that kind of access."

Bridgers also included a link to an article from The Cut, listing abortion funds to which people can donate.

Read the original article on Insider