Danica Patrick’s Focus Is on Racing Cars, Not on Having Kids

07/15/2011 at 04:00 PM ET
Christopher Polk/Getty

As Danica Patrick‘s career continues to soar, her desire to have children lessens.

“I’m just about racing right now,” the NASCAR driver, 29, told PEOPLE on Wednesday at the 2011 ESPYs. “That’s all for me. I’ve got no plans for a growing family. Maybe I’ll foster dogs, but that’s it.”

Traveling around the U.S. for months at a time doesn’t exactly grant time for Patrick to focus on being a devoted mom.

“I’m just doing my job cruising around the country for 30 weeks of the year,” she explains. “I’m right in the middle of it now.”

Although work is a top priority, Patrick admits life is a little easier with the help of her husband of seven yearsPaul Hospenthal.

“My husband goes everywhere with me, which means a lot,” she says. “We have really great friends who understand we’re not around all the time.”

— Dahvi Shira

FILED UNDER: Exclusive , News

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Showing 46 comments

Melissa on

Good for u Danica, It puzzles the heck out of me when people think somethings wrong when a woman makes the decision not to have kids. having kids isn’t foe everyone, I have actually had people ask me whats wrong with me as if im some sort of weirdo because ive chosen to be childless. So good for you Danica there is no reason for you to have to make excuses for not having children.

Cecelia on

Good for her! Having children is not for everyone and for those who choose not to, it’s as valid of an option as any.

Melissa, I’m sorry you’ve had to justify your own, personal decision to ignorant individuals. Too many people stick their noses into situations that don’t even remotely concern them. As a woman, having a healthy, fulfilling life doesn’t always include children and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Mia on

She might feel differently 10 years from now-I’m only 23 + am focused on my career right now + can’t imagine having kids any sooner than maybe 35.

Susanna on

Well I guess there are women who want their career more importantly then they want to have a child, but to each his own. I have a sister in law like that who is more interested in living at her workplace then to be home, but I know that one day her and her hubby will be sitting across from the table when they are old and say, hey maybe we should have had a kid or two, but by then it is too damn late!! I actually feel sorry for them. My children and the rest of the nieces and nephews will be visiting them when they are older. This is just how I feel, but then, who am I right?

Marky on

I think we, as women, sometimes tend to forget we all have choices, Those choices should be respected by others; just because you want children and believe your life is incomplete without them doesn’t mean a relative or friend feels the same way.

Susanna, I doubt your sister-in-law will feel some huge loss in her life because she doesn’t have children; most people really think that decision through very carefully before they make it. I had several aunts who chose not to have children, and I never heard them express any regrets. They simply chose a different lifestyle and didn’t feel they could live it with children–more importantly, they didn’t believe it would be fair to a child if they couldn’t pay the proper attention the child would need.

I chose to have children, but I certainly wasn’t able to do justice to a career in the field I majored in, and, I gave up that career to raise my children. They deserved my best and for me, parenting was a priority. Like I said, I think we need to respect others’ choices regarding careers, children, or any combination of the 2. I would never assume someone had to make the same choices I did, either way.

Angi on

Some people wants kids,some people don’t. Everyone should focus on what works for them and stay out of other people’s lives. Good for her!

Maybe on

Danica and her Hubby have time, and they will not regret the decision they have made for the present! How unfortunate for so many who are negative about choices that are different from theirs!

Danica is living her life’s dream of being a Race Car Driver…I am so proud of her and so will her kids if she chooses to have them! Proud that she is living her dream no matter what career it is! All people should do that and have children when they plan it!

Michelle on

*Cue the comments insisting that when she is old she’ll regret not having children*

OR…maybe when she’s old, she won’t be sorry.

Betty White has very publicly stated that she does not regret not having children. Helen Mirren is happy with her choice to not have children. When Oprah was asked how she felt about not having children, she replied, “Really good. No regrets whatsoever.” Jay and Mavis Leno are childfree by choice. Lily Tomlin has said in inteviews that she has no regrets over not having children.

It IS possible to have a fulfilled, rewarding life without becoming a parent.

Karen F. on

Not everyone is meant to be married or to have children. If Danica does not want to have children that is her right and I don’t think that others should be judgemental.

Sadie on

It has nothing to do with this article, but I didn’t realize she was only 29, I thought she was like 40. She doesn’t look 40, I just thought that for some reason. Anyways, who cares if she doesn’t have kids? Just because you or I would regret not having kids doesn’t mean every woman would.

I’m not saying Danica wants to be childfree, but most women that choose to be childfree don’t ever regret it. It’s usually the women who wanted children but didn’t start trying until it was too late that end up regretting it.

People seem to think childfree people will be lonely in their older years because they didn’t have kids, but producing offspring does not guarantee company for you! A lot of kids don’t visit their parents or do so very rarely when they’re elderly.

Nancy Arrigo on

I was thinking Danica and her husband should just be adoptive parents to a few orphaned kids.

Shannon on

She doesn’t seem like the motherly type. Good for her for realizing it.

KRS on

I think Sadie hit the nail on the head. I think regret comes into play when people are undecided and then end up waiting too long. Being “Childless by Choice” is a perfectly valid option for some people/couples.

Kelley on

To each her own, I guess?

I just don’t understand why this is being reported on CelebrityBabies..

So she doesn’t have kids or want kids. So what?

Holiday on

I just dont understand why their is an article about not wanting kids on a baby blog! I like to come to this site to see celebs and babies, not to hear about why they dont want them.

Mrs. A on

My husband and I have been married for almost 7 years now. We don’t have children either. Partly by choice and partly because of infertility issues I deal with. When I say it’s partly by choice I mean, we could go through treatments to make parenthood a possibility but there is never any guarantee. Maybe one day we’ll feel different about it and maybe not. We have the right to make the best decision for us.

There is nothing more annoying then constantly being asked when are we gonna have kids. It’s not that simple for us, to explain it automatically puts the other person in a defense mode and then we hear how sorry they are for us (sometimes it just gets old). We have come to the conclusion that if we never have children we are completely okay with that. We have a house full of animals that are just like kids, even sometimes just as demanding.

I think it’s great that Danica has made a decision based on her specific situation. Just because you can have a child doesn’t mean you have to. It’s her life who are we to judge her?

Cecelia on

Holiday, it’s one article out of hundreds that pertain to children. You’ll live.

Parenting isn’t for everyone and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with acknowledging that. It doesn’t make Danica or any one else odd or wrong in the slightest. It’s ignorant to assume that she’ll regret her decision later as no one ever dares to tell parents they’ll regret their decision to have children in 10 or 20 years. She also doesn’t need anyone to feel sorry for her. She’s not sick, in financial distress, etc. She just has no desire to have children. I know plenty of women who’ve made the same decision and are completely happy with themselves and their lives. Their joy comes from the relationships they build with others, traveling, their careers, and volunteering.

Indira on

sadie i agree, thought she was in her mid to late 30s.

I’m still in college and, i love it very much. Personally, I have never understood women who choose career over family. Not talking about women who have chosen to be childless for other reasons, just ones who put off children entirely for their career. I feel like that is a very western perspective that career is even in the top three priorities. Careers, Clothes, luxuries they’re so transitory and I couldn’t see myself putting family to the side for money and ambition. I can’t help but think that theres been a value shift and it seems short-sighted.

Jenny on

I personally love being a mom, but my sister doesnt want kids…and I totally respect that, she isnt really a kid person and I’m glad she realizes it & is enjoying spending time with her husband and no I dont think she will regret it when she is old. My kids love their aunt and they will definitly will spend time her when she is “old” 🙂

To each his own. I personally believe that no one can find complete satisfaction is having kids, in being married or in a job…true satisfaction comes from knowing Jesus Christ and when you have that everything else falls into place, its not always perfect but you have Christ to help you thru 🙂 (just my opinion, so please keep the comments to yourself thanks)

Sybil on

I know a woman in her early 60’s that wishes she had children now that she’s sees her friends with their grandchildren. Having a child isn’t for everyone….but unfortunately for women we do run out of time to have them naturally.

However I do appreciate people who are realistic about their lifestyles and recognize what is important. She knows her life is crazy. She’d rather have a career than subject her kids to nannies and such. Good for her for living her dreams!

Jillian on

Great article and good for her. Not everyone wants children now or ever and there is nothing wrong with it. I totally understand it. It’s better to not have children then to have them because people think you should.

Ralph on

I don’t think anyone should “feel sorry” for people who decide not to have kids right away. I know plenty of people who enjoy doting on my two kids and do not regret not having any themselves. While we scrimp and save and are happy to go to the beach for a weekend, they are able to fly anywhere anytime. They send us wonderful gifts for the children from far and wide. They are happy and we are happy. To each their own I always say. Don’t judge.

jess on

I have no desire for kids. I have two dogs, and those are my kids, will they take care of me when I’m old no, but thats a risk I’m willing to take.

I love kids, and have the great group of nieces and nephews I could ask for. I’ve just never felt the need to get pregnant and have my own child.

I applaud Danica for her and her husbands decision to not have kids. If they feel the need in the future for a child they can adopt that way she can still keep on driving.

Anni on

I am a 40 year old woman, who is CF by choice. I have no regrets and I am sure, I will never have any regrets. Most people have a really hard time opening their mind to the fact, that some women and men are perfectly happy being CF. Our lives are vastly different than the childed. We have more flexible free time, more disposable income, and more energy. We chose a different path, based on how we truly feel.

I commend every openly CF person, who is proud of their choice. Society bases peoples success on kids , the size of the house and SUV, not on happiness and quality of life. Some people are happy with no kids, and some are not. It is all up to the individual. I for one, am so happy that my husband and I have time to be together alone, pursue our various hobbies and interests and time to just relax and enjoy every aspect of life, in our own way and on our own time table.

Marky on

The one thing I would add to what Anni said, is to be sure you are content within yourself and it’s not all about you and your partner. Sometimes your partner doesn’t live as long as you do, and while I’m not trying to be gory, what I am saying is that you live your best life when you are not depending on your children, spouse, partner, etc, to “take care of” you, entertain you, or make sure you are interested in life. That needs to come from within, as I’m sure Anni already knows.

I have 4 adult children, and I’m not depending on any of them to “take care” of me, though I was there for my mother and MIL. They have their own lives and families and, frankly, I am helping them, so you have no idea how things may turn out. If you choose to have children, you need to also be prepared for the fact they may not ever, for whatever reason, be able to care for themselves fully, let alone you. When you are in your 20’s you never truly think your baby may not be a healthy one, or may be mentally disabled, or physically disabled enough to need help all their lives, so when you are snarking on those who have decided not to have children at all, remember parents may be taking on a lifetime job and you have to be prepared for that. It’s not selfish to choose to not have children, if that’s what you want. I think it’s selfish if you expect them to “take care” of you or “make sure you aren’t lonely”.

Kristine on

I am always amazed at how judgemental women can be when a woman choses to work and not have a family…right away or ever. It’s really ok that some of us don’t have children at all – some ppl can’t for one reason or another – some chose not to. Why do some mom’s feel like the other women will miss out entirely or miss out if they don’t do it NOW. Couples can be very happy w/o children.

I, for one, had my son at the age of 39…many reasons why – sure he is the youngest nephew and the youngest grandchild, sure I’ll be around 55+ when he graduates high school……….who cares and whose business is it. At 41 I’m a better mom then some 25 or 30 yr olds I see…

I’m happy for Danica that she knows what makes her and her husband happy, jeez women really try to knock one another down.

Rose-2 on

@Nancy Arrigan: Really? A person says they have no interest in being a parent and you respond that they should adopt. Raising a child that was adopted takes just as much commitment as raising a biological child so why would you want to inflict on an innocent child parents who don’t want him/her? And I never understand when people say someone should “just adopt. . . ” as if adopting as such an easy process. It’s not.

Rose-2 on

@Kristine: While I agree with most of what you say, I’m appalled by your “women knock each other down.” No, people knock each other down. People are generally judgmental of other people, it’s not limited to gender, and it’s deeply offensive to hear women being labeled as catty or judgemental as if we are all so horrible and men are all so nice and understanding. It’s simply not true.

mary on

I praise her for living her dream that she wouldnt be able to do with kids. Its selfish but in the good way. Go get em danica..

Sarah S. on

I have two children, but I respect a woman’s choice not to be a mother. Not everyone in the world has to have a child.

Kelly on

I wish more people had the maturity and insight to realize that having children is not for them. The world would have much less unwanted kids, and we’re overpopulated as it is. Women especially have a romanticized view of motherhood and family, and view it as the next step after marriage. Reality kicks in when your life is bent around the kids ( and rightfully so ). It’s okay to say no!!

dsfg on

Nancy Arrigo, she said she doesn’t want to be a parent and that she doesn’t want children. When you adopt children, that’s called having children and being a parents, which is exactly what she DOESN’T want to do.

dsfg on

Indira, what I think is odd is that American women think they have to put off having children to work on their career, yet you never hear men saying that. If you don’t want to have children right away, fine, but to say you can’t work on your career AND have children is very demeaning to women, in my opinion.

dsfg on

“(just my opinion, so please keep the comments to yourself thanks)”

Uh, Jenny, this is a comments section . . .

Holiday on

Kristine being an old mom doesnt make you a better mom! I love how you threw in how you are a better mom then the 25 and 30 year old moms. I became a mommy at 22 and yes he was planned! I have a 14 month old daughter as well now and I am 27 as in my husband. Our son goes to a private school, we are both college graduates, own a nice house and I have been a stay at home mom since my first was born. You are NOT a better mom because you are old. The worst mom I know was 40 when she had her daughter by the way.

Aimee on

I have 3 children and would trade all the “flexible free time, more disposable income and more energy” for 1 “I love you mommy”. I do not judge others who decide to be child free or to have children. But IMHO you do not know love, true unconditional undying love until you have a child. I love my husband and would be extremely upset if anything happened to him but husbands, wives, boyfriends and girlfriends etc come and go, my children are eternal, my own little legacies.

My children and I are very close and while I hope that in my ending time that they will take care of me,the way I took care of them when they were young, it was not my sole purpose in having them. They enrich me more than any hobby, career, education or any other person ever could.

Despite what I have said above, that having had children changed my life for the better I do not care if someone decides not have children. To each their own.

Rose-2 on

@Aimee: Just because you didn’t know true love until you had kids doesn’t mean others can’t experience it. And how sad for you that your husband is merely something that can “come and go,” but not everyone feels that way.

Dawn Miller on

Nancy…did you even read her post? Way to put your agenda on someone else.

dsfg on

“Our son goes to a private school, we are both college graduates, own a nice house and I have been a stay at home mom since my first was born. You are NOT a better mom because you are old.”

Ok, so since when does sending your child to private school, having a college education, etc., make you a better mom?????

Jane on

Why have a kid just so when you’re old and looking across the dinner table at your spouse and think, “Maybe we should’ve had some”. Who says when you have kids they’ll choose to live near you. You don’t have children to bear the responsibilty on them to take care of you. So Susanna, don’t feel sorry for us “non-reproducers” when we look at our spouses in years to come. I like children very much but I am happily childless by choice and never had that “urge” to have children.

We make choices in life that make us happy and some may or may not come with regret later but no one has a crystal ball so you live life in the moment. Those who choose to not become parents should not be labeled as “selfish” either…Heard that one a million times!!! Both my husband and I need to work F/T and I refuse to bring a child/ren into this crazy world only to stick in daycare all day long.

To those of you who have chosen parenthood, I commend you, it’s a difficult job. I fill my life rewarding it with other opportunities that make me feel content.

I think it’s great I can live in a country where you can make choices for yourself. There are women who are not so lucky.

Jillian on

dsfg, I wondered the same thing. You can have a high school education, live with your parents and have your children go to public school and still be a good parent.

Holiday on

I have heard tons of stereotypes on here about how young moms are on welfare, do not have educations or have dead end jobs. I was pointing out that is not always the case!

dsfg on

Holiday, it’s great you aren’t on welfare and that you have an education, but my point is that a person who is on welfare and hasn’t finished school can still be a great parent. In fact, I know several people myself.

Holiday on

I never said they couldnt be good parents! So please stop putting words in my mouth! I am saying I dont like the stereotypes that are put on very young parents including we are on welfare, do not attend college, have dead end jobs etc. If you were a very young parent you would understand what I am talking about.

That other poster said she is a much better parent than a 25 year old and I was pointing out things I have accomplished for my 2 kids to create a better life for them! I got pregnant at 21 but finished college (graduated 7 months pregnant!) and have done everything possible to be the best mom I can! Yes people on welfare and who do not have an education can be good parents, but I wanted more than that for my kids and would sacrifice everything to give them the best. Even at 21 I was able to do that.

dani on

I think she’ll change her mind eventually…..she will make a great mom. remember she’s only 29…she has a long time left.

Shelly on

I just found this thread and wanted to say I turned 50 in October, never wanted kids, had a tubal ligation in my early 20s, and have never regretted my decision. I have a happy, fulfilled life with my husband whom I love very much. I have a college education and love the field I work in (criminal justice). I have a healthy retirement fund and have no worries about any children not being around to take care of me when I get old (what a terribly selfish reason to have kids!).

@Aimee: I feel sorry for you that you didn’t know true love until you had kids. I guess I was lucky enough to experience it with my husband. And I would be DEVASTATED if something were to ever happen to him, not just “upset”. I hope you don’t smother your little “legacies” to the point where they never want to see you again.