Many celebrities have thrown the proverbial biological clock out the window. The days of Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei) in My Cousin Vinny stomping her foot and saying, "My biological clock is ticking like this," are all but over. Famous women have been having children at an older age for a while now.
Advancements in medicine and fertility, not to mention more access to contraceptives that allow for better family planning had made it easier for women to put off having babies - at least a bit.
Now, for full disclosure, women who choose to have children later in life, sometimes have more difficulty conceiving and maintaining a healthy pregnancy, especially if it's their first. If they're over 35, they are at a greater risk of both miscarriage and stillbirth. Still, plenty of older women manage to have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.
In 2016, Fortune reported more women over 40 were having babies and one reason for the increase was a desire to establish one's career before taking on motherhood. Certainly, that would make sense for musicians, actresses, and other famous people, who tend to have great ambition.
Being able to delay motherhood and pursue a career and other interests beforehand is a real sign of girl power. It's a way for women to control their own destinies. And the rich and famous who have gone forth and had children later in life symbolize such relatively newfound freedom. Celebrate the celebrities who have had children after 40:
15 Janet Jackson
At age 50, Janet Jackson was quiet about her pregnancy for a long time. In fact, she never made any announcements, and even her 2012 wedding to Wissam Al Mana, the baby's father, was a secret. People became suspicious when she canceled her tour to "plan her family," according to Huffington Post.
Then, her brother Tito confirmed she was expecting in an interview with Andy Cohen, and she later showed off her bump in People. Jackson gave birth to son Eissa Al Mana Jan. 3, 2017, and the delivery reportedly went well. "Sources close to the Jackson family" have told reporters at different outlets that Jackson was excited to become a mother.
"She’ll be a great mother because she is very tough, very strict," her brother Jermaine Jackson has said, who has nine children of his own, according to People. "But I tell her, 'If you need any parenting skills or baby skills, let me know because I’m the best diaper changer there is on this planet, still to this day.'"
14 The Material Girl, Madonna
Madonna had her first baby, daughter Lourdes Maria Leon, in 1996 when she was still in her 30s. But her second child, son Rocco Ritchie, was born in 2000 when she was 42 years old. Madonna has said that she applied experiences and talents that served her well in her career to her parenting.
"I owe my continued success to several attributes - discipline, focus, tenacity, willingness to compromise and collaborate, patience, and commitment," she has said, according to Parents magazine. Sometimes being an experienced adult can provide guidance to a parent. Then again, age makes no difference when it comes to the joys of becoming a parent.
"I was stunned when I saw on the ultrasound a tiny, living creature, spinning around in my womb," wrote Madonna in diaries published by Vanity Fair as reported by E Online. "Tap-dancing, I think, waving its tiny arms around and trying to suck its thumb. I could have sworn I heard its laughing."
In addition to Lourdes and Rocco, the superstar has adopted two children. In his teens, Rocco and Madonna faced a public rift as she and the boy's father fought for custody. It became evident that her son preferred staying with his dad in London, and that's ultimately what Rocco did. But she did post pictures of him on Instagram to express how much she missed him.
Based on her writings and interviews over the years, fans get the sense she is a committed mother.
13 Gwen Stefani
Gwen Stefani began having children when she was in her 30s. But she too had her third son with then husband Gavin Rossdale when she was 44. Inspired by her kids and a devotion to fashion, she launched Harajuku Mini, a children's clothing line for Target.
And she has a reputation for being a hand's on mom and for experiencing sleep deprivation like all the other mammas on the playground and yet managing to oversee a thriving music career. It's really sort of amazing. That's why so many people root for her.
When her marriage to Rossdale ended because she reportedly found out about a three-year extramarital affair he carried on with the nanny, the world felt for her. They cheered for her again as she moved on and began dating fellow Voice coach Blake Shelton. Rumors keep swirling about babies with the country singer, but they've repeatedly denied them.
12 Kelly Preston
Kelly Preston and John Travolta are one of the few Hollywood couples to have had an enduring marriage. The couple tragically lost their son Jett in 2009. Devastated but ready to fill their home with more love, they set out to have another baby when Preston was in her 40s.
It wasn't easy, the couple has admitted. They have said that it took three years for her to get impregnated, and that it was a surprise when it finally happened. Benjamin Travolta was born in 2010, just one year after their eldest son passed away. They also have a daughter Ella Bleu, who was 10 when Benjamin was born and reportedly sat outside the delivery room with family friend Kirstie Alley awaiting his arrival.
What a story to tell about becoming a big sister! At the time People reported that the couple said, "Benjamin has brought us a new beginning."
11 Mariah Carey
When Mariah Carey was 42 when she delivered twins, Monroe and Moroccan. The father, celebrity Nick Cannon, was married to Carey at the time, and the babies were born on their parent's third wedding anniversary. Since then, Carey and Cannon have split up. But they focus on co-parenting.
They have posted social media photos with their kids at dinner and on Halloween even after their split. For a time Carey was engaged to Australian billionaire James Packer. Although the two of them have called off the wedding, when they were together, Carey said she did not plan on having any more kids.
At the time she expressed how hard it is to manage motherhood and how jealous her kids would be. News outlets have also reported that she experienced a miscarriage and went through fertility treatments to get impregnated with her twins. No matter, she also has sent the message loudly and clearly that she loves her babies and it was all worth it, according to ET Online.
"I want them to be safe and protected and around good people," Carey said, according to the website. "But I want them to be happy."
10 Nicole Kidman
Since divorcing Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman married country singer Keith Urban, with whom she has two young daughters, Sunday and Faith. Kidman gave birth to Sunday in 2008 when she was 41. And Faith, also their biological child, was brought into the world via surrogate.
After reportedly having two miscarriages when married to Cruise, she and her then-husband adopted two children, Bella and Connor. For years, people have speculated that she did not have much of a relationship with them after they decided to stay with their father when the couple split.
Some have suggested the children, like their father, are believers in Scientology, a religion that has faced controversy recently and might have caused the rift. Kidman has said she would not speak publicly about Scientology out of respect for her children's beliefs, according to a number of news outlets. The children, who are adults now, have said they have a good relationship with their mother.
Motherhood is natural to Kidman, she has said. "That love brings you to your knees," Kidman said of motherhood, according to CBS News. "That love has you crawling over hot coals. That love has you laying down on a train track and giving up your life like that if you have to."
9 Halle Berry
Few people were as enamored with expecting as Oscar winner Halle Berry, who once said she loved being impregnated and would stay that way forever if she could, according to People. She gave birth to her first child - a daughter named Nahla - when she was 41. At 47, she gave birth to a son, Maceo.
She has been open in the past about the challenges moms have balancing family and career. Berry said she turned from working in film to television as a way to spend more time at home, but she quickly realized there are no easy fixes.
"I thought, 'Oh, I’m going to go do TV and be at home with my family," she said during the CBS Summer Press Day in May 2015, according to Hello! magazine. “I didn’t see my family, and I never worked harder in my life. Hats off to everybody that does television because it is a grind.”
During that press conference she also reportedly talked about the struggle to nurse her then 3-month-old son and described "drive-by nursing," where she was ducking into a trailer for 10 minutes at time to breastfeed her baby. No matter the age or celebrity, some things never change.
8 Salma Hayek
In 2007, at 41, actress Salma Hayek gave birth to her first child, a daughter, Valentina Paloma Pinault. At the time, Hayek was engaged to the baby's father François Henri Pinault, a French billionaire businessman, who has two children from a previous relationship.
The couple is married now, and Hayek has recently reflected on how appreciative she is that she was able to experience motherhood. "I had my child so late in life," said Hayek, according to People. "I thought I wasn’t going to be able to, and it was such an important thing to me." Hayek also revealed that she was not working at first, but her husband encouraged her to keep up her career.
She's glad she did, she has said, because she thinks it sets a good example for her daughter. Pinault is also father to a son with supermodel Linda Evangelista, with whom he had a four-month affair before marrying Hayek. Evangelista took him to court for child support.
During the court proceedings Pinault revealed that he asked Evangelista to put off the legal proceeding during Hayek's pregnancy because she had been told the baby had Down Syndrome and nearly miscarried, according to New York Daily News. However, the tests were wrong, and Valentina was born in 2007, and she was healthy baby.
7 Celine Dion
Celine Dion famously underwent fertility treatments to get impregnated with both her oldest son and her twin boys. Dion made this list for the twins, whom she delivered at 42. Some writers called out her and other celebrities, who had children after 40, for making it seem easy and possible for anyone to do.
The truth is without being able to afford costly fertility treatments some of these miracles would not be possible. But Dion has been open about her struggle and what she went through to have children, including talking about a miscarriage she experienced and the fact that the twins were triplets and one of the babies did not make it.
Now, Dion is raising her sons on her own; her husband, the children's father, passed away after a long battle with cancer in January 2016. She says she is taking the challenges of being a single mom in stride. “It’s hard,” Dion says, according to People. “But [my husband] left me with all of his strength.”
6 Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon was told she would never be able to have children after getting a diagnosis of endometriosis. At 38, she proved them wrong and had her daughter Eva Amurri. Then, she had her sons Miles and Jack Henry Robbins, one when she was 43 and the other when she was 46.
Sarandon has spoken candidly about the joys and challenges of motherhood. She recently became a grandmother, too. When her daughter was expecting, she discussed the anticipation with Elle.
"If you can raise children that turn out to be people who you want to have dinner with, that's great," she said, according to the magazine. "I was 10 years older [when I had her] than she will be when she has her baby. She is in a very different position and she also has a very good mate. The only thing you can't be overqualified for is parenting and it takes every ounce of creativity and stamina and imagination to have fun at it. I look forward to watching her get stuck with that. I look forward to being there to be the one that does all the things with the kids that they are not allowed to do."
5 Marcia Gay Harden
An accomplished, Oscar-winning actress, Marcia Gay Harden had her first child, a daughter named Eulala Grace, in her late 30s. But she gave birth to twins - a boy, Hudson Harden Scheel, and a girl, Julitta Dee Harden Scheel - when she was 44.
Notably, she proudly showed off her belly bump on the red carpet in 2004, where she said that the babies were jumping around with every noise at the big events, according to People. Harden is writing a memoir due for release in 2017 that traces her life with that of her own mother, Beverly Bushfield Harden, who was a naval officer's wife and is struggling with Alzheimer's disease, according to Page Six.
In talking about being a mom, making her marriage work, and having a successful career, Harden admitted it's hard, according to OK! magazine. "It’s an insane, glorious hijacking," Marcia said, according to the publication. "It’s a juggle, and the balls drop. The balls drop, and for a long time, I wanted to keep them in the air all the time. Then, I realized they drop, they bounce, you pick it up. It’s OK."
4 Beverly D'Angelo
Actress Beverly D'Angelo, famous for her role in the National Lampoon movies, had twins - Olivia and Anton James - with then boyfriend Al Pacino in 2001, when she was 49 and Pacino was 60. She had pre-labor contractions that concerned her, and her Lampoon's co-star Chevy Chase had said she was worried because she was an older mother, according to People.
D'Angelo conceived the twins through in-vitro fertilization, and the couple had a testy court battle over custody of the children after they split. Things got heated and the nastiness that passed from one camp to the other played out in public. Still, they seem to relish parenthood.
Pacino, who has an adult daughter from a previous relationship, has said that he loves coming home to little ones and tending to them and basically figuring out that everything isn't all about you.
3 Geena Davis
Geena Davis and fourth husband Reza Jarrahy have three children, all of whom were born when she was in her 40s. She had her daughter Alizeh in 2002 when she was 46 and sons Kian and Kaiis in 2004 when she was 48.
Davis' 88-year-old father told People magazine that his daughter was "amazing" and that she didn't have any morning sickness and delivery was a breeze, which he added was impressive for her age. Indeed, it was. Davis has promoted gender equality in media, specifically fighting for more women characters and storylines in television and movies.
She has said that she tries to serve as the "media expert" to her children, especially in their youth. "When I visit studios and I point out how few female characters there are in the world of the movies, especially the population of the group scenes and the crowd scenes, they're stunned," she said, according to Working Mother.
"Usually their immediate reaction is, 'Oh, we have to fix that. We have to change that.' I spoke at an animation studio recently, and the group they gathered was almost all male, because that’s who's making the movies and creating the characters. And when I talked about how few females there are in crowd scenes in animated movies, the head of the animation company said, 'Is that true? Guys, can we just decide right now not to do that anymore?' Sometimes making change is as simple as creating awareness."
2 Helen Hunt
Helen Hunt, Oscar winner and star of the sitcom Mad about You, gave birth to her daughter Makena in 2004 when she was on the brink of turning 41. The father is her longtime love and writer-producer Matthew Carnahan.
A BabyCenter blog post recounts Hunt's interview with David Letterman in which she explained that spiritual master and Indian guru Sri Chinmoy lifted her over his head in ritual. In the interview, she credited the guru with helping her get pregnant.
He had also encouraged her to pray for what she wanted, which she said she did. Hunt also expressed gratitude at being able to have become a mother. More recently, Hunt tweeted a photo of her daughter's arm with a Henna tattoo of mom on it. And Hunt wrote, "My life is so good."
1 Kim Basinger
Kim Basinger was 41 when she gave birth to Ireland Eliesse, her daughter with ex-husband Alec Baldwin. The couple became known for having a fiery and divisive relationship, and they divorced in 2002 after almost nine years of marriage. Ireland was 7 at the time, and Basinger has been honest about how rough the split was on her daughter. "Divorce is hard on a kid, no matter how you cut it. And ours was very public and nasty," Basinger told The Edit by Net-A-Porter, according to People. "So I brought up Ireland in a very unconventional way." She admits to allowing her certain whims and wanting to fill her life with love. Ireland faced some tough times and reportedly went through rehab. She has also posed nude and done some provocative online videos in the past. One thing is certain, no one questions Ireland's beauty, and she has proven to get along with both her parents, whose relationship has improved with time, according to reports from Basinger.
Sources: People, Huffington Post, Parents, BabyCenter