Women who have only one child have been guilted by others for not giving their child a sibling, but Lisa Kudrow was merely respecting her son's wishes.
Mothers end up shouldering many burdens that come with the role. For some, it's the guilt of being a working mom, for some it's about being a stay-at-home mother, and for yet others, it could be about the number of kids they have. Women who have only one child have been guilted by others for not giving their child a sibling. That prejudice could stem from misguided notions that a single child would be maladjusted. However, many studies have debunked that myth already.
Actress Lisa Kudrow doesn't worry or feel guilty that her son, Julian Murray Stern, 23, has no siblings. Kudrow, 57, known for Friends and Web Therapy, shares her child with French advertising executive Michel Stern. The pair met in the 1980s but didn't start dating until many years later. They got married in 1995 and have been together ever since.
"When [Michel and I] decided to get married, we understood: We’re not promising to love each other forever because you can’t do that, but we are promising to work on whatever problems come up. We’re committed to our marriage working," she told Glamour. "It turns out after you have a history, there’s such a bond, and love takes another shape," she added. "But, oh, I don't want to jinx it—I'm superstitious!" she said in 2014.
The Romy and Michele's High School Reunion actress also believes that couples should have lives independent of each other. "[Michel and I] respect each other's independence, and I don't mean that as a euphemism. I don't mean relationshipwise outside the marriage. Clear? But I don't like to travel. So if he wants to go on a golf trip, he goes. I think people get in trouble [when they assume they're] supposed to be one unit, in sync about everything. [Marriage] is like being on a team. Each teammate is different, but you have the same goal," she said.
And, for this team, the happiness of their one child has been crucial. They listened to their child's request for no siblings. "[He] made it clear from the moment he could speak that he didn’t want a brother or sister ... [and] it just worked out that way anyway—but to this day, he’ll say, ‘Thank you,'" she said, as per New York Post. This mom gave her son the exact gift he wanted by respecting his wishes.
She has always been strict about her work boundaries because she wanted to be there for her child. "I feel strange addressing [work-life balance] because I think most people do not have a choice—both parents need to work—so for me, the guilt is I do not need to be working, but I do like it a lot. So I try to make it all as 9-to-5 as possible. I stopped doing out-of-town films years ago. You have to know your kid. [Julian] wasn't a kid [I could uproot] to New York, then London," she told Glamour.
There are also some benefits to having only one child, apart from the financial ones. You don't have to worry about whether you are dividing your attention equally between them. And, it was likely because she had only one child that she was able to be more prolific in her career and invest more time in her friendships.
After all, her Friends co-star Matt LeBlanc once said that Kudrow confided in him that "she worked harder on" her relationships with her co-stars than her marriage, according to a Vanity Fair article from 2012. This is perhaps why the cast has remained in touch long after the show ended.
Kudrow, who usually keeps her family out of the spotlight, shared a photo of her son, who turned 23 recently. The young man looks exactly like his mom in his birthday photo. The proud mama shared a screenshot of them doing FaceTime and wrote, "FaceTime with my boy to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!"
Her fans were quick to note the similarity between the mother and son. "He looks just like you. So cute. Happy birthday," said one, while another said: "He has your eyes."
Fun fact: Her son was unwittingly on Friends when her character Phoebe was supposed to be pregnant with triplets - her baby bump was real!
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by (L)Amanda Edwards (R)Alberto E. Rodriguez