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Ina Garten Says Her Childhood Is the Reason She Didn’t Want Kids: 'It Was Nothing I Wanted to Recreate'

The Food Network star opened up about her 55-year marriage to husband Jeffrey during an interview with BBC News' Katty Kay

nyt cooking/youtube Ina Garten Says Her Childhood Is the Reason She Didn’t Want to Have Kids
nyt cooking/youtube Ina Garten Says Her Childhood Is the Reason She Didn’t Want to Have Kids

Ina Garten is discovering how her past affected her future.

During a BBC News interview with presenter Katty Kay at her East Hampton, N.Y. home, the Food Network star opened up about why she never had children.

"Did you know you couldn't do what you wanted to do if you'd had them?" Kay asked.

“I think it’s much harder. [But] I don’t think that’s why I made the decision,” Garten responded.

Garten, who married husband Jeffrey nearly 55 years ago when she was 20 years old, said that her own childhood is the main reason why she didn't want to expand her family.

“I’m actually writing a memoir right now and it’s kind of looking back at my childhood. It was nothing I wanted to recreate,” she shared. “And I’m always looking forward to look back and realized a lot of my decisions were based on my childhood. And so I think that was the motivating factor.”

Related: Ina Garten Reveals Her ‘Quiet Thanksgiving’ Plans with Husband Jeffrey: ‘We’re Cooking and Watching Old Movies’

She then added: “And Jeffrey and I were just so happy together.”

<p>Ina Garten/Instagram</p> Ina and Jeffrey Garten

Ina Garten/Instagram

Ina and Jeffrey Garten

She then shared advice, particularly for fans in their twenties, about big decisions and milestones in life.

“Everybody wants to know, ‘Where am I going to end up?’ Forget where you’re going to end up. You don’t know where you’re going to end up," she said. "All you know is that if you jump in the pond and you splash around, while you’re there you’re going to go, ‘Oh that’s really interesting over there. I think I’ll follow it there.’ And see where it brings you."

The cookbook author has been candid about her childhood in the past. In 2021, she appeared on an episode of Al Roker's podcast, Cooking Up a Storm, where she revealed that despite her profession, she wasn't allowed to be in the kitchen or cook while growing up.

ina garten/instagram Ina Garten as a child.
ina garten/instagram Ina Garten as a child.

Related: Ina Garten Says Her Mother Didn't Let Her Cook Growing Up: 'She Wanted the Kitchen to Herself'

"I don't know, I think my mother just wanted me in my room and she wanted the kitchen to herself," the Barefoot Contessa star said of her late mom, Florence. "She said, 'It's your job to study, it's my job to cook. Get out of the kitchen.' So I kind of always wanted to do it."

Instead, Garten taught herself how to cook by reading Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and practicing every night. "At some point, I thought, 'I want to do this for my work and not just for fun,'" she said.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Ina and Jeffrey Garten
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Ina and Jeffrey Garten

Garten told Roker that what she didn’t receive as a child is what she wanted to give as an adult in her career.

"I think what I was craving as a child was connecting with people and I felt that if you feed them, they always show up and you have a good time together," she explained on the show. "That was the connection I loved so, I kept doing it over and over again."

Back in 2017, the home cook explained during an episode of Katie Couric's podcast Next Question, that along with being banned from cooking, her mother, who was a dietician, would even restrict foods from her diet.

"My mother was obsessive about food," she said at the time. "So we weren't allowed any carbs, we weren't allowed any butter. We had margarine. And her idea of a great dessert was an apple."

She joked that her career was "the ultimate rebellion" against her mother.

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