Ina Garten and her husband Jeffrey have one of the most coveted marriages on television. Over the course of 48 years together, they’ve shared laughs, love, and not to mention very good food, but the pair decided early on that they wouldn’t share kids together.
“We decided not to have children,” the Food Network star says in a new episode of the Katie Couric Podcast airing on Thursday. “I really appreciate that other people do and we will always have friends that have children that we are close to but it was a choice I made very early.”
“I really felt, I feel, that I would have never been able to have the life I’ve had,” she continues. “So it’s a choice and that was the choice I made.”
When Couric brought up the stigma that often surrounds married couples who decide not become parents, Garten says she never felt judged for her decision. “I never felt that people did,” she says. “I think the one thing that we miss is a lot of people’s friends are the parents of their kids’ friends. So we never had that connection with other people that I see, that network. But no I never felt judged by it—maybe people did but I didn’t notice.”
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The cookbook author met Jeffrey when she was in her teens visiting her brother at Dartmouth College, where Jeffrey was a student. During the podcast—which launched last summer and has gone on to host big names like Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Alec Baldwin—Garten remembers the adorable moment he first laid eyes on her.
“He saw me walking around the campus and he said to his roommate, ‘I wonder who that girl is.’ Now you have to understand Dartmouth was all men at that time so I was like the only girl walking around,” she laughs. “It wasn’t like I was Elle Macpherson walking around Dartmouth and six months later he showed up at my doorstep, which is amazing that he remembered.”
Since their 1968 wedding, Garten says the key to their lasting marriage is respect. “The secret is that you just take care of each other and admire each other and support each other and you get that back,” she says.
Oh, and Jeffrey’s willingness to compromise doesn’t hurt either. “If Jeffrey and I disagree on something,” she says, “he always agrees with me!”