How Cameron Diaz's Views on Marriage and Motherhood Have Evolved

The star, who once insisted she wasn't sure she'd ever get married, wed Benji Madden on Monday

Photo: Stefanie Keenan/WireImage

Cameron Diaz surprised everyone when she wed Good Charlotte rocker Benji Madden on Monday after just months of dating – especially since she hasn’t always been sure about becoming a wife.

“I don’t know if anyone is really naturally monogamous,” she told InStyle in May 2014. “We all have the same instincts as animals. But we live in a society where it’s been ingrained in us to do these things.”

So how did Diaz, 42, decide to tie the knot? And now that she’s married … are kids in the cards? PEOPLE looks back at the actress’s views over the years on marriage, motherhood and why she values her independence.

Chasing True Love

In July 2010, Diaz told British website Stylist that she believes in destiny, fate and true love … but not the concept of finding “the one.”

“Who would want to be with the same person for 80 years? Why not break it up a little bit? I think people get freaked out about getting married and spending 20 or 30 years sleeping with the same person but if that’s the case, don’t do it,” she explained. “Have someone for five years and another person for another five years. Life is long and lucky and yes, love might last forever, but you don’t always live with the person you love forever.”

And in May of that year, she said she’d elope if she found Mr. Right – or throw a super secret ceremony and reveal the details last-minute, much like she did Monday.

“The mystique and the romance of a big wedding are lost on me. I don’t think that I could ever do something that extravagant. I am not much of a planner,” Diaz told Parade. I would probably make the phone call 20 minutes before the bus leaves for the chapel and ask if anyone is available to come. That’s probably how my wedding is going to end up.”

It’s All About Timing

While dating Justin Timberlake, Diaz fielded questions about taking their four-year relationship to the next level.

“I think everybody wants at some point to have that responsibility and involvement,” she told PEOPLE in 2006. “But not at the moment.”

The next year, she sounded more open to parenthood and commitment while answering a reader’s question, responding, “Family is very important to me in every sense. I definitely hope to have that gift in my life one day.”

Never Say Never

After reportedly splitting from British actor Paul Sculfor, Diaz told Cosmopolitan U.K. that she wasn’t making any definitive decisions about her future.

“I never say never. I don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said. “I could end up adopting half a dozen kids, or I could end up being the next ‘octomom’ – who fricking knows!”

Still, she called out society for putting pressure on women to have kids, explaining that being a mom isn’t for everyone.

“I think women are afraid to say that they don’t want children because they’re going to get shunned. But I think that’s changing too now,” she said. “I have more girlfriends who don’t have kids than those that do. And honestly? We don’t need any more kids. We have plenty of people on this planet.”

And the same goes for marriage, she told Maxim in June 2011.

“I think we have to make our own rules,” she said. “I don’t think we should live our lives in relationships based off of old traditions that don’t suit our world any longer.”

‘I Am Not Sitting Here Feeling Empty’

While promoting the ensemble mommy movie What to Expect When You’re Expecting in May 2012, Diaz did a number of interviews about why she wasn’t rushing to have a baby. Though she mentioned adoption, she remained frank and laid-back about the prospect of motherhood.

“If one day, I am blessed with the experience of having a child, I would be overjoyed, but I am not sitting here feeling empty because I haven’t yet, or that I may not,” she said in Harper’s Bazaar U.K.

In Redbook, she got frank about her early expectations: “I thought I was going to be married and have two children by the time I was 21. I think I felt I had to model my life after my mother’s. But then my career was starting to take off and there were still so many things I wanted to do. So that dream for me was shattered early on. After that I never put another time line on anything in my life.”

And in an InStyle article, she said she’d consider having children – one day.

“Society definitely puts pressure on women to make them think their lives should go a certain way. I’ve never said I don’t want children – I just haven’t had children yet,” she said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen in my life!”

Her Views Today

“If I wanted kids, at any point in life, I would have them,” Diaz told The Telegraph in April 2014. “But I’m certain that if at any point I wanted a child, that child would find its way into my life, whether through adoption, or through being in a relationship with somebody who has a child. I can’t see the future, but one thing I do know is that I’m not childless. I have a ton of children in my life. I can have a kid any second, if I want. All my friends would be like, ‘Sure, come and get them.’ ”

But in Esquire‘s August 2014 cover story about her loving her life in her 40s, Diaz – who was dating Madden at the time – seemed more comfortable with the idea of never having kids.

“It’s so much more work to have children,” she said. “To have lives besides your own that you are responsible for – I didn’t take that on. … A baby – that’s all day, every day for 18 years. Not having a baby might really make things easier, but that doesn’t make it an easy decision. I like protecting people, but I was never drawn to being a mother.”

As for marriage, Diaz told InStyle that it’s not necessarily the key to a blissful existence.

Still, something tells us she just got her happy ending. Congrats to the newlyweds!

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