'It Definitely Goes Against Some Instinct': Stars Get Candid About Their Thoughts on Monogamy
Celebs open up about their experiences with committed relationships
Winfrey has been with boyfriend Stedman Graham since 1986, and explained to Vogue why skipping a walk down the aisle saved their relationship. "Nobody believes it, but it's true. The only time I brought it up was when I said to Stedman, 'What would have happened if we had actually gotten married?' And the answer is: 'We wouldn't be together,'" she said. "We would not have stayed together, because marriage requires a different way of being in this world. His interpretation of what it means to be a husband and what it would mean for me to be a wife would have been pretty traditional, and I would not have been able to fit into that."
The star shared similar sentiments in an essay for her magazine O, The Oprah Magazine - published on Jan. 15, 2020 - and added that she simply wanted to be "asked" than actually go through with marriage.
She explained: "I realized I didn't actually want a marriage. I wanted to be asked. I wanted to know he felt I was worthy of being his missus, but I didn't want the sacrifices, the compromises, the day-in-day-out commitment required to make a marriage work. My life with the show was my priority, and we both knew it. He and I agree that had we tied the marital knot, we would not still be together."
The daughter of Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith revealed her outlook on monogamous relationships during a discussion about sex with her mother, grandmother Adrienne Banfield-Jones and best friend Telana Lynum on their Facebook Watch show Red Table Talk.
"That feeling of 'you're my one and my only, there's no one else'… for me, that would not work," Willow revealed.
"It's a tricky one, and I tell you I think about it a lot with married women who are in this sexual monotony of feeling this obligation of having to have sex because they're in a monogamous relationship," Jada responded.
The actor, who ended a four-year marriage in 2003 and was wed for less than a year in 2006, recently opened up to Essence about whether or not he'd ever walk down the aisle again. "Am I ever gonna get remarried? I don't think so. Yeah, I don't think so," he said. "Marriage is an institution of sorts. And I've done it. It's not for everybody. It's not my life's calling." Elba's priorities now revolve around kids Isan and Winston, who provide all the excitement he needs. "Because I'm 44 years old with a two-and-a-half-year-old boy, I'm rolling around playing and then I'm at a Drake concert with my teenage daughter. Having a young child now keeps me young, without a doubt," he told Essence.
"I think the idea of marriage is very romantic; it's a beautiful idea, and the practice of it can be a very beautiful thing," the actress told Playboy in February. "I don't think it's natural to be a monogamous person. I might be skewered for that, but I think it's work. It's a lot of work. And the fact that it is such work for so many people - for everyone - the fact of that proves that it is not a natural thing. It's something I have a lot of respect for and have participated in, but I think it definitely goes against some instinct to look beyond."
"I've always wanted to be in a partnership, I've always wanted to have that kind of intimacy and collaborate with someone in such a deep way. But I think that can be achieved in a lot of ways," the Homeland star told BlackBook in 2009. "I was talking to my friend recently about monogamy - is it feasible, is it realistic? I resolved that there isn't really a better model. We just can't shake monogamy. It definitely demands a kind of rigor and discipline and selflessness. But it's also fun."
"I just haven't met anyone where I was like, 'Wow, I could definitely see myself spending a season of my life with you.' I don't even know if humans are genetically made to be with one person forever," Woodley revealed to Marie Claire in 2014.
"People have such a childish view of monogamy and fidelity," the actor told Mr. Porter in 2013. "'He's cheated so he's bad, she's cheated so she's bad,' as opposed to a recognition that our species is not monogamous."
He continued: "My relationship with my present wife is thrilling to me and I'm committed to it. But neither she nor I know what shape the future will come in. Sexual fidelity can't be the whole thing you hang your relationship on. If you really love somebody you want them to grow, but you don't get to define how that happens. They do."
"A lot of people chase after [marriage] because they've been told, 'This equals happiness.' They chase it, they get it, and they find out, 'Why did I think this was going to make me happy? I'm miserable!' " Diaz, who is now married to Benji Madden, explained to InStyle in 2014. "I don't know if anyone is really naturally monogamous. 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."
"I do think that monogamy is an odd state, and actually I think it's an odd state for women," she shared during a 2013 chat on Mumsnet. "I think that we're locked into certain ideas and certain romantic ideals that have shaped our thinking about relationships for some time."
Thompson added: "I sometimes wonder whether, whilst there is of course a completely wonderful monogamous model, that we'd all love because it feels safe and secure and there's probably less work, than say another model that is three relationships over the three stages of your life. Your young life, your middle life, and your late life ... All I'm suggesting is that there are other models and I'm also suggesting that we'd been a little bit caught by the happy-ever-after ideal."
"I think that monogamy is artificial," Ford said in an interview with Arena. "I do not think it's something that comes naturally to us ... The relationship I've been in for 18 years - I don't even want to get into this because he's going to read this and I'm going to be in so much s---!"
"The whole idea of monogamy is nonsensical to me," the actress told Esquire in 2006. "I suppose I understand the idea of a lifelong helpmate and friend. But when you have to stay sexually monogamous to this one person, I think it's usually a big fat lie."
She added: "Read the statistics. Seventy percent of people are having affairs. And if they're not, they're jerking off to porn every night."