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It’s simple, really: Ina Garten and Jeffrey decided early on not to have children

Ina Garten says she’s never felt judged for not having children and that being child-free was a deliberate choice for her and her husband, Jeffrey.
Ina Garten says she’s never felt judged for not having children and that being child-free was a deliberate choice for her and her husband, Jeffrey. Instagram

The Food Network’s Ina Garten and her husband, Jeffrey, are one of TV’s most loving couples.

The woman known as the “Barefoot Contessa” has written 10 cookbooks and every one was inspired by part of her life with her husband. Her latest, “Cooking for Jeffrey,” was devoted entirely to him.

Their affection for each other is legend among her fans — the two even inspired Valentine’s Day cards with the sweet message, “You’re my Jeffrey to my Ina.”

They’ve been married 48 years and have created the kind of life they both wanted — and for them that meant no children.

“We decided not to have children,” Garten, who is 69, said on Katie Couric’s latest podcast, which aired 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.”

It was the right choice for them, she said, answering a question some fans have had for years.

“I really felt, I feel, that I would have never been able to have the life I’ve had (with children),” she said.

Their love story began when Jeffrey saw her on the Dartmouth campus during his freshman year. Ina was there visiting her brother in the fall of 1964.

He was looking out of the library window and told his roommate, “look at that girl, isn’t she beautiful?”

The roommate knew who the girl was because he had a date with Ina that night. When the two didn’t hit it off, Jeffrey began wooing her, writing and sending her letters.

“She looked really smart and she looked nurturing,” Jeffrey, who is 70, said once in an interview with the Food Network Magazine. “She looked like she would take care of me.

“I don't want to make it seem supernatural or anything, but I saw everything that was to be. I just knew she’d be the kind of woman I’d want to be around forever.”

 

48 years ago today and still dancing. #loveofmylife

A post shared by Ina Garten (@inagarten) on

Garten told Couric they’ve never felt pressured to have children, nor have they felt judged by friends or family for their decision.

“I never felt that people (judged us),” she said. “I think the one thing that we miss (out on) 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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