Super stars - super mums: The stars who say motherhood is their most important role. By Richard Cole

In one of her latest films, Karen Black played a married woman who seduces a 16-year-old boy. But in real life, Karen is a devoted wife and mother.

When her baby, Hunter, was born three years ago she gave up work to care for him full-time.

Karen is one of many top stars who have turned their backs on success for the sake of their children.

Audrey Hepburn, Charlotte Rampling and Sophia Loren all brought their careers to a halt because their babies were more important.

Others, like Jane Fonda, Linda McCartney, and ABBA’s Agnetha Fältskog arrange their schedules to give them maximum time with their children.

[Sam’s comment: Many of these high profile celebrity mothers’ shared the same experiences with their children as Agnetha did from kidnapping threats to putting their children as the number one priority rather than work, after becoming very rich and famous stars.]

Karen Black’s role as a sultry temptress in In Praise Of Older Women was her second after her baby was born. Her comeback was in Capricorn One.

She says: “I couldn’t take on any big film parts because I was so attached to my child.

“I couldn’t put him down, and I didn’t even want anyone else to tuck him up.”

A woman in Hollywood pays a high price for motherhood.

“It had a far more damaging effect on my career than I expected,” Karen says.

“I lost touch with what was happening. I’m still not back to where I was.”

Karen, who is married to a top Hollywood screenwriter, says she would like to have a second child when she has re-established herself.

Audrey Hepburn, still stunningly beautiful at 50, is picking up her career after 11 years of full-time motherhood.

The chic superstar’s concern for her children has also meant long separations from her husband, Italian Psychiatrist Dr Andrea Dotti.

Because of kidnap threats in Rome to their son Luca, 10, Audrey set up home in safer Switzerland three years ago.

Her 20-year-old son Sean, by her first husband Mel Ferrer, is at university in Switzerland. Dotti commutes at weekends from Rome.

Audrey was one of Hollywood’s highest-paid female stars when she left to be with Luca.

Her comeback film, three years ago, was Robin And Marian. She has made another, Bloodline, for which she collects $700,000 plus a percentage of the profits.

But she is still turning down countless tempting offers.

“Acting is great fun,” she says. “But my children are more important.

“It seems wrong to leave a child for two months while you go off on a film.

“I will take work only if I can fit it in with the needs of my family.”

Jane Fonda is cutting down on work to spend more time with her children.

She is one of the hottest Hollywood properties but she says: “It’s not important to me. My family comes first.”

Jane, daughter of screen veteran Henry Fonda, and husband Tom Hayden are bringing up their 6-year-old son Troy, and Jane’s daughter Vanessa, 10 from her marriage to Roger Vadim.

They live in a 100-year-old timber house in an unfashionable part of Santa Monica, California.

Despite Jane’s massive earnings, she and Hayden who ran for the Senate last year, refuse hired help.

“As a child I had a big house and a swimming pool because I was the daughter of a movie star,” she says.

“My main contact was with the servants. I spent most of my time with the governess, the chauffeur, the gardener and a German cook I was convinced was trying to poison us.

“But what counts is who puts you to bed and who gets you up, who teaches you how to live.

“You can’t hire someone to teach your children what love is. You should bring them up yourself.”

While Hayden was busy with his campaign for the Senate, Jane stayed home and cared for the children.

When Jane is filming, Hayden does the cleaning, feeds the family, and puts the children to bed.

But however busy 41-year-old Jane is, she still spends time every day with the children.

“Tom fixes their dinner if I’m working,” she says. “Then when I get home I read them stories.”

The Haydens allow themselves the luxury of a babysitter, but not often.

They caused a stir at last year’s Oscar ceremony by sitting through it with a child on each lap.

When Linda Eastman married Beatle Paul McCartney, 10 years ago, she had a child Heather, now 16, from her first marriage.

They have added to their family with Mary, 9, Stella, 7, and James, 1.

Like Jane Fonda, they believe in a do-it-yourself household, and have no nannies, cooks or bottle-washers.

Linda, who plays keyboards with McCartney’s group Wings, says: “I don’t like to be away from James. I don’t want other people to have his affection.”

The McCartney’s, both 35, take the children everywhere. Tours are planned to fit in with school holidays, and recording sessions avoid baby-feeding times.

Charlotte Rampling was Britain’s highest-paid actress when, in 1977, she decided to take a two-year break from filming to concentrate on her children.

Since then she has rejected many movie scripts worth millions of dollars.

Charlotte, 33, married composer Michell Jaree last October. They had been together since the 1976 Cannes Film Festival, and have a 2-year-old son, David.

Charlotte has a 6-year-old son, Barnabby from her first marriage, and Jarre has a daughter Emilie, 3, by his first wife.

“I don’t want to get to 50 and have nothing but film posters to look at,” Charlotte says.

“My aim is for a fulfilled life as a wife and mother.”

Sophia Loren, 45, was prepared to risk her phenomenally successful career to have the babies she longed for.

Pregnant after several miscarriages, she cancelled all her plans and moved into a Geneva clinic, under leading Swiss gynaecologist Dr Hubert de Watterville.

Sophia had a son, Carlo, in 1968.

To have her second child, Edoardo, now 6, Sophia again stopped work for nearly a year.

When ABBA’s blonde singer Agnetha Fältskog and husband Björn Ulvaeus decided to try for a baby, they discussed their plans with colleagues Frida Lyngstad and Benny Andersson, and manager Stig Anderson.

The couple, now divorced, wanted to be able to stay at home for the child’s early months.

So, with typical ABBA precision, the group made a film of their Australian tour, and had it released in 1977 when the birth of Christian put Agnetha out of action.

He was their second child, and Agnetha, 29, has always spent as much time as possible at home with her youngsters.

“I don’t like leaving them to go on tour,” she says. “I have a very good nanny, but I’ve no intention of letting my children be brought up by somebody else.”

Leading English model Jilly Johnson was the darling of the jetset, and a favourite at the breakfast tables of millions with her topless poses in newspapers.

Life was a whirl of photo sessions in exotic locations, and glamorous parties. But today Jilly, 24, is a model mum, and spends as much time as possible with 3-year-old daughter Lucy.

She says: “I’m not a nude, gallivanting jet-setter any more.

“The photos in my bag are all of Lucy.”

Jilly is separated from her husband Brian.

She has a nanny, but aims to be home by 6.30 p.m. every evening to put Lucy to bed.

“I hate leaving her,” she says. “She begs me not to go to work, and smothers me with hugs and kisses when I get back.”

Jilly and model Nina Carter make records, calling themselves Blonde On Blonde.

“I couldn’t bear to be separated from Lucy for days on end,” Jilly says.

The man in Jilly’s life is Tony Eyres, who produced Roddy Llewellyn’s ill-fated record album. She says she would like to have another baby soon.

Topless model Vivien Neves once stunned readers of Britain’s August The Times newspaper by appearing nude in an advertisement.

She was nicknamed The Body, and flew round the world on glamorous assignments.

But today Vivien, 30, is a home-body, married, happy to keep house and bring up her 5-year-old daughter Kelly…

One of the golden girls who turned away from the glittering prizes of stardom for the rewards of motherhood. Transcribed for ABBA World

Photos: (1) Agnetha Fältskog of ABBA, with former husband Björn Ulvaeus, and son, Christian. (2) Karen Black, regarded as one of Hollywood’s most exciting young actresses, lost ground in her career due to motherhood. But she still wants another child.

(3) Audrey Hepburn, 50 starting her career again after 11 years’ absence for motherhood. (4) Jane Fonda, despite her activist life and film star career, is a dedicated mother. (5) Jilly Johnson, darling of the jetset and daring model, gave up all to be a mum.

New Idea (Australia) · 6 October 1979 (Page 35)


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