Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Does Natalie Portman 'glorify' single motherhood?

Natalie Portman accepts the Oscar for best actress.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Is Natalie Portman the new Murphy Brown? Mike Huckabee gave the theory a test drive this week, complaining that the pregnant Oscar-winner doesn't have a wedding band on her finger.

Sure, 1992 may be hard to remember, but Mr. Huckabee could have paused for a moment to reflect on the brouhaha Dan Quayle stirred up when he said Candice Bergen's single mom character was "mocking the importance of fathers, by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another 'life-style choice.'"

This is how Mr. Huckabee, who may be testing the waters for another run as U.S. president, phrased it as he addressed a radio host:

Story continues below advertisement

"You know Michael, one of the things that's troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, 'Hey look, you know, we're having children, we're not married, but we're having these children, and they're doing just fine.' But there aren't really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie. And I think it gives a distorted image that yes, not everybody hires nannies, and caretakers, and nurses. Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can't get a job, and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care. And that's the story that we're not seeing, and it's unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock."

Mr. Huckabee has since backtracked a little, saying he didn't mean to slam Ms. Portman. And of course he's happy she is engaged to marry the baby's father, Benjamin Millepied.

Sure, this time the target is a real person, not fictional. Otherwise, the anti-single-mom rhetoric appears not to have shifted a lot over nearly two decades.

Are you surprised we're still having this conversation? Is the tone any different this go-round?

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

Tralee Pearce has been a reporter at The Globe and Mail since 1999, starting as a writer in the paper’s Style section. She joined the new Life section for its launch in 2007. She covers parenting and family issues for the daily section. More

Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at