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Ina Garten Says Husband Jeffrey Would Have ‘Loved’ to Have Kids — But Wanted Her to Be Happy More

Ina Garten Says Husband Jeffrey Would Have 'Loved' to Have Kids but Wanted Her to Be Happy
Ina Garten and Jeffrey Garten. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Marriages are all about making compromises, and Ina Garten opened up about the major compromise her husband, Jeffrey Garten, made in the early days of their relationship.

“I think Jeffrey would have been a great parent. He would have really loved having children, but he wanted me to be happy and it was OK with him,” Ina, 76, revealed on the Wednesday, April 17, episode of Julia Louis-Dreyfus“Wiser Than Me” podcast.

The decision not to have kids is something Ina says was never a “struggle” for her. “I had no interest in having children. I had a terrible childhood, and it was nothing I wanted to recreate,” the Food Network star explained. “I think now looking back, I see my friends with their children and I understand what it could be. But when I was 20, I didn’t want to have anything to do with it.”

She continued: “When I was a kid, I didn’t have any choices. Somebody else made all my choices. So once I had the power, I really used it.”

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Just like her stance on having kids, Ina shared her strong opinions about the power of marriage earlier in the podcast episode. “People think that being in a marriage is confining in some way, but I find it’s just the opposite,” she stated. “It’s like a big anchor, like a stake, in the middle of my life. And it actually gives me more freedom because I know I will always come back to that stake. It’s solid, it’s supportive, it’s positive.”

Ina met Jeffrey in 1963 while visiting her brother at college, and they wed five years later. Ina looked back at her marriage and other life choices while writing her upcoming memoir, Be Ready When the Luck Happens, which hits bookstores on October 1.

Ina Garten Says Husband Jeffrey Would Have 'Loved' to Have Kids but Wanted Her to Be Happy
Taylor Hill/Getty Images

“What was interesting to me is the threads through — I never look back — the threads that are so consistent. And one of the things is taking risks,” she told Louis-Dreyfus, 63, adding, “It gave me more confidence about who I am. I was very surprised [at] the consistency of things through my life. And I actually didn’t realize it until I started writing, and it made me feel good.”

Ina gushed about her husband during an appearance on Today earlier this month, revealing that Jeffrey wrote to her “every day when he was in college” and during his time in the military. “I put them all in a box, and I had that as a record,” she shared. “It was really quite extraordinary.”

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The Barefoot Contessa host also noted that she ran her memoir by Jeffrey before she sent it to her publisher. “He sat down at 1:30 in the afternoon, thinking, ‘I’ll read for a few hours.’ He didn’t get up until he finished it at 7:30 that night. So lovely,” she said before joking, “I was bringing him snacks so he didn’t starve to death.”

According to Ina, there were details about her and Jeffrey’s relationship that she had forgotten about until she rediscovered their letters. “It made us realize that, ‘Oh yeah, that’s right. That did happen,” she stated.

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