Lily Allen says having children ‘totally ruined’ her music career

Singer and actor has hit out at the notion that working mothers can ‘have it all’

Nicole Vassell
Tuesday 12 March 2024 10:40 GMT
Lily Allen confesses she loves her children ‘but they ruined her career’

Lily Allen has shared her frank feelings on balancing her career with motherhood, claiming that having children “ruined” her popstar potential.

The singer and actor burst onto the music scene aged 21 with her debut single, “Smile”, in 2006.

An instant smash, the song reached No 1 on the UK charts and set in motion several years of Allen being one of Britain’s biggest music stars.

However, in a new discussion on the Radio Times Podcast, Allen, now 38, has admitted that her music pursuits stalled when she became a mother.

“My children ruined my career,” she said to host Kelly-Anne Taylor and fellow guest, presenter Miquita Oliver.

“I love them and they complete me, but in terms of pop stardom, they totally ruined it.”

Allen has two daughters with her ex-husband Sam Cooper: Ethel Mary, born in 2011, and Marnie Rose, born in 2013.

Allen has found recent success on London’s West End stage (Getty)

Laughing, Oliver said she was pleased to hear Allen’s straightforward take on the subject, saying: “That’s such a good answer, I’m so glad to hear someone say that, because people go ‘Oh, of course not!’”

Allen continued her point by sharing her frustration with the idea that it is possible to excel in both a career and parenthood in equal measure.

“Does not mix,” she noted. “I get really annoyed when people say you can have it all because, quite frankly, you can’t.”

The “LDN” artist then explained that she was satisfied with her choice to prioritise raising her children because of how she was raised by her own parents: actor Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen.

Amazon Music logo

Enjoy unlimited access to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music

Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up
Amazon Music logo

Enjoy unlimited access to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music

Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up

“Some people choose their career over their children, and that’s their prerogative. But my parents were quite absent when I was a kid, and I feel like that really left some nasty scars that I’m not willing to, you know, repeat on mine,” Allen said.

“And so I chose stepping back and concentrating on them, and I’m glad that I’ve done that because I think they’re pretty well-rounded people.”

Allen: ‘I love my children but they ruined my career’ (Getty/Radio Times Podcast)

Allen, who has been married to Stranger Things star David Harbour since 2020, has previously spoken about how she’s battled the pressures of having a “successful” music career and felt embarrassment over not succeeding.

“I also felt shame professionally if things didn’t turn out just so,” she told InStyle in 2020. “I was trying to please everybody, so if the record company wasn’t happy with my sales or people were criticising the way I looked, I felt as if I had to do whatever it took to be considered successful.”

More recently, Allen has focused her creative energies on acting, with West End roles in 2:22 A Ghost Story and The Pillowman, as well as the Sky Atlantic comedy-drama Dreamland.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in