Zendaya Discusses Having Kids, 'Complicated' Feelings Around Child Actors

By Sarah Tate

April 9, 2024

Zendaya is a household name, winning starring roles in films like the Dune series and the highly-anticipated film Challengers as well as consistently killing it on the red carpet, but when it comes to what her future looks like, specifically the possibility of having kids, her path is still a bit unclear.

In a May 2024 cover story with Vogue, Zendaya opened up about her "complicated" feelings as a child actor. She got her start on the Disney Channel series Shake It Up alongside Bella Thorne, per Entertainment Tonight. The conversation around child actors has amped up recently following the release of the explosive documentary series Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, which saw several former child stars speak out about their experiences on difficult and often dangerous sets.

"I don't know how much of a choice I had," she said, speaking of her early roles. "I have complicated feelings about kids and fame and being in the public eye, or being a child actor. We've seen a lot of cases of it being detrimental.... And I think only now, as an adult, am I starting to go, 'Oh, OK, wait a minute: I've only every done what I've known and this is all I've ever known."

She continued, "I'm almost going through my angsty teenager phases now, because I didn't really have the time to do it before. I felt like I was thrust into a very adult position: I was becoming the breadwinner of my family very early, and there was a lot of role-reversal happening, and just kind of becoming grown, really."

When it comes to having kids of her own someday, she's still working out what that could look like as she doesn't want her future children to have to deal with what comes with her level of fame and life in the public eye.

"I don't necessarily want my kids to have to deal with this. And what does my future look like? And I going to be a public-facing person forever?" she said, adding that her ultimate wish for work-life balance would be to "make things and pop out when I need to pop out, and then have a safe and protected life with my family."

Elsewhere in the interview, she praised her boyfriend, actor Tom Holland, for how he has dealt with his own experience in the limelight. Zendaya explained how she and Holland had very different careers before he skyrocketed to fame after being cast as Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

"We were both very, very young, but my career was already kind of going, and his changed overnight," she said, adding of her boyfriend, "One day you're a kid and you're at the pub with your friends, and then the next day you're Spider-Man. I definitely watched his life kind of change in front of him. But he handled it really beautifully."

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