Ina Garten, since opening specialty store Barefoot Contessa in 1978 and subsequently turning the brand into an iconic cooking show in 2002, has built quite the enviable empire.
The Food Network star’s fans have long vied for her epic East Hampton home and breathtaking garden, her romantic Paris apartment, and, though she of course is best known for her cooking (and her nearly 20 cookbooks), her storybook romance with beloved husband Jeffrey Garten is as undetachable from her image as her signature poplin shirts.
The pair, who have been married for almost 60 years, have an undisputed “couple goals” status, and fans always know to expect the beloved chef to dedicate each one of her books to her husband. Now, though Food Network viewers have for years been invited into her home – albeit through the screen – Ina is opening up about her family like never before, particularly her decision to not have children.
In a conversation with BBC News‘ Katty Kay, Ina, 75, revealed she is in the process of writing a memoir, and the journey has made her reflect on how her childhood – and its hardships – manifested itself in her own familial decisions.
Ina and Jeffrey tied the knot in 1968 when she was 20 years old and he 22, and it wasn’t long after that the two decided on not having kids, in part considering Ina might not be able to have done what she wanted to do professionally had she had them.
She said: “I think it’s much harder,” of balancing children with a career, though noted she doesn’t think it’s solely why she made the decision.
Ina confessed it’s in fact her childhood, it not being something she ever wanted to “recreate,” that truly influenced her decision.
As she works on looking back on her life for her memoir, she said: “I’m always looking forward to look back and realized a lot of my decisions were based on my childhood,” adding: “I think that was the motivating factor.”
Plus, she endearingly declared: “And Jeffrey and I were just so happy together.”
Ina and Jeffrey first met in 1963 while on the campus of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, when Ina, then Ina Rosenberg, was visiting her brother. Four years after their wedding – during which they spent a year apart while Jeffrey was stationed in Thailand, and spent four months together backpacking through Europe – they moved to Washington D.C. where he worked for the State Department and her as a nuclear-budget analyst at the Office of Management and Budget.
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