Motherhood or stardom: Lily Allen says her children ‘ruined’ her career but ‘I love them and they complete me’

12 March 2024, 09:32 | Updated: 12 March 2024, 10:05

Lily Allen said in an interview: "My children ruined my career"
Lily Allen said in an interview: "My children ruined my career". Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Lily Allen has said her children "complete" her but they have "ruined" her career.

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The 38-year-old singer has two daughters - Ethel Mary, 11, and nine-year-old Marnie Rose - with ex-husband Sam Cooper.

Discussing how having children affected her career choices, Allen told Radio Times: "My children ruined my career. I love them and they complete me, but in terms of popstardom, they totally ruined it.

"I get really annoyed when people say you can have it all because, quite frankly, you can't.

"Some people choose their career over their children and that's their prerogative, but my parents were quite absent when I was a kid. I feel like it left some nasty scars that I'm not willing to repeat on mine.

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Lily Allen filming a video in Margate
Lily Allen filming a video in Margate. Picture: Alamy

"I chose to step back and concentrate on them. I'm glad that I've done that because I think they're pretty well-rounded."

Allen, who is the daughter of actor Keith Allen and film producer Alison Owen, remembered being left outside when her parents were out for a meal.

She said: "Our parents used to hang out in this one particular restaurant called 192.

"There wasn't enough space for the kids, so we would be left outside, going round Portobello Market. We'd shoplift things."

The star, who broke out in 2008 with her chart-topping hit Smile, stopped making music after the release of her 2014 album Sheezus.

She has since found a new creative outlet in acting and made her West End debut in 2:22 A Ghost Story.

She said: "I was about two years sober. I'd just moved to New York. A big part of sobriety is surrendering and letting God - in whatever way you want to believe in that - have a plan for you.

"I got a call from a casting director who was putting on a play in the West End. I said 'No, I'm not an actress'.

"But then I was talking to David (her husband, Stranger Things star David Harbour) - I'd been feeling a bit directionless and didn't really know what I was doing with my life, except for being a mum and setting up a new home in Brooklyn - and he said 'Maybe you should call them back'.

"Five weeks later I was in rehearsal."

Allen received an Olivier Award nomination for best actress for her performance in 2022.

Since then she has starred in a stage production of The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh.

She has also appeared on television in Dreamland, about four sisters living on the Kent coast.

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