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The Childfree Life; "Glee" to go on Without Star Monteith; Hernandez Proclaims Innocence; Terror Threat Closes U.S. Embassies

Aired August 2, 2013 - 10:30   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Thanks so much for being with me. I'm Carol Costello. Checking our top stories at 32 minutes past the hour.

Hiring hit a slump last month. The economy added 162,000 jobs, well below what some analysts had predicted. Retail and food service workers were a bright spot, though with 85,000 jobs added in that sector.

In the Middle East, a terror threat is prompting the State Department to close U.S. embassies across the region. Embassies in Egypt, Israel and other nations will shut their doors on Sunday. Republican Congressman Ed Royce tells CNN he believes the threat is al Qaeda linked.

The White House is weighing its options in the wake of Russia's decision to grant Edward Snowden temporary political asylum. President Obama is set to meet with the Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of next month's G-20 meeting at St. Petersburg. The White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters the administration is now quote "Evaluating the usefulness of that meeting."

The birth rate in the United States has been in freefall for years, recently hitting the lowest level ever in American history. That means now about one out of every five women in their early 40s chooses not to have a child, that's double what it was in 1976. And more and more cases because women are choosing not to have children because their careers or their lifestyles or because they just don't want to.

And the trend is now the focus of the latest issue of "Time" magazine. You see the headline here, "The Child-Free Life." You see the man and the woman on the cover enjoying life on the beach entwined with one another and perfectly happy.

Joining me now from New York is "Time" magazine executive editor, Radhika Jones and in New York Kelly Wallace. She's editor-at-large at CNN Digital, which is also featuring a story on this topic. Welcome to both of you.


RADHIKA JONES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, TIME MAGAZINE: Thank you. COSTELLO: Thank you. Okay, Kelly, I know you have three kids so I'm going to start with Radhika because you have chosen not to have children, as I have. And I think it's hard for women who have children to understand the pressure we feel in not having children.

JONES: I think it's fair to say that we women get judged for any choice that we make, it seems, whether we have no children or one child or seven children. But it's true, I think it's often overlooked that because motherhood is so much the cultural norm and because we hear so much noise about it, we hear so much about the fights between moms with kids at work and stay-at-home moms and we hear about the trials of parenting, we don't often hear from people who have chosen not to have children. And it's not because their life is a beach despite our cover, they've been -- which I'm sure you can attest to.

COSTELLO: We have our problems, too.

JONES: We have -- yes we have our problems, too, we have plenty going on. But -- but it just felt to us you know here at "Time" that this was part of contemporary womanhood that that we weren't really hearing a lot about.

COSTELLO: And Kelly when -- when people ask me, do you have children and I say, no. They always look at me then and say, "Oh, I'm sorry." As if like there's something like physically wrong with me and I'm unable to have children or I'm a poor, sad, selfish person and please go away.

WALLACE: I know. And you know no one ever asks me, "Hey, Kelly, why did you have children?" Right? No one flips it around and asks why did you decide to have kids? And I will admit and a lot of women have been talking about this online, Carol, who say we all kind of sometimes have that gut reaction, kind of surprised, like why doesn't she want to have kids?

And -- and I kind of wanted to slap myself when I think that. Because not everybody wants to have kids, not everybody feels that, not everyone has sort of that motivation. And I think I applaud "Time" really for this story and this conversation we're having because I think we need to kind of get this out there, that many women based on the choices they're having and the lifestyles they're having, are choosing not to. And we shouldn't think it's selfish.

One woman in that iReport on said "Isn't it more selfish to have kids for the wrong reasons, not for the right reasons than to -- to not have them at all?" I thought that was such a good point.

COSTELLO: I know. Because when I think back through my life and I never wanted to have children, even when I was a child. So I think, well, why would I want to have children? Like oh, so they can take care of me in my old age. But that's selfish to me, Radhika.

JONES: Well it is. And they often don't. So -- so counting on that seems -- seems like a mistake. I think, you know, I wasn't that kind of -- and in fact, in terms of my decision, I'm still on the continuum. There's a woman in the story who says for many women, decisions about having children happen on a continuum, you start out in your 20s, thinking oh I'll have three and your whole life is in front of you and then suddenly different opportunities come up and you start to realize that you have different fulfilling and rewarding relationships that maybe don't involve you being a mother.

Maybe your friendships, your romantic relationships, even your relationships with your parents and your own siblings and family can change and deepen as you grow.

So I think it's almost -- it's almost a question of, you know, just being able to absorb that women's lives are incredibly multifaceted now. And that there's no default position really.

COSTELLO: Well something that was interesting in the "Time" magazine article, Kelly, was there -- there might be some biologic, genetic reason why some women choose not to have children.

For example, what I found really interesting is if you were a little girl and you didn't play with dolls and you didn't play-act like family scenarios, which I didn't, I wanted to be a professional baseball player, so maybe I was just born not to have kids.

WALLACE: I know. And that was one of my takeaways with the story, Carol. It doesn't seem like we know for sure, right, if there is any kind of biological connection. But you know the author of the story said that many of the women she interviewed who decided not to have kids, kind of like you, they didn't play with dolls when they were kids, they didn't really want to baby-sit, they didn't kind of dream of playing house.

So there are -- there's something for that. And I just know for myself. I remember in my early 30s, you know the, quote, "biological time clock" ticking. It was ticking. I really felt. I was a reporter out in New Mexico. Every time I was doing stories with kids, I was like, I really want to have children. I didn't kind of feel that in my 20s and up until that time. Not everyone -- not every woman feels that.

So maybe there is some genetic or biological connection. Some of us have that motivation and some of us don't.

COSTELLO: And Radhika, did you feel that same way? Because I didn't even get married until I was 42 years old. So that wasn't even a big, like, oh, I have to get married -- it just wasn't part of me. I just happened to meet a really great guy.

JONES: Well I will say one thing that resonated with me in the story is that so many of the child-free women we spoke to, they actually have lives that are full of children, they have very close relationships with nieces and nephews, godchildren and many of them are teachers, many of them are very supportive of friends' children and when I say supportive, I mean financially supportive, emotionally supportive.

So these are not women who dislike children necessarily or who don't see the point of them or don't want those kinds of relationships, they just, as many of them put it, they just don't feel the need to own one. And I thought that was a very striking way to say it.

COSTELLO: And Kelly, I still would love to meet your kids because I remember when you were pregnant.

WALLACE: I know. How big I was, exactly.

COSTELLO: But you were beautiful, too. And I didn't think you were ever going to leave work. We kept saying, when will Kelly go home and have this baby? Because she's going to have it on the job if she doesn't leave soon.

WALLACE: She's seven now, seven. It's hard to believe.

COSTELLO: Hard to believe. Thank you both for a great conversation.

WALLACE: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Radhika Jones and Kelly Wallace.

JONES: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Just ahead in the NEWSROOM. Acting, singing and dancing, Cory Monteith could do it all. But now "Glee" has found a way to move forward without its breakout star.


COSTELLO: It is a sad fact of life but anyone who works in show business knows this. The show must go on. And it's no different for Fox's hit show, "Glee."


CORY MONTEITH, ACTOR: Just a small town girl living in a lonely world.


COSTELLO: Yes the show will come back for its new season without its breakout star, Cory Monteith, who died of a heroin dose last month. So how does "Glee" plan to do that successfully?

Tory Dunnan is following the story from Los Angeles. Good morning Tory.


Well this is one of the many questions since Cory Monteith died last month of an overdose. Fans just want to know how Fox and the producers of "Glee" plan to handle the actor's death.

So here is the plan. We've known that episode three of "Glee's" upcoming fifth season is where this is all going to be addressed. But according to "Entertainment Weekly," drugs will not be the cause of death for Monteith's character, Finn. And in fact just yesterday, Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Riley told reporters the plans for that episode are yet to be finalized. But we do know that public service announcements on drug abuse are going to air during that show. We're also told that they'll focus on how it's wrong to assume that all addicts look and behave certain ways.

And according to "Entertainment Weekly" as well, the Fox chairman also revealed that the popular "Glee" series will likely end its run after season six. So, Carol, that's sad news there for "Glee" fans who shouldn't anticipate more than two more seasons unless producers find breakout stars and a hot storyline.

And Carol, of course, season five of "Glee" premieres on September 26th. You may remember that that date was pushed back because of Monteith's shocking death. So a little bit of a teaser there that the show is most likely going to end, but who knows? Maybe they'll find those breakout stars.

COSTELLO: Maybe so. Tory Dunnan, many thanks to you.

Still ahead in the NEWSROOM Aaron Hernandez breaks his silence in a letter written to a pen pal. We'll have all the details for you next.


COSTELLO: Checking our top stories at 47 minutes past the hour.

In D.C., a court hearing now taking place for the woman accused of splattering green paint inside the National Cathedral. The hearing is to determine if this woman will remain in custody. She's been charged with felony destruction of property.

Remember this? There were big, big celebrations when 33 mine workers trapped underground for months in Chile were finally rescued nearly three years ago. But today there is outrage because prosecutors say no one is to blame for the mine's collapse and now they're going to close the case. Two of the miners say they want the mine's owners to be held accountable.

In weather news, we're watching two systems for you. First, Dorian may be making a comeback. The remnants of that tropical storm are bringing rain to Florida. Hurricane Gil is churning westward in the Pacific. It's expected to weaken as it moves over cooler waters. Just wanted you to know.

How do you top the world's highest grossing movie of all time? You make not one, not two, but three -- count them, three sequels. That's what "Avatar" director James Cameron plans to do. "Avatar" took in $3 billion in 2009. Expect the first sequel in theaters December of 2016.

Football star sends fan a letter. Seems pretty cool, pretty normal, right? This is a gridiron hero gone wrong. The letter is from the jailhouse. TMZ is reporting that murder suspect, Aaron Hernandez, is proclaiming his innocence in a letter to a pen pal.

The former New England Patriots tight end is not pulling any punches. In the letter he says, "All the people who turned on me will feel like crap." That's a quote.

"Bleacher Report's" Jerry Greenberg is here to tell us more of what the letter said.

JERRY GREENBERG, "BLEACHER REPORT": That's lofty expectations for a man who's gone from a $40 million NFL contract to facing life in prison. Aaron Hernandez now awaiting trial, Carol, for those murder charges.

He also said in the letter, made a request, to keep this off social media. That didn't last very long. If indeed this letter is legit and TMZ is verifying that it is indeed from Hernandez, this is really the first time, Carol, that we're hearing Hernandez talk more about this case and we've heard him say he's not guilty but this time he really goes on.

He's exchanging with a man names Carl. TMZ says Carl 15 years ago was in the same jailhouse that Hernandez is serving in right now.

COSTELLO: You're kidding. I was just going to ask you, why would Aaron Hernandez write anyone a letter at this point?

GREENBERG: There is some connection between this man that TMZ is calling Carl and Aaron Hernandez, both of whom have been in Bristol County Correctional Facility. It is very odd. I think there's a lot of odd twists and turns to this story.

But once again Aaron Hernandez saying he is not guilty and is looking forward to not only proving people wrong but to getting back on to the football field. One would have to think that the goal at first would not be to play football, it would be to clear yourself. But I think he is really set in his mind to get back on the gridiron.

COSTELLO: Well, we'll see what happens at trial. But even if he's cleared of all these charges, it's pretty unlikely that he will return to the football field.

GREENBERG: And while he has been cut from his $40 million contract from the New England Patriots and the NFL has not weighed in yet, Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL spoke out yesterday calling this, of course, a black eye, saying this is something, of course, the NFL is not proud of.

So we'll have to see if the NFL, if Aaron Hernandez is ever cleared, if they weigh in, in any capacity.

COSTELLO: Thanks very much Jared.

GREENBERG: You got it.

COSTELLO: Just ahead in the "NEWSROOM" what does Kelly Clarkson have to do with the author Jane Austen? Well, if Brits have their way -- nothing. We'll tell you what the singer bought that has some people in Great Britain all riled up.


KATHARINE MCPHEE, SINGER: Hi, I'm Katharine McPhee and we can make an impact on malaria. Through personal connections to west Africa, we'll have the opportunity to build a preschool. The schoolmaster, a wonderful woman there, she had come down with malaria. I had gotten together with Malaria No More saying I would love to get to Africa and see what we can do for her and for all the people that she worked so hard to help.

Every minute a child dies from malaria. It's something that doesn't need to happen. It's something that's curable, preventable. It's nothing that would ever happen in the United States but it's something that's very devastating to their lives. And there's so much to be done that you can feel overwhelmed, like what can I actually do?

The truth is a $10 net can save lives. That's why we're working so hard with Malaria No More to end malaria deaths by 2015. Join the movement, impact your world.



COSTELLO: Kelly Clarkson paid nearly a quarter million dollars for a rare piece of jewelry in Britain but she may not be able to take it home. The "American Idol" sensation anonymously bid on a ring -- it was a ring -- and it was originally worn by the author, Jane Austen. Kelly Clarkson bought that at a British auction.

But now the British National Culture Minister put a temporary export ban on the ring hoping a Brit will buy it instead so it can say in Austen's home country. Original jewelry worn by Austen is rare. Experts say that was because Jane Austen was a very modest woman.

Finally this morning, it's Friday and my team really, really wanted this next story in the show because it's cute. You've heard of sing for your supper. Well, we have a couple of dogs who are willing to dance for their dinner.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you hungry? It's ready.

It's dinnertime, dinnertime, Hope and Rosey want their dinnertime because they're hungry, hungry, hungry girls. Yes, Hope. Yes, Rosey


COSTELLO: Oh come on, it's Friday. Hope and Rosey are English springers but they might as well be English spinners -- get it. The girls are so excited to eat, they literally twirl from room to room while their owner sings that annoying song.

Just thought I'd leave you with a smile today.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I'm Carol Costello. CNN NEWSROOM continues after a break.