celebrity pets

25 Famous Women on Their Pets

Photo: Getty Images

Among animal lovers, there are cat ladies, Corgi ladies (a.k.a. the Queen of England), dog moms, rescuers, and everyone else who falls along the spectrum. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), approximately 44 percent of all households in the United States have a dog, and 35 percent have a cat. Despite the slight rivalry between canine people and feline people (which has spawned think pieces and research), the bottom line is that all furry creatures with eccentric personalities can bring a glimmer of joy, meaning, and purpose into our lives. Below, 25 famous women including Martha Stewart, Oprah, and Kendall Jenner share stories about their pets — on loving them like their own kids, getting outshined by them, and losing them.

Martha Stewart

“So many of you ask about my pets — my dogs, cats, canaries, horses, donkeys, chickens, and the peafowl. I love giving you updates on all of them … As you know, I recently added two more furred friends to my family — two female French Bulldogs named Bete Noire and Creme Brûlée. I now have five dogs altogether. The matriarch of the pack is my beautiful French Bulldog, Francesca. I also have two Chow Chows — G. K., my conformation show dog and breed champion, and his daughter, Peluche.” – her blog, May 2016

Paris Hilton

“I got Tinkerbell one Halloween, and we’re pretty inseparable. She’s a tiny, two-pound teacup Chihuahua, one of the smallest of her breed in the world, and a ‘deerhead’ as opposed to an ‘applehead.’ I’m not totally sure what that means, but I think it means she looks more like a deer than an alien…She arrived on a plane, which was very fitting for an heiress’s dog. She’s a little princess, so cute and sweet. A little lady. I call her Tink for short … Besides teacup Chihuahuas, I’ve got a thing for other very small, cute animals, like ducks, guinea pigs, and ferrets. Last spring, I was in Vegas, and I got two ferrets, a boy and a girl. You have to buy them there because it’s one of the few places where it’s legal to sell them.” – Confessions of an Heiress, May 2004

Donatella Versace

“[My dog] Audrey is 8. But can you write 6?” – T Magazine, February 2016

Betty White

“Oh well that’s my heart, my golden retriever. Pontiac was trained to be a guide dog, but he had a bum leg, which got him out of that program. Whenever I come home late from work at night, I come up to the house and here’s this big golden head in the window on the left stairway landing, looking out and waiting for me. I sit down on the couch and he’ll bring me one of his dead snowmen. A friend sent him a stuffed snowman one time and it just became his passion. So then a friend sent him a whole box of snowmen. We have regular snowstorms in the living room when he shakes all the stuffing out.” – AARP, December 2011

Nora Ephron

“If you find yourself nostalgic for the ongoing, day-to-day activities required of the modern parent, there’s a solution: Get a dog. I don’t recommend it, because dogs require tremendous commitment, but they definitely give you something to do. Plus they’re very loveable and, more important, uncritical. And they can be trained. But that’s about all you can do.” – I Feel Bad About My Neck, August 2006

Meghan Daum

“There’s a particular kind of single woman whose relationship with her dog has a level of intensity and affection that may be both the cause and the result of her singleness. For a long time I was that woman. Rex lived with me in 12 different houses and apartments in two different states. He usually slept outside or on the cool tile floor, but in the winter he shared my bed, colonizing not just the foot of it but sometimes the space next to me, where he’d lay his head on the pillow. In my life so far, I have never felt more in tune with another living thing. If Rex could have talked, we’d have finished each other’s sentences. Then I met my husband, and he loved Rex too. And though I stopped being that particular kind of single woman, we became a particular kind of couple: the kind for whom their dog is their child, the kind that talks about their dog in such a way that people who have actual children make fun of them in the car on the way home. But we didn’t care. Rex was our Zen master, our couple’s-therapy dog. Even when we weren’t sure how we felt about each other, there was never any doubt that we were going to love him down to the nub.” – The Los Angeles Times, May 2013

Chrissy Teigen

“I was on a flight from JKF to L.A., and my bulldog was getting the itch. And suddenly I see his poo drop right at my feet. I start sweating. I grab the poop — a bare-handed grab — and put it in my purse. Then I get up, like, la, la, la and go to the bathroom and flush it. And I was like, ‘Phew. That was a close one.’ I got back to my seat and he did it again. Just annihilated it. Water poop. The flight attendants were wonderful, and came over with a trash bag all these coffee grounds, because coffee grounds cover the smell. And it worked. So I’m feeling better. And then, suddenly, he gets up and is doing the dance again. And he lets go again. Again! I spent the whole flight watching his butt.” – Esquire, August 2014

Grace Coddington

“I can’t really say that fashion went hand in glove with cats because I never really saw the two of them together until about 20 years ago when I started sending faxes to Didier, my boyfriend, telling him what I was doing when I was away and instead of writing (because I can’t really spell), I used to draw what I was doing and it was fashion. I would draw the “cats” on the shoot or the “cats” in the collections; so that’s when they kind of got together, cats and fashion. I always loved cats, there were a lot of cats around in Wales and then I had my own cat as soon as I got my own apartment in London. I was modeling so that must have been around 1959. I never had much luck with my cats, they kept dying or I had to give them away because my life was a bit all over the place! I got more serious when I stopped modeling and became a Fashion Editor with a more regular lifestyle in 1968.” – i-D, March 2017

Chloë Sevigny

“There’s something extremely mystical about cats. Growing up I had two cats, my family had them before I was born so they were already part of the household, both girls. When I was really young I thought all cats were girls and all dogs were boys. I had this very feminine, feline energy from cats. I’ve definitely come across some cats where I believed other people that I knew were possibly reincarnated in these cats.” – Dazed Digital

Elizabeth Taylor

On her Maltese named Sugar

“I’ve never loved a dog like this in my life. It’s amazing. Sometimes I think there’s a person in there … There’s something to say for this kind of love — it’s unconditional. [Laughs.]” – W Magazine, December 2004

Ellen DeGeneres

“I cannot imagine not going home to animals. They are the closest thing to God. They don’t harbour resentment. Somebody put it really well: If you hurt a dog, the dog may, years later, remember you hurt him if he sees you. But he’s not going to spend all those years planning how to hurt you the next time he sees you. The compassion I have for animals is from the earliest memories I have. I kept files and copied things out of encyclopedias for what was going to be my office, because I was going to be a veterinarian … If I could, I would have 15 cats and 20 dogs. We have the space and we continue to try to rescue everything we can.” – Modern Dog, May 2008

Kristen Bell

“I’ve certainly been a lazy Mom to my pets, but never a bad Mom. I love my pets so if they are happy, I am happy … I have treated all my dogs like my kids. To me, they’re just kids I didn’t birth.” – People, May 2016

Carrie Brownstein

“One reason people get dogs is so there is always someone excited to see them when they get home. Whether I had been gone five hours or five minutes, Tobey and Olive’s greeting was the same: effusive, sloppy, unabashed, a surprise party every time the key turned. It was my birthday, their birthday, Halloween and Christmas, confetti!” – Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, October 2015

Kendall Jenner

“Ok, at one point we had 60 fish, 2 hamsters, 2 turtles, 2 frogs, 108 snails, 2 birds, 3 horses and 2 dogs named Dolce and Gabbana. We just loved them. We would go to Petco and get one hamster. We needed a lizard. One time we had a ceremony and let our frogs go into the creek in front of our house. And then, we lost our hamsters, they got out of the cage. We lost them for literally a week. We found one under this dresser thing outside of Kylie’s room. Two weeks later we found another one under our couch with dog food surrounding it. Our dad and Kim’s boyfriend at the time had to lift the couch and pick up the hamster. It was so ridiculous.” – Harper’s Bazaar, June 2015

Salma Hayek

“I don’t collect them, I rescue them … I had promised my husband I was going to stop because at the time I had ten dogs, five parrots, I had alpacas, horses, cats, and by the way, one without a tail, the other one without a leg. And they always find me, they come to me these animals — which he doesn’t believe me, but they do — and I promised him no more. We were up to 30 animals and I swore no more. And I was there [filming a movie in Bulgaria] and a little puppy who was abandoned and was going to die — I won’t tell you the sad story because this is like a comedic show — he came to me and I couldn’t help it, and I picked him up. His name is Ochoa, after the goalie [Guillermo Ochoa] of the soccer team in Mexico … I came up with this brilliant idea to pretend that I was having an affair with somebody, and at the end I would say, ‘No, it’s not an affair, I picked up a dog’ and then he would feel better.” – The Graham Norton Show, June 2016

Doris Day

“I always had pets. We had a puppy, and I adored this little dog, a little Manchester Terrier. My father said, ‘The puppy has to be in the basement,’ and I never forgave him for that. I realized he didn’t like animals. But I put up such a fuss that that little dog wound up in my bed. And they still are! … My dogs are sensitive … when I pick up my bag, they know I’m going out, and they walk around and around. Before I come home, I call to say I’m on my way, and by the time I ring the gate bell, they’re all at the door. I get this big greeting, and I’ve only been gone 45 minutes! You can’t beat that. And now, as I’m speaking with you, they’re all gathered around me. I’ve always found inspiration and comfort in animals.” – The Bark, 2006

Constance Wu

“I have a bunny, and that’s the closest I have to a child … I’ve always been a bunny person. Here’s a perfect example: I’ve loved bunnies since I was little, but I never got one because I was scared of the pain that would happen when the bunny died. It sounds so silly, but it was rather symbolic of me to throw myself into having a bunny with abandon even though you know the inevitable is going to happen. My friends were like, ‘You have bunny paintings on your wall, you have bunny earrings, why don’t you actually have a bunny?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know. Don’t talk to me about it!’ And then I did it, and I’m so very glad.” – Lenny Letter, October 2015

Lake Bell

“My sort of dog partner in life, for 15 years, Margaret, a rescue Pit Bull, she passed away only a few months ago — she was truly special and incredible and so funny. Amazing comedic timing. I had these three white poodles, and if you sat down they would all three jump in your lap at once. One time I was on set and I closed the door. There was a little hole in the screen door. One of the poodles jumped through the hole, so lo and behold, I see this white poodle running at me, then two, three poodles running at me. Then, alas, I see Margaret, my big, brown Pit Bull, trying to get through the hole, getting her head stuck, falling down the stairs. She saw these poodles do this with grace and she tried to do the same and … failed. In a tremendous way. It’s one of the most special visuals I have of my pet.” – Metro, July 2016

Jenny Slate

“I spend a lot of time observing my dog Reggie, because I truly am bonded and obsessed with him … He’s a bichon frisé and he’s really old. He has seven teeth. He has diabetes. He is incredibly disobedient, and I don’t think he’s a super-positive creature. But he’s very loving. He’ll sit on almost anyone’s lap. And he sends a lot of messages. If you leave him at home, he knocks over the trash and eats stuff he shouldn’t eat. He’ll eat, like, trays of brownies. And this year he ate five tampons at once and had to get emergency surgery.” – The Los Angeles Times, July 2016

Kerry Washington

“The first time that I met Josephine, it was sort of like online dating. So, don’t knock it until you try it. I read her profile, thought we’d be a good match, instant love. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Josie is a bit of a nudist. She likes to go out in the bare. I mean, she was born with a beautiful coat, so she doesn’t like to adorn herself with other designers. I think if there’s one thing that I try to learn from Josie, it’s to be more loving because … she just loves everyone and loves to snuggle and is just full of love. So I try to be the same way. I’m not as good at it as she is, but I’m trying.” – Glamour, October 2013

Sarah Silverman

“Duck ‘Doug’ Silverman came into my life about 14 years ago. He was picked up by the State running through South Central with no collar, tags or chip. Nobody claimed or adopted him so a no-kill shelter took him in. That’s where I found him — at that shelter, in Van Nuys. Since then we have slept most every night together (and many lazy afternoons.) When we first met, the vet approximated his age at 5 ½ so I’d say he was about 19 as of yesterday, September 3, 2013. He was a happy dog, though serene. And stoic. And he loved love. Over the past few years he became blind, deaf, and arthritic. But with a great vet, good meds, and a first rate seeing-eye person named me, he truly seemed comfortable. Recently, however, he stopped eating or drinking. He was skin and bones and so weak. I couldn’t figure out this hunger strike. Duck had never been political before. And then, over the weekend, I knew. It was time to let him go … 14 years. My longest relationship. My only experience of maternal love. My constant companion. My best friend. Duck.” – WhoSay, September 2013

Nicole Richie

“About three years ago, we decided to add to our family and bought five chickens. I was in New York at the Met Ball, and I came home and they were delivered the same day. I raised them inside my house for about six weeks, and then it was time for them to have a coop … We had to build them one, so we did a miniature version of my own house in terms of color and style. I wanted one color palette throughout. It’s gray … Martha Stewart said it best: Chickens just give, give, give, and there’s nothing bad about them. They are the easiest animals to take care of, they are so much fun for kids, and they just give me beautiful colored eggs every day … I have a chicken lady who I text with, who I go to when I need advice — when I need to vent, when I am unsure about myself and the role I play in their lives. She is always there for me.” – Architectural Digest, April 2017

Margaret Cho

“A dog, a nice one that is — will give you a look of gratitude, close her eyes in reverie, breathe long and hard and deep to show you she is taking all that good feeling inside, storing it up for later, dog dreams still yet to be dreamt, magnificent fields full of balls and you and her alone but for the squirrels in the trees.” – her site, September 2012


“One of my greatest teachers is my dog, Sophie. Now Sophie lived for 13 years and came to work with me every day. She was there for every show, was backstage at the Oscars, the Emmys, was waiting in the car if I went to the gynecologist. Sophie and Solomon traveled with me everywhere. But even more particularly, Sophie … I will have to say I had deep love and affection for my little Sophie girl. And it wasn’t until she passed away that I really understood the depth of my love for her because I learned … that there are big souls and little souls. Sophie was a little soul but had a great impact on my life. And when I lost her is when I realized that nobody on earth had ever loved me like that little dog.” – OWN, October 2011

Drew Barrymore

“There also is such profoundness in just connectivity and energy and altruism that we have with our animals. Especially rescue animals. And they give it back. And there is some level of symbiotic gratitude, because you do save each other, and that is important. Currently, I have a small dog named Douglass. I remember taking him out of the pound when he was 8 weeks old. He had been left in a box on the side of the road. He was very shaken up and he looked like a Chihuahua. And I said, what am I doing? Adopt that Chihuahua. I love you, but I’ve been a big dog girl my whole life. And I didn’t know what I was doing, I just felt empathy for this dog. I loved him so much that I took him home. And he grew. He must have been a whippet and a chihuahua and … he ate so much … He can sleep with me for 18 hours without even having to go to the bathroom. Seriously! … Again I will resort to the unspoken gift that have animals have given me. It has been a rite of passage, and a humility, and a purpose, and a kindness, and a lack of cruelty. I don’t have it in my heart to be rude, mean, cruel, unkind to any person on the planet, let alone an animal. And I wonder if animals were a big part of that teaching. I think they are. I really truly do. I give them all the credit in the world and for it.” – ASPCA 19th Annual Bergh Ball, April 2016

25 Famous Women on Their Pets