Olivia Wilde on Raising Her Kids in the Spotlight: "People Assume I Have Abandoned Them"

Olivia Wilde is getting candid about life as a single mom. The actor and director separated from former fiancé Jason Sudeikis in November 2020, and lately the exes and parents of two have been making headlines for their back-and-forth custody battle over their children, son Otis and daughter Daisy. In Wilde's November cover story with Elle, she opened up about navigating motherhood in the spotlight.

"You know why you don't see me with my kids? Because I don't let them get photographed."

"I share custody of my kids with my ex. If I'm photographed not with my kids, people assume I have abandoned them, like my kids are just somewhere in a hot car without me," she shared. "The suggestion is that I have abandoned my role as a mother. You know why you don't see me with my kids? Because I don't let them get photographed. Do you know the lengths that I go to to protect my kids from being seen by you?"

Wilde previously spoke about life with her kids post-breakup during a Sept. 21 appearance on "The Kelly Clarkson Show." "I think reshaping a family is tricky," she told the daytime-talk-show host. "The one benefit is it's allowed for some really deep conversations with my kids about emotions, and about happiness, and about what family means, and love, and it's actually allowed me to get to know them in a different way."

Wilde's kids, she said, always come first. "My priority is them. That's what it is. It's as long as they're happy and they're healthy, then, my ex and I, we agree on that," she said. "They are everything to us." She also said that raising her kids in the public eye has added an extra level of complexity to her family life. "If you can surround them with so much love, then it's OK," Wilde added. "But, you know, it's tricky because we're not doing it in private."

Even still, fame and all, Wilde told Clarkson that her family helps her keep everything in perspective. "The thing is it's hard. It's hard sometimes," she said. "But at the end of the day, I'm so lucky . . . There are people everywhere dealing with real health crises, and, you know, my stuff is out there, but I'm alive and my kids are alive, and that's what gets me through. I remind myself of that every single day."

Wilde's tumultuous family situation with Sudeikis has gained more attention thanks to her highly publicized relationship with Harry Styles, the star of her "Don't Worry Darling" film, released Sept. 23. In April, Wilde was served custody papers while she was presenting on stage at CinemaCon, though a source close to Sudeikis told People that the "Ted Lasso" star was unaware that the documents would be delivered to her on stage.

In the wake of that incident, Wilde's main concern was the pair's kids. "For me, it was appalling, but the victims were an 8- and 5-year-old, and that's really sad," she said in an August interview with Variety. "I chose to become an actress; I willingly walked into the spotlight. But it's not something my children have asked for."