Fashion Icon Donna Karan Tells Barbara Walters Why She Never Wanted to Be a Working Mom

Donna Karan has dressed everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Bill and Hilary Clinton.

December 15, 2015, 8:12 AM

— -- Donna Karan built a $3 billion empire, dressing everyone from Jennifer Lopez and Reese Witherspoon to Bill and Hillary Clinton.

In an interview with Barbara Walters for the ABC News special, "Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2015," the fashion mogul discussed how she went from never wanting to be a working mom to revolutionizing the way women dressed.

"My father died when I was 3 years old, and my mother being a working woman, I felt very lonely," Karan told Walters. "Coming from a working woman's family, I promised that I would never have a child and work."

That all changed when Karan, who was working for designer Anne Klein, got pregnant by her first husband Mark Karan.

The same week their daughter Gabby was born, Anne Klein died. Donna Karan, then just 25, was left in charge of the brand.

"There I was, the woman who would never be a working woman, back at work in one week and a collection due," said Karan.

She went on to launch her own line, Donna Karan International, and then another more casual line, DKNY. She later started her Urban Zen Foundation, which supports artists, healthcare and education in countries like Haiti.

Donna Karan and Mark Karan divorced in 1978, and she later married artist Stephan Weiss, her partner in life and work. The two were married for 18 years until Weiss' death from lung cancer in 2001.

This year, Donna Karan left her role as the lead designer of her namesake brand to devote more time to the Urban Zen Foundation.

"Right now I'm looking at the next phase, but I'm also looking at myself and what do I want," said Donna Karan.

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