Having a baby is no doubt an amazing experience. But until you get to welcome your little baby into the world, there are many difficulties you have to face during your pregnancy (and don’t even get us started on childbirth!). And actresses, just like every other woman, have to face the same hardships of growing a life inside your belly.
Sometimes, an actress might announce her pregnancy while filming a television show or a film. And while that’s very exciting news for everyone involved, the production needs to decide how to handle the situation. They can either change the storyline so the character is also pregnant (which would probably only work for TV shows), or they can try to hide it.
If you’ve ever seen producers try to hide an actress’ pregnant belly, you know it can get pretty hilarious at times. They hide it behind pillows, big purses, lamps, and lots of baggy clothes. Sometimes they even write a plot line where something happens to the character, forcing it to stay in bed. Others just have fun with it.
Other than hiding that burgeoning belly, it’s also a major challenge for the actresses who are forced to deal with all the hardships of being pregnant, while filming long hours and even doing stunts. But these actresses have done it seamlessly, and to be honest – we didn’t even know most of them were pregnant. So which films and TV shows had to work around pregnancies?
Emily Blunt – Into the Woods and Girl on the Train
Emily Blunt was with child while shooting a film not once, but twice. The actress has been married to fellow actor John Krasinski since 2010, and in 2014 they knew they were expecting. Emily’s first pregnancy took place while filming the fantasy musical Into the Woods, where ironically, she actually played a woman who is unable to get pregnant (alongside James Corden). She was then carrying her second child while filming mystery thriller Girl on the Train. Both times the baby bump was covered with baggy clothes, scarves, and coats, or was simply left out of the shot, but her Into the Woods costumes had to be adjusted every few days!
Julie Bowen – Modern Family
The ABC comedy Modern Family has scooped up awards as quickly as it’s won over the viewers’ hearts. And the show wouldn’t be what it is without Claire, played by the talented Julie Bowen. You may not have realized this, but Julie was actually pregnant with twins while they were shooting the pilot for the series. Production had to hide her pregnancy with clothes, laundry baskets, pillows, and cereal boxes – something that definitely be challenging. But that didn’t stop her from delivering an award winning performance. Can you imagine if they had gone with another actress to play Claire? It’s pretty much unthinkable, so we’re happy it turned out well for the actress.
Kate Winslet – Divergent
You may not have realized this (we certainly haven’t), but Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet was five months pregnant while she was shooting scenes for the sci-fi action film Divergent. The actress, who played Erudite leader Jeanine, hid the bun in the oven by often carrying in iPad or folder under her arm, and had to use a stunt-double for some of the more risky scenes. After giving birth, she was able to do some reshoots, while going back and forth to nurse her child. What a super-mom!
Ellen Pompeo – Grey’s Anatomy
Grey’s Anatomy is one of the most popular dramas on TV. But with 14 seasons and such a huge ensemble cast, there’s bound to be a pregnancy or two, right? During season six Ellen Pompeo was visibly pregnant, so you might notice most of the shots were above the belly. They also had Meredith donate her liver, to keep her in a hospital bed. Chyler Leigh (Lexie) and Jessica Capshaw (Arizona) also had hidden pregnancies, so if you noticed Lexie’s stress eating, that’s the producers having fun with it.
Angelina Jolie – The Changeling
Angelina Jolie didn’t only fall pregnant during filming of The Changeling, but she had actually said she believes the movie helped her get pregnant. “I got pregnant right in the middle of it and I think partially because of it,” she said. “I was so emotional about children that I think something in me kicked into gear.” The beautiful star then had twins with her now-separated husband Brad Pitt – son Knox Léon, and daughter Vivienne Marcheline.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Seinfeld
Back in the ’90s, Julia Louis-Dreyfus was killing it as Elaine Benes on the popular sitcom Seinfeld. And when she became pregnant during the show’s third season, they couldn’t have her taking a break from the show – Elaine was too essential for the show. So they hid her baby bump behind baggy clothes and thick coats, and had her carrying boxes all the time. Sounds funny, but we guess it worked because we had no idea she was pregnant.
Claire Danes – Homeland
Homeland star Claire Danes and her husband, Hannibal’s Hugh Dancy, are thrilled to be expecting child number two. But being on your first trimester while filming a show is quite the challenge. The actress recalled feeling terrible all the time and not being able to tell anyone the reason. Apparently, she was also accidentally falling asleep all the time, too! She’s now on hiatus from filming the show, which she says is a luxury, since it gives her time to enjoy the pregnancy.
Morena Baccarin – Homeland
Morena Baccarin is another Homeland actress to fall pregnant during shooting. The actress, who portrays Jessica Brody on the show, was expecting her child with her then-husband, film director Austin Chick, in 2013. But instead of writing the pregnancy into the plot, they showrunners used body doubles and computer-generated imagery, to keep that baby bump off screen. They drew from experience from Claire Danes’ first pregnancy, which was also during the filming of the show.
Courtney Cox – Friends
Many people know that Lisa Kudrow, who played Phoebe in the sitcom Friends, was actually pregnant at the time Phoebe was – which is why the story was written in the first place. But did you know that Courteney Cox was also pregnant during filming of the show? Courteney found out she was pregnant towards the end of season 10, where Monica and Chandler were having infertility issues and were unable to conceive. So they needed to hide her pregnancy, which they did using strategic angels and big clothes.
Ginnifer Goodwin – Once Upon a Time
Ginnifer Goodwin has been married to her Once Upon a Time on-screen romance, Josh Dallas, since 2014. In the recently cancelled show, the two play Snow White and Prince Charming (in the past), as well as regular-people versions of themselves, David Nolan and Mary Margaret Blanchard. When Ginnifer found out she was pregnant, producers decided to make Mary Margaret pregnant, but the actress still had to hide her bump while playing past scenes of Snow White, who was decisively not pregnant.
Zooey Deschanel – New Girl
The adorable star of New Girl, Zooey Deschanel, became pregnant with her first child Elsie Otter while filming season five of the show. But the showrunners had a funny way of hiding her burgeoning belly. They had Jess fall down a bunch of stairs, which conveniently makes it possible for the character to stay in bed for multiple episodes. And to allow her to go on maternity leave, they had Jess going off to jury duty, while Megan Fox filled in as a temporary roommate (and Nick’s love interest).
Kerry Washington – Scandal
If you’ve noticed Olivia Pope is hiding, while watching the sixth season of the ABC drama Scandal, you had good reason for thinking it. The show’s star Kerry Washington, who plays political fixer Olivia Pope, was carrying her second child during the first five episodes – so producers were forced to find creative ways to hide it. So for the duration of these episodes, they had her hiding behind desks, lamps, flowers, and large bags. You name it, she’s hidden behind it.
Sarah Jessica Parker – SATC
Sarah Jessica Parker played an icon that comes once in a generation – Carrie Bradshaw, on HBO’s SATC. While filming the first episode of season five, she felt sick and asked her assistant to bring her a pregnancy test, which turned out to be positive. The season was therefor cut short to only eight episodes. And while everyone did their best to hide SJP’s belly, it actually shows through in some of the scenes, if you know to look for it.
January Jones – Mad Men
When January Jones was pregnant during the filming of AMC’s drama Mad Men, producers didn’t try to cover up her pregnancy – au contraire. They had her character, Betty, put on some extra pounds (a lot of them, actually), and created a whole storyline revolving her weight gain. January actually had to show up at three o’clock in the morning every day for several hours of prosthetic makeup, which definitely wasn’t easy. But having Betty as bigger made fans actually more sympathetic to the once frosty character.
Gal Gadot – Wonder Woman
Gal Gadot swept away the entire nation (and the world) in her role as Wonder Woman, the iconic superhero. Many people were shocked to know that Gal was actually pregnant with her second child during filming. She was five months pregnant during the reshoots, and dealing with sickness and overwhelming hormone-induced migraines. To hide the pregnancy, the actress wore green fabric that would later be digitally altered. This was extremely funny, according to Gal, who joked it looked like she was pregnant with “Kermit the Frog.”
Alyssa Milano – Mistresses
Alyssa Milano was also pregnant while filming a TV show, when she was working on the now-cancelled ABC drama Mistresses. The Charmed actress kept her pregnancy under wraps on-screen by mostly sitting down and hiding behind props, like pillows and tables. After filming the second season of the show, the production was moved from Los Angeles to Vancouver, and Alyssa decided to quit the show, not wanting to uproot her family to a different location.
Cobie Smulders and Alyson Hannigan – How I Met Your Mother
It’s challenging enough for a TV show to have a cast member suddenly announce that she’s pregnant. But when two cast members are pregnant, it’s even harder! How I Met Your Mother producers decided to write Alyson Hannigan’s second pregnancy into the show (with Lily falling pregnant), and did their best to hide Cobie Smulders’ (Robin) bump behind purses. They actually had some fun with Alyson’s first pregnancy though – instead of hiding it, they accentuated it. The picture below on the left, for example, is Lily after winning an eating contest.
Reese Witherspoon – Vanity Fair
Back in 2004, actress Reese Witherspoon worked on the drama film Vanity Fair. Before the filming started, director Mira Nair told Reese that she needed to gain somewhere between 10 and 15 pounds for the role, and actually joked that she might need to get pregnant. Well, it came true. The actress was in her second trimester while shooting the film. And according to the Big Little Lies star, despite it being a challenging experience, she also felt like she was more emotionally vulnerable and in tune with the role.
Scarlett Johansson – Avengers: Age of Ultron
Scarlett Johansson is used to taking over the part of Black Widow for the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. But as production began on Avengers: Age of Ultron, she found out she was pregnant with her first child, Rose Dorothy (with her then-husband Romain Dauriac). “I did as much as I could do and filled in all the blanks later on,” the actress said. She had three stunt doubles to fill in for stunts she couldn’t perform, who wore dot maps on their faces, later to be replaced with Johansson’s face.
Blake Lively – The Shallows
Not many people know this, but when Blake Lively filmed shark attack thriller The Shallows, she actually had to do most of the heavy stunts herself. Production didn’t hire a stunt double for the actress until the last couple of weeks of filming, so Blake did some pretty hefty stunts by herself. But during the reshoots, the actress had already announced her second pregnancy with Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds. Luckily, her scenes this time around weren’t quite as physically intense.