For many women, being pregnant sucks. Others enjoy the feeling of having a child growing inside them. It is definitely a life adjustment. It’s hard enough being pregnant, but working while carrying a child has to be brutal. Actors work long hours and in sometimes fairly rough conditions. We’re definitely not the only ones who have wondered what happens when an actress gets pregnant while filming. The answer, as you’ll learn, is that they keep filming. It is really common for an actress to work throughout their pregnancy and in the wonderful world of Hollywood, you can mask almost anything. Television shows and movies can get creative when it comes to incorporating a pregnancy into a storyline, like with Phoebe on Friends, whereas other shows like Seinfeld mask the pregnancy entirely.
The film and television industry has done it all which is why we began to do some research. We at TheRichest thought it would be a lot of fun to come up with a list of 15 brilliant actresses who were pregnant during the filming of certain projects. From television series to blockbuster hit movies, these 15 women all masked their pregnancies for their role. You can only hope that they thought it was worth it!
At the very least they proved that they could do it all, even while they were pregnant, which you have to admit is pretty impressive.
15. Betsy Brandt – Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad was one of the most addictive shows on television. Not only was the show well received from audiences, it was rewarded with a few Golden Globes for its efforts. Many fans of Breaking Bad think they know everything about the show, however one thing that a lot of people do not realize is that while Anna Gunn’s character Skyler White was expecting on the show, Betsy Brandt who played Maria Schrader was expecting in real life. The show got creative with the situation they were given and Brandt’s baby bump was carefully hidden in most scenes. Later on in her pregnancy, her big belly was used for close-up shots for Gunn’s character.
Brandt is a mother of two and loves motherhood. She has also opened up about how her children love that she is an actress. “My son is pre-K and my daughter is in elementary school. So they don’t watch the show. But my son knows that I’m on it – he says that ‘Breaking Bad’ is his favorite show even though he’s never seen it. It’s really great that he says that, because it makes me look like mother of the year,” said the star.
14. January Jones – Mad Men
Anyone who watches Mad Men becomes obsessed with it. Betty Draper, played by the beautiful blonde bombshell January Jones is a fan favorite. Her character’s bitchy demure is what people love to see and she loves to play that role, even saying “Am I being typecast as a horrible person? I don’t know. I don’t think so. But if it happens, I’d rather get to play that, because there’s nothing fun about being sweet. Sweet can be so boring, so I’d be happy staying away from that.”
Remember in season 5 when January Jones’s character gained a lot of weight? Well, the writers made her significantly heavier to mask the fact that she was pregnant. This weight gain ended up being a big part of her character that season and many believe it was one of her best seasons on the show. January Jones is a phenomenal actress, who impressively was able to work just as hard while pregnant, which is something to admire.
13. Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Seinfeld
Seinfeld is one of the most popular shows of all time. The show was an immediate success and everyone involved knew how special it could be. Even today, over a decade, after it’s been off the air, Seinfeld still has one of the biggest and most recognizable fanbases.
There are countless people around the world that think they know everything about the show. However, many fans do not know that in season 3 of the show, Elaine Benes, the iconic female character played by Julia Louis- Dreyfus, was pregnant. The show used “traditional” ways to hide the actress’s pregnancy, carrying big objects and wearing baggy clothes to hide her baby bump. Later on in the season, her character went on a “European adventure” to explain why she was not in a few episodes. Writers knew that if her character were to have a child, the entire show would have changed, which is why they decided to simply mask the star’s pregnancy. Good thing for them it ended up working out perfectly.
12. Debra Messing – Will and Grace
Remember the show Will and Grace? It was about two best friends, a straight girl and a gay man living in New York City. Well, for those of you who have never watched it, you are missing out. Will and Grace is one of the funniest sitcoms ever written and the witty banter between the actors is why the show was such a success. Debra Messing, who played Grace, is a naturally thin woman who wore a lot of tight clothes in the early seasons. So in season 6, when the actress got pregnant, the show used the oldest trick in the book which is big clothing (and in the above photo, towels!). If you watch certain episodes carefully, you are able to notice that she was pregnant.
To further accommodate the star’s pregnancy, her character did not appear in 5 episodes throughout the season. Messing loves being a mother and explains motherhood in the following way, “Becoming a mother was the single defining event of my life. It felt like the whole world shifted.”
11. Amy Poehler – Parks and Recreation
Amy Poehler is a comedic legend. The actress has played some incredible characters, however Leslie Knope, her character on Parks and Recreation, is probably her most popular persona yet. Although the show said goodbye in 2015, fans still obsess over both the writing and the acting that was produced throughout this series, much of which Poehler had an active hand in. In seasons 2 and 3, not many people realize that Poehler was pregnant during that time. The production team was extremely accommodating to the star, changing schedules and even filming season 3 immediately after season 2 to give her more time to spend with her son. The show treated her with a lot of respect and allowed her a nice amount of time to be a stay at home mother before jumping back into her crazy life. They did a great job covering her pregnancy and the show continued on to be a great success.
10. Claire Danes – Homeland
Homeland is a crazy good show that is sure to get viewers’ hearts racing. Claire Danes, who plays Carrie Mathison is outstanding. Danes, who is a well known and admired actress does a great job creating a character that captivates every individual who watches the show. Danes is so convincing that many fans did not realize that while filming season 2 of the show she was actually pregnant. The show decided to not have the character get pregnant because it would not go with the storyline, so instead, they filmed around the baby bump often shooting the actress from above the waist and from behind. Claire Danes later stated “It was the most physically demanding thing I have ever done on screen,” which is believable to anyone who has watched the show. Danes is a true professional and the world should be impressed with her work ethic and the level of dedication that she brings to her roles.
9. Julia Roberts – Ocean’s Twelve
Julia Roberts is a talented and beautiful actress, making it easy to understand why she’s one of the most recognizable names in Hollywood. The actress earned her right to be called a superstar a long time ago. Roberts has always adapted to the role she is portraying, even if that person is “herself”. In the film Ocean’s Twelve, a lot of people did not realize that she was pregnant while filming. The crew used clever methods to mask her pregnancy. In the film, Roberts plays George Clooney‘s wife named Tess who gets roped into one of his cons and needs to pretend to be a famous actress, Julia Roberts. Since at the time Roberts was pregnant, Tess had to “pad” her stomach, but in reality, it was Roberts’ baby bump. This was a super creative way of incorporating her pregnancy into the movie, something that not many are able to do so seamlessly.
8. Kelly Rutherford – Gossip Girl
Gossip Girl was one of those shows that ended up turning into a lifestyle goal for many people. The show was about some of New York’s elite teenagers and was based on a series of books written by Cecily von Ziegesar. Gossip Girl, turned into a huge success and its cast was a big part of why fans loved the show. Kelly Rutherford who plays Blake Lively‘s mother was an integral part of the story. It would have not been good for her character to have gotten pregnant, so when Rutherford found out she was with child the show used the good old fashioned tricks to mask her growing belly, including big loose clothing and of course, shopping bags to cover the bump which was very fitting to her character. If you pay close enough attention you are able to notice a growing belly underneath all those clothes.
7. Ellen Pompeo – Grey’s Anatomy
There are some shows that just draw you in and Grey’s Anatomy was one of them. In 2009, while Ellen Pompeo was portraying doctor Meredith Grey on the hit television series, she got pregnant. Since it would have messed up a lot of the story line had Grey gotten pregnant, the crew decided to try and hide her pregnancy. However, there is only so much hospital scrubs can hide! Although she did not gain much weight during her pregnancy. “I went up a pant size during my pregnancy” said the actress, but the writers still needed to do something. They decided the best course of action would be that Meredith was going to donate part of her liver, which enabled Pompeo to take some time away from filming to focus on her family.
6. Reese Witherspoon – Vanity Fair
Reese Witherspoon is an Academy Award-winning actress who won over the hearts of America years ago when she was still a young starlet trying to make a name for herself. Witherspoon has an extremely impressive resume, ranging from Legally Blonde to Walk the Line, making it clear she can do it all, including being a kick-ass mother. While Witherspoon was pregnant with her second child, she was filming the incredible movie Vanity Fair. The film, which was set in the 1820s, was a huge success and the clothes she had to wear helped mask her growing stomach. The actress also strategically stood behind furniture to make her baby bump less noticeable. Witherspoon knew it was an important film for her to be part of and she killed it in this role. It was definitely a wise choice as the role helped open up a lot more doors for her as an actress.
5. Kerry Washington – Scandal
Kerry Washington plays Olivia Pope in the heart racing television series Scandal. Washington’s character is the most empowering badass female character on television and the world became obsessed with the actress because of it. Scandal contains a lot of political undertones and Washington has addressed her thoughts on playing political roles saying, “I don’t decide to play the characters I play as a political choice. Yet the characters I play often do become political statements. Because having your story told as a woman, as a person of color, as a lesbian, or as a trans person or as any member of any disenfranchised community is sadly often still a radical idea. There is so much power in storytelling and there is enormous power in inclusive storytelling and inclusive representations.”
The series became an immediate success and everyone involved wants to keep the momentum running from one season to another, which is why when the main actress announced she was pregnant, the show went into action. They tried every trick in the book to hide the fashionable character’s growing baby bump. Washington’s character wore a lot of structured jackets and stood with her back to the camera more frequently. A lot of people never even noticed her pregnancy. After giving birth the actress almost immediately got back to work.
4. Alyson Hannigan – How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother was one of those shows that fans still yearn for. It was one of those series that made you create relationships with the cast and watching new episodes every week was a treat to many. You can understand why a lot of fans watch re-runs on the regular. Many people do not realize this, but throughout the show, actress Alyson Hannigan who played Lily Aldrin got pregnant. As in most situations like this, the show tried their best to hide her pregnancy (though the character later does get pregnant). However, on one particular episode of the show, the writers decided to embrace the baby bump. The show had two scenes in which Hannigan’s character is competing in a hot dog eating competition, allowing it to make sense for her to sport a big round belly which was in fact hers. If only more shows could incorporate eating competitions into the plot!
3. Cobie Smulders – How I Met Your Mother
Hannigan was not the only actress in the cast of How I Met Your Mother that got pregnant while filming the series. Cobie Smulders, who played Robin Scherbatsky, was also with child during filming. A big part of Robin’s character was that she was unable to ever have children, so her character getting pregnant would not have been good for the show. Which is why when they found out about her pregnancy, they did everything they could to camouflage it. Like usual, the show masked the actress in layers of clothing and even cut her out of some episodes. How I Met Your Mother was an important show for the actress who has said “Before I did How I Met Your Mother, I was not considered a comedic actress,” so it was important for her to continue growing on the show.
2. Sarah Jessica Parker – Sex and the City
Sex and the City was a groundbreaking show when it first aired. It was all about female empowerment and sexuality and the world became obsessed with it. Almost every woman on the planet has had a love affair with the show, some go as far as using it as almost a way of life (though we don’t know if we can recommend that!). The show depicts four fabulous and single women dating in New York City, and alongside helping the careers of all involved, it also led to some movies being made. Although most people think they have noticed everything about the series, a lot of people never realized that Sarah Jessica Parker was pregnant while filming season 5 of the show. The petite actress disguised her big belly by wearing various outfits including big dresses as well as baby doll dresses. Think about it, how different would Sex and the City have been if Carrie Bradshaw would have had a child? It would not have been the same and that would have been tragic.
1. Courteney Cox – Friends
When it comes to legendary television shows, Friends is at the top of almost everyone’s list. The show was about a group of friends trying to figure adulthood out in New York City and it ended up lasting for 10 seasons. But here is something that not a lot of people know, that during the filming of the show, Monica Geller, played by Courteney Cox, was pregnant. The writers would have gladly included her pregnancy into the storyline, however the season revolved around Chandler and Monica’s inability to conceive a child. Since the pregnancy would have thrown off the entire season, the show decided to camouflage the bump with clothes and laundry baskets. Although it would have been nice to see Cox’s character on the show pregnant, the writing that season was so great we can’t help but think the show made the wise decision to camouflage her pregnancy.