Well, kids, it’s time to have the birds and the bees talk. You see, when a man and a woman get very intimate, the woman can get pregnant. It’s a biological thing and it can happen to most females, really. Even to Hollywood actresses! So next time, when your favorite female TV character is wearing suspiciously baggy clothes or is constantly being shot standing behind laundry baskets, chairs, and other props, consider the possibility that she might be covering her baby bump.
When a lead actress in a long-running TV show or in a multi-million dollar budget film announces her pregnancy, the writers feel аs if they have been ambushed. Usually, the news catches them too unprepared to rewrite the running storyline to allow that character to follow suit. And sometimes it’s simply not possible! Just imagine a plot twist where Carrie Bradshaw procreates with Big before he moves to California! No way, Jose! So, what do you do if you don’t want to add a kid in the script? The producers and stage workers don’t have much of a choice, really. Adjusting shooting dates is the first thing to consider. But in most cases, this is not an option because of the TV shows’ season deadlines. So, they can either make some clever wardrobe choices, or simply shoot from the neck up.
Check out our list of 15 Hollywood mammas who had to film with their growing tummies.
15 Amy Poehler Hid Her Belly Behind Chairs In Parks And Recreation
It’s kind of reassuring to know that no matter how much TV has changed for the past 50 years, pregnant actresses will still have to hide their bumps behind globes and vases for at least another 50 years. Just as they were in the 1960s!
That was the trick that Amy Poehler used to disguise her second pregnancy when the Parks and Recreation producers decided not to write the pregnancy into the show. Instead, they opted for entering into continuous production after the end of season 2, so that they could stock as many episodes as possible for the next season. So, the actress had to constantly carry around boxes of mail or keep her belly out of sight by standing behind chairs and random office equipment in order to keep the production going.
14 Halle Berry Had To Shoot Really Fast Before Bursting Out Of The Storm Suit
One baby bump that was difficult as hell to cover was Halle Berry’s during the filming of X-Men: Days of Future Past. Her character Storm’s skin-tight costume didn’t offer much to work with when the producers had to find out a way to hide her progressing pregnancy. The solution they eventually came up with was to fast-track most of the scenes her character was in. On the Queen Latifah Show, Berry said that two weeks was all she could do before “bursting out of the suit.” As a result, we didn’t see much of Storm in the film. I mean, not as much as we wanted to. But it was all worth it because the actress gave birth to a healthy kid: her son, Maceo Martinez.
13 Meredith Conveniently Donated Part Of Her Liver On Grey’s Anatomy So Ellen Pompeo Could Take Maternity Leave
In order to hide Ellen Pompeo’s pregnancy in the beginning of season 6 of the hit medical series Grey’s Anatomy, they had to shoot her either from the back, sitting down, or from the neck up.
Moreover, scrubs are loose enough to hide anything under them - be it a baby bump or a Kalashnikov. And that certainly worked in favor of the show.
With Pompeo’s pregnancy progressing, though, some script changes had to be made, too. The writers added a storyline in which Meredith Grey donates part of her liver to her estranged father. This smart move made it possible for the actress to go on maternity leave. She gave birth to her first child (of three so far!), Stella Luna Pompeo Ivery, in 2009.
12 Will And Grace Received Criticism For Attempting To Cover Up Debra Messing’s Pregnancy
In one of the nation’s favorite shows, Will and Grace, Debra Messing plays Grace - a naturally thin redhead who would wear mostly tight clothes in the show’s early seasons. However, her usual wardrobe choices became problematic in season 6 when Messing got pregnant. The producers didn’t want a baby in the story, so they hid the bump under loose clothes or a towel (as seen in the above photo). Although they pretty much succeeded in fooling the TV viewers, that wasn’t the case with the live audience, in front of which the show is shot. The spectators on the set could instantly tell the lead actress was pregnant! The attempt to hide Messing’s pregnancy led to the show being vehemently criticized. Eventually, Messing had to sit out the last four episodes of the season.
11 Kerry Washington Successfully Hid Two Pregnancies While Shooting Scandal
This girl is certainly a handful for the producers of the hit TV series Scandal! Kerry Washington has been pregnant TWICE so far, and they had to shorten seasons three and six to accommodate her pregnancies.
The actress revealed that the wardrobe of her character, the political fixer Olivia Pope, had to be adjusted quite a lot in the sixth season. “There is nothing high-end for professional women who are pregnant, so for the show, we wind up just buying the same clothes,“ she said to the InStyle Magazine in 2016. “We will cut out the front of Armani trousers and put in a pregnancy panel.” And just imagine this - they had to commit the same fashion atrocity AGAIN when Pope and NFL star Nnamdi Asomugha got pregnant a second time.
10 Zooey Deschanel’s Pregnancy Brought In A New Girl While Filming New Girl
Thanks to Zooey Deschanel’s pregnancy with daughter Elsie, we were able to enjoy the presence of gorgeous Megan Fox in the show: she filled in for Deschanel in season 5 of New Girl. Before going on her first maternity leave, the actress pre-taped her scenes. The “jury duty” Deschanel’s character, Jess, was sent off on really meant maternity leave. Most of the time she relied on smart camera angles and, on some occasions, body doubles. Remember that stair fall in season 6? Well, it wasn’t Deschanel, because she was pregnant again, this time with son Charlie. The multiple broken bones conveniently allowed Jess to stay in bed and cover her growing belly with a blanket, and ride around the set on a scooter. She eventually got rid of the scooter in the second episode, but there was still a lot of sitting down.
9 Carrie Bradshaw’s Supersize Designer Handbags In Season 5 Were Not JUST Another Fashion Choice
Costume designers are usually thrown a curveball anytime a leading actress announces she's pregnant, but with this lady things were even more complicated. When the pregnancy of Sarah Jessica Parker, the actress behind the iconic Carrie Bradshaw, started to show, the designers faced a huge fashion challenge. They couldn’t just throw some baggy garment on Parker’s shoulders and expect Carrie’s millions fans to be OK with that! As a result, the actress got the most awesome, customized designer maternity wardrobe to camouflage her baby bump. She could be pronounced the world’s skinniest pregnant actress ever! The producers decided to shorten the fifth season to eight episodes, so that Parker could have her much-needed maternity break.
8 The Writers Of How I Met Your Mother Had Some Fun With Alyson Hannigan’s Pregnancy
Alyson Hannigan was pregnant twice while filming the legendary sitcom How I Met Your Mother. The first time they intentionally kept the pregnancy hidden, but her second pregnancy conveniently coincided with the pregnancy of her character, Lily.
Since the character’s disposition pretty much allowed frivolities in the script, the writers decided to take advantage of the situation and have some fun. They were so tired of hiding her belly behind basketballs that, at one point, they pretended her rounded belly was the result of a hot dog eating competition. So, what you see in this photo is not the aftermath of Lily gorging on hot dogs, but her daughter, Satyana, growing inside of her. Her co-star Cobie Smulders, who plays Robin Scherbatsky, didn’t get so lucky, though. When she was pregnant, her belly didn’t get a cameo role. Only her bags kept getting bigger and bigger.
7 Friends Stars Lisa Kudrow’s And Courteney Cox’s Pregnancies Were Treated Differently On Set
In seasons 4 and 5 of the iconic sitcom Friends, Lisa Kudrow got her pregnancy written into the script. The writers used the surrogacy storyline of her carrying her brother’s triplets to camouflage her pregnancy. Courteney Cox, however, didn’t get so lucky. Since the writing team had already established that Monica could not have children of her own, they had to use the usual props and clothes to hide Cox’s pregnancy: laundry baskets and blousy dresses. Fortunately, the actress never gained much weight, so it was more than easy to cover her belly. And yet, more observant viewers were still able to spot her budging bump in some scenes in the final episodes of the show.
6 Digital Technology Disguised Claire Danes' Growing Belly In Homeland
In the drama series Homeland, Claire Danes plays the bipolar CIA officer Carrie Mathison. The actress was pregnant during the shooting of the whole second season, and, unluckily for her, the show was even more action-packed than the first one. Danes was seven-and-a-half months pregnant with her son Cyrus (now four) when, in one of the episodes, which was shot at 4 in the morning, her character is kidnapped, brought to an old sewage factory, and chained to a pipe. But the love scenes turned out to be even more problematic than the action ones. According to her co-star Damian Lewis, Danes had a body double on the set for some of the love-making, and digital technology was used to edit her growing baby bump.
5 Veep Star Anna Chlumsky Didn’t ‘Pop’ Until The Last Episode
Yeeeah, believe it or not, the cute little child actress from My Girl (1991), Anna Chlumsky, has turned into a fully grown woman and has two girls of her own already. She admits she was really fortunate because her pregnancy didn’t show much until the last episode of Veep’s second season. “We were really fortunate in the beginning. I didn’t really pop—well, I didn’t really pop, pop until after we wrapped," the actress said. "But we started to get a little creative in maybe the last episode. But it’s nice it took place in the winter so everyone’s wearing jackets anyway.” Chlumsky returned to work four months after giving birth to her daughter Penelope and started filming the third season of the show.
4 Melissa Fumero Doesn’t Recommend Filming While Pregnant
We know Melissa Fumero as Detective Amy Santiago on the hit comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine. But what you didn’t know is that she was filming while nine months pregnant! Actually, she gave birth to her son Enzo only five days after they wrapped the third season of the show. Her ankles were constantly swollen, and she couldn't remember her lines or what she was supposed to do in a scene. Now you understand why she spent most of that season behind her desk. But her growing belly got a cameo appearance when Amy Santiago went undercover as a pregnant inmate. Plus, the writers sent her and Detective Jake on a cruise where the flowy Hawaiian shirts and the many handrails on the boat could be used to cover Fumero’s waistline.
3 The 1820s Setting And Fashion In Vanity Fair Helped Reese Witherspoon Hide Her Bump
Reese Witherspoon is among the very few actresses who didn’t have to make a lot of sacrifices to conceal a pregnancy during shooting. The beautiful actress played Rebecca Sharp Crawley in the 2004 production of Vanity Fair, and she was pregnant with her son Deacon during the whole filming process. Thanks to the fact that the plot of both the original book and the film script are set in the 1820’s, she was able to successfully hide her second pregnancy under beautiful, empire-waist gowns in dark colors. The lush, low-lit sets also contributed to the visual illusion, and the actress’s midsection stayed literally invisible when the camera was on her.
2 January Jones’ Character In Mad Men Wore Prosthetics As A Disguise For The Actress’ Pregnancy
When January Jones announced she was carrying a child, the writers of Mad Men decided to conceal her pregnancy with the world’s oldest trick: by making her character gain weight. And not just around the waist, but everywhere! They developed a storyline in which Betty Draper packed on many pounds out of boredom and depression. During the shooting, Jones was wearing a fat suit with a prosthetic face and neck, so that Betty could look big all over. They also used a body double for the scene where Betty steps out of the shower. To make the picture even more realistic, Betty joined Weight Watchers. In real life, Jones gave birth to her son Xander in September 2011. Shortly after, she got quickly back to her old shape thanks mostly to eating… her own placenta, as she claimed.
1 Pregnant Keri Russell Got Some CGI Help While Filming The Americans
In the drama series The Americans, Keri Russell plays a Soviet KGB officer. She, together with another officer played by Matthew Rhys, pose as a married American couple with children.
The actress got pregnant with her onscreen partner, Rhys, but this pregnancy couldn’t be written into the script and they had to do something to hide it. The creators later told the media that they used “cuts of her with groceries and with a laundry basket, and coats, a lot of coats” to shield her bump. Additionally, they used computer-generated imagery for the scenes where her bulging belly had to be removed entirely. “If you do two to three CGI shots per episodes, the audience gets distracted and they stop noticing the grocery bags. Or the coats,” the show-runners confessed.
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