Pregnancy is a wonderful, but really difficult period in any woman’s life. But when it’s actresses who get pregnant, it comes with a whole set of additional challenges to deal with. Not just for them, who have to endure the impossibly long hours and sometimes weird costumes, but for the movie or television crew as well. Sometimes, they manage to include the pregnancy in the script, but other times they have to resort to all sorts of tricks and schemes, like making the actress wear baggy clothes, filming only her face and using a stand-in for the full body shots, or coming up with crazy excuses for the character to “gain weight.”
Here are 15 examples of actresses who had a baby bump during filming, compiled by Relationship Goals, and you probably never even knew they were actually pregnant.
1. Lisa Kudrow, Friends
Lisa Kudrow got pregnant in 1997, in the fourth season of Friends. She didn’t have to hide it though, because it became a part of the storyline. Phoebe, her character, became the surrogate for her brother and his wife, and ended up giving birth to triplets! In real life, Lisa had a baby boy named Julian.
Courtney Cox (Monica) was also pregnant during the tail end of the last season, but the costume department took care of it by hiding her belly with scarves, jackets, and various layers of clothing.
2. Kerry Washington, Scandal
The star of political thriller series Scandal, Kerry Washington’s pregnancy during the sixth season of the show was covered up in, frankly, quite ridiculous ways. The stylists did their bit by dressing her in enormous jackets, but there was only so much they could do. So, it was up to the director to decide what prop to strategically place right in front of the camera. Sometimes she would be standing behind a couch, or often behind huge lamps. A few times there was a black shadow of an unidentified object that hid her entire body except her head and in any other situation, you’d be left wondering about that cameraman’s abilities…
3. Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders, How I Met Your Mother
Concealing one pregnancy is tough, but the crew of How I Met Your Mother had to deal with two at the same time! Alyson Hannigan (Lily) and Cobie Smulders (Robin) growing bellies resulted in a few storylines being changed, a lot of scenes being rearranged, and a lot of loose clothes and unbelievably big purses to be worn. However, since it is a comedy show, it’s hardly surprising that they didn’t take this whole covering up business too seriously. In fact, a few times they even got a joke out of it. In one episode, Lily won an eating competition and showed of the bulging belly she got as a result of it!
4. Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex And The City
Sarah Jessica Parker discovered she was carrying her first child while shooting the first episode of the show’s fifth season. This is why that season lasted only 8 episodes. Her pregnancy is completely unnoticeable, except in one scene of the final. If you look closely, you can notice her little baby bump when her character Carrie attends Bitsy and Bobby’s Hampton’s wedding.
5. Emily Blunt, The Girl On The Train
Emily Blunt played Rachel, an emotionally unstable alcoholic, in the 2016 thriller The Girl On The Train. But her co-stars began to worry that she was following in her character’s footsteps as she was acting a bit strange on set. Turns out she was pregnant, but didn’t want to share the news with the cast and crew, because she “was determined not to let anyone think [she] was using that as an excuse.” Eventually, she had to tell the director when she had to do a bath scene in which her belly would be noticeable.
6. Blake Lively, The Shallows
The Shallows is a horror thriller film in which Blake Lively portrays a surfer who is trying to survive after being attacked by a shark. Every day of shooting was heavy with stunt scenes, according to the actress, and even though she was pregnant she performed them herself. A stunt double was hired only for the last two weeks of filming.
7. Ellen Pompeo, Grey’s Anatomy
The star of Grey’s Anatomy, Ellen Pompeo got pregnant in season six. That is why in most of her scenes she was filmed in close-ups. And of course, the loose scrubs certainly helped maintain the illusion that her character wasn’t expecting a baby. But, then it was necessary to alter the storyline as well. Meredith donated part of her liver to her estranged father, which meant that Ellen was allowed to start her maternity leave.
8. Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
In season five of New Girl, the show’s star Zooey Deschanel was pregnant. This is why she was only in the first four episodes of the season, after which her character was summoned for “jury duty” and had to leave the show for a while. In the meantime, a new character was introduced: Reagan played by Megan Fox.
9. Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman
Gal Gadot was expecting her second child while filming Wonder Woman. In the beginning she tried to hide the fact, because she didn’t want to be treated any differently. However, when several scenes had to be re-shot she was already five months pregnant. She had to wear a bright green fabric over her tummy so that it could be digitally altered afterwards. “On close-up I looked very much like Wonder Woman,” the Israeli actress said. “On wide shots, I looked very funny, like Wonder Woman pregnant with Kermit the Frog.”
10. Reese Witherspoon, Vanity Fair
Reese Witherspoon was expecting while filming 2004 historical drama Vanity Fair. Her belly was getting bigger and bigger, but they found ways to hide it. The voluminous period outfits and the low lighting certainly helped, as well as standing behind some furniture.
11. Scarlett Johansson, Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Scarlett Johansson played Black Widow in all the Avengers installments, but during filming of the second one she was pregnant. Luckily, she had an amazing team of three stunt doubles. In scenes she couldn’t perform, they would stand in wearing dots on their faces which allowed the special effects team to put Scarlett’s face onto their bodies in post production.
12. Halle Berry, X-Men: Days Of Future Past
Halle Berry was in a rush to complete filming all of her scenes before her belly started showing. She was three months pregnant and her skin-tight superhero suit was just about to burst. ‘Two weeks was about as much as I could do before I was busting out of the suit,” she said.
13. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Seinfeld
Julia Loius-Dreyful was pregnant twice while playing Elaine of Seinfeld: first in season three, and then again in season eight. Jerry Seinfeld suggested just simply writing in that Elaine was getting fat and the actress burst into tears. So, her pregnancy was very cleverly hidden with the use of baggy clothes, big jackets, and a wide array of objects she was always holding.
14. Helena Bonham Carter, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Bonham Carter discovered she was expecting her second child with the director of the film, Tim Burton, during the shooting of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Her breast size changed dramatically, the actress said. And since she was pregnant only during the second half of filming, and the scenes weren’t shot in the right order, she says anyone paying attention to her breasts could notice that there is no continuity in their size.
15. Claire Danes, Homeland
The spy thriller series Homeland didn’t allow the pregnancy of its star actress to slow it down. Instead, they used CGI and a lot of close-ups to conceal her belly. Later, Danes revealed that the most difficult part was filming the scene where she was chained to a pipe while 7.5 months pregnant.