When an actress becomes pregnant while shooting something, it can quickly complicate things. A growing pregnancy belly is no easy thing to hide on camera, though it’s been done through the use of good angles, wardrobe hacks, and using set props. Other times, the producers of a show or movie may elect to write the actress’ pregnancy into the script somehow. But that can easily become a flop if isn’t handled well.
The actresses that made this list were all noticeably pregnant while filming. For some of these stars, their pregnancies were thrust into the spotlight because they caused the show or movie’s plotline to change- oftentimes not the way fans had been hoping. Perhaps the story felt random or forced, which can disrupt a show for an entire season. But other times fans become frustrated over how poorly a show chose to hide a pregnancy belly, which can produce negative backlash for the actress at the time she needs it the least. Or, arguably the worst is when a show has to go on hiatus because they can’t film when one of their main stars is on bed rest or very noticeably pregnant.
Either way, what all these celebrities have in common is that they couldn’t keep their pregnancies hidden for very long. The world watched each detail of their pregnancy, whether it was on a TV screen, the silver screen, or media headlines, which we’re sure made for an interesting pregnancy.
20 Meredith Grey Would Never Have Done That
When Ellen Pompeo was pregnant with her first child, her Grey’s Anatomy character Meredith Grey and McSteamy were already in the process of adopting due to fertility issues. Thus it wouldn’t have made sense to write her pregnancy into the script. But when it came to the writers coming up with a creative way to hide her growing belly, they didn’t think to just stick it behind a surgeon’s table.
Rather, someone had the idea of making Meredith donate a part of her liver to her estranged father, which seemed out of character give what had happened between the two in previous seasons. Though this at least gave the actress a reason to keep her feet up and still film the season, it meant her pregnancy was brought to the public spotlight. Fans were obsessed with seeing if they could catch a glimpse of her bump.
19 Zooey Deschanel Was Replaced By…Megan Fox?
Zooey Deschanel’s pregnancy was painfully public, but not because her bump couldn’t hide behind smart wardrobe hacks or set placement. Rather, the actress’ hit show decided to poorly write her out for a few episodes so she could focus on her pregnancy.
In the first part of the season, Zooey’s growing bump was hidden behind a jury bench as the show followed a court-themed plotline, which wasn’t half bad. But when that began getting repetitive, the producers let Zooey have a break for a couple of episodes. And the way they explained it away was odd.
Megan Fox was temporarily cast as the lead female for the several episodes (the excuse was she was renting Zooey’s room), which some fans thought was a diss at Zooey since they’re both similar-looking brunettes. The entire thing felt a bit forced.
18 Blake Lively Just Kept Surfing
When Blake Lively was pregnant with her second daughter Ines, she had already signed on to film The Shallows, a film about a surfer who gets stranded while a shark is waiting to make its move.
It was actually through photos from the set that the public found out she was expecting again, as Blake’s bump was hard to hide in her wetsuit. Reports said the actress was filming in the water at up to five months pregnant, including many “stunt-heavy” scenes.
In some parts of the movie, viewers say they can see the celeb’s pregnant belly in the water or from certain angles.
17 Kate Winslet Should Have Diverged From This Movie
Kate Winslet has experience three pregnancies during her time in Hollywood, but none was as noticeable on the big screen as her third one. While pregnant with son Bear, the actress was filming Divergent.
Many of since critiqued the film for the poor job they did at hiding her bump. Most scenes that included Kate had her filmed from the waist up or they positioned her hands in front of her to distract from her stomach area. Literally, every scene with her was like this, which is what made it so painfully awkward.
Tons of other movies have been able to hide an actress’ pregnancy, even ones that are much farther along. So we’re not sure what Divergent’s excuse is.
16 Lisa Kudrow Inspired This Infamous Friends Plot
If Friends had simply left Lisa Kudrow’s pregnancy out of the script, no one would’ve blamed them. We doubt anyone could have imagined Phoebe becoming a mom in season four. But the writers evidently had another, um, creative way to incorporate her pregnancy into the show without leaving her with kids.
Most fans of the show will remember how Phoebe infamously volunteers to be a surrogate for her brother and his older wife. She ends up getting pregnant with triplets and forms a strong emotional attachment to them, which meant the scene where she had to say goodbye to them was heartbreaking.
The fact the producers dealt with Lisa’s pregnancy in such a sad and bold way meant she wasn’t able to hide it, even if she wanted to.
15 SJP Gave Us Hope Carrie Bradshaw Was Expecting
Sarah Jessica Parker was famously pregnant with her first child, son James Wilkie, during season five of her hit show Sex and the City. Since things were still rocky between her character Carrie Bradshaw and her love interest’s relationship, producers felt it best that her pregnancy wasn’t written into the script. So, they had to hide it.
The wardrobe department began styling SJP’s character in uncharacteristically baggy clothing. While fans were used to seeing Carrie in tight, fashion-forward outfits, now she was sporting mumus and baggy tops, which meant it definitely wasn’t hard to tell the actress was pregnant. Some fans wished the producers would’ve chosen to give Carrie a family instead.
14 Madonna Was Singing For Two
Did you know Madonna is also an actress?!
Yes, the pop star has acted in many hit films over the years, including the classic flick Evita. Early on in filming, the singer realized she was pregnant with her first child, daughter Lourdes.
The producers tried all the tricks in the book to hide Madonna’s bump, including well-thought out angles, baggy clothing, and props. Eventually, they had to cut out some risky scenes from filming for fear that Madonna might accidentally fall and hurt herself. If you re-watch the movie, there may be a few scenes where you can see Madonna’s growing belly.
13 Penelope Cruz Was On Stranger Tides While Pregnant
Penelope Cruz had a major role in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, but the crew hit a roadblock when the actress discovered she was pregnant early on in filming. The flick required a lot of full body and stunt-heavy scenes, which meant it was going to be extra challenging to hide her growing bump.
The solution? Penelope had the bright idea to ask her near-identical sister Monica to be her body double. Monica filled in for all of the more slightly dangerous scenes or ones where they needed to film her feet to head. Honestly, the only reason fans knew that Penelope was pregnant at the time was because the tabloids broke the news her sister was having a part in the movie.
12 January Jones’ Pregnancy Led To Disappointed Fans
A season before January Jones became pregnant, her Mad Men character Betty Draper had a young son with her husband Don Draper, but had now since divorced him and re-married. So it wouldn’t make sense for her character to be expecting again, leading writers to go another route.
As they didn’t want January taking much time off from the series, they decided to explain away her growing baby bump by having Betty Draper simply pack on the pounds. After the actress had her son, her character went to a treatment center and returned to her previous size. If only it was that simple.
Many fans were not impressed with how Mad Men handled January Jones’ pregnancy, which made her a bit of a public figure during the season. At the same time, the paternity of her son was called into question since she never revealed the father’s identity, which was likely only fuelled by the Mad Men backlash.
11 HIMYM Got A Mother- Just Not The Right One
Alyson Hannigan was pregnant twice during her stint on How I Met Your Mother.
When pregnant with her first daughter, the show used wardrobe and set hacks to carefully hide her growing belly. That way they didn’t have to incorporate it into the storyline, although there was one scene where her character participated in a hotdog eating contests and her stomach was used to show off her “food baby.”
When it came to Alyson’s second pregnancy, producers finally felt it was time to give Lily and Marshall a baby, so the pregnancy was written into the script. When the season aired, fans were all made aware that the real-life actress was a mom (again).
10 Candace Accola's Pregnancy Got A Bit Too Supernatural
Vampire Fans couldn’t help but notice that Candace Accola was pregnant due to the very weird storyline her pregnancy inspired the show writers to take.
The previous season, Alaric had lost his pregnant wife, leaving many fans confused and upset. The writers decided to resurrect Alaric’s babies by having Candace’s character Caroline become magically pregnant with them, since she was already conveniently preggo IRL. Anything can happen in Mystic Falls!
Not only did this confuse tons of fans, but also angered those who had been hoping for Caroline to end up with her longtime love interest, Stefan. The show continued to go down in ratings the further it went on, which could be blamed on ridiculous plotlines like this one.
9 Joss Whedon Wrote A Weird Plot For Charisma Carpenter
Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer were used to show doing tons of wild things, so they were also expecting the same when it came to Joss Whedon’s spin-off Angel. But we don’t think anyone was quite expecting how the producer was going to handle actress Charisma Carpenter’s pregnancy.
Evidently, the actress avoided telling the crew she was pregnant because she was worried about losing her job (rumour has it, they’d been considering booting her from the show for a while). Eventually, season four’s plot had to be expanded to accommodate for her pregnancy. So her character Cordelia was made to have a fling with Angel’s son (yuck!), which resulted in a demon pregnancy.
Yep, this was one plotline fans were definitely torn over. In the end, Charisma did leave the show after the season, which may or may not have been related to how they dealt with her pregnancy.
8 Kerry Washington’s Pregnancy Felt Like A Scandal
Many fans felt that Kerry Washington’s pregnancy was a scandal, not because they weren’t happy for her, but because of the way producers on Scandal handled it. Many feel the production team was a bit lazy when it came to disguising her bump.
The number one way they tried to hide Kerry’s belly during scenes was to put a folder or purse in front of her, which just became more blatantly obvious as the season progressed. Other times, the actress was dressed in large coats, but it was still easy to see the outline of her growing bump.
In the end, there are many fans who still say they wish the show would’ve delayed production rather than poorly try to cover up the lead character’s bump. Or how cool would it have been to make Olivia Pope a mom?
7 Emily Blunt Was In The Woods During Her Pregnancy
It was slightly ironic that Emily Blunt was pregnant while filming The Woods, considering her character wants but is unable to have a child. This made it especially imperative for the crew to hide the actress’ burgeoning belly, as it wouldn’t have made sense for her character to have a bump.
Some fans felt the production team was too obvious by continually putting Emily’s co-star James Corden in front of her during scenes. But other than that, the crew did a decent job at covering up her changing figure. However, some fans who’ve watched the movie multiple times swear there are a few scenes where her bump is more noticeable.
6 Marcia Cross Was Desperate To Keep On Filming
Marcia Cross had a leading role on Desperate Housewives, so the show couldn’t afford to give her much time away from the set when she was pregnant with twins. However, what they did do was bring set to her.
That’s right. Marcia was put on bed red later into her pregnancy. So rather than finding a way to write her out of the season three script, some of the crew and cast temporarily relocated to her home. Two episodes were filmed at Marcia’s house, which the creative team worked hard to make look like the Wisteria Lane home from the show.
Fans loved the dedication they had to make the show consistent and this certainly helped to popularize Marcia's entire pregnancy.
5 Helena Definitely Had The Director On Her Side
Helena Bonham Carter was very noticeable pregnant during her role in Sweeney Todd. It’s clear to see what scenes she’s further along in as her chest is bigger in certain scenes. Actually, most of the beginning parts of the movie were filmed towards the end of production, which led to Helena’s bosoms looking larger in the first half of the movie rather than the last.
Overall, other than this slight issue, the crew did a pretty decent job of hiding Helena’s baby bump through good angles, thick fabrics, and tons of kitchen props. It’s also worth noting that the film’s director, Tim Burton, was also the baby daddy, which we’re sure made dealing with this on-set pregnancy a bit easier.
4 Halle Berry Caused A Storm On Set
Halle Berry and the rest of the crew were up for a challenge when she announced she was pregnant while shooting X-Men: Days of Future Past. Because of how tight her character Storm’s outfit was, they wouldn’t be able to use special costume tricks to hide her bump. Likewise, since the movie is so stunt-intensive, Halle wouldn’t be able to shoot many of the scenes.
In the end, the producers allegedly had to cut a lot of Halle’s screen time in order to accommodate for her pregnancy. They wrapped up her filming early in a matter of weeks so her bump wouldn’t be too large. Many fans were disappointed they got to see so little of Storm in the movie. But we think the movie’s crew worked well with what they had.
3 This Melrose Place Star Ended Up In Court
Most of the celebrities on this list couldn’t hide their pregnancies because they filmed with their growing belly or certain changes had to be made to filming or the script. But that’s not exactly what happened to Hunter Tylo.
The actress was cast to appear in the soap opera Melrose Place. But a month before filming began, she informed producers that she was expecting… to which they responded by firing her.
Hunter eventually took her case to court and won. She’s the first actress to take an employer to court for this reason, so good on her for sticking up for herself.
2 Will Would Never Let Grace Wear That
The producers on Will & Grace really messed up when it came to handling Debra Messing’s pregnancy on-screen, as her bump was painfully evident the entire season she was expecting.
Debra’s character Grace typically wore fitted, fashion-forward clothing, but the wardrobe department began dressing her in oversized, flowy pieces, which just seemed out of character. Likewise, the production team didn’t utilize angles very well or make use of set props, which meant in most scenes it was noticeable that the actress was with child.
Eventually, producers allowed Debra to miss the final four episodes because her bump was becoming too obvious. But some fans think she should have been excused from filming long before that.
1 Anna Paquin Was No Longer Acting Like A Vampire
Everyone knew something was up when Anna Paquin’s character Sookie underwent a bit of a transformation on True Blood. The character was known for her steamy, scantily clad scenes. But now every scene featuring Anna had her covered up by pajamas, a blanket, or pillow somehow, which made fans quickly acknowledge something was out of the norm.
It turns out the actress was simply expecting twins with her co-star Stephen Meyer. While fans were thrilled the True Blood alums were actually together and starting a family IRL, there were still many disgruntled fans who felt the way they tried to hide Anna’s pregnancy interfered with the authenticity of the show.