Actresses are mothers too and sometimes they become pregnant while their character is not. As with any mom, the show must go on and work continues. Throughout the decades, handling this creatively has been a challenge. The storyline might be changed to fit, or more often the actress’s pregnancy is hidden while filming. Here are 20 actresses who were pregnant on set of their TV show or film.
It's easy to write in a pregnancy for a show if it can fit within the story line of a TV, but a movie's script is already set. Hiding an actress who is pregnant is difficult and requires creativity. They have hidden their baby bumps with camera angles including only showing the actress in headshots and without the belly in view. Actresses are hidden behind flowers, appliances, big purses, coats, and other baggy clothes. Other ways of hiding it are shortening the TV series, belly green screens, working around the actresses’ schedule, such as filming out of order, dream sequences and a character overeating. When it comes to TV shows, all involved may decide to hide the pregnancy or write it into the script. Sometimes is just won’t work and other times it is a great way to take the show. There are even times when the decision is to continue with the actress by hiding the pregnancy, yet there are times when it isn’t working and adding it into the script ends up happening.
20 America Ferrera: Superstore
America Ferrera currently stars in the NBC show Superstore, which began in 2015 and is still in production. This means America Ferrera will be pregnant on set of the show. She married her husband, Ryan Piers Williams, in 2011 and announced the birth of their first child around New Year’s 2018. They are expecting their child in 2018. Ferrera was born on April 18, 1984 in Los Angeles, Calf. and has starred in ABCs Ugly Betty TV show and the “Sisters of the Traveling Pants” movies as well as more. Her co-stars from that movie are still friends today and visited Ferrera recently to congratulate her on her pregnancy. Since she is due this year viewers are yet to see how writers and other staff will handle her pregnancy on the show.
19 Melissa Rauch: Big Bang Theory
Melissa Rauch plays Bernadette on the hit CBS show Big Bang Theory. She joined the cast in 2009 the show started in 2007 and is still in production. Rauch revealed she had suffered a miscarriage before she announced she was expecting her first child. As a guest columnist for Glamour Magazine she wrote about her feeling of loss and sharing the news of expecting again. She wrote, “…. all I could think about was another woman mourning over her loss as I did, worried she would never get pregnant again, and reading about my bundle on the way.” Her TV character and her husband Howard gave birth to their first child last season. Since she was not pregnant they pretended the actress was. When Rauch found herself pregnant in real life her character became pregnant again. It was written into the script and the actress’s character was on bed rest as it was time for Rauch to give birth in real life. Her daughter Sadie Rauch was born in December 2017.
18 Alanna Masterson: The Walking Dead
Alanna Masterson plays Tara Chambler on AMC’s The Walking Dead. She joined the cast in 2013 and continues as a cast member. The actress announced her pregnancy in an Instagram post of herself showing her baby bump as she dressed in a white shirt dress. She and her boyfriend, Brick Stowell, welcomed their daughter, Marlowe or Marley, on Nov. 22, 2015. This is their first child together. While the pregnancy was not part of the show, the actress kept up with her work schedule. Then, after her daughter’s birth, she returned to set for the new season still on task, such as doing her own stunts while caring for her baby too. Masterson also has three half-brothers, Danny Masterson, Christopher Masterson and older brother, Jordan Masterson, who are all actors.
17 Emily Deschanel: Bones
Emily Deschanel was not pregnant only once, but twice on set of Fox’s Bones. She played Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan, a forensic anthropologist. The show was in production from 2005-2017 writing both the actress’s pregnancies into the script. Her show’s co-star David Boreanaz, who played Seeley Booth, were the parents of the children on Bones. Deschanel married her husband, David Hornsby, in September 2010. Her first son, Henry, was born in September 2011 and her second son, Calvin, was born in June 2015. Also, her younger sister and fellow actress, Zooey Deschanel from Fox’s New Girl, was even pregnant at the same time as her sister. They gave birth to their children only months apart with Emily giving birth first.
16 Zooey Deschanel: New Girl
Star of FOX’s New Girl, starting in 2011 and set to wrap up soon, Zooey Deschanel hid her pregnancy while filming her show. The show’s power-that-be decided having the character pregnant did not work for show’s storylines. Therefore, they filmed some of season five right after season four wrapped. Then for the star’s maternity leave the decision was written her out of the series for a while as her character went away for jury duty. According to Vox.com, “The show survived its transition to ‘No Girl’ by putting Zooey Deschanel’s absence front and center.” They also brought in some guest stars for a few episodes. Deschanel and her husband Jacob Pechenik welcomed their daughter and first-born Elsie Otter in July 2015. She gave birth two months after her sister, Emily Deschanel from FOX’s Bones. Zooey Deschanel and her husband also has a son, Charlie Wolf Pechenik, born in May 2017.
15 Scarlett Johansson: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Scarlett Johansson hid her pregnancy on Avengers: Age of Ultron as the character Black Widow. Filming started in February 2014, finishing later that year. While filming Johansson was several months pregnant and her character was not, meaning her “baby belly” needed to be hidden to remain true to the storyline. One way they did this was with wardrobe choices such as a high-waisted dress. The filming schedule was also made to accommodate her pregnancy and visual effects helped the actress look the part even in a tight leather suit. Close-ups were even used and many stunt doubles, who resembled Johansson very closely. Director Joss Whedon said in EW.com (Entertainment Weekly), “She’s not going to spend the whole movie carrying groceries. We didn’t trim any scenes. We’re like: We’ll make it work.” Her daughter, Rose Dorothy Dauriac, with Romain Dauriac was born in 2014. They married a year later and divorced in January 2017.
14 Megan Boone: The Blacklist
Megan Boone did not need to hide her pregnancy on NBC’s The Blacklist. The series started in 2013 and continues with Boone playing Elizabeth Keen on the action drama as an FBI Agent. She was still on television even at six months pregnant as her character was expecting as well. The storyline had she and her TV husband Tom, played by Ryan Eggold, expecting a child. Having a stunt double helped make the process easier and worked for the show. The storyline was adjusted to follow reality too. Her character was even “killed off” while Boone was on maternity leave. Boone and Fiancé Dan Estabrook welcomed their daughter, Caroline Boone Estabrook, in April 2016. Boone is known to keep private about her life.
13 Ginnifer Goodwin: Once Upon A Time
Once Upon a Time actress Ginnifer Goodwin and her co-star husband, Josh Dallas, left the show after the 2016-17 season but made a few appearances during the last season. The show began in 2011 and is set to end following the 2018 season. While on the show her character was expecting when she was. There were also flashback scenes and her character wore bulky clothes to hide Goodwin’s real pregnancy. The couple met on Once Upon A Time and married in April 2014. The birth of their first son, Oliver Finley Dallas, followed in May. Their second son, Hugo Wilson Dallas, was born in June 2016. Goodwin also worked on Disney’s Zootopia movie while pregnant, lending her voice to the lead. Her husband also voiced a character for the movie.
12 Kate Winslet: Divergent
Kate Winslet covered the pregnancy of her third child while filming Divergent, which filmed from April to July 2013. The movie was released on March 21, 2014 with Winslet playing Jeanine Matthews the Erudite leader, who was not pregnant. Thirty-eight at the time, she also did her own stunts (with caution, of course) while on the Divergent set. She wanted to do as many of her own stunts as possible. She was at least five months pregnant during filming meaning some wardrobe refitting was done. Another approach was using a folder in front of her growing baby belly and basically always carrying something, such as an iPad. Various camera tricks were used including close-ups and stunt doubles as well. She and her husband, Ned Rocknroll, welcomed her son Blaze in December 2013. Her other children are a daughter, Mia Honey born in October 2000 with then husband Jim Threapleton and a son, Joe Alfie Winslet Mendes in December 2003 with second husband Sam Mendes.
11 Rachel Bilson: Hart of Dixie
via: US Magazine
Rachel Bilson was pregnant on the set of the CW’s Hart of Dixie toward the end of the series that started in 2011 and ended in 2015. The star expressed her pregnancy was not the reason for the show’s cancellation. Bilson played Dr. Zoe Barnes and her character was also pregnant, giving birth in the series finale. Even though pregnant at first her character was not, and various strategies were practiced to hide the actress’s growing baby belly. She was seen behind counters, wore baggy clothes and stood behind items. Something else that was done involved filming a shorter season of 10 episodes to accommodate maternity leave. Bilson and husband, fellow actor Hayden Christensen, welcomed their daughter Briar Rose (named after the princess in Disney’s 1959 Sleeping Beauty) in October 2014. This is their first child and the couple have since divorced.
10 Claire Danes: Homeland
Homeland, which airs on Showtime, stars Claire Danes, who was well into her pregnancy on set in Season 2. Her character, CIA officer Carrie Mathison, was not pregnant. It was decided to have a body double when needed for the star and add some special effects covering her baby belly. Danes was eager to continue working on the show and not compromise the storyline. Therefore, viewers didn’t see her sitting behind the desk, but on the go to continue the storyline which is expected of the character. The show that started in 2011 is still in production. This was the actress’s first child. She and husband Hugh Dancy welcomed their son Cyrus Michael Christopher Dancy in December 2012. After the birth of her son she returned to work on the next season only a few months later.
9 Jenna Fischer: The Office
NBC’s The Office ran from 2005-2013. Show star Jenna Fischer was an expectant mother on the show and in real life. Actually, her character had two children. Fischer’s character Pam already had given birth on the show with her TV husband Jim, played by John Krasinski. Then the actress found out she was having her own baby. This was her first child. Instead of hiding her pregnancy writers added it to the script. She gave birth to Weston Lee Kirk in September 2011. She did take maternity leave from the show but returned in five weeks. Fischer and husband, Lee Kirk, now have two children. Their daughter Harper Marie Kirk was born in May 2014. While pregnant with her second child she also announced they plan on this being their last child.
8 Alyson Hannigan – How I Met Your Mother
When Alyson Hannigan was pregnant on the set of How I Met Your Mother her character was not. Many interesting elements were used to hide her pregnancy. Viewers saw her with a guitar, basketballs, big purses, globe, cooler and even had her really full after an eating contest! Sometimes plans needed to be changed due to her growing pregnancy. The second time she was pregnant with her actor husband Alexis Denisof it was included in the show. Her first daughter Satyana Marie was born in March 2009 and her second daughter, Keeva Jane, in May 2012. Another interesting aspect of this second on-set birth is Hannigan was not the only actress expecting. Cobie Smulders, who played Robin, was also expecting. This CBS show ran from 2005 to 2014.
7 Cobie Smulders – How I Met Your Mother
via: Chicago Tribune
Cobie Smulders was pregnant while on CBS’s How I Met Your Mother, but her character was not. They worked around her pregnancy by having her wear loose clothes, carrying big purses, creative headshots, putting her behind fruit bowls and using fun ways playing with the obvious fact that everyone knew of the actress’s pregnancy. Writers and producers also waited on some storylines until later in the series. Smulders was told she would not have children following suffering ovarian cancer in 2007, but now she is the mother of two children with husband Taran Killam. Their daughter Shaelyn Cado was born in May 2009 and their second child was born in January 2015, but not much detail has been released. Her castmate Alyson Hannigan, who played Lily, was also pregnant and her character was too during the same season. Episodes were shot out of timeline order to accommodate the actresses’ growing bellies. This show ended in 2014 after the 2005 start.
6 Julia Roberts – Ocean’s Twelve
Movie star Julia Roberts filmed Ocean’s Twelve while pregnant with twins. The movie was filmed from March to August 2004 and was released on Dec. 10, 2004. She plays Tess, the wife of George Clooney’s character, Danny Ocean. The actress’s character actually needed to pretend she was pregnant in the movie. While the character needed padding to look pregnant Roberts actually didn’t. It worked perfectly for Roberts’ condition. This reduced the need for traditional tricks used in movies and TV shows, such as actresses holding big purses in front of their baby belly. Roberts married her husband, cameraman Daniel Moder in 2002. Their son Phinnaeus Walter and daughter Hazel Patricia Moder were born in November 2004. The twins are the couple’s first children and they have a third as well. Son Henry Daniel Moder was born in June 2007
5 Jennifer Garner – Alias
Jennifer Garner starred in ABC’s Alias from 2001 to 2006 and became pregnant while filming. Instead of hiding her pregnancy it was written into the script for her adventurous character, Sydney Bristow. The script announced fellow show actor Michael Vartan, who is Garner’s former boyfriend, was the father and her love interest on the show. Making the character expecting allowed them to have Garner in every episode without worry of hiding her growing belly. She and husband Ben Affleck welcomed their first child, Violet Affleck, in December 2005. They also have two other children, Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck born January 2009 and Samuel Garner Affleck in February 2012. The couple recently divorced. Also, since her time on Alias Garner created a successful career in movies for herself.
4 Courtney Cox – Friends
During the last season of NBC’s hit TV show from the 1990s, Friends, Courtney Cox was hiding her pregnancy for the show. While expecting her first child Cox’s character Monica was unable to have a child and was looking into options. They hid the actress’s pregnancy by hiding her belly behind things, such as large bags and objects, wearing big clothes, camera angles and headshots. She married David Arquette in June 1999 and divorced in May 2013. Their daughter, Coco Riley Arquette, was born in June 2004. When Cox married her former husband, she took his last name. The first episode of Friends following the marriage the credits added the last name Arquette to all. Earlier in the series co-star Lisa Kudrow was pregnant and they worked her baby bump into the script.
3 Lisa Kudrow – Friends
Before her castmate Courtney Cox was pregnant on set Lisa Kudrow was pregnant while filming Friends. As Phoebe Buffay the idea was created for her character to expect a baby following Kudrow’s own pregnancy announcement. They wrote it into the script with the goal of making it believable. She was a surrogate for her brother and his wife. Her character gave birth to triplets. Kudrow also played Ursula on NBC’s Mad About You in 1992 and it was found she was Phoebe’s twin. The actress played both characters on Friends in a few episodes. Kudrow gave birth to her son Julian Murray Stern in May 1998. She married Michael Stern in May 1995. Years later during the series that aired from 1994 to 2004, fellow Friend Courtney Cox dealt with her own pregnancy on the series but was hidden.
2 Julia Louis-Dreyfus: Seinfeld
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, cast member of Seinfeld, which aired on NBC from 1989 to 1998 was pregnant on set twice during this show. While filming it was obvious she was pregnant during the last season of the show, but she was also pregnant with her first son while on the show. Since she was pregnant but her character was not, it was hidden. They used all sorts of ways to do this from her wearing huge coats and other clothes to hiding it with bags and props. During her second pregnancy they worked on hiding it again but ended up deciding to make it seem she only gained weight without talking about it. She married Brad Hall in June 1987. Their sons are Henry Hall, born in July 1992, and Charles Hall, born in May 1997.
1 Michelle Pfeiffer: Dangerous Minds
While Michelle Pfeiffer was filming the 1995 movie Dangerous Minds she was pregnant with her son. During the movie she played a school teacher that was not expecting a child. Therefore, traditional movie tricks were used while filming to hide her pregnancy such as camera angles, including close-ups, and wearing certain clothing. The movie was filmed from February to May 1994. She married her husband David E. Kelly, creator of such TV shows like Chicago Hope, in November 1993. Pfeiffer gave birth to their son John Henry in August 1994. They have an adopted daughter, Claudia Rose, as well. She was born in February 1993. Actually, the actress had adopted her daughter prior to marrying her husband to become Claudia’s parents. Her daughter visited the movie set frequently.
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