Finding out you're pregnant is usually something to be thrilled about, but maybe not if you’re an actress. Having a growing baby bump can seriously interfere with filming, especially if the character isn’t actually pregnant. These actresses all came close to being axed after they discovered they were knocked up while on set. It would have been devastating if these women would have had to miss out on iconic roles simply because they had a bun in the oven.
However, luckily for them, the producers were able to come up with various clever ways to address the baby bump problem. In some cases, the actresses’ characters also became pregnant, or they opted smart wardrobe hacks (ie. a ton of big purses) to hide the bump. But, if you continue reading on, you’ll see that some shows even used excuses like eating disorders and alien abductions (yes, seriously) to explain away a pregnancy. Which excuse do you think is the craziest?
16 Sarah Jessica Parker: Carrie Wouldn't Wear That
SJP is known for her iconic role as Carrie Bradshaw from Sex And The City. Her character was a feisty Fashionista who was known for her bold dresses and impressive shoe closet. But the actress almost ruined her character when she became pregnant with her first child while filming the hit TV show.
Fans were quick to notice that Sarah’s character started dressing A LOT different in order to hide the baby bump. She went from wearing form fitting, fashion forward outfits, to hiding her figure in flowing dresses and mumus. Fans were very vocal about the fact that they felt their beloved Carrie would never wear such unflattering clothing IRL.
Rumour has it that the show’s producers were thinking of axing SJP for a season to keep up the authenticity of the character, but they ultimately decided against it.
15 Blake Lively: How Could She Rock A Bikini?
Blake Lively and the rest of the production crew were thrown for a loop when she discovered she was pregnant after she began filming for The Shallows. The epic movie follows a gorgeous blonde surfer who gets injured by a shark and has to figure out a way to make it back to shore before she gets eaten alive. Due to the nature of the film, Blake would have to rock a wetsuit and bikini for the majority of filming, which would make it pretty hard to hide a baby bump!
Since Blake had already filmed so much of the movie before her bump began showing, the producers had no choice but to find clever ways to hide her belly (thank God for CGI!). or else, they’d be losing way to much money re-shooting the scenes with a different actress. Blake’s baby news was eventually leaked before she could announce it after the paparazzi shot photos of her filming in a bathing suit
14 Courtney Cox: No Fertility Issues Here
Okay, no one was planning to write Monica Gellar out of the script when Friends actress Courtney Cox found out she was pregnant during the last season. But there was really no way the producers could write her pregnancy into the script, since her character had been facing fertility issues for seasons and an adoption storyline was already put in place.
The writers originally thought that Courtney might have to take a break from filming, but they though fans of the show would be upset that Monica was missing out. In the end, the show hid Courtney’s bump in uncharacteristically loose clothing and a whole lot of scarves. Still, in some shots it’s very clear that Monica had a little one on the way IRL.
13 Halle Berry: Blame Her Costume
Halle Berry has become a prominent figure in the X-Men franchise. But producers were thrown for a loop when the star discovered she was pregnant during filming for X-Men: Days of Future Past. Halle had to rock a skin-tight costume to play the role, which would have made her growing bump very obvious. So this wasn’t a pregnancy they could simple hide with careful costume choices.
Producers felt that they couldn’t let Halle go from the role, since she already had a strong following with fans. But, because of her pregnancy, the actress’ role in the film was cut nearly in half. Halle has expressed her disappointment that she didn’t have as much screen time in the flick. But unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like there was anyway around it.
12 Kelly Rutherford: Something To Gossip About
Kelly Rutherford played Serena Vanderwood’s mother on Gossip Girl. It would have been strange for her character to welcome another child, given that the show focused on the lives of her teenage (and later adult) children and step-children.
So, when the actress became pregnant during filming, the producers actually contemplated letting her go. Though Kelly was a recurring character on the show, some felt that her role was negligible, so the fans wouldn’t miss her too much. After all, there were tons of other main characters that fans were rooting for.
Luckily for Kelly, the producers decided to keep her on and merely hid her bump with careful costume selection. While pregnant, Kelly was also given less of a storyline so she could have time off to focus on her expanding family.
11 Kerry Washington: Quite The Scandal
Kerry Washington has made a name for herself as Olivia Pope on Scandal. But the show’s writers didn’t know how to deal when the actress became pregnant during season three. No one could imagine her headstrong character becoming a mom during that point in the storyline, so writing the pregnancy in wasn’t an option.
At one point, the producers were wondering if they were going to have to postpone the season altogether until Kerry finished her maternity leave. Ultimately, the show decided to get creative with their wardrobe choices- and it totally worked in their favour. Kerry was dressed up in all sots of large winter coats and oversized purses to hide her bump. The clever styling decisions made her one of the most talked about pregnant celebs of the year, which helped bring the show a ton of publicity.
10 Julia Louis-Dreyfus: It Caused Tension On Set
While filming Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus became pregnant twice. Both times the producers had her cover up her bump in oversized clothing and by carrying objects, like laundry baskets and boxes. It was pretty easy to tell the star was pregnant both times, and the show received its fair share of criticism for their poor cover-up.
Julia has since admitted that the writers were floating the idea of making her character gain weight, after her co-star Jerry Seinfeld suggested the idea. But that suggestions was quickly squashed after Julia says she burst into tears at the thought of it (though she now says she sees it was a good idea, in hindsight). Rumours suggest that producers were even thinking of giving her character the axe. But lucky for us Julia stayed on until the end!
9 Reese Witherspoon: The Corset Was The Issue
The gorgeous Reese Witherspoon found out she was pregnant shortly after signing up for the role in Mira Nair’s “Vanity Fair.” She was already five months pregnant by the time filming began, and the stylists were concerned that she’d have to bow out of the role due to wardrobe demands.
Since the movie was set in the 1820s, Reese was expected to wear corsets, as were the norm back in the period. There was concern that the corsets could be a health risk for Reese’s pregnancy. In the end, the actress was able to don the elaborate costumes and complete filming for the movie.
She made sure to remove the corset at the earliest times possible to avoid any possible health concerns. The material-heavy dresses helped conceal her growing baby bump, while her pregnancy boobs helped make her bosoms look their best in her low-cut costumes.
8 January Jones: The Way They Handled It Was Mad
Actress January Jones played Betty Draper in the hit show Mad Men. But considering that her character had already divorced Don Draper by the time she became pregnant in real life, the producers had trouble figuring out how they would hide her growing bump.
There was talk that January might be bump from a regular to recurring cast member, since her storyline was getting weak anyways. But in the end the show’s writers decided to do something completely out of the box. They decided to make Mrs. Draper gain A TON of weight due to stress eating.
It was an interesting enough plot twist, but the writers didn’t handle it well when January gave birth and Betty suddenly lost all the weight just by putting her mind to it. If someone is struggling with compulsive eating IRL, you can’t just lose the weight by snapping your fingers. #Unrealistic
7 Claire Danes: We Bet She Wanted To Go Home
Claire Danes’ career is going strong thanks to her role in Homeland. But producers weren’t sure if the actress was going to last the season when she found out she was pregnant while filming for season 2.
Not only was her baby bump hard to hide, but the season turned out to be one of the most physically demanding things she’s done on screen. And that’s bound to be all the more difficult when you’re knocked up!
Ultimately, the producers felt she was too important of a character to let go or write out. They had to get creative with filming, often shooting Claire from behind or the waist-up. The star was often dressed in looser clothing and the camera was focused on her face. Could you tell she was pregnant?
6 Lisa Kudrow: They Made Room For Three
Lisa Kudrow was already a beloved member of Friends when she discovered she was pregnant by season four, so it wasn’t an option to write her out of the script. The producers instead decided to just roll with it, which is how the idea of Phoebe’s triplets came into place.
Fans of the sitcom remember the hilarious plotline when Phoebe became a surrogate for her brother Frank and his wife Alice, and ended up getting pregnant with triplets. It sounds like an odd direction to take the show in, but luckily the writers were perfectly able to nail the story.
Lovable Phoebe only became more eccentric while expecting, and we love her for it. Her triplet nieces and nephew were referenced various times throughout the rest of the show, which made the whole plotline fit perfectly.
5 Julia Roberts: Does This Count As Inception?
The writers of Ocean’s Twelve had a creative idea when they discovered one of their leads, Julia Roberts, decided she was pregnant. The big-name actress didn’t want to have to miss out on the iconic role, but there was concern how they would hide her baby bump in the action packed movie.
Want to know the clever idea they came up with? During the con, Julia’s character Tess pretends to be a famous actress to go incognito… and she pretended to pose as Julia Roberts! That’s right: the real Julia pretended to be a fake Julia. IRL everyone knew that Julia was pregnant, so viewers saw Tess have to pad her belly to get a bump. But in reality, the producers didn’t need to pad anything, since Julia already had a burgeoning belly.
4 Jamie King: A Trip To Grandma’s
Producers seemed to entertain only two options when they discovered Jamie King was pregnant during season 3 of Hart of Dixie: write the pregnancy in or write Jamie out. The show had already gone to great lengths to conceal Rachel Bilson’s baby bump, though they really had no choice since she was the lead. But it doesn’t sound like they wanted to go through all the work again for Jamie, especially since she was only a supporting character.
In the end, they decided to make her pregnancy part of the plotline. But they did give Jamie the boot when she got too pregnant. The actress was absent for the last few episodes of the season in order to go on maternity leave, with writers explaining that her character Lemon Breeland simply went to visit her Grandmother in another state. "I shot until the day before I gave birth, literally, then went back six weeks later…it was gnarly!" Jamie has said of the experience. "I felt safer being on set because I knew if anything were to happen, my crew and cast would take care of me."
3 Gillian Anderson: They Said It Was Aliens
The X-Files had the most hilarious way of covering up Gillian Anderson’s pregnancy in season two. When she first began showing, the show used the normal tricks of specific camera angles and oversized coats. But eventually the producers decided to cut Gillian from the show temporarily when her bump began getting too noticeable.
So, instead of some lame excuse like she went on vacation, the show’s writers explained Gillian’s absence by saying she was abducted by aliens. Yep, you read that right! Given the show’s sci-fi nature, this isn’t the most shocking thing to happen in the script. But how many actresses get to say their pregnancy was explained away thanks to aliens?
2 Debra Messing: Had To Be Written Out
Debra Messing, one of two main stars of Will & Grace, was known for wearing fitted clothing while in character. But during season six, the producers had a hard time covering up the fact that the actress was pregnant. Fans immediately noticed when the star began wearing mumus and loose fitted clothing, claiming that it took away from the authenticity of the show.
Finally, the producers decided to write Debra out of five episodes when they felt they couldn’t cover up her bump any longer. In a twist of events, the show’s writers later made Debra pregnant in the series finale, after she hooked up with her estranged husband on a flight (who she later remarried). Spoiler: her daughter Laila and her bestie Will’s son end up getting married in a flash-forward at the end of the series. How sweet!
1 Jane Leeves: The Spa Made It All Better
Frasier has received tons of flack for the way they handled actress Jane Leeves’ pregnancy. Instead of using clever costume hacks and camera angles, the show went the extra step of writing in a weight gain plotline… but it was poorly executed, to say the least.
Jane’s character Daphne was said to be putting on the pounds because she was adjusting to married life. Instead of her new hubby being supportive, fans saw the character go to a “spa” (aka fat camp) to get back in shape. In real life, Jane simply went on maternity leave to give birth to her daughter. But fans said that her character’s quick bounce back after her trip to the spa was both unrealistic and felt out of place.
Sources: Pop Crush, Business Insider, US Weekly, The Stir