What Baby?

January Jones, Madonna & More Stars’ Hidden Pregnancies (Photos)

The secret of how Mad Men handled January Jones’s pregnancy was finally revealed on Sunday night’s episode—Jones wore a fat suit, Betty developed a thyroid tumor and there was not a baby bump to be found. From Madonna in Evita to Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot, see 10 stars who hid their pregnancies from the camera.

The secret of how Mad Men handled January Jones’s pregnancy was finally revealed on Sunday night’s episode—Jones wore a fat suit, Betty developed a thyroid tumor and there was not a baby bump to be found. From Madonna in Evita to Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot, see 10 stars who hid their pregnancies from the camera.

Michael Yarish / AMC

January Jones in Mad Men

January Jones’s road to motherhood has been anything but conventional. The identity of her baby’s father remains top secret; she has raised eyebrows (and ruined appetites) by consuming her own placenta—and this Sunday, the world got to see how January hid her pregnancy during the filming of the fifth season of Mad Men: by wearing a fat suit. Jones’s real-life pregnancy was not written into the script; instead, writers explained-away Jones’ inability to fit into Betty Drapers’s tiny, elegant dresses by inventing a thyroid tumor that caused Betty to pack on the pounds. Though (spoiler alert!) the tumor turned out to be benign and the real cause of Betty’s weight gain was simply boredom and depression, the effect was convincing—there was no baby bump in sight on January.

Courtesy Everett Collection

Madonna in Evita

One fine day in Argentina in March 1996, in the middle of filming her lead role in a big-screen adaptation of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical Evita, Madonna discovered she was pregnant. She and her boyfriend at the time, personal trainer Carlos Leon, welcomed a baby girl named Lourdes in October of the same year—but at the time of filming, the pregnancy worried the singer. “I was so afraid of how it might affect the movie (my other baby),” Madonna once wrote. “But I must face the facts and tell Production because my costumes are starting not to fit and I'm becoming very self-conscious about my body. Not to mention the fact that there are at least six more weeks of shooting and some big dance scenes to be filmed in England at the end of the schedule.” She did eventually tell production and her growing belly was hidden as well as it could have been—although some have noted that during musical numbers like “Buenos Aires,” the size of Madonna’s belly seems to fluctuate weirdly. 

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Ellen Pompeo in Grey’s Anatomy

Oddly, Grey’s Anatomy fans suddenly started seeing a whole lot less of Meredith Grey’s midsection during the hit show’s sixth season. As it turned out, actress Ellen Pompeo and her husband Chris Ivery were expecting their very first bundle of joy while Pompeo was filming Grey’s, prompting fan speculation about how the writers would explain Pompeo’s growing belly—would there finally be a baby McDreamy?! Alas, it was not so. The sixth season premiere featured Ellen-as-Meredith constantly sitting down or featured in shots from the neck up or from behind, effectively hiding Pompeo’s growing baby bump. Next time, McDreamy!

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Penelope Cruz in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

What happens when you’re both pregnant and filming a swashbuckling, Jerry Bruckheimer adventure film? You end up peeing in the ocean a lot. That’s what happened to Penelope Cruz during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. “[Director Rob Marshall] and Johnny Depp and Jerry Bruckheimer all really took care of me and made all the changes that were necessary to have total safety,” Cruz has said. “But they left Johnny and I on a deserted island with no bathrooms to do a helicopter shot. That for a pregnant woman can be a little bit of a problem. So for those few hours I had to keep going in the water every 15 minutes. That was one of those things you remember forever.” 


Sara Jessica Parker in Sex and the City

It took six whole seasons before Carrie Bradshaw finally settled down with Mr. Big but her real-life alter-ego Sarah Jessica Parker went into mom mode well before that. The actress became pregnant with her first child with husband Matthew Broderick while the show was still filming its fifth season. Though of course, it was no problem that a closet as massive as Carrie’s couldn’t fix: SJP’s growing baby bump was concealed throughout the season by having her character take a sudden liking to bubble-style dresses and loose-fitting, floaty tops.


Jane Krakowski on 30 Rock

Having Jane Krakowski’s fame-hungry character Jenna on 30 Rock become pregnant would have opened up a world of possibilities. Jenna could have faked the pregnancy in the attempt to become a trendy celebrity mom!  Or, as this writer notes, it could have been the scandalous result of a “Kenneth-Jenna tryst.” Unfortunately, writer Tina Fey proved too benevolent a soul to let it ever happen: “At this time, we plan to shoot around Jane’s pregnancy, because no child should have Jenna Maroney for a mother,” Fey said in a statement at the time.


Alyson Hannigan on How I Met Your Mother

The fourth season of How I Met Your Mother tested the show’s pregnancy-hiding skills with not one but two of its star actresses. Alyson Hannigan, who plays Lily Aldrin on the show, and Cobie Smulders, who plays Robin, both announced they were pregnant within weeks of each other. But while other showrunners scramble to find a way to hide their actresses’ pregnancies, Craig Thomas says he actually found a way to have fun with it. When explaining the writers’ attitudes about the task at hand, Thomas says they thought: “Why be subtle—let’s make an extra joke out of it.” Several winking references are made throughout the season to the pregnancies, including having Hannigan stand behind a rack of basketballs, with one ball intentionally mimicking the roundness of her belly. In another scene, Lily wins a hot-dog-eating contest and triumphantly shows off her enormously swollen stomach—though of course, there was a baby in there, not food.

Courtesy Everett Collection

Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeney Todd

The gory, blood-bathed scenes of 2007’s grim musical Sweeney Todd were difficult enough for even audiences to stomach—we can only imagine how Helena Carter Bonham, who played the sinister Mrs. Lovett in the film, handled it all while three months pregnant. Throw in a number of spinning, waltzing scenes and a director-husband who likes to take his work home with him (in the form of fake, dismembered body parts), and it’s a wonder Bonham made it out alive. “It was kind of unfortunate because I was really pregnant by then and we had to get on the spinning machine because that was the only way to work it out was to spin,” the actress has said of her waltzing scenes. “I had morning sickness and motion sickness because I was in my first trimester. It was hellish.” To make matters worse, Bonham also had to give up her morning cups of joe. “Coming off caffeine, for the baby, was a big blow to me, so I had a headache and that's probably why I felt so spaced out. It's hard to concentrate because the first few months of pregnancy your hormones are worse than anything else.” The artist suffering for her work paid off though—there was not a baby bump in sight throughout the film.

Courtesy Everett Collection

Isla Fisher in Burke and Hare

Isla Fisher was arguably the stealthiest mom-to-be on this list, since she hid her pregnancy not only from the camera, but also from the entire crew of 2010’s black comedy Burke and Hare, in which she starred alongside Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis. Fisher has recounted some of the difficulties she faced while shooting the film, especially with donning some of the period wardrobe. “I used to pretend I was wearing a corset and then not wear it, just wear a push-up bra—don’t tell the director that,” she said. Her fellow actors were certainly fooled—Pegg, who played William Burke, said, “I didn’t know what was going on. She didn’t look pregnant until the last minute. I saw her a couple of months later and she was like a balloon.”

Courtesy Everett Collection

Marilyn Monroe in Some Like it Hot

It’s no secret that Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis made one of film’s greatest comedies together with 1959’s Some Like It Hot—what fewer may realize however, is that Monroe and Curtis almost made much more than that. With the release of his memoir in 2009, Curtis dropped a bomb when he wrote that he and Monroe had shared a heated affair together during the production of the film—and it resulted in the screen goddess getting pregnant. However, both were already married at the time, Monroe to playwright Arthur Miller and Curtis to another blonde beauty, Janet Leigh (who was also pregnant with Curtis’s child at the time) and when filming wrapped, the two went their separate ways. News of Marilyn having a miscarriage reached Curtis in December of that year, he wrote, and Marilyn never had another child.