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12 Actresses Who Played Their Best Roles While Pregnant

The capabilities of actors are something to envy. From time to time, filming a movie can be dragged out over a very long period. Actresses are used to playing complex characters and enduring heavy workloads, but sometimes directors set them a particularly difficult task: hiding their own pregnancy.

We at Bright Side have picked out 12 actresses who gave us unforgettable performances without us even realizing the special condition they were in.

1. Lena Headey — Game of Thrones

At the time of filming season 1 and season 6, the actress who plays the cruel Cersei was pregnant. The producers had to turn to body doubles in order to shoot the scene in which the character takes a walk of shame without clothes from the prison to the king’s court. It took 3 days to shoot this scene, and those who watched it never noticed that the actress was pregnant nor that a body double had taken her place.

2. Blake Lively — The Age of Adaline and The Shallows

Blake took part in some risky stunts for The Shallows only 10 months after giving birth. She did everything required of her role almost until the end, with a stunt double taking over only during the last 2 weeks of filming.

In contrast, for The Age of Adaline, the actress continued working as normal right up until the end of her pregnancy. Her colleagues have noted that she asked for no special conditions compared to the other actors involved.

3. Kate Winslet — Divergent

During the shooting for this movie, Kate was 5 months pregnant. Dark clothes and carefully chosen camera angles helped hide her condition. She was dissuaded from performing her own stunts without a double, but after she gave birth, additional scenes were filmed with the actress doing everything on her own.

4. Sarah Jessica Parker — Sex and the City

Parker found out she was pregnant during the first days of shooting the 5th season. The film crew’s stylists did everything they could to hide Sarah’s condition from the audience. They dressed her in large items of clothing and added bright accessories in order to distract attention from her stomach. Unfortunately, it was decided to limit the season to 8 episodes, as no more tricks would work to hide her pregnancy.

5. Helena Bonham Carter — Sweeney Todd

Chances are that you never noticed Helena’s pregnancy during this movie, since the majority of her scenes were shot during the earlier part of her term, and later a corset was simply used to conceal it. One aspect of her pregnancy, however, couldn’t be hidden: Helena’s bust increased in size with every new day of filming.

6. Drew Barrymore — Blended

The actress found out she was pregnant a few days after signing the movie contract. The start of filming was delayed, meaning that by the time Barrymore appeared in her first scenes, she already had a noticeable belly. The costume designers had to do a lot of work to make sure it wasn’t visible to the audience.

7. Scarlett Johansson — Avengers: Age of Ultron

Scarlett Johansson’s pregnancy brought changes to the work schedule for the entire cast and film crew. All of the scenes with the Black Widow were filmed first, but Scarlett became tired very quickly, which dragged out the filming process. A decision was then made to have her role supported by body doubles.

8. Angelina Jolie — Changeling

Filming an emotionally draining movie like Changeling turned out to be very stressful for Angelina. Feeling a connection with her character who has lost her son, she wanted to become a mother again (at that point, Jolie had four children). Her wish was fulfilled two times over: several months after the end of filming, Angelina gave birth to twins.

9. Reese Witherspoon — Vanity Fair

Reese Witherspoon discovered a most beautiful way to hide her special condition: sumptuous dresses in dark colors with a high waist and a large amount of luxurious material. And when necessary, Reese stood behind pieces of furniture. Her entire figure was almost never shown, so her five months of pregnancy were never noticed by the audience.

10. Courteney Cox — Friends

The final season of Friends was filmed when the actress was 5 months pregnant. Despite wearing loose-fitting clothes, hiding her condition didn’t always prove to be possible.

11. Emily Blunt — The Girl on the Train and Into the Woods

Emily found out she was pregnant right at the start of shooting for The Girl on the Train and decided to keep it secret. The actress says that her pregnancy, in fact, helped to play her emotionally unstable character, which caused her colleagues to worry in the belief that she had become too drawn into the role. Emily already had experience of acting whilst being pregnant from Into the Woods. Interestingly, in both these movies she played characters who desperately wanted but were unable to have children.

12. January Jones — Mad Men

The slim and fragile wife of Don in Mad Men gained weight as a result of her pregnancy during the making of the 5th season. The writers decided to rework the plot a little, claiming she gained weight as a result of the stress of her marital conflict. The actress had special makeup applied — including a false second chin — and also wore extra layers of clothing to make it seem as though she had gained weight everywhere rather than just around her stomach. It took 5-6 hours to apply this makeup every time.

Please note: This article was updated in May 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
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