Hollywood is incredibly at adapting to any circumstance — Yes, even with pregnancy. Sometimes a story calls for a character to nine months pregnant, and sometimes an actress is pregnant while they're portraying a character who isn't. In both cases, filmmakers and TV producers find a way to make it work. Sometimes, this even means writing a plotline around an actress.
Of course, not every pregnancy lends itself to the plot of a major franchise. And there are some things Hollywood magic just can't erase completely. For some people —yes, of course, even actors— starting a family is a crucial part of life, and work can't get in the way of everything. Many of these TV shows and Movies needed to figure out a way to adapt.
Needless to say, some shows or movies go the other direction and need to replicate pregnancies on-screen. Movie studios have become experts at using prosthetics and costuming to perfectly capture the 'look' of a real pregnancy.
The real question is: can audiences tell if it's real or not. So let's dive into some of the most prominent cases in cinematic history.
20 Real: Julia Roberts (Ocean's Twelve)
Julia Roberts was able to show off her pregnancy in the most show-business way possible – there was no need to hide it at all! While pregnant with her eventual twins, Hazel and Phinnaeus, Julia Roberts got to show her real pregnancy off on the set of Ocean's Twelve.
While trying to pull off a con, most of Ocean's crew are detained which leaves his wife – played by Roberts – to come up with a new scheme. This involves Roberts pretending to be Julia Roberts, who happened to be pregnant at the time. Confused yet? Ultimately, this was written into the script when Roberts learned she was pregnant prior to filming. While it was a confusing part of the film, it did allow Roberts some relief from concealing her pregnancy.
19 Fake: Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place)
Following the acclaim that her husband received for directing A Quiet Place, Emily Blunt received similar adoration for her performance on camera. As a terrified family hiding from monsters, Blunt had the added intensity of doing so while playing a pregnant woman. However, she was not taking her role down a method-acting path.
Despite having two daughters with husband John Krasinski, neither of them were present during the filming of A Quiet Place. However, it is fully possible that Blunt used her memories of being pregnant with Hazel and Violet for inspiration during filming. She has been through childbirth twice, so she knows the feeling! She has just never had to do it while being chased by monsters.
18 Real: Charisma Carpenter (Angel)
Joss Whedon's television universe is anything but ordinary. However, once Angel started to introduce demon pregnancies, things started to take a turn for the worse.
During season four of Angel, Cordelia became inexplicably possessed by an evil demon. This storyline was implemented because of Charisma Carpenter's pregnancy. The storyline was wildly unpopular amongst fans, and ultimately was Carpenter's last with the series. At least that provides some explanation for how bad the storyline was.
17 Fake: Rose Byrne (Neighbors 2)
When an actor's role changes during the creation of a movie sequel, fans begin to speculate as to why. When Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising announced that each of their main cast members would be included in the sequel, fans were pleased. However, Rose Byrne's reduced role during the sequel had fans asking questions. Since her character was pregnant in the sequel, fans wondered if her reduced role was to keep her safe during pregnancy.
However, this was proved to be false and Bryne was not actually pregnant during this film. The film focuses more on the relationship between Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, but she is still included throughout much of the hijinks. This film was actually completed between the birth of her two children, but not during.
16 Real: Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory)
While it is surprising to fans of The Big Bang Theory that Howard Wolowitz was able to find a wife, but even more alarming when he became a father. Howard is such an awkward character that it was initially a stretch for Melissa Rauch's Bernadette to fall for him. However, their relationship has bloomed into a family and has continued to grow with two young children.
Why did these characters wind up with two babies very close in age? Following the birth of their first on-screen child, Rauch announced that she was expecting one of her own off-screen. Instead of relying on tricks to hide her pregnancy, showrunners decided to write it in. The reveal on the show was a big surprise, but also a great way for Rauch to experience her pregnancy in a fun way.
15 Fake: Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up)
Knocked Up offered an unapologetic look at an unplanned pregnancy between a career-focused woman and a slacker. The comedy followed the couple from conception all the way through until birth, and did not flinch along the way. Audiences were able to follow Katherine Heigl's pregnancy through each stage, as well as her relationship with Seth Rogen.
Despite very realistic looking scenes, the pregnancy in the film was not real. Since the film followed each of her trimesters, it would have been very difficult (and expensive) to film it in real time. However, Judd Apatow allegedly wanted to include a birth in his initial cut of the film but was unable to secure a working permit for the baby.
14 Real: Jude Demorest (Star)
Most of the time when stars are pregnant on screen, fans are able to determine this because they have announced their real-life pregnancy in advance. However, Star's Jude Demorest took the opposite route when she announced her first pregnancy.
When her character Star Davis became pregnant in the show's third season, fans assumed that it was part of the storyline. However, Demorest posted a video following the season premiere about her own pregnancy. Since the season had already been filmed, she was much further along in the video than in the show, but fans loved that they were watching a real baby grow in front of them.
13 Fake: Charlize Theron (Tully)
Despite Tully being all about a struggling mother with a baby on the way, it is completely movie magic. Charlize Theron has children of her own at home, but they were not on set with her for this film.By also having two children of her own, Theron was likely able to draw on her own experiences of being a tired mother. While Tully takes the situation down a psychedelic route, it was very relatable for anyone who has struggled with juggling childcare before. Not only was Theron a mother to young children in this film, but she had a baby on the way too. Isn’t that enough to make the mind go a little loopy?
12 Real: Alyson Hannigan (HIMYM)
How I Met Your Mother did rely on a lot of standard television tricks when both Alyson Hannigan and Colbie Smulders were pregnant during their third season. Instead, they also had a lot of fun with the former on screen.When she was not hiding her pregnant belly with purses and clever camera angles, Hannigan did get to show it off once. After a flashback showed Lily participating in a hotdog eating contest, she stood up to show off a rather large baby bump. What audiences did not know at the time was that they were actually seeing her soon-to-be baby boy. Leave it to HIMYM to get this creative when one of the top stars gets pregnant.
11 Fake: Ellen Page (Juno)
While Ellen Page was not actually a teenager when Juno premiered, she did a great job at convincing everyone that she actually was. With an Oscar-nominated performance as a “teenager in trouble” who gets unexpectedly pregnant, Page gave everyone a glimpse into teenage pregnancy which is not normally shown on film. Juno gives a non-judgmental look at teenage pregnancy and focuses on how a sarcastic teen deals with the situation. This was a career-making role for Ellen Page, and she did it without having experience with children herself, making it all the more impressive. Putting herself in the shoes of a pregnant teenager is a difficult place, but Page was able to do it very convincingly.
10 Fake: Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)
After all the tough things that Precious goes through as a poor, pregnant teenager it is comforting to know that she was not actually pregnant at the time of this film. Precious is an unflinching look at a young girl who is harmed by her family and winds up pregnant as a result. It is heart-breaking, and Gabourey Sidibe goes to a very dark place to give viewers this depiction and only relied on her acting ability.
Precious is so viscerally real that it is shocking to learn that Sidibe is not actually pregnant in the film. Everything is done in such a realistic manner, but thankfully no actual children were put in harm's way during this film.
9 Real: Lisa Kudrow (Friends)
Phoebe Buffay may have been a surrogate for her estranged brother’s triplets, but Lisa Kudrow’s real pregnancy was much less unorthodox. Following Kudrow becoming pregnant during the fourth season of Friends, the writers wrote the pregnancy into the script.
All through season four and five, Kudrow showed off her very real pregnant belly, which continued to grow as time went on. In addition, once she reached her third trimester, she was unable to fly with the rest of the cast to London. This meant that Phoebe staying behind for Ross’ wedding was also written into the script. The only missed opportunity here is that Kudrow did not name her real child Regina Phalange.
8 Fake: All Actresses (What To Expect When You're Expecting)
Perhaps someone should check the Guinness Book of World Records for the most amount of fake pregnant bellies in one room because this film might win. With a film adaptation being made of the most famous pregnancy handbook of all time, it is shocking to know that there was not a single real pregnancy on set. Out of all the actresses who played pregnant women in the film – Cameron Diaz, Anna Kendrick, and Jennifer Lopez included – none of them were actually pregnant during filming.
While many of the actresses are mothers off-screen, none of their pregnancies coincided with filming this movie. However, it is very likely that most of them would have read What To Expect When You’re Expecting during their own pregnancies.
7 Real: Maya Rudolph (Away We Go)
While not often remembered due to a limited release in 2007, Away We Go is a delightful slice-of-life film. It follows a pregnant couple – Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski – as they search for a new home before their first child is born. Even though they have not acted together since, there is great chemistry between Rudolph and Krasinski as they explore parenthood together.
What made the experience even more visceral for Rudolph is that she wound up actually pregnant before filming the movie. As she approached the birth of her second child, she was able to draw on the previous experience as a mother to explore this film. What follows is a hilarious, but honest look at a couple approaching their first child.
6 Fake: Sofia Vergara (Modern Family)
With the exception of Haley’s current pregnancy, there has been only one other instance of a newborn baby being born into the Pritchett family. When season six opened with Gloria pregnant with Joe, it was shocking for the audience. Not only because of the age difference between Jay and Gloria but because it was difficult to imagine Sofia Vergara without her slim figure.
Fans did get to see what a pregnant Gloria looks like, but it was achieved through television magic. Vergara was not pregnant during this season of Modern Family, so everything was curated with prosthetics. Thankfully, at least fans now know what Gloria looks like in a very different state than she usually is in.
5 Fake: Diana Agron (Glee)
The first season of Glee is arguably the best of the series, thanks in part to Quinn Fabray’s unplanned pregnancy. Watching Quinn navigate through high school pregnant was relatable for a lot of fans and helped show off Diana Agron’s acting abilities. The storyline went on for the entire season, all the way from Quinn lying to Finn right up until she gave birth before Regionals.
However, the most important piece of Glee history did not involve a real pregnancy. Diana Agron got to experience what pregnancy would be like but has yet to explore it in the real world. Hopefully, the real thing will end up in a much happier state for everyone, and with much less heartbreak.
4 Real: Sarah Drew (Grey's Anatomy)
Despite her second real-life pregnancy coinciding the Grey’s Anatomy storyline, Sarah Drew’s ended up much less tragic. While fans following Dr. April Kepner’s pregnancy, they were not prepared for just how upsetting the final reveal would be. In one of the most upsetting Grey’s moments of all time, Kepner’s baby would only survive for a few minutes due to illness.
Thankfully, her real-life pregnancy that was concurrent with April’s on the show ended in the birth of her second beautiful child. While tragic to watch on screen, Drew did say that it was a great experience for her to go through as a performer as it gave her perspective on her own pregnancy.
3 Fake: Sarah Wayne-Callies (The Walking Dead)
Unfortunately, “little behind-kicker” was not actually growing in front of fans of The Walking Dead. Based on the rigorous filming schedule for the post-apocalyptic film, it would not have been a good environment for a pregnant woman. This meant that Sarah Wayne-Callies would have to rely on television magic to grow her pregnant belly.
While the pregnancy did result in baby Judith becoming part of the group, it would not end well for Lori. Frankly, having a baby during a walker outbreak is not exactly the best decision in the world. However, Judith seems to have adjusted fairly well to the only world she has ever known, as she continues to thrive as a growing girl.
2 Real: Maya Rudolph (Grown Ups)
It seems that if any filmmaker wants to bring in a real-life pregnancy, they should just call Maya Rudolph. Two out of her three children have been shown on screen while she was pregnant with them. Her third came while filming this Adam Sandler comedy.
For the second time in her career, she would become pregnant after signing on for a film, and the writers decided to put it directly into the script. Alongside her husband, played by Chris Rock, she would show off her pregnant belly for the entire movie, with several “water breaking”’ jokes even being written into the script. It must be comforting to know that Rudolph will always have a career in Hollywood even when she is pregnant.
1 Fake: Arnold Schwarzenegger (Junior)
It may be very hard to believe, but all of the pregnancy effects in Junior were done in post-production. Sorry to burst the bubbles of all the Arnold fans out there, but it was not real. Despite how strong he is, The Terminator has never borne a child on his own.
After signing up for a medical trial, Schwarzenegger becomes pregnant as a male and his growing belly – and hormones – are the main punchline for this early 90s comedy. While certainly not a film that Schwarzenegger regularly brings up about his career, it was one of his first forays into comedy. Unfortunately for him (and for Junior) this film currently holds a fairly dismal rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Are there any other pregnancies we missed? Let us know in the comments!