The world of acting is definitely a tricky one. When an actress signs up for a role in a lengthy TV series, there isn’t always a guarantee that she won’t be needing some time off work due to pregnancies in the years that follow. Many actresses have been forced to rely on camera angles and huge shopping bags to hide the fact that they are pregnant, but many have been helped by the fact that the character they played on the show was actually pregnant at the time as well.
There are a number of funny TV moments where directors have attempted to hide bumps behind plants or other crazy household items, so it makes a change to hear stories about actresses that were actually able to let it all hang free throughout what would have been a tough time for them anyway.
There was no need for fake bumps or tight fitted tops for the women on this list. The shows and actresses timed the pregnancies just right, and were able to fit them in with filming. Many of the viewers never picked up on the fact that there was a real baby being made inside them at that very moment. The following list looks at just 15 women who were able to play pregnant characters while actually being pregnant, which means that the entire time, the pregnancy the fans were watching were actually real.
15. Rachel Bilson In Hart Of Dixie
After becoming well-known as one of the stars of The OC, Rachel Bilson went on to become the main character in the TV show Hart Of Dixie. Throughout the show, Bilson’s character Zoe had an on-again off-again relationship with fellow Dixie inhabitant Wade Kinsella. When Bilson fell pregnant, it seemed only right that the pregnancy was written into the script so that the couple could have their happy ever after.
Hart of Dixie only ran for four seasons, and it was in season four that Zoe reveals that she is pregnant and the couple then rush to deliver their vows as Zoe attempts to deliver their baby boy. In real life, Rachel gave birth to a daughter called Briar Rose back in 2014, with her fiancé Hayden Christensen. The series ended not long after the birth of Wade and Zoe’s first child, so it seems that Rachel got all the maternity time she needed with her daughter in the months that followed before she appeared in Nashville.
14. Julia Roberts In Ocean’s Twelve
In the 2004 film Ocean’s Twelve, Julia Robert‘s character isn’t actually pregnant, but in the film, her character;s husband requires her to pose as a pregnant woman for a scheme, which is how the producers decided to write in her pregnancy for the film.
The script for the film was completely reworked for Julia Roberts when the producers found out that she was pregnant with twins. Julia went on to give birth to twins Hazel and Phinnaeus later that year, after filming on the movie had ended. Julia and her husband Daniel Moder have three children. The fact that the producers decided to change the script of an entire film for her, rather than recast her, shows how much of a star Julia is.
13. Katey Sagal In Married… With Children
Katey Sagal recently appeared as Penny’s mother on The Big Bang Theory, but before she made a name for herself in recent family sitcoms, Katey was seen as Peggy Bundy on Married…With Children in the 1990s. Katey’s character revealed that she was pregnant in the sixth season of the show and the producers decided to include her real-life pregnancy in the production.
Sadly, Katey went on to miscarry the baby, so the storyline then revealed that the pregnancy had all been a dream. Katey went on to become pregnant two more times throughout her time on the show, and the producers were more than happy to work around this, but decided not to add them in the show following the events of her first pregnancy, which probably made life much easier for the star, who is now the mother of three children.
12. Alyson Hannigan In How I Met Your Mother
Alyson Hannigan rose to fame for her role on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but it was while she was on How I Met Your Mother that her character Lily was able to have a baby at the same time as her.
Alyson had already been pregnant in the show a few seasons earlier but producers thought it was too early for her character to decide to have children, so they did the best they could to hide her bump. When Alyson got pregnant for the second time in season seven, it was thought to be the perfect time for her Lily and Marshall to have their first child, so this time there were no attempts to hide the fact that Alyson was pregnant. Alyson was forced to wear a pregnancy bump for many of her scenes, though, since Lily was further along in her pregnancy in real-life.
11. Jennifer Garner In Alias
Before Jennifer Garner became the Hollywood star she now is, she was the star of Alias. In the show, she was a CIA spy who would often wear skintight clothes and kick butt on every mission that she was part of, so when she revealed that she was pregnant, it was hard for the producers of the show to hide it with her sense of fashion.
Instead, it was decided that her character Sydney Bristow would discover that she was pregnant while she was on a mission and it would then become part of the series moving forward. Sydney went on to give birth while she was under heavy fire on a mission in season five with the help of her parents. Her character had a baby girl. Jennifer also gave birth to a daughter called Violet Anne in real life, her first of three children.
10. Emily Deschanel In Bones
Emily Deschanel has played the main character of Temperance “Bones” Brennan in the TV show Bones for more than a decade now, and it seems that the show finds it quite easy to deal with her pregnancies.
The producers of the show decided to write in Emily’s first pregnancy at the end of season six, where it was revealed that the show’s main couple was set to have their first child. Brennan had a baby girl called Christine on the show, while Emily had a son called Henry in real life. Emily learned that she was pregnant for a second time back in 2015, which once again the producers decided to write into the show. Emily went on to give birth to her second son whom she called Calvin later that year. Booth and Brennan went on to have a second child on the show as well, whom they decided to call Hank in season 11.
9. Molly Ringwald In The Secret Life Of An American Teenager
Molly Ringwald played the mother of Shailene Woodley‘s character on The Secret Life Of The American Teenager. The show centered around the fact that her daughter had accidentally become pregnant while at camp and then tried to keep it a secret for as long as possible, which obviously had a time limit on it.
On a show where an unplanned pregnancy was the main storyline, it seems that Molly Ringwald’s character was able to have one of her own in the later seasons of the show. After becoming pregnant in real life, the producers obviously thought it was much easier to give Molly’s character a baby at this point rather than attempting to hide her growing bump through camera angles and objects. It seemed to work out quite well and made sense throughout the show, so it seems like the producers made the right choice.
8. Ginnifer Goodwin In Once Upon A Time
Once Upon A Time was a TV series which followed the lives of some of the best-loved storybook characters in the town of Storybrook. One of the main characters of the show was Snow White, who was pregnant at the beginning of the story and forced to send her daughter Emma through the wardrobe to the real world because of the Evil Queen’s curse.
It was later revealed partway through season three that Ginnifer Goodwin, who plays Snow White, was pregnant and this was set to be written into the script. While the actress was able to hide her bump for the first half of the series, she later gives birth to a son called Neal, despite plots to kidnap the baby. In real life, Ginnifer gave birth to a son called Oliver with her husband and Once Upon a Time co-star Josh Dallas in 2014.
7. Jenna Elfman In Accidentally On Purpose
Sometimes actresses are smart enough to plan their pregnancies around their filming schedules or work life, and that is exactly what Jenna Elfman decided to do. When she signed on to be the main role in TV show Accidentally On Purpose, a show about a film critic who manages to get pregnant after a one-night stand, she thought it was the perfect time to have her second child.
She was then pregnant at the same time as the character she played in the short-lived comedy show and was able to give birth back in 2010 around the same time that her character was about to do the same. It seems that Jenna decided to become a method actor for her role in the comedy style show, which only made her acting all the more believable. Sadly, though, the show didn’t turn out to be as popular as many critics thought it would be.
6. Marcia Cross In Desperate Housewives
Marcia Cross became pregnant while playing Bree Van de Kamp on Desperate Housewives, but it seems that the show decided not to write her pregnancy into the script, instead opting to allow Bree to fake her pregnancy to cover for the fact that her daughter was having a baby.
The storyline covered for the fact that Cross was pregnant throughout the third season and allowed her to take maternity leave at the end of the series. The producers didn’t want Brie to be pregnant in season three, so they refused to add it to the script, so they tried to hide her pregnancy with baggy clothes and objects before the “fake pregnancy” storyline allowed her to be herself, and it also gained a lot of positive feedback from critics. While Brie didn’t go on to have a child, Marcia gave birth to fraternal twins Eden and Savannah in 2007.
5. Lisa Kudrow In Friends
There’s an interesting story behind Lisa Kudrow‘s pregnancy when she was part of Friends in its fourth and fifth seasons. At the time, Phoebe wasn’t in a place where the directors thought that it would make sense for her to have a baby. She didn’t even have a boyfriend at that point, so instead, Phoebe became the surrogate for her brother and his wife, who were unable to have their own children.
Lisa was able to continue to be on the show throughout her pregnancy before Phoebe gave birth to three children for her brother as part of the show. In real life, she only gave birth to one child, a son whom she called Julian. Interestingly, when Courteney Cox became pregnant a few years later, her character had already revealed that she couldn’t conceive, so Courteney was forced to hide her bump with much bigger clothes, which many viewers picked up on.
4. Salli Richardson-Whitfield In Eureka
Salli Richardson-Whitfield revealed that she was pregnant while playing the role of Allison Blake on the sci-fi show Eureka. Salli’s pregnancy was another one that the producers decided to add to her character on the show, which made for some interesting scenes, since her baby would always decide to kick when her love interest on the show (played by Colin Ferguson) would touch her bump.
Her custom-made storyline on the show back in 2008 was that her character find out that she was pregnant in the third season. Since there was never anything mentioned about the character’s desire to have children, she was easily able to add her real pregnancy to the role. Salli went on to give birth to her second child, a son called Dondre in 2009, while her alter ego in the show went on to give birth to a daughter called Jenna.
3. Hayden Panettiere In Nashville
Hayden Panettiere plays singer Juliette Barnes in Nashville, and her complicated life became much worse in season two when it was revealed that she was pregnant. While Juliette went on to give birth to her daughter Cadence on the show, Hayden also went on to give birth to her first child with fiancé Wladimir Klitschko.
It seems that Hayden and her Nashville character went on to share a battle with postpartum depression following giving birth. Hayden has since spoken out about her struggle and voluntarily checked into a facility to help her through this last year, which is why she was forced to take a break from filming. Both Hayden and her character on-screen have been able to overcome this battle over the past two years, and she has now become an advocate to help raise awareness of the condition.
2. Caterina Scorsone In Private Practice
Caterina Scorsone’s pregnancy while she was starring as Amelia Shepard in Private Practice led to one of the shows most compelling storylines. It seems that the show didn’t want her to have a baby at that point, but they found an interesting and unique way to work around her pregnancy.
While Scorsone went on to give birth to a healthy baby girl in real life, her character was hit with some sad news. She was told halfway through her pregnancy that her baby didn’t actually have a brain, which gave it no chance of survival. Amelia then had to make the brave choice and incredibly decided to carry her baby to full term and then donate the baby’s organs. The storyline gained a lot of positive attention and Scorsone’s connection to her own pregnancy and the birth of her child obviously helped her throughout the filming of many of the harder scenes on the show.
1. Bethany Joy Lenz In One Tree Hill
Bethany Joy Lenz become a household name following her portrayal of Haley James Scott in One Tree Hill. While Haley’s pregnancy with her first son Jamie played a huge role in the direction of the show, and Jamie went on to become a main star too, it seems that Haley’s second pregnancy wasn’t planned out so well.
Lenz was genuinely pregnant throughout season eight of One Tree Hill and it seems that producers decided to give Haley and Nathan a second child, a daughter whom they decided to call Lydia. Bethany herself later became the mother of a baby girl in 2011, with her then husband Michael Galeotti. Just over a year after the birth of their first child, Lenz announced her divorce from her husband, which coincided with the final season of One Tree Hill, a show that Lenz had been part of for almost a decade.