In many cases, actresses have to pretend to be with child to pull off certain roles. On the other hand, though, a lucky few stars have managed to coincide their own pregnancies with those of the characters they’ve played. Here’s a look, then, at some of the best fake and completely real pregnancies that we’ve watched unfold on our screens.
40. Katherine Heigl – Knocked Up
Knocked Up stars Katherine Heigl as a mom-to-be who falls pregnant after a one-night stand with immature baby-daddy Ben (Seth Rogen). And while many parents may empathize with Alison’s attempts to get her life together before the arrival of her child, Heigl hadn’t yet been in that situation in real life. You see, the actress first became a mom in 2009 – two years after Knocked Up hit screens – upon adopting her daughter Naleigh. She then adopted her second child, Adalaide, in 2012 before welcoming son Joshua in 2016.
39. Julianne Moore – Nine Months
Romantic comedy Nine Months follows the story of a couple whose relationship becomes rocky after they discover that they are expecting. The 1995 flick stars Hugh Grant, whose character isn’t prepared to become a dad, while Julianne Moore plays his pregnant long-term girlfriend. And at the time of shooting the film, Moore wasn’t actually carrying a child. She did, however, welcome her first baby in 1997, with her second arriving five years later.
38. Cynthia Nixon – Sex and the City
As Miranda Hobbes was never really the most maternal of Sex and the City’s four leading ladies, it may have come as some surprise to fans when the career-driven lawyer became the first of the group to become pregnant. However, for Cynthia Nixon, playing mom may have come second nature. The actress had first given birth in 1996, six years before Hobbes welcomed baby Brady; Nixon has since gone on to have two further children.
37. Ellen Page – Juno
Upon Juno’s release in 2007, some worried that the coming-of-age tale glamorized teenage pregnancy. At one point, a brief rise in teen moms was even blamed on the quirky comedy. But while Ellen Page deftly portrayed the pregnant title character, she herself has not had children. Page married her wife, Emma Portner, in January 2018, and the couple live together in Los Angeles, California.
36. Kerri Russell – Waitress
In Waitress, Jenna Hunterson feels trapped by her pointless job, her failing marriage and the tiny town in which she lives. So, when she falls pregnant, it’s the final straw. The server’s plans to run away are ultimately scuppered, however, when she falls in love with her charming ob-gyn. And although actress Keri Russell wasn’t expecting while filming the movie, she did welcome her first child the same year Waitress hit screens in 2007. The actress also had a second baby in 2011 before separating from her kids’ father, Shane Deary, in 2013.
35. Drew Barrymore – Riding in Cars with Boys
Based on a 1992 memoir of the same name, Riding in Cars with Boys relays Beverly Donofrio’s experiences of juggling motherhood with her education after becoming pregnant as a teenager. And despite her difficult start, the young mom goes on to become a top writer. In the 2001 film adaptation Donofrio is played by Drew Barrymore, who wasn’t pregnant during filming – although she later went on to become a mother of two.
34. Kirstie Alley – Look Who’s Talking
Classic 1980s movie Look Who’s Talking stars Kirstie Alley as a career-minded woman who becomes pregnant with a philandering executive (John Travolta). And in a novel twist, most of the film is told from the baby boy’s perspective after his birth – via voiceover, that is. However, Alley only had her first child in 1992 – three years on from Look Who’s Talking’s release – with a daughter following in 1994. Then, in 2016 Alley became a grandmother when her son, William, became a father himself.
33. Jennifer Aniston – The Object of My Affection
In 1998’s The Object of My Affection, Jennifer Aniston plays a pregnant woman who agrees to raise her unborn child with her gay best friend. At the time, though, Aniston herself was not expecting, nor was she with child when her Friends character Rachel Green fell pregnant. The actress doesn’t seem to mind whether she has kids, either, as in 2014 she told ABC News that trying to become pregnant was “not something that’s in [her] everyday life.”
32. Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Anna Kendrick, Elizabeth Banks and Brooklyn Decker – What to Expect When You’re Expecting
None of the five leading ladies in What to Expect When You’re Expecting were pregnant when they filmed the 2012 movie, which is based on the popular book of the same name. However, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks and Brooklyn Decker have all since become mothers. Meanwhile, in 2017 reports suggested that Cameron Diaz and her husband, Benji Madden, were looking into adoption.
31. Salma Hayek – Fools Rush In
Fools Rush In tells the story of Alex and Isabel, who hurriedly get married after she becomes pregnant from a one-night stand. Then, over the next nine months, the pair fall in love, helping them find joy in what was once a messy situation. When the film came out in 1997, though, its star, Salma Hayek, was yet to become a mom. But ten years later in 2007, the Mexican beauty welcomed a little girl named Valentina Paloma with her husband François-Henri Pinault.
30. Mia Farrow – Rosemary’s Baby
Classic horror Rosemary’s Baby tells the tale of a woman whose initial delight in discovering she’s pregnant turns to despair when she comes to believe that her neighbors are plotting to take her child for their evil cult. Little does Rosemary know, though, that she’s carrying the child of Satan. Yet while the film is enough to put practically anyone off pregnancy, the film’s lead, Mia Farrow, remained undeterred. The actress went on to have four biological children of her own as well as adopting a further ten.
29. Ellen Pompeo – Grey’s Anatomy
Fans were over the moon when Grey’s Anatomy’s Derek and Meredith discovered that they were expecting. The couple had initially decided to adopt after doctors told Meredith that she was infertile; eventually, though, she would give birth to a baby boy. And while actress Ellen Pompeo wasn’t pregnant at the time of the storyline, she’d previously had daughter Stella in 2009. Then, in 2014 Pompeo welcomed a second girl named Sienna through a surrogate, while in 2016 she announced the birth of her son Eli.
28. Amy Poehler – Baby Mama
Baby Mama stars Tina Fey as a woman who struggles to conceive the traditional way. Instead, she turns to a gestational carrier, portrayed by Amy Poehler, but the pair don’t see eye to eye. Perhaps the film triggered Poehler’s maternal instincts, too, as after Baby Mama topped the box office she announced that she was expecting her first child with husband Will Arnett. The couple had a further baby before divorcing in 2016. Meanwhile, Fey has two daughters with her husband Jeff Richmond.
27. Natalie Portman – Where the Heart Is
Where the Heart Is follows teenager Novalee Nation, who gives birth in a Walmart two months after she was abandoned in the store by her boyfriend. The lead role is played by Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman, who at the time had no experience of parenthood. But things have changed since the year 2000; Portman now has two children with French choreographer Benjamin Millepied, whom she wed in 2012.
26. Sofia Vergara – Modern Family
Sofia Vergara has played Gloria Pritchett on Modern Family since 2009, with her flamboyant character becoming a favorite with fans over that time. Pritchett herself was pregnant in season four of the show, for which Vergara donned a fake bump beneath her form-fitting outfits. But there’s a chance the actress may have drawn upon her experience being pregnant with son Manolo – who was born in 1991 – as part of her role.
25. Emilia Clarke – Game of Thrones
Daenerys Targaryen’s pregnancy sent shivers down the spine of her rivals on Game of Thrones. And although the character later loses her baby – as well as her Dothraki husband – she does nevertheless go on to become the “Mother of Dragons.” Still, given that Emilia Clarke has neither had children nor raised any mythical creatures – as far as we know – she’s not a mom in real life.
24. Melissa Rauch – The Big Bang Theory
Fans of The Big Bang Theory had watched Howard Wolowitz’s relationship with Bernadette Rostenkowski from their awkward first meeting all the way to their marriage. So when the couple realized that they were expecting in season nine of the show, it seemed to be a logical next step. But while Rostenkowski had no trouble with that pregnancy, the actress who plays her has sadly not always been so lucky: Melissa Rauch suffered a miscarriage before giving birth to her daughter Sadie in 2017.
23. Anna Gunn – Breaking Bad
Skyler White is pregnant with her husband Walter’s second child when we first meet her in season one of Breaking Bad. And although Anna Gunn wasn’t sporting her own bump for the part, she hadn’t long given birth to her youngest daughter, Eila Rose. The baby girl was the actress’ second child with her former husband Alastair Duncan, whom she divorced in 2009.
22. Jennifer Garner – Alias
When Jennifer Garner fell pregnant with her first child to Ben Affleck, her bosses at Alias decided to write it into the storyline. As a result, the bump Sydney Bristow sported on screen was completely real. Garner and Affleck’s daughter Scarlett was born in 2005, with another girl named Seraphina following in 2009 and son Sam in 2012. The couple split in 2015, however, and divorced in 2018.
21. Lindsay Lohan – Labor Pains
TV movie Labor Pains stars Lindsay Lohan as Thea Clayhill, who fakes a pregnancy in a bid to keep her job. However, after finding love, Thea becomes pregnant for real, and the film ends with her giving birth. Plus, in one memorable scene, Lohan’s character sports a bulbous baby bump; said belly is completely fake, though, and the actress has not had any children as of yet.
20. Renée Zellweger – Bridget Jones’s Baby
The third film in the Bridget Jones series came along in 2016, and it sees its eponymous heroine still trying to navigate her complicated life. To make matters worse, this time around she is pregnant – with two possible candidates for the father of her child. But while Renée Zellweger embodied the role of Bridget Jones perfectly, she herself wasn’t pregnant at the time and hasn’t had any children since.
19. Alice Lowe – Prevenge
Slasher movie Prevenge marks actress Alice Lowe’s debut as a director and tells the tale of a pregnant woman who believes her unborn baby is driving her to seek revenge for her husband’s accident. The real twist, though, is that Lowe was expecting herself when she took on the leading role. The star later revealed that she had been drawn to the film because she had wanted to make a pregnancy-based thriller that was told from the perspective of a woman.
18. Alyson Hannigan – How I Met Your Mother
When How I Met Your Mother star Alyson Hannigan fell pregnant for the first time, the show’s producers decided not to incorporate it into the show. However, when Hannigan was expecting for a second time, the pregnancy lined up perfectly with her character Lily’s storyline. Yet despite the coincidence, Hannigan still had to pad out her costumes, since Lily was further along in her pregnancy on the show than the actress had been in reality.
17. Keisha Castle-Hughes – The Nativity Story
The story of Jesus’ birth has been recreated countless times on stage and screen. However, Keisha Castle-Hughes’ portrayal of Mary was pretty unique, considering that she was really pregnant during shooting. And Castle-Hughes’ situation attracted a lot of press due to the fact that she was just a teenager at the time. However, most people seemed to be behind the actress, who welcomed her daughter Felicity-Amore Hull in 2007.
16. Naomi Watts – Mother and Child
Given that Mother and Child is a series about pregnancy, it seems fitting that actress Naomi Watts was herself expecting during its filming. And not only could the star relate to her character, but her unborn son also revealed his own acting potential. In one scene in which Watts’ character visits a doctor, we get to see her baby kicking – not, apparently, part of the script but the star’s unborn son Samuel moving right on cue.
15. Lucille Ball – I Love Lucy
I Love Lucy was arguably one of the biggest TV shows of the 1950s. And when its star Lucille Ball became pregnant in real life, her on-screen counterpart did too. The word “pregnant” was never used to describe Lucy Ricardo on the series, however, as that term was considered too indecent to air back then. Off-screen, Ball welcomed her son Desi Arnaz, Jr. in January 1953.
14. Cate Blanchett – The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Cate Blanchett wasn’t pregnant when she signed up to a role in Wes Anderson’s comedy-drama The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. By the time the camera started rolling, though, she was carrying a child. And while often an unexpected baby can pose problems for production, Blanchett got lucky: the character she was playing in the 2004 movie was also expecting.
13. Catherine Zeta-Jones – Traffic
Crime drama Traffic explores the effects of the illegal drug trade on different individuals in the chain – from the user to the trafficker. The movie also sees Catherine Zeta-Jones play the wife of a drug baron – and someone who wasn’t initially meant to be pregnant. But when Zeta-Jones discovered that she was expecting, she convinced director Steven Soderbergh to tweak the storyline. Apparently, the star believed that her character would be more vulnerable and therefore more willing to commit crimes for her family if she were with child.
12. Julia Roberts – Ocean’s Twelve
Julia Roberts’ cameo in Ocean’s Twelve was pretty confusing. In the 2004 heist movie, the actress plays someone pretending to be her and who is also faking a pregnancy. But in real life, Roberts really was with child – or children, in fact, as she later welcomed twins Hazel and Finn. The Pretty Woman star became a mom for the third time in 2007 after giving birth to her second son Henry.
11. Emily Deschanel – Bones
When Bones star Emily Deschanel fell pregnant, the show’s writers appropriately wrote a storyline in which her character, Temperance Brennan, also had a baby on the way. In 2012 Deschanel even told The Hollywood Reporter, “I’ll experience something in an episode, and I’m shocked because it’s exactly what I’m going through.” The actress welcomed her son Henry in 2011, followed by a second boy named Calvin in 2015.
10. Maya Rudolph – Grown Ups
While Grown Ups was universally slammed by critics, it still ended up being one of Adam Sandler’s highest-grossing features. And the movie features a stellar cast that includes Maya Rudolph, who played Chris Rock’s character’s pregnant wife. In a nice touch, Rudolph was actually expecting at the time of filming; currently, she has four children with her partner Paul Thomas Anderson.
9. Caterina Scorsone – Private Practice
While Caterina Scorsone’s pregnancy was no doubt a great source of joy for the actress, the same sadly couldn’t be said for that of her Private Practice character Amelia. Tragically, Amelia learned that her unborn child had no brain; she bravely decided to carry the baby to term, though, so that she could give its organs to other sick children. By contrast, Scorsone ultimately welcomed a healthy daughter in 2012.
8. Ginnifer Goodwin – Once Upon a Time
When Ginnifer Goodwin was expecting her first child with Once Upon a Time co-star Josh Dallas, the show’s producers used it as an opportunity to make her character, Snow White, a mom. And when the actress had her second baby on board, it was decided that the fairy tale character would follow suit once more.
7. Hayden Panettiere – Nashville
When Hayden Panettiere became pregnant while filming season three of Nashville, her good news was used to weave a complicated storyline for her character Juliette Barnes. Fortunately, though, it turns out that the baby Barnes was expecting was indeed her husband Avery Barkley’s. In real life, Panettiere and her then-fiancé Wladimir Klitschko welcomed their daughter in 2014.
6. Rachel Bilson – Hart of Dixie
In 2014 Rachel Bilson revealed that she was expecting a baby with actor Hayden Christensen. And, appropriately, the pregnancy was used on Hart of Dixie as a way of cementing the relationship between Bilson’s character Zoe and her on-off boyfriend Wade in season four. However, the show was subsequently canceled, meaning the characters’ baby never appeared on screen again after its birth.
5. Molly Ringwald – The Secret Life of the American Teenager
Surprise babies are nothing out of the ordinary on The Secret Life of the American Teenager. So, when actress Molly Ringwald told producers that she was expecting, they simply made her character Anne pregnant too. In 2009 Ringwald then subsequently gave birth to twins Adele and Roman – a brother and sister for her older daughter Mathilda.
4. Jenna Fischer – The Office
Pam and Jim from The Office are perhaps one of the most loved TV couples of modern times. And when the pair were planning their second child, actress Jenna Fischer did a spot of method acting by making a baby of her own. It was Fischer’s first pregnancy to her hubbie Lee Kirk, and thanks to her blossoming baby bump, there was no need for her to wear a prosthetic on the set of the comedy.
3. Bethany Joy Lenz – One Tree Hill
When Bethany Joy Lenz fell pregnant with her daughter Maria Rose Galeotti, she may have had no idea of what was around the corner. Just months after her pregnancy was honored on screen on One Tree Hill, the show itself was canceled; at around the same time, Lenz’ marriage to Enation keyboardist Michael Galeotti also fell apart. The actress and her daughter now live in Los Angeles.
2. Lisa Kudrow – Friends
Phoebe’s surrogate pregnancy was one of the most memorable storylines on Friends. However, it only came about after actress Lisa Kudrow herself fell pregnant. So, to work the development into the plot, writers decided that kind-hearted Pheebs would step in to carry her brother’s triplets. In real life, though, Kudrow was carrying just one baby – a son whom she called Julian.
1. Katey Sagal – Married… with Children
When Katey Sagal fell pregnant, the folks at Married… with Children decided to use the news to create yet more comedy for character Peggy Bundy. However, when Sagal tragically miscarried, the storyline was tweaked to become a dream sequence. Sagal went on to have two children while filming the show, although Bundy was temporarily written out of the sitcom during the pregnancies in order to give the actress her privacy.