Celebrities are just normal people who became famous thanks to movies, television, music, magazines, and all of the social media we regular folks can handle. Still, some people somehow forget that the celebs we follow on Instagram and Twitter are real people with real feelings. We also seem to forget that we don’t actually know any of them and don’t get a say in how they live their lives. Sadly, celeb pregnancies seem to be a particular draw for trolls and fans alike to weigh in with their opinions. An experience that should be joyful can turn ugly quickly for pregnant celebrities, whose bodies (and more) are picked apart from the moment the tabloids even have an inkling that they may be expecting. These are just some of the celebs who’ve dealt with people shaming their pregnancies.
When Kate Middleton married Prince William back in 2011, it’s estimated that more than two million people tuned in to watch. With that kind of spotlight, it’s no surprise that when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced their first pregnancy in 2012, everyone had an opinion. Many of those opinions surrounded Middleton’s weight — and that she was “too thin” for a healthy pregnancy. Despite severe nausea, the pregnancy was otherwise normal and a totally healthy Prince George was born in July 2013 — weighing over eight pounds. When the couple announced their second pregnancy in 2014, Middleton was once again plagued by severe nausea — and more body shaming, including calling her “especially thin.” In May 2015, a healthy Princess Charlotte was born, also weighing more than eight pounds.
In September 2017, the Duke and Duchess announced they are expecting a third child. The announcement was made almost three years to the day after they announced their second pregnancy, but apparently three years between pregnancies just isn’t enough for the masses. Twitter users have lamented, “Do they know what birth control is?” and “Is Kate Middleton ever not pregnant?!” People apparently have a problem with the fact she and her husband have a healthy sex life. One Twitter user said, “swear kate middleton has literally been pregnant for four years straight.” To that person, I’d like to reiterate what another Twitter user responded. “You’re not good at math, are you?” Regardless, how often any woman (including the Duchess of Cambridge) is pregnant is frankly none of your business.
Kim Kardashian’s first pregnancy was full of fat-shaming overload. For Kardashian, the nasty headlines and cruel meme comparing her to a killer whale weren’t easy to shrug off. She told C Magazine (via E! News), “It really took a toll after the fact, when I was losing weight.” She explained that it changed the way she thought about her body and being photographed. “Before I was always smiling, and so into being out and about. After I had the baby, I was like, these are the same people that made fun of me, and posted the stories that were so awful, calling me fat for something I couldn’t control. I don’t want to smile for them. I don’t want to be out,” she said, adding. “It changed my mood; it changed who I was; it changed my personality a lot.”
Her second pregnancy was unfortunately no different, with people comparing her appearance at the 2015 VMAs to Batman’s nemesis, Penguin. One headline declared later in her pregnancy, “Kim Kardashian has gained more weight this pregnancy than she did with North — and she still has six weeks to go!” While Kardashian gained more than the recommended 25-40 pounds during both pregnancies, that’s really between her and her doctor (and no one else).
After difficulties getting pregnant and health risks during both, we’re just glad everything turned out okay. With two beautiful children and reports that another could be on the way (via surrogacy), the most important thing is that everyone is happy and healthy.
Terms typically used to describe Beyoncé include things like “flawless,” “fierce,” and “fabulous,” but during her pregnancies she’s also been shockingly called fat. During her first pregnancy, she gained 57 pounds and told Shape magazine that she, like many women, has to work hard to stay fit. “I’m not a person that is naturally very thin. I am a person that has to work at keeping my body in shape,” she told Shape (via Metro). Beyoncé was super positive about her body and said of showing skin in her visual album, “I wanted to show that you can have a child and you can work hard and you can get your body back.” Still, Bey’s positivity didn’t stop the trolls from coming out in full force when she was pregnant the second time.
Things like, “Beyoncé is so fat” or calling her “fat as hell” were among the more tame insults. Luckily, there were plenty of people who were having none of it, reminding the world that she was pregnant with twins and, you know, that requires a bit of weight gain. Y’all haters corny.
Janet Jackson has been a veritable force since she was young, performing with her famous brothers and acting on television and in movies before coming into her own as “one of the bestselling artists in contemporary music.” Still, even Miss Jackson couldn’t escape the pregnancy trolls. So what was her supposed crime? Being too old.
When Jackson announced she was expecting her first child at almost 50, people wasted little time asking if having a baby at her age was healthy and declaring her too old to get pregnant. While fertility decreases and pregnancy risks increase as a woman gets older, advancing technology means that a safe pregnancy is possible later and later in life. Jackson welcomed her son Eissa in January 2017 and he’s just too cute for words. As Jackson said herself, “If anybody tell you what you can’t do, shut them down automatic.”
Hayden Panettiere is just over 5 feet tall and typically weighs around 106 pounds, but when she was pregnant in 2014, she revealed she had gained 40 pounds with a month to go and she said that it strained her small frame. She told Hello! magazine, “And the worst part is that my feet are still size five and they’re going, ‘What’s going on with all this weight?’ They’re about to snap from underneath me with the strain.” She kept a pretty positive outlook about it, talking about how as a former gymnast, she was muscular to begin with and carrying around 40 extra pounds certainly helps build muscle too.
While Panettiere never said she gained 40 pounds because she’s muscular, that didn’t stop people from misquoting her. An article for mom.me said, “… when she tried to blame her 40-pound weight gain so far during her pregnancy on that cute little athletic figure of hers, I think she went a bit too far.” Despite the fact that Panettiere did not actually justify her weight gain, the website wasn’t the only one to latch onto her weight. TMZ had a segment about her “massive, massive belly,” calling her “ready to blow” and going so far as to offer opinions on whether she should have a natural birth or c-section. News flash: none of your business. Baby girl Kaya was born in December 2014.
Even before she got pregnant, Jessica Simpson was a victim of fat-shaming. Yes, really. When she was pregnant in 2012, the fat shaming only got worse. Tabloid headlines called her “huge, almost unrecognizable” and Us Weekly declared, incredulously, “It’s Not Twins!” after Simpson made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Simpson frankly couldn’t believe that people were picking apart her pregnant body. “It’s like, ‘I’m pregnant! How could I be fat-shamed?'” she told CBS News. “OK, that makes sense. It’s not fair. I deserve a f****** donut!”
And she just couldn’t win. When she joined Weight Watchers as a spokesperson after having her second baby, TMZ called her a “professional fat person.” While Simpson dropped her baby weight with the help of Weight Watchers and a personal trainer, she doesn’t regret her pregnancy choices. She told Redbook, “I think any woman who is pregnant and creating a life is pretty much entitled to eat whatever she wants as long as she’s healthy. I wasn’t going to let the media take away what was one of the happiest times in my life.” Hear hear, Jess!
When you’re a model, actress, and film producer, things can only get better if you marry Chris Hemsworth and then have his babies. Elsa Pataky has done all those things and looked absolutely stunning while doing it. But unfortunately, when Pataky was pregnant for the second time, this time with twins in 2014, she became the butt of many jokes on the show Fashion Police after the Oscars.
Joan Rivers called her “huge” and George Kotsiopoulos joked, “That doesn’t look like a baby bump, it looks like a beer belly.” Cosmopolitan points out that even if the dress were objectively ugly, there are plenty of other ways to talk about an ugly dress than to fat shame the pregnant-with-twins woman who is wearing it. Seriously.
Kate Hudson has built an empire around fitness — or at least fitness fashion. So you might be surprised just how scrutinized her appearance was for both of her pregnancies. She revealed to Vogue (via People) that she gained 70 pounds in her first pregnancy in 2003 with her son Ryder and that controlling her eating was difficult. “I would be eating ice cream and my mom would literally pry the spoon away from me, saying, ‘You’ve had enough to last you a lifetime.'”
Apparently talking about her weight gain made people feel like they had a right to comment when she got pregnant with her second son Bing, with headlines like, “Careful With Those Cookies, Kate Hudson! Remember What Happened Last Time?” While Hudson was able to laugh off some of the jokes when she did an interview with Chelsea Handler and said she relished being pregnant, after she had the baby and was still 70 pounds overweight, she felt very scrutinized. “Trying to lose the weight and being in that year of my life was really interesting… all of a sudden you have the baby and all of a sudden you’re… 70 pounds overweight and then all of a sudden you feel very scrutinized and all of a sudden you feel like you need to hurry up and… it was actually emotional.”
When Coco Austin, wife of rapper Ice-T, was expecting her daughter Chanel Nicole, people were quick to point out the bump that was barely there when she shared a Twitter photo at 28 weeks pregnant. Even at nine months pregnant in a skin tight dress, she revealed she had only gained 10 pounds during her pregnancy. While she attributed her relatively small weight gain to eating healthy, there was a time when the chatter about her pregnant body started to get to her.
“They were putting me under a microscope and then the comments started flowing,” she told People. “‘How is it possible she doesn’t have a bump at six months? How doesn’t she have a bump at seven months?'” So she decided to find out for herself if it was normal. “I ran to my doctor … asking her, ‘Is this a problem?’ And she was like, ‘No. If you’re an athlete and if you have strong abs — and if you’ve been an athlete especially your whole life — it takes longer for your abs to expand.'” While it put her at ease, rumors she wasn’t really pregnant and was using a surrogate frustrated her. “I was offended for a while because I felt like I had something to prove.” Luckily, Austin was able to move past her own concerns and baby Chanel was born in November 2015.
Not only are people offended when a pregnant celeb isn’t visibly pregnant soon enough, they’re equally upset when a celeb is “showing too soon” by their measure. Chrissy Teigen learned this firsthand when she successfully became pregnant with husband John Legend through IVF after struggling to get pregnant on their own.
When Teigen shared a photo of her baby bump on Instagram and Twitter, people immediately started speculating that she must be carrying more than one baby. Teigen was not impressed and first told the Internet to “get out of [her] uterus” then swore off tweeting about her pregnancy. She said, “No more preg tweeting for me, lesson learned!!” This is why we can’t have nice things.
Model Sarah Stage was the recipient of some serious pregnancy body shaming when her Instagram posts during her pregnancy garnered backlash because she was thin and still had visible abs, even at 8 months pregnant. E! News compared her baby bump to a “food baby” and Instagrammers everywhere took it to another level, saying things like, “She needs to feed that baby instead of worrying how to keep her figure,” and “That baby is probably going to be very small!! Not good!” Others claimed she wasn’t really pregnant and it was a “publicity stunt” and that it “can’t be healthy for the baby” to be that small.
Stage was surprised at the reaction and told Good Morning America (via ABC News), “I don’t know how someone could say something like that to a pregnant woman. I think that is so rude. My baby is healthy and we are happy.” When Stage gave birth, it was to an 8lb 7oz son who was 22 inches long. Yep, that’s a pretty big baby! Stage continues to share Instagram photos with her son (including workouts) and both mom and now-toddler are doing quite well, thank-you-very-much.
When it was revealed that Serena Williams won the Australian Open while she was pregnant, the internet couldn’t get enough of it. Twitter users applauded her amazing athletic performance, pointing out this could go a long way in settling the debate about whether or not she’s the greatest athlete of all time. But in our world, you’re only allowed to be just so badass while pregnant, and apparently it was “over the top” when Williams posed nude on the cover of Vanity Fair.
People went so far as to call the tasteful, empowering photos “shameful and highly unnecessary,” “trashy,” and “disgusting.” Others said she had “no morals or respect for oneself” and at least one Instagram commenter even called her a “fat cow.” Thankfully, supporters also came out in full force, calling the photos beautiful, empowering, and spectacular. Apparently Williams isn’t giving all the hate much thought. She gave birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., in September 2017 and the strong and beautiful baby girl already has her own Instagram account.
Pregnancy is different for everyone
Everyone has an opinion, but here’s the thing about pregnancy: there is no one way to be pregnant. Some women gain more weight than the recommended range of 25-40 pounds and some women gain less. Some choose to keep their pregnancies private while others flaunt every aspect of it. Even the same woman can have two wildly different pregnancies.
Shaming a woman for her body or her choices is never okay, but it seems particularly despicable when that woman is bringing a new life into the world. One can only hope that, eventually, the world will get over its obsession with scrutinizing the female form and put all that energy into something productive — like perhaps combatting global warming or tackling racism.