With fame comes a whole lot of fortune. It also comes with invasion of privacy, tabloid rumors and an anxiety-inducing relationship with the paparazzi. In response, a number of A-listers have gone out of their way to keep the paparazzi away from their private lives, especially their children. From testifying before judiciary committees to full-on lawsuits, here are the many ways celebs have tried to hide their kids from the press.
Sandra Bullock has gone to such great lengths to protect the privacy of her adopted son, Louis, and adopted daughter, Laila, that she once compared it to being in the witness protection program.
In a December 2015 interview with People, she recalled a moment earlier that year when the paparazzi had been shopping around a photo of Laila while she was in Bullock’s care as a foster child. "It was dangerous because you are asked to sign a confidentiality agreement stating that you will not release any photos of the child to a third party to protect their identity—and here I found myself in a position where her identity could be revealed," she told the magazine. "I was sure she would be taken away. The one person who should be protecting her above all else had put her in harm’s way." She added, "Most foster children are in foster care because they were taken from their birth homes under tragic circumstances—and the last thing I wanted was to bring more harm to her because of the nature of my job."
Just a few months prior, Bullock opened up to Glamour magazine (via People) about shielding her loved ones from the press, declaring, "You come after my son, I’m gonna go postal."
Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes
Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes managed to keep the births of their two daughters almost entirely hidden from the press. The notoriously private couple made the decision while Mendes was pregnant with their first daughter, Esmeralda, in 2014.
"Whether we like it or not, privacy is going to be very difficult for Esmeralda. I think it’s unfair but that’s our reality," she told Violet Grey. "So Ryan and I decided early on to give her as much privacy as we could. And my pregnancy was the first opportunity to give her that."
"It’s such an intimate time for the mother, too," she continued. "I know that it seems all very innocuous when you’re flipping through a tabloid at the doctor’s office or see a photo of a pregnant lady online, but I find the media’s ‘bump watch’ obsession to be both intrusive and stressful. So I made a decision to eject myself from it completely. I was like, ‘Annnnd I’m out.’"
If you’re hoping to snap and sell photos of Adele and husband Simon Konecki’s son, Angelo, think again, because it might just get you sued.
In 2014, Angelo, then 2 years old, was awarded a five-figure sum after his parents filed a lawsuit against Corbis Images UK over photos of their son. "It is a matter of profound sadness that many of his milestone moments, such as his first family outing and his first trip to playgroup, were photographed and published worldwide expressly against his family’s wishes," a lawyer for the press told a London court, according to The Guardian. "Adele and Simon never encourage such photos. Quite the opposite." The lawyer added, "The parents’ view is that these images were of routine, everyday family occasions which the paparazzi has no right to intrude upon, profit from and file away in picture libraries for future reference and use."
Angelo’s monetary award was placed in a trust.
Although she’s one of the most recognizable faces in the world, Julia Roberts the actress is a lot different from Julia Roberts the mom. Indeed, the intensely private Oscar-winner lives a much quieter life outside Hollywood with husband Danny Moder and their three children. She’s truly become a soccer mom.
The move from red carpets to food markets appeared to be a deliberate shift for Roberts and her husband. Speaking to USA Today, the Erin Brockovich star (2000) revealed, "We try to protect our kids. We just want to have our family life and not have that intruded upon." This includes declining autographs, incognito looks, and trips to secluded ranches in New Mexico.
In 2013, Jennifer Garner was one of many celebrities to join Halle Berry in an ongoing fight for stricter paparazzi laws in California. Testifying before the Assembly Judiciary Committee on behalf of Senate Bill 606, a tearful Garner described the many challenges she has faced while trying to protect her three children from being harassed by photographers.
"Literally every day there are as many as 15 cars of photographers waiting outside our home," the Alias (2001-06) alum revealed in August that year (via The Hollywood Reporter). "In the course of our ordinary day—trips to school, pediatrician, ballet or the grocery store—paparazzi swarm. Large aggressive men swarm us, causing a mob scene, yelling, jockeying for a position, crowding around the kids.
She continued, "My 17-month-old baby is terrified and cries. My 4-year-old says, ‘Why do these men never smile? Why do they never go away? Why are they always with us?’"
The legislation passed in September 2013. According to E! News, the bill "increases the possible punishment for harassing celebrity kids—and clarifies the legal definition of harassment in such cases."
Leighton Meester and Adam Brody
Leighton Meester and Adam Brody prefer to keep their family life private rather than splashing their baby photos on the covers of magazines. The birth of their daughter, Arlo, was reported almost two months after Meester gave birth.
As for why they remain so hush-hush, the Gossip Girl (2007-12) star said there’s simply so much more to women than having babies. "I don’t talk about Arlo very much," she told Refinery29 in 2017. "I am very proud of that area of my life. But I’m also really proud of the show, and of the work I do." She added, "I think the perception is: You’re an ingenue, or you’re an icon, or you’re a mom. There’s no in between."
Vincent Kartheiser and Alexis Bledel
Memo to celebrities having babies: be careful with whom you share your happy news, because it might accidentally leak to the press. Mad Men (2007-15) alums Vincent Kartheiser and Alexis Bledel learned that the hard way in May 2017, when Bledel’s Gilmore Girls (2000-07) co-star, Scott Peterson, let it slip to Glamour magazine that Bledel had recently become a "proud new mother" of a baby boy.
"She’s really blossomed as a woman and now she’s a proud new mother and married and happy," Peterson told the magazine. "She’s just the most likable, intelligent person and adorable human being. She hasn’t changed at all. She looks the same. We’re comparing notes because my son…is about a year and a half older than her young son. I’m showing her photos and videos and what to expect. We’re just really enjoying each other’s company."
Karthiser and Bledel then awkwardly confirmed the news to People, admitting they had welcomed a son in the fall of 2016.
Although she was much more open about her second pregnancy, Scandal (2012-) star Kerry Washington did her best to keep the birth of her firstborn, Isabelle, a secret. TMZ reported on it in May 2014, nearly two weeks after the delivery.
At the time, Washington was hell bent on keeping her private life private; her June 2013 nuptials to football star Nnamdi Asomugha were also kept hidden from the press. Why so secretive?
"Earlier in my career I was much more super-sharey," she told Marie Claire in April 2015. "There were moments when I wanted to process things that were happening to me more privately, and I didn’t have the space to do it, because once you let people in, they’re in and you don’t get to say, ‘Oh, I want this for myself.’"
Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively
Part of the reason Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have successfully managed to shield their kids from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood is because, well, they just don’t live there anymore.
In 2012, the couple reportedly settled in the small Upstate New York town of Bedford, where they’ve been raising daughters James, born in 2014, and Ines, born in 2016. "We don’t live in L.A. We live on a farm in New York. And we don’t lead a wild and crazy life," Reynolds told The Project (via People) in 2015.
Indeed, the A-list actors appear to be focused on raising their kids the way they lived before they became rich and famous. "Ryan had a nice, normal upbringing, and we want our kids to have the same normal life that we had," Lively told Marie Claire in 2016. "We don’t ever want to rob them of what we had because then we’d feel really selfish."
Of course, when your neighbors include Martha Stewart, Bruce Willis, and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, we’re not really sure how "normal" your kids’ upbringing can really be. But, hey, whatever works.