Sunday 24 February 2019

Why is it that so many people are convinced celebrities fake their pregnancies?

(L to R) Meghan Markle, Kim Kardashian, Beyonce and Kelly Preston have all been accused of faking their pregnancies
(L to R) Meghan Markle, Kim Kardashian, Beyonce and Kelly Preston have all been accused of faking their pregnancies
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex greet well-wishers on Hamilton Square
Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex smiles as she pays a visit to Smart Works, a charity to which she has become patron, at St Charles hospital in west London on January 10, 2019. (Photo by CLODAGH KILCOYNE / POOL / AFP)
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex on stage during The Fashion Awards 2018 In Partnership With Swarovski at Royal Albert Hall on December 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/BFC/Getty Images)
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends the premiere of Cirque du Soleil's Totem in support of Sentebale at the Royal Albert Hall in London on January 16, 2019. (Photo by Paul Grover / POOL / AFP)
The departure of Meghan’s personal security guard has sent tongues wagging again. Photo: PA
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex depart from Birkenhead Town Hall on January 14, 2019 in Birkenhead, England. (Photo by Richard Martin-Roberts/Getty Images)
The Duchess of Sussex arrives to officially open Number 7, a 'Feeding Birkenhead' citizens supermarket and community cafe, at Princess Pavements, Pyramids Shopping Centre, as part of a visit to Birkenhead
GROWING UP IN PUBLIC: An eight-month pregnant Beyonce performing at last year’s Grammy awards ceremony
The Duchess of Sussex after a visit to Mayhew, an animal welfare charity she is now supporting as patron (Eddie Mulholland/Daily Telegraph/PA)
Kelly Preston attends "Casino Jack" Premiere during the 35th Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 16, 2010 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Nicole Kidman and singer Keith Urban arrive at the 43rd annual Academy Of Country Music Awards held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 18, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images)
Singer/actress Jennifer Lopez attends a reception to benefit UNICEF hosted by Gucci during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2008 at The Salon at Bryant Park on February 6, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for IMG)
Singer Marc Anthony and singer/actress Jennifer Lopez attend a reception to benefit UNICEF hosted by Gucci during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2008 at The Salon at Bryant Park on February 6, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for IMG)
Singer Jennifer Lopez and actress Kate Hudson backstage at "Movies Rock" A Celebration Of Music In Film held at the Kodak Theatre on December 2, 2007 in Hollywood, California. Movies Rock will be broadcast December 7, 2007 on CBS. (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images for Conde Nast Media Group)
Television personality Kim Kardashian arrives at the Kardashian Khaos store at The Mirage Hotel & Casino for a fan meet-and-greet to support her perfume, Glam, on April 13, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)
Beyonce arrives at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) August 28, 2011 at the Noika Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, California. AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. Brown
Singer Beyonce arrives at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on August 28, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Beyonce gained huge publicity when she revealed she was pregnant with twins
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

I feel I know more about Meghan Markle's pregnancy than I will ever know about my own future family: when she's due, what her cravings are, what her pre-natal yoga preferences are.

Her bump is already more famous than any person I can even dream of meeting and the royal-to-be hasn’t even been born yet. But if you move to dark corners of the internet, you’ll find a margin of people who believe her pregnancy is simply fake news, and that she and Prince Harry are in fact using a secret surrogate.

Britain’s Duchess of Sussex is the latest celebrity to fall victim to the rumour of pregnancy-faking, a bizarre trope preferred by low rent tabloids in the early noughties and now, by those who make their voices heard on messaging forums and on social media.

The #Mexit hashtag is home to some truly bizarre - and specific - accusations the former actress’ bump is just a ruse, the reason for which remains unclear. Kate Middleton also fell victim to a similar rumour after giving birth to Princess Charlotte in 2015. It was claimed that she couldn’t have given birth because she looked so near-perfect introducing the baby to the world, some critics refused to believe it was real.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex on stage during The Fashion Awards 2018 In Partnership With Swarovski at Royal Albert Hall on December 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/BFC/Getty Images)
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex on stage during The Fashion Awards 2018 In Partnership With Swarovski at Royal Albert Hall on December 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/BFC/Getty Images)

It wasn’t until she gave birth to Prince Louis last year that the conversation changed and pointed out how ridiculous an expectation it was that she look camera ready a mere hours after giving birth in pictures which would be analysed for months to come, in articles just like this. Little pity is felt for a literal princess whose main job is to have bouncy hair and wear nice dresses, but this occasion proved the exception.

What’s the evidence behind this conspiracy theory? The poor quality of her fake bump of course!

“So Meghan's been an actress for 10 years,” Idorenyin wrote on Twitter. “Now she supposedly wants to act like a pregnant lady & wear a fake bump. With all her money, she buys one that falls to her knees in public, inflates and defates [sic] at whim?? These idiots make me laugh!”

The pocket of people in on this theory is small (and that’s a generous description), but it’s enough to have made headlines this week, particularly among the British press who have taken issue with just about everything Meghan does and the way she does it. As a woman in the public eye, Meghan is once again being reminded of her place in society, more specifically, she lives in a world where her body is a part of national - or international - discourse.

Like many before her, Meghan’s physicality is about putting her in a neat little box - her mixed race heritage, her hairstyle, her single grey hair - but she isn’t the first celebrity to be accused of faking it. A number of these celebrity conspiracy theories can be traced to Scientology members, including Katie Holmes during her marriage to Tom Cruise and Kelly Preston, who announced in 2010 at the age of 47 she was expecting a baby with husband John Travolta. It was easy to link a perceived out-of-the-ordinary pregnancy announcement to a mysterious religion which shrouds itself in secrecy.

Perhaps, most famous of all was Beyoncé, another purveyor of the two hand bump cradle for which Meghan has been so bizarrely chastised, who announced she was expecting for the first time in 2011 at the VMAs. Later, during an interview with Australia’s Sunday Night show, a blurry screenshot of her sitting down on a chair with her stomach 'deflated' was proof enough to convince Beyoncé bump truthers she was pulling a fast one.

Beyonce gained huge publicity when she revealed she was pregnant with twins
Beyonce gained huge publicity when she revealed she was pregnant with twins

By the time she was pregnant again, this time with twins Rumi and Sir Carter in 2017, she made no room for such rumours to arise: she would pose in a bra and underwear cradling her bump in front of a flower wall, covered in a lime green tulle veil and announce it via her Instagram. It was an f-you to haters done under the guise of art and clearly the work of a genius.

And anything Beyoncé can do, Kim Kardashian can do too. In 2013, while expecting her daughter North, the National Enquirer, always the trustiest of publications, reported the fact that her shape changed daily - as is what literally happens to a woman’s body during pregnancy - as evidence enough that her ‘pregnancy’ was a publicity stunt. The fact that she showed her sonograms and detailed her pregnancy-related illnesses on her reality show was clearly just a cover up. Kim may be many things, but for a woman who so clearly hated every second of being pregnant and whose vanity supersedes every other priority in her life, it’s hard to believe she’d put herself through that for nothing.

Some women simply don’t like to have their already changing body analysed publicly with incessant paparazzi pictures - like Jessica Biel in 2015  - who chose to adopt a lower profile during her pregnancy. And some women, like Georgia Penna (née Salpa), who has three children via surrogate, owe no explanation at all as to why they have pursued a non-traditional route towards motherhood, despite what a demanding public may think.

Earlier this week, Margot Robbie criticised the incessant interest in whether or not she’ll have babies, both in personal relationships and in interviews. “I got married, and the first question in almost every interview is, ‘Babies? When are you having one?’ I’m so angry that there’s this social contract, ”You’re married, now have a baby. Don’t presume. I’ll do what I’m going to do,” she told the Radio Times.

And she’s right. If we claim to be as much of an advanced, understanding civilization which prides itself on sensitivity, why is motherhood the last acceptable frontier to debate? Over the years, as conversation around pregnancy has become more honest, women who have adopted or endured a number of rounds of IVF, or had miscarriages or an abortion, or any other myriad problems which can go wrong during a pregnancy, have said that the relentless questioning about their family plans made it worse.

So, let’s start a belated New Year’s Resolution: no woman owes you an explanation. Fin.

Margot Robbie will star in a live-action Barbie film (Isabel Infantes/PA)
Margot Robbie will star in a live-action Barbie film (Isabel Infantes/PA)

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