Since the dawn of time — or at least since the dawn of television — TV writers and producers have had to find ways to accommodate their actor’s real-life pregnancies.
Sometimes, like in the case of Lisa Kudrow’s pregnancy when she was playing Phoebe Buffay on Friends, the impending bundle of joy is written into the script as something the character is experiencing (in Kudrow’s case, the plot involved her carrying triplets for her half-brother.)
Other times, great lengths are taken in order to hide a blossoming baby bump with the use of baggy clothing, strategically framed shots or giant props — such as when both Alyson Hannigan and Cobie Smulders were pregnant at the same time on How I Met Your Mother or during Lauren Lane’s pregnancy on The Nanny where she played CC Babcock.
Executive producer Darren Star made the (ahem) executive decision not to have Kelsey fall pregnant in the series, telling Entertainment Tonight, “When I told her (Duff) we wanted to get back to work in October , she said, ‘That’s great because I’m having a baby in March.’ And I thought, ‘Oh my god, we really have to stick to this schedule because otherwise, I don’t know what we’re going to do this season. The baby was calling the shots. She gave us the right kind of pressure to make this season happen.”
Mae was born on Wednesday, March 24th 2021 and is Duff’s second daughter with her husband, musician Matthew Koma.
Speaking to Variety, Duff explained the challenges of working whilst carrying her third child saying, “I was a little worried with the challenges of COVID and my pregnancy, but everything came together.”
She continued, “I’m all for mask-wearing, but huffing-and-puffing on set in a mask at eight months pregnant was a challenge. Fitting into clothes that aren’t made for a pregnant body was not always the most comfortable or fun.
“And just being freaked out being exposed to COVID — there are always risks, even though our set was super cautious. I had to quarantine a bunch of times and that was really hard!”
Star also told ET that as filming, which had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, continued, Duff’s baby bump grew more and more visible, necessitating Star and his team to place “bigger and bigger things” in front of her to hide the pregnancy.
In a separate interview with Variety, Star praised his lead actress for her professionalism and energy on the much-loved series.
“Hilary was amazing, he told the publication. “She was a trooper, beyond. I’m sure it was not comfortable.”
The legendary executive producer, who also brought us Emily in Paris and Sex and the City, is no stranger to finding ways to work around his star’s real lives. When Cynthia Nixon, who played Miranda Hobbes in SATC fell pregnant in real life, it was written into the script that Hobbes would have a child with her on-again, off-again partner Steve Brady.
Conversely, when series star Sarah Jessica Parker became pregnant with her first child, costume designer Patricia Field — who is also the costume queen of Younger — dressed Carrie in floaty dresses and the fifth season was shortened to accommodate her son’s birth.
Meanwhile, Duff’s pregnancy made the already tight-knit set even more of a family affair, with Sutton Foster, who plays Liza Miller, saying, “I have this amazing video of my daughter holding [Duff’s 2-year-old daughter] Banks when she was a little baby and then when Hilary was pregnant this season, my daughter, Emily, was asking her questions about the baby in her belly.
“We’ve all become like this family and it’s beyond what we do on set.”
As for how Kelsey’s storyline wraps up on the hit series, Duff has said, “I love that Kelsey chooses herself, ditches the guys who aren’t good for her and continues on a journey that forces her to take risks.
“The ending especially really got me.”
The seventh and final season of Younger is streaming now on Stan with new episodes weekly.