Not only did the pop star surprise millions of viewers across the nation when she debuted her baby bump during the 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show on Feb. 12, but she managed to leave dancers all around her in awe, too.
"I did not know she was pregnant," a performer named Luhnyae—who said she spent a week rehearsing in a group with Rihanna, 34, before the big performance—shared in a Feb. 13 TikTok video. "I was surprised."
Rihanna kept her baby bump hidden from view by wearing "big fur coats" and oversized Fenty sweaters throughout rehearsals, according to the dancer, who said that she didn't realize the singer is pregnant until after the show when there was online chatter about the singer's belly.
"I was low key mad at everybody 'cause I was like, 'This is just her postpartum body. Why are you judging her?'" the 20-year-old recalled. "But no, she's actually pregnant!"
Indeed, the "Work" hitmaker had been hiding her growing bump under large coats and other baggy looks ahead the Super Bowl. Three days before she took the stage at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., Rihanna appeared at a Feb. 9 press conference in an oversized leather jacket atop of a black-and-white dress. And when she and A$AP, 34, attended the 2023 Golden Globes in Los Angeles' Beverly Hilton Hotel in January, the Grammy winner wore a black velvet Schiaparelli gown with ruching on the bodice to mask her budding bump.
For Rihanna, her Super Bowl performance came just at the right time in her life.
"It feels like it could have only been now," she told Apple Music in a recent interview. "When you become a mom, there's just something that just happens where you feel like you can take on the world, you can do anything and the Super Bowl is one of the biggest stages in the world."
While returning to the stage after seven years was admittedly a "scary" thought, Rihanna added, "There's something exhilarating about the challenge of it all and it's important for me to do this this year. It's important for representation. It's important for my son to see that."
Keep scrolling to relive the best moments from the show.