Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds: So hot, so famous. So visible yet so...private?
When it comes to what really matters, you bet.
Despite the couple's legit superstar status in both the magazine cover and box office departments, Reynolds having his biggest hit to date with Deadpool in February and Lively owning both The Shallows and her first Woody Allen film this year, they've held fast to a very particular rule since the birth of their first child, James, who arrived...sometime toward the end of 2014.
Well, we know now that James' birthday is Dec. 16, thanks to the well wishes from Dad on her first birthday last year (oh, we wrote that down!).
But Reynolds and Lively—who have now welcomed their second child together, all specifics TBD—never formally announced that their daughter had arrived, and her existence wasn't reported on until almost three weeks after she was born, happily, healthily and stealthily.
And while Lively confirmed her first pregnancy on her since-shuttered Preserve lifestyle site, that happening to work out time-wise as both a happy announcement and a move to bolster the business, this time around she took no special pains to reveal the news until nature made it obvious.
"You get bigger faster, too, which has been nice to try to fit into clothing strategically," the actress laughed with Kelly Ripa in July when she was making the publicity rounds for Café Society.
But despite the mega-spotlight the couple find themselves operating in pretty much all time, or at least every time they go outside, Lively and Reynolds are pulling off privacy where it counts for them.
For instance, what does little James, who will be 2 this year, look like?
While you can find a few baby pics online (of James, of you, of everyone you've ever met, probably), the actors have never intentionally posed for or publicly shared photos in which their daughter's face is visible.
We've seen her feet, dangling from Daddy's carrier, but that's about it. Both parents have Instagram, but they're largely kid-free zones. No breastfeeding, no using Mom's baby bump as a prop, no family holiday card posted online. That's just how they've decided to roll, a rarity in this day and age of not being able to keep up with all the cute celebrity kids on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
Social media of course has become the No. 1 way for famous parents to take control of their own family narrative—and devalue the paparazzi pics that are still persistently snapped on a daily basis despite the increasing number of outlets (including E! News) that won't use them without parental consent.
Little James Reynolds has been outside, and her picture has been taken—but overall, whatever Lively and Reynolds are doing to avoid the cameras as much as possible is working.
Moreover, you'd have thought that a couple made up of one of the reigning fashion plates of the 21st century and a onetime Sexiest Man Alive would be prime candidates for the other way in which so many A-listers have introduced their new babies to the world—a glossy magazine cover.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Sandra Bullock, Elton John and David Furnish, Céline Dion, Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves and countless others went that route, many donating whatever they were paid for their hotly anticipated photo shoots to charity.
Without a doubt, Lively and Reynolds fielded their share of offers, but they've opted out of going public.
Not they themselves, mind you. Celebs who attend parties thrown by Taylor Swift aren't shy about being under the microscope. Nor is it to say they don't share details about the joys, pains and poop smells of parenting. It's half of what they talk about, and their anecdotes are ever welcome, but having shaken their own share of paparazzi tails in their life, they have a very particular approach to photos.
"My husband and I chose a profession and a side effect of that is, your personal life is public," Lively explained in Marie Claire UK last summer. "Our child hasn't had the opportunity to choose whether or not she wants her personal life to be public or not. So in order to give her as much normality as possible, we want her to have a childhood like we had."
Fast-forward to her second pregnancy, and absolutely nothing had changed about her stance over the past year, in case anyone was wondering if being a mother of two would make her a little more snap-happy on the Instagram.
"My family: That's the thing that I feel most protective of and the thing that I feel is the most exposed when I feel exploited," Lively said in Marie Claire's July 2016 issue. "I'd rather not have to deal with it at all, but we knew the lifestyle we were getting into, and while it's hard… it's another thing when it's our child. She didn't have the opportunity to make a decision about what she wants."
And Reynolds too approaches the fame game with the same clear-eyed view.
"Privacy, that word, is always a little off-putting for me because it sort of suggests that there's some sort of shunning or shutting out, or some entitlement," Reynolds told Entertainment Tonight in March 2015 when he was still a relatively new dad. "I just think that by virtue of the fact that, when you put yourself in the public eye, you have to accept certain aspects of it, and some of them are that there sometimes isn't any privacy. And that's OK, 'cause I signed up for this, but I think to some degree if you don't court it, you don't have to deal with it so much."
Our advice to any new or soon-to-be famous parents, or even just famous people for that matter: Write that down.