In a new interview with Vanity Fair, the actress says, “I wanted to be able to have my own feelings about my changing body without other people also telling me how they saw me”
If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know it’s universally seen as an invitation for folks to project all of their own issues about motherhood onto you, and offer a steady stream of comments, opinions and advice. It is exhausting — presumably all the more so for someone like Scarlett Johansson, who inhabits the public’s gaze.
If you missed the news of Johansson’s latest addition, that’s because her quest to keep her pregnancies private was mostly successful. The actress, 37, and her husband and Saturday Night Live performer Colin Jost kept their recent pregnancy under wraps until after their son, Cosmo, arrived over the summer. On Aug. 18, 2021, Jost posted an image-free message on his Instagram account, writing, “Ok ok we had a baby His name is Cosmo We love him very much.”
Cosmo is Johansson’s second child. She also shares a 7-year-old daughter, Rose, with ex-husband Romain Dauriac.
Even positive attention during pregnancy can be tiresome, Johansson explained in a new interview with Vanity Fair, and doesn’t allow space for a pregnant person to have a whole spectrum of feelings.
“I’ve been so protective of both pregnancies, not wanting to feel scrutinized in the public eye,” she said. “I wanted to be able to have my own feelings about my changing body without other people also telling me how they saw me, whether it was positive or negative.”
Johansson continued, “I would have a lot of people saying things to me immediately, like, ‘How great, oh my God, that’s wonderful. And while I was definitely excited to be pregnant in some ways, I also had a lot of not-great feelings about it, and that would be scrutinized by — I’m talking about, like, women that were close to me. You expect it from men, but from women, it’s like, ‘Come on, girl, you’ve been through it.'”
One friend did come through for Johansson. When the actress revealed that she was expecting, “she was just like, ‘Oh sh*t. Great, but not great.’ And I was like, ‘You’re a true friend.'”
The Black Widow star doesn’t have her own Instagram account and has been public about her aversion to social media, telling Interview in 2011, “I can’t think of anything I’d rather do less than have to continuously share details of my everyday life.”
This instinct to maintain privacy seems to have only heightened for Johansson since becoming a mother. “I realized when I was pregnant with my son, it’s funny how much stuff people put on you when you’re pregnant — their hopes or their judgment or their desire, a lot of that is put on pregnant women,” Johansson told Vanity Fair.
While we’re not anticipating the release of baby photos any time soon, Johansson does now have a social media presence, and an Instagram account, for her skincare company, The Outset. While other celebrities have their accounts professionally managed for them, Johansson says that isn’t the way she operates.
“I just don’t do that with any other part of my life; every other part of my life I’m involved in and transparent about, so I just felt like, I can’t be inauthentic with this,” she said of promoting the brand.
“I am really excited to create content for The Outset and be involved in our brand in that way. I’m curious about interacting with the consumer and being a part of those conversations. But I don’t need to share pictures of my breakfast in order to do that,” she said. “I feel like I can be accessible in a way that comes from a genuine place.”