Baby Zoom: Celebrity Babies All the Rage

The baby buzz reached its peak when Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise had Suri in April 2006 and, about a month later, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt welcomed their first biological child Shiloh. Celebrity-addicts were in a tizzy over where photos of the offspring of these physically beautiful couples would end up. And when Suri didn't appear in pictures for several months, people started speculating whether or not she even existed in the first place.

Goodson said that for fans, part of the appeal of these pictures is the anticipation of them.

"The bigger the celeb, the more orchestrated the unveiling," she said.

As if you didn't notice, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt landed in People magazine and Suri was photographed by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz for the October issue of Vanity Fair.

Robert Thompson, the director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, told ABC News, "It's the idea that beautiful people who are known for being a part of the more attractive aristocracy -- such as Tom and Katie -- that they are extraordinary feats of human beauty, and we'll get a perfect eugenics experiment of attractiveness."

He added, "Somehow, the desire to see celebrity baby pictures has almost reached the desire to see celebs in a sex video or without their underwear."

Hazlett said a magazine with highly-coveted baby pictures on the cover is a gold mine.

"Readers love baby photos, wedding photos...they go gangbusters on the newsstands," said Hazlett. "It really behooves you to position yourself so you can get them."

And it pays to have exclusivity, which is made consistently harder today by the onslaught of celebrity blogs.

Thompson said, "We've kind of been convinced that we want to see these baby pictures. If everybody's saying 'Exclusive!' or 'We're the first ones with the baby pictures,' it's like advertising. It gets us worked up into a frenzy that we didn't really know we wanted."

All About the Money?

Brangelina commanded a seven-figure sum from People last year to print pictures of baby girl Shiloh. That's enough to send all four of their children to college, with graduate work thrown in.

But after the wheelings and dealings are done and the check has been signed, some celebrities don't ever see the money for their babies' photos.

Sheryl Crow appeared recently on the cover of OK! magazine with her adopted son Wyatt.

Crow wrote on her Web site that she agreed to do the photos after OK! offered to make a "generous donation" to the World Food Program, a United Nations organization that fights child hunger.

Hazlett said, "More and more often if there are dollars exchanged, it goes into a trust or goes directly into a charity...These photo agencies who are going to shove their cameras in a bush, they're going to sell it for some sort of dollar amount. Rather than increase the value of paparazzi photos, [they] have the money go to something good or something beneficial instead of just putting money in the pockets of these guys trailing them."

On Their Terms

While most A-list celebrities simply don't need any more attention, B-listers, C-listers, and D-listers -- made famous by Kathy Griffin -- also have kids, and they often need all the press they can get.

Goodson said, "The other side of the spectrum are those who use the public's love of celebrity babies to make themselves more famous. Those are often the very same stars who unveil their babies within days or weeks of giving birth."

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...