Celeb Babies Are in the Spotlight From Day 1

It's one thing to share wedding bliss with the world. It's quite another, many stars learn, when a newborn is the object of media attention.

The first shot of a celebrity infant can mean big bucks -- for stars, if they choose to sell images of their children; for paparazzi, if they don't; and for media publications either way.

With stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry, Nicole Richie and Jamie Lynn Spears all expecting, the want-to-see in 2008 is going to be major. "It's the fundamental attraction of celebrities," says Larry Hackett, People's managing editor. "You see them as surrogate friends and neighbors, so when they go through these big life moments, you can't help but be curious as to what their kid looks like."

Many stars try to get ahead of the paparazzi by arranging first photos to be published in magazines. Patrick Dempsey, Marcia Cross and Tori Spelling went that route last year.

"We had to do the People cover because there's a bounty on your children," says Dempsey, who posed with twins Sullivan and Darby for the Feb. 28 issue. "There's a feeding frenzy that is terrible."

Julia Roberts revealed a new strategy with her latest addition, bypassing all print media and showing a snapshot of baby Henry, her third child with husband Danny Moder, on Oprah Winfrey's talk show Nov. 19. It quickly spread across the Internet, undercutting any paparazzi paycheck.

Still, some stars try to keep their newborns under wraps as long as possible.

Says Ben Affleck of his daughter, Violet, 2, with wife Jennifer Garner: "I have developed a reactionary defensiveness (to paparazzi), and I've come to terms with it. But for my child, she didn't make the bargain I did. She didn't make that choice. I'll end up in the magazines, and that's life, and I can live with it. But I try to shield my daughter."

Naomi Watts says she "didn't even leave the house until two or three weeks after" son Alexander, now 5 months, was born because of the paparazzi pressure.

She says she and partner Liev Schreiber "tried to think of the best way to deal with it. People offered to run the exclusive, and some people thought it would be a good idea. Once they see a close-up of the baby, they leave you alone.

"(But) we didn't feel right about it. We wanted to do it as normally as possible. You can protect yourself so much, and then you start feeling not normal, and you want to be normal."

The first shots of Alexander appeared in August, snapped by photo agency X17 as the family headed to the post office in Brentwood, Calif.

Contributing: Dana Caputo, Donna Freydkin and William Keck.

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