Along with a jet-setting lifestyle filled with glamour, screaming fans, and excessive influence on culture, celebrities have to make their peace with the paparazzi following them around everywhere, from airports to the gym!
While the celebrities have to contend with building a symbiotic relationship with the relentless paparazzi, does the same extend to their children as well?
Recently, one of the Internet’s favourite celebrity couples, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively announced that they’re expecting their fourth child.
The announcement from the couple became an unofficial call to the paps to camp outside their house for the first glimpse of Lively’s baby bump that could be sold to media outlets for a few thousand page views.
The Gossip Girl actress, however, was not having it. Lively took to Instagram to share multiple photos of her posing with friends and family, with her newly acquired baby bump making an appearance too.
“Here are photos of me pregnant in real life so the 11 guys waiting outside my home for a *unicorn emoji* sighting will leave me alone. You freak me and my kids out,” she wrote, adding, “Thanks to everyone else for all the love and respect and for continuing to unfollow accounts and publications who share photos of children. You have all the power against them. And thank you to the media who have a “No Kids Policy”. You all make all the difference. (sic)”
Lively is not the first celebrity to point out that while celebrities have to get used to cameras following them around in public, it’s not fair for their children to be exposed to the same treatment. It’s not safe or healthy for a growing child to be exposed to the world in this way just for the fact that they are some famous person’s offspring.
In the pursuit of providing a vaguely voyeuristic audience with access to celebrities‘ lives beyond what they see on screen, paparazzi have been known to cross the line or two over the past few years. One doesn’t have to look any further than how Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan’s firstborn son Taimur Ali Khan occupied the news cycle for years, with paparazzi cameras reporting his every move, from his playdates to family outings.
The burgeoning paparazzi culture in India is yet to establish what’s fair game and what’s not, as evidenced by the rabid attention on Taimur and now his little brother Jehangir.
In 2013, Hollywood actresses Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner testified for a bill to become a law that increased the punishment for harassment of celebrity kids and clarified the guidelines of what constituted harassment in these cases.
So far, no such law exists in India which has led to some unfortunate encounters of celebrity kids and the paps. At a screening of Salman Khan’s Tubelight, Shah Rukh Khan’s daughter Suhana Khan was hounded by a hoard of paparazzi. Videos of the terrified star kid being cornered into an elevator, surrounded by flashing cameras and shouts for her to give a quote that could be the next day’s headlines. In a later interview, SRK revealed that his daughter had gotten so scared that she had to call him to come and get her. Kajol, too, expressed her horror at what Khan had to go through, saying that it could have been her daughter Nysa and that seemed like a terrifying prospect to her.
Unfortunately, Shahid Kapoor had a similar experience with the paps when they tried to get a shot of his baby daughter as the actor and wife Mira Kapoor made their way out of the airport after a trip. The furious actor had taken to Twitter to slam the paparazzi for nearly putting his child in danger.
Unfortunate how some journos don't realise how bad 20 cameras flashing 2 feet away are for an infants eyes. No common sense in their dna.— Shahid Kapoor (@shahidkapoor) January 5, 2017
Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli are two of the most beloved names from their respective industries, cinema and cricket, and so it’s not uncommon for their public sightings to be considered newsworthy, especially when they’re together.
In a 2020 interview, Sharma revealed that she and her husband Kohli wants their kid to be away from the public eye for as long as possible. She claimed that the choice of being exposed to the world on social media should be of the child and they can’t take it away from them just because they’re famous. When the couple welcomed their child in early 2021, they requested media and paparazzi to refrain from clicking and publishing any shots of their daughter Vamika.
To their credit, the paps respected their wishes and only clicked the couple’s photographs as they made their way to the airport in December 2021.
Like Kohli and Sharma, Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, who welcomed a baby girl earlier this year, took to Instagram to request the media to give them privacy and introduce their daughter to the world on their own terms.
While the issue of public figures having to put up with cameras following their every single activity is still up for debate, it should be unequivocally clear to everyone involved that babies and minor star kids should never be photographed, unless proper consent from the parents has been given. Change can’t happen overnight and it’s our responsibility to not engage in content that violates the privacy of someone who has not given their consent to be viewed in public this way.