Rihanna’s pregnancy news was a surprise even to those working the Super Bowl Halftime Show with her, including the dancers, despite her rehearsing with them. So how did she hide it? Sources detailed to Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, and E! the steps that Rihanna took to pull it off, along with whether anyone knew she was expecting.
TMZ reported that Rihanna worked with 280 backup dancers, and that none of them knew because she wore baggy clothes during rehearsal to hide her pregnant stomach. On Saturday and Sunday last week, Rihanna practiced with them, and sources told the outlet that she wore “very loose-fitting outfits.” Her Super Bowl costume was designed to reveal the news.
E! further reported that those clothes were big fur coats and oversized Fenty sweaters.
Dancers Laila Hayes and Luhnyae Campbell spoke to Entertainment Tonight yesterday about how they themselves had no clue. “I don’t think anybody really knew she was pregnant,” Hayes said. “She hid it very well.” The cold weather they were rehearsing in justified Rihanna’s attire, they said.
Rihanna also rehearsed away from the bigger group, Hayes added: “She was rehearsing onstage, they made sure that they had her safe in the middle of the stage and then the group that I was in would stay on the sidelines.”
And she did wear her actual costume during one rehearsal: “We were all confused watching it during the real thing when she went up there and was showing her stomach,” Hayes said. “She wore the same outfit for one of the dress rehearsals but it was zippered up.”
Campbell added, “I never saw a bump. Not even the day of. I had to rewatch the performance on YouTube to realize.” Hayes described Rihanna as being “super nice to all of us.”
Campbell gave more details on her TikTok, saying she really didn’t know Rihanna was pregnant. “I was low key mad at everybody ’cause I was like, ‘This is just her postpartum body. Why are you judging her?’” she said. “But no, she’s actually pregnant!”
So did anyone involved with the Super Bowl know Rihanna was expecting? A source told Entertainment Tonight that yes, Rihanna shared the news with a “very limited few.”
“Rihanna has always done things on her own schedule so she didn’t let her plans for baby number two stop her from committing to doing the show—she wanted it all!” the source said. “When she was further along and shared the news with a very limited few, everyone was very supportive!”
Super Bowl Halftime Show producer Jesse Collins detailed the lengths they went to hide the news, along with the details of Rihanna’s big show. “We had to rehearse way out in the sticks of [Los Angeles] and Santa Clarita to keep it all secretive,” Collins said. “It was a lot of work. And then, how do you keep the secret that she’s pregnant? I mean, that’s hard too… Honestly, as soon as it [was] done I’m like, ‘Woo, let’s get her back down.’ That’s all I want to do is get her back on the ground… It was a lot of prep, a lot of nerves and [I’m] just really happy to be a part of it.”
Senior News and Strategy Editor
Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.