Kelly Ripa got body shamed by All My Children stylists 9 days after giving birth

Kelly Ripa can be a polarizing figure. I admire her scrappiness and energy, but also clearly recognize when she’s tone-deaf, violating her kids’ privacy, or not letting her co-host/husband finish a sentence. That being said, Kelly shared a story on her podcast this week that I think warrants full sympathy. Kelly was on the seminal soap All My Children for many years in the 90s — where she met her husband/co-host Mark Consuelos — and revealed that after giving birth to their first child, son Michael, in 1997, she had to be back for filming a mere nine days later. Not only that, but when she arrived on set the show’s wardrobe stylists said something absolutely heinous about her body:

Kelly Ripa is opening up about the difficult days that followed the birth of her first son, Michael.

On Wednesday’s episode of her podcast, Let’s Talk Off Camera with Kelly Ripa, the Live with Kelly and Mark host, 53, opened up to guest Hilarie Burton Morgan about a particularly unpleasant experience she had on the set of All My Children, the soap that launched her career in 1990 — and led her to her husband, Mark Consuelos.

“I think all women who have given birth will tell you that they are on an island,” she recalled of her first postpartum experience. “I don’t care what the support system is like — my in-laws moved in with us and I felt like I was on an island because I didn’t recognize my body.”

Ripa then revealed that she “had to go back to work” on All My Children just “nine days after giving birth.”

“No!” Burton replied as she called the quick turnaround “brutal.”

“It was brutal,” Ripa agreed, before adding an even more devastating detail. “And then the wardrobe people were like, ‘I thought you’d be smaller by now.’ I was like, ‘Well I’m not gonna be smaller any time soon. I don’t know much, but here’s what I do now. This looks like it’ll be here for a while. I’m not in any rush, so.’”

Ripa previously spoke about the difficulties of managing her pregnancy with her work on All My Children. Since Hayley wasn’t going to have a baby, the show went to ridiculous lengths to hide the 60 lbs. she eventually gained. “Initially, I would carry luggage with me everywhere,” Ripa previously told PEOPLE. “Then I started to carry guitar cases. Then I carried trees. Trees!”

[From People]

“I thought you’d be smaller by now,” at nine days postpartum. You know what I would’ve said back to that stylist? “And I thought you’d be smarter by now.” Good for Kelly for sticking up for herself in the moment, and with pretty tactful language, too. My reactions tend to air on the side of salty (see above). Also, notice how the props they used to hide her baby bump got heavier and heavier? “Yes, let’s have the fully pregnant woman carry around some large musical instruments for a 16-hour day shoot, perfect!” This entire story makes the 90s sound more like the 50s for pregnant and postpartum women. That’s why I so appreciate the bodypositive stories we’ve been getting from celeb mamas. Women are defining their own physical experiences and redefining body perceptions and goals. And telling their haters to FAFO. But in a motherly, educational way.

photos credit: Darla Khazei / Avalon, Cover Images and via Instagram

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24 Responses to “Kelly Ripa got body shamed by All My Children stylists 9 days after giving birth”

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  1. teehee says:

    In all honesty, we did not until very recently have the truth revealed (mostly due only to social media!) that your body does not return to normal for a nice long time. I cant blame someone in 1997 for not knowing this yet. This was a well kept secret, but for absolutely no reason and no benefit other than, trying to keep women physically pleasing to other peoples eyes.

    Saying youre not in a rush falsely implies you CAN be back to normal in less than 9 days too– so…. it really was a false notion.

    • Kitten says:

      Also, trying to keep women in a perpetual state of self-doubt; essentially setting us up for failure as we consistently fall short of an absolutely absurd and imaginary goal created by men.

    • Mair says:

      How about the fact that our bodies are never the same after giving birth? I lost a good bit of weight about 10 years after I had my youngest. I was 15 lbs lighter than my wedding weight! It was the first time I tried on my wedding dress and I couldn’t zip it. My rib cage had expanded so much while carrying my kids it didn’t matter how “skinny” I got, I would never fit into my wedding dress again. That was the light bulb moment for me — weight is just a number and not the end all and be all.

  2. StillDouchesOfCambridge says:

    Yes and then, around the time Denise Richards had her 1st kid somewhere beginng/mid 2000’s and went back to an amazing size in less than a month, every mom had pressure to snap back within 4 weeks. It was crazy. I could not do it. It was around suri cruise and shiloh joliepitt. Bonkers

    • Seraphina says:

      I remember those crazy timelines for getting a body back in shape. It put crazy and for some unrealistic stress on the mom. Just like the lactose days when the pressure was on for all moms to breast feed or the days they shamed women who did not have vaginal births. And the saddest part is that the bulk of the shaming is done by other women to women. Which I really don’t get.
      As far as snapping back pre-baby size – which is crazy because all the literature I read stated it may take the body up to a year to “get back to normal” (that’s in quotes because everyone’s normal is different).

      • Bettyrose says:

        Re: women shaming other women, I’m not excusing it but it’s a psychological impact experienced by all oppressed and marginalized communities that some choose to take on the voice of the oppressor to feel more powerful. (Internalized misogyny continues to be a huge problem without even getting into the topic of US politics.)

      • Seraphina says:

        Well said @Bettyrose and 100% on point.

    • D says:

      Yes! I had my first in early 2006 which was in the middle of the “baby boom” when it seemed like every female star was pregnant and they would be on a red carpet a few weeks after giving birth looking like they had never had a baby. It was crazy. The only one I remember having a harder time losing weight was Debra Messing and I don’t think she ever got over that.

    • Yup, Me says:

      I think there should be more discussion about how long it takes our bodies to heal from giving birth (9 months to grow them, at least 9 months to recover) and even then, we have been changed and have to learn the new aspects of our bodies.

      I looked the same as I had pre-pregnancy relatively quickly (within 6 weeks with my first baby and about 10 weeks with my second), but my body still FELT different to me. And with my second baby, I knew better than to try to start acting like I was “back to normal” which I’d foolishly done the first time.

      All the emphasis being on how we look is part of us not receiving adequate post partum support (OR PAY) in the US.

  3. D says:

    That might partially explain why she is so strict with her diet and exercise. I watched her waaayy back, maybe it was even in the 80s, on this afternoon show called Dance Party USA…it was like American Bandstand but it was daily afterschool. She was a “regular” and was so cute and had a great figure. She was always very cute but as she began to become more famous and especially since being on the talk show, she has maintained a really strict diet/exercise lifestyle. It must have really been painful to hear that, on top of all the insecurities that all new moms feel AND she had the added pressure to be on screen less than 2 weeks later. I really feel for her.

  4. Jessica says:

    9 days?!? Goodness. I hope by now most people know better than to make ignorant comments like that, back then it was different. I gave birth in 2007 and remember feeling so light and skinny and like I could breathe for the first time in months, then I saw myself in the mirror and felt disgusting. It’s such a sad memory because that should’ve been the last thing on my mind, but because we were bombarded with images of celebs bouncing back in a few weeks I just felt so gross, and I only gained 30 pounds!

    • Betsy says:

      Oh my god! I’d forgotten about that! Feeling light and airy and like I could breathe (relatively; my c section was a little complicated and oh my god so much IV fluids) and then looking at myself in a mirror and it was like WHAT IS GOING ON.

      Good on Meghan for appearing naturally humanly thick in that one set of pics with the Queen. I think that’s 95% of women in the week immediately following surgery and it can really take its time going back.

      • Aardvark Hoover says:

        I don’t think Meghan even did look ‘thick’ in those pictures with HMQ – she still had a figure to die for. If we pick up on women for looking ‘thick’ a day or so after they’ve given birth, we’re perpetuating the notion that there’s something wrong associated with weight. I just don’t think, in 2023, that weight is something we should even notice (unless it’s clearly linked to a health problem): we should be more invested in the content of someone’s character.

      • Anners says:

        Agree with Aardvark Hoover, and will take it a step further – unless you are a person’s doctor and or trusted family member or friend – and they have asked for your input – we should just focus on character.

  5. Sue says:

    She had to go back to work NINE days after giving birth? What the actual f?

  6. Ameerah M says:

    My response would have been on the salty side as well, like” what makes you think a woman can lose all the baby weight a week after giving birth?? Are you new to life??” But that’s just me. I watched All My Children during this time. Haley & Mateo (Kelly & Mark’s characters) were HUGE on that show. And I also remember that Kelly got REALLY thin post-pregnancy and has essentially stayed really thin since – even through her other pregnancies. And I wonder if that first initial pressure to be thin and stay thin has stayed with her.

  7. Nikki says:

    My SIL met Kelly in person, and said she was INCREDIBLY tiny. Like, nothing to her. It’s so terrible that women in entertainment are made to feel they must be size zero.

  8. Robert Phillips says:

    I know I’m going to get jumped on for saying this. But could it have been that the dresser thought that having the baby her middle might be the part that was smaller. I know that doesn’t sound much better. But maybe the dresser hadn’t had kids and thought that that part of the body would be smaller than it did get. Not that it would look like a ripped midsection. But just that it would go back to maybe a size of two larger than before she was pregnant. Didn’t have to mean she was critisizing her. Just that she didn’t know. I haven’t been around a lot of pregnant women. And wouldn’t know everything.

    • Ameerah M says:

      None of that matters. I don’t care what you have or haven’t experienced – you don’t address someone like that about their body. Period.

    • Jaded says:

      Hard nope. This was body-shaming of the absolute worst kind. At a time when the wardrobe person should have been dressing her appropriately and sensitive to a 9 days post-partum body, she/he chose to fat-shame Kelly. I’ve never had children but am still fully aware of the body changes women go through in pregnancy and after giving birth. No excuses for that execrable idiot.

  9. theotherviv says:

    Now we know why she seems to not have had a full meal since then. Shame on the shamers. I bet she would be attractive at any weight.

  10. Turtledove says:

    This is so gross.

    If she didn’t eat a bite of food for the whole “whopping” 9 days from the time the baby arrived to the moment she walked on set, she still wouldn’t have lost much weight. Not that anyone should ever do that ,ever. Not to mention, she had only had her baby 9 days, the last thing she should have bee thinking about at all is her weight. She just became a mom. She had a new baby to bond with.

    I kind of feel like even if she lost what would be considered a shocking and unheard of amount of weight per day, it’s still JUST 9 days. That wardrobe person wasn’t just an asshole for saying what they did, they were also an idiot for having whatever insane expectations they had.

  11. Thena says:

    I remember catching a few episodes of “All My Children” around the end of her pregnancy. They had a storyline about her character being in the hospital and covered her up with tons of blankets to hide the pregnancy, and I remember that the whole thing seemed so silly.

  12. yellowy says:

    Portia di Rossi wrote about the Ally McBeal wardrobe department in her memoir. They had nothing in her size when she arrived for her first fitting. From memory she was a size 8 or 6. And when she lost weight they praised her.

    Calista set the standard on that show. She is tiny to begin with, and she didn’t eat, so none of the other actors did either lest they look enormous next to her on screen.