Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Lincoln Center

LION BABE's Jillian Hervey Shares Why She Kept Her Pregnancy & Her Relationship Private

Some things are sacred.

Celebrity News

Jillian Hervey is a new mommy! The singer recently gave birth to a baby boy with her partner and LION BABE bandmate Lucas Goodman after keeping it a secret for nine months. Jillian spoke with Essence about her decision to keep the pregnancy and her relationship with Lucas under wraps.

“My personal life, like my creative life, is sacred, but coming from the upbringing I have had, I never wanted to overshare,” she said. “Lucas and I have always valued our privacy and up until this point have never spoken of our relationship. There is an endless connection in the words I write, images we create, and music we make, that invites you into our personal life. Although we are in the age of sharing everything, I am far more old-school and prefer to make sure that I have a life full of experiences that are just for me/us.”

And while privacy is important to the couple, they do acknowledge what it would mean to their fans to share the special moment in their lives. “I also think pregnancy always invites opinions, and as soon as I found out, I knew that I had a lot of thoughts of my own about what was going on, and didn’t want to add additional pressure to what I was already creating in my own mind,” she said.

“Our LION BABE world does feel like a family though, so that is why it now feels appropriate. This is a huge milestone filled with love in our lives, and we didn’t want to start another year of creating, without our fans, community, and supporters knowing that this miracle had just occurred.”

Jillian’s mom, Vanessa Williams, is also overjoyed with being a grandmother. The veteran actress gushed over her daughter and grandchild on her Instagram page.

“So proud to welcome my beautiful daughter @lionbabe into the wonderful, challenging, and most rewarding role in life …motherhood, she wrote. “I’m always here to support, advise and babysit at any moment ☀️ And of course the amazing father @astroraw who has been by Jillian’s side since the beginning with support, love, and endless creativity.”

Jillian isn’t the first celebrity to hide her pregnancy. Here are some other famous faces who kept their baby news a secret until the time was right.

Samira Wiley

The day after Mother’s Day, Orange is the New Black star Samira Wiley revealed that her wife had given birth to their first child. Sharing a cute photo of their baby on Instagram, she captioned the post, “Happy 1st Mother’s Day to my beautiful wife, who four weeks ago today after laboring for almost 3 days gave birth to our first child—our gorgeous daughter, George.💜”

She added, “Welcome to the world, babygirl. We love you and we thank you for giving us the best 1st Mother’s Day two ladies could ask for.

George Elizabeth

4.11.2021 💜”

Viola Davis

Viola DavisThe Help co-star Octavia Spencer actually spilled the beans about the actress becoming a mother during the 2011 ELLE Women in Hollywood. Viola and her husband Julius Tennon adopted their daughter Genesis and the actress spoke about her love for her baby girl in an Instyle interview.

“I always tell Genesis she was born from my heart, not my belly,” she said. “There are so many ways to mother rather than to carry a child in your body. So many children need parents, and so many of us want to mother. Know that you will experience motherhood to the full extent.”

Naomi Campbell

In May 2021, Naomi Campbell shocked everyone after revealing she is now a new mother via Instagram. She shared an adorable photo of the baby’s feet with a touching caption.

"A beautiful little blessing has chosen me to be her mother," she wrote. "So honoured to have this gentle soul in my life there are no words to describe the lifelong bond that I now share with you, my angel. There is no greater love."

Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union had a tough and long journey to motherhood. After several unsuccessful attempts at trying to get pregnant naturally and with IVF treatments, she decided to go the surrogacy route. In 2018, Gabrielle and Dwyane Wade welcomed their daughter Kaavia James Union Wade and while the family seem to be happy, there was a time when the actress questioned what her bond with her daughter would be like. Writing in her memoir, You Got Anything Stronger?, she shared.

“I was so worried that maybe she’s not gonna love me as much because I didn’t birth her. Maybe she’s not gonna respect me as much because I didn’t birth her. Maybe he’s not ever going to be able to love me fully, completely, because I wasn’t able to do this and I’ll never know.”

Featured image by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Lincoln Center

When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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