Jessica Biel on Having a ‘Secret COVID Baby’

In a new interview this week, Jessica Biel shared some details about her low-profile—and at times scary—experience having a baby during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I had, like, a secret COVID baby,” said Biel, who gave birth to her second child with Justin Timberlake in July 2020, on a new episode of Armchair Expert. “It wasn’t like it was supposed to be a secret,” she told cohosts Dax Sheperd and Monica Padman. “It was just, COVID happened, and then I went to Montana with my family and never left.”

While some outlets reported on the news, there were no paparazzi shots of the new mom while she was out in Montana. And the frenzy of publicity that typically surrounds celebrity baby births “just never happened,” said Biel, who is usually based in Los Angeles. “It was the weirdest thing ever.” The couple themselves didn’t officially confirm the news until January 2021, when Timberlake shared the baby’s name, Phineas, during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Though having a baby at a time when much of the country was still in lockdown afforded the couple an unusual level of privacy, giving birth during the pandemic was also a nerve-racking experience. In the summer of 2020, COVID-19 restrictions surrounding hospitals and who could be in the delivery room were still in flux, which generated uncertainty and anxiety for Biel.

“The hospital restrictions had just changed,” Biel recalled. Timberlake was ultimately able to be in the delivery room with her, but for a time the actor was afraid she would have to give birth alone. “There was a moment there that there was nobody allowed at all, and I was really getting nervous about that situation,” Biel said. “I think if I had to be there alone, that would have been horrible. I would have been really scared…. Gosh, it was scary.”

Biel also opened up about the ups and downs of parenting a newborn. “I’m happy we’re 11 months in, because it was serious,” Biel said. Though it was their second time around, Biel said she didn’t remember some of the harder parts. “I forgot what happens to you as a person, as a human, with your partner, with your sleep schedule,” Biel said. “You forget on purpose.” 

Revisiting the earliest days of parenting was a serious adjustment for Biel and Timberlake. “This was such a big change, because it had been six years since we did all that stuff.” Not to mention, this time the parents were also navigating caring for their six-year-old son, Silas. “Someone said to me, ‘Two is like having a thousand.’ And that’s exactly what it feels like,” Biel said of raising their larger family. “The balance of everything is very different and super hard.”

At the same time, Biel shared, the experience of having a baby and an older child at the same time is something special. “I mean, it’s amazing,” Biel said. “The conversations I’m having now with my six-year-old [are] so cool. Like, he’s a real person saying the funniest stuff and he’s so sensitive and tender. It’s just so interesting to see that part of it happen. And the little one is just cute as hell.”

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