Justin Timberlake shows off a photo of wife Jessica Biel holding the couple’s newborn baby Silas Randall Timberlake. (Photo: Justin Timberlake/Instagram)
Baby Timberbiel is here! Not only did we get an up-close glimpse of Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel’s newborn son Silas Randall on Sunday, his photo was unveiled without fanfare only one week after his birth. Most notably though, was the medium in which his famous parents chose to introduce him to the world: A simple shot uploaded to Instagram.
Timberlake posted the photo of a smiling Biel holding the couple’s son who was wearing a Memphis Grizzlies T-shirt. Biel was makeup-free, wearing a baseball cap and a simple tank top with visible bra straps. The shot was refreshingly understated and seemingly candid and Biel looked like any other proud new mama who would appear on your newsfeed.
Back in the day, celebrity babies were introduced to the world on the cover of glossy magazines, all of which clamored to make high-price offers to A-list parents such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Christina Aguilera, and Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. Bidding wars still wage for those dreamy airbrushed depictions of new parenthood but million-dollar payouts are declining in popularity in favor of social media debuts, according to Richard Ayoub, founding editor-in-chief of the celebrity website Rumor Fix. “Celebrity parents know they’ll chased by the media for that exclusive baby photo — often times in bad lighting— so they release it themselves as a way to control their image,” he tells Yahoo Parenting. “It’s very savvy.”
Other celebrities who introduced their newborns online include Ivanka Trump who took to Tumblr to post a photo of herself lying in a hospital bed holding her son Joseph Kushner and Michael Bublé who posed with wife Luisana Lopilato (who lay in a hospital bed), and their newborn son Noah for a photo on Instagram. Even Kate Middleton, due to give birth any minute to her second child with Prince William, is no exception. The notoriously private couple will dutifully pose for photos with their newborn child as they leave St. Mary’s hospital this week for crowds of hungry photographers, as they did after the birth of Prince George.
Others take a controlled but equally powerful approach by posting close-up images of their newborn’s faces on social media. Fergie and Josh Duhamel, Jimmy Fallon, and John Krasinski and Emily Blunt are just a few examples. “Pics of kids should only come direct from parents. So I’m thrilled to introduce you guys to Hazel,“ Krasinski captioned the photo of his daughter on Twitter, three months after she was born.
It’s a smart move, says Fran Walfish, PsyD, a Beverly Hills based child psychologist. “Celebrities know that satiating the public right away may help reduce the sensationalism surrounding their families,” she tells Yahoo Parenting. Exposing their children — who will inevitably become celebrities by default — is a protective move, a way to say “Here is my child. Now go away.”
These photos are a far cry from that of dad Ashton Kutcher who, after Mila Kunis gave birth to their daughter Wyatt, teased fans with a baby photo mash-up and captioned it, “Can you guess which one is ours, or does it really matter? all babies are cute.” Or singer Shakira who introduced us to her and partner Gerard Piqué’s son Sasha by sharing a photo of his foot. No one could blame these parents for wanting to preserve their privacy but our first glimpse of Wyatt — a leaked holiday card sent to the couple’s friends and family — was decidedly more invasive.
Ultimately, what matters more is how celebrity babies are raised in the spotlight, not how they enter it. In the meantime, bring on the cuteness.