Once upon a time in Hollywood, when you got pregnant at 20 or at whatever age, there wouldn't be many more options than to have your studio pressure you into getting an abortion. That's the narrative some of the following celebrities couldn't exclude themselves from, plus a few more pregnancy scandals that have become a part of industry legend.
1. Ingrid Bergman
The driving force behind most of these sad, sad stories is reputation—Bergman's vibe was "the good girl," which didn't allow for an affair with (also married) director Roberto Rossellini that resulted in the birth of daughter Pia. They married soon after, but her career tanked—until she and Rossellini divorced, Hollywood's memory proved Dory-esque, and she went on to win an Oscar.
2. Joan Crawford
And now begins a mini saga that'll make you go, "F*ck that monster Clark Gable." (Re: heroes or even people you admire in the slightest, never meet them or Wikipedia them.) In 1931, Crawford became pregnant with what she believed was Clark Gable’s child. MGM head of publicity Howard Strickling arranged for an abortion, and Crawford told her estranged husband that she'd slipped on the deck of a ship while filming and lost the baby.
3. Loretta Young
Young was also impregnated by Gable, though her daughter-in-law alleges it was date-rape. A devout Catholic, Young refused an abortion, so the studio floated a rumor that she was ill until she gave birth at home in L.A. Then, in a complicated plot involving a nonexistent decoy second baby, she ended up adopting her own daughter.
4. Lana Turner
After she became pregnant in 1941, a promo tour in Hawaii was used as a cover for her abortion. The procedure took place without anesthesia, on her hotel bed, while Turner’s mother covered her mouth with her hand to stifle her daughter’s cries. The $500 for the abortion was then deducted from her paycheck, and a week later, she was back on set. Brutal.
5. Judy Garland
Because audiences loved her as a child, not a mother, as Vanity Fair put it, Garland was compelled to get an abortion—first when she became pregnant with her husband David Rose, then again as a result of an affair.
6. Dorothy Dandridge
Her director made her a star in Carmen Jones. Then he got her pregnant and refused to divorce his wife. The studio demanded she abort the baby, not just because a child would wreck her sultry image, but also because the director was white. (Though repealed years before, California's miscegenation laws were still unofficially in place.)
7. Charlie Chaplin
When you think of Charlie Chaplin, you usually think of a mustache and slapstick, not underage girls. But it's true—he had a habit of marrying teenagers, which he did four times. Chaplin's second wife claimed that he only agreed to marry her after she got pregnant, then tried to coerce her into getting an abortion. Eventually, they divorced, and he moved on to two more young women, the latter of which he married when he was in his 50s and she was 18.
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Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at MarieClaire.com. She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.
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