Jessica Alba: How I Handle the Paparazzi

03/14/2012 at 02:20 PM ET
Mark Liddell for Parenting

Jessica Alba isn’t afraid of telling a few little white lies — especially when it comes to the sake of her 3½-year-old daughter Honor Marie.

“When the paparazzi follow us, and she asks me what they’re doing, I tell her, ‘They’re just taking pictures. Isn’t that silly?'” the actress, 30, says in the April issue of Parenting.

“I don’t want her to have anxiety, so I tell her they do that to everyone, not just our family.”

Alba has also learned to stretch the truth at mealtime, telling her eldest that some beverages are reserved for the older crowd.

“I serve Honor flavored sparkling water — she thinks that it’s soda and that’s what I let her think,” she reveals. “I told her that ‘brown soda’ is only for adults and she believes me. Ha!”

But the healthy habits aren’t just for the toddler; Alba — who welcomed her second daughter Haven Garner seven months ago — has also been watching what she eats.

“I put on a lot of weight with Honor; it took a long time to get back in shape. My husband [producer Cash Warren] made bacon for me every morning, and at night we ordered a minimum of five desserts,” she recalls.

“[With my second pregnancy], I had a toddler to take care of and I was starting [The Honest Company], so I made healthier food choices, did prenatal yoga.”

And now Alba finds herself settling into life as a mother-of-two as she focuses on her first and foremost priority: her family.

“Before I had kids, I was always so focused on my career, and it was always such a big thing for me,” she explains. “That’s probably the thing that’s surprised me the most about motherhood — just how secondary everything else is. Nothing else really matters to me aside from my children and their well-being.”

In her household, Alba has accepted the role of disciplinarian and believes much of her ability to enforce the rules stems from her rebellious childhood.

“I think it’s because I was kind of a naughty kid myself. I’d push my parents’ buttons and test them to see how much I could get away with,” she explains, adding her counterpart Warren has always preferred to walk the straight and narrow.

“[Cash was] the straight-A student who was everyone’s sweetheart. It was never in him to be naughty. I think I just know, from me being that other kind of child, how to cut off bad behavior and redirect it.”

And with her firsthand experience under her belt, Alba is more than happy to get serious when needed.

“When Honor tries to do something she shouldn’t, I have to say to Cash, ‘Let her know right from the beginning that she can’t,'” she says.

“I’ll put her in a timeout and tell her, ‘Think about the choices you’ve made.’ Then I’ll come back and say, ‘Now it’s time to stop crying and think.’ Then I’ll come back again and ask her, ‘Now, what did you learn?'”

While the mother-of-two may be used to laying down the law, she couldn’t be more proud of how Honor has taken on her latest role of big sister.

“To prep Honor for big sisterhood, we’d say things like, ‘You know, when the baby comes, babies can’t have lollipops or go on a swing.’ Honor realized she was going to be the cool sister,” Alba shares.

“Now, she’s really into being my helper. When I change Haven’s diaper I ask her, ‘Can you throw this away for Mommy?’ … She’s really into it. I tell her, ‘Oh, you’re such a good big sister!’ and give her a high-five.”

In addition to involving Honor in all things baby, doting dad Warren has also made his firstborn feel special with extra father-daughter time.

“My husband Cash is a super dad. If I’m with Haven, he’ll make Honor lunch or take her to the park,” Alba raves. “They see movies or draw together — she’ll even watch sports with him.”

But when the weekends roll around, the whole Alba-Warren bunch head to their traditional brunch to regroup and spend time together as a family.

“We wake up and go to our favorite deli, where Honor has pancakes, bacon … and matzo ball soup. She’s obsessed with that soup!” Alba laughs.

Mark Liddell for Parenting

— Anya Leon

Click here to see more photos from the shoot, or here to watch a video of Alba chatting with editor-in-chief Ana Connery.

FILED UNDER: Babies , Kids , News , Parenting

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Showing 51 comments

Lau on

They seem like a great family, I always enjoy reading what she has to say.

About that “little white lie” that is mentioned, that she tells Honor the paparazzi take pictures of every family so she won’t get anxiety, I wonder how she will feel when she finds out they DON’T do that to everyone… Not questioning her method at all, but saying something that isn’t true will inevitably lead to having some explaining to do later on.

Alicia on

Well said, Lau. If it works for Jessica, so be it. I, for one, firmly believe in not lying to my children. If you don’t want your children to have “brown soda”, tell them that they can’t have it. Offer the choices they can have and leave it at that. I understand her not wanting her daughter to be fearful of going out, but telling her the paps take pics of everyone might be kind of confusing later on.

Stephanie on

My daughter is Honor’s age, and she’s pretty outgoing, but around large groups of people making lots of noise (malls, etc) and strangers, she can be kind of shy. I can’t imagine having to be in Jessica’s shoes and have to deal with normal 3 year old fears and paparazzi. If explaining that it’s not big deal helps her daughter handle her fears, bring on the white lies! When she’s old enough to make sense of it all and not be afraid, it won’t matter what her mom said before.

Robyn on

Honor is starting to look more and more like Jessica! Cute kids.

Anonymous on

I think by the time she’s old enough to understand and realize that they don’t take pictures of other families she’ll also be old enough to understand what her mom does for a living…and by then it might not matter anyway. If it gets her through this phase of her toddler’s life I don’t see the harm at all!

Shannon on

Yea I’m sure when her daughter figures out the truth it won’t matter.

Something about Honor looks different on the cover.

Funny how Jessica said she wanted to have brown skinned babies and ended up with relatively pale children. lmao

joan on

Show me a parent that doesn’t lie to their children,(about anything) and I will show you a parent that is lying.

Lisa on

First off, Jessica has 2 beautiful daughters, and I love how they do not look alike. Based on this article, I really like Jessica’s parenting philosophies.

First off, it is great that even with the baby that Honor gets plenty of alone time with dad and attention along with being apart of helping mom with the baby.

I also like that Honor does not seem spoiled. It seems as though Jessica doesn’t always give her what she wants and although Suri Cruise is an adorable kid it seems as though Honor does not always get what she wants when she wants it. It is important to discipline a child when they do something wrong and Jessica seems to do just that.

Lastly, I love how Jessica raises such a healthy eating family! Wish my family was like that!

Love this family!

Clairesamsmom on

You know, I wasn’t sure about Jessica…. But after reading this and seeing those adorable pictures, It seems like she’s a good mom, that she and her husband really work together and her girls are very precious! Good for them… Being in Hollywood and dealing with all of that…. They seem really together.

Amber on

And with playdates like the Stefani/Rossdale boys, Harlow Richie and Billie Dane…everyone does have paps following them, lol!!!

Tee on

I so enjoy reading articles and interviews with/about this family! Jessica and Cash seem to be really hands on, involved parents. Honor seems to be a very normal, un-spoiled little girl and I’m sure Haven will be the same way. Both girls are quite lovely!

Bugsmum on


White lies that help explain something above their level of understanding are totally acceptable. Same with telling them something is for “adults only”. Totally something I plan on doing with my child.

Actually I plan on lying to her regularly about silly obvious things (like having had dinner when we haven’t) so that she learns that not everything she is told is the truth. I don’t want her going out into the world believing that everything said to her is the truth because people lie.

Anonymous on

Awww, they sound like a great family, and the girls are beautiful!

B.J. (the girl) on

I find it ironic and amusing that she lies to a daughter she calls Honor.

NickyAngel on

I love the black and white pic…Honor is too precious

Sara on

Why is she overexposing her kids like this? Her kids are photographed almost everyday, she posts multiple twitter pics and does a full magazine shoot for really no reason! She could try to protect them a little.

It this was another famous mom, people would be complaining that they were not protecting their kids etc.

Melanie on

It’s not for no reason, she’s promoting The Honest Company. If you read the entire interview that’s actually what most of it is about, this site just didn’t pick those parts to cover. Cute pictures get more clicks than ecofriendly cleaning products. 🙂

stacey on

Honor is SO adorable….absolute twins with her dad. Haven is cute too, but I think they sent her home with the wrong family-where in the world did she get that extremely pale skin. She looks like she could be nicole kidman’s baby.

Maria on

Stacey, Haven looks like Jessica’s mom Cathy. Same coloring. I think she’s Danish? Jessica definitely looks more like her dad but seems like her daughter takes after Grandma.

$ascha on

Telling “white” lies: “…and she believes me. Ha!”
“…and I was starting [The Honest Company]…”
Oh, the irony!

Lying to your child so as not to cause anxiety…then your child finds out you have been lying about multiple things, then has anxiety about what else you might have been lying about. What a ditz.

Blaqbarby on

Technically it’s not a lie. Everyone that Jessica Alba associates with probably does get followed around by paparazzi. She’s an A-List star with A-List friends.

Just My Opinion on

What she tells her daughter is no different than some parents telling thier kids, “boys are made from snakes, snails and puppy dog tails, girls are made of sugar and apice and everything nice. As she grows she will know who her mother is and why they follow them around. My God, let the child be a child. Maybe she thinks it’s fun, why freak her out at such a young age.

Sandy on

Love the idea of the flavored soda water and think it’s great she’s come up with something to tell her about all the pic taking- which would cause most of us anxiety!! I mean you even have to be afraid of your child acting up in public cuz they could snap a pic and make up a lie to go along with it. She sure seems like a wonderful mother and those two are very blessed to have mom and dad.

Sandy on

All you goody two shoes commenting about her little white lies- don’t tell me you haven’t told your child 1/2 the truth about something! Everyone does at some point- that’s how you get your child to do certain things that you know are good for them OR from doing something you know is bad.

Some posters act like they are SO much better than everyone else.

Donna on

Jessica seems like a very loving mom. However, I personally believe in telling your child the truth and equipping them with ways to handle that. Brown soda is not good for you, so it should only be a treat, or our family doesn’t drink it or whatever the truth is…..I think you are setting your children up to not always trust what you say.

Courtney on

Celeb or no, she’s sounds like a normal person, and a great mom. Everything she talks about, my family does with our two kids, who are the same age as her kids.

Tammy on

Alicia, you’re lying when you said you don’t lie to your children… unless you’re the only parent in America who tells your children the truth about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Right!

Jessica seems like a very good mother. And I couldn’t agree with her more when she says how unimportant everything else is once you become a parent.

cloudninegirl on

Lying to a child is nothing to brag about. Sad that she sees nothing wrong with it. Sad too that when the children grow up and realize their mother is a liar, that it will break their trust in her. She’s clueless. Some people out to have a license before breeding.

LC on

She seems like a really great Mom who does a good job of balancing – way to go Jessica Alba!

BBB on

Hmmm, seems like they have a pretty nice dynamic going on, that’s great!

Shar on

You people crack me up! You are probably the same people who tell your children that there’s a Santa Claus, Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy! But that wouldn’t be lying now, would it???

Kris on

My 4 yr old daughter calls her sparkling juice her diet coke. um, yeah that is much better than her actually drinking diet coke and I love that i can get Izzies or Juicy juice in a can with the fizz cause that is the part she wants. And yes only one or less of those a day. Thankfully no juice until age two made a kid who prefers water above all else.

Michelle on

Tammy and Shar have it right! If you have ever told your child about Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, etc. then you too lied to your child. What will they think of you when they get older and realized you lied?! Get a grip people!!! How do you think she should explain to a 3 year old that she is famous. Honor would never understand it. Kuddos to her for coming up with a story that makes being followed not so scathe.

Lisa on

It’s a well-known fact in Hollywood that Jessica Alba actually calls the paparazzi to take her picture so that she stays “in the public eye”.

JR on

I really like Jessica, seems to have her head on straight and sounds like she’s following some smart parenting practice – good for her! Her kids are darling to look at, great to know that she wants their attractiveness to be more than skin deep.

Cassandra on

I love all these comments! Great to see the thinking ways of Moms today. I’m on board with the Moms who believe in telling the truth. There is so much value in it (trust being built, real life skills being built). Moms who lie will have kids who do just the same to you when they grow up! How will you like it? Also, kids don’t like being lied to either. Just ask them

Ash on

I think it is funny that so many of you are commenting that Jessica should not tell these “white lies” to her children but we all tell our children that Santa and all sorts of fictional characters are real. If children can survive those “white lies” I am sure these girls will me fine learning the truth about the Paparazzi and soda as they age.

I think Jessica is doing the best she can to protect and guide her children:) Amazing Mom

Sarah K. on

I’m pretty sure most kids don’t forever hate their parents because they lied about Santa. Also, I’d like to see how some of you handle explaining to your scared child why people are following her, taking pictures, and calling out to her. The judgement is ridiculous.

Anonymous on

I agree with the majority. Sometimes it’s okay to tell your children little white lies. Heck, sometimes lies can be fun! For example, when I was in elementary school my father would often help me with my math homework, and he would say things like, “4+4, that adds up to nine, right?” I knew he that he knew full well what the real answer was (and that that wasn’t it!), and seeing him pretend that he didn’t (and therefore basically lie to me) made me laugh (and also made me eager to figure out the correct answer so that I could “prove him wrong”…which was the whole reason he pulled that act in the first place!) and didn’t traumatize me a bit! In fact, I have nothing but the fondest memories of those homework sessions. 🙂

Incidentally, I have also never met anyone who is scarred for life because their parents told them that Santa, the Easter Bunny, and co were real (including my own mother, who discovered the truth by actually catching her father in the act of filling her Easter basket and laying out the jelly bean trail!).

Jillian on

We let our children believe in the Easter bunny, Santa, tooth fairy. Other than that I can’t think of any white lies or lying or fibbing etc. We are very honest. But, I don’t know what I would do if I was in jessicas shoes. We do know a few people who are celebrities and it is quite different for them. I certainly wouldn’t judge that decision if it made their child feel less anxious.

Anonymous/celebrity baby lover, if you have children someday don’t tease them or lie or whatever to them about homework. As a former teacher, I tell you this because it may not have confused you, but it’s confusing to some and actually not funny at all.


meghan on

To the people criticizing Jessica for lying about the paparazzi, ask yourself this: What do you think other celebrities tell their kids about the people following them. I’m sure some tell a lie or two so their child doesn’t fear them. Sometimes when kids are young you have to work on their terms. You can’t explain fame and celebrity to a three year old.

cntower on

LOL, I was wondering if anyone else noticed that.

Anonymous on

meghan- “Sometimes when kids are young you have to work on their terms.” Exactly, and that brings me to another point I meant to mention earlier. I think, when it comes to telling white lies to kids, whether or not you should do it depends on the kid. Some kids can handle (and even enjoy, like me with my dad’s “homework act”) white lies, some kids can’t.

Basically, you have to do what’s right for YOUR child.

Alisa on

Tammy, there are actually a fair amount of parents that do not tell their kids that Santa is real, etc. Get your facts straight.

Britt on

Here is a novel idea…raise your kids the way you feel is right and let her raise hers the best way she knows how. See how simple that is? Aaah…conflict resolution! 🙂

Sara on

Gorgeous children!!!

marie on

What does she tell the kids when they see themselves on a Magazine cover?

Mia on

Why do you have to lie about soda? – just tell it like it is “it’s juice”…..?

Bert on

To each his own, but I think lying to kids is unnecessary if you communicate with them on a “grown up” albeit understandable level.

Instead of lying or fooling kids, why not just explain the truth on their terrms?

“Brown soda is yummy but you know what? It has so much sugar in it, and other bad yucky things, your tummy doesn’t know what to do with it so it can make you unhealthy. Tummy aches and headaches!”

Is that really so hard?

Megan on

I think with children, as with anything in life, you have to “pick your battles.” With inquisitive children, you can’t possibly explain EVERYTHING to them, and Jessica seems to be choosing which things are important to her family to explain and discuss–she is utilizing a novel idea called “prioritizing.”

She isn’t passing the buck on EVERYTHING…she is picking her battles. She discusses her child’s behavior, explains why it was wrong, asked what she thought was wrong/what she learned, etc. THAT is what she chooses to exert her energy on, and, frankly, I think she is making the wise decision.

michelle on

“Before I had kids, I was always so focused on my career, and it was always such a big thing for me,” she explains. “That’s probably the thing that’s surprised me the most about motherhood — just how secondary everything else is. Nothing else really matters to me aside from my children and their well-being.”

Easy to say when you are rich.