Beyoncé may enjoy a reputation as music's classiest broad, but she's also the canniest. Madame Z knows exactly how to play the media - not with the old-school Jolie-style thuggery, but in a more modern way, one that employs stealth and guile.
When some stars want to avoid revealing personal secrets, they simply bully the media. Angelina Jolie forced reporters to sign a gag agreement in exchange for an interview, for example.
Beyoncé easily could have taken a similar tack, say, ordering her publicists to blackball reporters who may have heard about the pregnancy early. But from what I hear, that isn't what happened here. Instead, Beyoncé kept the rumors from emerging in the first place.
Well, one tactic was in place before she even got pregnant: geography. Most paparazzi are concentrated in Los Angeles. And that's not a big hangout for Beyoncé.
"Beyoncé has always been a tough subject to keep track of," says Justin Smith of the photo agency Fame Pictures. "She's very calculated about letting herself get photographed and she spends so much time outside of L.A. that we don't invest a lot in working on her."
And when she has been photographed in the past few months, she's been very, very careful about it. E! Online's own crack photo Editor Lindsay Scheinberg did some heavy digging into Beyoncé's recent public dealings, and we found a few trends. First, Scheinberg has noted a change in the types of appearances Beyoncé has done in recent weeks.
"She's been shot more during concerts rather that out and about in public," which, in turn, allowed Beyoncé to have more control over lighting and angles. Heck, she could even dictate exactly where concert photographers could shoot her if she needed to, and then never turn quite all the way.
One more major tool in Beyoncé's arsenal: a change in wardrobe.
A dimmer starlet might have opted for the same tight tees she always wears, leaving her publicists to crush any reporters who speculated about a baby bump. Instead, Beyoncé, literally, cut loose; or, looser.
Her concert costumes grew more forgiving, and when she did go out to private functions - such as an Aug. 1 record release party for pal Kelly Rowland - she also kept her clothes loose.
No bump to see, no bump to gossip over. Sweet, simple, effective.
Beyonce had announced she was pregnant outside L.A.'s Nokia Theater at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards.
The Grammy-winning superstar, 29, covered up her bump in a gorgeous, loose-fitting red gown by Lanvin, and announced her huge news to photographers.
It will be the first child for the singer and Jay-Z, her husband of three years.
Indeed, the couple has had babies on the brain for a while. "I always said I would have a baby at 30," Beyonce teased on a June 27 appearance on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight. The "Best Thing I Never Had" singer turns 30 September 4.
She and rapper-mogul Jay-Z (real name: Shawn Carter), 41, tied the knot in NYC in April 2008.
Additional report from E! Online