Gwyneth Paltrow has things to do: tending to her new baby’s belly button, figuring out a feeding schedule, crocheting that baby hat and poncho in the do-it-yourself kit she received soon after her daughter Apple was born on May 13. But four days after giving birth at an English hospital, the Oscar-winning actress was “resting,” said her husband, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, 27, as he greeted reporters outside their home in London’s posh Belgravia neighborhood. Ever press-wary, he was mum on details except to note that his wife – whose mother, Blythe Danner, and brother Jake flew in from L.A. in time for the birth – was not at home and would be “going abroad soon,” he said, adding that “Gwyneth and baby are doing well. They are in a safe place.”
In more ways than one. Nearly two years after her father, producer-director Bruce Paltrow, died of complications from throat cancer at age 58 – bringing Paltrow, as she has said, to her knees in grief – she is doing more than standing tall. Throughout her pregnancy and since the birth, the 31-year-old actress has begun smiling again – an all-out, life-is-good grin rarely seen in recent years. “She’s extremely happy,” says a close source. “She’s in a constant state of elation.”
Which is a considerably different state than she was in during her long hours of labor. From the start, Paltrow had done her best to be what Manhattan obstetrician Marc Engelbert, whom she consulted during the first months of her pregnancy, calls a “good pregnant patient.” Though she gave up her macrobiotic diet – which forbids dairy and processed flour – in favor of grilled cheese sandwiches, she kept up her yoga, hoping, apparently, that the regimen would help during childbirth. During her stays in London, Paltrow turned to obstetrician Gowri Motha, whose holistic practice includes yoga and Ayuverdic oils, for massages. But as any mom knows, massage is no match for the pains of labor. “It was a long and hard birth,” says Martin.
Her labors were followed, however, by one very sweet gesture: naming her daughter Apple. The couple’s not saying exactly why they chose the moniker. “It’s just a very cool name,” says Martin, whose band’s agent, Marty Diamond, also has a daughter named Apple. The baby’s middle names come from her grandmothers, Danner and Alison Martin.
Up next for the family? Time off. Martin, who met Paltrow at a 2002 Coldplay concert, plans to lie low until next year, and Paltrow, whose films Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and Proof are due later this year, has said she might not work “for ages.” As Dr. Engelbert sees it, the actress, with some 20 films to her credit, has new priorities: “Nothing is more important to her than being a mother.”
In some ways, pregnancy was harder for Davis the second time around – although not because she is 48. She simply had more morning sickness – and was expecting twins. Toward the end, “she was complaining of being short of breath,” says her father, William, 90. “There was no more room in her body for her lungs to fit.” She’s breathing easier now. After a C-section on May 9 at an L.A. hospital, Davis and her surgeon husband, Reza Jarrahy, 33, welcomed Kian William and Kaiis Steven; together, the boys weighed 11 lbs. 1 oz. Delivered before their June 1 due date (partly because of Davis’s age), the twins will remain in incubators for two more weeks but are “perfect,” says a close source. The couple’s daughter, Alizeh, 2, “is delighted to have two new baby brothers,” says Davis’s rep. The boys’ first names are Persian, like their dad’s roots. “Reza is an awfully good helper,” says William, noting that Jarrahy and Davis “both know what to expect this time around.” With age, after all, comes wisdom. “Being an older mom,” says William, “makes it more special.”
The baby’s arrival is still a few weeks away, but here’s a hint: Think pink. A friend of Cox’s, 39, tells PEOPLE that, yes, it’s a girl – though the baby’s uncle-to-be, David’s brother Alexis Arquette, has yet another idea. “There are rumors that there are two in there,” he says. “Courteney is huge.” (The rumors are just that.) Seriously, though, “they’re going to be awesome parents,” says Alexis, who gave the couple “some little shoes” for their little one. He also notes that the former Friends star and her fun-loving husband will make a well-balanced team. “I don’t know how much of a disciplinarian he is going to be, but she is definitely good at cracking the whip,” he says. The expectant dad is eager to get down to the business of child’s play. “I’m gonna have a ton of fun being a dad,” says Arquette, 32. “I can’t wait to read stories and play games and the whole thing.” Ditto the mom-to-be, who plans to juggle producing gigs and motherhood. “She’s really beautiful,” says her husband. “She’s got the glow. We’re so excited.”
The busy Aussie actress continued working throughout her second pregnancy, playing – what else? – an expectant mom in the upcoming adventure The Life Aquatic, costarring Bill Murray. Two months after wrapping, she gave birth to Roman Robert, little brother to Dashiell John, 2. In both cases, Blanchett, 35, says she and husband Andrew Upton, 38, took a relaxed approach to getting pregnant. “We just thought, if it happens, it happens,” she told Britain’s Mail on Sunday before giving birth to Roman. “Usually, if you have a good sex life, it’s bound to happen eventually.”
More difficult was giving up sought-after roles in the upcoming films Closer and A Doll’s House (the parts went to Julia Roberts and Kate Winslet, respectively). But Blanchett isn’t slowing down: She is set to star in a Sydney stage production of Hedda Gabler, followed by the big-screen drama Little Fish. “Acting is still a passion,” she told the Mail. “I just value my marriage and family above everything else.”
Romans are popular with showbiz moms. On April 7 – two weeks before actress Cate Blanchett bestowed the name on her baby – Messing gave birth to 5-lb.-14-oz. Roman Walker after enduring a doctor-ordered bed rest. The Will & Grace star is now happily out and about: On May 15, she frolicked with her new little guy at a park in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband, screenwriter Daniel Zelman, 36. But if Messing has her way, family outings to Central Park will be next. “Our goal is to find a way back to the East Coast,” says the 35-year-old actress. “That’s where I am from. That’s where our family and friends are, and that is where we feel our home really is.”
With several months off until Will & Grace starts shooting its seventh season, Messing is delighting in new motherhood. “The baby is perfect,” says a friend. “They’re very happy.” Adds actress Camryn Manheim, a close pal and the mother of son Milo, 3: “They’re ready to start the incredible journey. They’ve joined the club that I’ve been talking about these three years. Now they know.”
Those close to Messing say she is relishing her newfound duties as Mommy. “She feels awesome, she looks awesome,” says the friend. As for baby Roman, well, he’s a pretty happy little fella. “This baby has got the best head start,” says Manheim. “This is a lucky baby.”
While recently shooting the upcoming thriller The Skeleton Key in New Orleans, Hudson wasn’t just the star – she was also the on-set caterer. “When the baby got hungry, the director gave her time [to nurse],” says a crew manager. “As soon as they said, ‘Cut!’ she said, ‘Where’s the baby? Is he hungry?’ ”
When Ryder Russell Robinson wasn’t on the set nursing, he was getting settled in the Big Easy, where Hudson and her rocker husband, Chris Robinson, 37, made time to explore the city with their new son, dropping by local eatery Franky and Johnny’s for crawfish and gumbo. For Hudson’s surprise 25th-birthday bash on April 17 at the Funky Butt, a jazz club, the new parents celebrated alongside Hudson’s mom, Goldie Hawn (whose new nickname is Gogo), and Hawn’s longtime beau, Kurt Russell (Gogi) until 3 a.m. (too late for Ryder, who missed out on the festivities). Then it was back to work, where Hudson – who has shed the 60 lbs. she gained, thanks to exercise and a low-carb diet – has only one leading man on her mind. Says the crew manager: “Kate was around the baby every second she had free.”
• Written by KAREN S. SCHNEIDER and MICHELLE TAUBER. Reported by MARGI BLASH, SEAN DALY, ALISON SINGH GEE, TODD GOLD, ZORIANNA KITT, MONICA RIZZO, BRENDA RODRIGUEZ, VICKI SHEFF-CAHAN and ULRICA WIHLBORG in L.A., KC BAKER in New York City, PETE NORMAN and COURTNEY RUBIN in London