Caitriona Balfe is gearing up for award season with Vanity Fair.
The Irish actress stars on the magazine’s digital cover story for VF‘s “Awards Insider” issue and discusses her role in the historical drama “Belfast”, keeping her son’s privacy in check, and the gender discrepancies she’s observed on “Outlander”.
Balfe’s work in “Belfast” has made her a hot topic amid award season, which could potentially land her an Oscar nomination. Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical film hits close to home for the actress as it captures the Troubles — “a 30-year period of violent conflict in Northern Ireland that led to more than 3,500 deaths” — which she remembers from a young age. Balfe’s character Ma stars opposite of Jamie Dornan’s Pa, and together they work hard to protect their children from the beginning of the Troubles in 1969. Similarly, the time period played a role in Balfe’s childhood and she is proud of the authenticity that the film bears.
“As an Irish person, you read so many of these scripts about the Troubles, and they all have this romantic version of the violence,” Balfe told VF‘s Rebecca Ford. “It always upsets me, because I don’t think that’s something that should be romanticized. And here was a script that really focused in on the family and on the people and the communities that are affected.”
Like her motherly role in the film, Belfast became a mother in real life in August. She announced the birth of her son on Instagram, which came as a surprise since she kept most of her pregnancy off social media. The actress has made the decision to protect her son’s privacy at all costs, widely due to the fact that “Outlander” fans have gone to extensive lengths to “stan” Balfe’s off-screen relationship with her co-star Sam Heughan, even though she is happily married.
“When you have a kid, you become really protective,” Balfe said. “I don’t want those [crazy fans]—because that’s what they are—I just don’t want them talking about him. It’s sad, because you meet the loveliest people who are fans of the show and they’re super supportive and they do the nicest things—and then you have that little thing, which just taints it.”
Balfe believes that “there’s certain things that are nice to have for yourself” especially after one conspiracy theory proposed that the father of her baby is Heughan because the bedsheets in the background of the baby picture look just like the ones featured in a photo he posted.
In the cover story, the writer also explained that “after [Balfe] married her husband, Scottish music manager Anthony McGill, in 2019, she found out that someone had called to harass the secretary of the church where the wedding took place; they didn’t believe her marriage was real. She’s also gotten wind that private investigators have been hired to solve the case and prove definitively that she’s involved with Heughan.”
However, after working on “Outlander” together over the last eight years, the two are nothing more than super close friends. In fact, together they approached the show’s executives asking them to diversify the staff after realizing that the crew mainly consisted of men. Balfe noted that becoming a mother has opened her eyes up to many gender disparities.
“By the time you get to a certain age, if you want to have a family at all, you end up stepping off that ladder and I think it’s very hard for [women] to come back in,” Balfe explained. “That’s something we need to address as an industry because I look at our camera crew, all amazing guys, all of them have become fathers in the eight years we’ve been filming, but not one of them has had to give up their position.”