I had always heard about the "mama bear instinct," where a new mom will basically do whatever it takes to protect her child. I'm not going to say I thought it was a bunch of hullabaloo, but I will admit I thought people were exaggerating for effect. Like saying you could die happy now that you've tried a cronut.
But then, 12 hours into being a mom, I felt the first stirrings of it. By month three, the instinct to protect at all costs was so strong, I was starting to scare myself. I would stay up at night picturing all these insane scenarios where my tiny newborn was in harm's way, and then I'd imagine what I needed to do to save him. Leap in front of an out-of-control car? Yes! Throw myself on top of a rabid dog who was eyeing him up like a piece of steak? Where do I sign up? It was crazy, yes, but so satisfying.
So when I read about Adele taking the British paparazzi to task for illicitly photographing her one-year-old son and profiting from it, I could totally relate. (Well, at least to her need to protect.) According to multiple reports, the Oscar- and Grammy award-winning singer and her partner, Simon Konecki, sued the photo agency Corbis Images U.K. Limited for taking pictures of baby Angelo's "milestone moments" (like his first playdate) and making them available to British tabloids. Though the very private Adele says she has accepted that she's in the public eye, she's always maintained that her son is not -- a point her lawyers emphasized to the High Court in London this week. "These images were taken during private, recreational time unconnected with professional or public engagements," Adele's solicitor, Jenny Afia, said (per the BBC News). "They represent a clear infringement of our client's right to privacy."
Afia also said the first-time parents believed "these images were of routine, everyday family occasions which the paparazzi has no right to intrude upon, profit from and file away in picture libraries for future reference and use."
The High Court agreed with Adele, awarding Angelo a five-figure sum that will be squirreled away in a trust. In addition to the payment from Corbis Images U.K., the ruling also ensured the photos will never be used again.
Adele's victory comes on the heels of a California law enacted last September aimed at protecting children of celebs from intrusive paparazzi eager to get a payday shot. The new law clarified the legal definition of harassment and made the possible punishment more severe, reports E! Online. Celeb moms (and mama bears) Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry, who have had their fair share of run-ins with paps, testified in support of the bill.
These wins are two very big steps in the right direction, though certainly more can be done to shield famous kids from the prying eyes of the public. The California law, for example, stopped short of restricting the transmitting, publishing or broadcasting of a child's image or voice. But hopefully, legal victories like these will help ensure that the photos we do see of A-list kids have been taken with the full knowledge and consent of their (understandably) protective parents. Tell us: What do you think about Adele's win? Will it do enough to protect the privacy of famous kids?
Image of Adele courtesy of Shutterstock