Outlander's Caitriona Balfe Opens Up About Doing Nude Scenes And What She Struggles With

outlander claire caitriona balfe starz

If there's one thing that Outlander fans know well before we even get the tiniest bit of footage from a new season, it's that Claire and Jamie Fraser will take a trip to pound town at some point. The time traveling historical drama is known for it's romance and the deep love story between its leads, and with that has come several scenes of them getting horizontal. (Or vertical...or diagonal, because the Frasers make it work, OK?) Now, actress Caitriona Balfe is opening up about all of those nude scenes and what she actually struggles with when deciding to do them.

While the love story of Outlander is a major factor behind the popularity of the show, fans don't just tune in for all those sweet moments where Claire and Jamie support each other and sacrifice their own safety to make sure the other will be alright. Oh, no. We also watch for the sexytimes, which are usually fulfilled by Caitriona Balfe and co-star Sam Heughan while in some state of undress. Balfe appeared on the Outcasts podcast recently, and when talk from hosts and fellow Outlander co-stars David Berry (Lord John Grey) and Tim Downie (Governor Tryon) turned to the love scenes, said:

It’s such a weird thing, because you’re constantly, or at least I am constantly, torn between these two things of well, Claire would not be going to the gym so I should not have a gym body. And, she’s now a woman in her fifties so you know, I should try and let that be the thing that leads me. But, then you have all of your own personal shit, right?

Man, this must be tough. David Berry had shared his fears about potential Outlander nudity when he first signed his contract, and mentioned how most actors' thoughts would, naturally, turn toward the very human feeling of, if not shame, just wanting to keep your naked parts private as much as possible. And, it's clear that such things have come up for Caitriona Balfe during her five seasons on Outlander.

Even though she's done several nude scenes on the show, as Balfe said, she's constantly trying to figure out what the right balance is for her, because it's only normal to want to look your best if you're going to let potentially the whole world see you in your birthday suit. While there are many things available to people now to make sure that that's possible, very few of those things were available back in the 1700s when Claire and Jamie were doffing their breeches and bedding down for the night.

Not only did they not have gyms, and had to rely on hard, physical labor to keep them fit (which I'm sure worked pretty well, while not giving anyone a body which would mimic that of a modern fitness model), they were also without some things most of us would consider really basic. Reliable health and medical practices hadn't even been established, so there weren't very many ways to stay youthful-looking which could be counted on (if such a thing was even on the radar of most people). I mean, they didn't even have sunscreen back then, you guys. Think about how spotty Claire and Jamie should be by now, with all of their time outdoors.

So, Caitriona Balfe can easily admit that signing up for nude scenes isn't easy, especially when it will force you to unpack whatever insecurities you might have about baring your body publicly and what you think of that body. As she continued:

You have your own personal shame and vanity and all of those things, and you try to leave those at the door but you also know that if you feel insecure, that’s going to hamper your ability to lose yourself in a scene. So it’s always this thing I’m constantly battling with, between leaving my shit at the door and also giving myself I guess, enough confidence to be able to walk into those scenes and not have to think about whether or not I have cellulite on my ass or whatever these things are that kind of run through your head. We’re not unflawed people, and it’s hard sometimes to live up to the expectation.

Alright, I can now officially say that I do not envy anyone who has decided to do a nude scene. I hadn't even thought about the public expectation for what a famous person should look like when they take their clothes off! It sounds like way too much to deal with and still, as Balfe said, "lose yourself in a scene," but I guess that's one of the reasons why actors get the big bucks. My sincere thanks to Caitriona Balfe and everyone else on Outlander who's taken the challenge and succeeded, so that we can get our perfect, romantic sexytimes.

Outlander will be back on Starz for Season 6 at some point, but since we have a pretty long Droughtlander ahead, be sure to check out our guide to fall TV to see what you can watch in the meantime!

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.