We’re gonna go ahead and right out say it: aging in Hollywood is NOT pleasant, especially if you’re a woman. For some reason, actresses, models, and basically every single woman who works in the entertainment industry are supposed to maintain their looks in order to maintain success, and it’s just downright ridiculous. No matter when someone’s prime was, if they’re excellent at what they do, they’ll ALWAYS be in their prime.
However, these days, it’s not just women who are taking the brunt of the losing-looks-load any more (as a woman, I’m thankful for this, I must say). This list of people also includes men who have either taken a step out of their prime or have exceeded well beyond it as well.
We’re living in an age where paying for enhancements is a huge thing and while THAT can go one of two ways, there are people in Hollywood actually out here aging gracefully and people are loving it.
Regardless of which side of the list these people fall on, they’re all fierce enough to say “meh, who cares” and just continue to slay at their work. Here are 10 celebrities who have stepped outside their prime and 10 who look even better than they did in their prime.
Prime Long Gone
20 Turning Over A New Leaf—Kelly Clarkson
Singer Kelly Clarkson in an insatiable powerhouse–always was, always will be. When she first stepped out into the public eye back in 2001 when American Idol first premiered, the world was blown away by her prismatic voice. She seemed to knock all her competition right out of the water with one solid note.
It made sense that she walked away with the prize as a clear winner and one of the most notable names the series has produced.
Now, she’s a mama and is currently a judge on The Voice, so she has no time to listen to people bad mouthing her. She simply slays–always has, always will.
19 Friends Long Gone, But Not Forgotten—Courteney Cox
At the time that NBC’s hit comedy series Friends premiered back in the 1990s, actress Courteney Cox was the most well-known out of the cast of six single friends living in New York City. She had earned kudos for guest starring on some other sitcoms and, yes, she was even pulled up on stage by Bruce Springsteen in order to dance with him in his music video for “Dancing in the Dark." Perhaps she doesn't quite look the same as she did in her "prime" when Friends was huge, but she still has that perfect sparkle in her eyes and can still act her rear off.
18 Climbing Back Up—Lindsay Lohan
The press likes ripping on Lindsay Lohan every now and then when she attempts to get back up on her feet. Sure, she’s hit some massive potholes in her career this past decade and only seems to keep digging herself into a lower situation, but that doesn’t mean she needed to be bullied all over the place.
Her life and work just haven’t been the same as of late but that’s not from lack of trying.
Producers have been giving her chances all over the place that she seems to squander away. Perhaps she’s due for a come back in the near future. Let’s hope so since her light was bright back when she first broke into the business.
17 Still Oscar-Worthy—Renee Zellweger
She was once a cherished actress who starred in such films as Empire Records, Jerry Maguire, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and she even won an Academy Award for her part in the war drama Cold Mountain. Renee Zellweger could do it all–act, sing, dance, and date leading Hollywood men like no one else could. But recently, she seemed to drop off the radar when it comes to being cast in some major Hollywood flicks. Is it because of her age? Her most notable role in recent years was taking on Bridget Jones again in the third installment of the hit British franchise (Bridget Jones’s Baby). Hopefully, we’ll see her face on the big screen again soon.
16 Queen Of Christmas—Mariah Carey
Ah, the ultimate diva, Mariah Carey. Even though she’s no longer in her prime, the singer doesn’t give a single hoot. Carey is living her life as if she’s still in her 20’s and doesn’t care what the critics say.
She still basically owns all of Christmas and still puts on Christmas and holiday shows closer to the New Year.
She even tried her hand at reality TV when she dove into a self-produced series called Mariah’s World which was about, you guessed it, a day in the life of Mariah. Recently, she signed a deal with Live Nation Entertainment and is set to tour Asia with her Number 1’s Tour. Out of her prime? Well, that remains up for debate.
15 Reality Royalty—Heidi Montag
As we all know, former reality TV limelight stealer Heidi Montag isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. She got her start by following in Lauren Conrad’s shadow on the latter’s reality show The Hills, where she revealed in the role of being a “frenemy” to Conrad. She eventually married Spencer Pratt, her limelight-stealing boyfriend, and tried her hand at singing, which didn’t go as smoothly as she had hoped. She had revealed in later years that she had become somewhat dependent on getting work done, which resulted in a slew of health issues. As of right now, both she and Pratt are busy raising their son while still dabbling in the reality TV world.
14 Happy In Her Own Skin—Jessica Simpson
Everyone has been getting on Jessica Simpson’s case for as long as I can remember. When she first broke out onto the music scene years ago, everyone was claiming she was attempting to ride the coattails of Britney Spears. While they are both strong, southern women, that’s where the comparisons really end. Simpson, despite criticism, is wonderfully goofy and down to earth, yet all people can really see is her jean size.
Right now, she’s happily married to Eric Johnson and they have two children together.
On top of motherhood, she has recently announced that she’s working on her eighth album, which is coming out this year!
13 Action Icon—Steven Seagal
Not a lot of people would be quick to even recognize this former action hero if they passed him in the street today. Former actor Steven Seagal may not look like he did in his prime, but he has a lot on his plate politically right now. Back in August of this year, Seagal was appointed as Russian Special Envoy to the United States (he was appointed by Russian president Vladimir Putin). Back in the day, Seagal was a much sought after action film actor (who is a 7th-dan black belt in aikido) who starred in movies like Above the Law and Under Siege. These days, he’s just aiming more toward politics and animal rights work.
12 Sharknado-Rific—Tara Reid
Actress Tara Reid is not simply one to fade into the background. Years ago, she caught Hollywood’s attention when she starred in the American Pie franchise and soon people had her pinned as an “It” girl in Tinsel Town.
But after not really taking off in movies like Van Wilder, My Boss’s Daughter, Alone in the Dark, she turned to reality TV (as many actors/performers typically do).
After that stint was short-lived, Reid went back to movies–or rather, TV movies–and starred in the Sharknado franchise, which is just plain fun, you have to admit. Sure, they’re corny, but that’s the whole point.
11 Moving Up The Drama Ranks—Brendan Fraser
A lot of Brendan Fraser’s fans from the 1990s were clearly shocked when the actor suddenly just up and seemingly disappeared from movie screens for around a decade. When he finally emerged again after a hiatus, he popped up on television screens looking vastly different than he had in his younger years. That doesn’t mean he still isn’t one heck of an actor, though. Fraser starred in the critically acclaimed Showtime drama The Affair and FX’s anthology series Trust. Judging by his recent success on the small screen, we don’t think he’s going to be taking another hiatus in the near future.
Bring On The Wows
10 Social Media Queen—Jennifer Lopez
If there’s one singer/actress/all-around genius that continues to wow her audiences, it’s Jennifer Lopez. While we all thought she was a talented beauty back in her younger years, she seems to have aged like fine wine and only tacks on more talent and beauty as the years slowly drift by.
At 49-years old, she has a critically acclaimed drama called Shades of Blue AND has a residency show in Las Vegas.
Not only that, but she’s now the queen of social media, is raising twins, and is currently dating former MLB superstar, Alex Rodriguez. This woman is clearly on fire and shows no signs of slowing down.
9 The Haunting Of Our Hearts—Carla Gugino
In case you’ve been living under a rock this October, you’ve heard about a little show on Netflix called The Haunting of Hill House (which was based on a book of the same name) which stars Carla Gugino as a mother of five children who becomes mentally unstable after moving her family into a haunted house. Gugino has been around for years (you may remember her from Spy Kids, Sin City, Sucker Punch, Wayward Pines) but she’s FINALLY getting the recognition she deserves with the thriller series. And the 47-year-old actress is just as stunning (if not more so) than she was in her younger years.
8 Ageless Wonder—Halle Berry
This woman could age to 143 years old and she would still be flawless. After Halle Berry wowed audiences years ago with her work in Monster’s Ball (where she won the Academy Award for Best Actress) and Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (which won her a Primetime Emmy Award), she’s has been one of the most sought-after actresses in the world.
Recently, she has taken a break from the Hollywood life and is just living it up with her family.
As you can see if you glance over at her Instagram feed, that includes her two young children. Everything she does seems to be flawless, even more so when it comes to raising her family.
7 Dashingly Perfect—George Clooney
In the past, it always seemed rather unfair that men dashingly age while women just seem to “grow old” (as an old song once pointed out). Case in point: George Clooney. If you look at the actor in his younger years, you probably wouldn’t have been wowed much. But after he started turning heads on the medical drama ER, you’d have to admit that he was undeniably handsome. And the older he seemed to get, the better looking he became. Everyone assumed the would remain a carefree bachelor for the rest of his life, but then he turned around and married the brilliant human rights lawyer, Amal Alamuddin, and the two now have twins.
6 Finding The Fountain Of Youth—Sandra Bullock
Despite acting for (count 'em) three decades, actress Sandra Bullock only seems to be getting more charming and beautiful as the years go by.
Bullock earned some massive recognition back in the '90s with films like Speed, While You Were Sleeping, A Time To Kill, and Practical Magic and in the '00s with Crash, Two Weeks Notice, and the Miss Congeniality films.
At 54-years-old, she can still run with the young pups in terms of stunning looks (Kendall Jenner reminds a lot of people of Sandra Bullock) and only seems to be getting better (and more hilarious) with age. Just take a look at Ocean’s 8 if you don’t believe us.
5 From McDreamy To McPerfect—Patrick Dempsey
Where would we be in life if the hit medical series Grey’s Anatomy hadn’t come along? Luckily, we don’t have to think about that because we’re too busy still weeping over the death of our favorite McDreamy doctor, Dr. Derek Shepherd, played by former child actor Patrick Dempsey. When Dempsey first appeared on the small screen back in 2005, we all started drooling over his dreamy eyes and perfect hair and marveled at the fact that we had seen his handsome face before (back in the 1980s when he starred in the films Loverboy and Can’t Buy Me Love). And mother time hasn’t touched even a slight hair on his perfect head.
4 Comedy Keeps Her Young—Melissa McCarthy
If you were a fan of the show Gilmore Girls, you knew exactly who Melissa McCarthy was BEFORE she broke out thanks to the 2011 comedy Bridesmaids. Before then, she starred in the show Mike & Molly and Samantha Who? But after the success of Bridesmaids, she went on to star to comedies like This is 40, Identity Thief, The Heat, Tammy, Spy, and Ghostbusters.
We can all agree that we’ve only started just seeing the best of McCarthy.
In 2017, she won a Primetime Emmy Award for starring as a guest on Saturday Night Live, so we can look forward to what’s in store for her in the future.
3 Will Never Not Be Fresh—Will Smith
Nothing has made us happier than seeing Will Smith going all “dad” on his famous kids on social media this past couple of years. Sure, we loved him way back when he was fresher than fresh on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and we loved him still when began to star in blockbuster summer films like Independence Day and The Wild-Wild West. But Smith is also a goofy dad who loves embarrassing his kids on both Twitter and Instagram. He acts like the dad who has just figured out how to properly use social media and is constantly “lame dadding” his kids in video format.
2 Saving The Best For Last—Vanessa Williams
55 years old has never looked so graceful. Vanessa Williams stepped glamorously into the picture back in 1983 when she was crowned Miss America (a crown that she had to denounce later down the line thanks to a scandal).
Afterward, it was her singing and acting career that managed to put her on the map permanently.
She became a darling at the Grammys when she released her hit song “Save the Best for Last” in the early 1990s. After that, she took on Hollywood and starred in films like Soul Food and Eraser and hit TV shows like Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives. These days, she’s living her best life in the fashion world AND on social media.
1 Perfectly Bananas—Gwen Stefani
Gwen Stefani has basically the Paul Rudd of the music world in that SHE NEVER SEEMS TO AGE. You can literally put a picture of Gwen from her No Doubt days right next to a picture of Gwen taken yesterday and you can find absolutely no difference whatsoever. Not a new wrinkle, not a new eye-droop–NOTHING. Stefani seems to have found the fountain of youth and is keeping it for herself inside her home somewhere. Recently, the 49-year-old stunner has renewed herself by way of The Voice and her newfound love with former Voice judge and fellow singer Blake Shelton.