Hollywood can be a fickle place at times. Back in the old days, when an actress hit her 30’s, it was believed that her career was over and done with. The industry took pride in youth and beauty, so when an aging actor started getting laugh lines, they would either send them packing or send them to the nearest cosmetic surgeon.
Thankfully, these days (in the salad days of the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements) Hollywood is more into praising the aging actor/actress rather than shunning them from the industry. Actresses like Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep are stepping up and proving that there ARE good parts out there for women over 40. And it’s about time.
These days though, you’ll find that more celebrities take pride in their youthful glow and rather than going the artificial procedure route, they prefer to simply stay out of the sun and take care of their skin, keeping their youthful features. Some, however, tend to let themselves go at the cost of their own extraordinary talents and you know what? They couldn’t care less what people think of them.
Here are 15 celebs who seem to be age backward (with side-by-side pictures from 20 years ago to today) and 5 remarkable talents who have let age get the best of them.
20 The Same Jenny From The Block (But Looking Younger) - Jennifer Lopez
Singer/dancer/actress/businesswoman is one of Hollywood’s hardest working celebrities, and she has been since first diving onto the scene years ago when she was a fly girl on the comedy sketch series In Living Color. People started taking notice to J-Lo after her amazing portrayal as the doomed Selena Quintanilla-Perez in the biopic by the same name in 1997. From there, she went on to star in Out of Sight, Anaconda, Monster-In-Law, and numerous other hit films. She dove head first into the music industry in 1999 and released her album On the 6, which produced top-10 singles like “If You Had My Love” and “Waiting for Tonight”. These days, the 48-year old singer is busy performing in Las Vegas and starring on the series Shades of Blue.
19 Finding The Fountain Of Youth - Jessica Alba
Actress Jessica Alba actually shot onto the scene back when she was only 13-years old when she appeared in Camp Nowhere and The Secret World of Alex Mack, but she actually started breaking hearts when she was cast as the lead actress in James Cameron’s TV series Dark Angel. From there, she went on to play the lead in movies like Honey, Into the Blue, Good Luck Chuck, Sin City, and Fantastic Four. Aside from her film and TV work, Alba also co-founded The Honest Company, which sells baby and household products. In charity work, the 36-year old actress donates to United Way and participates in Habitat of Humanity, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Clothes Off Our Back and those are just among the few she has a hand in.
18 Going Backwards In Time - Paul Rudd
There are just some actors that look as if they’re frozen in some weird time capsule. Actor Paul Rudd is one of them. Even though most of us will remember first seeing the 48-year old actor in the teen comedy film Clueless, he actually was flying under the radar on NBC’s drama series Sisters. But after Clueless ended up making him a household name, he went on to star in comedies such as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, I Love You, Man, and This is 40. We even fell in love with him all over again when he starred as Mike, the man who ended up sweeping Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) off her feet in the final seasons of the hit comedy series Friends. Rudd is also a supporter of the Stuttering Association for the Young (SAY) which helps children who stutter when they speak.
17 Little Big Beauty Tips - Reese Witherspoon
Actress Reese Witherspoon has been a household name for many years, ever since we were first graced with her presence in the movie Cruel Intentions, where she starred alongside the man who would end up being her first husband, Ryan Phillippe, whom she married at a young age. Since that movie, Witherspoon has hardly even slowed down for a fraction of a second and has moved on to become a producer and entrepreneur at 41-years old. 2017 proved to be one of the actress’ best years to boot with the release of the HBO mini-series Big Little Lies, which she starred in alongside Nicole Kidman and other A-list names. She’s also a known face in the #MeToo and the #TimesUp in Hollywood. This year, she can be seen in the hit film A Wrinkle In Time, starring alongside Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling.
16 Living Flawless - Nicole Kidman
Much like her fellow co-star on this list Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman had an incredible 2017 thanks to Big Little Lies, which one the Australian-born actress a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress. The 50-year old actress actually started her career back in 1983 when she starred in an Australian film by the name of Bush Christmas, but her breakthrough role came in 1989 when she starred in the thriller Dead Calm. A year later, she ended up meeting husband Tom Cruise on the set of Days of Thunder (both would later star in the romantic drama Far and Away) and the two became Hollywood royalty when they got married. From there, she starred in films like Batman Forever, To Die For, Eyes Wide Shut, Moulin Rouge!, and The Hours, where she took home the Academy Award for Best Actress.
15 The Enchantress - Salma Hayek
Mexican actress Salma Hayek is way more than just a beautiful face. Like a lot of women in Hollywood these days, Hayek is trailblazing the way for younger generations of women all over the world. She got her break back in her home country of Mexico when she starred on the telenovela Teresa, which ended up bringing her to Hollywood in 1991. Since then, it’s been an extremely wild ride for Hayek, who starred in hit films like Desperado, From Dusk till Dawn and Dogma. In 2002, she was nominated for an Academy Award for playing Mexican painter Frida Kahlo in the biopic Frida. Recently, she’s starred in Tales of Tales, Grown Ups, and The Hitman’s Bodyguard. Like many other actresses, the 51-year old Hayek has a heavy hand in the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.
14 Ageless Beauty - Halle Berry
Halle Berry is one of the greatest trailblazers in Hollywood, and she’s only 51-years old. Back in 2002, Berry became the first black woman to ever win the Academy Award for Best Actress for her dynamic and moving performance in the film Monster’s Ball. Berry’s career started back in 1986 when she became the 1st-runner-up in the Miss USA Pageant, which led to her starting her career in film. She co-starred in a few duds but then broke through barriers when she started as Dorothy Dandridge in the television film Introducing Dorothy Dandridge back in 1999, which earned her both a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Actress. These days, Berry is busy running her production company 606 Films and can be seen in Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
13 The Secret Of Ageless Perfection - Demi Moore
Most of us remember actress Demi Moore when she starred alongside Patrick Swayze and Whoopie Goldberg in the romantic-fantasy thriller film, Ghost. Even though she had already worked on numerous films in the 80’s, it was Ghost that put her on the map. She went on to become the highest-paid actress in Hollywood back in 1996 and she became flooded with Hollywood film offers. She famously married actor Bruce Willis and had three kids together. Even when the two parted and divorced, they remained close friends. The 55-year old famously got into a relationship with the much younger Ashton Kutcher and the two ended up getting married in 2005. Unfortunately, they too divorced and Kutcher ended up marrying former co-star Mila Kunis, whom he has two children with.
12 Alluring Gorgeous Wonder - Michelle Williams
Today, she’s more outspoken than she ever was during her tenure in Hollywood, and we seem to love Michelle Williams all the more for it (if that’s even possible). Williams got her big break when she was cast in the teenage drama Dawson’s Creek back in 1998. After the show, she starred in a number of low-budget and independent films until her starring in Brokeback Mountain, where she met and started a romance with Heath Ledger. When Ledger tragically passed away a couple years later, Williams’ personal life became off limits and she’s been notoriously private ever since (especially when it comes to her and Ledger’s daughter). Lately, Williams has been starring in more mainstream movies like The Greatest Showman and All The Money in the World.
11 Benjamin Buttoning It Right - Brad Pitt
Of course, it’s not possible to create a list like this and not include Benjamin Button himself, Brad Pitt. Talk about aging backward, the 54-year old actor hasn’t slowed down for a millisecond since we all first lost our minds when he came on the screen in the film Thelma & Louise. He continued to put us in awe of his films A River Runs Through It, Legends of the Fall, Interview with a Vampire, Seven, and Fight Club. He later teamed up with George Clooney and Matt Damon to star in the Ocean’s Eleven franchise. His personal life has always seemed to be put under the microscope, first when he married Jennifer Aniston, and then when he got together with Angelina Jolie. Even though he has six children and appears to be an amazing dad, Pitt shows no signs of slowing down.
10 Just As Stunning - Gabrielle Union
Actress Gabrielle Union is extremely busy these days with her film career and her social media presence. Union is married to NBA basketball superstar Dwyane Wade, who actually just moved back to Miami, Florida from Cleveland (which, if you follow Gabrielle on Twitter or Instagram – she’s SUPER thrilled about). Most of us will remember seeing Union in the late 90’s, early 2000’s when she first jumped on the radar with supporting roles in 10 Things I Hate About You and Bring It On. But she really captured our attention in 2000’s teen comedy Bring It On, where she played a charismatic cheerleader. The 45-year old actress is also known for her activism (she’s an advocate for survivors of assault) and her public support of President Barack Obama in 2008.
9 Handsome At Any Age - Pharrell
Some would be surprised to know that singer/songwriter/record producer/film producer Pharrell Williams is actually 44-years old and has been around in the music world since the early 1990’s when he was discovered in a school talent show by record producer Teddy Riley. Pharrell was actually part of the group The Neptunes, who sang and produced and actually help other artists’ “sound” (they were responsible for maturing Britney Spears’ sound in the 2000’s – they even produced her hit single “I’m a Slave 4 U”.) Pharrell went solo in 2005 and released his first solo album In My Mind and started becoming a household name on his own. He hit international fame with his hit single “Happy”, which was featured on the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack. Currently, he’s married to his longtime girlfriend Helen Lasichanh and both have four children together.
8 The Voice And The Face - Gwen Stefani
Most of us older millennials will remember singing along with Gwen Stefani on the radio when she was with her band No Doubt back in the 90’s. Everyone wanted to be her back then and admired both her vocal skills and her sense of style. The album Tragic Kingdom was in everyone’s music collection and we all remember rocking out to “Just a Girl” and “Don’t Speak” when they were released. We would never have guessed that she would still be a household name 20 years later down the line. Stefani’s career never slowed down even for a mere second, even when she made the move to go solo in 2004 and released her first solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. She has three children with fellow rocker and ex-husband Gavin Rossdale (from the band Bush) and is currently in a relationship with The Voice co-star Blake Shelton.
7 Still Boyishly Charming - Elijah Wood
Everyone constantly jokes that actor Elijah Wood and Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliff have to be the same person (okay, okay, they look somewhat alike because of that youthful glow they have to them) but in all honesty, there is no one quite like Elijah Wood. He started out as a child actor and starred in films like Radio Flyer, Forever Young, The Adventures of Huck Finn, and The Good Son, and eventually made the difficult leap into adulthood by starring as the famous Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s film trilogy The Lord of the Rings. From there, he went on to star in Sin City, The Last Witch Hunter, The Trust, and most recently, I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore. The 37-year old actor is a notoriously private person, even though he has a hand in many Hollywood charities.
6 Prismatic Queen - Kerry Washington
People tune into ABC almost every Thursday in order to see what political messes super smarty Olivia Pope will clean up that night on the drama Scandal. Thanks to actress Kerry Washington, people know the name Pope and also the name Shonda Rhimes, who created the drama. Aside from her brilliant work on Scandal, Washington has also starred in hit films like Ray, The Last King of Scotland, Django Unchained, and the Fantastic Four films. In 2016, Kerry starred in the HBO movie Confirmation, which was about Anita Hall’s testimony during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination. She’s married to NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha and the duo has two children. Back in 2013, she was given an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts by her alma mater, George Washington University.
5 The Trying Years - Mickey Rourke
Even though he had been doing movies for a little bit, audiences really didn’t take notice to actor Mickey Rourke until 1986 when he starred in a “little” film with Kim Basinger called 9 ½ Weeks. Fans were captivated by his deep, warm stare and perfectly complex acting skills. He went on to star in (and gain critical praise for) the Charles Bukowski biopic Barfly. Even though his acting career was just only heating up, Rourke actually left Hollywood in order to pursue a career as a professional boxer. When he left that world in 1994, he just right back into acting with The Rainmaker, Buffalo ’66, and the remake of Get Carter. Rourke had made two notorious come-backs in his career and has been praised for it. He’s literally one heck of a great actor.
4 Not Slowing Down - Goldie Hawn
Actress/model has always been (and always will be) one of America’s first Sweethearts to ever grace the silver screen. Fans were introduced to her in NBC’s sketch comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, which led to her being cast in Cactus Flower, which won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. From there she starred in films like There’s a Girl in My Soup, Butterflies Are Free, and Private Benjamin. In the 80’s, she starred in Overboard, where she met her partner Kurt Russell (she had previously been married to Gus Trikonis and Bill Hudson), whom she is still with to this day. Hawn has two children with Hudson (Oliver and Kate Hudson) and one with Russell (Wyatt). Recently, she made a comeback and starred with Amy Schumer in the comedy Snatched.
3 Same Vivid Blue Eyes, Though - John Travolta
There’s no doubt that actor John Travolta has had quite the hard life. Even though he’s still one of Hollywood’s top actors, he has been through some very hard times in his personal life in the past couple of decades. Back in 2009, Travolta and wife Kelly Preston’s son Jett tragically passed away at the age of 16 while the family was on Christmas vacation in the Bahamas. Jett suffered from Kawasaki disease and both Travolta and Preston were completely traumatized by the loss. Travolta ended up founding the Jett Travolta Foundation in his name, which is a non-profit organization that helps children with special needs. Recently, he has made a comeback in Hollywood with his performance in American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, which earned him an Emmy nomination.
2 Post Friends Years - Matthew Perry
Growing up, everyone and their dog was obsessed with the hit NBC comedy series Friends, which helped make the careers of Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Matthew Perry. Perry played the sarcastic and loveable Chandler Bing, who was constantly cracking jokes at his friends’ (and his own) expense. Even though he went through a string of problems while filming the show, he was able to clean up his act and move forward to star in movies like The Whole Nine Years, 17 Again, and the short-lived television series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Currently, he’s starring in his own co-developed remake of The Odd Couple, where he plays Oscar Madison alongside Thomas Lennon who plays the obsessive-compulsive Felix Unger.
1 Jack Will Always Be Jack - Jack Nicholson
You could never, and I mean NEVER, bring down Jack Nicholson. He has been performing and producing in Hollywood for more than 60 years and chances are the only thing that would stop him from working is the grave. He’s been a genius of the screen since he was given an Oscar for his performance in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. From there, his career only got better. He petrified audiences in The Shining and made us all cry in Terms of Endearment (a film that brought him his second Academy Award). Later on, he starred opposite Helen Hunt in the comedy-drama As Good As It Gets, which nabbed him his third Academy Award. He hasn’t starred in a film since 2010, but it’s reported that he will star in the remake of Toni Erdmann.
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