Hollywood is the land of the bold and the beautiful – but what happens when those once-killer looks start to fade? Getting old is never easy, whether you’re an A-list movie star or an average joe in the street. The only real difference is that while most ordinary folk get to grow old gracefully, most Hollywood stars have to do it in the spotlight – and it’s not always that graceful.
Whether it’s the result of confidence-shattering career lows, poor lifestyle choices or, worst of all, botched plastic surgery, there are plenty of big name stars out there who are aging very, very badly. These one-time heartthrobs and Hollywood A-listers are a pale imitation of their former selves, yet have to live out their days on the big and small screen, looking a shell of their former selves.
There’s only so much Photoshop and the latest array of Instagram filters can do before these stars resign themselves to the fact they are getting old quickly, and there’s not a whole lot they can do about it.
Putting this list together wasn’t easy – no one likes to be told that the sands of time are passing a bit quicker for them, and people in glass houses really shouldn’t throw stones – but here are 15 actors who are aging badly. Someone is going to hell for this.
15. MICKEY ROURKE
Mickey Rourke has always been a fine actor, but back in the 1980s, he was also a bonafide heart throb. His suave turn in Angel Heart was a particular high point, with Rourke perfectly cast as the film’s handsome, hard-boiled detective protagonist.
It was only when his career suffered a downturn that things began to change, and a lot of that was down to Rourke’s other passion: boxing. He fought eight professional bouts during his time in the ring, winning six times and scoring four knockouts along the way. Unfortunately, Rourke also suffered his fair share of injuries; he broke his nose a few times and suffered a cracked cheekbone. In an attempt to mend the wreckage, Rourke underwent repeated plastic surgeries. It didn’t exactly go to plan, though.
14. GOLDIE HAWN
In her prime, Goldie Hawn represented one of the most stunning women in all of Hollywood. She was also a fine actress to boot, having won an Academy Award for her work on 1969’s Cactus Flower. Hawn had looked on course to grow old with grace too. In the 1990s and early 2000s she was still a very attractive older woman, who wouldn’t have looked out of place as Stifler’s Mom in any of the American Pie movies (easy guys, we know that’s Jennifer Coolidge’s territory).
At some point, however, it feels like a combination of Hawn’s advancing years and some possible plastic surgery saw things take a turn for the worse. Hawn, to her credit, has never denied going under the knife. No one knows for sure what she has had done, but if Botox is involved or she has indeed had a facelift, then she may want to speak to her surgeon about their refund policy.
13. VAL KILMER
Val Kilmer was one of the best-looking actors on the planet in the ’80s and ’90s. From his super cool performance as Iceman in Top Gun through to fine turns in Tombstone, Heat, and Batman Forever, few could argue that Kilmer wasn’t both easy on the eyes and a great actor to boot.
But Kilmer had a reputation for being difficult too, and as time went on and his looks began to fade, so too did the big movie offers. Now a lot older and a whole lot less photogenic, Kilmer has gained and lost weight at an alarming rate in more recent years. There could be more to that than one too many puddings though; Kilmer has dealt with undisclosed health issues in the past few years. In January 2016, he was hospitalized and underwent tests with worries about his health persisting.
12. MEG RYAN
When Harry Met Sally may have established Meg Ryan as the go-to star for anyone seeking a female lead for their next big romantic comedy, but there were plenty of other roles that showcased her true abilities as an actress. Films like When A Man Loves A Woman and Courage Under Fire showed another side to the image of Ryan as America’s sweetheart, and proved she was so much more than just another pretty face in Hollywood.
All of which makes it so sad that Ryan appears to be desperately battling against the aging process. The actress has been accused of having undergone several cosmetic procedures in recent years, with Ryan sporting noticeably plumper lips and a line-free visage at several events. Now found largely away from the big screen, Ryan released her directorial debut Ithaca in 2016, but could have gone on to even bigger, meatier, movie roles had she steered clear of the knife.
11. JOHN TRAVOLTA
John Travolta is a man of mystery. He always has been. So, it should hardly be a surprise to learn that the actor once famous for his boyish good looks on films like Grease and Saturday Night Fever would want to preserve that image for his fans. Multiple face lifts, hair transplants, and Botox are just a few of the procedures Travolta is accused of undergoing. Travolta denies it all of course, despite the fact he’s beginning to look increasingly like a Ken Doll version of himself.
The situation was hardly helped in 2016 when Travolta played real-life OJ Simpson lawyer Robert Shapiro in The People vs OJ Simpson: American Crime Story. It was genuinely difficult to know where Shapiro, famous for his unusual appearance, ended and Travolta began.
10. GEENA DAVIS
“Be afraid, be very afraid,” Geena Davis warned during her memorable turn alongside Jeff Goldblum in David Cronenberg’s The Fly. No one should be afraid of Davis just yet, but her current appearance should be some cause for concern. A Hollywood heroine also known for movies like Thelma & Louise, while her co-star Susan Sarandon has continued to age like a fine wine, Davis resembles something akin to a bottle of Merlot that’s been given a heavy dose of anti-freeze.
Questions continue to be raised over how Davis remains wrinkle free despite her advancing years, with many suggesting Botox might be involved. But there’s something else going on too – Davis looks almost like a completely different person to the one that film fans fell in love with back in the 1980s. Alright, it’s not a transformation on the scale of Brundlefly, but it’s odd.
9. NICOLAS CAGE
There was a time when Nicolas Cage was the biggest action movie star on the planet. Fromm 1996 through 1997, he starred in the holy trinity of Cage movies: The Rock, Con Air, and Face/Off. It’s a run that’s virtually unparalleled today and, Cameron Poe’s dodgy mullet in Con Air aside, it’s one that also saw Cage embracing his everyman status one of Hollywood’s few balding leading men.
Something happened in the years that followed though. With Cage living an increasingly outlandish lifestyle that included purchasing dinosaur eggs and marrying Elvis’ daughter, it made sense that some absurd hairstyles would follow: it was clearly some sort of mid-life crisis. Overnight, Cage began sporting some rather luscious, long, jet-black locks out of keeping with what had come before. Did he get hair plugs? Possibly, though these days Cage has returned to something approaching his more rugged ’90s look, albeit with an entirely new hairline and far smoother face. Hmmm.
8. MELANIE GRIFFITH
The world first fell for Melanie Griffith back in 1988, when she starred in the excellent Working Girl. Griffith’s natural warmth and charisma shone through in a performance that earned her a Golden Globe for her efforts. However, the years that followed saw the actress star in flops like The Bonfire of the Vanities and Shining Through – the latter earning her a Razzie award in the process. Though she has continued to work steadily, Griffith has gone on the record admitting she underwent plastic surgery some 20 years ago and that it didn’t go to plan.
“I didn’t [realize how much her face had changed] until people started saying, ‘Oh my god, what has she done?!’ I was so hurt,” she told Net-a-Porter’s Porter magazine. “I went to a different doctor, and he started dissolving all of this s–t that this other woman doctor had put in.”
7. EDWARD FURLONG
Remember how the John Connor of the future looked in Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day? Well Edward Furlong, the actor who played the child version of humanity’s future savior, hasn’t exactly turned out that way. It was evidently a case of too much, too young for Furlong, who packed more into a decade than most ordinary adults manage in a lifetime. As well as starring in a glut of movies off the back of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Furlong partied hard. A little too hard, in fact.
From 2000 onwards, Furlong became better known for his alcoholism and drug addiction, which derailed a promising career and even saw the actor spend time in prison. Now a lot older, heavier, and less youthful looking, Furlong continues to act, but he’s a shadow of the fresh faced boy that once wowed filmgoers.
6. KATHLEEN TURNER
There can be no disputing Kathleen Turner’s status as one of the sexiest movie stars on the planet back in the 1980s. Films like The Man With Two Brains and Romancing Stone saw Turner captivate audiences with her stunning looks, star charisma, and that unmistakably gravely voice.
But everything changed for The Jewel of the Nile star in 1992 when she was diagnosed with a crippling form of arthritis that put paid to her Hollywood A-list career. Turner was able to reinvent herself as a stage actress at least, though her health issues did persist. Turner was prescribed drugs to help combat the damaging effects of her rheumatoid arthritis. Though the medication helped alleviate the effects of the chronic inflammatory disorder, which largely affects the joints, it also caused Turner to bloat and gain weight. She’s nevertheless gone from strength to strength on the stage.
5. MATTHEW PERRY
As Chandler on Friends, Matthew Perry projected a suave confidence few could match. His character was funny and charming, while Perry himself was undeniably good looking. But behind the scenes and beneath the façade, Perry was experiencing his fair share of issues.
In 1997, he completed a 28-day program to combat Vicodin addiction, and in the years that followed, his weight fluctuated wildly while filming Friends. At one point, he dropped down to 145 pounds, and things worsened in 2000 when a bout of pancreatitis saw him shed a further 20 pounds. In 2001, he went back into rehab, having had issues with opioids, amphetamines, and alcohol. Though he’s not quite the same Chandler Bing fans fell in love with all those years ago, the reality is that Perry is sober and probably lucky to be alive.
4. RENEE ZELLWEGER
Renee Zellweger caused a stir back in 2014 when she unveiled a striking new look on the red carpet at Elle magazine’s Women in Hollywood Awards – though not for the reasons she would have hoped. Though she looked noticeably slim, much of the attention focused on Zellweger’s face, which looked surprisingly gaunt and blemish free, sparking rumors that she had gone under the knife.
Zellweger has always insisted this wasn’t the case, though, explaining she was under personal strain at the time after a friend was diagnosed with ALS, and that she had no issues with aging. “I think a woman only gets more interesting as she gets older. Youth and superficial beauty have their place and that is, understandably, celebrated to a degree. But that’s so fleeting and it’s only for a moment in your life,” she told Mail Online. Do you believe her?
3. STEVEN SEAGAL
In his prime, Steven Seagal was a one-man force of nature in Hollywood, kicking ass and taking names in ’90s action thrillers like Hard To Kill and Under Siege. Only Jean-Claude Van Damme could rival him in the action movie stakes at the time. But as the decade went on and box office interest in the pair began to wane, the pair took to direct-to-video releases and increasingly contrasting appearances.
Van Damme, for all his troubles with drugs, booze, and women, stayed in great shape and remains very much the Muscles from Brussels he was once dubbed. Seagal, by contrast, piled on the pounds to such an extent that he’s a shadow of his former self. Not only does it look like he’s not trying in his new movies anymore, it looks like he couldn’t even do it if he did try.
2. TARA REID
Tara Reid first made a name for herself in those early American Pie movies and her rauchy role as Bunny Lebowski in the Coen Brothers’ classic The Big Lebowski. But as time rolled on, the the meaty, A-lister roles began to dry up, the hard-partying Reid decided to take action and go under the knife, with disastrous results. Reid revealed to CBS News that a 2004 breast augmentation procedure was what kicked off her plastic surgery nightmare, with the actress left with deformed nipples and rippled skin.
“My stomach became the most ripply, bulgy thing,” she said. “I had a hernia, this huge bump next to my belly button. As a result, I couldn’t wear a bikini. I lost a lot of work.” Though the procedure was subsequently reversed, the mental scars remained, and though Reid returned with a role in the Sharknado movies, she’s never been quite the same.
1. BRENDAN FRASER
An actor that falls into the category of “Where are they now?”, Brendan Fraser was box office gold for a time, fronting three super-successful Mummy movies, which is three more than Tom Cruise ever managed.
Singled out for stardom from an early age in movies like Encino Man and School Ties, it seemed as though Fraser had smoothly transitioned from teen star to Hollywood A-lister in a way only subsequently seen with Zac Efron. But as time rolled on, age and stress began to take its toll on Fraser, whose once-boyish good looks began to fade.
Throw in a messy divorce and some pretty hefty alimony payments, and it’s little wonder that by the time he popped up with a guest role on The Affair, his hair was thinning and he had put on a few pounds. But then, it happens to us all eventually, and he was excellent as the creepy prison officer John Gunther on the show.
Disagree with our list? Have your say in the comments.