20 Stars You Probably Wouldn’t Recognize Today
The following famous faces have changed so drastically over the years, most people would have a tough time picking them out in a lineup. From America’s sweethearts to ’80s icons, find who has aged, um, interestingly over the years.
Actress Renee Zellweger had everyone talking in 2014 when she showed up to the Elle Women in Hollywood party looking a lot different than she used to. According to People, some guests at the event didn’t recognize her. The tabloids went into a speculative tailspin as rumors of plastic surgery erupted.
What happened? In a statement to People, the Oscar-winning actress credits her new look simply to living a “different, happy, more fulfilling life.” “My friends say that I look peaceful. I am healthy,” Zellweger said. “For a long time I wasn’t doing such a good job with that…Rather than stopping to recalibrate, I kept running until I was depleted and made bad choices about how to conceal the exhaustion.”
Zellweger has no time for Internet gossip, based on her 2016 interview with Today. “It’s not really part of my life. It’s part of the job that I don’t really experience except when I step into this arena,” she said. “In my home I’m not aware of it. I don’t do any kind of social media, so I don’t see it. I like to have—I guess you would call them real experiences.” Well, okay, then. Fair enough.
Actor Val Kilmer made headlines for his fluctuating weight for years, but tabloids took special notice of his sudden and drastic weight loss in 2014, forcing Kilmer to set the record straight. In a Facebook post published in December of that year, Kilmer claimed he had lost weight to portray Mark Twain in an upcoming movie. He also said he was in “perfect health.”
About a month later, Kilmer was rushed to the hospital amid rumors that he had a throat tumor. A rep for the actor later told TMZ Kilmer was simply undergoing tests for a possible tumor. The following December, Kilmer—who shot down reports that he’d been rushed back to the hospital—was spotted wearing a device that appeared to be a tracheostomy tube, according to People. Kilmer stepped out without the device a few months after People’s report.
Oscar-nominated actor Mickey Rourke’s face has changed considerably since he emerged as a Hollywood icon in the early ’80s. As he tells it, his mug was damaged from his days as a professional boxer. “Most of it was to mend the mess of my face because of the boxing, but I went to the wrong guy to put my face back together,” Rourke told The Daily Mail in 2009. “I had my nose broken twice. I had five operations on my nose and one on a smashed cheekbone.” Sources for Page Six claimed in 2015 that Rourke was undergoing more surgeries to fix his nose and to get new dental implants.
Meg Ryan’s drastically different face has been the subject of much speculation over the years, leading to headlines like “Misshapen Meg!” and the terribly blunt “What Has Happened to Meg Ryan’s Face?” To answer that question: we honestly don’t know. Although rumors of plastic surgery have surrounded the actress since the early ’00s, as far as we can tell, she’s never actually set the record straight. You be the judge.
Lil Kim is another celebrity who’s battled plastic surgery rumors. The forty-something rapper’s face has looked drastically different at multiple events. According to E! News, Kim’s team finally spoke out after taking offense to a blog post. “We would like to inform fans, the media, and the general public that this is nothing more than the blog site doing its best to conjure up much needed publicity and what better way to do so, than to take an American music icon and create a fictitious platform in which to disrespect and humiliate,” a rep for Kim said. “We at Team Lil Kim are not taking this lying down and are taking this matter very seriously.”
It’s hard to believe this is the same actress who once played the bubbly, fashion-happy student Lisa Turtle on Saved by the Bell. After a little investigating, it seems there many be something darker going on beneath the surface. After Voorhies’ bizarre interview with The Yo Show aired in 2012, the actress’ mother claimed in an interview with People that her daughter was suffering from bipolar disorder. Voorhies denied her mother’s allegations and said she suffers from lupus.
“I continue to rise again and again to reinvent myself.” she told her Instagram followers in December 2015. “And most important, there is a part of me you can never touch without my permission, my soul. I am God’s child and you can never take from me what I refuse to give.”
Voorhies also published several books, including one titled, “True Light: A, superior, take, unto, the, premier, haloing, of, tenuation.” (That’s her punctuation, not ours.) So…yeah.
Actress Anjelica Huston’s face raised quite a few eyebrows at a 2013 panel for NBC’s Smash, to the point where The Daily Mail claimed she was suffering from an offensive-sounding condition called “pillow face.” For what it’s worth, according to the Mail, Huston has been open about her experiences with plastic surgery, including a Botox injection that allegedly left her with a headache for four days.
Actress Daryl Hannah looks a heck of a lot different from her Splash days; but before you jump to any conclusions, she has said before that cosmetic surgery has nothing to do with it. “I am too much of a coward to go under a surgeon’s knife for something that wasn’t life-saving,” she told The Daily Mail in 2010, adding that she has actually lost jobs over a photo that made her look like she had gotten work done.
Like many stars on this list, Rupert Everett’s face has been subjected to harsh criticisms over the last few years. At one point, Entertainment Weekly even published a blog post titled, “Rupert Everett’s Face Makes Me Uncomfortable.” Like many stars on this list, Everett claims he’s had no work done. “I haven’t had any surgery done at all,” he told The Daily Mail in 2014. “You can see my face. I have lines. But I also want more hair—that’s the way forward for me.” We may never know the truth about his face, but we do know that My Best Friend’s Wedding is an amazing movie, and Everett should have been nominated for an Oscar for it. Just sayin’.
Singer-turned-TV host Mark McGrath looks almost nothing like he did as boisterous frontman of Sugar Ray in the ’90s. Which, come to think of it, might not be so bad after all because who wants to be immortalized as Sugar Ray?
Whether you know her as Elvis Presley’s widow or as Jenna Wade from the long-running television show Dallas, you might have a hard time recognizing Priscilla Presley these days. The business magnate and former Dancing with the Stars contestant reportedly had an unfortunate run-in with an unlicensed plastic surgeon, Dr. Daniel Serrano. Serrano allegedly had several other high-profile clients besides Presley, including Larry King’s wife, Shawn.
Unfortunately, it turned out that the expensive “European silicone” that Serrano was injecting his clients with was actually industrial-grade silicone sourced from Serrano’s native country of Argentina. Several of his clients developed issues after his misleading treatments, and Serrano was brought up on federal charges for his actions. He pled guilty to several of the charges in 2006 and was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison. While he’s now served his debt to society, many of Serrano’s victims—including Presley—will have to live with the effects of his treatments for a lifetime.
As the daughter of famed television producer Aaron Spelling, it’s no surprise that Tori Spelling punched her ticket to fame early as Donna Martin, one of the stars of her father’s ’90s production, Beverly Hills, 90210. Since her television debut, Spelling has been featured in several made-for-television movies as well as independent films like 2007’s Kiss the Bride. Her career in recent years has focused on the books she’s written and the reality shows centered on her family and her role as a mother. Spelling and her husband Dean McDermott announced in October 2016 that their brood of four was growing yet again and that they are expecting baby number five. For those of us that know her as the fresh-faced Donna, it’s hard to see the same girl when we look at pictures of her today.
Melanie Griffith, daughter of actress Tippi Hedren, got her acting start early in television commercials and modeling. She made her big-screen debut in 1975’s Night Moves, and continued her early career with more nymph-like racy roles in movies like The Drowning Pool and The Garden. She finally found her break-out role when she played secretary Tess McGill in the 1988 film Working Girl—a role which earned her an Academy Award nomination.
But when you compare photos of Griffith as the naturally pretty young woman of the ’80s and ’90s with pictures of her today, she’s barely recognizable. Part of the difference is likely due to an on-set incident from her early years: while filming Roar in 1977, Griffith was mauled by a lioness. The attack to her face required 50 stitches to repair, and a 1984 People interviewer noted that the scars from that attack were still faintly visible seven years after the incident.
Though there have been rumors that Griffith has had an ongoing love affair with plastic surgery, it seems likely that the natural loss of skin elasticity as we age has contributed to Griffith’s current visage—which now is more “Hollywood Matron” than “fresh-faced starlet,” if anything.
She starred in the sleeper hit Dirty Dancing opposite Patrick Swayze; then, she practically dropped off of the Hollywood map. Whatever happened to Jennifer Grey, and what happened to her face? After the career-defining roles in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Dirty Dancing, Grey’s acting career was halted in its tracks by two ill-advised nose jobs, which rendered Grey practically unrecognizable to fans. The botched rhinoplasty—combined with her own survivor’s guilt after surviving a fatal car crash in a vehicle driven by Bueller co-star Matthew Broderick—led Grey to effectively turn her back on Hollywood.
While she appeared on a guest-star on a few sitcoms throughout the ’90s and 2000s, Grey kept a fairly low profile until she made a public comeback on season 11 of Dancing with the Stars, which she won with partner Derek Hough.
Kill Bill star Uma Thurman is looking a little different, these days. When she catapulted herself to fame in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 cult-classic Pulp Fiction, critics lauded Thurman for her performance, which earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Thurman took something of a break from acting during the late ’90s and early 2000s to focus on her family, and relaunched her career as the steely-eyed Beatrix Kiddo in Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies.
Despite the hiatus, Thurman’s appearance had not changed much during the intervening years. It wouldn’t be until 2015 that a red-carpet appearance would reveal a drastically new look for Thurman—one that would draw ire from fans and tabloids who thought the star may have gone under the knife. Thurman quickly denied the rumors during a Today show appearance, telling the hosts that while she knows she looked “weird” in the photos, her changed visage was simply the result of her makeup artist experimenting with her look.
Millions of fans watched him grow up across nine seasons of Family Matters, which aired from 1989 to 1998. But the buffed-up and grown-up Jaleel White of today hardly resembles the slim and dorky teen we knew from the hit sitcom. Whether you preferred him as Steve Urkel, alter-ego Stefan Urquelle, or even female cousin Myrtle Urkel, it’s clear that White has left the past behind him today, nearly 20 years after he left the show. After he departed Family Matters at age 22, White struggled to continue his acting career. A 1999 sitcom, Grown Ups, was cancelled after only one season.
Undaunted, White has continued to make guest appearances on various shows and has also done lots of voice-over work, including providing the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog in many of the Sonic animated series over the last 20 years.
You may not have known his name, but you probably recognize Ethan Suplee as a supporting actor in many Kevin Smith movies over the years—including Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and Dogma. Suplee, along with co-star Jason Lee, found success with their own project: the successful television show My Name is Earl. Suplee later made headlines in 2011 when he managed to lose an amazing 200 lbs through a stringent exercise regimen of bicycling. As you can see from the 2016 on the right above, Suplee hasn’t managed to keep all of the weight off, but he’s also recently ditched his trademark scruffy beard and haircut for a buzz-cut and five-o’clock shadow.
Once one of Hollywood’s most prominent male stars, Nick Nolte was at the top of his game throughout the ’80s and ’90s—including his Oscar-nominated role in 1991’s The Prince of Tides. People magazine even named Nolte its “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1992. As he’s aged, though, Nolte has appeared less-frequently on the silver screen, and made headlines in 2002 when he was arrested for driving under the influence of GHB, which made his particularly unflattering mugshot photo national gossip fodder. While he definitely looks more in control of himself today, it’s clear that Nolte hardly resembles his younger self now that he’s in his 70s.
19.Anthony Michael Hall
Like Jaleel White, Anthony Michael Hall first made waves as a teen actor—particularly with his appearances in coming-of-age and teen classics like Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Weird Science. Unlike the Steve Urkel actor, Hall managed to successfully branch out from the “nerd” typecasting of his early roles by joining the cast of Saturday Night Live when he was only 17. He continued his string of successes in the ’90s with roles as a villain in Edward Scissorhands and a gay man in Six Degrees of Separation.
In recent years, Hall made a name for himself among television fans with his portrayal of psychic Johnny in the series adaptation of Stephen King’s book The Dead Zone. Hall definitely sports a much different look from his early “geek” days. While we recognize pictures of Hall today as being the actor from The Dead Zone, we actually didn’t realize he was the same actor who played Brian in The Breakfast Club.
Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose has come a long way from his hard-rocking sex symbol status of the ’80s and ’90s. The platinum selling recording artist has gone through multiple transformations over the years, including the cornrow phase and his more recent weight issues. The singer embarked on a mission to relaunch his career in 2016 with a Roses reunion tour and also by filling in as the frontman for AC/DC on the rest of their tour after Brian Johnston had to quit touring following some serious problems with his hearing.
Despite the changes to his look over the last three decades, fans and reviewers who have seen him in action during his 2016 comeback agree that he’s still got the impressive vocal control and range that made him a force to be reckoned with all those years ago.