Age can be a touchy subject, especially in the entertainment industry. Some people don’t like to acknowledge their age after they hit the big 3-0, and for others, age is nothing but a number—you’re only as old as you feel, right? But for stars, it’s not that simple, especially for women. Your age can be the difference between scoring that role and missing out on playing the lead. Lots of celebrities, of all genders, have lied about their age (and admitted it!) whether that was to seem younger than they actually are or old enough to be considered for a job. So read on for famous people who haven’t always told the truth about when they were born—and how old they actually are.
When now 37-year-old Mila Kunis first auditioned for That ’70s Show, she was only 14—not quite old enough to land the role of Jackie Burkhart, which would launch her career. So she fudged the truth.
“I told them I was a little bit older… I told them I was gonna be 18, which is not technically a lie, cause at one point… I was gonna be 18,” she confessed during a 2012 appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
It’s a good thing she told that lie, though, not only because she got the gig, but because she ended up meeting future husband (and father of her children), Ashton Kutcher, on set.
Add 56-year-old Sandra Bullock to the list of female actors who have lied about their age to keep their career afloat. She told Detour (via E! News) that she never set out to be dishonest but realized that keeping her age as ambiguous as possible could be an asset.
“After a while, you really have no idea how old you are because you’ve lied so many times,” she said. “I always said I would never lie, but one time when I didn’t, it worked against me. So I figure you just keep them guessing.”
In a 2019 interview with People, Beverly Hills 90210 star Gabrielle Carteris admitted that in order to land the role of Andrea Zuckerman, who was supposed to be 16, she had to lie about her age. She was 29 when she auditioned, but told producers she was 21.
“When I got the role, a lawyer told me I could sign a contract and state a different age, as long as it was over the age of 21,” the 60-year-old actor said. “When [my real age] did come out, the show was just starting to take off and my character was established enough that they did not fire me. But a producer did say to me, ‘You’re lucky we didn’t know your age when we hired you.'”
Jessica Chastain, 44, hasn’t outright lied about her age, but she hasn’t been forthcoming about it either. For some time, it was a mystery to the public. And speaking to The Guardian in 2013, she said that she deliberately doesn’t talk about her age so it won’t affect the roles she gets.
“I will never say my age because I’m an actress, and I want to play different ages,” she said.
Nicki Minaj’s lie about her age was exposed amid another conflict. Though the rapper (who is now 38) had maintained that she was born in 1984, the illusion was shattered when she was involved in a fight in 2011. According to Jezebel, a police report that surfaced after the incident revealed that she was actually born in 1982 and was a full two years older than she’d led fans to believe.
Back in 2018, fans believed that Rebel Wilson was 28 years old…until a former classmate shared a photo from her high school years with Australia’s Women’s Day magazine, revealing that the Pitch Perfect star was actually 36.
Later, Wilson told WHO Magazine why she chose to lie.
“Being an actress it affects women more than men in terms of ageism and sexism so to be called out by the press on something most sensible business-minded people would have done in my position, it was a bit hurtful,” the now 41-year-old actor said. “When you’re an actor, you have what’s called a playing range; to me, it’s not really beneficial having your age written anyway.”
Taking it all the way back to 2003, rapper Nelly made Teen People‘s Hottest Stars Under 25 list, only for the world to find out later that he had actually been 28 at the time, and thereby ineligible for the list in the first place. Today, Nelly is 46.
Geri Halliwell, a.k.a. Ginger Spice, was known to be the oldest Spice Girl, but for a while there, nobody really knew exactly how old she was. These days, she’s believed to be around 48, but during an appearance on Loose Women in 2018, fellow Spice Girl Mel B. said that she’s not even sure that’s the right number.
“The thing is Geri has hidden her age for the most part of being a Spice Girl, and when I think about it I still don’t know how old Geri is,” she said on the show, adding, “That would be the running joke, and I’m sure maybe she’s faked it in the past, I’m not sure, but I don’t think anybody really knows how old she is.”
There’s no denying that 51-year-old Jennifer Lopez looks years younger, but earlier in her life, she may have been trying to shave one off. Even to this day, certain outlets report that Lopez was born on July 24, 1970, instead of July 24, 1969, which appears to be her actual birthday.
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To be fair, singer James Blunt only altered his age a little. Though it had been documented in 2007 that Blunt was 33 years old, in 2010, he reportedly claimed to be 33 again, which isn’t quite how aging works. And he was even caught lying about his age again after that!
In a 1986 interview with The Washington Post, Whoopi Goldberg admitted that she had lied about her age to get roles—at the time, she was thought to be 35 years old, even though she was only 30.
“I had to lie about my age to get some jobs,” she said at the time.
When he auditioned for Apocalypse Now, Laurence Fishburne was only 14 years old, trying to play an 18-year-old character. He lied and said he was 16, and it worked, because he ended up landing the part.
During an appearance on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, Fishburne said that he was sure director Francis Ford Coppola knew all along how old the young actor really was.
Back in 1999, Eminem appeared on Howard Stern‘s show and told the host and his audience that he was 24. At that point, he was actually 27 years old, and today, the rapper is 48.
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