When it comes to being in the public eye, a drastic change in one’s appearance can have a major impact on the career of a celebrity. While sometimes that’s a good thing, it can also be disastrous.
People can develop a sense of familiarity with the characters they see on screen, the performances that make them laugh or bring to life the trials, tribulations, and triumphs that all people must face. When an actor’s appearance changes, it can send shockwaves through the public consciousness.
There is an enormous amount of pressure on actors to maintain their looks, keep up with trends, and to try to stay relevant. Moreover, it’s been noted in recent years that many of these standards are wholly unrealistic and psychologically damaging.
But sometimes the changes actors make to their appearances have less to do with career choices and more to do with their sense of physical health and well-being. We all deal with our health and looks in different ways, and this is no different for the world's largest celebrities.
Here are the 15 Actors Who Are Completely Unrecognizable From Five Years Ago.
15 JONAH HILL
Jonah Hill is best known for his comedic chops in movies like Superbad and Get Him to the Greek. He’s typically the adorably chubby guy with a sarcastic attitude. In recent years, all that has changed. The new look Jonah Hill is rocking now almost makes it seem like he’s going to roll up on a few former bullies of his and put some fear into their hearts.
While making an appearance on the Tonight Show, Hill was asked to comment on his weight loss. While preparing for 21 Jump Street, he had contacted his friend Channing Tatum and got some advice from him on how to lose more weight and stay in shape, and he took it from there. Now he maintains his new look by working out and eating healthy.
14 MACAULAY CULKIN
Macaulay Culkin is one of the most well-known former child actors to voluntarily step away from the spotlight and it was just recently that he attempted a comeback. Culkin appeared in a web series called :DRYVRS, where he plays a grown-up, disillusioned and somewhat unhinged version of his character Kevin from Home Alone.
It's safe to say that the actor has gone through a stunning transformation. Several months ago, his new healthy look took much of the Internet by storm. His recent sightings have him sporting a short hairdo and a clean-cut style of dress, and most people thought he looked like a completely different person. It was quite a change, and he appears to have a much healthier lifestyle and now a new look to go with it.
It's nice to see him looking better than he has in years. Keep it up Macaulay!
13 CHARLIE WEBER
Do you remember Ben from Buffy the Vampire Slayer? While that was more than five years ago, you might not recognize Charlie Weber from a year ago. It's no secret that Weber has long been into physical fitness, but in recent years he went from a bearded tough guy to a clean-shaven mess for his role as Frank Delfino on How to Get Away with Murder.
About his training, Weber said in an interview with Muscle and Fitness, “I didn’t have to do cardio when I was in my 20s. Unfortunately, I’m getting to an age when it’s a necessity… I have a good diet, and I’m very lucky genetically, but I’ve really had to bring cardio into the picture… I live[s] on proteins and greens, but every so often you’ve got to treat yourself.”
12 BRENDAN FRASER
By now, nearly everybody has seen the articles wondering why Brendan Fraser hasn’t been in more well-known movies in the past several years. He had numerous hit before, most notably the much loved The Mummy and its sequels.
Still a fan favorite, audiences lamented his absence from major blockbusters that he helped make popular. Fraser was missed in the reboot of The Mummy, with many believing he should have had a cameo. People have wondered if he would return to doing Hollywood blockbusters or even smaller movies and television shows.
As with Kilmer, Fraser has dealt with some health issues that took a toll on him. Despite his difficulties, he’s kept busy working, recently appearing in the show The Affair as well as many other projects.
11 ANGIE STONE
Angie Stone has dealt with her weight issues publicly throughout the years, at one point took part in a reality TV show to lose weight. That didn’t work quite as she expected, as she ended up gaining much of the weight back after not losing as much as she had hoped to in the first place.
At one point, her struggles with her weight and the demands of working in show business pushed her into depression. The demands of the spotlight were numerous, along with public family drama and she’d had enough of what she considered to be nonsense. She even contemplated leaving show business behind altogether.
Fortunately, she had a change of heart and she kept at it. After losing an amazing 75 pounds, it’s like she’s a new person.
10 KELLY OSBOURNE
Kelly Osbourne’s struggles with weight and the cruelty she’s endured over it have been no secret. She publicly feuded with Christina Aguilera over comments the singer made about Osborne’s weight. Despite the heated exchange over the incident, Christina Aguilera also went through her own struggles with weight and similar issues stemming from being in the spotlight.
Thankfully, the two women have since reconciled. In recent years, Osbourne has taken on a new health regimen and lost a significant amount of weight. Naturally, this wasn’t an easy process for the daughter of legendary rocker Ozzy Osbourne.
On numerous occasions she’s talked about her tumultuous life, battles with drug abuse, family drama, and how she felt out of control. Additionally, Osborne wrote a book about her experiences and the harsh lessons she’s learned.
9 RAVEN SYMONE
Raven Symone recently talked about being body-shamed as a child. Her weight has fluctuated constantly and she’s acknowledged that there are ties between her self-image and her mental state. She's indicated that her issues stemmed from industry pressure concerning her weight.
These issues have sometimes come to the surface in very public ways, with her drawing a lot of ire over negative comments she’s made on The View. However, in an interview with People she stated, “The World is too big to have one sort of view to show beauty, because then you are literally destroying society… And then you want to talk about how we are judgmental to each other and this and this. But it’s being created in the industry that we’re in. So why not break the mold?”
While there are some who might see this statement as a contradiction to her earlier comments and actions, maybe it’s a step in the right direction.
8 AMERICA FERRERA
American Ferrera burst onto the scene as a young woman championing her own type of beauty. She was relatable for fans everywhere as the titular Ugly Betty and continues to bring that personality to all her work.
Over the years she has lost weight and she talks about what her struggles with dieting have done to her sense of self. For her, as with many others, how she feels about her body and health is what matters.
Now that she has been able to maintain her new weight, she continues to look great and appears to be as happy as ever. She’s been pretty open about her exercise routine, posting updates on Instagram with pictures of herself and her husband in marathons. While she’s barely recognizable from her earlier years, she has never looked better.
7 YVETTE NICOLE BROWN
Yvette Nicole Brown, known for her roles on shows like Community and The Mayor, decided to lose weight after she was diagnosed with diabetes. A few years ago she posted on Twitter, “I’m losing weight to get healthy. Diabetes is not cute.”
In an interview with Vulture, she stated, “Yeah, because that’s very vanity focused. ‘How small is your waist? How big is your butt?’ And no shade. That’s great if that’s what floats your boat, God bless. But I’m a simple kid from East Cleveland. I’ve never been the Halle Berry type, and I’m not trying to be Halle Berry. I’m just trying to lose the diabetes.”
The Mayor star looks completely different and her new, healthier outlook is working for her.
6 MICKEY ROURKE
Mickey Rourke has spoken at length about his struggles with corrective plastic surgery and the toll the procedures have taken on his career and health. Rourke's concerns about his appearance have lead him to get numerous surgeries, some which have turned out well for him and some which left him disappointed.
He’s talked openly about how he initially just wanted to fix his nose after it was broken one too many times, but the surgeries were botched. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. Rourke recently had another plastic surgery and took to Twitter to document and comment on how he feels.
This isn’t the first time that Rourke has taken to social media to document his surgeries. The public has long been fascinated with the actor’s transformation over the years, and he’s made plenty of pictures available for anyone interested.
5 KHLOE KARDASHIAN
In recent years, Khloe Kardashian has written a book and publicly chronicled her experiences losing weight. Her appearance changed drastically and she was happy with the changes. Looking back a few years ago, the difference is obvious.
She’s been extremely candid with the fact that she wasn’t happy with the way her previous weight was viewed by some stylists. Often, she found that nothing was in her size and she was made to feel like that was failing on her part.
After losing weight, all of that changed. People started to treat her better, as if somehow the weight loss alone transformed her into a different person. At any rate, Khloe Kardashian has officially announced on Twitter that she is going through another transformation – becoming a new mother! No doubt it’s another look some people will either rave over or somehow see fit to criticize.
4 VAL KILMER
Val Kilmer has struggled with health issues and like anyone going through that kind of stress in their life, it’s changed his appearance. The actor has maintained a sense of humor about things as he recently tweeted about his looks in a selfie with his friend and fellow actor Danny Trejo, saying that the pair looked like old turtles.
Of course that isn’t true, but he’s clearly enjoying life and hasn’t let his struggles keep him down. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he said, “Fame is sort of a mess. You get treated differently, but it doesn’t have anything to do with who you actually are… I was too serious. I'd get upset when things like Oscars and recognition failed to come my way."
Hopefully Kilmer maintains this positive outlook.
3 KRISTEN STEWART
Remember when people were so down on Kristen Stewart because they thought she didn’t smile enough, as if that was of major importance? Well, look at her now. In many recent photos, you’ll find Kristen grinning constantly and with her new hairstyle, it’s difficult to see the same woman.
The change in hairstyle, clothing, and general outlook can be attributed to her being more comfortable with herself and not letting people’s negativity dictate her life. As everybody knows by now, Stewart revealed earlier this year that she was gay and has since started dating.
Though some people might look at this and think she was lying about her sexuality before, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Either way whatever she’s doing, it seems to be an improvement for her lifestyle.
2 ROCKMOND DUNBAR
Rockmond Dunbar is best known for his role as C-Note on Prison Break. The actor has since undergone a dramatic weight loss transformation in recent years.
In an interview with Muscle and Fitness, he said, “I need to change. If I can’t do it for myself, let’s do it for Berkely [his daughter].”
On The Real, he also talked about relationships that have motivated him. Dunbar spoke about his father calling him and explaining to him the health issues in their family as a reason for him to take better care of his health.
Dunbar also talked about his relationship with his wife being a motivating factor. Since the birth of their daughter, he has maintained a healthy diet and exercise regimen, and is wholly unrecognizable from a few years ago.
1 RENEE ZELLWEGER
After recent changes in Renee Zellweger’s appearance, many people wondered if she had plastic surgery. Naturally, most noticed that her trademark look seemed vastly different. She addressed the rumors and claimed that she didn’t have surgery to make her eyes look bigger.
After a few more public appearances, her look did seem to be more in line with what people were familiar with but she was still notably different. However, her overall message in addressing the rumors seemed to be to point out the standards that women in the entertainment business face when it comes to their appearances.
In some cases, if women let themselves age, grow, or change naturally they are chastised for how their appearances have altered. Similarly if they get plastic surgery, they’re ridiculed. Regardless of how Zellweger’s appearance has changed, she maintains that she continues to work and live as she sees fit.
Are there any actors that are unrecognizable from five years ago that we missed? Let us know in the comments!