The entertainment business can be pretty cruel to all those folks in front of the camera. Celebrities are always under pressure to look good, to stay fit and trim, to be stylish, to be everywhere at once, and to smile through every painful moment. You’re not allowed to be weak, to slouch or – heavens forbid! – be human.
Everything from plastic surgery to crossfit trainers and the diet of the week can become obsessions for stars. “Looking young” is just as much a part of the deal as the rest of those fads. Hollywood loves to put a shelf life on their on-screen stars, and for the few that stay on top despite the years, all sorts of tactics are employed to maintain the veneer of youth.
One of those is the time-honored tradition of lying about their age. It’s been going on in acting since before there were movies. The golden age of the studio system had whole teams dedicated to altering celebrity bios (and gossip columnists busting them). But these days, it can be movie stars, musicians, and even sports figures – and some very surprising ones to boot.
Here are 16 Celebrities Who Lie About Their Age.
Will “The Real Slim Shady” please stand up? And by the “Real Slim Shady,” we mean the actual, factual age of Marshall Mathers, aka rapper extraordinaire Eminem.
In a 1999 interview with Howard Stern, Mathers told the New York shock jock he was 24 years old,b but that was a straight-up lie. He was, in fact 27, but no less of a superstar on the rise, still riding high from his very first album.
Why did he do it? Some say his record company put him up to it. If that's true then his choice may have been either he totally lie, or he'd have to go straight back to 8 Mile. In any case, we hope he keeps making music “Forever.”
15 Sandra Bullock
Sandra Bullock may have fallen to earth in Gravity, but when it comes to admitting her true age, her honesty was flying back out into space. At least that was the case early on in her career.
To be fair – she did come clean about it. Back in a 1992 interview with Barbara Walters, the Oscar-nominated actress admitted she had fibbed about her age. The film Love Potion #9 was seeking a type who was somewhat more mature than Ms. Bullock, and she bent the truth to get her chance at the part.
We can imagine how hard it was to lie, and how humbling it must have been to admit it publicly. Thankfully, it paid off for Bullock and the audiences who get to enjoy her many performances.
14 Mila Kunis
Wait – Mila Kunis has lied about her age? Really? Oh wait, it was when she was a kid and needed to pretend she was older. Are we seeing a pattern now? The young want to seem old and the old want to seem young. A
t age 14, while auditioning for her breakout role in That 70’s Show, Kunis vaguely told producers that she would soon be 18. Eventually.
Everybody figured it out before the series began filming, but they liked her so much, they went along with it. Whether it was childhood intuition or a smart management decision, that fib started a career we’re glad to watch.
13 Gabrielle Carteris
We are very sorry to burst your bubble, but not every “kid” who starred on Beverly Hills 90210 was actually young enough to be still be the high school students they portrayed. We know, we know – we’re shocked too!
In the case of Gabrielle Carteris, who famously played Andrea Zuckerman on the show, she actually lied to ensure she would get the youthful role. According to the actress herself, “I actually talked to a lawyer about how could I sign these contracts and lie about my age and still be able to do the show. ‘Is it OK?’ And [he said], ‘Yes it is, as long as you just say you’re over 21.’” For the record, she was actually 29 at the time.
12 Whoopi Goldberg
As any true Star Trek: The Next Generation fan already knows, the mysterious bartender known as Guinan may be really, really old – as in hundreds of years old. Or maybe even much older that. It's complicated, really. Back here on earth, her alter ego Whoopi Goldberg has actually claimed to be older than she really is.
Back in 1986, when the actress was 30, most people thought she was actually 35. Why? Goldberg has said that she needed to lie about being closer to 40 in order to get a job. Sorry, “Whoopi” but this just proves you’re really Guinan and have already hung out with Data, Picard and Mark Twain. Totally busted. Nice try, though.
He’s got 99 problems… or is it actually 98? We heard somewhere that it’s not a day over 80 problems. In any case, one thing we can say for sure about Jay-Z is that there's Reasonable Doubt about his age.
Back in 2014, radio host Tori Torain claimed that rather than being 44 years old at the time as the rapper claimed, she knew Jay Z to actually be 50 years old. This would make him a lot older than we’ve been led to believe. But seriously – does that affect the music in any way whatsoever? And that’s the only reason people dig his records, right? It's not as if he's considered one of the greatest rappers of all time.
10 Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj, the chart-topping pop star has been killing it ever since she first hit the music scene with her singles “Massive Attack” and “Your Love” back in 2010. But between selling millions of songs and feuding with Remy Ma, Lil’ Kim, Da Brat, and Mariah Carey - among others - Nicki has been less than honest about her age. This wasn't a one-time mistake, either.
In 2011, Minaj filed a police report over an alleged assault incident, and those records revealed her to be 28 years old. The trouble was that she had been telling everybody she was 26 at the time. That’s the last time we trust a hot-tempered diva who loves to start Twitter fights, we swear.
9 Steven Spielberg
Now why in the world would the biggest Hollywood director of the last 50 years need to lie about his age? Why would he need to lie about anything?
As it turns out, Steven Spielberg may be lying about one of his most legendary stories. For a long time, he's famously claimed that in 1969, when he was 21 years old, he snuck onto the Universal Studios lot in a suit and successfully pretended to be a real producer, down to “squatting” in an unused production office for months.
Spielberg’s story also maintains he was 21 years old in 1969, when this supposedly happened. Except Spielberg was born in December 1946, which would make him 22 or 23. He's also said it occurred in 1965 and that he was 17 at the time - he would have been 18 or 19. Maybe he was kidnapped by the Close Encounters of the Third Kind aliens and lost track of time?
8 Mariah Carey
What difference does a year make? If you’re Mariah Carey, maybe it 's a bigger difference than for most people. The iconic diva’s age is quite the matter of internet speculation.
Some uncovered yearbook information puts Carey in high school during one year, pointing to one birth date, while the Library of Congress records of her music have another year listed. Consequently, some crazy conspiracy-like theories regarding this oh-so-crucial information haver popped up on social media.
Is this a simple mistake – or part of some nefarious plot for Mariah to keep the terrible truth from us? For her legions of fans, she will always be their “Hero” no matter when she was actually born. Just “Shake It Off,” Mariah!
7 Laurence Fishburne
And here again we have another instance of a Hollywood actor rounding his age up in order to get a job. The very first big screen gig Laurence Fishburne got was for the classic war flick Apocalypse Now, where he played a young sailor fighting in Vietnam.
Back then, he went by "Larry" Fishburne and was just 14 years old when he went for a part which he wanted so badly that he said he was older. After all, the production for this infamous Francis Ford Coppola film was notoriously dangerous and bringing a child into stressful jungle conditions was a bad idea. But hey, he got in there and now he’s Perry White, so it was a win-win.
Listen up “Party People!” It looks like one of America’s most beloved rappers may not be the age he says he is. Or was, at least.
Back in 2003, Teen People included him on a list of “Hottest Stars Under 25.” At the time Nelly and his representatives insisted he was 22 years old, allowing him to fall squarely in the magazine’s list’s criteria. But as it turned out, he was actually 28 years old for that fateful issue.
Yes, we get it Nelly, you were a late bloomer who needed to look young enough to “Ride Wit Me” but you were way past that age on your license. So, while we don’t necessarily want to diss him for feeling he had to lie, it sucks he cheated to score his space in the age-based rankings.
5 James Blunt
We have some potentially bad news for millions of heart-stricken young ladies: one of Great Britain’s favorite millennial crooners may also be a totally dishonest dude, at least if you ask him how old he is.
James Blunt rose to fame in 2004 with his debut record Back to Bedlam. In 2014, during a radio interview in Australia, Blunt was asked how it felt now that he had reached his 40th birthday. His answer? He swore he was just barely over 30. So, is the guy lying or isn’t he?
According to Wikipedia, yes, he was totally BS-ing the audience - not by a little, but by almost a decade. Look, if he can’t be honest with us, maybe we should sing “Good-bye My Lover” to him as we send him out the door!
4 Danny Almonte
Danny Almonte was something of a national phenomenon in Little League World Series baseball. After all, at just age 12, he was hurling fastballs at 76 MPH – which is amazing. But it wouldn’t be quite as amazing if he was actually 14 years old – which it turns out he was.
Danny, now an adult, has since claimed that he was manipulated by the adults in his life. It's kind of heartbreaking when you thinksabout what his life could have been had different choices had been made by the adults around him. In the end, whatever did happen, he struck out on his chances to get into a professional major league career. These days, he coaches baseball at the high school level.
3 “Grandpa” Al Lewis
Now why in the world would the granddaddy of all TV vampires ever need to lie about his age? After all, as a member of the undead, the more centuries you’ve been around, the better!
But as it turns out, Al Lewis of The Munsters fame has no confirmed birth date. Given alternately as 1910, 1923, and 1924, no official record of Lewis' actual arrival in our world has ever been uncovered. Yes, it was easier back then to forge official documents, but as it so happens, he was always canny when discussing his age in interviews.
What could he have been hiding? We’re guessing his immortality as a blood-sucking nosferatu stretching back to 14th century Transylvania, but you didn’t read that here.
2 Miguel Tejada
When All-Star baseball player Miguel Tejada had the promise of being signed to an MLB team, a lifeline out of a world of poverty was being dangled in front of his face. The Oakland A’s were told that the native of the Dominican Republic was 19 years old when they picked the player up back in 1993. But in reality, he was 17 years old.
Why did he lie? Because he really, really wanted a shot at fame and fortune and he needed to be over 18 to get the opportunity. In the end, it worked out well for everybody and adding Tejada to the pantheon of classic baseball players was just a total home run. Note to MLB officials: maybe the age rule is really, really dumb.
1 Manute Bol
When it comes to nailing down the late great Manute Bol’s age, it’s no slam dunk. In fact, there’s a possibility that he was as old as 50 while playing in the NBA – well past the normal retirement age of 35.
A former coach seems to have directed the legendary dribbler to be dishonest about the years behind him when he first tried out for pro basketball. The fear was that the truth would prevent him from being drafted. His handlers didn’t want to lose such a great prospect because of a pointless prejudice.
After Bol passed away in 2010, the truth started to come out, but who cares – Bol isn’t remembered for his birth year, but for playing some incredible ball!
Did any other stars lie about their age? Let us know in the comments!