These days, it's a tricky business deciding which celebrities are worth fangirling over. Audiences have realized that just because they connected with an actor's role, or their natural off-screen charisma, it doesn't mean that actor doesn't have some shady side to them they won't like. Every movie franchise is affected by this, as it's impossible to stock a franchise with 100% perfect people. So sometimes, you just gotta take some time and appreciate the actors that really are sweethearts (while also learning which ones aren't).
Which brings us to the X-Men franchise. Starting in 2000 with the first film (arguably the catalyst for all of today's superhero craze) and continuing on into the future with main line sequels, Deadpool spinoffs and more planned, this is a superhero franchise that just won't quit. And it's had a lot of creative people working on it over the years, from certified A-listers to actors who made their name with these movies.
The series follows the mutants who flock to Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters and their trials and tribulations as they attempt to both make the world a better place for mutant kind and defend all of humanity from mutant terrorists. The series has been going on for so long now (almost twice as long as the MCU!) that it has cast all kinds of stars during its run.
These are 9 X-Men Stars Who Are Legitimate Sweethearts (And 7 Who Aren't).
16 Sweetheart: Ryan Reynolds
The Merc with a Mouth has a heart, too. Ryan Reynolds is mostly known for his looks and his charm, but fans will be happy to know he's also a sweetheart. He appears on just about every one of these Sweethearts lists he qualifies for, because he's just so dang nice. Entire articles have been written just about how good of a person he is, but we'll run down the list: Aside from being a good dad with progressive politics, Reynolds also a great reputation on set, a track record of going above and beyond for fans, not to mention a history of donating time, money, and even pink Deadpool costumes to charity.
But maybe the best example of Reynolds' caring personality came just before the first Deadpool movie came out. A young fan named Connor McGrath was facing terminal cancer and wanted to see the film, so through the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Reynolds not only let him see the final cut of the film before anyone else, he befriended the young man. They were friends for three years, until Connor's passing in 2016. Even if you could somehow ignore the charity work, adorable on set photos, and all the other stuff, you can't say that the man who plays Deadpool in the X-Men franchise isn't a sweetheart.
15 Not: Josh Brolin
Thanos and Cable do have one thing in common with Josh Brolin: the unfriendly attitude. Brolin may have calmed down in recent years as he's scored higher profile acting gigs, but those who followed his career a few years ago remember a wilder, less pleasant side to the actor. Brolin was arrested in 2004, after police were called to his home in Los Angeles. His wife at the time was famed actress Diane Lane. The couple later claimed to have sorted out their differences, but they also later divorced, leaving many to speculate that the arrest was a symptom of some serious dysfunction.
Brolin's troubles with the law didn't end there, however. Brolin had trouble with alcohol and substance abuse, which found him arrested twice more, once for a bar fight in 2008 and again for public intoxication in 2013. The actor has since sworn off all alcohol intake, and his career appears to be on the rise, perhaps because he finally got his act together. X-Men fans know him as Cable in Deadpool 2, a role he is set to reprise in three more times. Brolin may have a sour past, but he seems to have put it behind him, as actors don't appear to have any negative words for him nowadays.
14 Sweet: Patrick Stewart
You probably know this already, but Sir Patrick Stewart is generally considered to be one of the good guys in the industry. Stewart made his name in stage shows before getting cast as Captain Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, his big break. From there, he went on to star as Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men franchise, an iconic role that many couldn't imagine anyone else in (except James McAvoy). Stewart made his name playing these heroic leaders, but he's also spent plenty of time voicing characters in animated films and TV shows. But none of that is why he's so beloved by fans.
Fans love Patrick Stewart only partially for the roles he plays, and mostly for the time he spends raising awareness for causes he believes in.
Stewart supports charities, political goals, and social issues in his spare time, always with a refined sense of dignity and etiquette. Perhaps the best known of these is his continued mission to shed light on the horrors of domestic abuse, having grown up around it. Stewart has made speaking appearances and written personal essays on the subject, and it is his honesty and emotional acuity that makes him resonate with people around the world.
13 Not: January Jones
Hard as diamonds on screen, cold as ice in real life. That is the reputation of actress January Jones and while it's debatable whether she's really earned it, one thing is clear: she definitely isn't all that sweet. Jones first rose to prominence on the TV show Mad Men, where she played Betty Draper, a pampered housewife who consistently failed to show real warmth or affection to the people around her. Fitting, then, that her role in the X-Men franchise saw her as Emma Frost, Sebastian Shaw's sidekick and resident evil telepath in X-Men: First Class.
Jones chooses not to reveal much from her private life to paparazzi. This, coupled with a well-documented cool demeanor, isn't really enough to designate somebody on this list, but the fact that several celebrities from around Hollywood have labeled her as rude serves as the clincher. Jones' career hasn't suffered from her less-than-sweet attitude, however--after Mad Men ended, Jones hopped gracefully onto the sitcom The Last Man on Earth, which ended just this year. Jones hasn't made another appearance in the X-Men films since First Class (nor has she starred in any other big films), but she's nonetheless carved out a nice television career for herself.
12 Sweet: Ellen Page
One of the more recognizable young faces of the X-Men, Ellen Page played Kitty Pryde in X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Kitty Pryde can phase through solid matter, allowing her to walk through walls (and anything else). Fans will remember Page's portrayal for a ... memorable encounter with the Juggernaut in The Last Stand. Page was just 19 when the film was released, and has since gone on to build an eclectic career from indie successes like Juno, blockbusters like Inception, and even some video game roles.
However, Page is perhaps best known for being a tireless advocate for LGBTQA rights. Coming out as gay in 2014, Page also recently married dance choreographer Emma Portner, and it's all very cute. Page has had her share of troubles in the industry, not the least of which came at the hands of Brett Ratner (more on him later), but she still has a surprisingly clean, friendly reputation. Helping her case is the laundry list of charities and causes she has raised awareness for, like walking for women with breast cancer, the ethical treatment of animals, and the aforementioned LGBTQA rights.
11 Not: Olivia Munn
It's not often you see the host of a nerdy G4 show go on to be a star in blockbuster Hollywood movies, but that's where Olivia Munn finds herself. Munn plays Psylocke in X-Men: Apocalypse, a role which allows her to do things like slash a car into pieces with a sword made out of psychic energy. However, Munn is known for being difficult to work with, and some gossip sites have gone so far as to say she's caused problems on nearly every set she's been on, starting with her role on The Newsroom, where rumors even flew that she wasn't on speaking terms with Jeff Daniels.
Munn campaigns for PETA, which is admirable, but she also has a long history of getting on people's bad sides. Just looking at her relationship history, where she dated quarterback Aaron Rodgers and reportedly didn't get along with his entire family. It seems pretty clear that's she's fine with ticking people off. This habit appears to go all the way back to her days as a host on G4's Attack of the Show! There are even rumors that the G4 people there couldn't stand her. Munn hasn't done anything heinous, but she sure isn't a sweetheart.
10 Sweet: Kevin Bacon
Kevin Bacon has been in everything and that includes the X-Men universe. Bacon plays Sebastian Shaw in X-Men: First Class, a nearly invulnerable villain who can absorb energy and convert it into his own life force. This rendered him immortal until Michael Fassbender's Magneto caught up to him and got his revenge for Shaw taking out his mother. Bacon may have played a villain in his one performance as an X-Men antagonist, but in real life he's very different.
You don't get to star in as many movies as Bacon has without being at least somewhat pleasant to be around.
Bacon has been relatively aware of and active in politics with his wife Kyra Sedgwick. The two supported Barack Obama's presidential run and also legislation to support the reproductive rights of women. They made a video to that effect to raise awareness for the bill, which meant to allow women to choose their own birth control and have easy access to it. On top of this, Bacon is known as a friendly professional, with few to none negative stories emerging from his conduct from a career spanning decades. You have to be a good sport to put up with a meme created to show how many movies you've been in, as Bacon did with the "Six Degrees of Separation" game.
9 Not: T.J. Miller
It turns out, actors who make a career out of playing vaguely creepy, off-putting characters aren't always secretly lovable. T.J. Miller proves that, as the actor has made it abundantly clear in recent years that he doesn't belong on the Sweetheart side of things. Miller plays Weasel in Deadpool and its sequel, and might be the actor with the most screen time in the franchise after Ryan Reynolds himself. So it's a shame that Miller has become known for drunken behavior, assault, and even more serious misconduct. The public first caught wind of Miller's darker side in 2016, when he was arrested for allegedly assaulting an Uber driver.
Things only got worse from there, as a former girlfriend of Miller's came forward in late 2017 saying he had been violent with her in the bedroom without her consent. The woman's friends who had known her at the time corroborated her story, and figures in the comedy world noted that Miller had joked about something like that in his past. Then on top of all this, Miller was arrested again for faking a bomb threat on an Amtrak train. Miller has been losing acting jobs left and right thanks to this kind of behavior (he left Silicon Valley during the hubbub), but he still returned for Deadpool 2, though they've confirmed he won't be back.
8 Sweet: Alan Cumming
For those of you who may not know: yes, Alan Cumming is an X-Men star. You just may not recognize him. While the actor has more recently become known for his television roles and voice work (such as a recurring role in The Good Wife and Instinct, not to mention voicing a Smurf), he has also played one of the best-known X-Men: Nightcrawler. The mutant (real name Kurt Wagner) is a German Catholic who has the unfortunate appearance of a bright blue demon, making him one of the most memorable characters in X2.
But Cumming wasn't just the perfect choice to play the character because he is fluent in German and doesn't mind undergoing hours of makeup. Openly bisexual, Cumming has worked to further the cause of LGBTQA rights for his entire career, even receiving an award from GLAAD to recognize his efforts. And why stop there? Cumming has received other awards for his humanitarian spirit, including one from PETA for his stance on the ethical treatment of animals. Since his new show, Instinct, finds him playing an openly gay main character, you can bet that he won't be letting up in his efforts any time soon.
7 Not: Halle Berry
Halle Berry has a long and well-decorated career. She's been in all kinds of blockbuster films, prestige projects, and experimental art, but one of her most famous roles is Storm in five different X-Men films. Getting starring roles in the earlier films and important cameos in later entries, Storm boasted some of the most memorable moments of the franchise. Fans tend to be glad that she was cast in the role and became a part of their lives, but unfortunately, it seems actually in Berry's life don't share the sentiment. She's had a lot of personal relationships that have very publicly tanked and some writers believe it's mainly her fault.
Berry has been married three times and nearly all of her ex-husbands seem to have come away with negative opinions of the actress.
We can't know exactly what went on with each relationship, but the men in her life have a habit of falling out very visibly. Add to this the fact that she reportedly doesn't have a good relationship with her sister Heidi, and a pattern begins to emerge where the one common thread is Halle Berry. Berry was also sued after she caused a car crash and drove away from the scene without identifying herself, which is another blemish on her record..
6 Sweet: Anna Paquin
Though she hasn't appeared since X-Men: Days of Future Past, Anna Paquin carved herself a place in the hearts of millions of fans with her portrayal of Rogue, the young mutant with the extremely inconvenient superpower who finds herself at the center of the first X-Men film. Playing the character in a grand total of four films, Paquin was part of the franchise's early success, but has seemed happy to hand it off to the younger generation in recent years. This might be because of her large amount of charity work in her spare time.
Paquin has since gone on to television fame on the show True Blood, as well as starring in several miniseries recently. In her personal life, Paquin makes sure to make time for charity events, donating her time, memorabilia, and even her bra to help causes close to her heart. The actress has also come out as bisexual, and has done work to advance the cause of LGBTQA rights in North America. She has donated her own money to a range of other charities, as well, making her just as conscientious as her own character. And that's when she's not being a good mom to her twins!
5 Not: Brett Ratner
Another male figure in the franchise who makes the bad side of this list for his extremely poor treatment of women, Brett Ratner is a name most X-Men fans would like to forget anyway. Known to fans for directing the third X-Men film, The Last Stand, Ratner received awful reviews for his work on the franchise. It wasn't until years later, however, that actresses and other industry figures began to come forward with much darker allegations over Ratner's conduct. During the Me Too Movement, Ratner's name came up as one of the toxic industry influencers who regularly pressured women inappropriately.
It's bad enough that men like this are a part of the industry at all, but the X-Men franchise suffered in particular. Not only did Ratner make a film so bad it threatened the entire franchise, multiple women on set detailed his abhorrent behavior. Ellen Page talked about how he made a crude comment that outed her, an 18-year-old woman, to the entire cast as gay before she had come out herself. Olivia Munn, along with several other women, claimed that Ratner harassed her for years--and Ratner once lied that the two had been together. Fans would be happy to see this part of the franchise fade into non-existence.
4 Sweet: Nicholas Hoult
Nicholas Hoult has been acting professionally since the age of five. That kind of child stardom can go to some people's heads, but luckily for X-Men fans, Hoult has proven himself to the exception to the rule. While building a career that seems to have only increased in star power since 1996 (the year his first film came out ... when he was seven), Hoult has also managed to donate plenty of his time and energy to his favorite charities. And he takes that to extreme levels, even taking part in the Rickshaw Run, a charity event that saw him race a rickshaw (with a team of three) 3,000 kilometers through the streets of India.
Plenty of actors donate their money to charity, but Hoult also gives his sweat.
Hoult plays Beast (real name Hank McCoy) in three different X-Men films, with plans for more. It seems to be a good match, as while Beast may look intimidating (like a big blue lion), he's one of the smartest and most compassionate members of the X-Men. It may seem a bit odd to see Hoult take on a role originated by Kelsey Grammer, but somehow they both seem to fit the spirit of the character. Hoult took up the mantle as the considerate, intelligent Beast without a hitch, perhaps because he's the same in person.
3 Sweet: James McAvoy
James McAvoy, it turns out, is nearly as heroic as the character he plays. McAvoy plays the younger version of Professor X and serves as the foil to Patrick Stewart's older, more mature incarnation. McAvoy's Charles Xavier is more brash and impulsive (and considerably hairier) than Stewart's, and it's a dynamic that has worked nicely for the series. McAvoy has appeared in X-Men: First Class, Days of Future Past, Apocalypse, and is set to reprise the role in X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Lucky for the film franchise, McAvoy turned out to be just the kind of guy you'd want to have around for the long haul.
McAvoy isn't just a good fit for Professor X because he loves nerdy stories (specifically sci-fi). He also has the character's willingness to risk life and limb for a good cause, as he actually did a BASE jump from the top of a London hospital to raise awareness for a Ugandan children's charity. While McAvoy called the experience "terrifying," he doesn't regret doing it for the children. He tends to remember those who have helped him, too, as the charity came to his attention after shooting The Last King of Scotland. He also regularly donates to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, his old drama school. Maybe he could even become a professor, and become even more like his character!
2 Not: Bryan Singer
No director is more synonymous with the X-Men than Bryan Singer. Helming four different films in the franchise (and producing several more), Singer was the filmmaker who took a chance on this new thing called superhero movies and breathed life into the genre. He even made a cameo in one of them, making him technically a star, too. How upsetting for X-Men fans, then, to learn that ugly allegations have plagued Singer for years, and none of them paint a pretty picture of him as a person. These allegations run the gamut from unprofessional behavior to other things, but mainly focus on his misconduct with young men.
Not only has he been accused of creating an overly permissive atmosphere for harassers, Singer has also been sued by multiple families of young male actors. He has even been said to have started full-blown relationships with underage boys, which many industry sources termed "an open secret." We won't go into the even worse allegations that have persistently cropped up (even from actors in the X-Men films), but Singer by this point has been described as a predator and worse. Fans may enjoy his work on the franchise, but they shouldn't be sorry to see him move away from directing the films they love.
1 Sweet: Hugh Jackman
You knew this one was coming. If any one actor exemplifies the entire X-Men franchise, it's Hugh Jackman, the Wolverine. Beginning in the very first X-Men film and continuing all the way through his emotional sendoff in Logan, Hugh Jackman has been the true face of the franchise through all its highs and lows. Wolverine is undoubtedly the most popular X-Man of them all, and you can thank Jackman for that.
While Logan is known primarily for his gruff demeanor and temper tantrums, Jackman is known for being very nice and smiling a lot.
Jackman is both a well-liked professional and a charismatic actor, and his charity work reflects a commitment to helping those in need. The actor loves Broadway and all things relating to musicals, and does his best to star in them regularly. When he does, he tends to partner with charities, most notably Equity Fights AIDS and Broadway Cares, for which he managed to raise nearly a million dollars in just one season. When he's not raising awareness to get other people to donate to worthy causes, he likes to donate his own money--by the hundreds of thousands--to all kinds of necessary work. It seems like not a year passes by we don't learn some new way he's incredibly charming or incredibly generous.
Which of these X-Men would you like to meet in real life? Let us know in the comments!