Celebrities Who Were Unrecognizable 5 Years Ago

Unlike us regular folk, celebrities have the power to drastically transform themselves. And though they too grow up and grow old, they're able to completely change up their looks over the years — sometimes so much so that they look like totally different people! That's what some of our favorite stars have done, though their processes — losing weight, extensive tattooing, or gender transitioning — have varied. But the real kicker? These celebs didn't take very long to complete their metamorphoses. In fact, some of them are downright unrecognizable from just five years ago. How is that possible?


So who out there lost so much weight that they're just a shadow of their former selves? Who's gone under the knife to go from not to hot? And who has made major changes that have empowered them to truly live their best lives? Check out these celebs who are pretty much unrecognizable from a mere five years ago.

June 'Mama June' Shannon

A star was born when the world first saw Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson's antics on season five of Toddlers and Tiaras. The spin-off show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo quickly followed, bringing viewers even deeper into Thompson's unique world. And while she carried the show in her own right, fans couldn't get enough of her mother, June "Mama June" Shannon, whom everyone seemed to love to hate. She was loud, she was large, and she was definitely controversial — but also, arguably, authentic.


Fast-forward five years later, and Shannon looks like a totally different person. She's lost hundreds of pounds (with the help of a gastric sleeve), had skin removal surgery on her tummy and arms, had her teeth fixed, had her chest lifted, and had her chin tucked, which she discussed in detail on The Wendy Williams Show. We think she looks amazing!

So dramatic is Shannon's transformation that she even has a reality show of her own now: Mama June: From Not To Hot. Looks like Shannon's been laughing at her haters all the way to the bank!

Justin Bieber

Speaking of celebs that get people slamming shots of haterade, Justin Bieber is definitely sporting a different look than he was five years ago. Back then, while he had mostly grown out of the shiny bubblegum look that had characterized his youth, he still had a bit of a baby face. Also, his wardrobe was still relatively clean-cut. And his 100 hours of tattooing were mostly still in front of him.


It's not just the fashion choices and extensive ink that have set the Bieber of today so far apart from the Bieber of five years ago. He's grown up considerably in that time, so everything from the tone of his voice to the manner in which he carries himself is completely different. You can hardly believe that the dude is the same guy who sat on Jimmy Fallon's couch for an interview — it's legit day and night!

If anything, we suspect that Bieber's reached the point where he doesn't care what other people think of him, which honestly is super refreshing. You do you, boo.

Caitlyn Jenner

Arguably the most famous transgender woman in the world, Caitlyn Jenner has had quite the journey on her way to living her best and most authentic life. The Olympian had known for a long time that she was transgender, but only in 2015 did she feel safe enough to publicly come out. "I'm just a lucky person in so many ways," she mused in an interview on The Ellen Show. It's amazing she can finally be herself!


Now that she's out, Jenner repeatedly shows us how to slay with her gorgeous gowns, flawless makeup, and shiny long locks. She's clearly ditched the athletic style that she sported for many years, and we are here for it!

Although Jenner's transition wasn't easy, and despite some of the controversy she's garnered from her community, she's found both peace and happiness in her own skin. "I think people think when you transition, it is this tremendous thing, and now you're a totally different person," she shared in an interview with Variety. "I'm still the same person. Caitlyn lived inside me all my life." So while she looks totally different than she did five years ago, she's still the same person she's always been deep within.


Kevin Smith

From a young age, Kevin Smith basically ate whatever he wanted, according to an interview with Men's Health magazine. And that had consequences. "I started out heavy and then got heavier and, probably because of my job, I got to be heavy my whole life," he shared. And it wasn't until 2014, after he watched a documentary about sugar, that he knew he had to make some changes. That's when he cut out sugary drinks and began to walk regularly, in earnest. Then the weight began "flying off."


Then in early 2018, Smith survived a heart attack often called the "widow maker." According to an interview with the Today show, he had a 100 percent blockage, and he came very close to dying — scary stuff! But Smith's perspective is not what you might expect. "The heart attack was the best thing to ever happen to me," he revealed, before explaining that it inspired him to make some big changes like adopting a plant-based diet.

Smith has been so successful that he became a Weight Watchers ambassador, and, according to an Instagram post, he's continued to shed pounds. He's made plans to step up his workout game, too!

Renee Zellweger

At one time, it seemed like Renée Zellweger was everywhere in Hollywood, cinching major roles in hit films like Jerry Maguire, Bridget Jones's Diary, and Cinderella Man. She even won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in 2003's Cold Mountain. She was definitely an It girl, known for her wholesome look and trademark, squinty eyes.


However, when she stepped out at an Elle event in 2014, Zellweger's face looked totally different, which had everyone in the media — even The New York Times — tossing their two cents into the ring and speculating about possible plastic surgery, which she vehemently denied. "It didn't matter; just one more story in the massive smut pile generated every day by the tabloid press and fueled by exploitative headlines and folks who practice cowardly cruelty from their anonymous internet pulpits," she penned in an op ed for The Huffington Post. Clearly she was not afraid to stand up for herself.

Zellweger has since moved on from the gossip, according to People magazine, and is focusing on her own life. Way to handle the haters with grace!


Zach Galifianakis

Five years ago, Zach Galifianakis revealed that he had made a big decision: he stopped drinking alcohol, which he shared in an interview on Conan. And that in turn helped him lose a significant amount of weight — it's amazing how much giving up the booze and brews can do!


That was not the beginning of Galifianakis' transformation, though it had certainly ramped up by then. But by no means was he finished — yet. He also made changes to his eating habits, which helped him drop even more excess weight. "I tend not to eat ... food advertised on television," he divulged in a later interview on Conan. "Fast food you can't do — you have to eat whole foods, whole grains, and that kind of stuff." He went on to make jokes about cutting out "whipped cream pizzas" as well. Hilarious!

Galifianakis has clearly continued putting in the work because he looks even more svelte today — but, so far, his trademark beard is here to stay.

Kylie Jenner

One of the younger members of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, Kylie Jenner is certainly no stranger to the headlines, both positive and negative. It seems like everyone has something to say about her, which isn't surprising given how famous her family is. But she's also come under scrutiny for the way she looks, which has evolved over the last five years (via Time magazine).


But we're not here to hate, as Jenner could slay in her sleep. And while she's admitted to having her looks enhanced, it's been on her own terms. "I have temporary lip fillers," she confessed on Keeping Up With The Kardashians. "It's just an insecurity of mine and it's what I wanted to do." Hands up if you're all in favor of a woman doing what she wants.

Jenner also admitted she wasn't being 100 percent forthright about her lip fillers when she got them, but for good reason. "People are so quick to judge me on everything, so I might have tip-toed around the truth, but I didn't lie," she continued. Girl, you do you and don't listen to the noise.

Penn Jillette

You don't have to be a magician to make over one hundred pounds disappear, but that's just what Penn Jillette did. The change has rendered him unrecognizable from the portly, pony-tailed man he used to be five years ago.


It's no illusion, either, as Jillette put in some hard work to lose weight after landing in the hospital for high blood pressure. "My doctor said I needed to get my weight down," he shared in an interview with People magazine. His doctor also told him if he could get his weight down to 230 pounds, he probably wouldn't need blood pressure medication anymore. Long story short, Jillette listened, and shed over a hundred pounds on a 1,000 calorie per day diet — in just a few months. Sounds like magic to us!

That diet reset Jillette's palate, completely changing his approach to food. "Now I eat no animal products, no refined grains, extremely low salt, sugar, and oil," he noted in an interview with Harvard Business Review. Thanks to the changes, he feels fantastic in his new skin. And yes — the ponytail's gone too!


Missy Elliott

Missy Elliott clearly has some kind of magic going on, because it really does look like she's aging in reverse. For one, back in 2014, the singer confirmed that she had been slimming down. "I've lost 30-some pounds, but not because I felt like I had to be in that rank with other small females," she shared with Interview magazine. So what was her reason, then? "I wanted to be in good health for my shows," she revealed. And while she admits she still craves junk food (who doesn't?), she's developed a solid workout regimen — and has stuck to it.


That was in addition to her first major weight loss over a decade earlier, according to a tweet, which shows just how committed she is to being in the best shape she can be, long-term.

And that's not all, either. Elliott also cut out all sugary drinks from her diet, as well as bread, according to a post she made on Instagram. No wonder her skin is absolutely perfect!

John Goodman

As accomplished and acclaimed an actor as John Goodman is, he still has days where he doesn't feel so great about his body. "I wish I wasn't as fat as I am," he lamented in a 2014 interview with The Telegraph. "It just bothers me." Those remarks came after he had started his weight loss (and sobriety!) journey, too, but he saw the number on the scale edging up again — and didn't like it.


Fortunately, Goodman decided to really get serious about his health, and, these days, he is noticeably more slender — he almost looks like a completely different person! So how did he do it? "It was basically just portion control, and 'I don't need it,'" the celeb humbly confessed in a 2018 interview with AARP. And although Goodman joked that he didn't want "to be an example to anybody when the weight comes thundering back on," it looks like he's made those changes for good. Rock on, John!