Actresses Who Are Older Than You Realized

Some actresses are older than you realized. And that's not an easy feat to accomplish on their part! After all, it's difficult enough to become a big Hollywood star, according to an article in The New York Times. You have to have beauty, talent, brains, and a whole lot of luck to make it big in Tinseltown — as well as the fortitude to defy gender and racial inequality. And then on top of that, you have to have staying power throughout the years in order to maintain your career, which comes with its own new set of challenges.

So hats off to some of the leading ladies who have foiled the intense ageism in Hollywood and refused to back out when the gray hair starts to come in. It's resulted in some of the best content out there, allowing these actresses to expand their acting profiles and take on new roles in film and television.

So who among all of the bright stars have shown us how to age with style and grace — while managing to look younger than they really are while they're at it? Read on to see which actresses are older than you realized. 

Salma Hayek is older than you realized, and she's only lost one thing as she's aged

What a career Salma Hayek has had. From Spanish-language television in Mexico to her breakout role in Desperado to producing and starring in Frida, Hayek showed the world that a Latinx actress can truly make it in Hollywood. And all these years later, she's still busy working, although she's now grown to embrace her maturity. "I will sometimes say, 'I am 50 years old! Why do I have to look good? I already got my guy!'" she proclaimed in a 2017 interview with Entertainment Tonight. "But then, I don't want to lose the guy, either." Um, who knew she passed that milestone?

So what's the least desirable aspect of aging for Hayek, an actress who's older than you realized? Spoiler alert: it's not the decrease of collagen in her skin. "The worst part of the aging process has been my eyes. Not the wrinkles — the eyes themselves," she continued. "I'm such a visual person and [now] I cannot read without depending on glasses... It has been really, really sad. The eyes, for me, that's worse than the menopause." That's really does sound difficult. 

One actress who's older than you realized is the forever-young Drew Barrymore

From the time that Drew Barrymore was a child, she was on the biggest sets in Los Angeles. After breaking out in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982, the actress has worked steadily, going from child star to rom-com queen to leading cannibal lady in Santa Clarita Diet. Once she hit her mid-40s (yes, 40s!), she enjoyed a renaissance in her career, too. "I do feel like I'm on an upswing," she shared in a 2019 interview with New Beauty. "I just went through a couple of hard years, and I can see it wearing on my face. It's not about aging, it's about how I am on the inside."

A mother of two girls, Barrymore, who is certainly an actress who's older you realized, wants to be an example to them, showing that getting older is a lucky thing to do. "I'm now determined more than ever to show my daughters that aging is a luxury," she continued. "If we're lucky, we are all going to age. I just want them to be at peace with who they are and not what they look like." That is such a healthy and refreshing perspective, especially in a culture that values youth over the wisdom of elders.

Is there anyone who knows actress Jada Pinkett Smith's real age?

Life has been kind to Jada Pinkett Smith, an actress who's older than you realized. She's enjoyed a super successful film career, is married to one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood, has two beautiful children, and leads an insanely glamorous life. And while she looks as gorgeous as she ever has, she celebrated her 45th birthday in 2016. "I remember there was a time I was the youngest in the room, and now I'm not," she revealed in an interview with Entertainment Tonight that year. "But with age comes a lot of wisdom, and I'm happier now than I've ever been." Good for you, Jada!

Pinkett Smith has welcomed her journey toward mid-life with real grace, embracing radical self-acceptance and appreciation. "I think as you get older you really get to the point where you just don't care anymore what people think," she continued. "I'm at the age now, it's like, this is me, this is my skin, this is my face, this is my body. Love it or leave it!"

Reese Witherspoon is one successful actress who's older than you realized

It's seems like only yesterday that Reese Witherspoon charmed audiences as the virginal Annette in 1999's Cruel intentions. That was the role that truly thrust the actress who is now older than you realized into Hollywood superstardom, a ride she's still enjoying.

Witherspoon has grown a lot since her early days as a plucky It girl, though you wouldn't know the Big Little Lies star celebrated a big birthday in 2019: She turned 43! "I have a point of view because I've been on this planet for 43 years, and I didn't feel that same way when I was 25," she explained in an interview with Allure. "I didn't have the same things to say." 

Not only does she have different things to say now that she's older — she's enjoying it more than she ever thought possible. "I'm 43 and I've had a whole bunch of experiences, and I can speak with a thoughtfulness about the changes I'd like to see in the world," she continued. "I just feel like I earned that gray hair and my fine lines. I like 'em. I so prefer 43 to 25."

Gabrielle Union may just be the perfect example of an actress who's older than you realized

If you're a fan of '90s teen movies, you definitely know who Gabrielle Union is. And although Bring it On was released in 2000, Union, one of several actresses who are older than you realized, celebrated her 47th birthday in 2019 — can you believe it? "I get asked all the time how I look so young," she revealed in an interview with Women's Health. "I have pretty oily skin, I drink a lot of water, I don't smoke, and I don't have a hard life." And believe it or not, she hasn't had Botox, though she's keeping an open mind about that in the future.

Additionally, Union said that her best anti-aging tip is to say no when you need to, no matter what. "We run ourselves ragged saying yes to every freaking thing, whether it's to our family, spouses, or careers," she continued. "I sleep eight hours a day and don't let myself stress out. A lot of people call it selfish, but I don't have any wrinkles." Sage advice, Gabrielle!

Jennifer Lopez is how old?

The '90s were a great decade for Jennifer Lopez, who not only had a successful music career at that time, but who also had starring roles in films like Selena and The Cell. But she's still super hot years later, and, insanely enough, she celebrated her 50th birthday in 2019. "Listen, at some point, I'm going to age," she explained in an interview with Emmy magazine (via Billboard). "They'll say, 'She looks old!' But, right now, I'm holding it together."

That was especially evident in the 2019 film Hustlers in which Lopez played a stripper, and, boy, did she have a rocking bod, something her beau Alex Rodriguez has noticed. "The other day, Alex was across the lawn, and I brought him something, and then I ran away. And he said, 'You run like you're 25 years old,'" she continued. "I haven't stopped that pace, so I'm still at that pace, I guess. When things start aching more, it'll be different." Clearly, J.Lo is one actress who's older than most realize. Maybe it has to do with what Jennifer Lopez typically eats in a day.

Winona Ryder is an actress who's older than your realized... though she's timeless

If you're a member of Gen Z, you probably know Winona Ryder best from the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, in which she plays Joyce Byers. But if you're a part of Gen X, you likely remember when Ryder was front and center in all of the biggest films like Beetlejuice. In any case, it might surprise you that Ryder celebrated her 48th birthday in 2019, and she didn't mind it one bit. "I love getting older," she proclaimed in an interview with The Edit (via Today). "I think it has to do with always being the kid on set." She added that, while many people treat cosmetic surgery like hygiene, she's loving the new lines on her skin.

That's not to say that Ryder, one of many actresses who are older than you realized, is blind to the struggles of her peers. "I know actresses have a tough time because of their age — they're just not getting hired. I know it exists," she continued. "You're the girlfriend, then you're the mother. But I don't see it as a bad thing — it can be just as interesting, if not more so, than the leading-lady, ingenue phase."

Don't even try to guess actress Viola Davis' age

You wouldn't know it at all from looking at her, but Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis turned 50 in 2015. She won an Oscar for her work in 2016's Fences, 20 years after she started working in Hollywood — giving her two decades to cultivate her inner wisdom. "What's released me most from the fear of aging is self-awareness," she revealed in an interview with InStyle. "I've never determined my value based on my looks or anything physical. I've been through a lot in life, and what has gotten me through is strength of character and faith."

Viola Davis has had a stunning transformation and has also been open about finding success in Hollywood as an actress of color, something that hasn't always been easy. "For me, this is something you'll not see this year, last year, the year before that," she shared in a 2018 interview with The Guardian. "That is, a dark-skinned woman of color, at 53 years old, kissing Liam Neeson. Not just kissing a white man — Liam Neeson, a hunk. And kissing him sexually, romantically." We are so here for this!

Jennifer Aniston is pretty much ageless

While Jennifer Aniston, who is older than you realized, is best-known for her role as Rachel in the '90s hit sitcom Friends, the actress has also starred in a number of films and television shows — and she inspired the haircut that defined the '90s. Additionally, the veteran actress has some thoughts on turning 50, which she did in 2019. "Fifty was the first time I thought, 'Well, that number,'" she confessed in an interview with InStyle. "I don't know what it is because I don't feel any different. Things aren't shutting down in any way." What Jennifer Aniston typically eats in a day probably plays a part in her youthful appearance.

While some may bemoan the perils that come with reaching the half-century mark, Aniston isn't slowing down one bit. "I feel physically incredible," she continued. "So it's weird that it's all of a sudden getting telegraphed in a way that's like, 'You look amazing for your age.' I think we need to establish some etiquette around that dialogue and verbiage." We couldn't agree with you more, Jennifer! 

Actress Halle Berry is older than her fans likely know

It's hard to believe that Halle Berry turned 50 in 2016, 25 years after she broke out in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever, after which she went on to star opposite Eddie Murphy in Boomerang in 1992. And if there's one lesson that Berry has learned along the way in her groundbreaking career, it's to accept who you are, as you are. "Aging is natural, and that's going to happen to all of us," she proclaimed in an interview with Yahoo! Lifestyle. She noted, "I just want to always look like myself, even if that's an older version of myself. I think when you do too much of that cosmetic stuff, you become somebody else in a way."

To that end, Berry is not striving to be who she was — she'd rather keep her eye on who she can be in the future. "We have to stop wanting to look like that decade before," Berry, an actress who's older than you realized, continued. "We have to stop coveting that. Let it go and embrace it now and really be OK. It's easy to say, I guess, but that's the goal."

Who could put an age to Julianne Moore?

Take one look at Julianne Moore's impressive acting resume, and you know you're dealing with someone who's worked with the best and the brightest for over decades. From The Big Lebowski to Magnolia to The Hunger Games, Moore, who's older than you realized, has consistently shown that she's the best in the business. And given that she celebrated her 59th birthday in 2019 (who knew?!), she's also totally over the tired terms that are used describe mature women, like "women of a certain age." 

"I don't know where [the term] came from," she explained in an interview with Harper's Bazaar. "But I actually said to someone who used it recently, 'When you say that, it sounds like the age is so horrible you don't want to mention it.'" And she just can't get down with that line of thinking.

A lot of that is because, as Moore sees it, there's just no point in trying to hide how old you are. "We all know, especially now when everything is documented, how old everybody is and it doesn't really matter," she continued. "This idea where you can no longer mention age is archaic, so I'd like to get rid of that." Same!

Actress Renée Zellweger is definitely older than you realized

While Renée Zellweger, who's older than you realized, has been working as an actress since 1992, it was her breakthrough role in Jerry Maguire in 1996 that made her a household name. Since then, she has charmed audiences as Bridget Jones on multiple occasions, and completely wowed the world with her work as the famed actress Judy Garland in Judy. That said, after celebrating her 50th birthday in 2019, Zellweger definitely has some thoughts on aging in Hollywood. "I've never seen the maturation of a woman as a negative thing," she shared in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "I've never seen a woman stepping into her more powerful self as a negative."

Indeed, Zellweger is rightfully tired of being asked about what aging feels like to her, pointing out the blatant gender inequality plaguing the issue. "Why are we talking about how women look? Why do we value beauty over contribution?" she continued. "We don't seem to value beauty over contribution for men. It's simply not a conversation." She does have a point!

Lucy Liu has always looked young

When Lucy Liu started acting in the early '90s, she was mostly relegated to parts that were given to her because of her Asian heritage. But it didn't take long for Liu to break out of those roles and into big parts in films like Charlie's Angels.

Liu, who celebrated her 50th birthday in 2018, has always managed to look flawless, thanks in part to her beauty regimen. "I've really minimized my skin-care routine over the years," she revealed in a 2016 interview with E! News. "I used to do a lot of different things, but now I put coconut oil and Avène cream on my face and call it a night." Liu, who's older than you realized, also drinks tons of water.

Liu is also careful with her diet and exercise habits as well. "Aside from exercising, these days I'm eating really organic," she continued. "I'll even pass on something if I don't think it's organic. I'm doing that more now because I have a 1-year old son and it's important for me to feed him things that are fresh." She added that when she doesn't eat organic, it just makes her feel tired.

Sandra Bullock is one of many good-looking actresses who are older than you realized

Ever since audiences met Sandra Bullock in the 1994 blockbuster Speed, the actress, who's older than you realized, has been a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. After hitting the ground running for 20 years, Bullock snagged the honor of being named the most beautiful woman in the world by People magazine at age 50 in 2015 — a well-deserved honor. "I've embraced the inevitable. I really value my time now," she revealed in an interview with InStyle. "When I go back and think about all the times I spent climbing up a mountain and then looked down, I realize it wasn't even my hill to climb, you know?" 

As for what Bullock would do differently looking back? Not much, as it turns out. "I don't regret anything because in the process I was able to build my foundation and go, 'This is mine,'" she continued. "On my 50th birthday I was with a bunch of girlfriends in Jackson Hole, Wyo. I sat in a chair, and I looked at the Tetons, and I just went, 'Oh my god, I'm here.' And it was, like, this relief and this joy." That sounds totally serene.