Hollywood's Hottest Zaddies 40 And Under

While it is true that the term zaddy is often utilized to refer to an older man, it begets the question — older than whom? The reason why the term is typically associated with men of a certain age is because most people take a while to settle into themselves, but that is not to say that younger men can't have that je ne sais quoi that we associate with innate zaddiness. When it comes to our favorite zaddies, we care much more about the other criteria than chronological age. For example, do they have the natural charisma and allure required of a zaddy? Are they physically attractive, confident, and stylish? Those are the things that matter most.

Here we have accumulated a list of men aged 40 or younger who are already bonafide zaddies. They have the magnetism, self-assurance, and chicness required, and they are all major sex symbols in their own right. All of these guys are at least 30, save for one (because, well, Harry Styles) and all of them are at peak hotness. Like with our list of zaddies in their 40s and early 50s, we had to make some hard cuts — sorry to Jeremy Allen White, Jared Padelecki, Henry Cavill, and all of the others we could not include — because Hollywood is swimming with men who could qualify for this list. Here are our picks for Hollywood's absolutely hottest zaddies aged 40 and under, in no particular order.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson is a zaddy who keeps getting hotter

Aaron Taylor-Johnson started acting as a child but started to become a bigger name when he appeared in "Nowhere Boy," "Savages," and "Kick-Ass 2." Then he appeared in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and won a Golden Globe for "Nocturnal Animals" and became an international star. In his early 30s, Taylor-Johnson might be on the younger end of the zaddy spectrum, but he has an older air about him. Just ask his wife, Sam Taylor-Johnson, who is in her 50s and has been with the actor since he was 18 or 19. We certainly see the appeal, given how handsome and enchanting the actor is — especially nowadays. In 2014, Buzzfeed traced Taylor-Johnson's transformation from average to hot but it turns out there was room to get even sexier because 2023 Taylor-Johnson is on fire.

Taylor-Johnson has long been regarded as one of Hollywood's most fashionable men — he was named one of GQ's "50 Best Dressed Men in Britain" — and now makes waves with his risk-taking choices. Take the "Bullet Train" press tour, for example. British GQ went gaga when he wore a low-cut vest underneath a purple suit and Tom + Lorenzo praised three of his Saint Laurent outfits, all of them with funky patterns, bold jewelry, and an abundance of man-cleavage (praise all the deities for Taylor-Johnson's dislike of top buttons). With a rocking body and an arguably even hotter face, it is no wonder that Taylor-Johnson has confidence in spades.

We get Ryan Murphy's obsession with Finn Wittrock

Finn Wittrock is a superbly talented actor, so we are sure he would have found mainstream success eventually. But we certainly appreciate Ryan Murphy for helping to accelerate Wittrock's climb to fame — and for giving him multiple roles that showcase his zaddiness, like his work in "The Normal Heart," "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story," "Ratched," and many seasons of "American Horror Story." "There was a moment way at the end of the shoot when I was being lowered into a glass tank in my tighty-whities, and they had to get a rigging apparatus under my underwear that made me look like I was floating in water," Wittrock told Variety about the "Freak Show" season of "American Horror Story." "And I thought, 'This is not the sort of thing I thought I'd be doing when I auditioned for drama school.'" Again, thanks Ryan Murphy!

As he noted in an interview with Out, Wittrock likes to take on atypical roles. "I'm often tapped for parts that are tortured characters, either physically or emotionally," he said. "I'm definitely drawn to extremes, and to things away from my own personality — places I can push myself further than I have before." But Wittrock can make even the most messed up characters seem sexy, and that is because he himself has zaddy presence and energy. With his perfect hair, smile, and bone structure, he also has the looks. His offscreen style has earned him notice from countless fashion outlets.

Henry Golding's zaddiness is helping redefine Asian men in movies

Some actors toil for years in bit parts or small projects that fail to get them noticed by the mainstream. This was not the case for Henry Golding, who shot to worldwide fame with his starring role in 2018's "Crazy Rich Asians." Golding had mostly worked as a television host prior to the film, but his turn as romantic lead Nick Young completely changed his path. It also changed the way Hollywood viewed Asian men and the kinds of films in which they belong. "You can have Asians being leading men that are sex symbols," Golding told InStyle. A sex symbol is exactly what Golding has become, thanks in large part to his charm and in large part to his aesthetic.

Let's start with the basics: the man is gorgeous. "Sure, Henry Golding Is Hot, but Have You Seen Him Shirtless?," PopSugar asked alongside a selection of photos that could melt a popsicle, while Buzzfeed crafted their own piece entitled, "Henry Golding Is So Handsome It Hurts, And Here Are The Photos To Prove It." Beyond the face, bod, and hair, Golding is a master at dressing sharp, with his love of luxury watches and willingness to think outside the box in terms of patterns, colors, and textures. His style has been praised by outlets such as GQ India, who called him "a bonafide fashion god." In 2022, Golding was listed on SheKnow's list of hot Hollywood daddies — but we prefer to think of him as zaddy.

Harry Styles is the biggest zaddy in music today

In August 2022, Rolling Stone ran a cover story on Harry Styles — titled "How Harry Styles Became the World's Most Wanted Man" — that caused waves when they labeled him the new "King of Pop." We are not going to debate his royal title, but we are going to praise Styles for being a gargantuan zaddy. He has the kind of charisma that money can't buy, coupled with a raw sexual magnetism that, again, money can't buy. Styles has so much confidence that he could very well be arrogant, but he is not. His intense swagger is always coupled with a down-to-earth personality and a winning sense of humor.

Then there are the looks. Whether he wears his hair long or short, Styles' locks always get major attention — as does his cheeky smile, cute dimples, sparkly eyes, and fit torso. But nothing gets more attention than Styles's wardrobe, which is filled with boas, sequins, jumpsuits, lace, velvet, and everything else befitting a global superstar. In 2019, American GQ called Styles "an unstoppable fashion force," and three years later, the British version of the magazine said, "Harry Styles is the best-dressed musician in the world." His outfits have been praised by just about every other publication out there, including many well-known fashion bibles. Vogue UK has also credited Styles with creating a number of fashion trends, including ushering in the era of pearl necklaces for men and having a hand in the return of palazzo pants.

Richard Madden is a true zaddy heartthrob

According to Men's Health, Richard Madden's famous pals made fun of him when he posted a shameless thirst trap — a shirtless selfie on a hike in the mountains — to Instagram in February 2020. We, on the other hand, thank the kind man for his generosity in blessing the Internet with his half-clothed perfection. Madden achieved worldwide fame as part of the "Game of Thrones" ensemble, after which he cemented his leading man status with roles in projects such as "Cinderella," Rocketman," and "Bodyguard," a miniseries for which he won a Golden Globe Award in 2019. While he is not an attention-seeking celebrity, Madden's natural good looks and mysterious but charming vibe have made him tabloid fodder. Because of this, the actor told The New York Times that he often wears the same basic clothing for a few days at a time so that paparazzi cannot use the photos.

When you look like Madden, it does not really matter what you wear. Still, Madden once rocked a GQ shoot's fashions so well that it sparked James Bond casting rumors. He also looks mighty good in his advertisements for Calvin Klein's Defy fragrance, but largely thanks to his Disney prince jaw, pouty lips, bright blue eyes, and one of the best heads of hair in current day Tinseltown. "These Richard Madden Pictures Are So Hot, They'll Set Your Heart on Fire," wrote PopSugar in early 2019, while Ranker has a whole list devoted to Madden's hottest pics.

Taron Egerton is a zaddy just like his Rocketman co-star

Richard Madden was not the only zaddy to appear in the film "Rocketman," because actor Taron Egerton, who played the great Elton John himself, is similarly hot and charismatic. In fact, Egerton may even be more enigmatic, and a great example of that is his Buzzfeed Celeb "thirst tweets" video, where he reacts to sexy fan tweets with an adorable self-assurance. He also made us feel things when he danced half-naked to the Bee Gees in his Instagram stories, which was both sexy and hilariously goofy. His confidence is so established that he just doesn't care about looking silly, which makes him even hotter.

It helps that Egerton is stunning — and no dance or joke could ever take that away. While Pride.com has an amazing gallery of Egerton's hottest, mostly shirtless photos, the actor also looks fantastic all done up. In November 2019, British GQ published an article on his best suit moments in celebration of the star's 30th birthday, and only a handful of months earlier, Esquire UK wrote about "Why Taron Egerton's Eclectic Wardrobe Is Revitalizing The Red Carpet." Even his airport style has gotten props from fashion sites like Esquire, and that is saying something. Years before his big breakthrough with "Rocketman," Buzzfeed published a piece outlining "9 Reasons Why Taron Egerton Should Be The Man Of Your Dreams." Since then, he has evolved from handsome young up-and-comer to genuine Hollywood zaddy and we are here for it.

Chris Hemsworth is the zaddiest in a family of zaddies

Really, we could have included any Hemsworth on this list — yup, even lesser-known Luke! — but we had to go with the one who reigns supreme in terms of zaddydom, and that is Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth. Hemsworth was famous in his native Australia before achieving international success with "Thor," and all of the character's subsequent appearances in Marvel films. His other projects include "Snow White and the Huntsman" and "Rush," two other films that capitalize on Hemsworth's innate bravado and almost inhuman level of attractiveness. Hemsworth more than earned his spot on Harper's Bazaar's list of the all-time most beautiful men, and his title of "Sexiest Man Alive," bestowed on him by People in 2014.

Hemsworth is widely regarded as a top Hollywood zaddy. Jezebel has called him a zaddy, while other publications have crafted galleries of his hottest pictures. With his flowing blond locks, deep blue eyes, and muscled bod — oh, the muscles — Hemsworth could wear whatever he wants and still look good. That said, he has established himself as a style icon and received attention from the likes of many top magazines, such as GQ, who titled one Hemsworth gallery as "The Clothes That Make the Manliness." Hemsworth's presence is so captivating that he even riles people up when they can't see him. Case in point: Refinery29 published an article praising Hemsworth's sexiness in the oddest of places — his guided meditation recordings for children.

Chace Crawford is a major zaddy nowadays

We first fell in love with Chace Crawford when he played Nate Archibald on the original "Gossip Girl," and it is hard to believe that it has been a decade and a half since the show made its debut on The CW. Crawford was gorgeous and lovable back then, but we have been pleasantly surprised by how his swagger and style have developed through the years. Nowadays, Crawford stars on "The Boys," and though his character is super creepy and once had sexual relations with an octopus, even that could not ruin him for us. Even before the show premiered, fans were losing their minds over promo photos where Crawford's character The Deep appeared in a skintight suit highlighting his muscular arms, plump butt, and giant bulge.

Nate Archibald would never have matured into a zaddy, but Chace Crawford is another story. Physically, he has it all — the perfect face, the washboard abs, and (now that he is playing a superhero) giant arms that make us want an invite to the gun show. Crawford is also quite fashionable, which is probably why he was chosen to model evening wear for high-end fashion company Mr. Porter back in 2012. In 2019, PopSugar published a gallery that declared, "These Hot Photos of Chace Crawford Will Reignite Your Gossip Girl Crush" — but that is misleading because ours never went away. It simply intensified as Crawford morphed into his fully realized zaddy form.

Charles Melton is a modelesque zaddy dream

"Riverdale" star Charles Melton began his professional career as a model, dropping out of school (where he was a star football player) to get into show business. One look at him and it is clear why he worked for brands such as Dolce & Gabbana and Kenneth Cole. In the last few years, he has also been the face of Balmain and Boss campaigns. Melton's wavy hair and luscious lips are divine, but it is his immaculate cheekbones that belong in a museum. Melton's facial beauty is coupled with a fit body, and he has the self-assured attitude that conveys he knows how hot he is. While he can at times come off a little smug, Melton's sexual energy and vibrant personality have made him a hit with fans.

Plus, we would be smug too if the world was running headlines about us like PopSugar's "Charles Melton Is So Attractive, He's Practically Hotter Than the Sun" and WWD's "Charles Melton Gets Fans Swooning Outside Valentino Show." Melton obviously loves the attention, and multiple news outlets have noted his love of posting thirst traps. Melton's zaddy status is cemented by his style, which is at times bold and boundary-pushing. He has been photographed in everything from a head-to-toe hot pink formal ensemble to a belted suit jacket with no shirt underneath. You know what they say — if you've got it, flaunt it.

Jonathan Bailey is another sexy British zaddy

There are a lot of guys from the United Kingdom on this list, and though we don't know why they produce so many top-level zaddies, we are not complaining about the selection of hotties coming from England, Scotland, and Wales. Jonathan Bailey is one such hottie, a zaddy that reached a new level of fame when he began appearing as oldest brother Anthony Bridgerton on Netflix's smash hit "Bridgerton." Bailey was already moderately famous at home thanks to his work on British television and in the theater, but "Bridgerton" was such a phenomenon that he was noticed by everyone and their grandmother.

Though he softens in Season 2, Bailey's "Bridgerton" character is rather arrogant and can be prickly. The actor, however, seems to be both confident and down-to-earth, with a lovely demeanor and sense of humor that shines through in interviews. He is also quite attractive, as Queerty noted with their piece, "Time to salute Jonathan Bailey, the sexy gay actor playing Bridgerton's straight hunk." Out has also published a gallery of steamy Bailey photos, and it is not just queer media that has taken an interest in the actor. Fashion magazines have all published features on Bailey, with particular attention to his stylishness and charisma. Though GQ noted that Bailey is now a sex symbol, the handsome actor is not into the idea. "Any actor who thinks they're a sex symbol? Cringe," he told the magazine in response to the label.

Regé-Jean Page nearly screams zaddy

We strive for variety on lists like this, so we do not love including another "Bridgerton" actor, but if you have seen Regé-Jean Page speak, act, or even stand there in a picture, you know why we had to include him. We won't go so far as to say the actor was the main reason for the initial success of "Bridgerton," but he was certainly a factor. And while his character on the show had tons of swagger and style, Page has since proven he shares those same qualities — which is why he was tapped to be the face of an Armani's fragrance, Code, a brand ambassador for high-end watch company Longines, and luxury car brand Audi. "Page interprets and explores the nuances of a gentle, profound masculinity that is not ostentatious or showy," said Georgio Armani (via Us Weekly).

That he is being associated with extravagance and stylishness is not surprising, seeing as how Page has become somewhat of a fashionisto. He looks so good in a tuxedo that GQ suggested him as James Bond after one red carpet outing. Even more than his clothing, Page's physical attractiveness has captured the media's attention. Sexy photo galleries of the actor have popped up everywhere online. A "Bridgerton" director named Julie Ann Robinson told Deadline she never saw the actor "as a sex symbol" — but, you know, she's wrong. According to a scientific study using face-mapping software, Page's face is nearly perfect.

Michael B. Jordan is one of the top zaddies in Hollywood

Michael B. Jordan is so highly regarded as a smoking hot zaddy that his absence from our list would be almost criminal. People magazine's 2020 "Sexiest Man Alive," Jordan is a talented actor who has been named by The New York Times as one of "The 25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century." Beyond that, Jordan has rocked fans with his infectious charisma and charming allure. Hot galleries of the actor can also be found across the internet, and Hello Beautiful once published an article entitled "5 Times Michael B. Jordan Was Our Bae" (but we are willing to fight for him).

Over the course of his career — which really took off after "Fruitvale Station" but skyrocketed after "Creed" and "Black Panther" — Jordan has become not only a sex symbol but also a style icon. In fact, PopSugar suggested that it is his fashion sense that helps make Jordan as studly as he is, and Men's Health has traced his style's evolution from average to top-tier Hollywood level. British GQ has called Jordan — who loves patterns, knitwear, and knee-length coats — "a style king," and Insider has said Jordan is "pushing menswear forward." Jordan is a mammoth zaddy and a full-on sex symbol, but he has not let it get to his head. "I'm just trying to mature and develop as a man and as an actor, in front of the screen and behind, so it's cool. I'm handling it okay," he told ET in 2017.

Andrew Garfield has that zaddy fashion sense and swagger

Andrew Garfield is almost 40, but somehow seems a decade younger. And sure, he still has boyish good looks, but it is more his overall exuberance and the joy he radiates that make him seem youthful. For as young as Garfield can come off, he also has massive swagger and an increasingly great sense of style, both of which land him squarely in the zaddy category. Throw in his magnetic allure and a very nice body and you have a winning combination. In a piece on "unlikely sex symbols" for The Guardian, Garfield confessed to always having been a skinny guy who could not get cast in certain roles. Now that he has become slightly beefier and aged up, the Oscar-nominated actor has no trouble landing romantic lead parts.

Garfield, who has been acting for going on two decades, first scored success with "The Social Network" before shooting to higher fame two years later when he starred in "The Amazing Spider-Man." With roles in films such as "Hacksaw Ridge" and "Tick, Tick,...Boom!," Garfield has proven himself one of the best actors of his generation. He is also one of the most stylish, as noted by various outlets. Garfield is so charming and hot that even journalists have gone viral for not being able to control their flirting.

Riz Ahmed is a suave and sexy zaddy

Though he is certainly famous — thanks in large part to his Oscar-nominated role in "Sound of Metal" and his Emmy-winning one in "The Night Of" — Riz Ahmed deserves to be an even bigger star than he already is. After all, he is not only supremely talented, but he is also a total snack. Splinter News has referred to Ahmed as a "social justice zaddy," which is a term we adore for the actor. His hotness is matched by his philanthropic efforts, which focus on promoting equality. Take, for example, his work on Muslim media inclusion, or his rallying for Syrian refugee kids. So, now that we have established that Ahmed is a really good person, let's get back to the important stuff — his looks.

The Internet needs more galleries like PopSugar's "16 Photos of Riz Ahmed Being the Total Dreamboat He Is," but we have plenty of examples of articles focused on his chicness. His red carpet choices have been praised by both The New York Times and Vogue, and his general stylishness observed various fashion publications. He looks great out of clothing as well, as comedian Joel Kim Booster noted when he tweeted a photo of a shirtless Ahmed drumming in a screen capture from "Sound of Metal." "Riz Ahmed is so hot I can smell this picture," Kim Booster wrote. To totally rip off Nirvana, Ahmed probably smells like zaddy spirit.

Jamie Dornan is 50 shades of zaddy

Given the popularity of the books and the nature of the subject matter, there was unsurprisingly a lot of interest in who would be cast to play Christian Grey in "50 Shades of Grey." All sorts of names were thrown around — including Charlie Hunnam, Ryan Gosling, and Ian Somerhalder – but in the end, we think the zaddy who got the role was the best choice. Without Jamie Dornan being cast in the part, the model-turned-actor may never have realized the level of fame he has come to know. And that means that many of us may never have realized how swelteringly hot he is, which would have been a huge loss for humanity. Yes, he is that hot. Dornan's acclaimed work in "Belfast" proved he has serious acting chops, too.

But we know that acting skill was not the main criteria for "50 Shades of Grey," and Dornan's physical appeal was likely a huge asset. Per ABC News, Dornan has said he does not understand his "sex symbol status," but it feels pretty clear to us. Scorching photo galleries of the actor are posted all over, and even the Irish news site LoveBelfast has a gallery devoted to Dornan's hunkiness (our favorite is Buzzfeed's "Not To Be Dramatic, But This Jamie Dornan Post Might Make You Pregnant"). Dornan's raw sexual energy is demonstrable, whether he is shirtless or in a three-piece suit. In fact, his clothing has garnered him raves from countless fashion outlets.

Austin Butler's zaddiness helped him play Elvis

Elvis Presley is most certainly amongst the world's most famous zaddies to have ever lived, and the only way an actor could fill those shoes is if he too had something truly special. Austin Butler has won rave reviews (and many awards) for his work in "Elvis," which has prompted many fans to remark upon the actor's own zaddiness. Butler's got the looks, style, and swagger of a true zaddy, and we are not shocked that he is a newly minted heartthrob. He is especially popular amongst the younger crowd, with teen publications like j-14 making posts such as "Austin Butler's Hottest 'Elvis' Press Tour Moments Will Leave You Shook."

But it's not just the kids who are into Butler, as demonstrated through photo galleries in older-skewing forums. One of the charismatic actor's most zaddy-like qualities is his elegant fashion sense. In June 2022, the world's best known fashion magazine Vogue claimed, "Austin Butler's 'Elvis' Press Tour Style Is Menswear Minimalism Done Right," something that Esquire UK affirmed in their own piece about his simple but stylish choices. Butler's look has gotten him noticed by fashion marketers as well, and he has been the face of campaigns for luxury brands such as Prada and Cartier. His continuous choice to use an "Elvis" voice post-filming may be causing some debate, but there is no debating that Butler's a big-time zaddy.

We were not expecting Dev Patel to turn into a zaddy

Dev Patel achieved worldwide fame when he starred in the 2008 film "Slumdog Millionaire," his first movie project. We could never have anticipated then that the cute but slightly dorky Patel would one day mature into a prime zaddy. Patel's other credits include the television series "Skins," and films such as "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" and "Lion" (for which he earned an Academy Award nomination). By the time of "Lion," Patel had gained a sexy confidence and compelling allure that would be hard to resist. He looked great too, and when People published an article entitled, "Photographic Evidence Oscar Nominee Dev Patel Has Always Been Hot," we realized we should not have been so surprised.

Nowadays, consensus is that Patel is a major stud. He was named on Harper's Bazaar's list of the all-time sexiest men, has been a Vogue #MCM (Man Crush Monday) pick, and had a whole article in The Cut devoted to his luscious mane. His stylistic choices have also garnered a lot of press coverage, especially in British publications. In 2017, Vanity Fair celebrated Patel's red carpet fashions, while GQ covered his streetwear around the same time. Clearly, Patel looks good no matter what the setting or mood. When he appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in 2017, DeGeneres jokingly made a plea for Patel to be named People's "Sexiest Man Alive." Time to get on that, right?

Sebastian Stan is a fiery and fun zaddy

For a man who is so darn handsome, Sebastian Stan has a playfulness about him that we love. Buzzfeed has even crafted a whole list of his best funny Instagram posts. Of course, they also have a gallery of his sexiest photos — as do many other outlets. Men's Health has covered the workouts Stan used to get ripped, and that jacked body has made waves across the Internet, in large part thanks to the virality of Stan's own Instagram thirst traps. There is a hilarious TikTok video of Stan saying his thirst traps are "conservative," but we have to politely disagree and offer some evidence. We are certainly not complaining, and neither are most fans, many of whom were thrilled when the actor bared tons of skin in "Pam & Tommy" and "Monday."

Stan is so physically attractive that it has prompted not one, but two artists to create coloring books based on his likeness. His style is also impeccable, with British Esquire highlighting his love of a wide-leg trouser and GQ UK calling his fashion sense "boy next door meets Hollywood." Stan can wear a classic tux extremely well, but he is also not afraid to rock a vibrant pink Valentino look at the Met Gala or a bright red-orange suit with a brown leather shirt for a "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" appearance. Those kinds of choices take confidence, and Stan actually has the swagger to pull them off.

Drake went from Degrassi to Zaddyville

We cannot pinpoint an exact year for Drake's transformation from plain ole' dude to zaddy, but it happened somewhere along the way. Drake has been in the public eye since he was a teen actor on the Canadian show "Degrassi," but it is his rapping and not his acting that made him a worldwide star. He holds a variety of world records and as of 2022, is the artist with the third highest number of #1 albums on Billboard's Top 200. But we are not here to discuss Drake's rapping, we are here to make the case for his big zaddy energy. And yes, he has it — that unteachable quality that mixes sexuality, charisma, confidence, and style into a ball and spits it out as some sort of secret zaddy sauce. 

The Daily Beast has called Drake the "thirstiest" rapper out there, but most fans are not complaining. Hollywood Life has noted that fan response to Drake's sexy Instagram photos often includes the word "zaddy," and proved that there is absolutely a market for Drake's hot workout photos and shirtless selfies. One single shirtless workout pic caused such a stir that Buzzfeed published a whole post dissecting it, and E! News once wrote that "People Are So Thirsty for Shirtless Drake It's Actually Impacting Their Lives." Unsurprisingly, Drake holds a place on Harper's Bazaar's list of "The 50 Hottest Men of All Time," and "Drake when he's bearded and in the gym" landed on Jezebel's 2017 list of zaddies.

Zac Efron went from hot to hello, zaddy

Zac Efron first scored international attention when he appeared as a teenage jock in "High School Musical," and subsequent roles in films like "Hairspray" and "17 Again" cemented his heartthrob status. But then, the dude got hotter — significantly so. In 2017, Elle published an article entitled "When Did Zac Efron Get So Hot? An Investigation," and in 2020, Bolde wrote, "We Need To Talk About Zac Efron's New Level Of Hotness." The zaddy tipping point may have been around 2016, which is when more publications started highlighting Efron's growing muscles amidst his more sexualized roles in "Dirty Grandpa, "Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates," and especially "Baywatch." "You'll Definitely Need CPR After Seeing These Shirtless Zac Efron Photos," wrote PopSugar, while E! News declared, "Zac Efron Shows Shirtless Body on Baywatch Set and It's Almost Too Hot to Handle."

In 2020, Efron grew a beard and launched a Netflix travel series, which increased thirst for him even further. Articles like iHeart's "Zac Efron's 10 Hottest 'Zaddy' Memes From 'Down To Earth,'" and Yahoo!'s "These Zac Efron Memes Prove He's Been a Zaddy For Over a Decade" were suddenly everywhere — a true service to society. In 2022 — shortly after revealing to the press that a bad accident had changed his face shape – Efron said in an interview with ET that he had no idea what "zaddy" meant. "Is 'Zaddy' not Zac Daddy, or what is it?," he cutely asked. It's not, but it might as well be.