Celebs Who Look Just Like They Did As Teens

If you're a celebrity, you might "pay your surgeon very well to break the spell of aging," as the Red Hot Chili Peppers so eloquently put it. Part of living the "Californication" dream is appearing to age unnaturally slow because, in Hollywood, there will apparently always be a demand for 30-something actors who can pass for being teenagers. But sometimes, plastic surgery drastically changes a star's appearance rather than freezing time, and plastic surgery blunders abound in Tinseltown. Taking the risk of going under the knife can also put a celebrity's career at risk if the results turn out badly.

Unfortunately, the pressure to halt the inevitable is powerful in Hollywood. Of why she decided to get fillers, "And Just Like That..." star Kristin Davis told The Telegraph, "It's hard to be confronted with your younger self at all times. And it's a challenge to remember that you don't have to look like that."

But as we're all well aware, life just simply isn't fair, and time just seems to have stopped for some lucky stars. Their signs of aging are so minimal that they're easy to overlook, and if they've had work done to smooth their brows or erase crow's feet, it's impossible to tell. Whether they have their genes, surgeons, or a combination of both to thank for their looks, these stars could still pass for being teens.

America Ferrera doesn't want Barbie's forever youth

It's hard to believe that America Ferrera wasn't cast as one of the fantastic, plastic dolls who remain perpetually young in the "Barbie" movie. (But as a harried human mom and Mattel employee who adores Barbie, she does get to deliver that fantastic monologue.) Ferrera was 17 when she filmed the 2002 Disney Channel movie "Gotta Kick It Up!" and soon afterward, she scored her breakthrough role in "Real Women Have Curves." By age 19, she was already playing slightly younger than her real age; her character in "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," Carmen Lowell, is a high schooler.

If Ferrera possesses a pair of magical pants in real life, we suspect that their power is eternal youth, as she still looks like she could play young Carmen. But for some reason, the "Superstore" superstar seems to believe that her days of playing a high schooler are behind her — not that she minds. "I think for women the roles get deeper, more complex and less superficial as they age," she told the Independent. "I wouldn't ever want to start going backwards. I feel I've earned it and I'm owning it." We will give her that — she might still possess her flawless baby face, but there's a lot of wisdom behind those warm, brown eyes after over two decades in showbiz.

We're clueless about how Paul Rudd looks so ageless

While one of Paul Rudd's first major roles was in one of the biggest teen movies of the '90s, he doesn't play a high schooler in "Clueless." It sorta gives us the "ick" that his character is in college while his love interest is just 16 (and there's also that whole stepsibling thing), but Rudd continues to charm viewers in the treasured classic — and shock them by looking exactly the same as he did in the film.

Rudd was able to pull off playing a teenager at age 32 when he starred in the 2001 comedy "Wet Hot American Summer," but because he didn't start acting until he was in his 20s, there aren't a ton of photos of Rudd floating around as a teen. There's his yearbook photo from Shawnee Mission West High School in Kansas, and guess what? The "Ant-Man" star hasn't changed a bit since then, save for the mullet he was rocking back in the day. When asked about his everlasting youth at the 2019 Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, he quipped, "I'm 80 years old on the inside," per the Chicago Tribune. As the then-49-year-old pointed at his body, he added, "In here, pure darkness — and a little moisturizer."

But when Rudd spoke to Men's Health about aging in 2023, he revealed that his biggest secret is something we can all get behind: "Sleep." (Maybe he does it in a coffin or something?)

Anne Hathaway has inexplicably experienced ageism

If Anne Hathaway were to film a shot-by-shot remake of "The Princess Diaries" today, we'd totally buy her playing a teen who discovers that she's a future queen — even though Hathaway is old enough to be Mia Thermopolis' mother. You probably can't help but notice that Hathaway has clear, porcelain skin much like the royals of old who shunned sunlight. In 2022, the actor's facialist, Su-Man, confirmed to Net-a-Porter that one of Hathaway's skincare secrets is keeping UV rays away from her pale complexion. "My clients who avoid the sun have flawless skin. That said, we do need the sun, not least because it makes us happy. Choose the time you spend in the sun carefully and always wear SPF," she said. So, now you know one thing you absolutely must pack when you vacay in Genovia.

Despite her delicate treatment of her dermis paying off so handsomely, Hathaway has experienced ageism. "When I was in my early twenties, parts would be written for women in their fifties and I would get them," she told Glamour UK in 2015. "And now I'm in my early thirties and I'm like, 'Why did that 24-year-old get that part?' I was that 24-year-old once, I can't be upset about it, it's the way things are." But while discussing her role in the psychological thriller "Eileen" at Sundance in 2023, she expressed delight that her age didn't preclude her from getting the part (via AP).

We'd be happy if we aged like Pharrell Williams

The Neptunes' rise to fame began in 1990 when Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo teamed up as teens. Per the band's website, producer Teddy Riley discovered the duo at a talent show at Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach. If he wanted to now, Williams could probably return to his alma mater and sneakily enter its talent show again, thus beginning another life cycle as an energy vampire who thrives off of positive vibes.

It should come as no shock that his products rapidly sold out when Williams released his gender-neutral skincare line, Humanrace, in 2020. The "Happy" hitmaker told Oprah Daily that the line was based on his own skincare routine, but he believes that his spry skin isn't just the result of strictly adhering to said routine for two decades. When Women's Wear Daily asked him to spill his anti-aging secrets in 2022, the singer said that lotions, potions, and a good dermatologist are part of it, but added, "I would say it is genetics, it's environmental and it's dietary."

Williams insisted that he does have wrinkles, saying, "I happen to be one of those people, I think wrinkles are beautiful." But he also believes that there might be some truth to an oft-repeated rhyming stereotype about how Black people age in comparison to those with pale complexions. "When you look at the truth, melanated skin is inherently beautiful," he told Oprah Daily.

Reese Witherspoon certainly isn't withering away

Reese Witherspoon was 14 years old when her Hollywood career kicked off with the 1991 coming-of-age movie "The Man in the Moon," and she was still playing teen characters when she starred in the 1999 films "Election" and "Cruel Intentions." But while she can pull off playing characters much younger than her actual age (What, like it's hard?), Witherspoon claims that the signs of aging are there. She's just embraced them, which may explain why the rest of us overlook them when we're admiring her bright blue eyes, gleaming smile, and cherubic cheeks. "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, and ... I just feel like I earned that gray hair and my fine lines," she told Allure in 2019. "I like 'em. I so prefer 43 to 25."

But even in person, those supposed lines and grays must not be too noticeable. (She's telling some big little lies, is what we're saying.) In a 2021 interview with InStyle, she revealed that people have mistaken her for Ava Phillippe, the daughter she shares with her ex (and "Cruel Intentions" co-star), Ryan Phillippe. "It makes me feel so young," said Witherspoon. "... She really rolls with it. I'm sure it's not easy looking exactly like your mother." Um, but what if your mom looks like Reese frickin' Witherspoon?!

Usher ages nice & slow

In March 2023, a viral tweet with side-by-side photos of Usher Raymond IV taken 18 years apart had everyone agreeing: Yeah! He doesn't age. Usher acknowledged this well-deserved recognition himself by tweeting, "Ain't much changed," along with a winking face emoji.

The man immortalized in that beloved "watch this" meme has been a mainstay in the music world since releasing his debut album at age 15, and he still hadn't reached his twenties when he dropped his multi-platinum album "My Way" in 1997. He's also dabbled in acting. When Usher played boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard in the movie "Hands of Stone" at age 35, an incredulous Leonard said to Cigar Aficionado, "He had an eight-pack. I only ever had a six-pack. He was cut up big time."

At age 44, Usher was bringing that same youthful energy on display in his 1997 "My Way" music video faceoff with Tyrese Gibson to his "My Way" Vegas residency. "I don't really get tired, because I'm doing what I actually love doing. I find that energy that brings me through it," he told GQ in a 2023 interview centered on the show. But Usher doesn't just possess the powers of agelessness and boundless energy; simply by uttering the words "It's seven o'clock on the dot," he can make an entire generation feel like teens again.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt's appearance will throw you for a looper

Joseph Gordon-Levitt played the younger version of Bruce Willis' character in the movie "Looper," but it's hard to imagine Gordon-Levitt ever resembling the "Die Hard" star, seeing as how he appears unchanged since his "3rd Rock from the Sun" days.

Gordon-Levitt has been acting since he was a child, landing one of his first major roles at age 13 in the Disney film "Angels in the Outfield." He went on to star in the teen comedy "10 Things I Hate About You," pursue filmdom's most frustrating manic pixie dream girl in "500 Days of Summer," and deal with a cancer diagnosis in "50/50." (He seems drawn to movies with numbers in the title.) He looks so young that it's apparently hard for filmmakers to imagine the real-life dad as a character with kids; after he starred in the 2019 movie "7500," he told The Hollywood Reporter, "It was the first time I've ever played a father."

While Gordon-Levitt's appearance might provide him with opportunities to play a wide range of characters of different ages, he believes that his sex also has something to do with his career longevity. Speaking to the Independent in 2022, he acknowledged that women in Hollywood have it harder. "The prejudice certainly favors men in that regard, which is highly problematic, for sure," he said. "I'm 41 and there's still plenty of roles for me but there's certainly fewer roles for women as they get into their forties."

Bianca Lawson is a perpetual teen TV queen

Bianca Lawson has believably played a teen for longer than most other actors. While she didn't play a forever-young vampire in the "Twilight" movies, Beyoncé's former stepsister seems to be a real-life member of the Cullen's teen coven. However, Lawson's character in a 1997 episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" was a vampire slayer, and she portrayed a witch in "The Vampire Diaries." But what she may be most famous for is playing teen characters in multiple series and movies spanning nearly two decades.

Lawson was actually in her teens when she starred in "Saved by the Bell: The New Class" from 1993 to 1994, but by the time she appeared in the movie "Save the Last Dance," she was in her twenties. She played a teen again in "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" eight years later, and Lawson was 31 when she started playing Maya on "Pretty Little Liars." Of the role, she confessed to BuzzFeed, "I remember thinking, '16? I don't know, 16 is a little bit young,' but I loved the character."

As far as how she feels about the numerous observations about her incredible ability to keep playing an adolescent, Lawson told Glamour, "I don't want to fall into the trap of unconsciously trying to hold on to my youth because I can't. I'm aging and getting older, which is a beautiful thing." Could her healthy perspective on aging actually be connected to her fresh-faced appearance?

Will Smith is the fresh-faced Prince of Bel-Air

Will Smith was 18 when he dropped his first single with Jazzy Jeff, "Girls Ain't Nothing but Trouble," and he was in his early twenties when he began playing a high schooler on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." It's wild that the rapper who once lamented that "parents just don't understand" now has three adult children of his own — especially when he could throw on a neon snapback and a Walkman right now and look like he was ready to hop in that stinky cab with dice in the mirror.

While it might be surprising that the younger clone of his character in the 2019 movie "Gemini Man" was computer-generated instead of just played by Smith himself, it does make sense; there had to be some way for moviegoers to differentiate between the two. "It's not de-aging, it's not me," Smith told Extra. "... It's the first-ever digital human."

According to Smith, he almost feels as youthful as he looks. Of being in his 50s, he told the PA news agency (via Yahoo! News), "It's interesting, other than my back and my knees, this is the best time of my life." As a quinquagenarian, he hopped on the Gen Z trend of being a content creator and began acting like an uninhibited teen again. He told GQ in a 2021 interview, "It just became the f***-it 50s, and I gave myself the freedom to do whatever I wanted to do."

Thomas Brodie-Sangster looks younger than he actually is

TikTokers are obsessed with former child star Thomas Brodie-Sangster's boyish visage. You might recognize him as the adorably impish little boy who played the stepson of Liam Neeson's character in the 2003 romantic dramedy "Love Actually." He was 12 years old at the time and only five years younger than his co-star, Keira Knightley, a factoid that always stuns social media users when they learn it. In response to a viral tweet about the age difference, one person wrote, "And they haven't aged ever since."

Well, Brodie-Sangster has aged since then, but time seemingly pressed pause once he hit his teen years; he was 24 when he played Thomas Cromwell's 15-year-old ward, Rafe Sadler, in "Wolf Hall." While some people would be delighted to look much younger than their age, "The Queen's Gambit" star told Wylde that it has its downsides — such as being unable to purchase beer when he doesn't have his ID on him. "I'm like: 'I'm 25!' So it's a bit annoying," he said. "And in school, growing up, all the girls in my class who I wanted to appeal to thought I was 'cute'! So it's pissed me off from time to time."

Despite his irritation with being treated like he's younger than he is, Brodie-Sangster remains a kid at heart. After he turned 30, he told Mr Porter, "Life can sometimes feel make-believe but you make-believe along with it to make it feel more fun." 

Hilary Duff seems to be getting younger

Hilary Duff doesn't play the character who is lying about her age in "Younger," but she could easily bring back the blunt bangs, put some butterfly clips in her hair, and resume shooting "Lizzie McGuire" right where the show left off (forget that scrapped revival set in the boring grown-up world).

Duff's faithful (and furious) fans had to remind everyone that 35 is not old when the Daily Loud tweeted, "Hilary Duff still looking great at age 35," in 2022. While this is a true statement, the implication is that women don't usually look good at that age. "35 isn't old lol BUT I honestly think she looks better now then she did ten years ago and she was fine then," read one response to the tweet.

Although it seems that Duff might be aging in reverse now, there was a time when she wanted to appear older. "I used to lie about my age to get into clubs and stuff," she confessed to Time. "... But I think they would all know how old I was anyway. I was pretty well-known by the time I was trying to get into clubs, and they would just let me in anyway." As for what Duff does to look like she should still be carded for cigarettes now, she told Shape that she always wears sunscreen and regularly uses an LED mask. "I love it," she said. "It's combating fine lines and wrinkles and boosting collagen."

Why aging was fantastic for Jessica Alba

While "Fantastic Four" star Jessica Alba still looks the same to us as she did when she was 19 years old and starring in "Dark Angel," she insists that her appearance changed when she got older. "I feel like I look better now," she told Marie Claire in 2014. "I think I came into my own physically in my thirties, even when I'd had kids. I'm actually smaller now, with not such a girl face — I had such chubby cheeks." (So, she's living proof that you can skip the buccal fat removal and play the waiting game instead.)

Alba's online retailer The Honest Company includes a line of beauty products, and the actor claims that one of her most effective anti-aging products is from her own brand. "I slather on our Hydrogel and think, holy moly. I look 10 years younger. It's awesome," she told Oprah Daily. But Alba also experiments with pricier in-office treatments like lasers. And like many celebs, the "Into the Blue" star swears that eating healthy and guzzling down H2O is a must for maintaining a youthful glow.

Alba hadn't tried Botox as of July 2023, but she did get a platelet-rich plasma facial (also known as a "vampire facial"). It apparently was effective, as a friend asked her if she'd done something to her skin. "I was like, no, I mean, I didn't do anything ... except have my face injected with my own blood," Alba recalled.

Kate Hudson is ready to party with her kids

Kate Hudson was 19 when she portrayed everyone's favorite manic pixie dream groupie in "Almost Famous," and being immortalized on celluloid allows Penny Lane to remain forever young. Hudson has seemingly found her own way to freeze time, but when she spoke to E! News about aging in 2018, the Fabletics founder said that her teen years are not the era she decided to linger in. "I am ageless, I've decided," she said. "... At 35, I just went, 'That's it. I'm done.'"

Once she decided to stop the clock, it was apparently easy to ignore the relentless march of time. In 2022, when Byrdie broached the subject that female stars will inevitably get asked about over and over again upon reaching age 30, Hudson revealed that aging just isn't something she wastes her time thinking about. "The only time I think about aging is when I'm asked about how I think about aging," she said. The star also observed, "It's interesting that men don't really get the same questions."

What she does think about is her oldest child, Ryder Russell Robinson, growing older. "I can't wait to go to a bar with my kid — is that weird? I mean, he's so much fun!" Hudson said on the "Rachael Ray Show" in 2019. (Yes, she's a wellness queen, but not the type who deprives herself of the occasional martini.) We wonder if she'll be shocked when she gets carded but Ryder doesn't?

Elijah Wood didn't want to be forever young

Elijah Wood was just 8 years old when he landed his first movie role in the 1989 sci-fi comedy "Back to the Future II." He had a small part as a boy Marty McFly encounters in the future (which was — gasp! — 2015) who can't figure out how to play an '80s-era arcade game because it requires using your hands. A little over a decade later, Wood was cast in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, and it's not hard to see why; those big blue eyes and delicate features already made him look like a fantasy character brought to life. It would be another 10 years before he played Frodo again in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," but he still looked exactly the same.

For Wood, being overlooked by Father Time is a lot like the One Ring: more of a curse than the asset you'd first assume it to be. When he appeared on "Conan" in 2018, he revealed that his appearance hindered him from getting some roles he desired as a kid because he looked too young for the parts. This made him impatient to age a bit — which never did happen. "I'm 36 now and I don't look 36. I still get carded," Wood said. "... Every time I get alcohol or cigarettes, I get carded." While the actor credits genetics for his appearance, he gave the audience a helpful anti-aging tip: "Don't smoke."

Keira Knightley's daughter said something brutal about her appearance

Keira Knightley was 17 years old when she appeared in "Love Actually" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Black Pearl," and her continued success in Hollywood has led to cinemagoers making an observation about the actor. "There's no denying that Keira Knightley is absolutely gorgeous. My god, that woman doesn't age," wrote one Twitter user.

By the time Knightley appeared in the aforementioned films, she'd already been acting for over a decade. She was 6 years old when she landed her first role in a 1993 episode of the BBC One anthology series "Screen One." Knightley's oldest daughter, Edie, was around the same age when Knightley appeared on "The Tonight Show" in March 2023 and told host Jimmy Fallon that her kids had no interest in acting themselves. She also revealed that Edie didn't like watching her in "Pirates of the Caribbean" and explained why. "She said, 'No, I don't like you in that. You're too pretty,'" Knightley recalled. "I was like, 'Oh!' But she said, 'But don't worry, you're not anymore.'" 

The rest of us would beg to differ, but Knightley will be the first to admit that while we can't see them, signs of aging have altered her appearance since she swashbuckled onto the silver screen as Elizabeth Swann. She was approaching age 38 when she confessed to Harper's Bazaar, "A lot of the conversations I'll have with my girlfriends are, 'Oh my God, I've got a line [wrinkle]. Oh God!'"

Mila Kunis lied about being older

When Mila Kunis made a cameo on "That '90s Show" in 2023, she looked like she was ready to resume hangin' out in the basement with the rest of Jackie Burkhart's BFFs from high school; her dark hair was just as glossy as it was when "That '70s Show" premiered in 1998, and she had the same seraphic face. But Kunis isn't the type to obsess over her appearance. "I don't wear makeup. I don't wash my hair every day. It's not something that I associate with myself," she told Glamour in 2016.

Kunis was, however, once resigned to the possibility that the natural process of aging could someday kill her career. In a 2013 interview with James Franco for Playboy (via Us Weekly), she matter-of-factly stated that female actors find it harder to keep working in Hollywood than men do once they hit their 30s. "It's weird that at the age of 29 I'm talking about aging in this industry, but the truth is I don't think I can do this for the rest of my life," she said.

While the rampant ageism in the entertainment industry has forced some women to worry about looking younger than their years, Kunis actually had to lie about being older to get cast on "That '70s Show." On "The Howard Stern Show," she revealed that she was just 14 when she auditioned for the series but led the producers to believe that she was 18.

Avril Lavigne is a Sk8r girl 4eva

Canadian songstress Avril Lavigne has proved that growing up doesn't have to be a complicated process. If you don't want to trade Hot Topic for Ann Taylor when it comes time to do the adulting thing, you don't have to — and you can say, "See you later," to anyone who has a problem with that. Lavigne was just 17 years old when she dropped her hit songs "Complicated" and "Sk8r Boi," captivating fans with her personal but relatable lyrics and infectious energy. She made the punk genre more accessible for young girls, and her funky style was also a big part of her appeal; she looked like a pixie at a Sex Pistols concert.

When Lavigne joined TikTok two decades later, she was still the same teen scene queen with dark eyeliner and a tie swinging from her neck. For her first TikTok, she lip-synced along with "Sk8r Boi." One fan's response to the nostalgic video read, "She looks exactly the same!!"

When E! News asked Lavigne to drop her skincare routine, she revealed that she's been avoiding the sun for a long time (so she is a vampire!), and she also drinks plenty of fluids that don't contain human plasma. "I drink green juice in the morning, and I drink beer at night," she said. We're also going to guess that kicking complicated people to the curb helps her avoid frown lines.