Celebrities who don't want you to know they're going bald

Most men go bald. And they go bald because they're men. Androgenetic alopecia, which is more commonly known as male pattern baldness, "accounts for more than 95 [percent]" of male hair loss, according to the American Hair Loss Association. Two-thirds of guys in the U.S. will see noticeable hair loss by age 35, as testosterone converts to a hair-thinning hormone called DHT. But it gets worse: a full 85 percent of men will have significant thinning by age 50. And that's a tough coincidence for macho movie stars, because, as one study found, male actors don't reach their peak earning powers until age 51. 

Basically, unless you can own hair loss like a boss — see Bruce Willis or Jason Statham for details — something has to do be done. But unfortunately, there's no quick fix. While a cure for manly hair loss would make sales of Viagra look truly flaccid by comparison, science can't quite crack this nut. That leaves otherwise perfectly groomed studs, in spite of their wealth, fame, and connections, with the same mediocre options as everybody else. These are celebrities who don't want us to know they're going bald.

David Beckham reseeds the pitch

David Beckham might as well be a ye old English name that means "gorgeously groomed man." But the former Manchester United footballer is apparently mortal like any other human male, with Men's Health declaring, "David Beckham is going bald, but that's OK." Beckham's signature swoop has gone through many phases, but his iconic blond coif allegedly started to wane in 2018, when Victoria Beckham's husband reportedly sought a hair transplant, according to the Daily Mail. The outlet claims the procedure was a great success, as Beckham was later seen sporting thicker hair. 

However, by May 2020, Beckham's hair was described as "drastically thinning" when he was spotted out shopping in the UK. So what happened? Despite the quick shift in follicular fortunes, according to hair restoration expert Craig Henton, the transplant rumors may be unfounded: "It could be that David has paused a medical hair program involving medications and laser treatment. His hair would then revert to its genetic pattern." Meanwhile, Beckham himself has denied having a transplant, and was quoted as saying back in 2012, "There is definitely nothing wrong with doing that, but I don't think personally I would. If I do start showing signs of going bald, then I will shave it off."  

Given the cone of silence around this issue in celebrity circles, the truth remains mysterious, which Beckham's well-trodden Instagram presence only deepens.

Boris Johnson's blond locks make a Brexit

British's famously mop-topped Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, attracts controversy and eschews a comb. As such, many have wondered why such a powerful, rich man would sport his infamously shabby, "silly style" of hair, as The New York Times dubbed it in 2019. But could the PM be hiding something under that hair hat? Well, according to some reports, the shaggy style is supposedly a ploy to conceal his hair loss. 

Parliamentary gossip blogger Guido Fawkes summed up the speculation with this claim: "The mop-topped Mayor of London is going bald ... a growing bald patch at the back and a deliberate effort to comb his locks forward. It was all a bit, Donald Trump." Meanwhile, Marie Claire described various Johnson hair eras as "the ruffle," "the wind tunnel," and "the peroxide." But while this outlet oddly asserted, "Boris is blessed with a thick mop ... male-pattern baldness clearly isn't an issue," other publications have taken to metaphors, with one even describing his hairline as "[resigning] from his head." 

Still, other experts allege Johnson is in a no-win hair-loss situation. "Johnson has very fine hair," Beverly Hills stylist Guy Romeo mused to Los Angeles Magazine in 2019, as he compared photos of the prime minister. "And from what I've read, he does this look as a vanity. If Johnson wore his hair neat, it would look even thinner."

Ben Affleck's bald spot is gone baby gone

Ben Affleck's mysterious scalp situation has garnered more speculation than almost any other Hollywood star. The chiseled Batman actor is often accused of wearing a wig. "You can see the way the hair is exiting the scalp. Ben Affleck has, in my mind, become sort of the poster boy for a bad hairpiece," famed LA hair transplant surgeon Dr. John Frank told Inside Edition. Several photos of Affleck's alleged "before" style also purport to show both a very noticeable bald spot in the back and a receding front hairline collapsing like a nuclear bomb strapped to an asteroid. 

All these Affleck rug rumors started when his supposed toupee was allegedly knocked off his head during a play fight at a Hollywood party with fellow hunk Vince Vaughn in 2002 (when the star was only 30), at least according to the National Enquirer. A similar report further claimed that Affleck made witnesses swear not to reveal his secret. However, his Daredevil co-star, Colin Farrell, came to his defense with an unintentional pun the same year rumors began, saying (via USA Today), "I tell you now, straight off the bat: Ben Affleck does not wear a toupee. He has a great head of hair. You can literally pull it — it is not coming off. It's no toupee." 

For now, much like Bruce Wayne, Afleck's true hair identity is merely the stuff of legend.

Jamie Foxx's hairline is back in living color

Jamie Foxx is enjoying life in his 50's, as he told Jerry Seinfeld in his exuberant episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. But around 2007, at nearly age 40, some fans noticed Foxx's hairline made a comeback. The before-and-after photos are somewhat dramatic. The comedian himself has never commented, but an expert in the field, YouTuber Hairlicoulsy, believes this result was no doubt surgical. "Sometime between 2006 and 2007, Jamie Foxx underwent a hair transplant via FUT to increase density in the mid-scalp," the hair sleuth speculated, "but I don't think that it was really that successful."

An FUT transplant is performed by removing a strip of the patient's scalp from the back of the head from a fuller "donor area" that isn't as affected by male pattern hair losses. This strip is then turned into grafts and added to the hairline. Observers pointed to Foxx's tribal tattoo, which the star added to the back of his dome for his 40th birthday, as it apparently perfectly aligns with the shape and placement of scarring caused by an FUT procedure. However, by 2012, Foxx's high hairline could allegedly still be seen in movies like Django Unchained. Hairliciously believes the actor then underwent further procedures to achieve better results by 2019. Foxx may have even resorted to a hairline tattoo, GQ Australia implied ... but per usual, no one knows for sure.

The dirt on Machine Gun Kelly's hairline

Colson Baker, better known as rapper-turned-actor Machine Gun Kelly, is a tall drink of water who makes fans weak in the knees. But by age 19, The Dirt star was sporting a bit of a sawed-off hairline in videos like "Chip Off the Block" — which he mostly kept hidden under his hat. Early promotional photos allegedly illustrate the classic male horseshoe pattern described as "pretty severe hair loss at a young age," according to hair expert and prominent Youtuber BluMaan. Machine Gun Kelly's 2012 mugshot after an arrest for disorderly conduct added another round to the chamber of online speculation

Then around 2015, the artist showed up to the BET Awards looking much different. "In terms of the hair transplant method used, you can see a scar on the back of MGK's head, which is consistent with follicular unit hair transplant," BluMaan claimed. Several videos have been created by another hair-focused YouTube channel called Transplant Planet, which illustrated this transformation by highlighting the alleged telltale scar. But for now, Machine Gun Kelly is keeping the truth holstered.

Donald Trump shall over comb

Donald Trump's hair has vexed observers all the way back to his days as a real-estate scion insisting on having cameos in movies like Home Alone 2. Fast forward to 2017, and the POTUS was having a harder time keeping his hair secrets to himself. 

Longtime Trump physician, Dr. Harold N. Bornstein, revealed that the president uses a hair growth drug called Finasteride to help maintain his famous coif. "He has all his hair," the doc, with his own shoulder-length style, boasted to The New York Times. Often branded as Propecia, it prevents testosterone from converting into the hated hair-destroying hormone DHT. It's all very complicated, but the drug apparently works. 

Jimmy Fallon put Trump's treatment to the test in 2016, when he aggressively tousled the then-candidate's mane on live TV, and it stayed remarkably intact. That said, baldness is still an incurable scourge, as a strong gust of wind revealed in a 2018 video posted by The Stranger. It further fueled long-standing rumors that Trump's hair is the product of an elaborate and quite literal cover-up. According to Michael Wolf's lurid White House exposé, Fire and Fury, Trump allegedly starts every day with "an absolutely clean pate — a contained island after scalp-reduction ­surgery — surrounded by a furry circle of hair around the sides and front, from which all ends are drawn up to meet in the center and then swept back and secured by a stiffening spray."

Matthew McConaughey's hair has a McConaissance

At age 50, Matthew McConaughey's hairline is looking alright, alright, alright. But if you go back more than two decades, the actor was infamously busted in 1999 for playing bongos whilst nude, and posed for a mug shot that proved his hairline was also under arrest. However, in the 2000s, his mane made as big a comeback as his career. And yet, McConaughey has denied any surgical intervention, saying somewhat mercurially when asked if his hair was his on Live with Kelly & Ryan, "Yeah, that's what I got." McConaughey went on to admit that he was, in fact, losing his hair in '99 and used an over-the-counter product called Regenix: "And damn if I didn't bring it back."

Some may remain skeptical of this claim, because Regenix contains no drugs certified by the FDA to actually combat hair loss. In addition, McConaughey was also photographed in 2010 after the birth of his child — during the middle of his supposed hair renaissance — and his scalp had seemingly regressed to late '90s level losses. Another photo from 2017 shows a similar regression despite looking fuller on red carpets. This back-and-forth fluctuation is allegedly indicative of a high-quality lace hair system, according to hair loss expert Joe Tillman. Lace systems are essentially custom wigs that blend seamlessly with your natural hair. But because of the stigma around male hair loss, McConaughey is apparently keeping this one under his $12,956 hat.

Ashton Kutcher punks baldness

When a man starts losing his hair early in life, it doesn't feel like a joke. But that's what happened to Punk'd prankster Ashton Kutcher, who admitted his floppy hair started to fall out at age 25. The problem: he was still playing teenager Micheal Kelso on That 70's Show. "I went and met the ... hair guy doctor," Kutcher told Conan O'Brien in 2018. "... And he put me on this medication called Avodart." Avodart is the brand name for an FDA-approved drug called Dutasteride, which is used off-label to treat male pattern baldness and has been shown in clinical trials to potentially be more effective than the gold-standard Finasteride. In other words, Kutcher was in good hands, and his hair loss was halted. 

However, in 2014, Kutcher and wife Mila Kunis were expecting their first child, and oral hair loss drugs can be hazardous to a male fetus, even if merely handled by a pregnant woman. Scary stuff. But Kutcher, being the good daddy he is, stopped the treatment immediately, going on to tell O'Brien, "And now I'm experiencing the hair loss." He went on to say he'll never resort to a hairpiece, and would rather go bald gracefully: "I'm a baseball cap guy, so I think it's okay ... I'll just let it go." 

But maybe that's easy to say when you still look like this. Of course, the actual exposure of scalp would end up convincing many men to exclaim, "Dude, where's my hairpiece?!"

Robert Pattinson's hairline has a new moon

Although male pattern alopecia is the hairline vampire in most balding sagas, former Twilight star Robert Pattinson is alleged to have faced a different follicular foil: alopecia areata. The autoimmune condition causes a patchy kind of hair loss and usually strikes first under age 30. In photos illustrating Pattinson's supposed case, he was 30 exactly and had the telltale signs of the condition, which also affects hair pigment, meaning new growth will often appear white. Experts say this kind of hair loss can often be stress-related and is therefore temporary. 

This isn't Pattinson's only preview of the long night that comes after a young man's hair briefly shimmers in the sun. In 2012, the star thought his vegan vampire vamping was done and shaved his head for another role ... when suddenly Twilight: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 needed re-shoots. Pattinson was forced into a wig he described during a Comic-Con panel as looking like "Frankenstein's monster," adding that the orange hairpiece was "an amalgamation of six [different] wigs."

James Franco to his hair: this is not the end

James Franco is rarely mentioned on mainstream listicles about celebrities with hair loss. But maybe that's because, at least in the world of online hair loss speculation forums, Reddit threads allege, "James Franco got a killer hair transplant." The before-and-after photos submitted are fascinating: Franco has always been adventurous with his hair style, but by 2015, when the actor was in his late 30s, some observers claimed photos proved his hairline had begun to wane. Compared to his luscious locks in 2018, online sleuths believe something was done. 

"I'm pretty confident that James Franco ended up with a hair transplant and not some type of hairpiece," hair restoration expert Hairliciously claimed. He said Franco's minimal hair loss — limited to the temples and frontal hairline and his good genes, as evidenced by his brothers and father — made him an ideal candidate, contributing to what the YouTuber described as "one of the best hair transplant results ever."

Elon Musk's hairline is renewable

Even though male balding is almost as inevitable as gravity, celebrities simply do not like to speak on the IP behind their dramatic hair restoration innovations. What is verifiable, however, is when Elon Musk sold PayPal in 2002 — the cash transaction website that made him a billionaire — he was indeed a balding man. More present day, however, he is quite the opposite. That requires some kind of scientific explanation, and with a $38.2 billion fortune, the SpaceX and Tesla founder could surely afford a consultation. 

"I mean, he had a class three to a class four (out of seven) hair loss pattern and he now shows no evidence, at least in the front, of any hair loss," New York hair transplant specialist, Dr. Jefferey Epstein, told Page Six in 2018, further describing the odds that Musk went under the knife as "highly, highly likely." Epstein added that Musk may have had at least two procedures, running him between $20,000 and $30,000 — a sum the engineering mogul likely located between the seats in one of his electric cars.

Steve Carell's crazy stupid good hair

The Office actor Steve Carell's televised hair transformation is so legendary it's become the stuff of countless memes. Interestingly, the high hairline look was an intentional part of creating the original version of his iconic character, Michael Scott — at least in season one. Audiences didn't initially get on board with the balding boss, though, and the show was nearly canceled in 2005. However, when Carell came back in better shape for Season 2 following the success of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Michael Scott got an image makeover more in line with the likable direction NBC took its "world's best boss."

This also allegedly gave the burgeoning box office star an opportunity to paper over his hair loss, and experts claim he had medical assistance. "[Carell] has had hair transplantation. Full-sized hairs from the back and sides were surgically transplanted (via tiny skin grafts) to the top areas of the head where the follicles (and hair) were no longer present," Dr. Bernard H. Cohen of Miami's Hair Restoration & Dermatology clinic claimed. To achieve a result this good, experts advised it's often necessary to use a combination of treatments, with Dr. Cohen alleging, "[Carell] is undoubtedly using daily Minoxidil, Finasteride, or laser as well." Well, that's what he said. 

Joel McHale outgrows hair loss

Joel McHale is a tall and handsome man. The 6'4" comedian and former The Soup host also has a fantastic head of hair. At least he does now. But go back all the way to the '90s when he got his start on the Seattle-based sketch comedy show Almost Live, and he had a lot less going on up top than he did over 20 years later. All the way up to shooting 2002's Spider-Man 2 at the age of just 29, McHale's temples appear quite bare. But then something wonderful happened: the oldest existing clips of The Soup available on YouTube over six years later feature McHale looking the dashing way he does today. 

The lanky funnyman has not said how he achieved this dramatic effect, but as GQ put it, "I'm not saying that Joel McHale had a hair transplant, but millions of people who use the Internet sure as hell are." To the outlet's point, the comic actor has appeared on endless forums and hair loss community listicles with titles like, "10 Celebrities with obvious hair transplants." Maybe this is a case for The Soup Investigates