Celebs Who Drastically Changed Their Looks After Becoming Famous

Fame changes people in a variety of ways, both physical and psychological. Some celebs forget where they came from, while others use their fortune to make changes to their lives and their looks. This crop of celebs changed their looks once they got famous, with a few of them actually grabbing more headlines (and thus, more fame) for transforming their faces.


Blondes have more fun, right? Madonna has been a blonde for most of her career, but she's never hidden the fact that she's a natural brunette. In a startling throwback pic, Madge posted the above (left) photo to Instagram with the caption, "When i was a boy.......,,,,,,::"

HuffPost guessed that the black-and white-snap "was taken sometime in the 1970s," and it was a look the "Like a Prayer" singer didn't rock for too long. The above (right) shot is from her Lucky Star video, recorded in 1984. Clearly, she'd already opted for the lighter locks by that time, even if she was still walking the line between gypsy and pixie that would define her style for most of that decade.

Since then, Madonna has been a style chameleon, experimenting with everything from cornrows to a golden ponytail at the height of her fame, but it was that initial dip in the bleach bucket that transformed her from a midwest beauty into one of the original pop divas.

Lady Gaga

The rivalry between Madonna and Lady Gaga is something of legend. Madonna famously said Gaga's "Born This Way" was "reductive." Gaga later countered by calling Madonna "a nice lady" while espousing her own talents as not only a singer, but also a writer and producer. Shade Room, table for two. So, there's been a lot of drama, but what is undeniable is that these women have similar roots, and that's not just a hair pun.

They're both natural brunettes from Italian working class families — Madonna's full name is Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone. Gaga was born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta — and they both decided to go blonde when fame came calling. In his book, Rivington Was Ours: Lady Gaga, the Lower East Side, and the Prime of Our Lives (excerpted by The New York Post) Gaga's former DJ and friend, Brendan Jay Sullivan, recalls Gaga's makeover moment. "Bleaching the surface of her hair made Gaga walk like a star," Sullivan writes.

Obviously, Gaga's hair and wardrobe changes so frequently she probably has a revolving door on her closet, but just like her Material Girl predecessor, it was just a bit of hair dye that kickstarted her style revolution.

Kylie Jenner

It might seem unfair to say that Kylie Jenner changed her looks when she got famous, since everyone in her family is famous for being famous. But when we first met Kylie, she was an itty bitty thing with average-sized lips. As her fame increased in 2015, so did the size of her pucker. Her inflated trout pout was a hot topic for much of the year, yet the reality starlet defiantly attributed her puffy pucker to deftness with lip liner and lipstick. Kylie eventually admitted to getting injectable fillers on — where else? — Keeping Up With The Kardashians. She then parlayed the whole controversy into a highly successful lip kit line, which Vanity Fair reported earned the youngest member of the Kardashian clan $8.7 million dollars in its first year in business. Trout pout? More like a winning business plan...pout.

Katy Perry

The singer we know and love as Katy Perry didn't just change her name when she got famous. Performing for years under her birth name, Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, Perry opted for the indie rock look, sporting grunge-inspired clothes and the angsty layered bob of a soulful singer/songtress like in the above (left) photo. But that look, like her initial attempt at a music career, was non-starter. So, along with a pivot towards a more sexy, pop-driven sound, the "I Kissed a Girl" singer switched it up with glossy black locks and rolled bangs, echoing 50s pin up girl Bettie Page's signature 'do.

According to an interview with The Guardian, Perry says she "created that character out of protection," adding, "I didn't want to be Katheryn Hudson. I hated that, it was too scary for me, so I decided to be someone else." That insecurity inspired her to reinvent herself, and she's apparently carried that ethos throughout her career, since her hair has now been all different shades of pink, blue, and green since she achieved massive fame. There's also that pesky little matter of being phenomenally talented, but nah, it was that black 'do that put her on the map.

Jennifer Aniston

Let's be honest here, Jennifer Aniston looks exactly the same now as she did in 1994 when Friends premiered. It makes no sense, but after two and a half decades the beautiful actress somehow hasn't changed. Except for her hair. "The Rachel," as it came to be known, was Aniston's signature 'do on the hit sitcom, and it sparked a worldwide trend of women requesting those frosted, layered locks from their own stylists. But Aniston did not share the enthusiasm.

According to Today, Aniston has dissed "The Rachel" on several occasions; telling Glamour that it was "too hard to maintain without professional help"; telling Allure it was "the ugliest haircut" she'd ever seen; and admitting to The Kyle and Jackie O Show that she would rather shave her head than ever sport it again.

Perhaps that's why it only took a few years for the show to switch up Rachel's trendsetting tufts. The above photos are only three years apart, and the more classic look (right), which Aniston seems to prefer even in real life, is actually the style Rachel rocked for way longer than the original choppy coiffe. But sassy folded arms? That never goes out of style.

Lisa Rinna

According to People, Lisa Rinna once referred to her lips as "the pink elephant in the room." That's because for years, fans and tabloids alike tracked the artificial inflation of the soap star's upper lip like it was a balloon ready to burst. Rinna remained famously silent about her puffy pout until she addressed it on her short-lived 2010 reality show, Harry Loves Lisa.

Eventually admitting she got multiple silicon injections, Rinna said the inspiration behind her swollen smile was Barbara Hershey in Beaches. "I was crazy to even touch them in the first place," Rinna told People, adding that over time the silicon started to leak, leading to scar tissue that felt "hard and bumpy, like peas."

Fortunately, with the help of a top Hollywood plastic surgeon, Rinna was able to correct most of the damage she had done. Now, if only there was a way to surgically remove everything she's ever done as a cast member of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills...

Farrah Abraham

Teen Mom starlet Farrah Abraham has transmogrified before our very eyes. She hasn't been shy about admitting that she got a little — okay, a lot — of help from a plastic surgeon, receiving breast implants, rhinoplasty, lip fillers, and a giant chin implant that she's since had removed. She came clean about her extensive upgrades on Bethenny Frankel's now-defunct talk show (via The Daily Mail) in 2014. The above photo set shows that chin implant in all its Jay Leno-inspired glory.

But Abraham clearly didn't stop there. As of this writing, the only thing natural about her is how literally no one can stand her. Did we mention she even told Us Weekly that she wouldn't discourage her toddler daughter, Sophia, from going under the knife for cosmetic purposes? Seriously. Is there some sort of common sense implant available? Maybe that should be next.

Lil Kim

Lil Kim's jarring facial alterations definitely have the darkest backstory of any of the celebs on this list. Nicki Swift has already taken a deep dive into what exactly went wrong there, but the gist of it is too much plastic surgery, plain and simple.

Sadly, the surgeries started as corrective procedures — Kim told Hot 97's Angie Martinez that she was a victim of domestic abuse — but they spiraled out of control due to her issues with low self esteem. In a 2000 interview with Newsweek, Kim pointed to a toxic relationship with her father, saying "Everything about me was wrong—my hair, my clothes, just me," adding, "It's always been men putting me down, just like my dad. To this day, when someone says I'm cute, I can't see it. I don't see it no matter what anybody says."

The above photos show the early stages of Kim's transformation. Granted, there is a five year difference between the two pics, but the drastic changes to her eyes, nose, and lips are not a natural byproduct of aging. Obviously, Kim has now taken her plastic surgery addiction to the extreme, but even in the beginning the changes were dramatic.

Heidi Montag

Like Lil Kim, Heidi Montag went crazy with the plastic surgery went she hit the big time, famously undergoing an inexplicable 10 procedures in one day, according to Radar Online. The list includes a brow lift and breast implants, as well as having her "ears pinned" and "back scooped out" which sound more like Tower of London torture techniques than cosmetic enhancements.

Not surprisingly, Montag had some later regrets. Speaking with ET, Montag, now-Pratt, said, "It wasn't something like, 'Oh, how is this going to affect our lives?' It was like, 'Oh cool, you did it, right?' I was thinking about where the next party was." Um, what?

Her husband, Spencer Pratt, echoed their naivete with the warning, "I would definitely say [to] women and men who think there's such a thing as a minor surgical procedure, the second someone is hacking your body it no longer becomes minor surgery." Is there anyone in the world other than these two that doesn't understand that concept?

​Jennifer Grey

Jennifer Grey achieved unlikely fame after her starring role in Dirty Dancing, a film that by all rights should have been a forgettable, straight-to-home-video release about a family vacationing at the most secretly sex-crazed hideaway lodge in the Catskills. But then "Nobody puts Baby in the corner" became a meme before memes existed, and Grey became a star.

Like a lot of up-and-comers, Grey then decided to have a little work done, so two years after the film, she had a nose job. No big deal, right? Wrong. "It was the nose job from hell. I'll always be this once-famous actress nobody ­recognises [sic] because of a nose job," Grey told The Mirror. Apparently, Baby just wasn't Baby after having her nose nipped. "I went into the ­operating room a ­celebrity and came out anonymous," Grey said. If we're being totally honest, she doesn't really look that different at all, so we're not sure what the real problem was.

​Mickey Rourke

Mickey Rourke was an 80s heartthrob who used to draw comparisons to Marlon Brando — both the good kind for his acting ability, and the bad kind for his bizarre off-screen behavior. In 1991, Rourke quit Hollywood to return to boxing — he'd been a "successful amateur" — a career choice that left him with some nasty souvenirs, like a twice-broken nose and a smashed cheekbone, according to The Daily Mail. So when it was time for his Hollywood return, Rourke made some noticeable changes to his once famous face.

"I had to have cartilage taken from my ear to rebuild my nose and a couple of operations to scrape out the cartilage because the scar tissue wasn't healing properly," Rourke told The Daily Mail, also confessing, "I went to the wrong guy to put my face back together." The above photos, the left from 1989 and the right from 2005 give a small glimpse at the kind of rough journey Rourke's face has been on. But even that visual aid pales in comparison to Rourke's once again stalled career, which is arguably down for the count after triumphantly resurging with 2008's The Wrestler, only to be KO'd by two years later by that Russian accent he did in Iron Man 2.

Nicole Kidman

Like Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman seems to be inexplicably defying the oppressive elements of both gravity and time. Seen above in the early 80s, Kidman had yet to break out in Hollywood, and was still several years away from her high-profile marriage to Tom Cruise. The photo on the right is from 2001, almost two decades later, and we're willing to bet if we said it was from yesterday, no one would bat an eye.

For years, Kidman claimed her beauty was "completely natural," and in fairness it basically is. The changes she made were clearly subtle — goodbye questionable perm, hello subtle contouring and fleeked out brows — but she did later admit to La Repubblica (via HuffPost), "I did try Botox, unfortunately, but I got out of it and now I can finally move my face again."

​Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus has gone through several style transformations since her Hannah Montana days, but none were as shocking as the early 2010's when she not only distanced herself from the House of Mouse, but she did it in a twerk-filled, nearly naked music video for her single, "We Can't Stop."

That was the summer of 2013, and it would be the year Cyrus fully shed any trace of the above (left) Disney starlet, transforming into the weed-loving wild child on the right. It was the year that her tongue couldn't seem to find its way back behind her teeth; the year she told MTV that her style on stage is going to be "always crazy;" and the year she proved it during the VMAs when she infamously grinded all over Robin Thicke while wearing nothing but a nude-colored bikini and a giant foam finger.

When asked by Barbara Walters about her scandalous style shift, Cyrus said, "No matter what I do, I'm either boring or I'm a slut." When asked about the year she made headlines week after week with her risque revolution, she said, "It wasn't just shock to shock people, it really was with a purpose, I guess...to make everyone in the world talking about me and my music." Well, that is one way to accomplish that.

Jamie Foxx

You will notice right off the bat that we're highlighting two transitional moments in Jamie Foxx's appearance. The first one is obvious. While appearing on The Graham Norton Show, Foxx brought along that pre-fame pic of his 18-year-old self on the far left, which is just...special. The jheri curl, the shadow of a mustache, the jacket casually slung over the shoulder — it's all amazing.

But it's the subtle difference between the middle photo and the far right photo that we really want to address. Specifically that hairline. The middle photo is from 2001. The right photo is from 2016. Now, generally speaking, a man's hairline does not fill out in such a way over the course of his life. In fact, quite the opposite is often true. This was not lost on the internet, upon which much speculation over Foxx's magically reappearing hairline has occurred. Kevin Hart even famously checked Foxx on the issue during a roast battle sequence on Foxx's own radio show, Foxxhole. "I bet we'd all be able to tell Jamie's real age if he stopped coloring his hairline," Hart said. Ouch. We'll go ahead and leave it at that.

Ryan Seacrest

If you're like us, you always just assumed that Ryan Seacrest wasn't actually born from a human being, rather he was created in a TV studio using data from decades of audience surveys revealing the most affable on-air personality imaginable. But you'd be wrong. It turns out, he was actually a little chubby kid from the South who now obsessively squeezes workouts into his insanely busy schedule, as well as counts eating "the wrong amount of almonds" as a big splurge, according to Men's Fitness.

The photo on the left was taken in 1993 while Seacrest was working as a DJ at WSTR-FM in Atlanta. On the right, a decade later, Seacrest had just become the host of American Idol, a career move that would skyrocket him to fame, and send Brian Dunkleman into an bottomless pit of regret. But the image changes Seacrest made over that decade are simultaneously obvious yet almost imperceptible. He seemed to lose a little weight, and he ditched the Zack Morris haircut for the piecey, Axe bodyspray-inspired coiffe of the early 00s, but he did keep rocking the t-shirt and blazer look. And yet, there's something more going on there — an unexplainable overall shift from good-looking nice guy next door to celebrity TV host. Weird.

Michael Jackson

Where do we even begin with Michael Jackson? Obviously, we broke our pattern here and did a full before-and-after, rather than just the initial changes Jackson made when he hit it big. And that's probably because he was a little kid when he and his brothers, The Jackson Five, made their iconic appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. But as Michael's fame eclipsed them all, so did his insatiable quest to make changes to his face.

According to ABC News, Michael only ever admitted to having two surgeries on his nose, telling Martin Bashir in a 2002 interview, "It helped me breathe better so I can hit higher notes." Obviously the result of extensive plastic surgery, Michael's face later in life appears to have been altered in every conceivable way: reshaped eyes and nose, a chin implant (dimples don't develop over time), skin lightening, and whatever was going on with his hair.

In a series of interviews, Michael's doctor, famed Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon Dr. Steven Hoefflin, said that he was only doing what Michael wanted. "My job is to try to make people happy. In the case of high-level entertainers, the result may not be what the average person would want. But remember, these are performers who want to create a certain image for a special reason," he told The Telegraph. "He's very happy with what he's done, OK? I think he's done more than I recommended in terms of the changes, yes," Hoeffliln also told 20/20. Uh, yes. That may be the biggest understatement of all time.

​Matthew Lewis

Matthew Lewis didn't get to make his big transformation right as he got famous. He had to wait for puberty like the rest of the cast of Harry Potter, but when he finally filled out, and presumably finished paying off a small fortune to an orthodontist, the end result was startling. As if by way of a magic spell, the homely little kid who played Neville Longbottom transformed into a dashing young man who could have given Cedric Diggory a run for his money.

Not only that, but Lewis even had a genuine "internet-breaking" moment when he posed for Attitude Magazine (via People) and gave the Muggle world a glimpse at what he was packing under his wizard robe. Well done, Lewis. Seriously, points to Gryffindor.

​Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson also broke the internet once, and he didn't even have to pose in a banana hammock to do it. But he was wearing a turtleneck, heavy chain, and leather fanny pack in a throwback pic he posted to Twitter which he captioned, "Fanny pack and lean take it to a whole other level.. #90sRock #WTF #BuffLesbian." Combined with what look to be Wrangler jeans and a high-top fade, this photo couldn't have been more 90s if he was hugging Steve Urkel.

Obviously, The Rock has had yet another breakthrough style evolution since the comparison pic on the right, taken in 2001. He's ditched the close-cropped hair, opting for the clean-shaven look, and upped his custom suit game to an enviable level. We're not sure if he still rocks the fanny pack, but we're pretty sure nobody would give him any crap about it if he does, since being jacked beyond belief is still an important component to his swagger.

Kim Zolciak

Though she's consistently denied getting a nose job — even when presented with some pretty damning evidence by Andy Cohen — The Real Housewives of Atlanta star, Kim Zolciak has admitted to having some work done. On top of confessing what everyone already knew about her signature wigs and weaves, Zolciak told ET that she's "done her lips" as well as gotten Botox since she was young "for migraines initially and now it's the obvious reason." Then there's the boob job, a tummy tuck, and Ulthera — a type of "skin-tightening treatment." So, she actually makes a good point when she says, "Why would I not talk about a nose job?" At this point, it would be like Bernie Madoff denying being a shoplifter as a teenager.