Some celebs have been out there in the public eye for years, so we assume they’re of a certain age when the sad reality is that they are way, way younger than we thought. Nothing makes us feel older than realizing how much older we are than celebs who are still, well, kids.
Maybe they got started as kids or maybe they just have a super mature appearance, but either way we’re left searching for crow’s feet in that dreaded magnifying mirror and wondering what happened to our 20s. Here are the celebs who are depressingly younger than we thought they were.
Lilo has been in her fair share of trouble since she got old enough to drive and date and all that dangerous stuff. The thing is, she’s been in the public eye for so long that it’s easy to think she’s a lot older than 31. Lindsay Lohan started modeling when she was 3 years old and was only 11 when The Parent Trap came out in 1998. After that, she had several box office hits… and then the trouble started.
She detailed her complicated relationship with her parents in a 2013 interview with Oprah, after several arrests, car accidents, and more. In 2016, she moved to London with her wealthy Russian boyfriend, Egor Tarabasov. More recently she celebrated her latest birthday in Greece, is planning a premium lifestyle site that will be an “all access pass” to her life and she has a film, The Shadow Within, in post-production, but it’s unclear as to whether it will be coming to theaters anytime soon. We wish the best for Lindsay, and hope her 30s are far less complicated than her 20s.
The young beauty from The Wolf of Wall Street is only 27, and was a young 22 when she appeared in the 2013 film. Since then, she’s been the toast of Hollywood, with starring roles in Suicide Squad and The Legend of Tarzan, both in 2016. Her transformation has been truly remarkable and she’s widely lauded for her style. There is something worldly about the beautiful young star that makes her seem older.
In fact, in an August 2016 Vanity Fair article, Jerry Weintraub, the producer that helmed The Legend of Tarzan, was said to have spoken of Robbie like he did with stars “whose magnitude seems old-fashioned.” Maybe she’s just an old soul with a beautiful outer presence, but no way did we guess that she was only 27.
Kate Upton may not be the most popular star, but she’s certainly one of the prettiest. Only 25, she has appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition three times (the first occurred in 2012, on the heels of her small but noticeable role in 2011’s Tower Heist). She was on the most recent cover, appearing with such popular stars as Chrissy Teigen and Christie Brinkley.
The beauty spoke out against critique that her cover made her look “fat,” thanking the detractors for making her really think about her body and appreciate it, and recently she shared her workout and diet tips with Shape. Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition fans, especially, are probably surprised to find out she is only 25, and a little creeped out that she was barely legal the first time they saw her on the cover.
Good old Frodo isn’t actually very old. He’s on pretty much every listicle about celebs that never age, there is a whole game dedicated to whether or not you can guess “old Elijah” vs “young Elijah” (I only got six out of 12). He seems to never age. He has been in the public eye so long that it wouldn’t be hard to believe that he was 40 or older. In fact, Elijah Wood is only 36.
We may have first seen him in The Good Son, though he’d had smaller roles prior 1993, when he was just 12 years old. Since then, he’s been a popular and well-liked actor. Those baby blues and “why do guys get so lucky” eyelashes do give him a baby-faced appearance, which is why he’s played both young and timeless roles (ahem, Frodo). In truth, he’s barely old enough to be president. Most recently, he’s been tearing it up in BBC America’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, a show based on a series of books by Douglas Adams.
Beyoncé Knowles is arguably one of the most famous, influential people in the world. At the young age of 35, she has a successful music career, has dabbled in acting, is the mother of three, and that’s not all. Her work as an activist includes actions for women’s rights, though she doesn’t want to be called a feminist, she’s spoken out against police brutality and she advocates protection for transgender students. Not too shabby for the former front woman of Destiny’s Child (when she was a mere baby of 16) and the young beauty who played Foxxy Cleopatra in Austin Powers in Goldmember.
Since Disney kids can seem sort of ageless, it’s hard to know how old Dove Cameron is. When you see her in shows like Liv & Maddie and Cloud 9 (when she was younger than her current 21 years) she seems totally preteen (she was 17), but in her current public appearances, she is made up, grown-up, and gorgeous. And while she was only in her teens when she appeared on Shameless, she looked much older than that.
Recently, she did an interview with Entertainment Weekly where she expressed gratitude for her experience with Disney, but she’s showing interest in shows outside of the popular kids network. What’s next for the young star? She has plenty of time to figure it out, considering she is just now old enough to order a drink, but she looks like she’s been hobnobbing with the elite for a long time.
Maybe it’s because her family has been in the spotlight for what seems like forever, or maybe it’s because we have seen her face plastered on every tabloid and gossip site. Either way, it feels like Kylie Jenner has been around forever. At 17, she was named one of the most influential teens of 2014 (and 2015, and 2016…) by Time Magazine, and now that she’s recently turned 20, she’s working hard on her own reality show, Life of Kylie, and she’s one of the most followed people on Instagram.
She’s no stranger to legal trouble, however. An ill-conceived t-shirt line with Kendall and Kylie’s faces superimposed over classic musical icons caused a lot of backlash (and cease-and-desist letters), and she’s had legal run-ins with Kylie Minogue and a British artist named Sarah Pope. Let’s hope the young reality star can stay out of legal kerfuffles from here on out.
Another talented actress who got her start as a young girl, Abigail Breslin is only 21. She has a filmography longer than a lot of much older actors, has done well on television, and even branched out into music. Sure, she got started at 5 years old with Signs, but it seems like she’s been an adult for a long time.
Perhaps it was her striking performance in Final Girl, or it might be because of her personal tragedy and subsequent PTSD. She went on to star as Baby in the live-acton Dirty Dancing, which was a positive and overwhelming experience for her (despite the overall negative reaction to the production), and we can’t wait to see what’s next for this powerful, brave young star.
Bella Thorne is 19-going-on-20 but her mature appearance and presence make you think she’s a lot older. She got her start in that Farrelly brothers movie Stuck on You. She was just 6 and it wasn’t a big role, but when she was 10 she played Margaux Darling on Dirty Sexy Money. She’s probably best known though for her role as Teenie Hendrickson on Big Love.
She joined the cast in the fourth season after Jolean Wejbe was deemed too tall and mature-looking for the part. Funny enough, Bella Thorne now looks far more mature than a teenager, and has since she was about 16.
Maybe it’s because she has such a timeless, classy look, but it’s hard to believe that Zendaya is only 20 years old. The one-moniker singer, actor, clothing designer, author, and dancer was born in 1996, and if that doesn’t make you feel like ordering Geritol in bulk, nothing will.
She started her career modeling, but gained attention from her role as Rocky Blue in the Disney Channel show Shake It Up. That was when she was 13, and she has been a busy girl ever since. Like, really busy. In addition to all her creative projects, she is an Ambassador for Convoy of Hope and celebrates her birthdays by feeding hungry children and supporting women’s initiatives.
Maybe it’s her grown-up priorities that make her seem older. Like that time she offered a modeling contract to a girl that was body-shamed on social media. She’s, like, the total opposite of a mean girl.
Is it the brooding eyes? All the tattoos? Something about Zayn Malik (who records as Zayn) makes him seem much older than 24. He was only 17, after all, when he appeared on The X Factor (UK) in 2010. He looked young then, but maybe five years as a member of the wildly popular boy band, One Direction, ages you.
He was in the band from its inception in 2010 until 2015 when he left to “be a normal 22-year old…” He still looked like a kid then, but since he’s embarked on his solo career he looks very mature. Zsquad doesn’t mind, though. He’s still a much-loved artist, and his philanthropy, shoe design, and work with Versace are keeping him busy.
The pop phenom was only 16 when her first hit, “Royals,” came out, which made Lorde the youngest solo artist to hit number one on Billboard Hot 100 since Tiffany broke through in 1987 with her cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now.”
In the three years since, Lorde (who is now 20) has released a second album, created the soundtrack for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, created a makeup line for MAC Cosmetics, made a video encouraging young New Zealand people to vote (even though she was not yet old enough to vote), and even had a wax figure installed at Madame Tussauds Hollywood. The busy young woman is a powerhouse, for sure. Her list of accomplishments belies her age, as does the expressive way she sings her songs.
Emma Watson has been everybody’s favorite for so many years, it’s hard to believe that she’s only 27. We watched her grow up in the Harry Potter movies (she was only 11 in the first film!) as the brilliant and resourceful Hermione, and since then she’s become such a grown-up. She managed to graduate from Brown University with a degree in English, and her charitable works are extensive.
Watson is active in women’s rights work, and in 2014 she became a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. Notably, she interviewed Gloria Steinem for her online book club, “Our Shared Self.” Recently, she attended the super-secret Google Camp along with Evan Spiegel, Prince Harry, and David Geffen. This dynamic young lady isn’t stopping anytime soon, but she’s done so much already that it’s hard to believe she’s not even 30.
It’s not their fault we feel so old
The celebrity world is full of people who seem either older, younger or downright ageless (we’re looking at you, Elijah Wood). The odd lens of fame, makeup, and lighting (and maybe magic potions and strong incantations) keep people looking, well, however they want to look. The rest of us out here? We’re just chugging along as usual, and whether it is through accomplishment or folly, some of these stars make us feel super duper old. We just need to remember that we’re fine just the way we are, and that we’re only as old as we feel. You’re gorgeous, you!