It can be easy to not see celebrities as actual people. The temptation to view actors and musicians as nothing more than their forever-young movie characters, song lyrics and magazine photos is all too real. But they are people – flesh and blood humans with very real ages. And as every year passes, they grow older, just like everyone else. The difference is they age in the entertainment spotlight, where bad angles and poor lighting can’t be avoided, yet somehow they seemingly manage to remain untouched by the sands of time. We’ve compiled a list of your favorite celebrities who are turning 50 in 2019. Warning: It might be hard to believe!
Jay-Z made a name for himself in the ‘90s, providing hard-hitting hip hop for the masses inspired by his troubled upbringing in Brooklyn’s Marcy housing projects. The rapper has consistently produced bangers for generations, and that’s exactly why it’s so hard believe he’s turning 50.
The hip hop legend might be aging, but there’s no evidence he’s slowing down. Dubbed by Business Insider “music’s first billionaire couple,” Jay-Z and his superstar wife Beyoncé have raked in millions over the years through their music and entrepreneurial pursuits. Mumble rappers step aside, Hova is still alive and kicking, and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
International fashion icon and sitcom superstar Jennifer Aniston celebrated her 50th birthday in early 2019 by proving, as she always does, that age is just a number. The forever-youthful Friends star was even featured on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar’s June/July issue, in perfect timing for her big 5-0.
While some people dread the prospect of turning 50, Aniston welcomed the idea, throwing a giant, star-studded party to celebrate. The likes of George and Amal Clooney were in attendance – and even Aniston’s ex, Brad Pitt, showed up to party with her. The soiree reflected the star’s opinion that “I don’t think life stops after 50. If anything, it gets more and more exciting.”
Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett “isn’t panicking” about turning 50 in 2019, telling Harper’s Bazaar that “there are so many lives” she still wants to live. While many – especially in the entertainment world – obsess over staying young, Blanchett is focused on her career.
“I think about it on an existential level, sure, but on a career level, I refuse. It’s important to keep karate-chopping those doors down and creating new opportunities not just for yourself, but also for those who are coming up behind you,” she said. Having won two Academy Awards, three Golden Globes and three BAFTA awards, it’s little wonder the actress isn’t afraid of a birthday.
For Renée Zellweger, reaching the big 5-0 meant more than just throwing a party or blowing out candles. For her, it meant a milestone in the midst of a new beginning. The actress took a six-year break from making multiple movies per year in 2010 after more than a decade of killing it in Hollywood to focus on her personal life, and made a big return in 2016.
And Zellweger came back with a boom. Her first movie after her hiatus was Bridget Jones’s Baby, as she revisited the beloved character that made her a household name. She also starred in a Judy Garland biopic and made her television lead debut in Netlix’s What/If.
Most people know Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey, the titular character in Grey’s Anatomy, the ABC drama series that has run for a whopping 15 seasons. That’s partially because, as Pompeo told People in 2016, she fears leaving the show might result in her not landing other work as she ages.
In fact, as the talented actress began to approach 50, Pompeo began changing the conversation surrounding age in Hollywood. Like men, women get “better, stronger” and more confident with age, she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2016. Now Pompeo is going on 50 and, and she’s doing it in style.
When news circulated that Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl was turning 50, his fans on Twitter simply couldn’t believe it. “Dave Grohl turns 50 years old Monday and I still want to marry him,” one fan wrote. Others were more generic, literally expressing their shock at the development.
One of the most iconic rock stars in history, Dave Grohl started out as the drummer for Nirvana in 1990, and later solidified his hold on rock music when he formed the Foo Fighters. Grohl, who was once dubbed the “best drummer in the world,” by Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, fittingly celebrated his 50th with a bowling party filled with celeb rockers.
“This is Sparta!” King Leonidas shouted as he kicked the Persian messenger down the well. The line was as iconic as any – enough advertising for 300 on its own. And now the actor who delivered it is turning 50, if you can believe it.
The Scottish actor might not have exactly the same physique as he did when he played Leonidas, but he still keeps in shape by working out consistently. Let’s be real, no one expects him to keep up the insane workout regimen the 300 movie became famous for. It’s not like Butler is actually fighting against half-naked bald men with piercings all over for Sparta’s survival every day.
Before anyone screams fake news, it’s true. JLo actually turned 50 in 2019. You might be finding yourself wondering how that’s even possible. According to the actress and singer, she stays young by working out regularly, wearing sunscreen when needed and always removing her make-up before bed.
Whatever she’s doing, it seems to be working. Lopez appeared on The Ellen Show ahead of her 50th, saying she feels only 26 years old. Instead of celebrating 50 like a normal person, the (superhuman?) star rang in half a century of life with a summer tour called It’s My Party: The Live Celebration.
Even though Jason Bateman first got his start on television in the early 1980s in Little House on the Prairie, it’s kind of hard to believe he just turned 50. Maybe it’s the boyish charm he has going for him – or the fact that his acting game is strong as ever.
Bateman recently starred as Marty Byrd, a financial planner that launders money for criminals, in Netflix drama Ozark, and he does so brilliantly and filled with energy. His face may not have changed much since his child-star days, but his performances on screen have only gotten better. Bateman has even added the title “producer” to his resume, signing a film and television deal with Netflix in 2018.
Matthew McConaughey is the swaggering Texan everyone likes to poke fun at but secretly envies. The Academy-Award winner got his start in 1993, starring in the now iconic coming-of-age comedy Dazed and Confused, but he has done a great deal since then.
From Dallas Buyers Club to Interstellar, to HBO’s critically acclaimed True Detective, McConaughey has proven himself to be truly versatile. And let’s not forget his string of romantic comedies in the early 2000s. Now McConaughey is turning 50, and he can feel it. After sleeping on a mattress without padding, he told People, he woke up feeling like he had “been bucked from a bull in a rodeo.”
Tired of being the token pretty girl in British films, Catherine Zeta-Jones moved to Los Angeles in her youth, and she became a Hollywood star. Now she’s turning 50, if you can believe it (we can’t). Zeta-Jones shares her birthday with her husband, fellow actor Michael Douglas.
Luckily for Zeta-Jones, her husband is 25 years older than she is, meaning he is turning 70. It must make her 50th, an event many of us dread more than anything in the world, seem more like a Sweet 16. According to Zeta-Jones, the Oscar-winning actress stays young by drinking loads of water and avoiding alcohol and inflammatory foods.
It must not seem so long ago for Jack Black when he reminisces his teenage years, back to a time when he was “on a rampage, driving around California like a maniac.” Indeed, it’s wild to think that the star who made a name for himself in School of Rock is actually turning celebrating the big 5-0.
He’s still active in the industry – his rock-comedy band, Tenacious D, is touring to promote its 2018 album, Post-Apocalypto, and Black is still acting in Hollywood films. And with the caveman beard ‘n’ hair thing going on, who can really tell his real age?
Pop superstar Gwen Stefani first burst onto the scene in 1995 through her band, No Doubt, and its breakthrough album Tragic Kingdom. She eventually decided to go solo, releasing Love. Angel. Music. Baby. Remember the iconic earworm “Hollaback Girl?” Well, it was in this album.
Now Stefani, believe it or not, is turning 50. The star’s youthful glow is buttressed by the fact that she is dating country singer Blake Shelton, who is eight years her junior – not that she needs it. How does she stay so young? We’re not sure, but someone needs to get it out of her.
It seems this year, Peter Dinklage is concerned with more than just how his character on Game of Thrones, Tyrion Lannister, will help Queen Daenerys Targaryen take back the Iron Throne from his evil sister, Cersei Lannister. This is the year in which the beloved actor celebrates half a century of life.
Dinklage’s role on the wildly popular HBO series has transformed him into one of the most beloved actors on television. He almost turned it down when it was first offered to him, however, because he was wary of dwarf shaming. It’s a good thing he didn’t in retrospect – now the actor gets to celebrate the show’s last season the same year he turns 50.
One of the highest-paid men in entertainment thanks to the Madea franchise he created and performs in, Tyler Perry will mark half five decades of life this year by saying goodbye to the very character that has driven much of his success. It’s time to move on, he told CNN.
“I’ll be 50 this year and I’m just at a place in my life where this next 50 I want to do things differently,” he said, adding “She’s also run out of things to say in my point of view.” Madea Simmons, a tough elderly black woman, is a character that will forever be ingrained in American pop culture. Perry is also known for Tyler Perry’s House of Payne on TBS.
Rap legend P. Diddy marks five decades of life in 2019. Sean John Combs, also known as Puff Daddy, Puffy and Diddy, is one of the biggest names in hip hop and has been for quite some time, so it might not be so wild to think he’s celebrating the big 5-0.
It’s unclear how he plans to commemorate the day, but if his last birthday is any indication, it will be a riot. Diddy’s 49th consisted of skydiving directly into the Playboy Mansion, where he then partied it up with fellow rappers. The likes of Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa were in attendance.
Donnie Wahlberg will always be one of the New Kids on the Block, and now he’s turning 50. Wahlberg’s boy band won two American Music awards in 1990 before it disbanded four years later. In 2007, the crew reunited and released an album called The Block.
But Mark Wahlberg’s brother dabbled in acting, too, starring in works like dramas Boomtown and Blue Bloods. Donnie tried his hand behind the scenes, too, serving as the executive producer of the TNT reality show Boston’s Finest. It seems talent in entertainment runs in the Wahlberg family. Mark is set to reach the same age milestone in 2021!
Chandler Bing – er, Matthew Perry – is also turning 50 this year. Though he has appeared in a number of films, he will forever be known as Bing from Friends, the tremendously popular sitcom with a cult-like following that is rivaled by the likes of Seinfeld.
Considering this is a show that began in 1994, when Perry was in his mid-twenties, it shouldn’t be such a surprise that he’s nearing a half-century of life at this point. That being said, he is as active as ever. He even missed a Friends reunion in 2016 because he was rehearsing for a play in London.
This one is just bizarre. One of the more versatile actors in Hollywood, Paul Rudd is one of those people who just never seems to age. Indeed, fans took to Twitter on his 50th to express their disbelief at the Ant-Man star’s seemingly eternal youth.
“How is this dude not aging? This is scary to me,” one user wrote. Others pined that scientists should study him for clues about the aging process. Through Rudd’s secret to staying boyish remains a mystery, one has to wonder if it has to do with his habit of staying busy – as he goes from rom-com to buddy comedy to superhero flick.
Award-winning actor Edward Norton has gifted the entertainment world with numerous great performances over the years, whether as the narrator in Fight Club or a reformed neo-Nazi in the memorable American History X. And now believe it or not, Norton is about to turn 50.
A hero among Generation X for his role in the former film, which uses radical film techniques to heavily scrutinize our consumerist society. Fight Club was the Gen X manifesto, and now its stars – Norton and Brad Pitt, who is turning 56 – will have seen half a century on this planet. It’s a good thing for fans that they age so well.
Actor and comedian Ken Jeong was a little-known doctor before he entered the world of acting. After doing a series of open mic nights, funnyman Jeong landed a few television appearances, including The Office and Entourage, but it was his role as international gangster Leslie Chow in The Hangover films that really put him on the map.
Indeed, many who know him as the heavily accented and eccentric Chow might not realize that in his day to day life, Jeong doesn’t have even a whiff of a Chinese accent. Born in Detroit and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, the actor is also famous for playing the eccentric Ben Chang in the sitcom Community. Let’s wish the boyish Jeong a happy 50th!
Best known for playing Winifred “Freddie” Brooks from NBC sitcom A Different World, a spinoff of The Cosby Show, Cree Summer has done a heck of a lot since then. You haven’t seen her? Well, that’s because she has worked a lot more in the world of animation.
Summer was the original voice of Penny in the 1983 cartoon Inspector Gadget, Cleo the poodle in Clifford the Big Red Dog, Maxine “Max” Gibson in Batman Beyond, and others. In short, it’s highly likely that either you or your children has heard her voice before, many times. Let’s wish her a happy 50th.
Academy-Award nominee Terrence Howard doesn’t turn 50 often, but when he does, he does it in style. The Hustle & Flow star decided to propose to his ex-wife, Mira Pak, so they could be married once again – three years after the two had secretly divorced.
Howard, who shares two young sons with Pak, popped the question to her on Christmas day during a special dinner. “It took me 45 years to find you… But now that I have you in my 50th year, I will spend the rest of eternity at your side,” he said. It seems for Howard, turning 50 also meant a clear mind.
There’s something inherently bizarre about a hard-rock icon growing old, especially when he’s as out-there as Marilyn Manson. But the deed is done – the rocker actually turned 50 in January of 2019. The musician/visual artist actually shared photos from his star-studded birthday bash on Instagram, which included him receiving his cake and paling around with guests.
Fellow music icons Courtney Love, Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ lead singer Karen O, KoRn‘s Jonathan Davis, and singer and YouTube sensation Poppy and Yoshiki of X Japan were in attendance. Manson may have spent half a century on the planet, but his 50th was worthy of any other rocker of his status.
Ice Cube, born O’Shea Jackson Sr., made a name for himself back in the 1980s as a rapper and member of hip hop group C.I.A. The group split up three years later and he, Dr. Dre and Eazy E formed the famous N.W.A.
As the group’s frontman, Ice Cube is largely credited as being one of the founders of the gangsta rap genre that has become so popular today. And now the rapper is also known for acting in films like Boyz n the Hood, 21 Jump Street and Barbershop. In other words, he has done quite a bit in his now almost 50 years of life.
Sources: People, Rolling Stone, CNN