Skip To Content

    15 Famous Men Who've Opened Up About Struggling With Their Body Image While Working In Hollywood

    When talking about his physical transformation for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Will Poulter said, "There’s a lot of pressure out there on young people, both men and women, regarding body image. If you’re going to promote the process by which you achieved said body goal, I think you have to be fully transparent about how you got there."

    This post includes topics of body image, body dysmorphia, and disordered eating. 

    1. Will Poulter had to go through a series of "different diets" to play "the perfect being" in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 but said he wouldn't recommend other people do this. "It’s been a lot of gym work and a very, very specific diet,” he explained. “Not particularly civilized at times. Quantities of food you wouldn’t necessarily want to ingest. And other times not enough food. I’ve gone through a series of different diets over the last few months.”

    closeup of him at an event

    2. Taylor Lautner shared that his Twilight role had a negative impact on his own body image years after the movies wrapped. He said, "When I was in it, when I was 16 through 20 years old, starring in this franchise where my character is known for taking his shirt off every other second, no, I did not know that it was affecting me or going to affect me in the future with body image. But now looking back at it, of course it did, and of course it is going to."

    closeup of him at an event

    3. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was told he had to "slim down," and basically change his entire self in order to be successful in Hollywood. "You can't be big, you can't go to the gym, you can't call yourself 'The Rock,' let's not talk about pro-wrestling. Well, you buy into that shit, as I did."

    closeup of him at an event

    4. Zac Efron opened up about having "pretty bad depression" after going through very intense dieting and training for Baywatch. He also revealed that he over-trained, ate the same three meals every day, and took "powerful diuretics" to achieve the look, all of which left him struggling with insomnia and burnout. "I don’t need to do that," he added, "I much prefer to have an extra, you know, 2 to 3 percent body fat."

    him on the red carpet

    5. Sam Claflin said that Hollywood's obsession with people's bodies is "anything but normal." He elaborated, saying, "I remember doing one job when they literally made me pull my shirt up and were grabbing my fat and going, 'You need to lose a bit of weight.' This other time they were slapping me. I felt like a piece of meat."

    closeup of him in a suit

    6. John Boyega wants Hollywood to get past its "aesthetic of people." He said, "Why do leads always have to be muscular and ripped? That kind of sometimes shows to me that the guy has too much time on his hands. What real war hero of history [looks that way]? Do you know what I mean? It's about rebranding the way in which we are fed a false narrative of perfection.”

    closeup of him at an event

    7. Richard Madden has been forced to wear corset-style costumes because studios wanted him to look thinner. He said that he's even had his "fat rolls" pinched. "I've done numerous jobs where you're told to lose weight and get to the gym," he told British Vogue. "It doesn't just happen to women, it happens to men all the time as well.

    closeup of him

    8. Matt McGorry struggled with his body image after he stopped competing in bodybuilding competitions. He said, "When I had my first shirtless scene in Orange Is the New Black, those same ideas crept into my mind again. I did some unhealthy crash dieting. And now, I look back and I think that's really sad."

    closeup of him at an event

    9. Justin Baldoni shared his experiences with body dysmorphia and said that filming shirtless scenes "became a part of [his] identity." It became such a struggle for him because "[he'd] always felt like [he] had so much more to offer, but that was how [he] was seen, and that was also how [he] was making [his] money."

    closeup of him in a flannel

    10. Simu Liu said that he would get comments on his page like, "Your face looks like a dog's anus, you don’t deserve this role," after he was cast in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Though, when he learned to let his self-worth not be dictated by his perceived attractiveness, he "probably became the most self-assured and self-confident version of [himself]."

    him at the barbie premiere

    11. Kumail Nanjiani described the critical feedback he got after bulking up for his role in Eternals. "To hear a bunch of people reaffirming my own darkest thoughts about myself was very difficult," he said.

    closeup of him at an event

    12. Jacob Elordi has become hyperaware of his body and said, "You learn quickly that what people take away from those movies is your stature and your figure."

    closeup of him

    13. Jacob Batalon said that he wanted to work out more, but felt like he wasn't allowed to because of the show he was on at the time. "I'm meant to be stereotypically [sic], not a 'leading man' type."

    closeup of him at an event

    14. Ty Pennington was body-shamed after posting a shirtless video of himself on Instagram, and replied in a post saying, "There has been such a force behind accepting all shapes and sizes and aging in the female community which is AWESOME 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼 (keep it coming) but maybe let’s give that same grace to men? On a daily basis I'm inundated with comments like 'NOOOo what happened to him???!!!'" He added, "No, I don't have a six pack anymore or a luscious head of hair...but what I do have is wisdom, empathy, life lessons and at 57 years old, I've TRULY never been happier!"

    closeup of him at the barbie premiere

    15. Finally, Robert Pattinson opened up about his experiences with body dysmorphia and "tremendous anxiety" about his appearance. He said, "I suppose it’s because of these tremendous insecurities that I never found a way to become egotistical. I don’t have a six-pack and I hate going to the gym. I’ve been like that my whole life. I never want to take my shirt off.

    The National Eating Disorders Association helpline is 1-800-931-2237; for 24/7 crisis support, text “NEDA” to 741741.

    The National Alliance on Mental Illness is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.