If age is nothing but a number, then why do we get so damn uptight about it? We could spend hours trying to figure out the reasons our society places such high value on how old women are, but we decided to have fun instead by highlighting famous people who lie about their age. Celebrities, they’re just like us.
In all seriousness, the topic of aging in Hollywood isn’t a new one—it’s long been known that actresses, no matter how fit, talented, and sexy, have a hard time finding meaty parts as they get into their thirties. In 2011, the subject made headlines when an anonymous actress filed suit against movie database IMDb for posting her actual age on her public profile.
According to ABC News, the unnamed actress was pushing 40 but looked and represented herself as much younger and posting her real age “would make it nearly impossible for the up-and-coming actress to get work.”
And she’s hardly alone. In 2013, Scarlett Johansson was chosen as Esquire‘s Sexiest Woman Alive, and admitted that her age is something she’s very aware of when it comes to her career. “You know, I gotta hustle. I’m a twenty-eight-year-old woman in the movie business, right? Pretty soon the roles you’re offered all become mothers. Then they just sort of stop. I have to hedge against that with work—theater, producing, this thing with Esquire.”
(Yes, 28 years old in Hollywood means you’re approaching mom-playing status—though to be fair, Scar actually is a mom now.)
While ScarJo might be wishing she lied about her age, here are 13 celebrities who actually have. One thing to keep in mind: While we’re willing to bet almost every person in Hollywood fibs about when they were born, this list is only made up of people who we definitely know have lied.
In May 2015, Australian gossip site Women's Day alleged that that "Pitch Perfect" star Rebel Wilson was actually 36 years old, not 29 was believed. The story also reported that Rebel's real name is Melanie Bownds, and includes a dragged-up yearbook photo and quotes from old classmates asserting he comedic actress was born in 1979 and graduated high school in 1997. For her part, Rebel responded with a bunch of jokes, but didn't deny it.
It was a police report that busted rapper and actress Nicki Minaj. In 2011, Minaj was booked for a physical altercation she had with an unnamed man, and her year of birth was listed as 1982, making her 28 at the time. Wikipedia had her listed as 26. The star is 32 now.
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In 2008, former lead singer of The Pussycat Dolls Nicole Scherzinger admitted she was about to turn 30 despite the group's website listing her age as 28. She's currently 36.
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After getting questioned by police about the infamous nightclub shooting with then-boyfriend Diddy, Jennifer Lopez was forced to admit she was born in 1969, not 1970 as she'd been claiming. J.Lo is 45 now.
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In 2012, model Agyness Deyn confessed to being six years older than her resume suggested because she started modeling at the age of 18—pretty late in that field. Obviously some folks knew she was fibbing: There was a Facebook group called "Agyness Deyn, You're Not 18," which was the age she claimed to be when she came to New York at the real age of 24. She's since come clean, and is 32 years old.
Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell—who's 42 years old now—claimed to be 21 when the iconic '90s group released their first album, but it later came out she was actually 25, which led to the not-nice nickname "Old Spice." According to the Mirror, Geri went on to celebrate her 29th birthday a few times before Victoria Beckham let it slip that Geri had already turned 30.
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Sandra Bullock—now 50—told Barbara Walters that she lied to producers of "Love Potion #9" in 1992 hoping to score the part of "an older scientist," telling them she was 29, a few years older than her real age.
She got the part, but kept on lying, this time making herself younger until Vanity Fair printed her real birth year (1964.) "After a while, you have no idea how old you are because you've lied so many times," she told a journalist for Detour in 1993. "I always said I would never lie, but one time, when I didn't it worked against me. So I figure you just keep them guessing."
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In 1999, rapper Eminen told Howard Stern he was 24, but he was in fact 27. Granted, some reports said he was stoned at the time, but others say Interscope made him lie about his age. At any rate, Em is 42 now.
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Jessica Chastain is notoriously ambiguous about her age, with differing reports all over the web. "I will never say my age because I'm an actress, and I want to play different ages," she told British paper the Independant in 2013. In 2012, her “official” age was listed as 30, in 2013 it was widely believed she was 35, and now Google informs us she's 38.
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"Beverly Hills, 90210" star Gabrielle Carteris was 29 years old when she auditioned for the role of 16-year-old Andrea Zuckerman, but lied about her age to producers.
"I actually talked to a lawyer about how could I sign all these contracts and lie about my age and still be able to do the show. 'Is it OK?" And, 'Yes, it is, as long as you're over 21," she told Access Hollywood in 2011. "Then a magazine – that I won’t say – did an interview on the show with somebody else and they went and asked my agent [my age,] I said, ‘I don’t talk about my age,’ or whatever, they found it in the DMV, illegally." Carteris is 54 now.
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Rapper Nelly got busted in 2003 when Teen People magazine named him one of its 25 Hottest Stars Under 25—but he was actually 28 when the issue hit stands. Nelly’s camp initially claimed he was born in 1980, but it was disovered he entered the world in 1974, making him 40 years old now.
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According to Austrialian site news.com, popular British singer Paloma Faith lied about her age when she was starting out. From the story:
"This reporter had the pleasure of interviewing the British singer a few years back, upon the release of her debut album. Much was made at the time of her rich backstory—before finding success in the music business, Paloma had lived a full and fascinating life, working variously as a magician's assistant, a life model and a burlesque performer. Was she glad, I asked her, that she entered the music business having had a few years of life experience under her belt?"
"Well, I'm only 23," came the frosty reply.
Later, it was revealed that Faith was actually four years older than she claimed, and she's now 33.
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According to Whoopi Goldberg, she lied about her age when she was starting out in the '70s and '80s and added six years because “nobody would hire me to act. Everyone said I was too young," RadarOnline reported. Her year of birth is 1955.
Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival