Jade Small
Jade Small
December 17, 2023 ·  14 min read

What The Sexiest Man Alive Has Looked Like Every Year Since 1985 And What They Look Like Now

Tiffy Taffy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

People magazine has had a ‘sexiest man alive’ segment for the past 36 years. According to Hollywood legend, it all started over a Mel Gibson interview. While planning how things would go, someone exclaimed, “Oh my God, he is the sexiest man alive!” To which someone else replied, “You should use that as a cover line.”

Since that day in 1985, the magazine has given the title of ‘sexiest man alive’ to 36 different men. In 1993, the magazine declared ‘sexiest couple alive’ and awarded both Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford the title.

Let’s take a look at what those celebrities looked like then, and what they look like now.

Sexiest Man Alive 1985 – 1990

Mel Gibson 1985 when he won the sexiest man alive

Mel Gibson in 1985 and in 2019
Credit: Ron Galella, Ltd. / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images, Kurt Krieger – Corbis / Corbis via Getty Image

Mel Colmcille Gerard Gibson became known for his starring roles in the Lethal Weapon series and Mad Max in the 1980s. Since then, he has gained further notoriety from such films as Braveheart and Passion of the Christ (available on Amazon Prime). Gibson is also a devout Catholic and stated at the time of creating the Passion of the Christ, that the Holy Spirit was making the film through him: “I was just directing traffic,” he said. 

Mark Harmon as the sexiest man alive in 1986

in the movie lets get harry clean shaven in a suit and tie sexiest man alive
Credit: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Mark Harmon now as seen on TV

Mark with grey hair in a suit
Credit: Cbs Photo Archive / CBS via Getty Images

Most people know Mark Harmon from NCIS. However, his career started on a television series called St. Elsewhere. Harmon played the plastic surgeon, Dr. Bobby Caldwell. What is interesting is how many other well-known actors also got their start on that same medical drama. Denzel Washington, David Morse, Ed Begley Jr., and Howie Mandel also were on the show with Harmon. Afterward, Dr. Bobby Caldwell’s character contracted AIDS in the 3rd season, which also sparked many relevant conversations at that time. “That was an important piece of information to get out because there was a consensus at the time that AIDS was the result of a certain lifestyle, and that was dead wrong,” Harmon told Entertainment Weekly.

Harry Hamlin in 1987

A young Harry holding a door open sexiest man alive
Credit: Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Harry now

Harry wearing glasses at the television humanitarian awards
Credit: Rich Fury / WireImage / Getty Images

Harry Hamlin was most recognized for his role as Michael Kuzak in the legal drama series L.A. Law. Three Golden Globe nominations were received for his portrayal of that character. Most recently, Hamlin was awarded a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his work on the AMC drama Mad Men. Most people don’t know how smart the actor truly is. in 1974, Hamlin graduated from Yale University with dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in psychology and drama. Then, he attended the American Conservatory Theater’s advanced actor training program. Also, he was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree in acting as well.

John F Kennedy Jr when he was the sexiest man alive in 1988

a portrait of him in a striped shirt and tie
Credit: Images Press / Getty Images

JFK Jr passed away in 1999. Accordingly, he was an affluent lawyer, journalist, and magazine publisher. Also, his father was the 35th U.S. president John F. Kennedy

Sean Connery in 1989 when he was People’s sexiest man alive

Sean Connery
Credit: Ron Galella, Ltd. / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Sean passed away last year at the age of 90. Most well-known for his work as James Bond (available on Amazon Prime), the longtime Scottish actor held the title of a knight as well. Accordingly, he was knighted by the Queen at Holyrood Palace in 2000. “Sean was born into a working-class Edinburgh family and through talent and sheer hard work, became an international film icon and one of the world’s most accomplished actors. Sean will be remembered best as James Bond – the classic 007 – but his roles were many and varied,” said Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Tom Cruise in 1990 as the title-holder

with michelle pheiffer posing with their golden globes
Credit: Bettmann / Bettmann Archive / Getty images

Tom Cruise now

Tom on a film set holding a walkie talkie
Credit: Alberto Pizzoli / AFP via Getty Images

So Tom Cruise became a common household name after his massive success with Top Gun. However, he wasn’t always a golden star. Cruise spent his childhood trying to hide his dyslexia. At the age of 7, he was diagnosed and kept his secret from his friends. Describing his younger self as a “functionally illiterate” he was barely able to read in high school or through his earliest roles. After that, he ended up becoming one of the most famous actors known today.

1991 – 2000

Patrick Swayze when he was the sexiest man alive in 1991

Patrick sitting on the ground cross-legged with people lying around him sexiest man alive
Credit: Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

Sadly, he passed away in 2009 from pancreatic cancer at the age of 57. While most know him for his roles in Ghost, and Roadhouse, Patrick was also an avid dancer and singer.

Nick Nolte won in 1992

Nick holding up his golden globes award
Credit: Ron Galella, Ltd. / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Nick now

Nick filming while wearing a coat and a plaid shirt
Credit: Gilbert Carrasquillo / Gilbert Carrasquillo / GC Images / Getty Images

Nick Nolte spent 20 years performing in theatres before ever landing a solid role in Hollywood. Eventually, thanks to his dedication and hard work, he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for the 1991 film The Prince of Tides

Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford when they won the sexiest couple alive in 1993

smiling couple
Credit: Rex Getty Images

Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford now

Richard Gere
Credit: Wikipedia Commons
Cindy Crawford
Credit:  Rex Features

He has starred in such films as Pretty Woman, Primal Fear, The Cotton Club, An Officer and a Gentleman, and Runaway Bride. Also currently Richard is a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild and holds a Golden Globe award for his work on the musical Chicago.

Keanu Reeves when he won in 1994

Keanu waving to the crowd at the premiere of the movie Speed sexiest man alive
Credit: Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

And now

Keanu, with a beard, filming john wick in the rain
Credit: Poshine / GC Images / Getty Images

While Keanu Reeves and Wynona Ryder were filming Bram Stoker’s Dracula back in 1992, a genuine priest officiated the wedding held in Romania. Accordingly, Keanu and Wynona jokingly consider their marriage to be valid. “We did a whole take of a marriage ceremony with real priests,” Reeves said in an Esquire video. “Winona says we are [married]. Coppola says we are. So I guess we’re married… under the eyes of God.”

The Sexiest man alive in 1995 was Brad Pitt

Brad at the legends of the fall premiere in a sweater, jeans, and a jacket sexiest man alive
Credit: Mirrorpix / Getty Images

Brad Pitt now

Brad at the academy awards in a tuxedo
Credit: Pool / Getty Images

The film Thelma and Louise helped Brad land several more roles following his entrance into Hollywood stardom in 1991. Since then, he has starred in blockbuster after blockbuster and gained several awards for his efforts.

Denzel Washington in 1996

Denzel poses with whitney houston at an event
Credit: Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic, Inc / Getty Images

Denzel now

Denzel at an event in a suit and tie
Credit: Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images

Accordingly, Denzel has changed the way Hollywood sees actors. Bringing more than just a voice to a character, Denzel exudes a presence that can be felt both on and off-screen. Also, in 2016, he received the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. After that in 2020, The New York Times ranked him as the greatest actor of the twenty-first century.

George Clooney won the title in 1997

George smiles at the camera on a red carpet sexiest man alive
Credit: Ron Galella, Ltd. / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Here’s what George looks like today

A bearded George at an event in a suit and tie
Credit: Mike Marsland / Mike Marsland / WireImage / Getty Images

George Clooney’s breakout role came about in 1992 when he portrayed Dr. Doug Ross on the television series ER. This led him to star in major movie roles, including one as Batman. In 2005, Clooney won an Academy Award for his performance in Syriana.

Harrison Ford in 1998 when he wont the sexiest man alive

Harrison with short hair at the peoples choice awards sexiest man alive
Credit: Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Harrison Ford now

Harrison smiles at a conservation conference in france
Credit: Ludovic Marin / AFP via Getty Images

The iconic Harrison Ford will always be Hans Solo for many of us, but his expertise in movies goes far beyond Star Wars. Other famous hits of his include The Fugitive, Indiana Jones, and Blade Runner. Basically, his career spans 60 years and includes collaborations with some of the most well-known filmmakers of his time.

Richard Gere won the title for the second time in 1999

on the walk of fame 2nd time sexiest man alive
Credit: Brenda Chase / Getty Images

Richard Gere now

Richard accepting an award in poland
Credit: Nurphoto / NurPhoto via Getty Images

72-year-old Richard Gere is much more than just an actor. He is also a humanitarian. Additionally, “He’s a founding member of “Tibet House,” a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan culture. He has been an active supporter of “Survival International” for several years, a worldwide organization supporting tribal peoples, affirming their right to decide their own future and helping them protect their lives, lands and human rights.”

Brad Pitt when he won for the 2nd time in 2000

Brad arm-in-arm with jen aniston at an event sexiest man alive
Credit: Ron Galella, Ltd. / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Brad now

Brad holding his Oscar at the academy awards
Credit: Kurt Krieger – Corbis / Corbis via Getty Images

Brad Pitt has won several awards for his acting, but he’s also won a few for other skills as well. Pitt won the Oscar for best-supporting actor for his performance as a charming stunt man in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Also, he previously won an Academy Award as a producer in 2014 for best picture “12 Years a Slave.”

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Sexiest Man Alive 2001 – 2010

Pierce Brosnan in 2001 as the sexiest man alive

Pierce in a suit and tie at the crystal awards sexiest man alive
Credit: Steve Granitz / WireImage / Getty Images

Pierce now

Pierce with radical facial hair including a handlebar mustache
Credit: Karwai Tang / WireImage / Getty Images

Born in Ireland, Pierce is most famous for starring in the TV series Remington Steele (1982) as the title character, as well as portraying famous movie character James Bond in GoldenEye (1995)(available on Amazon Prime), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)(available on Amazon Prime), The World Is Not Enough (1999)(available on Amazon Prime) and Die Another Day (2002)(available on Amazon Prime).

Ben Affleck when he won in 2002

Ben poses with jlo at a red carpet event
Credit: Tom Kingston / WireImage / Getty Images

Ben now

Ben still with jlo but exiting a vehicle
Credit: Gotham / GC Images / Getty Images

So, Ben Affleck gained notoriety after joining Kevin Smith on several of his films including Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and Dogma. Also, after making waves on the comedy scene, Affleck started acting in more dramatic films. Additionally, Good Will Hunting, Armageddon, and Pearl Harbor showed off his talent for serious roles.

Johnny Depp as the sexiest man alive in 2003

Johnny in a blazer and eyeglasses at once upon a time in mexico premiere sexiest man alive
Credit: Matthew Peyton / Getty Images

Johnny now

Johnny at the puffins premiere
Credit: Srdjan Stevanovic / Getty Images

Also considered to be one of Hollywood’s most versatile actors, Depp has starred in countless roles depicting everything from a murderous barber, to a comedic vampire, to an intoxicated pirate humanitarian. He is a Gemini, and his height is also 5’9″, which makes him ideal for nearly any role.

Jude Law when he won in 2004

Jude in a blazer and jeans at the closer premiere sexiest man alive
Credit: L. Cohen / WireImage / Getty Images

Jude now

Jude at a puppet walk pointing at something
Credit: Gareth Fuller – Pa Images / PA Images via Getty Images

So, one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood is Jude Law. He has received several awards and titles throughout his career. Accordingly, some of the more influential ones include a British Academy Film Award, nominations for two Academy Awards, two Tony Awards, and four Golden Globe Awards. After that, Law received an Honorary César back in 2007 and was named a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government.

Matthew McConaughey as the 2005 winner

Matthew on a hotel balcony in florida
Credit: Gustavo Caballero / Getty Images

Matthew now

Matthew with his head resting on his hands during a zoom call
Credit: Nbc / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Most famous for his words, rather than his acting, Matthew and his voice have been gracing movie screens since the 70s. “All right, All right, All right,” became commonly used when he starred as David Wooderson in the 1993 film Dazed and Confused. 

George Clooney won for his 2nd time in 2006

George sitting next to former President Obama
Credit: Win Mcnamee / Getty Images

George Clooney today

George on the red carpet at the london film festival
Credit: Karwai Tang / WireImage / Getty Images

According to LooktotheStars, “George Clooney has worked to stop the human rights atrocities in the Darfur region of Sudan, and over the years has focused energy on helping those suffering from poverty. Clooney famously founded Not On Our Watch with his Ocean’s Eleven co-stars Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, and Brad Pitt, and producer Jerry Weintraub.”

Matt Damon won in 2007

Matt sitting on a bench at the bourne ultimatum presser sexiest man alive
Credit: Vera Anderson / WireImage / Getty Images

Matt Damon today

Matt at the last duel premiere
Credit: Barcroft Media / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Matt Damon made his film debut in 1988 from the film Mystic Pizza. After he and buddy Ben Affleck wrote and starred in Good Will Hunting, Matt became a household name. Since then the two have starred in several movies together and are still longtime friends.

Hugh Jackman was the winner in 2008

Hugh in a tux at a moma film benefit sexiest man alive
Credit: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images

Hugh now

Hugh in a suit and tie at the premiere of reminiscence
Credit: David M. Benett / Dave Benett / Getty Images for Warner Bros

Australian actor Hugh Jackman is the only person on this list to be featured in the Guinness Book of World Records. After claiming the role of Logan/Wolverine in Marvel’s X-Men, Jackman won the “longest career as a live-action Marvel superhero.”

Johnny Depp when he won again in 2009

Johnny in a suit at the public enemies premiere sexiest man alive
Credit: Ferdaus Shamim / WireImage / Getty Images

Johnny now

Johnny wearing a fedora, scarf, and embroidered jacket at the puffins premiere
Credit: Mondadori Portfolio / Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Johnny Depp is a wonderful actor, but he also has other skills. As a guitar player and singer, he formed the rock band Hollywood Vampires with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry.

Ryan Renolds when he won the sexiest man alive in 2010

Ryan sitting on a couch on the today show sexiest man alive
Credit: Nbc Newswire / NBC Newswire / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Ryan Renolds now

Ryan in a corduroy suit at a red carpet event
Credit: Albert L. Ortega / Getty Images

Ryan got his start as an actor on the teen soap opera, Hillside, in 1991. While starring in several comedies such as Waiting, and National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, the Canadian caught the eye of several directors. Eventually, Ryan became known as the star of Marvel by playing the character Deadpool.

2011 – 2021

Bradley Cooper won the title in 2011

at the hangover part 2 screening sexiest man alive
Credit: Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

Bradley Cooper now

Bradley walking in soho
Credit: Raymond Hall / GC Images / Getty Images

Bradley Cooper wasn’t always a household name. Before landing the role in The Hangover, Cooper played several small parts in various TV series’. Wet Hot American Summer, and minor roles in Sex and the City helped to launch his inevitable career. Now, Cooper is seen as one of the most influential actors in Hollywood.

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Channing Tatum as the sexiest man alive in 2012

Channing on the jay leno show sexiest man alive
Credit: Nbc / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Channing now

Channing with a shaved head and rocking a tuxedo at the met gala
Credit: Sean Zanni / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Professional dancer, actor, and producer, Channing Tatum first entered the cinematic world in 2005 when he starred in the movie Coach Carter.

Adam Levine won the title in 2013

Adam smiles as he sits in chair on the voice sexiest man alive
Credit: Nbc / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Adam now

Adamat an oscar after party
Credit: Toni Anne Barson / WireImage / Getty Images

Adam Levine gained fame and recognition as a lead singer for the alternative band Maroon 5. Before that, he was the lead vocalist for the 1994 group, Kara’s Flowers. After the group maroon 5 disbanded in 2001, Adam joined the television talent show, The Voice as a judge.

Chris Hemsworth as the sexiest man alive in 2014

Chris in a t-shirt and a vest at comic con sexiest man alive
Credit: Albert L. Ortega / Getty Images

Chris today

Chris in a dress shirt and blazer at the critics choice awards
Credit: Getty Images / Getty Images for the Critics Choice Association

Most recently known as Thor, Chris Hemsworth is stepping back from the Hollywood spotlight to spend more time with his family. He is one of the most famous Australian actors in Hollywood and has appeared in some of the world’s biggest blockbuster films.

2015 was David Beckham’s year as the winner

David in a tuxedo at the royal opera house sexiest man alive
Credit: Danny Martindale / WireImage / Getty Images

David today

David poses on the red carpet at the who cares awards
Credit: Samir Hussein / Samir Hussein / WireImage / Getty Images

David Beckham is a professional English footballer. He has played for such teams as Manchester United, Preston North End (on loan), Real Madrid, AC Milan (on loan), LA Galaxy, Paris Saint-Germain and the England national team. Married to Victoria Beckham, or Posh Spice, the couple one day hopes to have several childen.

Dwayne Johnson as the winner in 2016

Dwayne smiles at moana premiere sexiest man alive
Credit: Tibrina Hobson / Getty Images

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ now

Dwayne in a turtleneck and jacket onstage
Credit: Randy Holmes / ABC via Getty Images

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was a professional wrestler before he became a Hollywood action hero. He wrestled for WWE for eight years prior to pursuing an acting career. Before that, he was an American football star. While playing for the University of Miami, Dwayne won the National Championship in 1991.

Blake Shelton as the winner of 2017

Blake smiles on a red carpet at a pandora party
Credit: John Shearer / Getty Images

Blake now

Blake with his hands in his pocket as he poses at a Voice event
Credit: Nbc / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Blake Shelton is an American country singer and TV personality who currently stars on the talent show, the Voice.

Idris Elba won in 2018

Credit: Jeff Spicer / Getty Images

Idris Elba today

Idris at a podium giving a speech at the UN Climate Change Conference
Credit: Paul Ellis / AFP via Getty Images

English actor, producer, and musician, Idris Elba is quickly becoming one of Hollywood’s most versatile stars. When he is not acting up a storm, he is playing music for his friends. Elba performs as a DJ under the moniker DJ Big Driis and as an R&B musician.

John Legend as the sexiest man alive in 2019

John sitting on a couch for a press pic for the voice
Credit: Nbc / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

John now

John sitting front row at a fashion show in dubai
Credit: Cedric Ribeiro / Getty Images

John Legend is a world-famous singer and songwriter. He has collaborated with such stars as Kanye West, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, and Lauryn Hill. In 2007, he received the Hal David Starlight Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Michael B. Jordan was the winner last year in 2020

Michael sitting on a couch for an interview
Credit: Randy Holmes / ABC via Getty Images

Michael now

Michael walking with his girlfriend lori harvey
Credit: Joce / GC Images / Getty Images

Michael B Jordan started out in television before making it to the silver screen. He originally gained the attention of the world when he played the character Wallace in the first season of the HBO crime drama series The Wire.

This year’s winner in 2021 is Paul Rudd.

Paul poses for paparazzi at the shrink premiere in a suit and striped tie
Credit: Alexi J. Rosenfeld / Getty Images

In ten years, he will look the same. Paul Rudd has been making comedy gold for years and has no plans to stop any time soon. Paul at age 52 was not too sure how to take the news!

“I do have an awareness, enough to know that when people hear that I’d be picked for this, they would say, ‘What?’ “This is not false humility. There are so many people that should get this before me.”


Paul Rudd for People Magazine

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  1. “What The Sexiest Man Alive Has Looked Like Every Year Since 1985 And What They Look Like Now.” Buzzfeed. November 10, 2021

Tiffy Taffy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.