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Brad Pitt just turned 60. He's the poster boy for Hollywood's shifting view on ageing

Hollywood actor, producer and business mogul Brad Pitt turns 60 today.
Hollywood actor, producer and business mogul Brad Pitt turns 60 today. Copyright Scott Garfitt/2023 Invision via AP
Copyright Scott Garfitt/2023 Invision via AP
By Anca Ulea
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Twice named “Sexiest Man Alive” by People magazine, Brad Pitt rings in the big 6-0 today but what happens when a male Hollywood sex symbol ages?

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It’s hard to believe if you look at him, but Brad Pitt has just turned 60.

The Hollywood heartthrob celebrates his birthday on 18 December and is looking “better than ever,” according to the countless headlines about his youthful appearance.

While beauty standards have evolved tremendously since Pitt first graced the cover of People magazine as the “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1995, our obsession with beautiful people lives on.

And while there’s still a long way to go (the ‘sexiest men alive’ are still overwhelmingly white and thin), it’s encouraging that society is no longer shunning hot famous people the second they start getting a few wrinkles.

That said, Pitt is an interesting case study on ageing in Hollywood, as one of the quintessential sex symbols of the past decades.

Brad Pitt at the Venice Film Festival in 1999.
Brad Pitt at the Venice Film Festival in 1999.Francesco Proietti/AP Photo

As a young man, he became known for his rugged good looks despite himself, and his name became a synonym for handsome. (Remember Shania Twain’s iconic “That Don’t Impress Me Much”? When she teases a pretty boy suitor who did not impress her (much) by saying, “Ok, so you’re Brad Pitt…”?)

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston in 2001.
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston in 2001.Luca Bruno/AP Photo

His love life became juicy tabloid fodder – Pitt and Jennifer Aniston ruled the early 2000s as one of Hollywood’s hottest couples, on par with Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. The media collectively lost it when he entered his Brangelina era after that – Pitt, Angelina Jolie and their children were swarmed by paparazzi at every turn.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in 2016.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in 2016.Mark J. Terrill/AP Photo

But over the years, Pitt has shown he’s more than just a pretty face and love interest.

He proved he had acting chops in edgy cult classics like Fight Club and 12 Monkeys and became one of Quentin Tarantino’s golden boys with Inglorious Basterds and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the latter of which earned him his first Academy Award for acting.

Brad Pitt in 2020 with his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood".
Brad Pitt in 2020 with his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood".Jordan Strauss/2020 Invision

Pitt is a sculptor, a successful businessman and savvy investor, with a real estate empire now worth $72 million (€66 million), an Oscar-winning production company (started with Aniston), a French wine venture (now the subject of a brutal legal battle with Jolie) and even a luxury skincare line.

His acting career has slowed down in recent years, though he did star in 2022’s Babylon and Bullet Train and has a new film in the works with George Clooney slated for next year.

 He told GQ last year: “I consider myself on my last leg, this last semester or trimester.”

Pitt has been fortunately spared by Hollywood's new obsession with de-ageing actors in films, and continues to bag plenty of leading man roles, like his latest in an upcoming feature on Formula 1 racing. 

Brad Pitt in July, on set in England for his new F1 feature film.
Brad Pitt in July, on set in England for his new F1 feature film.Christian Bruna/AP Photo

Since his divorce with Jolie in 2016, the actor said he’s focusing more on taking care of himself. 

He turned down the leading role in David Fincher’s latest film The Killer, according to the director, because the film was "too nihilistic" for him.

He’s also been sober for seven years, and said he quit smoking during the pandemic.

Could that be the secret to his everlasting youth? Maybe he’s just born with it. Maybe it’s the $320 moisturising cream in his skincare line Le Domaine.

In any case, we salute the two-time sexiest man alive on his 60th birthday and wish him many more headlines about how great he looks in the future.

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