21 Actors of the 2000s, Then and Now

The Noughties gave birth to some of the modern era’s most talented actors, and some ten years later these titans of cinema are still going strong. However, a lot has changed – both personally and professionally – for these kings and queens of Hollywood over the span of a decade. Here we look back at the changing fortunes of some of our favorite stars.

21. Brad Pitt

Admittedly, Brad Pitt’s career hasn’t changed much from his Noughties heyday; his recent movies like World War Z still hold as much box office weight as older classics such as Ocean’s 11. However, Pitt’s private life has transformed drastically over the past decade since he met Angelina Jolie in 2005 – because he’s now a proud father of six.

20. Jared Leto

Jared Leto was a respected actor of indie cinema during the early 2000s, and roles in films like American Psycho saw him tipped for greatness. Thankfully, the actor has since made good on his potential with an Oscar-winning role in Dallas Buyer’s Club. And an upcoming role as the Joker in Suicide Squad is sure to keep him in the limelight for a while yet, to boot.

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19. Zac Efron

Back in the Noughties Zac Efron was best known as the fresh-faced teen idol of High School Musical, and since then he’s certainly grown into manhood with aplomb. But while the star’s mature new look sets hearts racing, a recent string of raunchy comedies such as Neighbors and Dirty Grandpa have proved that he’s now looking well beyond his Disney Channel past in his career, too.

18. Jennifer Garner

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Once known as Alias’ plucky heroine Sydney Bristow, Jennifer Garner has enjoyed veritable big screen success in the years since. Nevertheless, the star has gained considerably more column inches for her marriage to Ben Affleck – a union which brought the actress three children before ending in scandal in 2015.

17. Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy is now a critically acclaimed and bankable actor, but he spent the 2000s battling a debilitating crack cocaine addiction which almost ruined his career. Thankfully, after sensibly sobering up, the actor has gone on to star in applauded films like Mad Max: Fury Road and has even bagged a BAFTA for his efforts.

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16. Robert Pattinson

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Robert Pattinson was first introduced to Noughties’ audiences as Harry Potter’s Cedric Diggory, but international stardom soon followed thanks to a leading role as Edward in Twilight. During the 2000s, Pattinson also enjoyed a high-profile relationship with co-star Kristen Stewart. This decade, however, the actor has put both his vampire days and his romance with Stewart behind him, and he’s now engaged to songstress FKA Twigs.

15. Emma Stone

Emma Stone has gone from strength to strength after breaking into the big time with a role in 2007’s Superbad, and she’s now recognized as one of pop culture’s leading actresses. It’s little wonder, too: the redheaded star bagged an Oscar nomination for her work in Birdman and gained commercial success in 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man.

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14. Ellen Page

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For many, Ellen Page will forever be remembered as the free-spirited star of 2007’s Juno – a film which deservedly earned her multiple Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations. But despite continuing acting success, Page has since received most of her attention for publicly coming out as a lesbian in 2014 as well as for subsequently calling out Hollywood’s treatment of LGBT actors.

13. Ryan Reynolds

Ryan Reynolds started the Noughties as a star of comedies like Van Wilder, but he’s since shown his versatility with roles in drama Buried and superhero flick Deadpool. Oh, and his private life has been on the up, too: after a brief marriage to Scarlett Johansson, he’s now expecting a second little one with wife Blake Lively.

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12. Kristen Stewart

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Kristen Stewart bagged her first major role in the movie Panic Room at the age of 12, but she became a global superstar as Bella in Twilight. Soon after, in 2015, she also earned credibility by taking a bow as the first American actress to scoop a French Cesar award, although an affair with director Rupert Sanders in 2012 cost her some respectability.

11. Leonardo DiCaprio

While Titanic made Leonardo DiCaprio an established star in the Nineties, the actor spent the Noughties working to dispel his pretty boy, teen idol image. And after several well-received collaborations with director Martin Scorsese, his diligence finally paid off in 2016 when he picked up a Best Actor Oscar for his incredible performance in The Revenant.

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10. Daniel Radcliffe

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Growing up in public can be tough, but Daniel Radcliffe has managed to come out of his childhood in the spotlight relatively unscathed. Following the success of Harry Potter – which he first appeared in at age 11 – the actor has since been experimenting with various creative challenges on the screen and stage. For instance, his upcoming film Swiss Army Man sees him playing a talking corpse…

9. Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher gained attention in the Noughties thanks to roles on That 70s Show and Punk’d, not to mention his well-publicized marriage to Demi Moore. What’s more, this decade the actor continued to play the TV funnyman on Two and a Half Men, and – while his marriage with Moore ended – he now has a child with new wife Mila Kunis.

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8. Mila Kunis

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Like her hubby Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis began the Noughties as a star of That 70s Show – before moving on to provide the voice of Meg Griffin in Family Guy. However, a supporting part in 2010’s Black Swan brought the actress bigger and better things, including a leading role in 2015’s Jupiter Ascending.

7. Matt Damon

Though Matt Damon started the decade as an Oscar-winning screenwriter and actor, it wasn’t until his casting as Jason Bourne in 2002’s The Bourne Identity that megastar status ensued. And as a consistently bankable actor during the 2010s, Damon went on to earn a Golden Globe for his turn in 2015’s The Martian. Plus, he has even returned to the Bourne franchise with a soon-to-be-released fourth film.

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6. Ryan Gosling

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After establishing himself as a screen heartthrob in 2004’s The Notebook, Ryan Gosling took a break from acting in 2007 to focus on his band, Dead Man’s Bones. That said, he returned to the screen with a vengeance in the 2010s with heavyweight hits like Drive, earning himself considerable cred and award nominations to boot.

5. Emily Blunt

Emily Blunt began her career in British film and TV, but the actress started transitioning into Hollywood roles near the tail end of the 2000s. And now the English rose resides and works in the United States with her showbiz husband John Krasinski and their two children.

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4. Zooey Deschanel

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Prior to the 2010s, Zooey Deschanel was something of an indie darling known for smaller, quirky films like (500) Days of Summer and her folk band She & Him. But that all changed in 2011 when she became Jess in smash hit sitcom New Girl – a show that brought the actress considerable exposure and commercial success.

3. Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Following 3rd Rock from the Sun’s finale in 2001, child star Joseph-Gordon Levitt became active in the independent film sector and garnered acclaim for roles in Brick and Mysterious Skin. Subsequent work in 2010’s Inception then saw the actor creep closer to the limelight, while his 2013 directorial debut Don Jon and his production company HitREcord have further showcased the breadth of his talents.

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2. Renee Zellweger

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Despite successful Noughties roles like Bridget Jones and an Oscar win for her turn in Cold Mountain, Renee Zellweger found her fortunes slipping in the subsequent decade. And a slowdown of work led to her taking a hiatus between 2009 and 2014, during which her appearance seemed to alter beyond recognition. The actress is set to make a comeback in 2016, though, when she returns to our screens for the third instalment of Bridge Jones.

1. Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson’s big break came in 2003 when she appeared in two critically acclaimed movies – Lost in Translation and Girl with a Pearl Earring. And since then the high-profile roles haven’t stopped for the actress, in no small part thanks to her having bagged the part of Black Widow in the Marvel film franchise. By all accounts Johansson’s personal life is in good shape, too: in 2014 she wedded journalist Romain Dauriac and gave birth to a little girl.

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