Ripped From the Tabloids

27 April 2020
Workout, Celebrity, Exercise, JFK JR, Jonah Hill, Mick Jagger, Diddy, Adam Sandler, Keanu Reeves, Madonna
We dug through 40-plus years of celebrity workout photos to find the most awesomely stylish moments, from Mick Jagger to Jonah Hill

Fame, at least the good kind, is a great sacrifice – one that demands hard work. Part of the hard work is making it all appear effortless: When we see celebrities, they’re almost always immaculately groomed, with implied Adonis bodies lurking beneath expensive clothing someone else chose for them to wear. Celebrities embody that tired old mantra “Never let them see you sweat.” Indeed, you might say that celebrities, whose work takes place in closed studios, private gyms, and gated homes, live by those words. The less they look like they’re exerting themselves, the more superhuman they appear.

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The magnificent exception to this rule is the occasional, glorious moment when a photographer catches a celebrity in-medias-workout. This is especially true in the vintage-celebrity sphere: When Madonna is caught running in a purple Asics tracksuit, she radiates star power. But it can also be seen today: Check out Jonah Hill with his fists plunged into two bulbous yellow boxing gloves – a man who burst out of his pubescent cage and became a sinewy director with an admirable wardrobe. But the looks aren’t merely about exertion – they’re about style.

The internet has changed how we think a person should look while working out. Consider influencers who appear to be glowing during yoga the way celebrities glow on the red carpet. With a light sheen of sweat, they are sculpted, styled in all the right brands – aspirational but somehow impossible. Celebrities don’t have to try so hard – not even John F. Kennedy Jr., shirtless in Central Park. And that indelible X factor is what ultimately distinguishes the truly famous from the influencers. There’s Sean Combs, crossing the finish line of the New York City Marathon, arms raised in victory. He’s just like all the runners around him, with one key difference: He’s Puff Daddy, baby.

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Jonah Hill

New York City, 2017

Boxing is the workout du jour for aspiring fashion models and, apparently, stylish film directors.

Mick Jagger

North Brookfield, 1981

The Stones frontman looks as good rocking the stage today at 76 as he did on a country jog nearly 40 years ago.


New York City, 2003

Apologies to the 34,000 other NYC Marathon runners, but who really wins when Puff Daddy is in the race?

Adam Sandler

Los Angeles, 2016

He’s no Clark Kent, but his sweat-soaked Superman tee is a heroic pickup-game fit.

Keanu Reeves

Simi Valley, 1997

Fun fact: Neo played goalie for his Canadian high school’s hockey team.

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New York City, 1990

Before Peloton and Goop, A-plus-list celebs got their wellness on in the streets.

Photography: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc; Ron Galella,Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images; Broadimage/Shutterstock; Ken Regan/Camera 5 via Contour by Getty Images; Vantagenews/AKM-GSI; Robin Platzer/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images; Brad Barket/Getty Images; Robert Kamau/GC Images/Getty Images; SGranitz/WireImage/Getty Images; Lawrence Schwartzwald/Sygma via Getty Images