Milestone birthdays are always cause for celebration. The parties are more elaborate, the guest lists are bigger and often the presents are more lavish. At age one, every member of your family gathers around to sing "Happy Birthday" as you hold back tears in front of all the staring faces and are encouraged to push your face and hands into your cake.
After that, 13 is the next big one, as you head into your teen years. Then comes 16, which, I’m guessing is a big deal thanks to songs of the ‘50s and ‘60s which made us think that 16 was somehow the “sweet” age. Ask parents of 16-year-olds. They will probably disagree. The only real bonus at 16 is that you get your license.
Nineteen comes next (or 21 if you live in the States). The big achievement at this age? You’re legally allowed to consume alcohol. If there’s a bigger reason to celebrate, I’m not sure what it is. After that is 30, which is the big welcome into real adulthood.
And then...40. This is when the over-the-hill jokes start rolling in. People begin telling you that you look great...for your age. But it’s true what they say; 40 IS the new 30. We are acting, feeling and looking younger than ever. These 10 celebs will be ushered into their forties this year –and some may surprise you.
10 Johnny Galecki
9 Lauryn Hill
It’s tough to say whether Lauryn Hill seems to be acting or looking 40 years old, because she has pretty much dropped out of the public eye. In 1993, Hill starred in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, and blew away audiences with her amazing set of pipes. Shortly after, she formed a band with Pras and his cousin Wyclef Jean, and the Fugees were born. They released two albums, the second being The Score, which sold millions upon millions of copies, and took home the Grammy for Best Rap Album. The group broke up after that, but nothing could hold Hill back. The songstress, and now new mom, released her solo project, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1998 to critical acclaim. Since then, she gave birth to four more kids with Rohan Marley (Bob Marley’s son), pulled away from the music scene, became quite religious and was charged with tax evasion. Oh, and she has played a few concerts here and there—usually showing up late.
8 Bradley Cooper
A leading man in Hollywood, Bradley Cooper turned 40 on January 5. His age doesn’t seem to be affecting his success with the ladies. Woman love him and he only seems to be getting better with age. Cooper made his first appearance on the small screen with a bit part on Sex and the City in 1999. Sure, he was attractive, but that was nothing compared with today. In 2005, Cooper caught the eye of audiences as Zach in The Wedding Crashers, and again with He’s Just Not That Into You in 2009. Then came The Hangover, and the rest, as they say, is history. After proving himself in comedies, Cooper won over critics with Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle. He was in the biggest movie of 2014 (Guardians of the Galaxy), though you may have missed him – we heard his voice only, as Rocket Racoon. He’s sure to enjoy being 40, with the success of American Sniper.
7 Eva Longoria
It’s hard to believe that gorgeous Eva Longoria is turning the big 4-0 this year. Aside from some soap opera work, sexy Eva Longoria didn’t really do much before Desperate Housewives (and some may say that she hasn’t done much since). But what everyone can agree on is how smoking hot this nearly-40-year-old is. She played Gabrielle Solice from 2004 until 2012 and was clearly the sexiest of the housewives, receiving a Golden Globe nomination for her role. As beautiful as she is, we actually don’t see her face in her current television show, Mother Up! Longoria voices single mom Rudi Wilson in the Canadian animated series. Longoria has also written a cook book and is a hard-working philanthropist and activist. Be sure to send a birthday tweet to the tiny actress on March 15.
With such a bangin’ bod, it’s hard to believe that Fergie will turn 40 on March 27 (just after her Black Eyed Peas bandmate, Will. I. Am, who celebrates his 40th on March 15). This is another one who is lucky to have lasted four decades. In 2001, she battled a crystal meth addiction, but was tough enough to kick the habit to the curb. Fergie had some success with band Wild Orchid, but her real break was when she joined Black Eyed Peas in 2003. After two albums, she released her solo project in 2006, emerging as the sexy dutchess she is. Fergie is married to Josh Duhamel and together they have a one-year-old son named Axl. She made her post-baby comeback in 2014 with her new single "LA Love".
5 Brian Littrell
This Backstreet Boy isn’t exactly a boy anymore—he’s a man. In fact, he’s a husband and father, not to mention being a devout Christian. And, he isn’t even the oldest Backstreet Boy; bandmate (and cousin) Kevin Richardson is 43 and Howie Dorough is already 41. Do you feel old now? Littrell is actually lucky to have made it to his 40th year. He was born with a heart defect that has landed him in hospital several times and required open heart surgery in 1998. Since the Backstreet Boys fame, mainly 1997 until 2000, Littrell focused on Christian music before going on tour with the Boys and New Kids on The Block.
4 50 Cent
It’s a miracle this guy made it to age 30, let alone 40. In 2000, 50 Cent (real name, Curtis James Jackson III) was shot by a gunman outside his grandmother’s home in Jamaica. And not just shot. He was shot NINE times at close range. The rapper survived the attack, but one bullet to the face caused oral damage and left him with a slight slur. That could be career ending for a rap artist, but it may have actually helped 50 Cent. His unique sound was discovered by Eminem and Dr. Dre in 2002, and he was signed to a record deal. He’s still a successful rapper, but has also started acting and dipping his toe into various business ventures. He will celebrate on July 6 and he’ll party like it’s his birthday.
3 David Beckham
Here’s a guy that doesn’t look his age. David Beckham is an Englishman footballer—or soccer player for us North Americans—who played for Manchester United from 1992-2003 and Real Madrid from 2003-2007. Somewhere in there (more specifically, 1999), he married Posh Spice and they made the move to LA in 2007, where he began playing for the LA Galaxy. He has since retired from the game, but keeps busy as dad of four kids, fragrance and fashion designer, the face of several video games, and spokesman for companies like Armani and Diet Coke. Beckham celebrates his birthday on May 2.
2 Drew Barrymore
1 Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie has always seemed older and wiser than her years would suggest, but she will officially enter the 40 club on June 4. Like Drew Barrymore, Jolie is the story of a rebel-turned-mother/model citizen. Back in the day, you could find her wearing blood in a vial around her neck or discussing her sexual experiences, including bisexual relationships and BDSM interests. Despite her antics, she was a bankable and award-winning actress, taking home Golden Globes, Screen Actor’s Guild Awards and an Oscar for Girl Interrupted. She is a different person now, married to Brad Pitt (in 2014), mom of six children and a Goodwill Ambassador. She is truly a humanitarian, working with several charitable organizations. The one thing that hasn’t changed over the years is her undeniable beauty. She has been named “Most Beautiful Woman in the World” by Vogue, People Magazine, Esquire, and more. That 40-year-old smile is still the most beautiful in the biz.