Men in Black and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actor Will Smith sparked the flames for the wildfire dad-bod trend across social media with a May 2, 2021, post proudly showing off his paunch and candidly admitting, "I’m gonna be real wit yall - I’m in the worst shape of my life." His over-arching influence across social media platforms quickly made stars and fans alike flood the #bigwilliechallenge hashtag with workout pics. From posting videos of his private training sessions to highlighting fans who are proudly taking up the challenge, Smith puts his Instagram influence to good use.
This trend isn't just about inspiring others to take the plunge and join a gym, but feeling good in the body you already have as well! In a follow-up pic posted to Instagram, he took a boomerang of his dad bod and doubled-down on the message of body positivity: "This is the body that carried me through an entire pandemic and countless days grazing thru the pantry. I love this body, but I wanna FEEL better. No more midnight muffins…this is it! Imma get in the BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE!!!!!"
Among the slew of celebrities who responded to Will Smith's call for dad-bod acceptance and taking up the weights is Anthony Anderson. The actor, comedian, and host of To Tell The Truth shared a picture of his body on Instagram and tagged other celebrities who are taking up the challenge, saying, "12 weeks! No trainers! All on our own?! Challenge accepted! Let’s go!" The Los Angeles Times interviewed Anderson on his experience with health, fitness, and living with Type-2 diabetes:
"I hit the trifecta: Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. I was put on three different medications, but they stressed the importance of exercise... I enjoy it now. I post pictures on Twitter and Facebook when I’m all sweaty after running. I started an exercise club online with some Facebook friends, called Weight No More, for people who are struggling with their weight, to be an inspiration to them to talk about the problems and cravings that they’re having."
Some celebrities obviously didn't read the instructions and submitted an entirely different assignment than what Will Smith was calling for. Are we upset that Dr. Dre posted a gym pic promoting body positivity? No, not at all. But in the words of Smith's comment under Dre's Instagram, "Your covid body is the rest of our best shape, Dre!"
We all have different standards for ourselves and goals we want to reach, so we're not judging the rapper for blowing everyone else's "COVID bodies" out of the water. If he wants to "start getting [his] s*** together," by all means, keep promoting the hashtag. Anything it takes to make people take body positivity seriously.
Actor and comedian Seth Rogan has been too busy documenting his progress becoming a ceramics professional to utilize the #bigwilliechallenge hashtag, but the media has been anything but subtle documenting his fitness routines and speculating about his weight loss over the years. What's everyone's obsession with this man losing weight? Whatever the scale says doesn't make him lesser than his ab-tastic counterparts.
Like most slapstick comedy, his weight has contributed to the characters he plays in films, but that is by far the least interesting thing about him. During his early career as a staff writer for the Da Ali G Show, he was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series, launching his film career. He has over 50 awards and nominations to his name to date and none of it was hinged on his weight loss journey.
Actor Jason Segel, best known for his roles as Marshall Eriksen in the long-running sitcom How I Met Your Mother, has been mysteriously absent from his Instagram page since 2012 where his fans can still enjoy grainy promotional pics for his decade-old film projects. While Segel isn't exactly up on the trends, he is known for having one of the most recognizable dad bods in the industry. After the hit CBS show ended in 2014 the same year his projected success Sex Tape bombed in the box office, Segel's name hasn't traversed many headlines except in speculation of what he's been up to all these years.
In a few interviews with David Letterman and US Weekly, he cited how Hollywood loves stereotypes, which was critical when it came to landing roles. "I was told that it had to be conceivable that Emily Blunt would ever choose me to be her husband," he said in regard to the 2011 romcom The Five-Year Engagement, "Which is fair." He clarified two years later that "living healthy, exercising, eating right — no more midnight pizzas" was the secret to his weight-loss success.
Will Smith lured in all the comedy actors for this challenge, but Wayans is another star who seems a bit confused about the actual assignment yet embodies the same energy. He posted this shirtless mirror pic on Instagram showing his progress on what he calls the #dadbodychallenge after his initial post dedicating himself to the cause. We're struggling to see the paunch on this guy, but he is a father, so he does have a technical dad bod.
"Hey @willsmith," Wayans wrote in the caption of his May 5 post, "posting my dad body/quarantine body too... f**** it! Wait a month... gonna post my transformation by my bday. I’ll have the best body of my life 7/23/2021 stay tuned. #dadbodychallenge." Will Smith never said you also had to be in the worst shape of your life to get on track to the best body of your life; Wayans is taking that to heart.
Adam Sandler has taken a turn from the slapstick and shocking to the brooding and serious in terms of his acting career. Where he was once only known for Happy Gilmore and Grown Ups, he's more recently associated for his critically-acclaimed performance in the gritty heist film Uncut Gems. Looks like he's really grown up! Get it?
Sandler's form was the total opposite of non-threatening and cuddly in Uncut Gems, but women everywhere are going crazy for the dad bod that he sports between projects while prancing across Los Angeles beaches. For his role in You Don't Mess With The Zohan, he had to enlist personal trainer Duffy Gaver to whip him into shape.
Pierce Brosnan is the father of five children, so it's no wonder he has a serious dad bod. I mean, he's pretty over-qualified at this point. Perhaps he should be promoted to Smith's level as dad-bod CEO. As the fifth actor to take on the coveted cultural icon James Bond, he obviously hasn't been blessed with a belly comfy enough to use as a pillow on date night.
You can still see the shadow of abs peeking through -- which should be totally illegal because he's literally 68 years old -- as he proudly poses in the clearest ocean waters you've ever seen without a care in the world. Not even for Smith's positivity movement. It's morning snorkeling and afternoon naps wherever Brosnan's hunkering down for the summer.
Christian Bale is one of the most versatile actors in the industry, evidenced by how he undergoes unbelievable transformations for each role. These stark differences between characters aren't chalked up to the makeup chair alone; Bale has ballooned up in weight and drastically whittled down to the bone in order to capture the director's vision. From dropping to 120 pounds for The Machinist to gaining 100 pounds for American Hustle, Bale knows a thing or two about commitment.
His role as Dick Cheney in Vice was the last straw for the actor, however. He really rocked the dad bod for his role as the 46th Vice President, but he's not so crazy about method acting anymore. Telling CBS This Morning in 2019, Bale said, "I keep saying I’m done with it. I really think I’m done with it, yeah.”
Most men reach peak dad bod shortly after the birth of their second child, but actors like Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey know they'll be ripped one day and fluffy the next to achieve the vision of the director. The Interstellar actor lost 50 pounds for his role in Dallas Buyers Club but found himself gaining it back and then some for his balding Gold character.
His role in Gold might not have been his first rodeo in dad-bod town, but fans everywhere aren't mad about it in the slightest. In fact, people are fawning over McConaughey's long overdue fatherly figure more than his days of rippling abs. The standard of hotness is long past the days of Magic Mike.
Alec Baldwin is leagues away from the rest of the dad bods on this list, not particularly based on his looks, but more on his track record. He's been sporting the dad bod for years, way before Will Smith launched his campaign for dad bods on the heels of breaking news that abs are out. In fact, Baldwin blows the others out of the water in multiple ways because he's more than a father, but a grandfather!
Baldwin's wife documents her husband's journey to health after a pre-diabetic diagnosis in her book The Living Clearly Method: “His cup was so full that his body couldn’t metabolize even a bite or two of sugar without causing insulin disruption, and this was leading him dangerously close to a chronic disease... By hitting a crisis point, he gained a new perspective on some of the unhelpful habits that became his normal without realizing it."
Matt Damon has starred in plenty of hunky Hollywood roles focused on rock-hard abs and bulging biceps, but since the birth of his own children, he's spending time with his wife Luciana Barroso and kids rather than blowing off steam with his personal trainer. This commitment to family actually makes him more attractive three times over!
During a 2017 interview with ET, Damon reveals his wife's opinions on his dad bod physique for Suburbicon: "When I met her I was doing Stuck On You and I was a little husky. And she claimed she liked it. Now she says she prefers the Bourne body and I'm like 'You duped me.'" You win some, you lose some.
Jack Black is the reigning champion of the dad bod. Can you put your finger on any role that he hasn't sported his huskier physique? We didn't think so. At this point, Black's bod is a part of him and we doubt anyone really wants to see him slimmed up. It'd honestly be a little eerie... Jack Black is a father IRL, so there's no practical reason other than movie roles that he'd want to stray to the slimmer side of life.
However, the actor claimed he was "on a mission to get ripped in 2020" in a video on his YouTube channel and cited Chris Hemsworth as his inspiration: "It's 2020, a new day is dawning, I'm 50 years old. It's time to whip myself into shape. I'm on the back nine of my career - back nine of my life... I'm comin' for you, Hemsworth. I'm gon' get ripped." Black started Will Smith's fitness challenge before Smith did!
The legendary Leonardo DiCaprio has tugged on the heartstrings of women everywhere since his days of romance and despair on the set of Titanic. While that voyage is far behind him, he continues to wring in the ladies without his sprightly young physique. Now that he's in his mid-40s, his dad bod is showing and we can't get enough.
Given the past year of spending an unnatural amount of time inside and away from society, pretty much everyone packed on extra pounds, and if heartthrobs like Leo DiCaprio and Matt Damon are embracing the movement without shame, then that's all the more reason for us normal folks to feel confident in our skin.
Ben Affleck's dad bod is notorious -- not because of the look -- but because of his terrible phoenix tattoo splayed across his back. Not trying to shame him too harshly for his ink, because plenty of critics slander him for it daily, but he looks like he totally rocks his beachy dad bod when you look from the front but are completely thrown off guard once he turns around.
Aside from the unfortunate tattoo, you can't help but love his cushy dad bod, especially after his days of getting completely ripped for Batman. The role required a brutal fitness regime that no person alive could keep up with consistently (unless you're Chris Hemsworth. Or The Rock). It's only natural that he'd let himself enjoy his life for a while during his time away from the big screen.
Like Seth Rogan and Jason Segel, actor and comedian Vince Vaughn hasn’t been seen sporting any other body type outside of his famous dad bod. On top of starring in hit Hollywood comedies such as The Internship and The Break-Up, he’s known for appearing in crime TV shows, sci-fi thrillers, and more dramatic roles in recent years. The extra chub is part of who he is and nobody is knocking him for it.
Honestly, if we saw him super slimmed up, we’d be a little weirded out. If you haven’t been paying attention to Vaugn since the early 2000s, his stint in dramatic films like Brawl in Cell Block 99 has pushed him to learn Brazilian jiu-jitsu and bulk up considerably. We recommend watching Couple’s Retreat if you’re more invested in his cozy dad bod than his intimidating new look.
Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris has sported a healthy physique since his time playing Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother and busting a move on the Broadway stage. From the stage to the silver screen, Harris hasn’t exactly been known for showing off a squishier bod until recently. After he and his partner David Burtka introduced his twins via surrogacy 2010, the throes of fatherhood ensured that their dad bods weren’t far behind.
In a January 2021 interview with Ask Men, Harris admitted that keeping fit during the pandemic is a challenge. “I actually used to go to the gym, gosh, six days a week before the pandemic and now exercising with a mask just feels more challenging. So, I’m working out at home more and I’ve been using the Tonal — which I was honestly skeptical of — and have come to really enjoy and love it.”
Jon Hamm? And dad bods? You’re probably thinking, “You must be joking!” The Mad Men star has never been considered ugly in any sense of the word, and pointing out his huskier look does not detract from his notorious good looks one bit! Women love a man who embraces the dad bod. Well, women love dad bods in general… You know what we mean.
Instead of squeezing in routine trips to the gym, Jon Hamm incorporates fitness into his daily life by playing tennis, baseball, and other sports. Apparently, playing tennis for just 30 minutes is enough to burn 311 calories. Hamm has the right idea about making exercise fun!
The Office actor-turned-director John Krasinski is similar to Chris Pratt in that their bodies were famously squishy while starring in their hit comedy shows, but they’ve since taken up rigorous fitness routines for their more serious roles. John Krasinski, for example, slimmed up for his directorial debut A Quiet Place as well as for the spy thriller TV series Jack Ryan.
In order to look the part of protective father and an international superspy, Krasinski hired personal trainer Simon Waterson to keep him accountable. If you don’t know anything about Waterson, he’s previously worked with Krasinski’s wife Emily Blunt for a number of roles as well as with Daniel Craig for his time playing James Bond. From rowing exercises to weapons coaching, it’s easy to infer that Krasinski kissed his lovable dad bod goodbye.
Let’s take a moment to reminisce about Chris Pratt’s portrayal as Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation. Half of his role hinged on rocking his lovable dad bod for seven seasons, and everyone was on board. Then came Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy, and Pratt suddenly had to drop the weight in exchange for rock-hard abs that were appropriate for training dinosaurs and battling aliens.
Pratt admitted that getting in shape was “a nightmare,” according to Men’s Journal, and dropped 60 pounds in six months. Keeping up the shredded physique isn’t easy, and he’s since been spotted letting his OG dad bod peek through between film shoots.
From playing the bland older brother in Clueless to officially becoming a superhero in Ant-Man, we’ve seen Paul Rudd go from shapeless to shredded over the past few decades. Rudd’s character in the Marvel universe is a father himself, but his body doesn’t give anything away regarding that if you catch our drift.
In 2015, Rudd joked to Variety, "Eliminate anything fun for a year, and then you can play a hero.” His notoriously age-defying face hasn’t undergone drastic changes since Avengers: Endgame wrapped in 2019, it’s nice to see Rudd embrace his more laid-back side.
It’s long been rumored that as long as a guy has a sense of humor, he doesn’t have to worry about spending half of his life weightlifting and making protein shakes. Will Ferrell seems to understand this, as he’s never appeared to have a problem showing off his belly for the camera. Has anyone ever said, “I want to see Will Ferrell with abs!” Yeah, no. Instad, he gladly serves up what audiences are hungry for in the form of hilarious comedies and original jokes.
During an interview with Conan alongside Mark Whalberg, Ferrell explained just what separates his workout routine from his Daddy’s Home 2 co-star: “I think Mark Wahlberg is the perfect human being. He gets up at 2:30 in the morning, he works out… I wake up at 8 a.m., have a nice bowel movement, go right back to bed.” We don’t expect anything less.
Dax Shepard has glady shown off toned biceps and rippling abs in past films, the state of his body has waxed and waned since marrying A-List actress Kristen Bell in 2013 and fathering two daughters in 2013 and 2014. Fans openly accepted his adorable gut as a permanent fixture of his physique as he shared photos of his wife and kids on Instagram, but he threw us a curveball in 2020 with pics of rippling abs once again.
Only time will tell if we’ll ever witness his cushy bod again given his new fitness routine and obvious obsession with sharing gym pics on social media. This past Father’s Day, Shepard shared such a pic alongside fellow three fellow dads, saying, “Father’s Day starting with a #dadlift, then on to F1 and too much food. Thanks for making parenthood so much fun.” He really took Will Smith’s challenge to heart!
Simon Cowell might have been the best judge of American Idol, but he was never well-liked by fans and contestants alike. His blunt honesty and hesitance to applaud left audiences feeling bitter. Nowadays, fans applaud him for his time on the show and fawn over his usually hidden beach body.
Despite media outlets reporting that Cowell has lost at least 20 pounds since switching to an entirely plant-based diet, his body is still worthy of the dad-bod title. It appears that he was interested in the vegan lifestyle after breaking his back in August 2020 after falling from an electric motorbike.
In February 2018, Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen became a father. After welcoming his baby via surrogate, he couldn’t have been happier to be a single dad. And now that dad bods are surging in popularity, Cohen has plenty to say about his own in the midst of the craze.
He admitted on Twitter that he’s “not sure” about people referring to his body in such a way, but one thing’s for certain -- he looks great! If we haven’t already made it clear, “dad bod” doesn’t equal “ugly.” If anything, it makes men look more safe and approachable, which is a big win in many women’s eyes!
Even casual fans of musician John Legend know that he’s one of the most adorable celebrity dads out there. Not only does his supermodel wife Chrissy Teigen gush about him constantly, but his dad bod is near unbeatable! Throw on “All of Me” and there’s nothing stopping fans from falling in love with Teigen’s man.
After the birth of their first child, Luna, a source close to the couple revealed to OK! Magazine that “John’s let himself go a bit while they’ve focused [on] raising Luna, but it wasn’t until he saw pictures of himself on vacation that he realized how out of shape he’s become.” Don’t sweat it, Legend! Dad bods are in!
Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine has never been shy about flexing his muscles for everyone to see. And a glimpse at his current Instagram has fans thinking he’s always been ripped, but that wasn’t the case when his wife Behati Prinsloo was pregnant in 2016.
Sure, his yoga-fueled physique is seemingly on a non-stop trajectory toward Chris Hemsworth-worthy abs, but avid fans will never forget the post he shared alongside Prinsloo that showed both of their bellies poking out farther than expected, captioned, “Week 20 and I'm finally popping! #impregnanttoo.” Funny, Levine, but when are you actually gonna commit to the dad bod? No more playing around!
Speaking of actor Mark Whalberg, he’s let himself embrace the fatherly side of life since the release of Daddy’s Home 2. Fans were left flabbergasted after Whalberg shared a side-by-side photo of his body to Instagram on May 3, 2021; however, fans were merely surprised and not at all disappointed.
While it’s unclear if his new chubby bod is here to stay or merely a temporary measure for an upcoming movie role, people can’t get enough! Plus, he seems to be in good spirits about it, joking in the caption, “From left photo 3 weeks ago to this, now. Thanks to @chef_lawrence_d cooking.”
Many male celebrities walk the line between abs and flabs on their days off, which sparks controversy among critics of the trend who believe that any hint of muscle disqualifies them from identifying with the dad bod. A recent photo of Nick Jonas hanging out with his wife Priyanka Chopra in Miami is one such instance.
While it’s clear that his abs are still definitely right under the surface of his belly, women were more interested in the love handle peeking out from the sides of his swim trunks. He hasn’t yet become a father, but we wouldn’t be surprised if fans were led to believe that he takes care of a little one given the cuddly new look.
This Fast & Furious icon usually avoids posting imperfect pics to Instagram -- an unspoken social media rule -- but recent paparazzi pics reveal that Diesel isn’t as ripped as he wants fans to believe. Beer gut and all, fans love seeing a more down-to-earth side of the Hollywood star despite judgmental media outlets shaming him for “letting go.”
Diesel was quick to fire back with shirtless pics but clarified to Good Morning America that he “doesn’t care” about the criticism, saying, “I’m not trying to be in super shape all of the time. I’m trying to master my craft of making films.” Props to him for keeping it real!