Look at Leonardo DiCaprio. Or Bradley Cooper. Or Matt Damon. Or Jared Leto. By your 40s, you are established, you know what you want, you don’t apologize for your life choices, and you have the resources to live life on your own terms.
Take it from these guys who are living their Best Life at 40+. They’re celebrities, for sure (and we ranked them by age), but they appeal to us for reasons beyond mere fame.
They’re heroes because they are men who have made it. To live your life to the absolute fullest, start checking off these 40 Things You Must Do in Your 40s!
Here’s a guy who, after acting on TV shows and in bit parts for years, got famous and knew exactly what he wanted to do: build a resume as impressive as his love life (last we checked, he’s dating Russian model Irina Shayk).
His Best Life tip: Choose your boss wisely. “If you look at anybody who’s had a long career, if you look at the choices they’ve made—even if the movies haven’t worked—they’ve always worked with great filmmakers,” he has said. Next Cooper will become one: He’s directing Lady Gaga in A Star is Born.
You don’t know him from the tabloids—“I haven’t created any controversy, I don’t sleep around, I don’t go and fall down drunk,” he says—but Murphy’s always an engaging presence on screens big (the Dark Knight films) and small (binge-watch Peaky Blinders on Netflix). We like his Irish work ethic. And he keeps good company, next appearing opposite Brie Larson in Free Fire.
His Best Life tip: “The best roles you have to fight for. You have to really want to do it and you have to go after it.”
For more tips on professional tenacity, check out this surefire guide to How to Negotiate Anything and Win!
Twenty years after his first nomination, Leo finally won his Oscar this year, but lost among the headlines about his ambition, his model girlfriends and his celeb friends (from Scorsese to Jonah Hill) is his dedication to environmental charities. The guy rocks women’s worlds but he’s helping to save ours.
His Best Life tip: Make it rain. But don’t forget the rainforests. “I’m not the kind of person who tries to be cool or trendy,” he has said. “I’m definitely an individual.”
We’d include him here for his performances—always masculine, always varied, including in this fall’s Oscar front-runner Loving. But we were also impressed with his directorial debut, The Gift. He made Jason Bateman cry!
His Best Life tip: There’s a reason he’s worked non-stop since coming to Hollywood from Australia: “Every job leaves its residue, a bit of extra knowledge, a new skill-set.” That kind of perspective is just one of the reasons The World’s 15 Richest Men Got That Way!
This ageless wonder, who’s worked with everyone from Kanye to Steve Carell, created the soundtrack to your life, and post-40 is finally getting the credit for it. His Happy—released when he was 40—is one of the best-selling singles of all time.
His Best Life tip: Just do it: “I am overly ambitious, because I realize it can be done.”
How did Stringer Bell become one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People in the World? By spinning his fame from The Wire into a TV series of his own (Luther) and a red-carpet movie career (Thor)—while manning the booth as DJ Big Driis, a DJ and musician. Up next: a Superdry clothing line and charity work. To quote Bell the businessman: “There’s games beyond the game.” Idris came to play.
His Best Life tip: Wear clothes you design yourself (or wear his). And make sure you’ve got the 15 Items Every Man Should Have in His Closet!
Mr. “Franchise Viagra”—currently in Hawaii injecting his special sauce into Jumanji with Kevin Hart—plays a dude dealing with turning 40 in Ballers. He spends as much time at the doctor’s as he does making deals. That’s the Rock—50% muscle, 50% humility.
His Best Life tip: “Other dads took their kids to the playground,” he told our friends at Muscle & Fitness. “Mine took me to the gym, and the gyms he took me to were very hardcore. Weight rooms, really. But it was important bonding time for us, and it was there that I learned at a very young age that there’s no substitute for hard work.”
Proof there’s life after 40: Leto, a star since his teens, took a “break” from acting to start one of the most successful bands ever—Thirty Second to Mars—and then came back to play a transgender woman (and score an Oscar) and an icon (as the Joker in Suicide Squad). Up next is another one: Andy Warhol.
His Best Life tip: Shave decades off your looks with a vegetarian diet and deep sleep.
Stock your kitchen with these 25 Foods That’ll Keep You Young Forever!
Quentin Tarantino’s new favorite actor was already ours. Watch him self-destruct in the best-ever leather jacket in The Shield. Recoil at his silver tongue in Justified. Don’t miss the upcoming series Six, in which he plays a Navy SEAL with guts of steel. This is a character actor who’s deepening—and darkening—with age.
His Best Life tip: Marry right. “I wake up every morning with one of the smartest people I have ever met,” he has said of his wife.
Ice Cube and Mark Wahlberg are more popular rapper-turned-actors, but of them, only Common has an Oscar.
His Best Life tip: Embrace your feelings. “You have to be sincere in your feelings. And fear is one of those, sometimes; doubt is one of those; jealousy, anger….all of them are not going to be love, happiness, joy.”
To get Common’s enviable physique, try our exclusive How to Stay Lean for Life: The Workout!
Next time you think your job is tough, remember this guy survived Chevy Chase. His latest sitcom, The Great Indoors, is due this October.
His Best Life tip: Style is important. “I have always been conscious of it….If I didn’t have anything cool to wear in fifth grade, I would just wear my karate uniform,” he told our friends at Men’s Fitness. “This was as close as I could get to being awesome. I wouldn’t even wear the whole thing, I would just wear the top of the gi.”
There’s a reason why McCoy has more to do in the latest Star Trek: Urban made it so, feeling his part was marginalized in Into Darkness. The result is a threequel with some of the best reviews of the bunch. (He’s good behind a mask, too—rent Dredd.)
His Best Life tip: Never stop climbing. “Now I’m this far up the ladder and I’ve got so much farther to go with what I want to achieve with it.”
For more tips on tenacity, check out these 8 CEO-Proven Resilience Builders!
Most men would retire after playing Don Draper for nearly a decade; Hamm has five movies in the can. Attribute that to years of being hungry. “Any success I have had has not been a steep ramp,” he tells us at Best Life. “I’ve been doing this for a long time.”
His Best Life tip: Project mystery. “He seems to have a greater knowledge than anyone else does,” says Hamm’s high school drama teacher about that grin.
More famous from the tabloids than talk shows, Theroux’s low profile is because he keeps his head down and works—as an actor (on The Leftovers) and writer (Zoolander 2). He made this list because of his attitude—and his suits.
His Best Life tip: Appreciate your Friends; Theroux is dating Jennifer Aniston. “I always go to bed thinking I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”
Be the Theroux of your office by following these 25 New Rules of Professional Style!
We like these apples. Damon proves time and again he can wring tears (in The Martian), score laughs (at this week’s Emmy’s), produce (Oscar frontrunner Manchester By the Sea is due this December), give back (via water.org)—oh, and kick ass (as Jason Bourne). Dude’s a loving husband and father of four, too. Someone give this man an award. Oh wait, the Academy did.
His Best Life tip: Pick a best friend. Stick with him. Even through Gigli.
Talk about maturing: Every decade, the onetime Marky Mark digs deeper—still acting (in Deepwater Horizon) but branching out into producing, restaurants, supplements, sports franchises and charities. (No doubt he follows most of these 20 New Rules for Successful Entrepeneurs.) He’s still doling out “positive vibes” post 40.
His Best Life tip: “Feel the vibration. It’s such a good vibration. It’s such a sweet sensation.”
A star in his 20s, he hit his stride in his 40s. Word is he’s alright, alright, alright in the upcoming Gold—which could lead to a second Oscar.
His Best Life tip: Always have a point of view. On playing The Man in Black in the forthcoming The Dark Tower, he has said: “A good villain believes he’s a minister of peace.”
Who else could make us care for an incestuous Kingslayer? Coster-Waldau redeems the irredeemable as Ser Jaime Lannister on Game of Thrones. (And he’s good in his native tongue, too; catch Headhunters.)
His Best Life tip: “I try not to regret too much. I find that feeling guilty takes up so much of my time already.”
Dig Nikolaj’s suit? Pick up one of your own: The Best Statement Suits for Fall 2016
The Oscar nominee has had highs and lows in Hollywood—he was once Rhodey in Iron Man, but was replaced by Don Cheadle, only to come back on top running the Empire on Empire as Lucious Lyon. He describes the character as “an a**hole” and is proud of it.
His Best Life tip: “A lot of people are told to check their manhood at the gate in this business,” he tells us at Best Life. “I won’t do that.”
In Captain America: Civil War, a movie co-starring other men on this list, Rudd stole the show as Ant-Man. Size matters; age doesn’t: the This is 40 star looks decades younger.
His Best Life tip: Hang with people smarter than you. Rudd helped college buddy Jon Hamm (also on this list) find an agent. “I found him to be somewhat intimidating,” Rudd tells us at Best Life. “I played Trivial Pursuit with him, and he was a senior in high school and I was a freshman in college, and he went straight for yellow. He wanted history questions. If going to yellow in Trivial Pursuit is your first choice, impressive.”
Want to age like Paul? Try these 25 Ways to Look Your Best Now!
Although invincable on screen as Wolverine, Jackman is vulnerable in real life, his ambition fueled by a tough childhood. His mother left his family when he was 8 years old, moving to England and leaving behind Jackman’s father and his four siblings. “That kind of experience changes you in many ways,” he tells us at Best Life. “I’m quite an independent person, and I had to be. As a boy and growing into a young man I had to look out for myself.”
His Best Life tip: “And now I’m very family-oriented. It’s a big priority in my life.”
The headliner of not just one (Deadwood) but two classic TV shows (Justified), Olyphant also makes time for Broadway, fatherhood and comedy—plus makes a killer talk show guest. How is someone so laconic so engaging?
His Best Life tip: Cowboy hat. Wear one, if you can swing it. (If not, drive one of the 20 Most Powerful Cars on the Road.)
Hulk smash. Ruffalo makes smashes. We still can’t stop thinking about his soulful performance in You Can Count On Me, and “the new Brando” lived up to the hype.
His Best Life tip: Vote. He’ll get naked if you do.
Doesn’t matter how many tough guys he plays—from the heavyweight fixer in Ray Donovan to the heavyweight boxer The Bleeder—this guy’s Instagram feed is filled with photos of his kids, his wife (Naomi Watts) or himself smiling. A shame then—the recent news that he and Watts are separating.
His Best Life tip: “You can think about your career or you can think about your job,” he has said. “I like to think about my job.” Staying in the moment is just one of these 25 Ways to be Happier Now!
Craig, Daniel Craig might just be the best Bond, but we’re even more excited to see what he does next.
His Best Life tip: “There’s always going to be someone with a bigger toy than yours.” This from a man who knows Q.
Yeah, hard to believe, but the Mechanic is 49! The Statham Method for maintaining a camera-ready body post-40 has a nutritional component. “The way I get lean quick is, I forget all carbs after my lunchtime meals,” he tells us at Best Life. “Cut out all the sugars and heavy starch in the afternoon. You also have to drink a minimum of 3 liters of water a day.”
His Best Life tip: give up booze, too. “The only time I ever crave a burger and fries is when I’m hungover,” he says. That’s when the wheels come off.” For more sound dietary advice, check out these 6 Quick Ways to Lose Weight Fast!
After turning 40, Dempsey grew into the kind of man the younger, skinnier, brashly single guy he once was would barely recognize. Even the chance to play Dr. Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy came only after Rob Lowe turned down the part. “Oh,” he tells Best Life, the utterance revealing a history of bruised feelings. “Right before Grey’s, I was getting to the point wher I was thinking, I cannot do another audition and go in and be rejected.”
His Best Life tip: “What rejection teaches you is to let go of the end result. You are who you are, you stop trying to be other things, and you just own yourself.”
Shah Rukh Khan
The King of Bollywood, this Indian Tom Cruise is unstoppable, acting, producing, singing and dancing with abs of steel. Fans of The Departed should watch The Don series.
His Best Life tip: “Success is not a good teacher, failure makes you humble.”
For more success tips from people who know, follow these 25 Things Rich People Always Do!
At 50 he remains not just a funnyman, but an artist. But he made this list because he’s also ripped.
His Best Life tip: “There’s always an element of fear that you need to work a lot until people get sick and tired of you or finally figure out that you’re a fraud after all!”
How can you push past the fear? Take stock of these 25 Life-Changing Lessons from Super-Successful Men!
Robert Downey Jr.
From passed out on a stranger’s couch to making $80 million a year, this Iron Man is still a Comeback Kid post-50.
His Best Life tip: Needless to say, he’s got a lot. Our favorite: “I think you end up doing the stuff you were supposed to do at the time you were supposed to do it.”
Don’t know much about this guy, but rumor is he’ll appear this season on The Bachelor?
His Best Life tip: Make mistakes. Then own them.
Whoa, Keanu is 52 years old! That won’t stop fans decades younger swarming him at Comic-Con this October, where he’ll be promoting John Wick: Chapter Two.
His Best Life tip: Called immortal, a vampire or a “glitch in the Matrix” because of his inability to age, Keanu attributes his youthful looks to “my ancestors.” (His mother is English and his father an American from Hawaii.)
Even if you don’t have Keanu’s stellar genes, you can do yourself a solid by working these 20 Amazing Healing Foods into your diet!
The Brat Packer, now a regular on Code Black, has a sense of humor to match his body: amazing, and even more incredible now that he’s past 50. For proof, watch this.
His Best Life tip: When you show up to get roasted, invite Ann Coulter to take the heat.
Say what you will about his work, John Stamos always looks like he’s having the time of his life—and has been since 1982. To make the most of every day, start checking off these incredible 50 Things You Must Do Before You Die!
His Best Life tip: Although he never appears to age, he now says: “I’m finally looking older and inviting my wrinkles.”
Now past 50, Fiennes is proving to be one of the world’s funniest men, in movies like The Grand Budapest Hotel and Hail Caesar!
His Best Life tip: When you go, go hard. “You have to just dive over the edge,” he has said. “You haven’t got time to mess about.”
It may be a cliché to put him on a list like this, but damn, the last Mission: Impossible was great. When he stops trying, we’ll stop buying. (He’ll never stop.)
His Best Life tip: “Here’s how I’ve lived my life: I’ve never been late to a set. I make films I believe in. I feel privileged to be able to do what I love.”
Being able to step back and do more things you love is only one of the 40 Best Things About Being in Your 40s!
We could talk about his movies, his charity, his wife, or his good looks, but let’s talk about a moment: This week, when a CNN reporter informed him about Brangelina’s divorce, it was the first he’d heard of it, and he looked genuinely sorry not just for his friends, but for the kids: “That’s a sad story and unfortunate for a family.” A humanitarian, to the core.
His Best Life tip: Live it. “I don’t believe in happy endings, but I do believe in happy travels, because ultimately, you die at a very young age, or you live long enough to watch your friends die. It’s a mean thing, life.”
Courtney B. Vance
The journeyman character actor broke out in the last few years, winning a Tony (opportie Tom Hanks in Lucky Guy) and then this year’s Emmy for playing Johnnie Cochran in The People vs. O.J. Simpson. No matter how big or small, if the role fit, he never quit.
His Best Life tip: When you find the right woman, lock that down. He’s been in love with wife Angela Bassett since college. To keep the home fires burning, check out our exclusive guide to the Secrets of the Best Relationships!
The rom-com star transformed himself—literally, after eight months of personal training—into a cane-wielding assassin in Kingsman: The Secret Service and its upcoming sequel. And did it all in a Savile Row suit.
His Best Life tip: Don’t let anyone typecast you—and don’t typecast yourself.
He famously played Aragorn in Lord of the Rings and somehow it feels like he’s never left Middle Earth—this guy is the Earth. So Un-Hollywood he lives in Madrid, he most recently played a dad who takes his kids off the grid in Captain Fantastic. True story?
His Best Life tip: Don’t use deodorant. Use mulch.
Like these guys, make sure you’re on your A-game today and every day of a long, healthy life. Check out the report that’s changed thousands of lives: 100 Ways to Live to 100!