Paul Rudd is officially sexy.
While the veteran actor has no shortage of fans over his nearly four decades in showbiz — hello, Ant-Man — now, at 52, he's been named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive. The announcement was made with much fanfare on Tuesday's The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
Ironically, it was a different Avenger that was rumored to be landing the cover when a story was leaked by Page Six in the days ahead of the official announcement, saying that erstwhile Captain America Chris Evans would be the guy. But instead the honor went to Rudd, who appears in the new film Ghostbusters: Afterlife later this month.
Colbert didn't make it easy on Rudd, however, putting him through a series of hilariously rigorous interview questions and other tests in a pretaped segment, before he could determine if Rudd had what it takes. But in the end Colbert crowned Rudd — both literally and figuratively — and will officially welcome the newest Sexiest Man Alive onto The Late Show early next week.
"I'm going to lean into it hard," Rudd said in an interview with People. "I'm going to get business cards made."
The Sexist Man Alive title has been a staple of the celebrity-friendly magazine for decades. Since 1985, there have been 32 different men who have held the title. Mel Gibson (1985) was the first, Michael B. Jordan (2020) was the last — and in between, there's been George Clooney (1997 and 2006) Dwayne Johnson (2016), Brad Pitt (1995 and 2000), Ben Affleck (2002), John Legend (2019), Channing Tatum (2012), and, yes, Blake Shelton (2017).
The franchise started simply enough — not many could argue with John F. Kennedy Jr. as another early pick — but it morphed into a big business for the publication. The magazine staff spends most of the year planning for the reveal and has the cooperation of the cover star, who's interviewed and sits for a photo shoot.
There's become a whole teasing thing between those Hollywood stars with the title. Two-time winner Clooney routinely jokes about actors campaigning for the title, especially taking playful jabs at Affleck and Matt Damon (2007). Though the mag's editor-in-chief Dan Wakeford has acknowledged there is campaigning: "This is one of the biggest moments of a star's career. This title will follow them."
The editor has answered other frequently asked questions about the title. No, the winner doesn't get paid, but they do get an unlimited number of copies of the issue. Editors try to pick someone who's more than just good-looking or has a great body, also looking for qualities like kindness and being charitable. It helps if a person has a large platform (followers!) to sell copies. The search for the next Sexiest Man Alive begins the day after the annual announcement. And each year, the mag has celebrities, or publicists, pitching them to be in the issue.
As for Rudd, he expects the honor is going change his life. "I'm hoping now that I'll finally be invited to some of those sexy dinners with Clooney and Pitt and B. Jordan," Rudd said. "And I figure I'll be on a lot more yachts. I'm excited to expand my yachting life. And I'll probably try to get better at brooding in really soft light. I like to ponder. I think this is going to help me become more inward and mysterious. And I'm looking forward to that."
Watch Blake Shelton declare a favorite on The Voice despite having his whole team still remaining: