Jared Leto says people assumed something was 'wrong in my life' after gaining 60 pounds for a role

·4 min read

Jared Leto is ageless — but don't ask him what his secret is.

In a new interview with Men's Health, the House of Gucci and WeCrashed star opens up about the relationship he has with his body, his mind and his fans around the world who are relentlessly curious about his skin care secrets.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 17: Jared Leto attends the Global Premiere of Apple TV+'s
Jared Leto might look forever young, but it's not exactly on purpose. The actor says it's all about genetics and having a healthy attitude towards life. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

"I do have a good answer for that, but I probably won't tell you," Leto, 50, said when asked about his skin care routine, explaining that genetics plays the most important role.

"Really, honestly, at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter," he explained of people's obsession with his youthful appearance, noting that Hollywood’s fixation on youth can be quite toxic.

"People started talking about my age and that sort of thing ten years ago," he said. "As you get older, people start saying, ‘Ah, you're still young.’ And then there's this age where they go, Really? "

"Unfortunately, I'm not getting movie roles where I play, like, 'a rather young-looking old man,'" he said. "Maybe I'm doing something wrong — not taking advantage of it enough. It just doesn't matter. You can be 30 years old and live an amazingly exciting, interesting, fulfilling life, or you can be 60 and having a crisis."

Leto, whose health and fitness routine includes rock climbing and intense meditation, can't help but observe society's preconceived notions when it comes to weight — something he experienced firsthand when he gained 60 pounds to play Mark David Chapman in 2008's Chapter 27.

"What's more important is: How does it change the way you walk? How does it change the way you talk? How does it change the way people treat you?" he explained.

"I gained over 60 pounds for a role once, and it was amazing," he said of Chapter 27. "I remember asking someone for the time in New York and they, like, recoiled. I saw people I knew who didn't know I was filming and thought I had fallen off the — I don't know how to describe it — that I had 'not been taking care of myself.' They took it as a sign of something wrong in my life. It was a really wild thing to experience that."

As he gets older, however, Leto says he’s gaining a new relationship with his body — one of respect and an appreciation for rest. But don't confuse that with "settling down," a phrase he hates.

"Why would you ever wanna settle?" he said. "Your physical body might give out on you, or your brain, and maybe then you turn away from some objectives and you can turn toward others. You can be a hundred years old and take a very deep, mindful breath. That probably has its own challenges and rewards."

Gaining or losing weight for particular roles is not new for Leto. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times last year, he explained the meaning behind his dedication.

"I've done this kind of thing many times, and it’s a great way to kind of plant a flag in the ground for yourself," he said of his extreme weight fluctuations. "Because when you make that kind of physical commitment, it really can kind of pull along a lot of the other characteristics or provoke other elements of the character."

Still, "it's not something I take lightly, and I go out of my way to talk other actors out of it when they've called me in the past," he explained. "I don't think I'll ever do it again. It gets harder and harder. It's probably OK to do once or twice in your career, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone as a regular thing, because I think it could be quite dangerous."

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