Many celebs have chosen to cut meat, cheese and dairy completely out of their diets and go plant-based, some for health reasons but others for bigger ideological ones. This includes everyone from award-winning performers who have been with around for decades like Sir Paul McCartney and Madonna, as well as younger stars like Billie Eilish.
Some celebs like Natalie Portman decided to go vegan for ethical reasons at a very early age, but others, like Jason Mraz and Liam Hemsworth, were inspired by others later in life to give it a go. The motivation for going plant-based varies —whether it be for animal rights, concerns about the environment or simply health reasons —but whatever the reason, these celebs agree that switching to a plant-based diet has made them look and feel their best.
Read on to discover some of Hollywood's most famous vegans!
1. Joaquin Phoenix
The Joker star won his first Oscar in 2020 for that role, but his decision to give up meat started at the tender age of three. Phoenix has been vegan for over 40 years! In 2018, he told Collider, “It was seeing these fish being killed when I was on a boat as a kid. I just had a profound strong reaction. It felt like a real injustice. It made me distrustful, and angry, and frightened of humanity.” At the 2020 Critics Choice Awards, Phoenix took home Best Actor but not before convincing the planners to serve vegetable-based meals to all the attendees. Phoenix was named person of the year by PETA in 2019.
2. Woody Harrelson
It might not be too big of a shocker that the multiple Oscar nominee and Emmy winning True Detective star has been vegan since the age of 24. Harrelson's work as an animal rights activist even has him declared a “vegan icon” by some. He’s inspired others to go vegan — even working with others to convince the Pope to go vegan for Lent as part of last year’s Million Dollar Vegan effort.
3. Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus is just as serious about saving animals as other pop stars. She has even been credited by PETA as being a “super vegan” and the “veganest vegan to ever vegan,” which is quite an honor from the animal rights org. Cyrus’ vegan lifestyle even extends to what she will or will not wear — opting for vegan leather minis and faux fur coats. Despite her Disney Channel background, she won’t even wear the image of Mickey Mouse, but that might be for other reasons.
4. Paul McCartney
A multiple Grammy winner, this singing-songwriting legend is more of an “ethical vegetarian.” Sir Paul will eat eggs but only the eggs from his own personal chicken farm, so he knows the chickens are treated humanely. "I’ve been vegetarian for over 40 years and have stayed with it because I believe that every meat-free meal is a win for animals and the planet. This is why I started Meat Free Monday with my daughters Mary and Stella,” he said about supporting the annual Veganuary movement as an Ambassador.
5. Olivia Wilde
Actress and Booksmart director has switched between vegetarianism and veganism since she was just 12 for ethical and health reasons. She has said that “being vegan is not always easy and accessible, but it's a way of life and makes me as a person feel really good and physically look better.” She did stop during a turbulent post-divorce seven years ago telling Cosmo: “When everything in my life became a little hectic, going through the divorce and everything afterward, I was like, ‘I need some goddamn cheese,’ so I had some cheese.”
6. Natalie Portman
The Oscar-winning actress has led a vegetarian lifestyle for more than 20 years. Portman went vegan after reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals, stating in a Huffington Post blog, "Perhaps others disagree with me that animals have personalities, but the highly documented torture of animals is unacceptable, and the human cost Foer describes in his book, of which I was previously unaware, is universally compelling.” While pregnant, Portman told RadarOnline.com that she paused her vegan diet due to “pregnancy hormones.” Portman’s children, Amalia and Aleph, both follow vegan diets as well.
7. Peter Dinklage
An avid PETA spokesperson, the Game of Thrones star was a vegetarian for 15 years before he took the full plunge into veganism in 2014. As Peter Dinklage said in an advertisement for PETA, “By buying meat, eggs, and dairy products, you're paying for cruelty.”
8. Ariana Grande
Pop superstar Ariana Grande has been vegan since November 2013, telling The Mirror “that she loves animals more than most people.” She announced her decision to go vegan on Twitter, “I've eaten organically since I was little and always kept meat minimal but today marks my first day as a 100% Vegan!!!! Joyous day.” She’s gone on record many times since then as a prominent activist in the community to help animals, even telling V Magazine that she didn’t think humans should be drinking cow’s milk, which includes nutrients meant for baby calves.
Maybe Grande got the idea to go vegan from her pop singer idol. Madonna is on a “strict macrobiotic diet” with no wheat, no eggs and no meat or dairy, which was possibly inspired by her private chef Mayumi Nishimura. The chef’s cookbook, Mayumi’s Kitchen, celebrates the virtues of “macrobiotic living.” It’s been said that Madonna’s dietary lifestyle is one of the toughest to follow.
10. Billie Eilish
The Grammy-winning “Bad Guy” singer grew up as a vegetarian but decided to go full vegan in 2014. “There were a lot of reasons,” Eilish stated via Tumblr. “I love animals, and I just think there's no point in creating something out of an animal when the animal is already there. leave animals alone."
11. Jason Mraz
The singer went raw when he found out that one of his bandmates had type 2 diabetes, so he changed his diet to show his support. “I did it as a partner for him so it would be a little easier,” Mraz told Vegetarian Times. “I don't put a lot of stress on it. I eat raw probably 75 percent of the time. I just can't deny myself warm food, like soup or roasted vegetables, from time to time.”
12. Gisele Bündchen & Tom Brady
The Brazilian supermodel and her NFL superstar hubby have been vegan role models to the point where their three children — Jack, Benny and Vivian — are all on the same diet, according to People. Bündchen and Brady have also been hailed by PETA for their decision to have a diet that “consists primarily of vegetables and grains.”
13. Jessica Chastain
Actress Jessica Chastain has two Oscar nominations under her belt and stays svelte thanks to being vegan for over 13 years. As she told W Magazine, "Being vegan is not always easy and accessible, but it's a way of life and makes me as a person feel really good and physically look better.”
14. Zac Efron
Likewise, the former High School Musical star attributes his physique and general health to his “purely plant based diet.” “It’s completely changed the way that my body works,” Efron told Teen Vogue in 2018 about his decision to “experiment” with eating purely vegan, saying it changed “the way that I metabolize food, the way it turns into energy, and the way that I sleep.”
15. Jared Leto
Like Phoenix, the Oscar-winning actor and rock star played the Joker in the 2016 blockbuster, Suicide Squad opposite Margot Robbie. He also has been vegetarian for over 20 years, and he’s admittedly a “cheagan” or “cheating vegan,” as Leto told Rolling Stone.
16. Benedict Cumberbatch
Another celeb with a thumbs up from PETA is the Doctor Strange star who was labelled “most beautiful vegan” in 2018. Cumberbatch has spoken at length about his plant-based diet while publicizing Avengers: Infinity War in 2019, saying that it helped him stay in shape for the role. Even on a trip to Singapore, his efforts to try the local food involved eating “as much as a vegan can.”
17. Liam Hemsworth
Maybe it’s no surprise that Miley Cyrus' ex has also dabbled in veganism. Hemsworth revealed in 2015 that he had taken up a plant-based diet. "My own health, and after all the information I gathered about the mistreatment of animals, I couldn't continue to eat meat. The more I was aware of, the harder and harder it was to do,” he told Men’s Fitness Magazine. It was actually Liam’s The Hunger Games costar Woody Harrelson who inspired him. “Woody Harrelson was actually one of the original reasons I became vegan, because he's been vegan for 30 years or something.” He even inspired his older brother, Chris Hemsworth, to give it a try, “Through talking to me, he's somewhat adapting, I think, to eating more vegetables and more plant-based stuff."
18. Michelle Pfeiffer
The three-time Oscar nominee was inspired by President Bill Clinton’s healthier lifestyle to change to her own vegan diet. In doing so Pfeiffer discovered other benefits, including her beautiful, glowing skin. As she told Urbanette, “Eating a vegan diet — it’s just so much healthier — and you avoid a lot of toxins that could age your skin and your body. I really noticed a difference in my skin not too long after switching to fully vegan.”
19. Ellen Pompeo
Star of the popular Shonda Rhimes medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy, Ellen Pompeo also adopted a vegetable-based diet after visiting her own doctor for a breast cancer checkup. Her doctor is Dr. Kristi Funk who wrote the book, Breasts: The Owner’s Manual, where she recommends a vegan diet to prevent breast cancer. Pompeo took the doctor’s advice, and “My whole family has gone completely vegan,” she told People. She admits it’s sometimes tough to find vegan meals to keep her kids happy, but she said, “It’s actually easier, because meat you have to cook it before it goes bad. Grains and lentils and rice and beans, everything’s in the pantry already. You just have to get vegetables, but vegetables stay good for a week — and I think we all feel better.”
20. Ava DuVernay
Like Benedict Cumberbatch, the Selma filmmaker was declared one of PETA’s “most beautiful vegan celebrities of 2008.” “Like many food trends that seem new, black veganism has historical roots,” she posted on Twitter, while citing a New York Times interview. "For a lot of black people, it’s also about social justice and food access. The food we've been eating has been killing us.”