Buff actors fighting for major Hollywood roles isn’t breaking news, but how they got those bulging biceps and 6-packs makes for a good tale. Steroid abuse has been around for decades, impacting sports and the big screen in plenty of not-so-positive ways. With technology advancing in the muscle enhancement drug industry, it’s become difficult to determine who’s using ─ and who’s not.
Recently, Hollywood has come under greater scrutiny surrounding the abuse of steroids. Some actors have taken advantage of the additional press to show that getting huge is possible without the use of muscle enhancing drugs, while others have come clean on their doping in an effort to raise awareness against steroid abuse.
The superhero phenomenon sweeping across the globe has many questioning how the actors are getting so ripped for these roles, especially in such a short span of time. Despite some nasty accusations ─ trainers, actors, and movie executives are assuring the public that the bulging muscles are being obtained by natural means.
So who’s using and who’s going the legit route? Grab a protein shake and do a few curls while we break down the 10 Huge Actors Who Never Used Steroids (And 10 Who Clearly Did)
NEVER USED: CHRIS HEMSWORTH
Prior to 2011 Chris Hemsworth was a surfer, not a body builder. The casting of him as the lead role for the movie Thor changed everything for him. Producers wanted Hemsworth to pack on 20 pounds of lean muscle for the role which would be a daunting task for anyone to undergo.
Helping Chris with his training was celebrity trainer Duffy Gaver. Working previously with big names such as Brad Pitt and Adam Sandler, Gaver altered Chris’s diet and put him on a super-strict workout schedule.
Duffy incorporated squats, bench presses, and deadlifts to coordinate with his boxing training for the action fight scenes. Chris got his cardio in every morning with a 30 minute surfing run, and altered his diet to primarily egg whites, chicken, fish, and steak.
Chris is known for goofing off, but his dedication towards fitness is proof that with the right training and eating, an individual can change how they look by natural means.
CLEARLY DID: THE ROCK
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is one huge dude who everyone assumes still uses steroids. The truth, however, is that he used steroids when he was younger, but is now an advocate against their use.
Back when MTV was still a common channel, Johnson admitted to Josh Horowitz that he tried steroids in his late teens. “I tried it,” Johnson said. “Me and my buddies tried it back in the day when I was 18 or 19. Didn’t know what we were doing.”
Since then, Johnson has grown up and realized he can achieve his popular look without the use of steroids.
Using his current fame and popularity, Johnson now speaks out against using drugs to gain an advantage while showing off his own physique as proof you can get ripped in a natural way.
NEVER USED: TOM HARDY
Tom Hardy is one huge dude who has come under fire for being a user of steroids to maintain his chiseled physique. Hardy is popularly known for his roles in Bronson, Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, and as Tommy Conlon in Warrior.
More recently it was announced that he would be playing Eddie Brock in the movie Venom. For all of these roles, Tom has needed to be one ripped machine. Hardy is clearly an overachiever at the gym as he continues to bulk up in an all-natural way.
Hardy trains every day with trainer Patrick “P-Nut Monroe,” who believes in working-out in short bursts up to four times a day. Stacked with plenty of heavy weights and a load of constant protein, Tom Hardy was able to bulk up to a weight of 178 pounds.
His body size numbers are impressive as his chest size is 45 inches, his waist is 34 inches, and his biceps are 16 inches.
CLEARLY DID: SYLVESTER STALLONE
Sylvester “Sly” Stallone became a household name with his roles in Rambo and Rocky and has continued to make and produce movies ever since.
Stallone didn’t have to bulk up much for his movie roles, as he was a former body-builder before getting into acting. However, falling to the pressure of being perfect in Hollywood, Stallone started regularly taking HGH and anabolic steroids.
In 2007, Sly was busted at an airport carrying 40 plus vials of a Chinese HGH called Jintropin. Despite having a prescription for Jintropin, he was still charged and found guilty since it wasn’t allowed in the US.
Now pushing 70 years plus, many assume that Stallone is using steroids for anti-aging purposes, but Sylvester stands by his claims in that he no longer uses steroids.
NEVER USED: CHRIS PRATT
Some remember Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer, the “marshmallowy man-boy” who fell into a pit on the show Parks and Recreation.
While that physique suited him fine for previous roles, Pratt knew it was time to bulk-up when he landed himself a superhero role as Starlord in Guardians of the Galaxy. In just six months, Chris dropped over 60 pounds and got chiseled out like never before.
To get his body to where it needed to be for the role, he worked with Phil Goglia on a carefully calculated diet plan, and with personal trainer Duffy Gaver to achieve maximum ripped results.
Graver said in an interview with Men’s Fitness that, “he isn’t the client you have to push; he’s the type of client you have to pull down. If you were to walk into the gym when he was training, you would have thought for sure you’ve got a guy getting ready for the NFL Combine.”
CLEARLY DID: ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER
In an interview with ABC News back in 2005, Schwarzenegger admitted to using steroids during his bodybuilding days saying: “I have no regrets about it, it was something new that came on the market, and we went to the doctor and did it under doctors’ supervision.”
Arnold won the Mr. Olympia title seven times with a little help from those experimental “doctor supervised” drugs he was taking.
However, he’s used coming clean about his abuse as a way to discourage the drug use, while also promoting high-protein shakes and vitamins as an organic way to achieve the same results.
Schwarzenegger probably doesn’t get to the gym like he used to, but for being in his 70s, the Terminator is still rocking that weight-lifter physique.
NEVER USED: BEN AFFLECK
Playing the Dark Knight is a big-time role that fans are not forgiving about when done poorly, which meant that Ben Affleck needed to bulk up for the role.
His first step towards getting superhero sized ripped was to train with Walter Norton Jr., from the Institute of Performance and Fitness.
Affleck told the Men’s Journal, “it was the kind of work where I felt gains in not only my size, but also my mental and physical health.”
Norton went old school on Ben by making him do 80 pound curls, heavy-loaded carries, and walks with a 60 pound weight. The goal was to get him to look like a “thick MMA heavyweight puncher.”
He not only accomplished the goals set for him, but has kept the look since Batman v Superman. We’ll probably get to see Affleck just one more time as Batman, but don’t worry about him losing his figure ─ Ben’s gotten used to playing the hero roles.
CLEARLY DID: CHARLIE SHEEN
Charlie has had his fair share of alcohol and drug problems in the past ─ and possibly current ─ but he dabbled with steroids when filming the movie Major League.
Sheen took on the role of bad-boy relief pitcher Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn, whose wild pitches were often referred to by Bob Uecker’s character as “just a bit outside.”
Charlie Sheen came clean on his steroid use in 2011, around the same time he got fired from the show Two and a Half Men. He said he took the steroids for around six to eight weeks, which helped his fastball to get up to around 85 mph.
Sheen said in an interview with Sports Illustrated, that this was the only time he has ever used steroids and that he wouldn’t use them again because “they made him a bit more irritable than normal.”
Apparently, producers in the ’80s were willing to put up with a lot more than they were in the early 2000s.
CLEARLY DID: JEREMY JACKSON
In the ’90s, Jeremy Jackson was a teen heart-throb who played David Hasselhoff‘s on-screen son Hobie Buchannon from the blockbuster television show Baywatch.
Like most teen idols in the 90s, Jackson got caught up with life in the fast lane. His use of ecstasy and speed eventually led to a melt-down on set and resulted in him quitting Baywatch for good.
Abusing drugs can take a tremendous toll upon an individual’s body and health, so Jeremy took the quickest path in order to get his Baywatch figure back. In an interview with Dr. Drew, Jackson said: “I wanted to be the next Sylvester Stallone and get in really good shape.”
Jackson would admit that he spent nearly $200,000 in three years on steroids, pills, and injections.
“It started out innocent enough — you know, gym, trainers, acting class, but having that addict mentality … for a guy like me, it’s just not fast enough. I want results, like, now.”
NEVER USED: KEVIN HART
Kevin Hart has always used his “smaller” stature to his advantage, first in stand-up comedy and then as an actor. However, rumors started flying around about Kevin using steroids because of his new look, when in reality he’s become more active in the fitness community.
Pictures only show a partial truth. In Kevin Hart’s case, it’s true that he went from scrawny to bulky ─ but the part about him doping is way off.
Hart first got active to become healthier physically and mentally. For the last two years he’s been working every day with trainer Ron “Boss” Everline, who’s been slowly getting Kevin super ripped.
Hart has gotten so involved in working out that he wants to share his passion with the rest of the world by coordinating 5k runs with Nike. He’s also been putting out videos through Nike called Inner Strength. His motto is “no excuses, no days off.”
For being the comedic genius he is, Kevin Hart’s new motto seems quite serious.
CLEARLY DID: SCOTT SIEGEL
Scott was an up-and-coming actor who had just gotten his big break in the movie The Wrestler. Siegel played the role of a steroid dealer in the award-winning film, which earned him props from actor Mickey Rourke.
Ironically, Siegel had been using steroids most of his life and his 15 minutes of fame was about to come to a nasty end.
Prior to acting, Scott had served two-and-a-half years in jail for the sale of ecstasy. Since being released, he had been under surveillance for possibly dealing ─ you guessed it ─ steroids in conjunction with his acting career.
“It’s a great feeling,” says Scott in an interview with the NY Daily News. “People kiss your a** because you are big. I was a nobody, and then I was a somebody.”
Scott Siegel ended up getting sentenced to 63 months in jail for distribution of steroids and for taking the cops on a half hour police chase when they tried to detain him.
NEVER USED: MARK WAHLBERG
For a guy in his 40s, Mark Wahlberg is in fantastic shape. In 2013, Wahlberg needed to pack on some weight and muscle for a role in Pain and Gain next to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. To achieve his hero-style physique, Mark preferred to work out alone at his home while eating up to 12 meals a day.
Accusations have been thrown at Wahlberg for getting into such quick shape for several of his roles, but Mark has always been serious about his fitness and knows when to step up his game when needed.
Wahlberg prefers lifting heavy weights and eating lots of protein as his preferred method to getting ripped for roles. He’s also learned the science behind changing supplements, workout routines, and eating schedules to gain or lose weight as he needs to.
One thing is for certain, Mark Wahlberg is great at just about everything he puts his mind to ─ except for rapping, but we’ll let that one slide due to youthful aspirations.
CLEARLY DID: DAVID HASSELHOFF
Known for his starring roles in Baywatch and Knight Rider, David Hasselhoff was an A-list actor who succumbed to the pressure of staying fit.
In 1993, Los Angeles-based doctor Walter Jekot admitted to selling steroids to a huge list of athletes and celebrities ─ including the once beach hunk David Hasselhoff.
Hasselhoff would admit to his casual use of the drugs, but has never spoken much about it on record. Known for having a history with alcohol abuse, his usage of steroids several decades ago never became much of an issue. David went on to say that since the Baywatch days, he’s never used steroids again.
David recently has worked his name back into the spotlight with talks about a Knight Rider movie. If Hasselhoff does play a role in it, let’s hope he lays off the juice this time.
CLEARLY DID: NICK NOLTE
Nick Nolte was once an A-list actor that everyone wanted on their films. While there were plenty of factors that led to his downward spiral from the fast-lane, steroid use wasn’t one of them.
In fact, Nolte doesn’t use steroids to give him a chiseled superhero look– instead, he uses them to prevent aging.
As a long-time HGH user, Nolte is one of the few celebrities who is outspoken about his use of the steroid. Along with famed director Oliver Stone, they have promoted the use of HGH as a successful anti-aging drug.
Nolte has a long history with alcohol abuse, is known to not get along with certain actors, and was even busted for a DUI with GHB in his system.
While Nick might not be the best spokesman for HGH as an anti-aging drug, you have to admit that Nolte looks somewhat better now than he did a decade ago when he was arrested.
NEVER USED: CHRISTIAN BALE
Accusations were flying at Christian Bale when he took on the role to play Batman in Batman Begins. Bale had just finished filming The Machinist, which had taken a grueling toll on his body.
Portraying the insomniac Trevor Reznik in the film The Machinist, Bale lost 60 pounds by eating just an apple and a can of tuna a day.
After filming was finished, Christian was asked to put on as much muscle and weight possible to play Batman. Speculations surfaced immediately when Bale went from almost dead-skinny to a bulking hunk weighing a hundred pounds more with no fat to be seen on his body.
Despite the fact that Christian Bale doesn’t like to watch superhero movies, he wasn’t out of shape prior to taking on the role of Trevor Reznik, which allowed him to bulk up quickly and without the use of steroids.
With a strict dietary regimen, six days at the gym, and his old muscle memory, Bale was able to pull off the impossible.
CLEARLY DID: DANNY BONADUCE
Once known for his role on the television show The Partridge Family, Danny Bonaduce became famous again in the early 2000s with his actions and comments about steroid use. Bonaduce is no stranger to fitness as he has a third degree black belt and has boxed in the past.
Danny was active in Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling, when he made a comment saying wrestlers should be allowed to use steroids. He backed up his claims in a radio interview, saying thathe has never been seriously injured while boxing because of his use of steroids.
Often known as being a “loose cannon” and for having issues with alcohol and drug abuse, Bonaduce was criticized harshly for his comments and hasn’t been seen in the spotlight since then.
NEVER USED: GERARD BUTLER
When the role for 300 dropped in Gerard Butler’s lap, he was determined to get as bulked up as possible. Already being in decent shape, Butler started working out with trainer Mark Twight, a lead personal trainer of Gym Jones in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In a strict five to six day regiment, Gerard buffed himself up in just four short months. Because of his rapid increase in size, many assumed he was just another actor dipping into steroids to achieve a desired look.
However, Butler didn’t use any drugs to his advantage. With a workout heavy on squats and lifting weights, Gerard worked extremely hard to achieve his goals. He even said publicly that he wanted to get super strong for the role because he was tired of seeing big bellies and men with skinny arms pretending to be warriors.
Despite the flop Point Break, Gerard Butler keeps using his huge build to attract major block-buster roles that will likely show off his chest.
NEVER USED: DANIEL CRAIG
Daniel Craig became a household name overnight when he was opted to be the next James Bond in Casino Royale.
Since Bond is notorious for landing the best looking beauties on the planet, and for going shirtless, Craig knew he needed to tone up to pull off the role successfully.
Craig enlisted personal trainer Simon Waterson, who was an ex-marine known for training other stars like Halle Berry, Chris Evans, and Pierce Brosnan. Craig didn’t want the superhero look, but he knew he had to be in the best shape of his life.
His hard work paid off, as Craig went on to play James Bond in Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre, along with one more James Bond movie before he passes the torch.
CLEARLY DID: MICKEY ROURKE
Back in his younger days, Mickey Rourke was a weight class boxer. In his acting days, he starred in films such as Iron Man 2, Sin City, and his award-winning performance in The Wrestler. Yes, The Wrestler– the same film in which Scott Siegel was playing a steroid dealer on-screen and in real life.
Rourke was in his 50s when he got beefed up for his role in The Wrestler and admitted in a round-about-way that he used steroids to help achieve his massive weight gain in just a few short months.
Rourke took on a trainer and was doing some massive workouts and eating, but he wanted to achieve his results faster than his 50-year-old body would allow.
This led to him using the steroids to speed up the process. Rourke has seen some crazy days, but hopefully he’s getting some good R&R is his retirement years.
NEVER USED: HENRY CAVILL
Before landing his recent role as Superman, Henry Cavill was already in good shape from doing the movie Immortals. The studio wanted him in the best possible shape of his life and they wanted it obtained in a legit and steroid-free manner.
Cavill teamed up trainer Mark Twight for four months before filming started while already doing two months of his own personal training.
Cavill was initially taking fire from the media, which kept insinuating that he was using drugs to get his Superman physique, but Warner Bros. was very open about their regular drug tests to ensure that he wasn’t.
Henry spoke about his training with Twight in several interviews, in which he said: “Gym Jones is not a cozy place. There are no televisions, no machines, and no comfortable spot to sit. Effort and pain may not be avoided. Physical and psychological breakdowns occur.”
Can you think of any other actors who have clearly used steroids or who haven’t, despite rumors? Let us know in the comments.