Is Jessica Chastain lying about being just 30? A 1998 article puts her at 35 now

You know I love Jessica Chastain. She’s so pretty, she’s so genuinely nice, and I think she can really act too. But it’s kind of slow today and we’re searching for something to report on. Hence this story that Jessica Chastain might not really be “30” as her Wikipedia entry and IMDB states. I do remember reading somewhere that she was 31 or 32, and I remember squinting and thinking that she looked older than that. Radiant and lovely, but older than that. Well Kaiser pointed me to this article in HuffPo from last year in which they state that Jessica won’t disclose her age. They write “Chastain, who is about 30 but will not disclose her exact age, grew up in northern California and dreamed of becoming an actress from about the age of 5.” That’s arguably more honest than shaving a few years off and trying to claim that you’re younger, a la Agyness Dyen. (or Beyonce, or Catherine Zeta-Jones)

Reader Drew pointed out on that Agyness Dyen story that Mandisa from American Idol, who is 36, recently tweeted that she went to high school with Jessica. That would make Jessica 33 at least, if she was a freshman when Mandisa was a senior. (I tweeted Mandisa asking if she was in the same grade as Jessica, and have not yet heard back.) I guess I don’t blame Jessica for wanting to keep her age a secret, but it seems unlikely in this age of the Internet and IMDB.

After I wrote that intro, I googled a little and found this article from 1998 on Jessica Chastain’s turn in “Romeo and Juliet” in a San Francisco production. They say she’s 21, and since that was 1998 that would make her 35 now, or at least turning 35 in less than a month, if her day of birth, March 29, is correct.

But more than anything, it’s the appealing, intense performances of Travis Engle and Jessica Chastain as Romeo and Juliet that lend such a sense of universality to this production. Engle and Chastain, themselves 17 and 21, portray the famous couple as what they really were–love-struck teenagers.

[From, article from the April 30-May 6, 1998 issue]

Speaking of IMDB, I recently heard a very good editorial on KCRW’s The Business about how IMDB promotes ageism. IMDB is currently being sued by a low-level actress for culling her age when she signed up for an IMDB pro account and using it on her public profile without her permission. KCRW had on a Hollywood agent who said that it’s illegal to ask for someone’s age on a job application, and that she represents many supporting staff in films, like technical and engineering experts, who get discriminated against because they’re older and that information is easily found on IMDB. There’s a ton of competition in Hollywood to be in movie crews, and the agent claims that IMDB makes it very difficult for older people to get work in the field. That’s not even counting the very blatant ageism in casting the acting parts, particularly for women.

So is Jessica Chastain just trying to protect her skyrocketing movie career by not disclosing her age? Probably, and at least she’s being somewhat honest about it. Or is she? If you google “How Old is Jessica Chastain?” the answer you get is “30”.

Update: I found these quotes from Chastain last year in which she said that she doesn’t like revealing her age and can play any part:

I don’t like revealing how old I am. I played a teenager in a movie recently and Brad Pitt’s wife in another so I like to think I can be any age I need to be.”

Good for her.

Second Update: Thanks to Jane for pointing out that Snakkle has Chastain’s senior yearbook picture from 1995. That’s consistent with the news that she’s turning 35 in a month.

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95 Responses to “Is Jessica Chastain lying about being just 30? A 1998 article puts her at 35 now”

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  1. Maguita says:

    I don’t think anyone should be asking Jessica about her age. At all.

    There is considerable ageism towards actresses in Hollywood, and as a moviegoer, as long as I don’t know if you are old or young, gay or straight, married or single, if your performance is amazing, I would totally buy the character.

    • Lithe says:


    • Ailine says:

      Agree too. Hollywood stop making women feel compelled to lie about their ages!

    • Karen says:

      ABSOLUTELY AGREE!!! The less I know about an actor/actress, the more I can buy into the role they’re playing. I love the JC keeps herself out of tabloid scandals and still holds some air of mystery about her.

    • molly says:

      Agreed. Also, that picture cant be of Jessica because her name is actually Jessica Howard. She changed it a few years ago when people were getting her confused with Bryce Dallas Howard and that family.

      • Maguita says:

        Wow, I didn’t know that!!

        But the school picture sure does look like Jessica Chastain though. The actress.

    • G says:

      Don’t mistake me for a hater, I love Jessica. But if girlfriend says she’s 25 or 30 or whatever, and we find out she’s not, I think we have the right to ask what’s up with that? You guys talk about ageism in Hollywood, but isn’t her lying about her age helping that double standard along?

  2. Bite me says:

    Hmmm. I don’t see the big deal

    • Jeneral says:

      I don’t see the big deal either. It’s not like she’s lying about her age to be elected President a few years early. She’s an actress, why is this such a big deal? Because she or someone else lied? Who DOESN’T lie in Hollywood?

      Get over it.

  3. SCREEEE says:

    I think it’s so regrettable, yet so understandable that actors (mostly women, yes) feel the need to do this.

    It’s hard! Chelsea Handler really IS the age she claims to be, and like her or not, this website has been among the voices cruelly calling that claim a lie due to her looks. Jessica must be the same age or older, but has gotten away with it (probably thanks to fewer drinks and cigarettes). The Daily Show’s Samantha Bee is apparently 53, and I would’ve guessed late 30s.

    Since what you’d guess is so subjective, I very much see the point that age shouldn’t necessarily be an issue in hiring someone, and if hiding your age helps, then why not? I mean in Mean Girls, Amy Poehler played Rachel McAdam’s MOTHER, and there’s only a few years difference between them.

    • Lisa says:

      Samantha Bee is 43…born in 1969.

      • SCREEEE says:

        Oh wow! Thanks so much, I’d literally just been YouTubing and Wikipediaing her today and couldn’t BELIEVE what I (obviously mis-)read.

        I still think my point stands, though. Some celebs are never-aging vampires, and some look older than they are. I think casting should happen without a number influencing the people in charge, much as sexual orientation, marital status, race and so on shouldn’t.

      • OriginalTiffany says:

        Some people just age really well. It’s the genetic lottery. Flying home last week, I literally got stopped boarding the plane with my kids because they thought I was the big sister. And I had a pony in and no makeup. It’s happened three times this month. Weird.
        I’m just going to stop having birthdays and ignore the entire thing.
        As I say as 43 looms in a couple weeks.

  4. bitta83 says:

    I really don’t care how old she is. Period.

  5. Cinesnatch says:

    Slow news day? This is pretty big. If this is true, I’m sad for her that the rouse is up. Can’t blame a girl for trying. Age privacy is such a grey area, especially these days. But, I agree with all of the previous posters. She’s a talented new actress trying to make it, who also seems like a genuinely good person. I guess this was her Achilles heal.

  6. Lisa says:

    She’s a good actress, but I would guess her to be 35ish. And I can understand her fudging her age in Hollyweird.

  7. Anne says:

    With regard to her personal style, I would imagine she has been dressing herself on a budget until recently.

    Now she’s got designers begging to dress her and the clothes are very different from the norm.

    I think she has done OK. She hasn’t really looked terrible in her choices; she has a nice figure and face, and is probably still experimenting with her new wardrobe options.

    As for the age thing; if she’s 35 then she’s an old woman by Hollywood standards. I don’t blame her.

  8. Holly Hobby says:

    Yes she looks older than “30.” That’s my first thought when she inexplicably started popping up in media outlets. I haven’t watched anything she did so I’m curious as to why she’s so popular.

    Tree of Life sounds boring and I cannot watch any of Brad Pitt’s snooze ville movies so I guess I won’t find out how spectacular Ms. Chastain is.

  9. Astrid says:

    There seems to be a lot of “fudging” lately – age, dress size, plastic surgery etc. If you’re somebody looking to make money in the public eye, then be honest and own up to who and what you are. No need to slight the truth.

    • Medusa says:

      Lying about age is so far from being anything new in Hollywood.

      People in the entertainment industry have always done this.

      I mean, just regular women in the normal world do this. All the time.

    • Bobby sue says:

      I’m glad you brought up surgery. She is gorgeous and I actually think she does look 30 but looking at these two old photos of her (in links) her nose bridge has definitely been thinned. Ugh. Is there ONE REAL nose in Hollywood??

    • Jolene says:

      Agreeed… IMO Lying about your age just PROMOTES ageism.

  10. Lem says:

    I’m 27 AGAIN

  11. DenG says:

    Well, one of these days, she may be proud of her age–if she looks as good as Meryl Streep at 62!

  12. Medusa says:

    Yeah, she’s definitely a few years older than 30. Who cares, though.

    A huge percentage of people in the entertainment industry lie about their age. Nothing new.

    Would be nice if people felt okay to be more honest though, then maybe we’d have less people feeling ashamed of their age.

  13. merski says:

    WHO CARES HOW OLD SHE IS?! She’s a wonderful, talented actress, she’s SO pretty and I <3 her. 🙂

  14. Jane says:

    I had just seen a HS yearbook picture of her today on this AM that said it was her senior picture and it was from 1995. I’ll be 36 this year & I graduated in 1994. So, yeah, I’d say she’s older, but I understand why she would keep that secret. Hollywood is too hung up on numbers.

  15. layla says:


    Regardless of age.. how does one go from being in barely anything other than old Veronica Mars episodes to being in EVERYTHING all in the one year… no slow build, no small but standout role to get noticed… just BAM! in EVERYTHING.

    Can someone explain???

    • Blue says:

      I think if the right people notice them and like them, careers take off. Once the right people like you there is lots of offers and a big PR team behind them to “make them happen” I think that’s why so many actresses crash and burn so quickly. As soon as someone new comes along or they fall out of favour. Everything dries up and people say “who?” when their name is mentioned.

      • layla says:

        Yeah. I get that.. but her wiki/imdb page is just soooooo skewed. No movies before 08. 1 in 08. 1 in 09. 0 in 10. SEVEN in 2011.

        As for her tv.. 1 episode in 2010 and before that is only a episode here and there 2004-2007 and nothing of any major note/reoccurign character etc

        So she’s obviouvly auditioning her a$$ off (good for her), but it just seems so strange that she was barely in 3 things before 2009 and then lucked out for SEVEN MAJOR PROJECTS in 2011.

        I have nothign against, Im just bamboozled by how that works…

    • Jo says:

      I think Tree of Life was filmed several years ago; the director, Terrence Malick is notoriously detail-oriented and took a very long time after filming finished to edit the film.

    • LAK says:

      The studios have set time slots during the year for releasing types of films eg blockbusters are always summer. James Bond is always november, as are arty [may have a chance at Oscar] films etc. So a film is made, and sits on a shelf until it’s time slot comes up. it could take years.

      Some studios rush out films if an actor/concept suddenly catches ‘heat’. So you suddenly get 2 and more films in one year with same actor.

      Terence Mallick takes ages to shoot and complete his films. It can be years before shooting is complete.

      EDIT: the dates on IMDB are a combination of projected release/start of production dates. If she was an unknown, there is no need for IMDB to list her while the project was in development. It is updated with time.

    • TG says:

      She gave an interview at one of the red carpets and she said she had made like 9 movies in several years and they all just sort of came to the big screen. And I wonder if she could be any of the blinds from Lainey, however, Lainey seems to love her so I am thinking not. And I will just say about the age thing is if you went to a school for 12 or 13 years then there are many people who can pretty much confirm your age since most people tend to be the same age (you are either a summer baby or a winter baby) in each grade in the US and I think you have to leave high school by age 19 so there isn’t much room to lie.

    • HotPockets says:

      A star isn’t born, their cherry picked, groomed and manufactured, nothing is by chance anymore.

      I believe in the crossroads of selling ones soul for fame and fortune, it is more than just a metaphor.

  16. shontay says:

    I love her. I don’t care if she’s lying about her age. I wish it wasn’t an issue for women, but I see how it can be for an actress. Some people look their age and some don’t. I think she looks a tad older than 30, but she’s talented and lovely and that’s all that matters. I don’t think she’s hiding her age for vanity reasons (looking at you CZJ).

  17. Mae East says:

    Her Wikipedia page claims that she only started using “Chastain”, her mother’s maiden name, as a stage name; apparently “Howard” is her legal name. That makes me wonder a little bit about the authenticity of that yearbook.

    Who knows what to trust, though. The Wiki page also pretty authoritatively states her birth year as 1981.

    And, as other posters have said, who cares? She’s talented and seems gracious. Let her have her secret.

    • Medusa says:

      It’s fun to play detective, but I don’t think there is a law against using your ‘stage name’ in your yearbook.

      And for all you know, maybe her parents got divorced.

      Besides, this is wikipedia we are talking about.

  18. Talie says:

    I think she’s one of those overnight sensations that has really been hustling for YEARS. Her story is sort of reminiscent of the cast of Mad Men–most in their 30s when they hit it big, but none try to hide it.

  19. Mei-Lu says:

    In this day and age NO ONE can hide their age. Look her up on Intelius. She’s 34.

  20. Gigi says:

    Well, if the Romeo and Juliet article accidentally had their ages reversed, and she was 17 at the time, then she’d be 30 or 31, right?

  21. jc126 says:

    Sure she is, but I don’t blame her for lying. Age discrimination is real, not just in Hollywood where it’s especially bad, but everywhere. Meryl Streep is the rare exception who still gets tons of work at 62.

  22. Ann says:

    If we didn’t live in such a sexist world, women wouldn’t resort to these admittedly childish ruses.

    As long as there is a double standard, where it’s ok for men to age but not ok for women, this kind of nonsense is going to continue. It’s not all men’s fault, I’ve seen many female posters on this site apply this double standard (why would you, you are undermining and putting YOURSELF down!).

    • Medusa says:

      Men feel the pressure to lie about their ages in certain contexts as well.

      Online dating profiles, for instance. Lots of men assume women don’t want to date someone who appears to be a ‘creepy old man’.

      I’ve also known a few male musicians that lie about their age.

      • Ann says:

        Well, old men lying about their age because they want to date a 20 year old is quite different to women not being employed because they’re perceived as being too “old”.

    • Funnylilou says:

      perfectly well said!! Women will stop these stupid lied when we will able to stop putting them down on this exact matter!

      You can notice in the various outlets that the age of women entertainers is always revealed and underlined (ex: jlo, 42, or reese witherspoon 35 mother of two) before even talking about them while for men apparently there is no need to do so!

      And, we women, are the ones who push the much harder the age issue, and we are the ones who put down other women on age (go see any comments on the Demi Moore or JLO threads as a sample of what we are able to do)

      This non-sense has to stop, I thought Jessica Chastain was in her late thirties, but I absolutely don’t care, She has talent, she has beauty and she has grace, that’s all matter in my book to be a solid actress who gets roles.

      Women can be beautiful and talented no matter age! These lies will stop when we will be ready to cope with that

      Look at men they are really supportive toward each others on any matter (dating younger, being attractive while ageing, being succesful)
      We should take a page or two from their book.

  23. kibbles says:

    I never thought about her age because I didn’t realize her actual birth year wasn’t made public. She definitely does not look 30. I would have guessed mid-30s so 35 sounds about right. Anyway, I think it is better that she just doesn’t reveal her age rather than lie about it like Beyonce and Agyness Deyn.

  24. Agnes says:

    who cares? she looks great for 30 or 35.

  25. serena says:

    I don’t think she’s 36. If Mandisa was a senior when Jessica was a freshman–Jessica could be 32/33. There is nothing to specifically say that that yearbook photo was taken during Jessica’s senior year. Regardless, WHO CARES. She is gorgeous and people age at mind blowingly different rates. Society’s obsession with a number is mildly perverse.

  26. Heinz says:

    Whatever. I ♥ her.

  27. constant says:

    The tired and overworked 30-year-olds around me look much, much older than Chastain. Never entered my mind to question that she’s 30.

  28. LAK says:

    I am not a raving CZJ stan, but she really is 42. Her birth record is freely available on the British birth registry. I can’t think of any case where a person is able to change THAT particular record.

    I think she carries herself ‘older’ and especially married to an ‘elder’.

  29. Camille (The original) says:

    I buy that she is 35. Nothing wrong with being mid 30’s either, being 35 isn’t old. *shrugs*
    It is also her prerogative to keep that to herself however.
    She’s a very pretty woman (haven’t seen any of her movies yet, so I can’t comment on her talent).

  30. drew says:

    Wow,you’ve got more information.So it seems to be true.The good thing is she doesn’t lie directly.Only wikipedia.She just doesn’t disclose her real age.Im sure when she will become famous this will be an issue.

  31. lucy2 says:

    Pretty sad that anyone feels the need to do that, especially someone in her early 30s. But I can totally see agents and Hollywood execs pressuring people to seem younger. It’s stupid, but I’m sure it happens a lot.

  32. danielle says:

    I thought she was late 20s, but never really thought about it. Shrug. She looks good.

  33. Adrien says:

    She looks older than 30, I mean compare her to other actresses her “age” like Zooey. But then, Courtney Stodden, 17; Blake Lively, 24 (looks 30s); Rachel Zoe, only 41; Fergie only 36. Then there are the Lohan sisters. So yeah, she could be 50 right now but if she can pull it off as an early 30, who cares?

  34. W.O.M. says:

    I just think she’s the downmarket version of Bryce Dallas Howard.

  35. Mairead says:

    A quick search throws up results which could either place her DOB as either 1977 or 1981, depending on how she was registered, but I know which I favour. She’s still younger than me either way 😉

  36. chloew says:

    wasn’t there a rumor about her and Pitt?

    SHE’S gorgeous – more so than AJ
    i bet AJ’s freak out had something to do with Jessica, just a hunch

  37. kells-bells says:

    It’s nobody’s business how old she is! Hollywood and America discriminate against women the minute they turn 30 , while men can be old and viagra’d up all they want! Enough, leave her alone!

  38. aenflex says:

    Not being proud of who you are and what age you are is just sad. Hiding it is pathetic, IMO.

  39. Luke says:

    Meryl Streep is the biggest female star right now and she’s over 60. Just own up to your age.

  40. Jen34 says:

    She looks to be in her early 30’s, so I believe 35.

  41. molly says:

    Jessica Chastains real name is Jessica Howard. She changed it so she wouldnt be confused with Bryce Dallas Howard and that family. The Idol girl may have gone to school with a Jessica Chastain, but she didnt go to school with this Jessica (Howard) Chastain

  42. ZenB!tch says:

    I read the Agnes Dean or whatever her name is story as a link from this one and she makes perfect sense. As a woman in Hollywood you almost have to lie. It buys you more time. Most of us look OK until about 45 but Hollywood decides you are dead at 36 so… go for it.

    Jessica looks early 30s to me but I would have believed late 20s because she is so fair. If Chelsea isn’t lying I feel sorry for her because that makes her and Jessica the same age and she looks like Jess’ mom.

    I don’t think anyone has ever proved CZJs age but back when I worked in radio the rumor was 1958. I just know one thing. She has to be older than I am because she always came off as “old” during those interviews. She and I were 28/9 then and she never mentioned anything that was “in” in 1999. The thing is she could have given it up when she married the old dude because I noticed her career plummet after that. Hollywood is about image and 30 marrying 60 is not sexy.

    • Mairead says:

      With respect, it has been conclusively proven that CZJ was born in 1969. The synopsis for her birth registry in Swansea in late 1969 is available for anyone to search. The British National Archive supports the following website:

      (You can also search for Laura Hollins – Agyness Deyn- in Rochdale too).

      PDF scans of the actual registry pages are available on paid genealogy sites, such as

      I hate doing it partly because I pay over €23 per month for my ancestry membership, and it’s nobody else’s business really, but I did post a link to the relevant scan on a previous CZJ story here which you are welcome to search.

      I know that it is her as they include her mother’s maiden name of “Fair” which is a very unusual name.

    • LAK says:

      @Zenbitch – what mairead said.

      For all british celebrities/actors’ ages can very easily be proved because there is something called a BRITISH BIRTH REGISTRY which is open to the public. It has records going back to 1800s. Go on, don’t be lazy, google it. you can check every body’s birth date.

      No one can change that record. Birth HAS TO BE registered at maximum 42 days after the birth, so if a person was older than they claimed to be, it would only be by 42 days.

      CZJ looks old because she’s always carried herself old, dated old dudes and is now married to someone 25yrs older than her.

      She’s never acted or carried herself like a teenager even when she was a teenager.

      She was also a child star in Britain, so her age has been a matter of public record for a very long time.

      She doesn’t need to produce her birth certificate because it’s already available. period.

  43. Rob says:

    Yeah Jessica Chastain’s real name is Jessica Howard so all this is B.S i’m presuming. What’s funny is there is also an age debate about another Oscar nominee this year – Octavia Spencer. if you go on her Wikipedia there are two age dates suggested 1970 and 1972 because of an article someone found stating her ‘real’ high school graduation date. Octavia has stated she is 39 born in 1972 but her age has been reported from 38-44 lol! Crazy to think people can still get away with this in this day in age? someone they went to high school or college with could easily confirm or deny it ?

  44. iseepinkelefants says:

    Well she does look like 35. Not to be mean because is very pretty, but she looks older than they were telling us she was. Not surprised.

  45. tifygodess24 says:

    Regardless, When did 35- hell 30 become old? I mean even outside of Hollywood standards, when a woman hits her 30s she might as well be 70!

  46. tabbyfoof says:

    Just curious, but why does the headline say “Is Jessica Chastain lying about…” when you don’t have any examples of her ever saying how old she is? Telling people you don’t want to reveal your age isn’t lying now, is it? Seeing other people assume the wrong thing and not confirming or denying isn’t either, is it? It’s like Kevin Spacey or Anderson Cooper not talking about their sexual orientations, isn’t it?

  47. anytime says:

    many celebs lie about their age. only sometimes it comes out. edit: actually i remember a couple of irl people i caught lying about their ages, it’s so silly ffs edit 2: please no curtain comparisons, but i love that dress she’s wearing to the oscars! somebody else wore a reversed version black-on-gold, but this is way easier on the eyes in the skate department.

  48. Lavender says:

    She’s an amazing actress, and beautiful, too, but there is no way she’s only 30 years old.

  49. Lisa says:

    I went to the same high school as her too! And she was incredibly talented in our school plays back then. Im not the least surprised she’s a star now!

  50. HAHAHA says:

    That would be a rough late twenties!!
    I myself thought she was a very pretty woman pushing 40!
    And in both case what we thought is not as important as how much talented, graceful, pretty and gracious this lady.

    Hollywood should stop pushing these ladies to lie about their age, she is perfection that’s all what matters!

  51. HAHAHA says:

    tomato tomatoe, this is not a big deal 30 yrs old woman or a 35 yrs is quite exactly the same!!

  52. demian bichir says:

    There is only one thing Jessica needs: A GOOD STYLIST.

  53. Francesca says:

    35 at least. She should own it. dumb..

  54. Jasmine says:

    Is Jessica Chastain lying about her age? No. She’s never publicly disclosed her age. Just because a bunch of fools who believe everything they read on IMDB and Wikipedia thought she was 30 doesn’t make HER a liar.

    Most likey her agency shaved a couple of years off of her age on IMDBPro because sometimes casting directors make decisions based on little more than a headshot and age.

    Besides, who cares if she’s 30, 35, 40… she’s a talented actress. Her IMDB page could say she’s 25, it wouldn’t change that.

  55. Val says:

    Agg who cares how old she is? She’s clearly beautiful, talented, and articulate. That’s enough for an actor.

  56. brook says:

    Mandisa did indeed go to school with Jessica Chastain. Mandisa and I were in the same class of ’94 and Jessica was in the class below us. She changed her name in high school to Chastain, which I believe is her mothers maiden name. We were aquantences in high school and ran in the same circles. Its merly a coincidence that she has the same last name and looks a little like Bryce Dallas Howard. There is no relation and Howard is not Ron Howards true family name either. His father changed it as is the custom in Hollywood.

  57. eljeran says:

    Ilove Jessica and Bryce! Beautiful redheaded women with talent. I hope they dont turn skanky. It is nice to see classy actresses, there are so few.