'I'm Still the Sexiest': Everything PEOPLE's Past Sexiest Man Alive Winners Have Said About the Title

"So, everyone, doesn't matter who it is, they can continue to be Sexiest Man, but I am. Forever, forever."

01 of 11

George Clooney & Ben Affleck

George Clooney and Ben Affleck
George Clooney and Ben Affleck. Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Speaking with PEOPLE (the TV Show!)'s Adrianna Costa at the December 2021 premiere of The Tender Bar in L.A., Ben Affleck joked about director George Clooney having one more Sexiest Man Alive title to his name. Affleck earned the designation back in 2002, while Clooney graced PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive cover in both 1997 and 2006.

"Well, I passed a few times, obviously," Affleck joked about why Clooney has one more than him. "George, he likes that stuff and he wanted to keep doing it and I felt like maybe one was enough."

He also discussed their competitiveness in both having played Batman on the big screen: Clooney in 1997's Batman & Robin and Affleck in the recent Justice League films. "Yes, two Batmans. Two people who have been in PEOPLE magazine too — and that's no joke," he said.

02 of 11

John Legend

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Doug Inglish

John Legend had no choice but to have a good sense of humor about his 2019 title — after all, wife Chrissy Teigen was prepared to rib him about it at every turn (who could forget those Sexiest Man Alive PJs?).

"I've appreciated the whole experience and I've been trying to have a lot of fun with it, but I'm so ready to relinquish this title," he said in September. "It's been funny, it's been humbling, it's been all those things. I've truly enjoyed just making fun of myself throughout it because you can't take yourself too seriously when someone calls you the Sexiest Man Alive. It's not a literal thing, and it's not to be taken too seriously."

03 of 11

Idris Elba

SMA2018_Promo_FINAL
David Burton

When he's not juggling acting and directing roles, kickboxing, or deejaying Coachella, PEOPLE's 2018 Sexiest Man Alive keeps busy by holding tight to his title.

"Here's my philosophy on this. It says Sexiest Man Alive. So as long as I'm alive, I'm still the sexiest," Idris Elba joked to host Ellen DeGeneres during an appearance on her show.

And he doesn't seem to be letting go anytime soon. Asked for a nomination for his Sexiest Man successor in 2019, the Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw star had a novel idea: himself. Elba told PEOPLE, "Let it be the first time in history that the Sexiest Man Alive is the same man two years in a row."

04 of 11

Blake Shelton

blake-promo-cover
Blake Shelton's 2017 cover.

Country star Blake Shelton may have been a little humble about being crowned the 2017 Sexiest Man Alive at first — he told PEOPLE that his initial reaction was "that y'all must be running out of people" — but by the end of his reign, he'd fully embraced his sexy status, and wasn't quite ready to give it up.

"Can I be honest? I feel like when I gave up my crown, sexy ended," The Voice coach told Entertainment Tonight in November 2018. "It just ended in the world. So until I get it back, it doesn't exist anymore."

Regarding the next pick, Idris Elba, Shelton said he couldn't quite see the appeal. "I'm sure this new guy is a nice guy," he joked to the outlet. "He's a great guy. I mean, I don't see it myself. I'm really the only person I've ever seen it with."

That doesn't mean he's above poking fun at his appearance, though! While promoting his film UglyDolls, he said he related to the movie's message of loving yourself no matter what: "I am proof that you can be odd-looking and still be accepted, and make the most out of it. ... Look at this chin, this chin and this chin, and then tell yourself I was the Sexiest Man Alive."

05 of 11

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson

dwanye-johnson-cover

2016's Sexiest Man Alive Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson doesn't care who else gets the title after him, because in his eyes, he will hold it "forever."

"I made a pact with PEOPLE magazine a few years ago that I will never give up the title," the Rampage star said on People Now in 2016. "So, everyone, doesn't matter who it is, they can continue to be Sexiest Man, but I am. Forever, forever."

When Blake Shelton was announced as his successor, The Rock reminded everyone of this fact on Twitter. "Let's all just take a moment to recognize @people's Sexiest Man Alive will always be the 6'5 260lbs of tattooed brown eyed soul," he wrote in part.

In another tweet, he joked, "Truth is I was going to become the first ever back to back SMA but that absurd fanny pack picture made its rounds on the interweb again causing @people to rethunketh the whole damn thing," referencing his iconic '90s black-turtleneck look.

Not one to let people forget about his title for long, Johnson recently joked about it once again while filming a video of everything he keeps in his Project Rock gym bag - including a Magic 8 Ball, which he had a very pressing question for. "Dear Magic 8 Ball, will PEOPLE magazine finally just stop giving out Sexiest Man Alive and just give it to me in perpetuity? Because once Sexiest Man Alive, which I was, then always Sexiest Man Alive." The Rampage star was none too pleased when the classic toy revealed that the "chances aren't good," prompting him to hilariously toss the ball into the trash.

And in 2020, he posted an incredible elementary school throwback shot, which he captioned, "No way this stud doesn't grow up to become Sexiest Man Alive 🤣."

06 of 11

Chris Hemsworth

Chris Hemsworth

The Avengers star Chris Hemsworth might not be PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive anymore — he took home the title in 2014 — but he still earned honorable mention as 2019's "Sexiest Chris," beating out a few of his hunky peers who share his first name.

During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in April 2019, host Ellen expressed concern over the Aussie actor's ego. "You were the Sexiest Man Alive and now, in the magazine, you're just a 'Sexy Chris,' with Chris Pratt and a bunch of Chrises. You were demoted," she said.

Hemsworth laughed but remained optimistic about his new ranking. "I was demoted, yeah, out of how many billion people on the planet to four of us," the actor joked.

Joking with Avengers costar Chris Evans during an interview with Entertainment Tonight Canada a few weeks later, the pair imagined that there was a long list of hunky men who had turned the title down before it got offered to Hemsworth — even joking that Chris had cajoled younger equally hunky brother Liam to turn it down so that Chris could take the title: "Liam, say no! Say no, Liam! You don't need this, you're too young!"

07 of 11

Adam Levine

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Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine was less than thrilled when his fellow The Voice coach Blake Shelton was named 2017's Sexiest Man Alive. Levine, who won the award in 2013, said "it cheapened it a lot" when the country singer was awarded the same sexy status.

"He's not sexy," Levine complained about his friend and fake-rival on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2018. "It also made it feel worse that I got it ... 'cause like sexy dudes got it before I did and I was like, 'Yeah, cool, I guess I'm sexy like that,' " he explained, adding that Shelton's win meant, "I guess I'm not as sexy as I thought I was."

To be fair, Levine may have sparked Shelton's desire to follow in his footsteps: After receiving the honor in 2013, he framed an enormous image of his PEOPLE cover and sent it to the country singer's house in Oklahoma.

"He put it in his barn," he laughed. "I guess that lit a fire under him, that now he wanted it."

08 of 11

Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman

The Greatest Showman actor Hugh Jackman was named PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive in 2008, and as far as he's concerned, he still holds the title, too.

When asked if he'd had any input in choosing 2018's Sexiest Man Alive Idris Elba during a November 2018 interview with MTV News, Jackman joked, "This is the first I've heard about it." He continued, "In my head, time stopped ten years ago, there has [sic] been no other people since then."

"I mean, Ryan [Reynolds] does like to bring it up occasionally, but everyone knows that it doesn't really mean anything now, but ten years ago it meant something," Jackman teased, fueling the fire of his long-running friendly feud with 2010 Sexiest Man Alive Ryan Reynolds.

He continued his playful dig at Reynolds while offering some words of advice to Blake Shelton after the country star took home the title in 2017.

"Hey @blakeshelton ... take it from me ... humble only gets you so far. Milk the sexy status for ALL it's worth. The reign goes all too quickly. Just ask @VancityReynolds @people," Jackman playfully tweeted.

But for all his joking about the title's 'relative' significance, The Wolverine star told MTV News he's "thrilled about it" when it comes to being reminded of his own sexy status. "I don't mind bringing it up."

09 of 11

George Clooney

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After George Clooney joined his friend and Ocean's costar Brad Pitt as a two-time Sexiest Man Alive winner in 2006 (he'd also nabbed the title in 1997), he made it his mission to share his sexy secrets with his then-aspiring sexy pals to improve their chances of winning.

While his Hail, Caesar! costar Channing Tatum had already been named 2012's Sexiest Man Alive, Clooney offered him some tips for how he could join the double-winner club during a 2016 interview with PEOPLE.

"You have to do a few things, maybe wear a baseball cap sideways, [take your] shirt off, some sort of a dance-type thing, I've got some ideas," he suggested, admitting, "It's a lot of work."

Tatum wasn't the only actor the Up in the Air star offered to advise. "Remember, I worked with Matt Damon and got him over the hump," he said of his involvement in the Good Will Hunting star's 2007 title. "It was hard because he ran a good campaign, but I'll tell you what I'm going to do for you my friend: I'm going to take you under my wing, I'm going to bring ya home and next year I see a two-timer coming in."

10 of 11

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey, who took home the title in 2005, was an early supporter of his Dark Tower costar Idris Elba, campaigning for him the year before Elba was named 2018's Sexiest Man Alive.

"There's one of us here who hasn't got it yet," McConaughey hinted during a visit to PEOPLE with his costar. "And I know he's been sneaking around your top three for a while. It's probably time," he suggested.

At the time, Elba took McConaughey's nomination in stride, joking, "I see that the Sexiest Man Alive is drawing to an end …" to which McConaughey clarified, "No, no, I'm still alive. That's the thing about this crown, you get it until the day you leave this earth. And if you're a believer you take it into the next life."

11 of 11

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck

2002's Sexiest Man Alive Ben Affleck proved he's still got it when he broke into a rap during a visit to The Ellen DeGeneres Show in May 2019. "If by A-list he means average, then that's true, but I'm one of the world's sexiest men since 2002," Affleck began, before hilariously kicking the self-promotion up a notch.

"It's OK to be average, but I'm really not. Good Will Hunting to Argo, I get Oscars a lot. I want to thank Ellen for having me here, so I can tell you all to see my movie Triple Frontier on Netflix."

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