The piercing blue eyes, the rock god looks and the mile-a-minute flirting mean casual observers often underestimate Jared Leto. "That's what they get wrong," says the Dallas Buyers Club star.
His Hollywood peers have never made that mistake. He is regarded as one of the most committed actors of his generation, having lost 28 pounds to star as a heroin addict in 2000 flick Requiem for a Dream
and gained 60 pounds to play John Lennon's assassin in 2007's Chapter 27
Jared was born in Louisiana in 1971. His parents split up when he was young and Leto is actually his stepfather's surname.
He and his younger brother Shannon lived with their mother but moved around a lot due to her "hippy" lifestyle. "I was raised around a lot of artists, musicians, photographers, painters and people that were in theatre," he explains. "We celebrated creative experience and creative expression".
His breakthrough role came in the mid-90s with TV series My So-called Life
as Clare Danes' love interest.
A string of well-received movies followed including The Thin Red Line
, Fight Club
, American Psycho
and Panic Room
In 2002, Jared had stepped away from his movie career to transform himself into a pop star. With his brother Shannon he formed rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars, which went on the sell 10 million records.
His turn as an HIV-positive transgender woman in Dallas Buyers Club
was a triumphant return to the acting world.
The actor was in character from his first meeting with director Jean-Marc Vallée until the day he left the shoot. This so impressed the director he now says: "He looks like Jesus. I'm a disciple."
Apparently the Oscars Academy is too; Jared was rewarded with a best supporting actor nomination.
The modern day Renaissance man is one of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelors. He's reportedly dated a host of the town’s leading ladies including Lindsey Lohan, Scarlett Johansson and his ex-fiancé Cameron Diaz.
The Charlie’s Angels
star and the actor began dating in 1999 and got engaged the following year. However, the lovers never made it down the aisle and ended their relationship three years later.