A recent piece by the Associated Press got us thinking: Where are all the famous vegans? Gossip sites already tell us about famous people dating so-and-so, famous people shopping at some boutique you've never heard of, famous people traveling to some island they own, but we hardly get to hear about what famous people are eating–or not eating. So, turn the page for our compilation of 10 famous vegans.
10. Bill Clinton (Age 65)
When it comes to food and former President Clinton, one might refer back Phil Hartman's impersonation of Clinton as a McDonald's aficionado on Saturday Night Live. But after leaving office and suffering a couple of health scares, including stent surgery on his heart last year, the popular politician changed the way he eats. Most notably, Clinton went vegan and lost more than 20 pounds for Chelsea Clinton's wedding earlier this year. He may still be sneaking pieces of meat from time to time, though…
9. Ellen Degeneres (Age 53)
Ellen told Katie Couric (above) that after watching Earthlings, she stopped herself from eating meat and all other animal products. Images of slaughterhouses and factories filled with animals proved powerful enough to change Ellen's eating habits.
“I do it because I love animals and I saw the reality, and I just couldn't ignore it anymore.”
She and her wife Portia De Rossi served an entirely vegan menu at their wedding in 2008, and the couple recently partnered with Chrissie Hynde on plans to open a vegan restaurant on Ventura Boulevard. Ellen also runs a vegan blog through her show's website.
8. Alanis Morissette (Age 37)
We can't remember the last time this singer did anything relevant, but she managed to steal some headlines when she debuted a slimmer figure in 2009. Morissette said that she decided to change her lifestyle and diet after reading Eat To Live. She lost 20 pounds on the vegan diet and said she has “no more aches and pains.” Is she that old? Time must fly when you're famous in the '90s.
7. Steve-O (Age 37)
This Jackass star came to prominence by risking his physical well-being for the sake of comedy. He even titled his memoir, Professional Idiot. As far as his diet goes, though, Steve-O refuses to risk his health by consuming animal products. He attributes his conversion to a religious experience during his time in rehab for a cocaine addiction. Apparently, a Krishna Consciousness youtube video motivated him enough to begin fearing animal consumption.
As Steve-O wrote in his blog: “I got into being vegan because I was simply looking to benefit from being more compassionate. I have since come to learn that it is an animal-based diet that is responsible for the overwhelming majority of cases of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, multiple sclerosis, and all kinds of other problems.”
6. Ozzy Osbourne (Age 62)
This bumbling rocker's bat-eating days are over, and all it took was a movie. Osbourne only recently announced his venture into vegan life, which came about after he watched the documentary Forks Over Knives. During an appearance on his wife Sharon's show The Talk, Ozzy said the vegan diet helps him stay fit while he's on tour and keeps him from going “on binges.”
5. Joaquin Phoenix (Age 37)
He's made use of his famous name in order to advocate for animal rights by narrating the Earthlings documentary that made Ellen turn vegan, and filming the PETA commercial above, quite fitting for Thanksgiving week.
And despite his controversial life in the public eye, including a stint in rehab for alcoholism, a cringe-worthy venture into rapping and a supposed retirement from acting (the rapping and retirement both turned out to be hoaxes), the plant-based vegan diet has remained a constant in Phoenix's life. In an interview with Animal Liberation Front, he vividly recalled turning vegan at age 3. Yup, age 3.
“My family and I were on a boat, catching fish. As one fish was caught, he was writhing, then he was thrown against the side of the boat. You couldn't disguise what it was. This was what we did to animals to eat them. The animal went from a living, vibrant creature fighting for life to a violent death.”
4. Alicia Silverstone (Age 35)
The former Clueless actress says, “As if!” to the thought of eating animal products. Excuse the film reference, but we couldn't resist. Silverstone shared the reasons behind her diet with Oprah back in 2010, saying her Clueless days were full of steak and donuts, not much else. Sixteen years later, she's created somewhat of an empire out of her veganism. She wrote a cookbook, The Kind Life, and launched a lifestyle and food website to accompany her book.
3. Russell Simmons (Age 54)
This Def Jam co-founder and mogul strongly abides by the power of yoga, saying the ritual led him to see the harm in consuming animal products. According to what he wrote in a post for The Ellen Show site, his yoga mentors taught him to understand the sanctity of his body and the importance of a “non-violent” lifestyle. For Simmons, that meant stopping his contribution to animal suffering and the global effects of animal consumption. He wrote, “The more I opened myself up to the idea of the full scope of exactly what non-violence translates to, the less interested I became in consuming the energy associated with the flesh of an animal that only knew suffering in his/her life and pain and terror in its death.”
2. Mike Tyson (Age 35) The former boxer's bizarre public trajectory got a little weirder when Animal Planet gave Tyson his own reality show, Taking On Tyson, where he nurtures and races pigeons. But it turns out that Tyson has been a lifelong bird-lover, and his first punch as a child was directed at a boy who killed one of his birds. Tyson went vegan in 2009 and said it made him feel better than ever.
1.Thom Yorke (Age 43)
The Radiohead frontman lists the song “Meat Is Murder” by The Smiths as one of the reasons he chose to go vegan (Morrissey, the famous Smiths frontman, is vegetarian). Yorke told the United Kingdom's Animal Aid that aside from the song, meat consumption caused him physical illness until he gave it up for good (plus, he was trying to impress a girl). Animal Aid cites Yorke as a vegetarian, but MTV Europe confirmed Yorke is a vegan.