Then + Now: Your Favorite Imaginary Boyfriends of the ’80s
The 1980s were such a great time for heartthrobs, with their feminine feathered hairstyles and tank tops. Okay, so maybe that still happens in 2013, too, but let’s take a trip down memory lane to revisit your favorite imaginary boyfriends of the ’80s — the guys you had taped to your bedroom walls, much to your mother’s displeasure.
Then: Rob Lowe stole hearts as a member of the notorious Brat Pack — a group of actors including Molly Ringwald and Emilio Estevez, who appeared in several John Hughes movies. Lowe had us smitten in films like ‘The Outsiders’ and ‘St. Elmo’s Fire.’
Now: Lowe took a turn for comedy in the ’90s with parts in ‘Wayne’s World’ and ‘Tommy Boy.’ These days, you can catch him on NBC’s ‘Parks and Recreation,’ and he also had an amazingly hilarious and disturbing supporting role in the HBO film ‘Behind the Candelabra.’ (Seriously, his face.)
Then: Like Rob Lowe (and pretty much almost every hot guy in the ’80s), Matt Dillon also starred in ‘The Outsiders,’ and earned acclaim for his role in ‘Drugstore Cowboy.’
Now: Dillon has had a varied career, with roles in comedies like ‘There’s Something About Mary,’ dramas like ‘Crash,’ and who could forget that wacky ‘Wild Things’ movie? Oh, sorry we reminded you. You can catch him next opposite Kristen Wiig in ‘Girl Most Likely.’
Then: John Cusack made us swoon hard in ‘Better Off Dead’ and ‘Say Anything’ — and in the latter, he set a pretty high bar for every boyfriend we’ve ever had. That iconic scene where he holds a boombox over his head outside Ione Skye’s window, blasting Peter Gabriel’s ‘In Your Eyes’? Sigh.
Now: Cusack has had consistent acting work, and has done a bit of everything. In recent years he’s starred in ‘Hot Tub Time Machine,’ ‘2012,’ and ‘The Raven.’ You can see him later this year in ‘The Butler,’ alongside a whole metric ton of amazing co-stars (like Oprah!). But we love Cusack best for his role in ‘High Fidelity,’ in which he sort of took the guys he played in the ’80s and smashed them with a hammer.
Then: John Stamos went from soap opera hunk on ‘General Hospital’ to America’s favorite — and sexiest — rock n’ roll uncle on ‘Full House.’
Now: Stamos hasn’t starred in many films, but has continued to find success on TV with a starring role on ‘ER,’ and recurring spots on ‘Glee’ and the recently canceled series ‘The New Normal.’ Weirdly, he’s now set to host a series in which celebrities talk about losing their virginity.
Robert Downey Jr.
Then: Robert Downey Jr. was our favorite bad boy heartthrob in the ’80s — he was a peripheral part of the Brat Pack and starred in films like ‘Less Than Zero’ (in which he solidified his bad boy image) and ‘Weird Science.’
Now: Downey was in high profile films such as ‘Chaplin’ and ‘Natural Born Killers’ before taking some time to clean up his act and reinvent his image. These days you know him best as ‘Iron Man,’ a role he’s played in four films — so far.
Then: Another semi-Brat Packer, James Spader starred in ‘Pretty in Pink’ as the jerky rich playboy who was rebuffed by Molly Ringwald. Spader also starred in edgier films like ‘Wall Street’ and ‘Sex, Lies, and Videotape.’
Now: Spader’s now known for his darker roles in ‘Crash’ and the sexy dark comedy ‘Secretary.’ More recently, he starred in four seasons of ‘Boston Legal,’ had a recurring role on ‘The Office,’ and had a supporting role in the film ‘Lincoln’ last year. You can see him next this fall on the NBC drama ‘Blacklist.’
Michael J. Fox
Then: He was everyone’s favorite young conservative on ‘Family Ties,’ but you probably remember Michael J. Fox best for his iconic role of Marty McFly in the ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy.
Now: Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but he hasn’t let that slow him down — after a long run on ‘Spin City,’ he semi-retired in 2000, only to return to TV with a recurring spot on the series ‘Scrubs.’ Later this year, he’ll star in his own semi-autobiographical NBC sitcom called ‘The Michael J. Fox Show.’
Then: Yet another member of the Brat Pack, Emilio Estevez starred in ‘The Breakfast Club’ and ‘St. Elmo’s Fire.’ The son of Martin Sheen and brother of Charlie, Estevez chose to use his father’s real last name so he could make his own career.
Now: Estevez looks so much like his father these days! He continued to act throughout the ’90s, starring in all three ‘Mighty Ducks’ films, and made his directorial debut with ‘Bobby,’ a film about the night Bobby Kennedy was assassinated.
Then: Patrick Dempsey was the boy-next-door type, starring in films like ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ and ‘Loverboy.’
Now: Dempsey shed his baby-faced, dorky looks as he got older, transforming into a total dreamboat — he earned the nickname “McDreamy” as Dr. Derek Shepherd on ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’
Then: Christian Slater was known for playing bad boy types in films like ‘Heathers’ and ‘Gleaming the Cube.’ He was definitely the kind of guy you’d bring home to mom if you wanted to make her really angry.
Now: Slater has appeared in a ton of films, including ‘Interview with the Vampire,’ ‘Very Bad Things,’ and ‘3000 Miles to Graceland,’ and he starred in ‘Bobby,’ directed by fellow former ’80s heartthrob Emilio Estevez.