Paul Rudd: who is Friends actor voted Sexiest Man Alive, who is wife Julie Yaeger, and what movies is he in?

As well as starring as the husband of Phoebe Buffay on sitcom Friends, the actor is also known as the Marvel superhero Ant-Man

Actor Paul Rudd has been officially named as People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2021.

Rudd takes over the title from 2020 winner Michael B Jordan (Black Panther, Creed) and joins a hall of fame alongside George Clooney (Catch-22, The Ides of March), Brad Pitt (Fight Club, Inglorious Basterds) and Keanu Reeves (John Wick, The Matrix).

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Who is Paul Rudd and what films has he been in?

Paul Rudd is a 52-year-old American actor, screenwriter and producer, born on 6 April 1969 in New Jersey.

He attended the University of Kansas where he majored in theatre, and he also studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Additionally, he spent three months studying Jacobean drama at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford.

Rudd made his acting debut in 1992 on the TV series Sisters - he left the show in 1995 to star in the classic comedy Clueless opposite Alicia Silverstone (The Baby-Sitters Club, Last Survivors).

In 2002, Rudd was cast as Mike Hannigan in the sitcom Friends as Phoebe Buffay’s boyfriend and eventual husband.

In 2004, Rudd began working with director and producer Judd Apatow, firstly with Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, then in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, again in Knocked Up and also in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Paul Rudd attends “The Shrink Next Door” New York Premiere (Photo: Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

It was in 2013 that it was officially announced that Rudd would be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as superhero Ant-Man. He starred in the 2015 Ant-Man film, and reprised the role for Captain America: Civil War, Ant-Man and the Wasp and Avengers: Endgame.

He is expected to return to the role once again in 2023 in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

Other films and TV shows you likely recognise Rudd from include Living With Yourself, Wet Hot American Summer, Parks and Recreation, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Our Idiot Brother and I Love You, Man.

Julie Yaeger and Paul Rudd attend the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards (Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

In 2003, Rudd married Julie Yaeger whom he met whilst she was working in his publicist’s office. The pair have two children together - son Jack Sullivan who was born in 2006, and daughter Darby, born in 2010.

As a former publicist, Yaeger worked on films such as Men in Black and Mr. Jealousy. She wrote the 2017 film Fun Mom Dinner, starring Toni Collette (Hereditary, Knives Out).

She earned degrees in science, marketing and strategic communication from Saint John Fisher College, and over the course of her career has worked for companies like McDougall Communications and Good Way Group.

What did he say about being chosen as Sexiest Man Alive?

Speaking to People about being chosen as Sexiest Man Alive for 2021, Rudd said: “I do have an awareness, enough to know that when people hear that I’d be picked for this, they would say, “What?”.

“This is not false humility. There are so many people that should get this before me.”

Rudd added that his wife, Julie Yaeger, was “stupefied” by his winning of the title.

He said: “But you know she was very sweet about it. After some giggling and shock, she said, “Oh, they got it right”. And that was very sweet. She was probably not telling the truth, but what’s she going to say?”

Paul Rudd attends the Golden Globe Ambassador Party at Catch LA (Photo: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

The actor also said that he fully expects his circle of friends to give him “so much grief” over the title.

He said: “As they should. I would. I mean, I’m going to lean into it hard.

“I’m going to own this. I’m not going to try and to be like “Oh, I’m so modest”. I’m getting business cards made. But all of my friends will destroy me and I expect them to. And that’s why they’re my friends.”

Rudd said that now he holds the title of Sexist Man Alive, he hopes he’ll finally be invited to “those sexy dinners with [George] Clooney, [Brad] Pitt and [Michael] B Jordan”.

He said: “I figure I’ll be on a lot more yachts. I’m excited to expand my yachting life. And I’ll probably try to get better at brooding in really soft light. I like to ponder.

“I think this is going to help me become more inward and mysterious. I’m looking forward to that.”

Who else was in the running for Sexiest Man Alive?

Annually, People announce the winner of the Sexist Man Alive title, and first began in 1985, with Mel Gibson (Braveheart, Hacksaw Ridge) voted as the very first titleholder.

The process behind selecting the winners of Sexist Man Alive is very secretive.

Speaking to CNN, People Editor-in-Chief Dan Wakeford said the concept has changed and evolved over the years, but the process involves more than just choosing any good looking celebrity.

Michael B. Jordan was named the Sexiest Man Alive in 2020 (Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

Wakeford said: “There are so many different variables and ways of approaching it. A starting point often is, when we want to make a decision, is to think about the zeitgeist, think about what is sexy at the moment. What do people find appealing at the moment?”

It’s so secretive in fact that when it gets closer to the publication date of that year’s winner, only about 10 staffers know who has been chosen, so we don’t know who else was in the running for the title.

The previous winners are:

  • 1985: Mel Gibson
  • 1986: Mark Harmon
  • 1987: Harry Hamlin
  • 1988: John F Kennedy Jr
  • 1989: Sean Connery
  • 1990: Tom Cruise
  • 1991: Patrick Swayze
  • 1992: Nick Nolte
  • 1993: Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford for Sexiest Couple Alive
  • 1994: Keanu Reeves
  • 1995: Brad Pitt
  • 1996: Denzel Washington
  • 1997: George Clooney
  • 1998: Harrison Ford
  • 1999: Richard Gere
  • 2000: Brad Pitt
  • 2001: Pierce Brosnan
  • 2002: Ben Affleck
  • 2003: Johnny Depp
  • 2004: Jude Law
  • 2005: Matthew McConaughey
  • 2006: George Clooney
  • 2007: Matt Damon
  • 2008: Hugh Jackman
  • 2009: Johnny Depp
  • 2010: Ryan Reynolds
  • 2011: Bradley Cooper
  • 2012: Channing Tatum
  • 2013: Adam Levine
  • 2014: Chris Hemsworth
  • 2015: David Beckham 
  • 2016: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
  • 2017: Blake Shelton
  • 2018: Idris Elba
  • 2019: John Legend
  • 2020: Michael B Jordan 

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