For some stars, giving up meat, dairy and other animal-derived products becomes a way of life. For others, those diet priorities can change. Join Wonderwall.com as we take a look at some of the celebs who went vegan but later went back… starting with this talk show host. Though Ellen DeGeneres joked about the struggles of being vegan in her 2018 comedy special, "Relatable," she also admitted that she doesn't actually follow that lifestyle anymore. After eight years of a strict plant-based diet, Ellen now eats the occasional fish and even eggs — harvested from the yards of chickens she personally knows. The reason? It was hard for her to find food on the go. Unlike some stars, however, Ellen still believes veganism is a healthy lifestyle choice for people and the planet. Keep reading to find out who else in Hollywood has tried (and failed) to go vegan…
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For two years, Oscar-winning actress Anne Hathaway kept to a strict vegan diet, beginning in 2012 to get in shape for her role as Catwoman in "The Dark Knight Rises." Her plant-based lifestyle unexpectedly changed in 2014 while at dinner in Iceland with husband Adam Shulman and "Interstellar" co-star Matt Damon. Excited that a Michelin-star chef would be preparing their meal, Matt enthusiastically ordered for the table, requesting that the chef decide what to serve them. Instead of informing their waiter that she was vegan, Anne ate what was served to them, which included piece of locally sourced salmon. She noticed an immediate change, telling Tatler, "My brain felt like a computer rebooting." Since then, she's incorporated fish back into her diet and given up something she felt was far more unhealthy: alcohol.
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"Orange Is the New Black" star Laverne Cox was vegan for a minute. The actress and activist went vegan for four months but during that time learned she had a soy sensitivity, making it harder to find healthy food to eat on the run. Today, Laverne includes fish in her mostly plant-based diet, finding it's a happy medium.
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Samuel L. Jackson went vegan for seven months following a health scare. However, the Oscar-nominated actor reportedly lost so much weight on a plant-based diet that he nearly lost a film role because of it. He broke up with veganism by going to Shake Shack and hasn't looked back since.
"Queer Eye" star Jonathan Van Ness was a "hard-core vegan" for four years before giving it all up for a plate of steamed clams. The fabulous "Gay of Thrones" star confessed to talk show host Busy Philipps that the plate of garlic-butter clams was too tempting to resist and led him down a path of meat gluttony that caused him to gain 70 pounds — although clearly it went to all the right places.
In 2011, Grammy-winning singer Carrie Underwood revealed on "The Circle" that she'd given up dairy and switched from being a vegetarian to a full vegan since she was already "kind of lactose intolerant." But as she explained to Women's Health in 2013, she evolved into being more of what she calls a "practical vegan. If I order something on a menu and it has a sprinkling of cheese on top, I'm not going to send it back."
Professional dancer Derek Hough is another former vegan who changed his diet after listening to his body. In a 2017 interview with Men's Health, Derek shared that he was actually only vegan for about six weeks before he reincorporated animal protein into his diet, explaining, "If I'm craving meat, then I'll have it. But I don't eat it as often."
Beyonce and JAY-Z explored a vegan diet several years ago then ultimately decided to instead limit the animal products they ate instead of giving them up altogether. In 2013, Jay issued a 22-day vegan challenge to his fans on his website — which Beyonce also shared on her Instagram page. They promoted plant-based eating in other ways too, like encouraging people to try their vegan meal delivery service, 22 Days Nutrition. They also co-authored the introduction to the vegan cookbook "The Greenprint," which was written by Beyonce's nutritionist, Marco Borges. Bey and Jay have since worked to incorporate more plant-based foods into their life. Beyonce eats a vegan breakfast each day and skips meat on Mondays and Jay reportedly eats two plant-based meals per day though also eats meat.
Chris Hemsworth is another star who wore the vegan title without actually being vegan. The hunky Australian — whose brother Liam Hemsworth and ex-sister-in-law Miley Cyrus are vegans — adopted a mostly plant-based diet to keep his body in tip-top superhero shape for his roles in the "Thor" and "Avengers" franchises. According to Chris's personal trainer, Luke Zocchi, the actor does eat small amounts of meat every few days. While on the "MIB: International" publicity tour in Korea in 2019, Chris was seen in a video eating chicken and enjoying a yogurt-based drink, which are both no-nos for true vegans.
Former "Jackass" star Steve-O was vegan for more than a decade! Who knew? The actor and comedian, who now practices a sober lifestyle, got into hot water in 2019 after he admitted he'd transitioned to a pescatarian (fish-eating) lifestyle and that he thinks "vegans can be annoying," claiming their militant views "pit people who are on your team against you."
Similar to Steve-O, music star Waka Flocka Flame also expressed frustration with vegans when he announced he'd given up his plant-based lifestyle. In 2018, the "No Hands" rapper told Paper magazine that he'd "dropped the vegan card" after adopting the diet in 2014 to be healthy, adding that other vegans were "like the f—ing cops." He also didn't like how calling himself vegan made him sound like he felt superior to others: "Like who's to say you can't eat meat?" Today, the rapper considers himself a "conscious eater" who follows a pescatarian diet with his family.
Following emergency heart surgery in 2010, former President Bill Clinton turned to a vegan diet to regain his health. In 2013, he talked about losing weight by removing all dairy and meat products (including fish) from his diet. However, in 2014, Bill's doctor told The New York Times that he'd encouraged the politician to "occasionally eat fish and lean protein" to stay healthy. "It's hard being a vegan to eat enough good, quality protein and not have too much starch," Dr. Mark Hyman added. "I know a lot of fat vegans."
Years ago, celebrity personal trainer Bob Harper practiced a vegan lifestyle, but he eventually switched to a higher protein diet that included egg whites, cheese and fish. Following a massive heart attack in 2017, Bob said vegan followers were chastising him about eating fish, claiming it would send him into cardiac arrest again. Deciding to tackle the haters head-on, Bob wrote in an Instagram post that same year, "To all the vegans out there that follow me and tell me that I'm gonna have another heart attack if I continue to eat fish, PLEASE refrain from posting those awful comments. They are just plain hateful and mean. I will continue to do what my doctors feel is right for me in my situation so please just unfollow me instead. In the words of one of my best friends, you do you and I'll do me."
When asked how he manages to look so young, actor-musician Jared Leto — who was born in 1971 — has credited getting enough sleep and his mostly vegan diet. Jared, however, is not militant about what he eats and has called himself a "cheagan" (a cheating vegan). "I don't eat meat ever. But if someone's mom made a cookie and handed it to me, I'd probably take a bite," he told Harper's Bazaar in 2016, "or if I'm in Alaska and there's wild salmon out of the river, I'd probably eat it."
Before she married Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan was vegan — but only on weekdays. In 2015, the then-actress talked about her diet to Best Health, explaining, "I'm conscious of what I eat. I try to eat vegan during the week and then have a little bit more flexibility with what I dig into on the weekends." After moving to Britain in 2017, it seems she started eating more meat — she's talked about making roast chicken with Harry and in the September 2019 issue of British Vogue, which she guest edited, she revealed that while she was pregnant with son Archie, she enjoyed chicken tacos while interviewing former first lady Michelle Obama.
It turns out that Hollywood hunk Channing Tatum was once vegan, for all of six months. The dietary change happened thanks to his then-wife, Jenna Dewan, who's been vegan since she was 10. Unfortunately, Jenna told Women's Health, Channing "doesn't like vegetables," which made a lasting swap to a plant-based lifestyle pretty difficult.
Following in Beyonce and JAY-Z's footsteps, Jennifer Lopez also turned to short-term veganism when she wanted to get her figure back after giving birth to twins. The plant-based change helped her energy levels soar, she told "Extra." Working with Beyonce's nutritionist, Marco Borges, Jennifer completed the 22-day vegan challenge to jump-start her weight loss then slowly reintroduced lean meats and fish into her diet.
Hollywood husband and wife Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell's decision to go vegan came in 2012 after watching the documentary "Forks Over Knives." Kristen — a vegetarian since she was 11 — found the change relatively simple, at least until she became pregnant with their first child. "It felt like I needed more calories. I was pretty conscious of it" she told "Today." Dax also struggled with the switch, admitting in 2013 that he "still eats chicken." Today, Kristen is a vegetarian who enjoys the occasional dairy product. The couple still support a plant-based lifestyle, however, and in 2019 launched their own vegan baby line at Walmart, Hello Bello.
Prior to the release of her action thriller "Salt" in 2010, actress Angelina Jolie revealed that she'd been vegan "for a long time" but claimed that the diet nearly ended her life, saying, "I found I was not getting enough nutrition," Contactmusic reported in 2010. To fix the issue, Angelina began eating red meat once again, even going so far as to joke that her beauty secret was "big juicy steaks."
Former "Glee" star Lea Michele keeps a vegan home — she told Us Weekly in 2017 that "if you keep your home healthy, then, when you're reaching for snacks, you're not reaching for bad things. So I stock it with fruits and vegetables" — but her overall diet is more "vegan-ish" than anything. Lea explained that though she was vegan for a while, she's since incorporated meat and other animal products back into her life, explaining, "my diet changes often."
Former "New Girl" star and singer Zooey Deschanel found that going vegan made getting enough calories difficult. In 2011, she shared that she had sensitivities to both wheat and soy — common ingredients found in many vegan foods — which made eating, especially on the go, more difficult. Instead, Zooey decided to incorporate lean meats like fish into her diet.
British singer-songwriter Fleur East came under fire in 2018 after she was seen eating wallaby (an animal related to kangaroos) while competing on the reality challenge series "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!" The frustration stemmed from Fleur publicly proclaiming her affinity for veganism in the years before her appearance on the show. According to Fleur's publicist, the singer was never completely vegan and never intended to stick to the diet while on the reality show, which was filmed in the jungle. Today, Fleur is "80 percent plant-based," she told the Mirror, and eats meat now and then.