The Ryan Gosling Filler Rumours Set A Dangerous Precedent

Viral photos show the Barbie star with 'fuller' cheeks, but the truth is more complicated.

Ryan Gosling

by Isobel Lewis |
Published on

From The Notebook to Drive to Barbie, Ryan Gosling has long been Hollywood’s golden boy. The Canadian actor, who has two children with long-term partner Eva Mendes, is a man with a lot of Kenergy – as his jaw-dropping live performance of ‘I’m Just Ken’ at the Oscars proved. But while people have been lusting over Ryan for more than a decade, his ‘latest look’ has got people talking for a whole new reason.

While on the campaign trail for his new film The Fall Guy, with a promotional circuit including a recent gig hosting Saturday Night Live, fans began speculating that Ryan’s face was looking noticeably fuller – particularly around the cheeks. These comments were largely based on a tweet showing two photos of Ryan being interviewed at SXSW, where his cheeks look a lot rounder. ‘Looks like Ryan gosling got cheek implants... he's even more literally me than before [SIC]!’ the post on X (formerly Twitter) speculated, with the author adding, ‘Also this is kinda sad, probably because so many people were saying he's too old to play Ken.’

The tweet was widely shared on social media, with commenters lamenting Ryan’s new look. ‘Ryan my love, you're no longer playing Ken, so stop with the plastic look,’ one commenter wrote, while another tweet compared it to watching ‘the fall of Rome in real time’. Online, they speculated about his ‘puffy’ new face, suggesting that he had had fillers in his face.

Ryan Gosling at SXSW
Social media sleuths are analysing Ryan's face ©Getty Images

Any photo can be shared widely online; that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily authentic. This one of Ryan, it turns out, had been doctored, with the community notes beneath the X post noting that stills from the video showed how the real images look. As a result, fans claimed that the original tweet was ‘spreading misinformation’ as Ryan ‘literally doesn’t look like that’. ‘Absolutely not. We don’t tolerate Ryan Gosling slander on this app. Look at him! How dare you,’ one wrote. Another tweet read, ‘Stop being dumb and falling for the overly edited photos and look how beautiful he actually looked that day instead.’

The tweet’s success is a cautionary tale. Many people took the photo as fact, assuming that this was Ryan’s ‘new face’, without looking into the facts. But even when the picture was debunked, many have claimed that Ryan’s appearance does appear to have changed in recent months. While the actor has never commented on getting work done, it shows that men aren’t safe from speculation about cosmetic surgery and comments on their looks too.

It’s perhaps surprising that Ryan would be subjected to this commentary - as a man in Hollywood, one might presume he would get less criticism about his appearance than his female counterparts. But it’s been there for a while. When Ryan’s casting as Ken was announced, some suggested that, at 43, he was 'too old' to play the doll. In response, he told British GQ that ‘if people don’t want to play with my Ken, there are many other Kens to play with’, adding, 'It is funny, this kind of clutching-your-pearls idea of, like, #notmyken. Like you ever thought about Ken before this?' Of course, Gosling had the last laugh, gaining critical acclaim and plenty of awards nominations for the performance.

But at a time when the number of men getting aesthetic treatments is on the rise, comments like these set a dangerous precedent. Already, we’ve seen Zac Efron and James Arthur’s changed appearances met with scepticism, and now Ryan’s being given the same analysis. Male cosmetic procedures, ranging from cosmetic surgery to non-surgical facial treatments, rose by 29 percent between 2000 and 2018, and likely have only gone up since. Women have long been berated for getting – or not getting – work done, and now men are being given the same treatment.

But just because men are being judged and analysed for potential work, that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. We all know that women are judged when it comes to surgery and cosmetic procedures, but that doesn’t mean we should wish the same back on men. In recent years, a number of high-profile men have spoken out about the pressures placed on them to bulk up or look shredded for action franchises, and the ways these can encourage unhealthy relationships with their appearances.

If faces are the new frontier for male beauty standards, there’s no way this won’t feed back into standards for women too. Analysing Ryan Gosling’s face (whether the pictures are real or fake) shows that it’s not just women who can’t win – no one can.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us