How Jason Statham went bald and struck gold: Action hero’s ‘Samson in reverse’ transformation saw him swap a mediocre diving career for Hollywood stardom – and a supermodel girlfriend

How Jason Statham went bald and struck gold: Action hero’s ‘Samson in reverse’ transformation saw him swap a mediocre diving career for Hollywood stardom – and a supermodel girlfriend


It’s a taboo topic that thousands of men across the globe perpetually fear – going bald.

From thickening shampoos to vitamin gummies and hair transplants, there’s a whole industry thriving off the stress of men losing their locks.

But those daunted by the natural change need to look no further than the action hero and international sex symbol Jason Statham.

With a full head of hair at 23 years old, Jason, originally from Derbyshire, was a professional diver competing in the Commonwealth Games in Auckland.

Years later, Jason, now 56, ditched his brunette tresses and became one of the hottest properties in Hollywood after starring in Guy Ritchie‘s Look, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and bagged an even hotter fiancé, Rosie Huntington Whitely.

He's known as Turkish from Snatch or Frank Martin from The Transporter, but before he developed a bad boy image with a signature shaved head look, he was an innocent diver with brunette tresses

He’s known as Turkish from Snatch or Frank Martin from The Transporter, but before he developed a bad boy image with a signature shaved head look, he was an innocent diver with brunette tresses

Film buffs have been known to argue over his acting skills, but one thing isn’t up for debate – the fact that every film he touches turns to gold.

The Transporter, for example, was branded a ‘truly abysmal film’ by Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw and ‘routine and rather silly’ by Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Times.

However, the action-packed blockbuster was a hit with action fans as it raked in a staggering $43.9 million (approximately £35 million) worldwide.

Other critics tribute Jason’s masculine and dominant energy for its success.

‘Jason Statham uses his smouldering charisma to great effect,’ said Hank Sartin of the Chicago Reader.

Indeed, a study by the University of Pennsylvania found men with shaved heads are perceived as more dominant and powerful.

Statham is a prime example – transforming his career from an innocent diver to the face behind many cheeky on-screen personas with a dominant, tough exterior.

While the 56-year-old starred in the 2005 film Revolver, with a head full of hair, he quickly shaved his locks in favour of a bald look after the film largely flopped.

Here, FEMAIL delves into Statham’s journey to stardom and how his bald appearance sky-rocketed him to fame.

DIVING CAREER

Jason Statham initially competed in diving at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand

Jason Statham initially competed in diving at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand

The now 56-year-old credited a high diver he saw during a family holiday as the reason he got into diving

The now 56-year-old credited a high diver he saw during a family holiday as the reason he got into diving

Before the glitz and the glamour, Statham was nearing the pinnacle of something very different.

It wouldn’t be until 1998 that he would make his acting debut in the Guy Ritchie project Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Eight years prior to that, the then 23-year-old found himself in Auckland competing at the Commonwealth Games as he represented England.

He would secure a top-10 finish in the one-metre springboard, and followed that up with two 11th places in the three and 10-metre platforms respectively.

Statham has given credit to his career in sports as part of the reason he has been so successful on the big screen telling the BBC in 2008 ‘I think what I didn’t achieve [in sports] helped me focus more and take my acting career more seriously.’

His love for diving began as a young teen which he accredits to seeing a high dive in Miami.

‘I was on holiday in Florida with my mum and dad and there was this guy who used to do a high dive. at noon every day from one of the hotels we stayed in. And I say ‘when we get home, I am going to do that.

‘I joined the club then, I was like 11 or 12 years old. Within a year, I was part of the British team and it gained momentum and speed and I spent the next 10 years doing that.’ he recalled.

His hard work and dedication in his early years would pay off as he was inducted into the British National Diving School in 1985 earning the right to represent Great Britain and England at international competitions.

Despite two attempts at qualifying for the Olympics, he wasn't able to qualify for either the 1988 or 1992 Summer Games

Despite two attempts at qualifying for the Olympics, he wasn’t able to qualify for either the 1988 or 1992 Summer Games

But a place at the Olympics would never materialise for the Hollywood star, he participated in the trials for the 1988 and 1992 Summer Games in Seoul and Barcelona respectively, failing to make the cut on both occasions.

Despite appearing in many hits over the course of his acting career including The Expendables, Transformers and the Fast & Furious franchise, the one sore spot that remains was his inability to make it to the Olympic Games.

‘It’s a bit of a sore point that I never got to the Olympics,’ Jason Statham said during one of his movie premieres after Jack Laugher and Chris Mears became the first Brits to win an Olympic gold medal in diving at Rio 2016.

‘They deserve it. The divers now are just terrific,’ Statham added. ‘I started too late. It probably wasn’t my thing. I should have done a different sport.’

HOLLYWOOD STARDOM  WITH A BRAND-NEW BAD BOY IMAGE

Statham secured his first acting role in Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Lock. Pictured from L to R: Jason Statham, Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran in the film)

Statham secured his first acting role in Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Lock. Pictured from L to R: Jason Statham, Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran in the film)

The actor formed a lasting relationship with Guy Ritchie and went on to work with the director again in Snatch (pictured)

The actor formed a lasting relationship with Guy Ritchie and went on to work with the director again in Snatch (pictured)

Jason is photographed above with esteemed director Guy Ritchie at the premiere of his latest Netflix series The Gentleman

Jason is photographed above with esteemed director Guy Ritchie at the premiere of his latest Netflix series The Gentleman

The end of Statham’s diving career ushered in a new existence in the spotlight, marked by a significant change in his appearance.

In 1998, he made his on-screen debut in Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels as the gutsy Bacon.

Playing a cockney boy who owes a local gangster an eye-watering sum after a poker game goes wrong, Statham first debuted his signature look – a shaved head.

The film was well-received by audiences and critics alike, forming an association between Statham and the public as a man with a bad boy image.

It also formed a lasting connection between Statham and Ritchie and led them to collaborate again in Ritchie’s next project – Snatch.

His role as Turkish in the 2000 film catapulted him from a small-time player to a real Hollywood hotshot.

He broke onto the global scene with the likes of the action-horror Ghost of Mars and later a science-fiction, The One.

Statham had officially made a name for himself in the industry, and he was synonymous with a shaven head and a bold, cheeky, tough image.

Notable films in Statham’s career by 2005 included The Transporter, Mean Machine, and The Italian Job.

A NEW STYLE

In 2005, Statham and Ritchie collaborated once again and created Revolver (Statham is pictured in the film)

In 2005, Statham and Ritchie collaborated once again and created Revolver (Statham is pictured in the film)

Director Guy Ritchie (centre) with actors Jason Statham (left) and Ray Liotta during a photocall for Revolver in London

Director Guy Ritchie (centre) with actors Jason Statham (left) and Ray Liotta during a photocall for Revolver in London

Looking almost unrecognisable with his long brunette locks, Jason played a gambler called Jake Green

Looking almost unrecognisable with his long brunette locks, Jason played a gambler called Jake Green

In 2005, Statham and Ritchie put their heads together again to create Revolver, but this time, Statham grew out his hair.

The thriller followed gambler Jake Green (played by Statham), who possessed a recipe for success for coming out on top in every game he entered.

Typical elements of a Ritchie film remained – it followed a professional criminal. However, for Statham, it marked a change – he grew out his shaved head to portray Jake in favour of long slicked back tresses.

Coincidentally, the film largely flopped and received a slew of negative reviews from critics on top of less-than-impressive sums at the box office.

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a shockingly low average 15 per cent score from critics.

‘Guy Ritchie shoots a blank with Revolver, which replays the low-life criminal shtick from his first two features with an ill-advised overlay of pretension,’ said Todd McCarthy of Variety, for example.

One year on, Statham starred in Crank as assassin Chev Chelios and quickly brought back his shaved look.

RELATIONSHIP

The Hollywood star started dating British actress and supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whitely in 2009 (pictured together)

The Hollywood star started dating British actress and supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whitely in 2009 (pictured together)

The pair, who share two children together, are enjoying a long engagement (pictured in January)

The pair, who share two children together, are enjoying a long engagement (pictured in January)

Despite a notable age difference, Rosie, 36, and Jason, 56, are said to be on the 'same page' (pictured in 2023)

Despite a notable age difference, Rosie, 36, and Jason, 56, are said to be on the ‘same page’ (pictured in 2023)

After dominating the action genre of the film industry with his signature look, Jason Statham found love with British actress and supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whitely.

The couple first began dating in 2009 and share two children together, son Jack, six, and daughter Isabella, two.

The pair have yet to get married, but revealed their engagement after Rosie flashed her impressive diamond ring at the 2016 Golden Globes.

DailyMail.com reported that they love being engaged so much that they don’t plan on officially tying the knot anytime soon.

According to a source close to the couple, they are on the ‘same page’ when it comes to their relationship – despite a notable age difference.

A source close to the couple said they enjoy a private relationship but 'will' one day exchange vows

A source close to the couple said they enjoy a private relationship but ‘will’ one day exchange vows

The source insisted Rosie and Jason ‘will’ get married one day, but there’s ‘no rush‘. They assured: ‘They are also very private but Jason knows how lucky he is and loves the life he has; he is very happy.

‘When it comes to them, they will get married eventually but they feel like they are already married and there is no rush. “If it isn’t broken, why fix it” is their overall mentality.’

The source also suggested the couple may even add to their brood rather than plan a wedding and their children may be the ones to push them into walking down the aisle.

They explained: ‘And as it comes to their kids, their kids are still very young and their thoughts on expanding their family being such a very plausible thing, they might wait to have a wedding once their kids get older so they can enjoy it themselves.

‘They both anticipate that their kids will ask them to have one in the future and if that happens, that would be the tipping point to actually have one.’

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