When we were 16, all we wished for was that someone as smart and sexy as Paul Rudd would show up on our doorstep wearing a flannel shirt and confess his love to us at the top of a plush stairwell, just like he did to Alicia Silverstone in Clueless.
Say it with us now: "You know you're gorgeous, all right, and popular and, uhh, and... But this isn't why I come here. This is a good learning experience for me..." Then cue the furious nodding, followed by the adorable smooch. Now, however, Paul Rudd is returning to high school in a completely different way, by playing an English teacher in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, out soon.
He's gone from our very first movie star crush to a staple of our comedy consumption — and he still looks hot.
Born: April 6, 1969
Hometown: Passaic, New Jersey
Height: 5' 10"
He's left '90s-cool Josh from Clueless behind and expanded his repertoire to roles that are pretty much guaranteed to make us laugh. Think: the dad who escapes to poker night in Knocked Up or dapper field reporter Brian Fantana in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy or Jennifer Aniston's recently downsized hubby in Wanderlust. Plus, he's serious about comedy, having done stints on TV shows including Reno 911!, Stella and Parks and Recreation. We're especially excited for late-2012's Judd Apatow movie This Is 40, which is being billed as "the sort-of sequel to Knocked Up." Can't wait!
But Paul still can't shake the specter of Clueless completely — for one thing, interviewers won't let him.
"I just literally hung up from doing another interview where it was primarily about Clueless. [Laughs.]" Paul told the A.V. Club last year. "The guy was asking me about, like, 'How is it being in that movie and what has that been in your life?' I was just saying that it’s really cool being in a movie that I think was a seminal movie for a lot of kids. When we were shooting it, we all hoped that [Clueless] would fall into that kind of pantheon of movies like John Hughes made, or that really struck a chord with us when we were teenagers — and that years after it was released that we all kind of felt that it had. It actually had achieved that status for a lot of people.
"What a cool thing it is to be involved in something that attains that level of importance in a lot of kids’ lives. So, keeping that in mind, I certainly don’t tire talking about that if people want to hear about it."
We're glad about that, because we're pretty sure we're going to count Clueless as one of our favorite films forever!
Paul and his wife have two little boys — Jack, 7, and Darby, 2 — and he freely admits that parenting isn't exactly easy street:
"Marriage and parenthood. It’s the hardest job you’ll ever like,” he admitted to Glamour UK. “It can be tough. It’s like, ‘Is this really the way we’re supposed to do this?’ But they’re great.”
We think everyone flies by the seat of their pants when it comes to parenting, Paul! And, true, Paul has two little boys, but if he had girls, he'd be all set too. He recently paired up with teen online fashion magazine Rookie to do an "Ask a Grown Man" video segment (Jon Hamm and BJ Novak have appeared in the series too!). And did we mention he looked smokin' hot in thick-framed preppy glasses?
One of his key pieces of advice, when he was asked by a young female reader when a boy becomes a man: "There's no line of demarcation; every person is different... I think it's getting longer and longer, the line. You just have to hope for the right one."
And then, at the end, he says "Merry Christmas" really cutely, and we almost swooned, Victorian lady–style. (Seriously, watch it.)
Would you expect anything less than total human decency from adorable Josh? Despite being born in New Jersey, he grew up mainly in Overland Park, Kansas, and the wholesome feel of the area stuck. Here's what he told ELLE last year:
"At my core, I'm a Midwesterner. It's a small-town attitude. I think that my day is better, I'm happier, when people are pleasant to each other. I think it's so much nicer."
He's a solid, one-woman man! Paul has been married to former publicist Julie Yaeger since 2003, but they've been a couple for longer than that — 17 years total. He revealed to GQ, "I think most marriages, mine included, you're constantly tending the garden, constantly working at it."
We love a guy who's willing to plug away at the important things in life!
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