Jared Leto is a film actor come musician well known for his strange fashion looks and versatile hairstyles. 'The Requiem for a Dream' star is also the co-founder and frontman of the award winning '30 Seconds to Mars' music band. Leto is a dedicated performer who has gone to extreme heights in his career, such as losing drastic weight for various roles.
Jared Joseph Bryant was raised in Bossier City, Louisiana. His father Anthony L. Tony Bryant divorced Jared’s mother Constance Leto when he was still a young boy. Anthony and Constance had separated prior to Jared’s birth and so, by the time the two divorced, the charming artist barely knew his father.
Jared has two half brothers and one older brother, Shannon Leto. Jared and Shannon lived with their maternal grandparents, William Lee Metrejon and Ruby Russell, after their parents divorced. Constance later married Carl Leto, who became Jared’s step father and so he took his last name Leto. His biological father also remarried after the divorce, but he committed suicide when Jared was only eight-years old.
The talented actor could best be described to be of the English, French, Irish, German and Scottish ancestry.
Leto describes his childhood as full of challenges especially after his parents divorced. His mother was a street actress and the family kept moving from one town to another in search for better job opportunities for a single mother. Despite the financial challenges they went through, creativity was always emphasized in the family.
Constance encouraged her two sons to pursue arts and also join the Hippie Movement which focused on the creative world of artists, painters, photographers and musicians. It is through the hippie experience that Jared and Shannon started playing musical instruments at an early age.
Jared further developed interest in painting since his family had become quite artistic. Their house was full of canvases, paintings, musical instruments and everything termed artistic. That explains why he joined university with the intention of pursuing arts as a career.
In fact, Jared received a drum and Roland Juno-106 guitar at the age of 12. Today, Leto credits his mother for moulding him into the actor he is today, and giving his brother inspiration to become a singer-songwriter.
Jared’s adolescence life was one with its challenges too after his brother started using drugs. The drug use negatively impacted on Shannon’s life and he lost his self-esteem. Jared had to come to his aid, despite his young age. Finally, Shannon was able to recover from the drug mess and go back to school.
Leto attended Emerson Preparatory school and later joined Flint Hill School in Oakton Virginia where he graduated in 1989. The long-haired artist then enrolled at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. His love for filmmaking was really strong and the drive made him transfer to the School of Visual Arts in New York City. It was at this school that he wrote a short film titled Crying Joy which he also starred in. Bearing in mind that he was still a student, the film was an early achievement that later lay his foundation in a filmmaking career.
Jared moved to Los Angeles in 1992 after completing his studies at the School of Visual Arts. His move was motivated by the drive to pursue music, directing as well as acting roles in Hollywood. His very first role was a guest appearance in a television show called Camp Wilder in 1992. He also took some other minor roles in Almost Home and Rebel Highway, all in an attempt to break through the competitive industry.
In 1994, he starred in the teen drama My So Called Life as the handsome Jordan Catalano. He featured as a rebellious teen with a learning disability and the object of Claire Daniel’s affection. Leto was also part of the team that contributed to the drama’s soundtrack and this really impressed the producers. The cult hit teenage drama was however cancelled after one season but not without receiving positive reviews from its followers.
The following year, he landed the first film role in How to Make an American Quilt starring alongside Jean Simmons, Winona Ryder and others. The film was a success and received good reviews from the public.
In 1996 he was featured in The Last of the High Kings but the film did not do quite as well. However, in 1997, he secured a lead role in Prefontaine and starred as an Olympic hopeful runner. For this role, Jared prepared by immersing himself in intense training for 6 weeks.
He later took a supporting role in the action thriller Switchback that same year but the film did not perform well.
In 1998, he came back with a bang and starred in the horror film Urban Legend as the lead character. The film narrates a tale of a grisly murderer who kills his enemies in an Urban legend style. The horror was a commercial success but some movie critics expressed negativity towards it. That same year, he featured in The Thin Red Line a film that got seven Academy Award nominations that year. Leto also took a supporting role in Fight Club that forced him to dye his hair blonde when he starred alongside Brad Pitt.
To welcome the new millennium, Leto starred in Requiem for a Dream and this became his major breakthrough after years of filmmaking. The film was quite involving for the rising star as it required him to undertake certain measures in preparation for a heroin addict role. Some of which included abstaining from sex for two months, living on New York City’s streets and starving himself to look like a real heroin addict. The film was a great success and Leto was highly praised for portraying a real character. After the shooting of the film, Leto moved to Portugal for several months to regain the 20 pounds he had lost.
Leto then featured in several other roles, including the independent film Highway, a supporting role in the thriller Panic Room, the 2004 biographical film Alexander and the political crime thriller Lord of War, where he played as a younger brother of an illegal arms dealer.
In 2007, he starred in one of his most famous biographical films to date, Chapter 27. He portrayed killer Mark David Chapman the murderer of John Lennon. This time, Leto was forced to gain 67 pounds to reflect the killer’s physique. Soon after the film finished shooting, Jared went on an all-liquid diet to restore his actual body weight. The film received criticism but Leto’s acting prowess was praised and he won an award from Zurich Film Festival for Best Performance.
Two years later, he played an interesting role in the fiction drama Mr. Nobody. He starred as Nemo Nobody, the last mortal on earth after human race had received immortality. Interestingly, he was required to play various versions of his character from a 34-year old to a 118-year old man. He therefore had to adopt different voice changes and adapt different make up looks daily. For this role, he received the Best Performance Award from Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival Awards.
Leto took a long break from acting and returned five years later. In 2013, he starred in the drama Dallas Buyers Club portraying a drug addict and transgender woman suffering from AIDS. Again in preparation for this role, Leto lost 30 pounds, waxed his body and shaved the eyebrows. The film was a commercial success and Leto received several awards for his well-performed role. Some of which included an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award, both for Best Supporting Actor.
Come 2016, Leto featured in the negatively reviewed film Suicide Squad but his performance as the Joker, though limited by time, was highly praised by critics. The same year, he was cast in Blade Runner 2049 and like most of his films, his performance was commendable.
Leto has announced that he will be appearing in the 2017 film titled The Outsider as well as other films.
Leto’s career doesn’t just stay in the acting industry. In 1998, he founded his band 30 Seconds to Mars together with his brother Shannon. Jared has since then served as the lead singer in the band while his brother plays the drums. The band also includes Tomo Milicevic who rounds the trio by being a multi-instrumentalist. 30 seconds to Mars eventually signed with Immortal Records and this aided them in recording a number of albums.
Their self-titled debut album was released in 2002 and received positive reviews from critics and eventually sold 2 million copies. The album topped the US Top Heatseekers and was ranked number 107 on the US billboard 200 charts.
The second album, A Beautiful Lie, released in 2005 was however their breakthrough and gave them worldwide fame. The album was honored the platinum certification in the US among other awards after sales totalled over 4 million. The album was heavily promoted through the band playing in various festivals such as Ropskilde, Pinkpop and Download.
In 2009, the band released This Is War, an album that reflected a twist in the musical style by incorporating both experimental and electric music influences.
The fourth album, Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams, released in 2013, was a great commercial success and sold more than 15 million copies across the globe.
Today, the band has changed their recording label and instead moved to Interscope Records. In August 2016, the band members stated that they were working on their fifth album which would be released in the course of the year 2017.
Of all the singles the band has released, Jared has directed all the music videos. For this reason, he has on several occasions received MTV Video Music Awards for his work.
As a versatile actor and musician, Leto is a darling to many. His charity pursuits make his fans’ adoration even stronger. Jared is a volunteer at Art of Elysium, an organization that supports children with adverse medical conditions. He is also a supporter of the Barbara Davis Center that takes care of children with Diabetes Type 1. Other foundations he is associated with include Aid Still Required, J/P Haitian Relief Organization and World Wide Fund for Nature.
Leto is also a die-hard supporter of animal rights, which explains the reason he stood with the California Proposition 2 in order to support fair treatment of farm animals in 2008. In regards to politics, Leto is a democrat who supported Barack Obama in 2012 presidential campaign and Hillary Clinton in 2016. In October 2009, Jared joined other celebrities in support of homosexuality by raising funds to the campaign against opponents of the same-sex marriage.
Far from the good side, Leto has been highly criticized especially on his manner of dressing. With his signature comprising of mesh shirts, skirts, mullet among other funny outfits, many critics find him one of the worst dressed celebrities in the world. Some of his fans never understand why he always looks cheap in ruggy attires yet he can afford the most expensive designer clothes.
When filming various roles, Leto has been forced to either drastically gain or lose a lot of weight. In 2007, after drastic weight loss of approximately 62 pounds, Leto was diagnosed with gout. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Leto has encouraged other actors to lose weight for a role if needed, but to consider gaining it once filming is over. Leto has confessed that he would be very anxious to slim down again for a role.
Although Leto is approaching the age of 50, he is one of the most eligible bachelors in Hollywood. Although he tries to be extremely private with his love life, the media are always reporting on his romantic relationships. In fact, a famous meme making rounds on social media stated that Jared Leto had as many lovers as hairstyles.
In 1999, he was romantically involved with actress Cameron Diaz and the two got engaged in 2000. However, the relationship hit rock bottom in 2003 and the couple broke up. It was rumoured that Jared’s busy career made him too devoted that he no longer gave Cameron the attention she needed.
In 2004, an embarrassing photo circulated of Scarlet Johansson trying to kiss the vegan actor, yet he seemed to be very busy checking his cell phone. The two are believed to have dated until 2005.
After his break up with Scarlet, Jared was spotted with Ashley Olsen holding hands. He later developed interest in his co-star in Chapter 7, Lindsay Lohan.
Other women believed to have been romantically involved with Leto include Paris Hilton, Lydia Hearst, Isabel Lucas, Nina Senicar, Katharina Damm, Chloe Bartoli, Lupita Nyong’o, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Valery Kaufman. However, Jared has refuted any claims of being involved with most of these women.
Jared is now a vegan and PETA crowned him the ‘Sexiest Vegetarian Alive’ in 2014.
This versatile actor is a great lover of tattoos all of which have been given by Mark Mahoney, a legendry tattoo artist. He has six tattoos on his body all related to his band, 30 Seconds to Mars. On his right collar bone, he has inscribed the latin phrase ‘Provehito In Altum.’
On his forearms, the band’s triad logo which is an Alchemy triangle symbol for air. His third tattoo is a red glyph symbol on the right wrist. He also has the Orbis Epsilon circle on his back which he revealed after hitting one million followers on Twitter. Leto’s left forearm has a clear Echlon X symbol which he says is the band’s iconography. Lastly, there are large Roman arrows on both of his calves.
Written by: Peris Ngaruiya