An official over-the-hill birthday called for over-the-top ordeals for some celebrities, while others marked this milestone with more low-key occasions. Whatever your turning-40 style may be, look to the stars for inspiration:
WHO: David Beckham
WHAT: Social Soirée
WHERE: Marrakesh, Morocco
WHEN: May 2015
HOW: David joined Instagram on his 40th birthday and he and his adorable family shared several b-day snaps from Morocco using the hashtag, #DB40. The birthday boy was pictured sitting at a celebratory table that had been decorated with balloons, a banner, confetti, and hats, and later, with wife Victoria Beckham and friends Emma Bunton, Melanie C, and Eva Longoria. Sidenote: It was a big day for the British, as Princess Charlotte was born earlier this same day.
thanx again jd 4 my beautiful surprise party. A photo posted by Fergie (@fergie) on
WHAT: G. L. A. M. O. R. O-U. S. House Party
WHERE: Her home in Los Angeles, California, USA
WHEN: March 2015
HOW: Fergie feted the big 4-0 with an Old Hollywood-themed surprise party thrown by husband Josh Duhamel in their backyard. The birthday girl perfectly played the part dripping in jewels in an off the shoulder gown and sporting a red lip. Food included a berry-covered sheet cake and of course, Fergie‘s own Ferguson Crest wine.
WHO: Eva Longoria
WHAT: Blessed Birthday Back Home
WHERE: San Antonio, Texas, USA
WHEN: March 2015
HOW: Eva headed to her hometown of San Antonio, TX to mark her milestone with a full weekend of celebrations. Stops included lunch at Mi Tierra Cafe, a day at Morgan’s Wonderland amusement park, and dinner over a bottle of Silver Oak wine, though perhaps the most important part of her big moment was a visit to thank the big guy — “off to Bday mass to thank God for these 40yrs!!!,” she wrote. The gratitude continued online, as Eva used the hashtag, “#BirthdayBlessings,” on all her “#FabulousForties” birthday posts.
#forty A photo posted by Drew Barrymore (@drewbarrymore) on
WHO: Drew Barrymore
WHAT: All Natural Downtime
WHERE: On the beach
WHEN: February 2015
HOW: Drew seemed to keep it simple on the day she turned 40 — smiling make-up free and soaking up the sun on a beautiful beach. Her hashtag of choice? A fitting “#forty.”
WHAT: Political Party
WHERE: New York, New York, USA
WHEN: October 2010
HOW: “I couldn’t believe it either” is what birthday boy Matt Damon said of completing his fourth decade on Earth in 2010, but something he did believe in back then was getting fans living in New York to vote in that year’s election. In a video he filmed for YouTube, Matt said, “if there’s something you want to give me for my birthday that’s gonna really cheer me up, you can vote on election day for the Working Families Party.” You can follow his lead, since civic participation is an affordable celebratory option for any registered voter.
WHO: Victoria Beckham
WHAT: Posh Party
WHERE: London Arts Club, London, England
WHEN: April 17, 2014
HOW: In addition to soaking up the sun in an Instagram picture she captioned with “special day with my beautiful babies and wonderful husband,” Posh also partied with fellow Spice Girls Emma Bunton, Melanie C, and Geri Halliwell, as well as Chris Martin, Gordon Ramsay, and of course husband David at a private London club.
WHAT: Surprise Scavenger Hunt
WHERE: Several US cities, including Las Vegas, Nevada, Laughlin, Nevada, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Dallas, Texas, San Antonio, Texas, Orlando Florida, and New York, New York
WHEN: April 2013
HOW: David Burtka pulled off the ultimate birthday surprise for NPH, sending him on a days-long experience treasure hunt more than a month before Neil’s actual June birthday. He trained with Cirque du Soleil, got pulled over by a cop to receive a clue instead of a ticket, completed a private ropes course, slept in the castle at Disney World, and eventually reunited with David to pick out fancy outfits from Tommy Hilfiger and get serenaded by his sweetie.
WHO: Giuliana Rancic
WHAT: Air and Water Adventure
WHERE: RPM Steak, Chicago, Illinois, USA
WHEN: August 2014
HOW: Husband Bill Rancic whisked G, her friends, and coworkers off to Chicago by jet for the opening party of RPM Steak the weekend before the big day. The days in between were filled with not one, but two, handbag-shaped cakes, and lots of gratitude. Giuliana posted a selfie on her last night as a 39-year-old with the hashtags “#feelbetterthanever” and “#happierthanever.” Then, the celebratory week closed out with G and Bill cuddling on a boat on her actual birthday.
WHO: Tiffani Thiessen
WHAT: South of the Border Weekend Away
WHEN: January 2014
HOW: The birthday girl documented many of the weekend’s moments on Instagram, saying you know you’re on vacation when your “BFF brings pork rinds to the pool,” and, “you know it’s a party when ur friends hide ur shoes!” A special dinner party on the beach was also on the itinerary, making for an “amazing day.”
WHO: Sofia Vergara
WHAT: Charitable Chichen Itza Trip
WHERE: Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
WHEN: July 2012
HOW: Sofia and a few of her Modern Family costars were part of the some one hundred guests who made it to Mexico for her special vacation. In addition to visiting the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, the group reportedly stayed at the Rosewood Mayakoba resort and drank tequila at Agave Azul. The birthday girl asked for donations to her Dreams Without Borders charity in lieu of gifts.
WHO: Ben Affleck
WHAT: Late Night and Lazy Morning
WHERE: New York, New York, USA
WHEN: August 2012
HOW: Ben was in a celebratory spirit despite a Red Sox loss that day. He was the man of the hour at a gathering of friends and family that went into the wee hours of the night and resulted in then-wife Jennifer Garner allowing him to sleep in late the next day — “that’s the last part of his gift,” she told David Letterman.
WHO: Jennifer Lopez
WHAT: “An Evening for Lola”
WHERE: The Edison Ballroom, New York, New York, USA
WHEN: July 25, 2009
HOW: Then-husband Marc Anthony put together this upscale surprise party, complete with a personalized marquee, possibly to return the favor for the 40th fiesta J Lo threw him the year before. Jennifer styled herself in a sexy cutout dress and braided updo to greet guests such as BFF Leah Remini, manager Benny Medina, and Ricky Martin.
WHO: Marc Anthony
WHAT: Hot Havana Night
WHERE: The Bowery Hotel, New York, New York, USA
WHEN: September 14, 2008
HOW: Then-wife Jennifer Lopez organized a 1940s Cuban nightclub-themed party for then-husband Marc. Many guests donned fedoras to sip on mojitos, smoke cigars, gamble, and dance to the sound of a salsa orchestra at the makeshift “Havana Hotel Bar & Lounge.” J Lo even enlisted the help of some showgirls and Dita Von Teese to perform and make the night extra steamy.
WHO: Gwyneth Paltrow
WHAT: Land and Sea Soiree
WHERE: Elio’s, New York, New York, USA
WHEN: October 2012
HOW: Ms. Paltrow welcomed pals Beyoncé, Cameron Diaz, and more to a dinner at Upper East Side Italian eatery Elio’s to fete her 40th, reportedly eating chocolate cake and enjoying piano music. The celebrations lasted longer than one day, as she also hit the sea on a private yacht with then-husband Chris Martin.
WHO: Sean “Diddy” Combs
WHAT: A Grand Guest List
WHERE: The Grand Ballroom at the Plaza Hotel, New York, New York, USA
WHEN: November 19, 2009
HOW: The party was presented by the Diddy-approved vodka brand, Ciroc, and included quite the eclectic guest list — the mogul’s mom, the mother of his twin girls Kim Porter, his artist Dawn Richard, as well as Kim Kardashian, Selita Ebanks, Jimmy Fallon, Derek Hough, and fellow Macy’s star Martha Stewart were all on hand.
WHO: Pharrell Williams
WHAT: Red Hot Rager
WHERE: LIV Night Club at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Miami, Florida, USA
WHEN: April 5, 2013
HOW: From the personalized red carpet step-and-repeat to the red velvet cartoon cake designed by artists Mina Kwon, Pharrell’s party was red hot with an equally fiery guest list that included Miley Cyrus, Lil Wayne, and Jennifer Hudson.
WHO: Halle Berry
WHAT: On-Set Celebration
WHERE: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
WHEN: August 2006
HOW: Halle was happy to be working on her film Things We Lost in the Fire on her big birthday. She told reporters, “I’m not sad at all about turning 40. I’ll be on set with Benicio Del Toro, which is more than I could hope for on my birthday.”
WHO: Kate Moss
WHAT: Fashionable Lunch
WHERE: 34 Restaurant, London, England
WHEN: January 2014
HOW: The leopard-print coat clad supermodel was surrounded by her husband, mom, and fashionable friends — including Stella McCartney and John Galliano — at her 40th birthday lunch in London.
WHO: Jamie Foxx
WHAT: Dual December Bashes
WHERE: JET Nightclub inside the Mirage Hotel and Casino Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada USA and The Florida Room inside The Delano Hotel, Miami, Florida, USA
WHEN: December 21, 2007 and December 15, 2007
HOW: Blame it on the alcohol! Neither venue is open for business now, but you can still get a bottle of Belvedere vodka, the brand that hosted Jamie’s Miami bash.
WHO: Susan Downey
WHAT: Bay Area Bash
WHERE: Cavallo Point, Sausalito, California, USA
WHEN: November 2013
HOW: Robert Downey, Jr. planned a weekend-long party for his wife at a luxury resort outside of San Francisco. The family-friendly affair included spa appointments, hiking excursions, games, fireworks, and a special dinner that was decorated with personal pictures of the birthday girl and was followed up by dancing and fun in a photo booth. Famous friends Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale, and Justin Theroux made the trip. Before everyone took off on the final day, RDJ made arrangements for a food truck brunch!
WHO: Jennifer Aniston
WHAT: Private House Party
WHERE: Beverly Hills, California, USA
WHEN: February 2009
HOW: Jen welcomed close friends Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Chelsea Handler, Jennifer Meyer, Tobey Maguire, and Sheryl Crow to her home for an intimate celebration that lasted well into the evening. Then-boyfriend John Mayer reportedly serenaded the birthday girl — you can have him do the same for you, just play this YouTube video at your own party!
WHO: Tori Spelling
WHAT: Mexican Dance Party
WHEN: May 16, 2013
HOW: Tori took the milestone head-on, saying on her blog, “while I could be spending my day in denial, instead I’m on a beach in Mexico celebrating the occasion with my whole fan and my bestie. Because hey, I’m proud of all I’ve accomplished in these 40 years. In fact, I can’t wait for the next four decades.” The TV star also revealed she has a history of wearing white for big birthdays, and while she broke out a colorful bikini for this one, her latest special occasion called for a dance session with her little ones on the hotel bed — watch the adorable footage here.
WHO: Jay Z
WHAT: Caribbean Surprise
WHERE: The Dominican Republic
WHEN: December 2009
HOW: According to People, wife Beyoncé was behind the 1940′s-themed surprise party, which came complete with fireworks and 50 of the birthday boy’s closet friends.
WHO: Alyssa Milano
WHAT: Surprise ’80s Prom
WHERE: The London West Hollywood, West Hollywood, California, USA
WHEN: December 14, 2012
HOW: Child star Alyssa didn’t go to her own prom dance growing up, but she more than made up for it at her promtastic 40th birthday — official prom portraits, corsages, balloon arch, and all. The enviable sweets bar boasted a variety of candy, cassette tape-shaped sugar cookies, macarons, mini cupcakes, and cake pops, all in the evening’s blue and white theme.
WHO: Heidi Klum
WHAT: Hat Party
WHERE: A friend’s home
WHEN: June 2013
HOW: Known for her crazy Halloween costumes, it’s fitting Heidi was feted with a party that incorporated dressing up, though this time, it was all about the toppers! Ms. Klum and her girlfriends engaged in a hat competition and ate hat-shaped cakes for the balloon-filled occasion, but the sweetest part about it all was the molds of her children’s hands that she was gifted.
WHO: Alyson Hannigan
WHAT: Mother-Daughter Disney Date
WHERE: Disneyland, Anaheim, California, USA
WHEN: March 2014
HOW: Alyson Hannigan, who shares her March 24th birthday with daughter Satyana, spent the day with her eldest little on at the Happiest Place on Earth. Ahead of the big day, the How I Met Your Mother star sweetly tweeted, “Thank you 30′s. You couldn’t have been better!!!” but followed that up a few days later with the funny, “HOLY BLEEP I’m 40!!!”
Stargazer Tip: If you do Disneyland on your big day, make sure to get a special birthday pin from City Hall on Main Street so that park workers and guests know to give you well wishes all day long!
WHO: Bill Rancic
WHAT: Pool Party
WHERE: Azure Luxury Pool at The Palazzo, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
WHEN: May 7, 2011
HOW: Bill ditched his boardroom suits for a swimsuit at his 40th birthday pool party under the sun with wife Giuliana Rancic.
WHO: Jenny McCarthy
WHAT: Bold Burlesque Bash
WHERE: Gallery Nightclub inside Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
WHEN: October 31, 2012
HOW: Just before turning the big 4-0, Jenny bared it all again for Playboy. Even though that’s not an option available to everyone, and while the Vegas club the blonde bombshell partied at is no longer open, you could pose for your own sexy shoot and schedule a party at any of the celebration-worthy places inside the same hotel.
WHO: Carmen Electra
WHAT: Lady’s Night at a Gentleman’s Club
WHERE: Crazy Horse III, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
WHEN: May 5, 2012
HOW:Jenny McCarthy’s Singled Out successor also marked the major milestone in Sin City. Carmen went with a sexy sequined dress to celebrate her April 20th birthday a few weeks later at this famous strip club on The Strip.
WHO: Portia DeRossi
WHAT: Onscreen Honor
WHERE: Burbank, California, USA
WHEN: January 2013
HOW: Wife Ellen DeGeneres put together a special video re-enacting Portia’s life to help her welcome the new decade — watch it here for ideas on making your own fun birthday flick!
WHO: Kid Rock
WHAT: Hometown Homecoming
WHERE: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan, USA
WHEN: January 2011
HOW: It technically may have been a working birthday, but Kid Rock did get a visit from famous friend Sheryl Crow, who joined him onstage. Martina McBride and Rev Run were also reportedly at the performance as well.
WHO: Shaquille O’Neal
WHAT: Ballin’ in Vegas
WHERE: LAVO Lounge, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
WHEN: March 17, 2012
HOW: The basketball star wore his sunglasses at night to take over the DJ booth and dig in to a basketball-shaped cake.
WHO: Jason Priestley
WHAT: Vegas Get-Together
WHERE: Tabu Ultra Lounge inside the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
WHEN: August 28, 2009
HOW: The former 90210 heartthrob had wife Naomi and fellow screen star Kristy Swanson by his side for this get-together inside the MGM Grand — Tabu is no longer in business but the hotel has plenty of other places to throw a party.
WHO: Gabrielle Union
WHAT: Bangin’ East Coast Bash
WHERE: Miami and the Dream Downtown hotel in New York, New York, USA
WHEN: October 2012
HOW: New decade, new ‘do — Gabby debuted bangs at her pair of parties: one in Miami where Will Smith freestyled his classic hit “Summertime,” and another in New York where she and fellow revelers dined on filet mignon and Rocky Mountain Devil’s Food Cake.
WHO: Stella McCartney
WHAT: Glitzy Night in LondonTown
WHERE: London, England
WHEN: September 13, 2011
HOW: Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kate Hudson came out to spend time with birthday girl Stella, who wore a glittery navy gown for the occasion.
WHO: Mario Lopez
WHAT: Funny Flashback
WHERE: Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
WHEN: October 2013
HOW: Mario shared an adorable baby pic for his 40th, but offline, he his wife, and some friends headed to the desert to celebrate the milestone. The group bounced around the Wynn’s many fine restaurants and clubs, including Andrea’s, Botero, and XS Nightclub.
WHO: Jennie Garth
WHAT: Friendly Reunion
WHERE: The London West Hollywood, West Hollywood, California, USA
WHEN: April 2012
HOW: Jennie was joined by Beverly Hills, 90210 costars Shannen Doherty and Ian Ziering to promote her reality show at the time. The stars three daughters were also there to help her cut into a massive birthday cake.
WHO: Jada Pinkett Smith
WHAT: Big Screen Tribute
WHEN: September 2011
HOW: Husband Will Smith reportedly pulled out all the stops to produce an hour-long video about Jada’s life.
WHO: Peter Facinelli
WHAT: Getaway With Gratitude
WHEN: November 2013
HOW: Peter and his girlfriend reportedly made the most of the amenities at the Villa La Estancia Riviera Nayarit resort for his 40th. A couple days later, he made his appreciation public by wearing a T-shirt with the word “grateful” on it in a picture he posted to Instagram.
WHO: Kristy Swanson
WHAT: Sweet Sin City Soiree
WHERE: LAX Nightclub inside the Luxor Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
WHEN: January 9, 2010
HOW: Kristy’s night out was a sweet one — she received a huge birthday cake and a kiss from husband Lloyd Eisler.
WHAT: Cross-Country Clubbing
WHERE: New York, New York and Las Vegas, Nevada
WHEN: September 2013
HOW: The rapper re-named his 40th birthday his “40th Anniversary,” which was divided into four fun parts: night one was a Hennessy-filled party in NYC, night two included bottle service, cigars, and an album-shaped cake at Marquee in Las Vegas, part three involved more cake and a champagne toast at Tao Beach at the Venetian, followed by part four, which was dinner at Tao Asian Bistro and an appearance at a boxing afterparty.
WHO: Criss Angel
WHAT: Business and Pleasure
WHERE: LAX Nightclub inside the Luxor Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
WHEN: December 19, 2007
HOW: The magician marked his 40th birthday at a club located inside the same hotel where his popular Criss Angel Mindfreak live performance illusion show took place. Raven-Simone was one of the famous faces in attendance.
WHO: Jeremy London + Jason London
WHAT: Hurricane Sandy Benefit
WHERE: Skybar inside the Mondrian Hotel, Los Angeles, California, USA
WHEN: November 9, 2012
HOW: The twin actors made their moment on the West Coast more about those dealing with the after effects of the East Coast superstorm.