Joe Manganiello Praises This Actress for "Aging Backwards"

Joe Manganiello shared insight on his friendship with Mulan actress Ming-Na Wen while celebrating her Timeless Beauty trophy at the Hollywood Beauty Awards on March 3.

By Lindsay Weinberg Mar 04, 2024 11:42 PMTags
Watch: Joe Manganiello & Caitlin O'Connor Are Instagram Official

Joe Manganiello knows that Ming-Na Wen's reflection shows who she is inside.

The True Blood actor praised his longtime friend for "aging backwards" when the Mulan actress accepted the Timeless Beauty prize at the Hollywood Beauty Awards March 3.

"When you hear the phrase 'timeless beauty,' you think of someone frozen in time," Manganiello shared on stage in Los Angeles. "But that's just not the case with Ming."

As he put it, "I can tell you firsthand that this isn't a person frozen in time or a person who isn't aging—this is someone who is aging backwards." 

His proof? Well, Manganiello—who split with Sofía Vergara last year—has actually known Wen for many years, as they both attended Pittsburg's Mt. Lebanon High School, as well as Carnegie Mellon University.

"I've seen Ming's awkward high school photos from back when she was the president of the Science Fiction Fantasy Club," Manganiello explained. "This is a person who keeps getting better looking as time goes on."

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And Manganiello, 47, has a theory as to what "witchcraft" has allowed the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. star to maintain a flawless appearance at age 60.

"Anyone who has ever met Ming will attest that her beauty radiates from within," he continued. "She's one of the most sincerely kind-hearted people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing."

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The actor—who is now dating actress Caitlin O'Connor—added, "I believe it's her karmic reward, for being that person that she is on the inside, the fact that her outside appearance has no choice but to reflect it."

Monica Schipper/Getty Images

While accepting her award, Wen thanked both Manganiello and her husband Eric Michael Zee, who was by her side on the red carpet.

"Whenever I do go on the red carpet, I pretend I'm Beyoncé for those brief moments, because I can't be me," she shared in her speech. "To get this award is such a validation that sometimes it is, like Joe says, it comes from within—and your confidence and your strength and your perseverance is what makes you beautiful."

Read on to get details on more surprising celebrity friendships.

Mindy Kaling & Reese Witherspoon

They have been friends for years and have worked together. The two starred together in A Wrinkle in Time, while Mindy also had a recurring role on The Morning Show. In addition, the latter is co-writing Legally Blonde 3. Weirdness: 3/10

Ayesha Curry & Lindsay Lohan

The Food Network star and Mean Girls alum first became friends during a trip to Dubai years ago and have since grown closer. In fact, Ayesha and Stephen Curry were even named the godparents of Lindsay and husband Bader Shammas' son, Laui.

Adam Sandler & Timothée Chalamet

The two actors, who costarred in the 2014 film Men, Women & Children, reunited for an outdoor game of basketball in New York City in July 2023.

Russell Crowe & RZA

The actor has worked with the Wu-Tang Clan rapper on several movies, including The Man with the Iron Fists, American Gangster and The Next Three Days. But their bond goes much deeper than that. "As friends, we talk," Crowe tells Fuse. "It is no effort for me to give a friend advice. Film has many gods and you have to understand, as a director, you will be required to please and appease them all."

Michelle Dockery & Pippa Middleton

Before running into each other again at Wimbledon, the unlikely duo first crossed paths at the Downton Abbey set. "She actually came on-set with her brother, James, a few years ago," Dockery told E! News."They are good fans of the show."

David Beckham & Snoop Dogg

When the "footballer" moved to L.A. and became a "soccer player," he befriended the rapper. Becks appeared on Snoop's reality show, the two played soccer and Snoop plays his new music for David first. Weirdness: 8/10

Dakota Fanning & Kristen Stewart

The two former child actors have worked on two films, Twilight and The Runaways, but Dakota says their friendship isn't based on work, "When we're together, we're not talking about movie stuff." Weirdness: 3/10

Paris Hilton & Britney Spears

The two hung out together in the aughts and maintained their friendship over the years.

Nicki Minaj & Anna Wintour

The two have two very different approaches to fashion (has Anna ever been bedazzled?), but they bonded in the front row of an Oscar de la Renta show and Anna scored a name-drop in one of Nicki's raps. Weirdness: 7/10

50 Cent & Bette Midler

Now this is one strange duet! Fiddy met Bette working for the charity New York Restoration Project, where she gushed, "He's one of the newest members of our tribe. He's really made my life worth living." Weirdness: 9/10 

Taylor Swift & Lena Dunham

Taylor is a self-proclaimed good girl. Lena isn't afraid to stir the pot. But they have a lot of mutual respect for each other and the Girls creator described T.Swift's show as the "most life-affirming thing I've experienced." Weirdness: 6/10

Jennifer Lopez & Leah Remini

The former King of Queens actress has been supertight with Jenny From the Block for a while now, bonding over fashion and tweeting cutesy things at each other with the hashtag "#luckybesties." Weirdness: 3/10

Gwyneth Paltrow & Jay-Z

The Goop goddess herself is actually friends with both Jay and his wife, Beyoncé, though you might be more surprised to learn that Gwyn is an intense rap enthusiast and her kids even call Mr. Carter "Uncle Jay." Weirdness: 5/10

Brad Pitt & Jonah Hill

You might not expect the hunky thespian to be close with the dude from Superbad, but look at it this way: Pitt is a total prankster (says Jonah) and Jonah is now a serious Oscar nominee (for their film Moneyball). Weirdness: 6/10

Eminem & Elton John

The controversial rapper joined forces with Sir Elton at the 2001 Grammys and later Em turned to his new friend for support getting sober: "I told him, 'Look, I'm going through a problem and I need your advice.'" Weirdness: 7/10

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