Known for his cinematic mountain trysts, inspiring sad Taylor Swift songs, and fighting Spider-Man, actor Jake Gyllenhaal is causing a bit of a stink. In a new interview, the actor comes out as one of the most recent celebrities to let us know bathing just isn’t as important as we think it is.
The Vanity Fair interview came out Thursday, initially focusing on Jake Gyllenhaal’s role in a new ad for the Prada scent Luna Ross Ocean. Directed by Johan Renck — director of HBO’s 2019 miniseries Chernobyl — the ad features Gyllenhaal on a sailboat in a CGI ocean. At first, the actor struggles against the wind, desperately holding onto a line for support. But eventually, he lets go and allows the wind to take him where it will. Gyllenhaal says the ad is about how nature is “overpowering,” and that in spite of our best efforts, nature “will win in the end.” However, considering what he says later in the interview, what he might really be releasing when he lets go of the sailboat’s line, are his previous hygiene standards.
Asked by Vanity Fair what his experience of “aquatic New York” is, Jake Gyllenhaal admits he hasn’t spent much time on the Hudson River, so his water interactions in New York City are mainly “through showering.” Probed further about his “showering ritual,” Gyllenhaal expresses mystification at loofahs and follows that up with the news that he sees bathing as “less necessary,” later adding that “there’s a whole world of not bathing” that apparently leads to healthier skin.
Jake Gyllenhaal is just the latest to surprise the public with his bathing-light lifestyle. In late July, Hollywood couple Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis appeared on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast (via Today) and shocked listeners with the news that they rarely bathe their children. Kunis said she never bathed her children when they were newborns, while Kutcher said children should only be bathed “if you can see the dirt on them.” Kutcher went on to say that he washed his own armpits and crotch daily, and nothing else.
Shepard and his wife Kristen Bell appeared on The View this past Wednesday (via Glamour) and — like Kunis, Kutcher, and Jake Gyllenhaal — insisted that not bathing wasn’t as big a deal as some were making it out to be. Shepard explained he and Bell used to bathe their kids every night, but that at one point the children just went straight to bed without either parent insisting on a bath. Shepard claimed the children went “sometimes five, six days” without stinking. Bell clarified her preferred method was to “wait for the stink” to then give the kids their weekly bath.
Some of the responses to the aromatic news have proven hilarious. For example, there’s Brooke Leigh Howard of The Daily Beast whose headline pleads “Please, Famous White People, Stop Telling Us You Don’t Bathe.” At The Cut, Mia Mercado jokingly speculates that Jake Gyllenhaal planted this seed in the entertainment news cycle to distract everyone from “the forthcoming ten-minute version” of the Taylor Swift song “All Too Well,” which is widely believed to be about Gyllenhaal’s break-up with Swift.