Since his baby-faced days as a ’90s teen heartthrob, Leonardo DiCaprio has been both critically acclaimed and relentlessly gossiped about. Even though Titanic promised him a very predictable career as a blockbuster leading man, he took a different road instead, eventually doing more niche films such as Aviator, Inception, and The Revenant. Interestingly, in 2019’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, he plays an aging actor whose career once revolved around his looks — and who is now looking inward. So that brings us to the question: Who is Leo?
While he doesn’t completely fit into the box of the typical « traditional Hollywood hunk, » it’s not like he hasn’t acted like one at times (think: strutting around with his fair share of models or renting the world’s fifth-largest private yacht). Honestly, it’s kind of amazing that someone who’s been in the limelight this long can still be so hard to pin down. Yet, dang it, we’re going to try. Here’s the untold truth of Leonardo DiCaprio … and we’ll leave the rest for you to ponder.
Leonardo DiCaprio has been a longtime smoker
Not only is Leonardo DiCaprio known to be a smoker, but the camera seems to love it. Obviously, he’s played many roles onscreen over the years where he expertly — if not glamorously — smokes cigarettes in character. Who can forget the legendary scene where he rolls a cig around in his mouth as Jack Dawson in Titanic? But that’s not just in the movies: Paparazzi photos over the years have shown the actor smoking in real life, including puffing away while riding a bicycle in NYC in 2009.
Around 2010, DiCaprio admitted he tried to quit by using a nicotine patch, but with no success, telling Parade, « I usually don’t [remember my dreams]. But when I used a nicotine patch when I was trying to quit smoking, I did have bloodcurdling nightmares of mass murders, and I woke up in the middle of the night and had to take the patches off. » When given the choice between bloodcurdling nightmares of death, and actual death, the star has decided to dial back on his habit. These days, he’s traded his regular cigarettes for electronic ones, hitting his vape pen publicly without shame. He’s been seen vaping at various Hollywood events, and even took a puff during an interview in 2017 promoting The Revenant.
Leo is an environmentalist … who uses private jets and yachts
Leonardo DiCaprio is a known environmentalist, but he has also been criticized for having a big carbon footprint. Why? Because he’s been spotted using private jets and yachts — not the most fuel-efficient or eco-friendly way to travel. For instance, Leo reportedly rented a monstrous-sized yacht (owned by an Abu Dhabi sheikh with huge oil interests) to celebrate the World Cup in Brazil. Not only that, but he also once flew on a private jet from Cannes to NYC (to accept an environmental award) and then back to Cannes the next day. A source said he simply « hitched a ride » on someone else’s plane, reasoning that he couldn’t have gone to both events without using the jets. Yet critics wondered: Don’t we all have to make sacrifices if we want to save the environment? (via Page Six)
Still, DiCaprio claims to be doing what he can to protect Mother Earth. « I’ve been driving a hybrid car for years now. My house is built green with solar panels, » he told Parade in 2010. « I admit I don’t walk to work and I don’t have a compost pile, but I am trying to set an example. » True to his word, he was photographed driving a Volvo hybrid SUV as well as flying commercial in 2019.
Leonardo DiCaprio has reportedly never dated anyone over age 25
Fans who have followed Leonardo DiCaprio over the years have probably recognized a trend — that his girlfriends don’t age. Kind of like that little girl in the movie A Beautiful Mind who never gets older, the ladies seen on Leo’s arm seemingly never surpass age 25. In fact, a Reddit user created a fascinating chart of all of DiCaprio’s supposed girlfriends. The stunning piece of analysis lists every lady he’s been romantically linked to over the past 20 years — from model Gisele Bundchen in 1999 to his model Camila Morrone in 2019. The Reddit report also points out that the average age of his love interests is 22 … despite the fact that he celebrated his 44th birthday in November 2018.
According to the chart, his two longest relationships were with models Bundchen and Bar Rafaeli, which lasted about five years each. While it seems Bundchen may have sacrificed a couple of extra years with Leo by breaking it off at age 23, the Brazilian beauty doesn’t seem to regret her choice, having dated pro surfer Kelly Slater before settling down with famed New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (via Popsugar).
Leo has had the same 3 friends for more than 30 years
Even though Leonardo DiCaprio’s girlfriends seem to rotate, his friends do not. DiCaprio has had the same steady inner circle of pals since he was a kid growing up in Hollywood. He met fellow actor Tobey Maguire more than 30 years ago when he was just 12 years old and they were both child actors in Los Angeles (via Esquire). The two were often photographed together partying in the ’90s, along with actor buddies Kevin Connolly and Lukas Haas.
In fact, the guys were seen together so much that a NY Magazine writer nicknamed them « The P***y Posse » in 1998, a title Connolly vehemently denounced as being an inaccurate portrayal of their friendship. « The truth of the matter is [the writer] coined that phrase, and it stuck. Hand on the Bible as we sit here, never did myself or any of our friends refer to ourselves as ‘The P***y Posse,’ he said. « …There was this idea that we were rolling around referring to ourselves as that, and that’s just not true. It would be absolutely ridiculous. »
Whatever you want to call them, the guys have remained close. DiCaprio was a pallbearer at Connolly’s mother’s funeral, showed up to watch Maguire’s daughter perform in a school play, and you never know when you might spot him joking around with Haas on the streets of NYC.
Leonardo DiCaprio got chummy with Vladimir Putin
When former Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin hosted a summit in St. Petersburg to discuss saving the world’s endangered tigers, he summoned leaders from 13 countries, representatives of wildlife organizations … and Leonardo DiCaprio. While Leo struggled to get there (the commercial flight had engine trouble), Putin called him a « real man » and praised him for his perseverance. « I would like to thank you for coming despite all the obstacles, » he said (via the BBC). « A person with less stable nerves could have decided against coming, could have read it as a sign that it was not worth going. » DiCaprio reportedly revealed to Putin that he is part Russian and always wanted to take his grandmother to St. Petersburg. Putin reportedly assured the actor that St. Petersburg would make him proud of his Russian roots.
After the friendly exchange, DiCaprio reportedly told a German newspaper that he’d « love to play » Putin on-screen, saying he found the man « very, very, very interesting. » However, Leo also made sure to define his relationship with the controversial leader. « My foundation has provided financial support for several projects for the protection of these big cats. Putin and I talked only about the protection of these magnificent animals, not politics, » DiCaprio said (via The Guardian).
Leo has rubbed shoulders with Obama and the Pope
Leonardo DiCaprio has also gotten buddy-buddy with other world leaders, scoring meetings with both President Barack Obama and Pope Francis to discuss climate change.
Obama reportedly invited DiCaprio to the White House’s South by South Lawn festival and allowed the actor to interview him, per The Huffington Post. When Leo asked Obama what « terrified » him about climate change, the president painted a frightening picture of the world that sounded like a scene from The Hunger Games. « A huge portion of the world’s population lives near oceans. If they start moving, then you start seeing scarce resources [becoming] the subject of competition between populations, » Obama said. « This is the reason why the Pentagon has said this is a national security issue. This isn’t just an environmental issue. »
When DiCaprio arrived at his private meeting with the Pope, the actor graciously kissed the supreme pontiff’s hand and spoke to him in « perfect Italian. » The two reportedly spoke about environmental issues and exchanged heartfelt gifts. As DiCaprio departed, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church reportedly asked the actor to pray for him.
Leonardo DiCaprio takes different girlfriends to the same vacation spot
Just like he seems to prefer women under age 25, Leonardo DiCaprio apparently knows what he likes when it comes to vacationing. In fact, he’s been known to take different girlfriends to the exact same place — Marlon Brando’s private island of Tetiaroa. He reportedly took ex-girlfriend Nina Agdal there in 2016, only to return in 2018 with another model — this time main squeeze Camila Morrone. A source also claimed he brought models Toni Garrn and Kelly Rohrbach there. The island, which runs about $4,800 a night for a two-bedroom villa, is an eco-friendly resort that uses solar energy and « seawater air conditioning, » according to Page Six.
Since Leo goes back there so often, it’s obvious he really loves the place — so much so, that he reportedly recommended it to President Obama as a vacation getaway. According to Town & Country, Obama supposedly said: « If Leo [DiCaprio] recommends a place, I listen. And if Leo has been able to come here on several different occasions with different girls and not a single photo has come out, that’s where I need to go. »
The truth about Leonardo DiCaprio’s idyllic island
Leonardo DiCaprio reportedly bought his own island off the coast of Belize in 2015 for about $1.75 million. Called Blackadore Caye, the star is reportedly building an eco-resort, saying he hopes it will serve as an example for green living: « My goal was always the fact that I wanted to create something not just environmental, but restorative. A showcase for what is possible, » he told The New York Times.
Being the passionate environmentalist that he is, it appears that DiCaprio is pulling out all the stops. A business partner said the resort will have « zero impact » and will actually make the island’s environment « better than before. » Plans reportedly included a manatee conservation area, planting mangrove trees to replace invasive species, and building villas above artificial reefs and fish shelters. As for the human guests — they’ll reportedly enjoy vitamin C-infused showers, 24-hour circadian LED lighting to promote restorative sleep, and state-of-the-art air and water purification systems, per the NYT. The resort is reportedly scheduled to open in 2020.
Leo plans to go to outer space
The best part about being Leonardo DiCaprio must be that when you have a dream, the sky is not the limit. When Richard Branson’s space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, started selling tickets to outer space for $250,000 a pop, DiCaprio made sure to secure his spot (via Travel & Leisure). The Oscar-winner apparently he’s inspired others to follow his lead. Russian businessman Vasily Klyukin reportedly ponied up $1.5 million to get a seat on DiCaprio’s space flight, and when it happens, the two will join an elite group of just 500 people who have ever been to outer space. How’s that for amazing?
Actually, one person who might not think it’s so amazing. President Obama (He’s managed to cross paths with Leo a lot, hasn’t he?) joined DiCaprio in a panel discussion about climate change. Fellow panelist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe made a comment during that event that she thought anyone who « signed up for the trip to Mars » was crazy — to which DiCaprio admitted he had done just that. President Obama quickly jumped in, joking: « I think [Leo will] acknowledge he’s crazy. »
Leonardo DiCaprio’s super-random business interests
What’s the best part of waking up as Leonardo DiCaprio? Perhaps the answer to that is having enough money to buy an island, book a trip to space, and invest in interesting business ventures. Leo teamed up with coffee company La Columbe in 2012 to launch his own line of brew called Lyon, which is sustainably produced and funnels its profits to environmental charities.
DiCaprio also joined friends Tobey Maguire and Adam Levine to invest in Casper, an online mattress seller, but why would Leo and his pals help round up $55 million to invest in mattresses? According to Inc., this is no ordinary mattress company. « Instead of trying a mattress in a storefront … customers need only click a button — no human interaction required, » the site reported. « In New York, the mattresses can be delivered within hours of purchasing, either through UPS or by bike messenger. » (It fits in a box the size of a mini-fridge.) Inc. reported that the startup « earned $1 million in revenue after only 28 days of sales. » Needless to say, sipping a cup of coffee in bed takes on new meaning when you’re Leo.
Leonardo DiCaprio stays drug-free
While he’s been known to smoke cigarettes and doesn’t seem to shy away from caffeine or booze (Rolling Stone once reported that he « likes to order two drinks at a time, one with caffeine, one with alcohol, ») Leonardo DiCaprio says he’s never experimented with hard drugs because he’s all too familiar with what they can do to people.
« I saw this stuff literally every day when I was 3 or 4 years old, » he told the Los Angeles Times. « So Hollywood was a walk in the park for me … I’d go to parties and it was there and, yeah, there’s that temptation. Hollywood is a very volatile place where artists come in and they essentially say they want to belong. It’s incredibly vulnerable to be an actor and also get criticism at a young age when you’re formulating who you are. We’ve seen a lot of people fall victim to that, and it’s very unfortunate. »
Leonardo: Is that you? The secret to staying sane in Hollywood
Having been a bonafide movie star since the ’90s, Leonardo DiCaprio is no stranger to the « celebrity surveillance state » that is modern media. Now that everyone carries a camera and paparazzi have telephoto lenses, there are few places for a star like Leo to hide, but contrary to what you may think, DiCaprio says he goes out whenever he wants. « People are always like, ‘It must be so hard for you, not to be able to leave your house.’ I’m like, ‘No, I go where I want and do whatever I want all the time,' » he told Esquire. « …You have the feeling that they want to protect you from what they imagine your life to be like. »
The untold truth about that statement is that Leo is one of those famous folks who often goes out sporting various disguises — usually some combination of hats, sunglasses, and hoodies. His low-profile has helped preserve an air of mystery around the actor, who’s been described as one of the last « real » movie stars — a celebrity who makes quality films but whom we also don’t know much about. Some say his choices have helped him save his sanity. As director Baz Luhrmann told Esquire, « Nobody knows the kind of fame that Leonardo knows, and it’s far more common for people to become deranged by it. It’s generally quite toxic. But somehow it hasn’t been toxic for Leonardo. He’s been very good at making choices for his self-preservation. »