1985: Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson was named People’s first-ever Sexiest Man Alive after his star-making turn in the original “Mad Max” trilogy.
In the years since, of course, Gibson has become a controversial figure thanks to rampant anti-Semitism, racist rants, and a recording of him making a death threat against his ex-girlfriend.
1986: Mark Harmon
Mark Harmon received the second annual honor — largely thanks to his starring roles on two hit shows, “St. Elsewhere” and “Moonlighting.”
1987: Harry Hamlin
Harry Hamlin made the cover during his five-year stint on the NBC legal drama “L.A. Law” as attorney Michael Kuzak.
The “Clash of the Titans” actor is now married to “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Lisa Rinna.
1988: John F. Kennedy Jr.
John F. Kennedy Jr. — known in 1988 as political royalty, but something of a rebel — is one of only two winners to have died in the years since his cover. Kennedy was killed in a plane crash in 1999 with his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, and his sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette.
1989: Sean Connery
Sean Connery was 59 when he scored the coveted cover, making him the oldest Sexiest Man Alive to date.
1990: Tom Cruise
By 1990, Tom Cruise had already starred in a string of blockbusters, including “Top Gun,” “Risky Business,” “Rain Man,” “Cocktail” and “All the Right Moves.”
1991: Patrick Swayze
In 1991, Patrick Swayze had become one of Hollywood’s favorite leading men thanks to “Dirty Dancing” and “Ghost.” The actor died in 2009.
1992: Nick Nolte
In 1992, People explained Nick Nolte’s appeal as his being a “big-lug Adonis with the heart of gold.”
1993: Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford
In 1993, People forwent the Sexiest Man Alive cover in favor of naming a Sexiest Couple Alive. The magazine chose newly married couple Cindy Crawford and Richard Gere, who split one year later.
Keanu Reeves was retroactively named 1994’s Sexiest Man Alive.
Keanu Reeves never technically scored a cover; People never picked a Sexiest Man Alive in 1994.
But the magazine’s editorial director retroactively bestowed the “Speed” star with People’s honor in 2015.
1995: Brad Pitt
A long-haired Brad Pitt made the 1995 People cover after his much-celebrated starring roles in “Legends of the Fall” and “Interview With the Vampire.”
1996: Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington became the first man of color — and the first of only three total — to grace the Sexiest Man Alive cover.
1997: George Clooney
George Clooney secured his first Sexiest Man title while portraying the brooding Dr. Doug Ross on “ER.”
1998: Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford’s 1998 cover recognized his role as a blockbuster heartthrob thanks to “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones.”
1999: Richard Gere
When Gere was named the Sexiest Man Alive in 1999, his ex-girlfriend Diane Von Furstenberg spoke glowingly of the decision.
“He walked like a biker, and that attracted me,” she told People. “I knew I was going to get my hands on him.”
2000: Brad Pitt
In 2000, Pitt was already a movie star — but coming off his wedding to Jennifer Aniston and his iconic role in “Fight Club,” People decided to bestow Pitt with his second Sexiest Man Alive title.
2001: Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan was known as James Bond when he landed on People’s coveted cover.
2002: Ben Affleck
The world couldn’t stop talking about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez in 2002.
“Chicks gravitate to him,” Affleck’s friend Kevin Smith, a director, told People at the time. “The word on the street is that he’s the ideal man, chatty, gorgeous, generous and intelligent.”
2003: Johnny Depp
In 2003, Johnny Depp had charmed the world as Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.”
He has since fallen out of favor with many fans — though, considering his starring role in the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise, not with Hollywood. In 2016, Depp was accused of domestic abuse by his ex-wife Amber Heard, a claim that she continues to maintain. He denies it.
2004: Jude Law
Jude Law, another future “Harry Potter” film star, scored People’s most famous cover in the early 2000s.
“He’s the most beautiful man who ever walked the earth — an absolutely perfect oil painting,” Naomi Watts told People in 2004.
2005: Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey scored the cover for People’s 20th anniversary of Sexiest Man Alive.
2006: George Clooney
Clooney became the second man to win People’s honor twice.
2007: Matt Damon
Matt Damon was given the title after his third “Bourne” movie rocked the box office.
2008: Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman was named Sexiest Man Alive after his turn as Wolverine in “X-Men: The Last Stand.”
2009: Johnny Depp
Depp landed on his second cover on the heels of his role in “Alice in Wonderland.”
2010: Ryan Reynolds
Ryan Reynolds’ forthcoming role in “Green Lantern” — and his self-deprecating humor — helped him become the first Canadian Sexiest Man Alive.
“The most difficult part is going to be organically working this title into a conversation with random strangers,” he told the magazine.
2011: Bradley Cooper
“I think it’s really cool that a guy who doesn’t look like a model can have this,” Bradley Cooper told People after being named Sexiest Man Alive.
“I think I’m a decent-looking guy. Sometimes I can look great, and other times I look horrifying,” the “Hangover” star said.
2012: Channing Tatum
Channing Tatum nabbed the cover after his star-making turns in “Magic Mike,” “The Vow,” and “21 Jump Street.”
2013: Adam Levine
Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine became the second nonactor — out of only four total — to grace People’s Sexiest Man Alive cover.
2014: Chris Hemsworth
Chris Hemsworth has stolen hearts as Thor throughout the litany of Marvel’s “The Avengers” franchise, which made him a natural pick for 2014’s Sexiest Man Alive after “Thor: The Dark World” hit theaters the year before.
2015: David Beckham
Despite being the first and only athlete to be honored with the annual cover, David Beckham told People, “I never feel that I’m an attractive, sexy person.”
2016: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Dwayne Johnson became the second man of color to be named Sexiest Man Alive after his celebrated voiceover role in “Moana.”
2017: Blake Shelton
Blake Shelton is the second musician ever to be given People’s highest honor (after his costar on “The Voice”).
The decision to pick Shelton, however, did not go over well.
2018: Idris Elba
Idris Elba is the third man of color to be given the honor. He rose to fame for his role as Baltimore drug kingpin Stringer Bell on HBO’s “The Wire” in the early 2000s.
The 46-year-old actor also appeared in multiple Marvel Cinematic Universe films as the keeper of the Asgardian bridge, Heimdall. There has even been a fan-fueled campaign to crown him as the next James Bond.
“I was like, ‘Come on, no way. Really?'” Elba told People of being named Sexiest Man Alive. “Looked in the mirror, I checked myself out. I was like, ‘Yeah, you are kind of sexy today.’ But to be honest, it was just a nice feeling. It was a nice surprise — an ego boost for sure.”