Mallory from ‘Family Ties’ Was Called ‘Horrible’ after Embracing Natural Aging — At 57, She’s a Proud Mom with 3 Careers

    Justine Bateman, a.k.a. Mallory Keaton from “Family Ties,” has expanded her skills after starring in the hit show.

    Bateman was criticized for her physical appearance at 40 and faced backlash after releasing a book about aging naturally.

    Despite the negative feedback, the actress is proud of her appearance.

    Justine Bateman portrayed the character Mallory Keaton in the hit show “Family Ties” since she was only 16. Although she made a name for herself as the fashion-loving, gossipy teenager, Bateman soon proved her mettle in a range of other shows as well. The actress has accumulated a variety of acting credits over the years.

    After finding success with “Family Ties,” Bateman starred in the 1988 film “Satisfaction” alongside many of her now-successful peers. She also starred in the hit comedy show “Arrested Development” in 2003 and has earned one Golden Globe nomination and two Emmy nominations for her work throughout the years.

    Michael J. Fox, Justine Bateman, and Tina Yothers in "Family Ties," circa 1980s | Source: Getty Images

    Although she started acting early on in life, Bateman is now 57 and has changed much. As she aged, fans noticed how different she started to look from when she began acting as a teen, and many social media users have commented on her physical appearance over the years.

    Bateman confessed that her experience with aging has largely influenced her outlook on life as an older actress.
    Bateman has faced many of these comments with a stone-faced determination not to let it get her down. Over the years, she has learned to be confident in her own skin and often encourages others to embrace the changes that come with age. The actress has also opened up about her approach to aging.

    Besides being a successful actress, Bateman also stepped behind the camera to direct and produce a number of projects. She also decided to continue her tertiary education, broadening her academic achievements with a range of new degrees to empower herself.

    Reactions to Bateman Growing Older
    Bateman is encouraging other women to empower themselves as well. Over the years, the actress has spoken out about Hollywood’s anti-aging culture and the reactions people tend to have to women aging naturally. Bateman has made her thoughts on the topic known in her 2021 book “Faces: One Square Foot of Skin.”

    The “Satisfaction” actress wrote about women’s fear of looking old and how it affects a large portion of their lives. With her book, the actress hoped to encourage other women not to feel pressured into stressing about their age and their physical appearance. Instead, she hoped to make people see that the stigma around aging is more harmful than aging itself.

    Bateman confessed that her experience with aging has largely influenced her outlook on life as an older actress. Seeing as she started her career at a young age, there has been much commentary online about how her looks have changed over the years, and she is acutely aware of the negative things people have said about her.

    Although she always felt confident with her looks as a teen, Bateman was happy to see her skin reflect the joys and pain she felt in her life.

    Justine Bateman and Michael J. Fox in "Family Ties," 1985 | Source: Getty Images

    Nonetheless, the actress has consistently refused to let public opinion dictate how she lives her life. After her book was published, she explained how she stumbled onto comments about her physical appearance. A Google search of her name offered up a slew of insults and demeaning remarks.

    One person wrote she looked like a “sea hag,” while a second accused her of being a “meth addict.” Another person wrote, “Justine Bateman looks horrible now.” Bateman confessed that the comments came as a shock, but she was also taken aback by the passion with which people wrote about her.

    The actress noticed that people were putting an extraordinary amount of effort and resentment into many of the comments they left. To her, it seemed interesting that others were getting so worked up about how she looked as she grew older:

    “So, yeah, I do find that really interesting that my face, or someone’s older face, would push other people’s buttons so much. You know, maybe because they themselves are very critical of their own faces.”

    Although she found nothing wrong with her face, Bateman succumbed to the overbearing amount of negative comments. She started to believe she looked old, and the belief stuck with her for a while. Eventually, she had to work through her own internalized fears, accepting her appearance and the effects of aging.

    Over time, she realized that the way the world viewed her didn’t quite match what she saw in her own face. While people thought she was getting older, Bateman thought her face accurately portrayed her experiences throughout her life — a sort of testament to everything she has seen.

    Justine Bateman on April 24, 2022 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

    She recalled being ecstatic when she realized her face was starting to crease when she was younger. Although she always felt confident with her looks as a teen, Bateman was happy to see her skin reflect the joys and pains she felt in her life. The actress commented that as she grew older, she increasingly appreciated her appearance:

    “I think about how many tears have come through this face, how much joy, how much exhaustion or exuberance – that’s an incredible collection of experience that this really small area of my body has taken on.”

    With loosening skin and more wrinkles, Bateman had to look past the comments left by strangers on the internet. She started to look inwards, choosing to analyze and control her own reactions to other people’s opinions, which eventually helped her overcome the insecurities that stuck after hearing what people said about her.

    The “Closer” star also noticed she wasn’t the only woman who felt pressured about their physical appearance. She observed that young women start using Botox and fillers even before their first wrinkles appear. This prompted her to write her book and disavow any artificial means of countering the aging process.

    She realized that once she spoke out about the anti-aging movement, scores of people messaged her saying they wished they had never given so much thought to what they looked like. Many women echoed her idea that getting work done isn’t something they want, and having someone speak out about it made them feel less alone.

    The writer and director commented on young women using Botox, lamenting, “I feel sad for them. I feel sad that they’re not just enjoying life. I feel sad that they are distracted from the things that they’re meant to do in life with this idea, with this consuming idea that they’ve gotta fix their face before anything else can happen.”

    Bateman noticed how executives kept shooting her ideas down, saying she was “four years ahead.”
    But Bateman, much like Diane Keaton, still regularly faces backlash for choosing not to use any artificial anti-aging methods. One Facebook user wrote about Bateman, “She’s also not doing herself any favors with the no style hair and ungroomed eyebrow thing and that harsh eyeliner.”

    A comment from a Facebook user, 2023 | Source:

    Another user echoed, “No makeup on, no style. Whatever. It’s her choice,” while one person wrote, “She does look absolutely awful. But hey if she is happy, then fine.” One Twitter user posted, “Justine Bateman is absolutely right! Her face represents the wisdom and experience of a time-traveling 87-year-old who has seen the rise and fall of civilizations.”

    Bateman’s Successful Career and Happy Family Life
    Despite all the negative feedback, many fans stood up for Bateman, saying she still looks great. One fan wrote on Facebook, “She’s real and really beautiful.” More people echoed the sentiment, with one fan gushing, “I’ve always loved her. Now I love her even more. Keep it real!” One person shared:

    “We’re the same age and she looks way better than me. Accept your age gracefully and wear your scars and wrinkles like beautiful badges of honor. I applaud her and wish more of Hollywood was [as] graceful and courageous as her! Much love.”

    At 57, Bateman is inspiring countless women to feel comfortable in their own skin, no matter if it wrinkles over time. In fact, Bateman encourages women to love their wrinkles, since they all show off a life well-lived. Besides publishing an empowering book, Bateman’s social media pages also encourage people to be confident.

    Justine Bateman and Gianetta Fluent on May 17, 2014 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

    Apart from her impressive career in film and television and her two books, Bateman is also a family woman. She shared an image on her Instagram profile in 2018, crediting her now-19-year-old daughter, Gianetta Fluent, for taking the snapshot. The actress is also the mother of a 20-year-old son, Duke Kenneth Fluent.

    She shares her children with her longtime husband, Mark Fluent. The two have been married since 2001, and Fluent works as a full-time managing director at Deutsche Bank. While her husband works to support the family financially, Bateman had put her acting career on hold so she could be with her children.

    Bateman also confessed that she chose to stop working in entertainment because she suffered burnout from all the effort it took. She noted, “I can’t audition anymore. I just completely ran out of gas.” So, Bateman chose to give her acting career a rest while she took care of her kids and explored new horizons.

    Although she had a lot on her plate, Bateman was also highly frustrated with the entertainment industry’s unwillingness to move forward and try new things. In an interview, she noted that she often devised innovative ways to present a narrative, but company executives preferred to “sell the same thing five times.”

    Bateman noticed how executives kept shooting her ideas down, saying she was “four years ahead.” Eventually, she grew tired of the constant unwillingness to try new things, so she took to the internet, hoping to find a job that satisfied her need to explore something new.

    Eventually, using keyword searches, Bateman realized that computer programming or developing seemed perfect. Although she didn’t have the necessary skill set, she had the determination, so at 47, she went back to school to get her degree in computer science.

    Of course, moving from the arts to the rigorous world of computer science was a challenge, but Bateman refused to back down. She persisted, rereading her chemistry study material and watching videos to help her wrap her head around all the concepts until she had a good grip on all her subjects.

    Slowly, everything fell into place. Bateman started with very little knowledge of programming, not to mention the numerous other courses she had to take, but she kept her nose to the grindstone. Occasionally, she spent days in front of her computer and her textbooks, but it all paid off in the end.

    After starting her tertiary studies in 2013, the director managed to graduate with a degree in Computer Science and Digital Media Management from UCLA in 2016 at 50. Since then, she has acted as a voice for fellow writers who are also feeling frustrated with the current trajectory of the entertainment industry. Amid rising worries about the development and use of AI, Bateman delivered a warning.

    Mark Fluent and Justine Bateman on October 6, 2005 in Culver City, California | Source: Getty Images

    The former actress noted that Hollywood executives are increasingly hoping to use Artificial Intelligence as a cost-effective alternative for producing films and TV shows. In May 2023, Bateman showed her support for the Writer’s Guild of America, using her knowledge of the field to provide an experienced opinion.

    But her computer science degree isn’t the first detour Bateman has taken career-wise. The mother-of-two started her own design firm after leaving acting behind. She had a successful line of clothing that she sold to a number of retailers. In the 1990s, she also occasionally worked as a YMCA camp counselor.

    Bateman’s production and consulting company, SECTION 5, has proven to be highly successful over the years, and she is an accomplished writer. Besides “Faces,” she wrote the book “Fame: The Hijacking of Reality.”

    Besides starting her career as a teen on a hit show, Bateman has gone on to do awe-inspiring things. These days, she mostly refrains from starring in any significant roles, preferring to learn more about her various fields and reportedly enjoying time spent knitting.

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