U2 Then & Now -- What These Famous Rockers Are Up To Now (PHOTOS)

U2 Then & Now -- What These Famous Rockers Are Up To Now (PHOTOS)

Paul David Hewson, Dave Evans, Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton came together around a kitchen table as teens and became the biggest band in the world. This is a testament to the strength of their friendship, talent and a bit of the luck o' the Irish. U2 has never broken up and never taken a hiatus. None of the members have ever left the band or been fired, either. 

Instead, the four musicians toured the world, spoke up about social and political ills, raised money for charity, and, OK, been busted for carrying a certain happy plant. But hey, so have lots of other people. Here's what one of the most popular bands in the world has been up to since first rocking out.

Image © Rick Maiman/Sygma/Corbis 


  • Bono: Then


    Image © Chuck Pulin/Splash News/Corbis

    Bono, born Paul David Hewson, was the charismatic and soulful leader of U2. He wrote most of the band's songs, which in the early days often had social and political themes, influenced partly by violence that plagued the band's native Ireland. 

  • Bono: Now


    Image © Mario Anzuoni/Reuters/Corbis

    He isn't just U2's lead singer and main songwriter. Outside the band, he has collaborated with a wide range of artists from Green Day to Luciano Pavarotti. He's also as well known for his philanthropic work as he is for music. Bono has used his superstar status to bring government, religious, and business leaders together with the public to raise millions in aid to global causes through four organizations he co-founded. 

  • The Edge: Then


    Image © Jeff Thiebauth/The Hell Gate/Corbis

    His deceptively simple and often haunting guitar style gave U2 a distinctive foundation on which to build their biggest hits. It wasn't long before the Edge, born Dave Evans, began appearing on lists ranking the best guitarists of all time.

  • The Edge: Now


    Image © KAT/Splash News/Corbis

    After his daughter fought a battle with cancer, the Edge became a big advocate for a lifestyle and diet that helps rebuild blood vessels and fight cancer, and is a board member of the Angiogenesis Foundation, which funds research in the field. He and Bono frequently collaborate outside U2, writing the music and lyrics for the Broadway musical Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark and even once bought a Dublin hotel together.

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  • Larry Mullen: Then


    Image via Paramount Pictures

    The quiet guy beating his drums at the back of the stage? That's Larry Mullen, the U2 member actually responsible for bringing everyone together to form a band in 1970s Ireland. He took out an ad searching for musicians to jam with, and the rest is history.

  • Larry Mullen: Now


    Image © Pacific Press/Corbis

    Usually content to let fellow members of U2 take the lead in interviews and at events, Mullen occasionally steps into the spotlight as an actor, most notably in Man on the Train and A Thousand Times Good Night. He and R.E.M. members Michael Stipe and Mike Mills formed the band Automatic Baby solely to perform at Bill Clinton's Inaugural Ball in 1993.

  • Adam Clayton: Then


    Image © Ross Marino/Sygma/Corbis

    A self-taught bassist who picked up the instrument as an introverted teen, Adam Clayton--amazingly--didn't receive formal musical training until 1995, after the band's Zoo TV Tour. 

  • Adam Clayton: Now


    Image © Carlo Allegri/Reuters/Corbis

    The reserved bassist has nevertheless made headlines throughout the years--for a relationship with Naomi Campbell that surprised everyone, a marijuana bust, the arrest of his domestic aide for embezzling $3.6 million from him, and for giving up alcohol after an incident in which he got so drunk that he couldn't on onstage. These days? He's married and just playing bass, thank you.

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