Sandra Bullock Turns 51: Three Times ‘America’s Sweetheart’ Inspired Us All

Today, July 26, Sandra Bullock turns 51. The actress, commonly referred to as “America’s Sweetheart,” is celebrating another birthday milestone in her life. While she’s popping bottles, dining with family and friends, hanging 10, tandem or base-jumping, preparing for her next movie role or snuggling up with her pooch for a good read, we rejoice in three times Bullock has inspired us all.

It wasn’t that long ago when Sandra captivated the hearts of many fans the world over when she hit the big screen with Hangmen (1987). She demonstrated that she was not only beautiful; she was a promising actress — and knew how to shake things up.

Then, in 1993 and 1994 with Demolition Man and Speed, respectively, she showed the world that she was here to stay. From that moment, Sandra Bullock held the attention of critics, the fashion world, and fans eager to get a glimpse of her next role, who she was wearing, and the goings on in her life.

Recently, People named Bullock, the Most Beautiful Woman for 2015. Over the years, Sandra has never shied away from sharing her beliefs and work ethic while celebrating the highs of her career and the lows in her personal life. Through it all, she’s been a beacon of hope and inspiration.

“It was the stupidest thing I ever did [cheating on someone]. You take away respect from the other person. If you respect the other person enough and you are an honorable person, before it gets to that point, you say, ‘Hey listen, I’m getting ready to screw up and I know you’re going to leave’ and you give the person the right to walk.

“I think getting away from this business—not quitting, but taking yourself out of it—is good. I’ve done it three times now, and each time it’s been good to get away from the outside elements and find a passion elsewhere. It’s just too much if you make your career everything. It is everything when you’re doing it. But you have to find things you love just as much.

“You don’t have to give birth to someone to have a family [after adopting her son, Louis]. We’re all family, an extended family. I’m not going to spend two seconds of my life wishing I had something I don’t. It’s hard to do it your way when you hear everyone else telling you to do it their way.”

Decades later, the love affair with Sandra Bullock continues — and is alive and well. Happy birthday to Miss Congeniality.

[Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images]