Famous Breasts: A Retrospective

Breasts are an integral part of our bodies, culture, and our definition of femininity. Whether it's obsession, envy, embarrassment, pride, lust, fear, or frustration, just thinking about breasts is sure to stir up some kind of emotion. Here we count down some of the famous sets that have punctuated the presence of the female form in popular culture.


February 3, 2010 12:00 AM

Botticelli's Birth of Venus

In one of the most recognizable images of the female body in history, Botticelli teased his viewers with a sneak peek of Venus's assets.

Marie Antoinette

It's been said that the short champagne glass known as the coupe was molded from one of her breasts. In fact the glass was designed in 1663, nearly a century before Marie Antoinette was born. Nevertheless, a rack that can sustain a rumor like that for over 250 years deserves a place on our list.
jayne mansfield
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Back Next

Jayne Mansfield

Her voluptuous form was a large part of her appeal — that and the fact that her dresses often gave the impression her girls might tumble out at any moment.
bettie page
Arthur Felling/International Center of Photography/Getty Images
Back Next

Bettie Page

In the early '60s, Bettie Page's pinups offered a darker type of sex appeal compared to Hollywood starlets like Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe. While her breasts may sometimes take a backseat to bondage, her body still generated legions of fans and a handful of subcultures.
Everett Collection
Back Next

Annette Funicello

The first Mouseketeer to toss the plastic ears for some serious cleavage, Annette forever warped a generation of men's perception of breast shape and paved the way for future Disney-kid-to-sex-symbol stars like Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears.
Michel Bernanau
Back Next

Brigitte Bardot

Her willingness to expose herself not only stirred up interest in foreign films in the late '50s, but also eventually made her a movie star in the US.
Everett Collection
Back Next

Bo Derek

A slow jog down the beach in a flesh-colored swimsuit in the film 10 made Bo and her breasts infamous.
Everett Collection
Back Next

Wonder Woman

An icon of the '70s, she was a pioneer on the frontier of female superheroes and their costumes. Without Wonder Woman there would be no Lara Croft.
Everett Collection
Back Next

Phoebe Cates

Stripping off her bikini top in 1982's Fast Times at Ridgemont High made Phoebe Cates famous, at least to every straight man past puberty.
Albert L. Ortega/WireImage.com
Back Next

Dolly Parton

Dolly's ample bosom has wowed audiences and defied gravity for four decades and shows no signs of sagging.
Buena Vista Pictures/Everett Collection
Back Next

Jessica Rabbit

In the '80s, Roger's wife changed what cartoons were capable of by providing body issues and unrealistic expectations to semi-adolescents everywhere.
Jim Smeal/WireImage.com
Back Next


Redefining a generation of lingerie, Madonna's cone bra almost upstaged her Blonde Ambition in 1990.
Everett Collection
Back Next

Kate Moss

In the '90s Kate proved that size didn't matter. At 5'7 she became one of the shortest supermodels on the runway, and despite having no discernable cleavage, a sex symbol to boot.
David Drapkin/Getty Images
Back Next

Lil' Kim

A pivotal moment during 1999's Video Music Awards: Diana Ross suddenly gives Lil' Kim's left breast a jiggle.
James Devaney/WireImage.com
Back Next

Pamela Anderson

She answered the one question that had been on people's minds since breast augmentation was introduced in the early '60s: Yes, you can breastfeed with implants.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
Back Next

Janet Jackson

In 2004, her wardrobe malfunction (aided by Justin Timberlake) at the Super Bowl proved that America is not ready for nipples on TV.
Rick Diamond/WireImage.com
Back Next

Jessica Simpson

Her dad, Joe, shocked America in 2004 when he said of her breasts, "She's got double D's! You can't cover those suckers up!" A strange comment for a father to make, sure, but he had a point.
Thomas Concordia/WireImage.com
Back Next

Anna Nicole Smith

Anna displays the silicone set that roped an oil tycoon. She inherited his fortune, only to die mysteriously a few years later.
Touchstone/Courtesy Everett Collection
Back Next

Keira Knightley

The small-breasted actress made headlines by publicly objecting when producers wanted to digitally enhanced her bosom for 2006's King Arthur poster.
Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage.com
Back Next

Scarlett Johansson

Why is she on our list? Go ask your boyfriend.
Courtesy of AMC
Back Next

Joan Holloway

Man Men's Joan Holloway's outrageous silhouette (supplied by actress Christina Hendricks) has brought curvy va-va-voom back into fashion.