Those really were Bret Michael’s abs

After that photo of Bret Michaels on the cover of Billboard Magazine came out, the one where it looked like they painted abs on him, people yelled “fake” and “shopped”. Well, photographer Blair Bunting who shot the cover says he wasn’t surprised at the reactions and that Bret’s abs are real.

“When he took off his shirt, I was like, ‘This guy’s in shape for 47!'” says Bunting, who made his Billboard cover debut with the photo. “It’s always easy for someone to cry ‘Photoshop,’ so I wasn’t too surprised by that…but he takes his shape seriously.”

According to Billboard photo editor Amelia Halverson, “a few versions of the cover” were initially made that Photoshopped Michaels’ body too heavily. “They looked too unreal, mostly because there was so much detail due to the photographer’s high-definition style of lighting,” says Halverson. “The final cover version shows Bret’s real muscles.” In addition to making his abs appear symmetrical, Bunting bronzed Michaels’ color and smoothed out his skin to eliminate a few of the singer’s wrinkles.

“It was a pretty standard retouching for him compared to anybody else,” says Bunting. “I just don’t know if he’s more controversial, or if it’s just more of a shocker that he took everything off and happens to have a nice body.”

I don’t know what’s worse. The fact that Bret is in better shape than me at 47 or the fact that in the original, you can see all the wrinkles in his saggy skin. He probably flexed so hard for the picture that he gave himself anal fissures.

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