15 Unexpected Celeb Photos From History
Celebrities: they’re better than us. We know it, they know it, and their publicists make damn sure that we only ever see the most flattering pictures of their clients so that we never, ever think otherwise.
Sometimes, however, candid and embarrassing pictures leak out, the kind a celebrity would probably want to keep private.
They reveal our favourite celebs in a new light, digging up an awkward past, robbing them of some of their glamour or even exposing them as secret basketball enthusiasts.
Here are 15 photos of the rich and famous from history that you never even dreamed of seeing in your lifetime.
15. Bill Gates’ cheeky mugshot
Bill Gates may be one of the richest and most innovative people who ever lived, but, hey – everybody has a history.
In 1977, the year after he registered Microsoft as a trade name, Gates was living in New Mexico.
This was where Microsoft had been based since 1975, and it’s where Gates first started getting a need – a need for speed.
The above mugshot was taken after Gates was caught speeding around Albuquerqe in his brand new Porsche 911.
However, as is probably clear from his expression, by this time Gates was already an old pro at posing for the police photographer.
Prior this incident, the future tech magnate had already been arrested for speeding and driving without a licence.
14. Teenage Mariah Carey just chilling with teenage Will Smith
30 years ago, Mariah Carey had yet to release any singles or albums and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air didn’t even exist.
In short, Will Smith and Mariah Carey were at this point far from the global superstars that we know them as today.
Still in their teens, the two were at the time virtually unheard of. Just 18 (Carey) and 19 (Smith), neither would have been able to predict the kind of success they would one day enjoy. And yet, somehow…
When the above photo was taken, behind the scenes at the 1988 KIIS FM Endless Summer Jam festival, Smith and Carey were only just starting out in the industry.
It was also the very first time the two had met, with both Carey and Smith having only recently made it out to LA to pursue their dreams of stardom.
Neither would have predicted that, just two years later, following the release of Carey’s debut album and with The Fresh Prince beginning its run on NBC, the whole world would know their names.
13. Christian Bale is just a kid who plays video games, has a mullet
If we’re to break the groups down into their purest forms, there are essentially two generations of Christian Bale fans.
There’s the generation that first noticed Bale as an adult playing characters like Patrick Bateman and – more likely – Batman with intense method commitment.
Then there’s the generation that grew up with Bale as the young teen star of films like Newsies, Little Women and Empire of the Sun.
Whereas the older, Oscar-winning Bale has been very careful to keep a lid on his personal life, the younger Bale – before he became a star – could still be found popping up in candid shots like the one above.
Who knew Christian Bale was a gamer? Who knew he used to wear a mullet? Who knew – goodness – that he was into double denim?
It’s a rare glimpse of an actor who – since being made a star by Steven Spielberg in Empire – wouldn’t be able to live any kind of normal, anonymous life again.
12. Johnny Cash likes eating cake – alone
Thanks in part to a dour, Joaquin Phoenix-fronted biopic that focused largely on his drinkin’ years, country singer Johnny Cash doesn’t have much of a reputation as a joker.
It’s not entirely unfounded. He was known as The Man in Black. Some of his best known songs deal with addiction, violence and incarceration.
But we’re talking about Cash the man, not Cash the performer. In real life, when he wasn’t drawing crowds over at Folsom Prison, Cash could still cut loose now and then.
Free of his trademark all-black outfit, the fella above is Cash all right, sat cross-legged in the dirt in front of a bush.
The scowl is gone, replaced by a knowing grin. And in place of Cash’s trademark guitar is a whole goddamn cake, which the foghorn-voiced warbler seems determined to enjoy all by himself.
The photo was taken on a shoot for Cash’s live album, Strawberry Cake, but this pic was an outtake – and only God knows why they didn’t use it.
11. Robin Williams is a regular high schooler
Four years ago, Robin Williams took his own life at the age of 63.
Audiences who had always known Williams as so full of life in his performances could hardly believe the actor would have ever suffered from depression.
In reality, Williams had struggled with it all of his life – and he hadn’t always been the great entertainer that fans became familiar with from comedies like Aladdin and Mrs Doubtfire.
Born in Chicago in 1951, Williams attended high school in California when the family moved there in 1966.
Williams was a senior at Redwood High School when the above photo was taken, in 1969.
There, the soon-to-be TV and film megastar was voted both Funniest and Most Likely Not to Succeed by his classmates.
10. Kurt and Courtney take a selfie
Dead at just 27 by a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, Kurt Cobain left behind a pretty sombre legacy.
The music he produced with his band, grunge pioneers Nirvana, was uniformly dark and intense.
The relationship Cobain had with musician and actress Courtney Love in his final days – according to music lore – was similarly intense and combative, so much so that it’s difficult to imagine there was ever any fun going on at home.
Of course, the stories aren’t always true, and the cheeky bathroom selfie Love took of herself and Cobain in 1992 proves a good example.
The photo was taken during Nirvana’s ’92 tour of Japan, and sees the couple in a hotel bathroom in, respectively, pyjamas and dressing gown.
It’s a goofy look at a publicity-hostile couple in happier times, two years before Kurt would succumb to depression for the last time.
9. Clint Eastwood swaps his horse for a skateboard
The Clint Eastwood we know today is very much the buttoned-up, meat-eating, Trump-voting old white man you’d expect him to be based solely on how furious he constantly looks.
Clint wasn’t always this way, however. Back in his day, Eastwood was an icon of cool, and not just because he squinted and chewed cigars in westerns for a living.
Clint played jazz. He meditated. He was so promiscuous that today he literally doesn’t know how many children he has. He also, occasionally, liked to skateboard.
The above photo was taken when Eastwood, aged 35, was just on the cusp of stardom after years of toiling away in Hollywood.
Snapped in 1964, the man who would be The Man With No Name can be seen ‘boarding down the glam Via Veneto in Rome.
It was the same year that A Fistful of Dollars first saw the inside of cinemas, kicking off Eastwood’s five decades-plus of stardom, and leading on to him being the growling misanthrope he is today.
8. Michaels Jordan and Jackson play ball
He was the King of Pop, who revolutionised pop music and who for much of his life reigned over the airwaves.
He was one of the most famous sportsmen who had ever lived, and most definitely the richest.
Still, Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan existed in such highfalutin bubbles in their own distinct worlds that it’s difficult to imagine their paths ever crossed. And yet…
Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson, on the same basketball court? What is this, a crossover episode?
With enough combined star power to produce a red dwarf, Jordan and Jackson joined together in 1992 for more than just the fun of it.
Jordan appeared in the video for Jackson’s 1992 single, Jam, teaching Jackson how to play basketball as Jackson, in turn, taught Jordan how to play ball.
7. Andy Warhol buys some of the soup he made famous
Even back in his heyday, artist Andy Warhol was a pretty mysterious and, frankly, weird figure.
He was someone with a reputation for eccentricity and pretentiousness.
It’s difficult to imagine a man who painted tins and made a film that’s just eight hours of a shot of the Empire State Building could even live a normal life.
And so here we are to burst that bubble, with this picture of Warhol doing his grocery shopping like a regular, honest-to-god person.
What makes the snap even more interesting is what the artist is throwing in his shopping trolley, along with beer and what looks like bog roll (even Andy Warhol has to make).
Those are Campbell’s soup tins, depicted in Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup Cans paintings, two years after his art work turned them from generic household good into iconic foodstuff.
6. Samuel L Jackson is young, uncool
Samuel L Jackson, who emerged as a star in the 80s and 90s in films like Do The Right Thing and Pulp Fiction, is cool.
Like death and taxes, Sam Jackson’s coolness is just an undeniable fact, something that’s been evident now for close to 30 years.
In fact, Jackson has been so consistently cool that it’s difficult to imagine a time where he wasn’t.
We all have a history, however, and Jackson didn’t always rock the chrome dome and designer glasses like he does today.
The school photo above depicts Jackson as an 18-year-old, in 1966, during his final year at Riverside High School in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Samuel L, recently declared “the coolest mother****er alive” by Joe, used to have a stutter as a kid, and he also played French horn and the piccolo in the school band.
Which is another way of saying that there’s still hope for all of us.
5. Fidel breaks off the revolution to play ball
Fidel Castro, not unlike his bearded compatriot Che Guevara, gained mythical status in his lifetime.
The result was that the man who seized Cuba in 1959 and ruled over the island nation almost until his death in 2016 was largely unknown to westerners.
The picture that emerged of the isolated ruler in the West was that of a joke, an inept, humourless tyrant. But was that the full truth?
Judging by this pic of Fidel cutting loose by confidently, joyfully taking on two men half his age at basketball suggests otherwise.
The photo was snapped in then-communist Poland, in 1972, when Castro was paying a visit to Krakow.
As it turns out, Castro in his younger years was an avid basketball player, in a country that favoured baseball; he played in high school and continued to play through his life as he toured the world’s most despotic nations.
4. Hugh Hefner catches the big fish
If you hear ‘Hugh Hefner’, you probably picture the Playboy head honcho looking like this:
In his later years, Hef had become something of a parody of himself, an old man who wore his dressing gown and slippers around the mansion he made famous and which he rarely left.
But surely Hugh Hefner wasn’t always such an odd, reclusive figure? No one can be so old and weird all their life.
And so we arrive at this image, of a younger, more virile Hef holding up a giant fish.
Still smoking his trademark pipe, this is Hef in 1970, with Playboy centrefold Barbi Benton.
Hugh had gone fishing in Miami, 20 years after founding Playboy. Still only 44, Hefner was yet to start permanently bunkering down in the Playboy mansion to eat ice cream for breakfast.
3. Bruce Lee at home with the family
Through films like Way of the Dragon and Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee almost instantly attained legendary status.
Today, the enduring image of Lee is that of a super-serious, super-shredded action star of some of the great martial arts movies.
That was just Bruce doing the day job, though; outside of it, he had a whole life that most don’t even know about.
Away from the film set, Lee was a committed family man.
In 1964, he married teacher Linda Lee Cadwell, with whom he had children Brandon and Shannon.
The whole family can be seen enjoying a relaxing day out together in the photo above.
In 1973, at the age of 32, Lee died from swelling on the brain. His actor son Brandon would die 20 years later as a result of an on-set mishap.
2. Mick gets hitched
Here’s an understatement: father-of-eight-children Mick Jagger has been a womaniser in his time.
In spite of all the many, many dalliances Jagger has had over his 75 years, however, the Rolling Stones frontman has only been officially married once.
Mick still looked like Harry Styles back when he was last married, which should give you an idea of how long ago that was.
It was 1971, one year before the Stones released their masterpiece Exile on Main St.
The year prior, Jagger had met Bianca De Macias, who would go on to be his wife – his only one ever – until 1978.
In 1977, Mick and Bianca separated, and divorced the following year, so the Stones frontman could get back to doing what he does best: bedding chicks, and writing songs about bedding chicks.
1. Ol’ Blue Eyes, arrested for being too seductive
Over some 50 years, Frank Sinatra built himself a reputation as one of the sharpest smoothies who ever charmed his way into the charts.
However, Ol’ Blue Eyes wasn’t always a golden-voiced crooner who liked to dress perpetually like a Las Vegas lounge singer.
In his younger days as a kid growing up in Hoboken, New Jersey, Sinatra was just a common troublemaker.
The above mugshot was taken in 1938, when Frank was just 23 and still singing for his supper in bars.
Around this time, Sinatra was already developing a reputation for himself as a ladykiller, something that literally led to him being arrested.
The charges were ‘seduction’ and ‘adultery’, something that were apparently still good enough to put you in jail in the 30s, but which later proved to be two of Sinatra’s key selling points by the time he was famous.