It’s a popular piece of wisdom that you should never meet your heroes. If you really admire a celebrity, most people agree that you should probably hold off on interacting with them, in case they turn out to be mean, shallow, self-centred, dismissive – or just a complete bore. As much as the celebrity lifestyle is something a lot of people strive for, there’s an underlying assumption that achieving fame and fortune always changes people, and usually, it changes them for the worse.
So the question is, does getting famous really alter someone’s personality? Or is it just that every rude and entitled celebrity out there started off as a rude and entitled normal person before anybody knew their name? To help put this question to bed, the people of Reddit chimed in with their stories of celebrities they knew both before and after they became household names, to see if the increased notoriety did anything to change them as a person.
Some were and continued to be angels, some were a total nightmare even before they were well-known, and some really did seem to change overnight! So from the shocking to the heartwarming, here are the best stories of celebs before they were famous.
1. Sandra Oh
I went to high school with Sandra Oh. She was funny, dynamic, smart, outgoing, and very into drama. In one school play, she played what I would call sort of a mime character – she didn’t have lines but was still a big part of the action, commenting on what was going on through her movements.
Anyhow, in one scene as she was exiting the stage she banged her head on one of the props – you could hear the loud bang- but she was a pro and just carried on. It has been great to see her have such success, and I love that she has kept in touch with her close friends from high school (you can spot them at awards show sometimes).
2. Emma Chamberlain
I went to high school with Emma Chamberlain. She was a huge bully in high school and pretty much a brat who thought she could get away with whatever she wanted (before she got famous). Her parents were divorced which led to them both always trying to be her friend and never actually parenting her, so they basically let her do whatever she wanted.
When she said that people from her high school made fun of her because she was “poor” and that the parking lot was all bmws and range rovers I lost my mind because SHE was the bully in high school, and while the school definitely had some wealthy students it was mostly a middle-class crowd.
3. James Cameron
My father is a long haul trucker, and he knew James Cameron in his 20s when he was a trucker too. Said the guy was always insanely smart and would go out and basically take every engine apart and put it back together, so if you needed your rig fixing and he was around you’d search him out.
They stayed friends and we actually got to visit him in LA over Xmas once, now we live in Europe so I don’t think they talk much, but he’s really smart, and intense, although not what I expected him to be like from the stories about production on his movies.
4. Wesley Snipes
My Grandpa (RIP) owned a grocery store in Miami in the late 70s. Wesley Snipes and his friends once stole some candy from his store and when he caught them he let them have it. After that Wesley and his friends were regulars. Once, Wesley left his bike in front of the store and it got stolen. My grandpa gave him his old bike that he kept in the back of the store. My uncle took over in 2001 when my grandpa died. In 2007 Snipes came back to the store while my uncle and cousin were there, to ask about my grandpa.
My uncle said they talked for a little over an hour about how my grandpa treated him like a son. When he found out my grandpa passed he felt guilty he didn’t visit sooner. He embraced my uncle and cousin and left. My uncle said he told him they plan on having the building repainted while they talked. About a week later a crew of painters arrived and told my uncle they were already paid to have the building repainted. Such a genuine dude.
This will probably get lost in the sea of comments, but my ex-boyfriend’s mom ran a pizza shop that P!nk worked at as a 16-year-old. I guess she would always be singing randomly at work.
She’d use spoons, utensils, anything she could find to use as a fake microphone. But she was a s***ty worker and would straight up walk out on her shifts whenever she wanted without telling anyone and somehow not get fired for it? She just didn’t give af even back then.
6. Post Malone
I went to high school with Post Malone. We graduated the same year. He always wore a suit to class and was that nerdy dedicated kid. Glad to see how his life turned out.
I hoped nothing for the best for him and now I listen to him all the time haha. I’m just a rando to him though. We never really talked properly or anything.
7. Steve Irwin
When I was really young I’d go the reptile park, originally owned by Bob Irwin and passed on to his son Steve. Steve was always nice, would do all the lizard and croc shows, would hang out and chat afterwards. My dad would take me there occasionally and Steve would seem to remember us, he treated everyone like an old buddy.
This was before he became famous obviously, and the small reptile park became the Australia Zoo. In my final year of high school I got in the zoo for work experience and they let me stay on. Steve was rarely there, and when he was he’d avoid guests (because they would swarm him and he’d get nothing done) but when I did run into him he was always super nice and still acted like that old friend.
8. Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence. I moved to Louisville middle of my 7th-grade year. She was my first friend, and the first person I had a sleepover with. We hit it off. She was very different from me, a cheerleader, came from a lot of wealth, but her family was really awesome and we were both kinda weird and outgoing so we become good friends very fast.
Her family owned a farm that had a children’s summer camp and we went to it a couple of times, she had one of her birthday parties there! I remember her kissing our friend Jon under a trampoline. We talked about it for way too long! We hung out fairly often until she moved to NYC a year and a half after we met.
9. Will Smith
My dad was good friends with Will Smith before the Fresh Prince days, Will actually showed him the pilot before it aired. Fast forward however many years to After Earth and Will invited us on the set.
His first words when he saw my dad 10+ years later was “the Philly crew is back!” Both Will and Jaden are the sweetest people you’ll ever meet
10. Liam Hemsworth
I was at school with Liam Hemsworth. He was a few years below me, in my sister’s year. Really nice guy, he was madly in love with his girlfriend and even though he had the opportunity to cheat he was super loyal to her.
Not the brightest kid around though. As far as I know he hasn’t changed!
11. Mark Hamill
I went to high school with Mark Hamill. He was in my 5th period Government class, and he absolutely loved to get into debates with our teacher, Mr. Henretty. Mark was always active in many extracurricular activities, including a run for student council.
He often wore a suit and tie to school which caused all the young ladies (and some young men as well!) to swoon. He was always upbeat and exuded an air of positivity. It is no surprise to me that he has met with the level of success that he richly deserves!
12. Cardi B
Here’s my chance! I worked with Cardi B when she was on Love & Hip Hop, so she was getting famous at the time. She was always over an hour late to call times, she was always loud and disrespectful, and she caused the crew countless stress.
I can’t imagine how much of a diva she is now with all her fame and fortune, but I can’t imagine it being fun.
13. Rachel McAdams
I worked in a restaurant about 15 years ago as a manager. Rachel McAdams walked in for an interview. She was still in acting school and was serving tables to pay for it.
She worked at my restaurant over the course of the next two summers, serving on our patio. We’re still friends to this day. She hasn’t changed a bit, she still bikes to get groceries.
14. Elizabeth Olsen
I went bowling with Elizabeth Olsen back when she was still modelling. She was the niece of my mom’s boyfriend. I remember her mentioning she wanted to get into acting and saying how she wasn’t sure her career would take off. Next time I saw her was on the big screen in Godzilla (2014).
I remember her being so kind to me, and not at all seemed to be bothered to talk to a 10-year-old. She was so beautiful and I remember being so nervous to talk to her, but she couldn’t have been nicer. Liz if you’re seeing this, I’m not allergic to mint. Turns out I’m just stupid.
15. Lady Gaga
Not me, but my buddy was close friends with Lady Gaga in high school. Told me that she was constantly seeking out open mics to perform at and was obsessed with becoming a better musician every day, and that people who knew her outside of their friend group thought she never had a chance and that she was just this little obsessed weirdo.
Years later the friend group gets together after not seeing each other in ages and my friend is like “hey, where’s Stef? Haven’t seen her in a long time” and everyone is looking at him like he’s dumb and he’s like “what?” and they’re like “dude. She’s Lady Gaga now. Did you really not know?!”
16. Willam Belli
I went to school with Willam Belli. I was closer with his sister, but knew him pretty well. This was in the 90s and in Florida, and although he didn’t come out, he was teased quite a bit for his femininity. He hated it.
He was always genuine though, and for the most part pretty unafraid and bold. He landed the lead role in Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat at a local theatre, and there were lots of religious folks in the audience. In all the scenes where he was shirtless, he was rocking nipple piercings, haha! It was great watching the audience squirm.
17. Jeff Bezos
Mom knew Jeff Bezos’ sister in high school, never really knew him all that well but she says he was well known to be a grade-A d**khead.
Very full of himself and a huge god complex even before he went to Princeton etc, so really not that much different now from what I can tell.
18. Emeli Sandé
Emeli Sandé was my babysitter when I was younger (I knew her as Adele so it took me the longest time to realise Emeli was the same person), and she not only sat through the rambling stories I came up with but drew my characters for me so I could colour them in.
She and her family were our neighbours, her dad was my teacher at school, and they were some of the loveliest people I’ve ever met.
19. Dacre Montgomery
I went to high school with Dacre Montgomery. He was a d**k with a huge ego in high school and I saw him recently when he came back to his home town.
It seems like he’s still a d**k with an even bigger ego now. I can’t watch Stranger Things without rolling my eyes every time he comes on screen.
20. Chris Pratt
My older brother went to school with Chris Pratt, and was in his German class. Chris told the teacher his older brother was in Germany and said he could grab her a piece of the Berlin Wall.
Two weeks later Chris grabbed a piece of concrete from the sidewalk, spray painted it, and gave it to her. The last time I checked (2018) it was still there on display in the classroom.
My wife was Halsey’s cheerleading coach before high school and I coached her little brother in football. I wish I could say that she was an awesome person, but I can’t. At that time, she was one of those girls who thrived on DRAMA.
If there was no drama around her, she would create some. She is amazingly talented as both a singer and songwriter…I hope she’s grown into a good human as a young adult.
22. Thomas Sanders
I tangentially know Thomas Sanders. He used to help out with school productions and I met him a few times before he blew up on Vine a few years later. He was always nice, friendly, funny—which is how he comes across on his platforms still.
His schtick isn’t really my thing, but I see a lot of familiar faces in his videos because they’re all from town/high school lol.
23. Anna Kendrick
I didn’t know her myself, but I have a friend who went to high school with Anna Kendrick. Apparently, she was extremely shy. Really friendly and sweet if you talked to her, but she wasn’t the type of person who’d put herself out there, definitely an introvert.
Everyone knew she’d worked in the theatre and she was obviously doing school plays and stuff, but my friend said she was shocked to see her become a movie star because she didn’t seem like the type of person who’d want to do that.
24. Michael Moore
Michael Moore. He was always fighting for the little guy because he was one all his life, figuratively speaking. Ran a suicide hotline, then a local newspaper, then a radio show, none of which earned him enough to live on his own.
After he made “Roger & Me” he was 35 and you’re pretty much done changing by 35. He paid rent for all the evicted people in the movie too. He didn’t have to do that.
25. Ed Sheeran
Ooh this is one I can answer!! I went to the same high school as Ed Sheeran (that ginger British guy, not Ron Weasley) before he got picked up. The guy was good with a guitar and had a good singing voice I’ll give him that, but he knew it too and loved to show off.
He was a bit arrogant too, I had music class with him and obviously I was never up to his standard, but he really used to put people down if they messed up or something.
26. Tara Reid
Tara Reid, the American Pie actress. I worked in a bar in LA and she didn’t have very many friends and enjoyed live music, so she’d come in twice a week and became really good friends with the bar staff. She was so pretty and fresh-faced.
We knew she was trying to become an actress, which I thought was going to be hard since she was so shy. She’d come in and have one or two drinks and just talk to us all night. We protected her from being hit on, and she became part of our little bar family. She’d come to our Boeing night and softball games and BBQs. Complete and total sweetheart.
27. Chester Bennington
I was friends with Chester Bennington my freshmen year of High School. We had a bunch of classes together and would hang out at lunch, and a bit after school. We would ride bikes together some afternoons on days when he didn’t want to go home.
Poor guy was always picked on. He wore glasses, had tight curly hair, and his ears stuck out a little. He was a really skinny kid. Plus, his name was Chester. Total bully fodder.
28. Ian Holm
My grandad was bunkmates with Ian Holm in the army in the 50s. My grandad always told him he was too short to become a successful actor and Holm told my grandad he was too stupid to become a successful journalist.
Holm obviously proved him wrong but my grandad also went in to be the editor of News of the World and help found the Daily Star, so they were both wrong about each other.
29. Kelly Marie Tran
I went to school and did theatre with Kelly Marie Tran. She was so funny, charming, and nice. I was a theatre tech. And my goodness was she talented at anything she tried, she led the plays and musicals and was always so funny to be around. She appears to be the same kind girl she was in high school.
She always took time to be nice to anyone she worked with and of course would make anyone laugh. Plus she’s, got an amazing singing voice.
30. Molly Ringwald
Molly Ringwald rode the school bus with me when I was in 4th and 5th grade in Citrus Heights, CA. She’s a year younger than me. We both went to a newly formed school in Sacramento that was the home of a pilot “gifted education” program, and it was about a 45-minute ride each way.
She and this girl named Melanie used to sing “Tomorrow” from Annie on the bus every day. She has a really good voice (she performed at the Sacramento Jazz fest with her pianist dad) but after about a week of it, we all wanted to bounce our lunchboxes off her head. After that, she went down to LA and started on “Different Strokes”.
31. Charlie Sheen
My father went to a baseball camp with Charlie Sheen! He even had letters that Charlie wrote to him after the camp. It was a two-week camp and during the end of the last week my dad and some of the other bunkmates got some booze and smokes and went into the woods to hang out.
My dad said no matter how hard they tried Charlie wouldn’t touch any booze or smokes. Clearly, he is a different guy now lol.
32. Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt
My mum is close friends with the costume designer of The Mighty Boosh so she got my brother and sister extra roles in it. We all spent a few days on set. In the episode where Vince and Howard are ‘crimping’ there was a deleted scene of my brother and sister doing a crimp on the street and Noel fielding and Julian Barratt sent my parents a video of them teaching them how to do the crimp.
On set Julian Barratt was really friendly and spent a lot of time with my dad, because he was expecting twins so kept asking dad for advice. Noel Fielding was cool but apparently seemed a little arrogant but my parents put it down to him being busy. Michael Fielding (Naboo in the show) was the best. My dad has a video of him playing lightsabers with 5 year old me.
33. Don Bluth
We are very close family friends with Don Bluth (Anastasia, Land Before Time, Secret of Nimh). He doesn’t care one bit for fame or money, he never attends any of the awards shows he is still invited to.
His house is like a perpetual bachelor pad – none of the furniture matches, everything is outdated. He loves all homeopathic remedies and hates Western medicine. He also makes really good enchiladas.
34. Rick Riordan
Rick Riordan was my middle school social studies teacher! This was back in the early 2000s, when he was still in the process of writing the Percy Jackson books. Actually, he just posted a pic of himself in our old classroom the other day on FB, and it looks exactly like I remember!
He was the best teacher ever. He dressed up as a samurai when we learned about ancient Japan, and waved a fake katana at the students who were late lol. And for our final exam he made us draw a map of Africa FROM MEMORY. With correct lattitude/longitude, and correct geographical features (rivers, mountains, etc). I got an 84 on mine.
I went to elementary school with Zendaya. We were in the same grade but never in the same class, but it was a small school so I saw her around a lot. She was pretty popular back then and a nice person. After I graduated, my mom ran into her on campus while picking up my younger sister. This was during her days as a Disney Channel star.
She had come back to speak to the kids, and when she saw my mom she was very polite and asked about me, even though I hadn’t spoken to her in years, which I thought was pretty cool. Obviously, she’s mega-famous now and I have 0 contact with her, but she seems to have remained a pretty cool and genuine person.
36. Greta Van Fleet
Greta Van Fleet really are as quirky and transcendental as they appear on stage and in interviews. They always stood out and school and all their teachers and classmates knew they’d turn into something special.
They’ve always been kind to everyone and talented as hell. I still see them when I can, but rockstars are usually too busy between writing, recording, and touring.
37. John Cena
John Cena was the class bully at my roommate’s high school. My pal is a smallish, thin science teacher, although he’s in pretty good health from running, biking, climbing, etc.
He did not care to elaborate so I can’t imagine what it was like having to worry about that dude getting on your case when you were a 16-year-old 5’5″ scrawny geek. Cena seems like a genuinely nice guy from what I see and hear now so maybe he grew up.
38. Kanye West
Back in high school in Chicago, one of my teachers went to school with Kanye as teenagers. Whenever we asked her questions about what he was like she would say:
“Well, he would stand outside the high school doors after the bell rang, with a box of his mixtapes on cassettes to try and sell to students. When me or any of our classmates politely said no thank you, he would scream ‘YOU’RE GONNA REGRET THIS, I’M GONNA BE FAMOUS ONE DAY!” He wasn’t wrong.
39. Lily Tomlin
Years ago I met Lily Tomlin and her wife at a book store. I had just scored an audition for The Beverly Hillbillies movie. After we talked for much longer than expected (she’s super personable), I told her I was auditioning the following week. She told me to ask for her when I arrived to the audition since she was part of the casting team.
Unfortunately, this was before we had electronic maps, and I got lost. Stupid dyslexia. I went the wrong way and totally missed the audition. I’ll never forget how kind she was though.
40. Guy Fieri
Guy Fieri used to be a real douche growing up, made fun of kids whose parents were divorced, who wore hand me down clothes, just generally a little a**hole. So a lot of people didn’t like him at all. And his last name is supposed to be pronounced “fairy”, so everyone would call him guy fairy, like he was gay or whatever, which obviously pi**ed him off.
So as an adult he started telling people his name was fiery but I don’t blame him for that lol. He wasn’t a terrible young person honestly, but he’s a super cool laid back guy now especially by celebrity standards. If you had asked most people where he would be at 30 they probably would’ve said prison.
41. Stephanie Meyer
My wife was friends with Stephanie Meyer, before the fandom hit it’s big boom, during the first book and right after the second, Stephanie was really close to a lot of readers and fans.
My wife was close friends with Stephanie’s cousin and when the second book came out they went to the Forks book signing. My wife ended up driving Stephanie and her cousin all over Forks to see the signs and meet up with other fans. Stephanie got her number and they stayed in touch. She said Stephanie was really nice and humble. Warm and fun. Very relatable as a wife and mom. My wife saw her as a friend as opposed to a celebrity she knew.
42. The Beach Boys
My grandma loves talking about when she was young and when she met The Beach Boys. She says they always used to sing outside their lawn in California, and her and her friend would sit on the lawn and watch them play.
She also says one of the boys dad would yell at them for being on the lawn but they always had their backs. Years later obviously they became The Beach Boys.
43. John Mayer
Went to high school with John Mayer. He was always kind of shy and wasn’t very popular in high school. Despite this he was super friendly.
Then, he blew up moved away and came back for the reunion and legitimately threw a tantrum when he found out he wasn’t being put in the school’s hall of fame. His parents still live in my neighborhood but from what I can tell he’s never come back.
44. Gina Rodriguez
I went to HS with Gina Rodriguez and had one class with her. We were not friends or anything. I just remember her coming off as a know it all, similar to a Hermione Granger. People I was friends with would offhandedly say the same, and that she was full of herself as well.
Those friends talked to her regularly, so they knew better than me. She seems to be a really good and nice person nowadays. So, I hope it was just a previous misconception or she just grew into being a really great adult.
45. Adam Sandler
Gonna have to speak on my Mom’s behalf here, but she went to school with Adam Sandler and had a few classes with him. She said he wasn’t a good student and he was a class clown kind of like you’d expect. He liked the attention, but he also wasn’t super popular. I think lots of kids found him to be annoying at least from her perspective.
She said he did have a quiet side which seemed like it was maybe his natural side and the annoying side was just how he viewed social situations. Overall he wasn’t as outlandishly funny as he has been in his career. He was more of a disruption in class.
46. Liam Payne
I knew Liam Payne from One Direction a little. Always wanted to be famous. Always dressed the part, he played football with us in full leather in 28 Celsius haha. Bit strange.
Also tried to pick up my girlfriend at her house door whilst I’m sitting there listening, so I gave him a death stare. Next thing you know he is on X-Factor. Well, he tried X-Factor twice. He used to sit on the bus and tell people he had Simon Cowell’s number, nobody cared, we were on a bus.
I knew Kesha. She dated a good friend. He was super musical in a ton of bands. She was always like “listen to my CD” and we’d be like “lol no Kesha please stop.”
We blew her off because being girlfriend of the band guy doesn’t mean you’ll be in the band. Well well, look who’s the globe-trotting household name now? Everyone is happy for her, but a little salty too.
48. Nicholas Holt
I went to school with Nicholas Holt, he was a massive pr**k back then but once he landed his role in Skins he became even more insufferable. I remember playing a game of basketball against him and his friends. Being a year older than him and his friends as well as all of us being on the school basketball team and we hadn’t lost a match that year against any other school we were winning relatively easily.
We were up maybe 28 points or something like that and Nicholas started getting upset he and his friends were losing so he started to try and tackle us overly hard, that didn’t work so he started straight up fouling us at which point the ball was thrown aside and he was asked if he’d like to settle this match another way.
49. Solange Knowles
I went to middle school with Solange Knowles. I remember sitting in English class and she had a plastic spoon in the side her mouth and the teacher asking her to throw it away and her telling the teacher no because her braces hurt. It wasn’t really ever about what she said but how she said it. Not to mention she was making a lot of noise with the spoon and just being all around rude about everything.
One time, for a talent show, her and her friends performed a popular song from Destiny’s Child. (Sorry I don’t remember exactly which song as this was close to 20 years ago) and at this time everyone in the school was tired of her bratty antics. Somehow, her mic conveniently “quit working”, Solange threw the mic down (yes threw it) and stormed off the stage while the other girls continued to do the routine. She then came back and finished the performance.
50. James McAvoy
My mum worked with James McAvoy (X-Men as Professor Xavier, Wanted as Wesley Gibson, Split as 23 different people) before he hit it big time in Hollywood. It was on a show called Early Doors, he was playing the boyfriend of the landlord of this pub’s daughter. I was super young so I can’t remember much but I do remember meeting him and he was always really nice.
I used to get really upset leaving my mum at the set (the set was in Manchester and we live a couple hours away over the Pennines so she’d often stay over or be back when I was asleep) and he used to make me laugh and play dumb games with me when he wasn’t on set.
51. George Clooney
My grandmother dated George Clooney in high school, she was a mattress model and apparently got to meet a lot of men that way and dated him a few years.
She says that he was always down to earth and a gentleman and that he hasn’t changed a bit.
52. Margot Robbie
I went to high school with Margot Robbie. She was smart, well-liked and a genuinely nice person. I didn’t know anyone that had any issues with her.
To be fair, I don’t really know her anymore but she seems to be the same. I haven’t seen anything to suggest she’s changed. She still has all her friends from high school and I often see her in their wedding pictures and events.
53. Ellie Goulding
My husband played in a few pick-up bands with Ellie Goulding at uni. He remembers her being a good singer but not all that capable a guitarist and not particularly friendly.
They played in an annual music festival on campus, and she was all business, which struck him as odd as most of the other bands were having fun and got a beer together afterwards.
54. Tom Cruise
My mom grew up in NJ and was taking the bus into NYC for art school in the early ’80s. She was a petite woman so she’d “look for a strong man” to sit next to in case anybody tried to mess with her. For about a year she’d sit next to the same super-shy buff guy who could barely get a word out. He went to acting school and his name was Tom Cruise.
The last time she saw him he told her she should look for him in a movie called Risky Business. When telling this story she’d always say “I just felt so safe next to him, so protected, that I’d doze off, right on his shoulder!” so the joke is that my mom slept with Tom Cruise.
55. Aubrey Plaza
A good friend of mine grew up & is friends with Aubrey Plaza’s younger sisters. My friend said Aubrey always acted exactly like her character April from Parks & Rec. Once, my friend was at dinner at their house and asked Aubrey if she’d be interested in speaking at some event my friend was helping with, and Aubrey straight up said no and that was the end of the conversation.
She wasn’t too interested in doing things just because she is famous. IRL, she has the same dry sense of humour that we know and love from April Ludgate.
56. Bruce Springsteen
Family friends with Bruce Springsteen, he grew up in the town next to mine and his nieces and nephews went to my school and one works with my dad. Apparently, they don’t see him that much but he’s a good guy, his wife and kids tho think that they’re better than his family and would always get them the worst gifts for Christmas.
I heard that one time his sister had volunteered him to read a book at storytime for his nephew’s kindergarten class and he had to dress up and use a fake name so then he could stay anonymous.
57. Faye Dunaway
I had a substitute teacher who knew Faye Dunaway as a kid. He told us how she was so sweet as a child, but forgot all her old friends when she moved to Hollywood.
He used it as a life lesson to tell us to never forget where we come from. Then he turned his hearing aids down and said if he could hear us we were too loud.
58. Robin Williams
My close family friend’s dad was college roommates with Robin Williams. He always told us how genuinely quick-witted he was and how he always seemed to make an effort to make sure everyone around him was smiling.
Even years after Robin became beyond famous he would still call him to wish him a quick happy birthday.
59. Jon Bon Jovi
My mom and some of my aunts went to high school with Bon Jovi (in her yearbook his real name is John Bongiovi, which I never knew until I saw it). My aunt in particular was in his graduating class and he went to their 10-year reunion and was very friendly and took pictures with everyone and even personally sought out my aunt to say hello.
Apparently, a very normal and nice person, helped when Hurricane Sandy destroyed a lot of their hometown and did benefit concerts and helped people clean up. My mom said she went one time with my aunt to watch his band ACE (Atlantic City Expressway) practice in a basement. Was a normal dude in high school, just liked music and mostly kept to himself.
60. Eddie Izzard
I went to school with Eddie Izzard and although he was a couple of years above me, he was already beginning to be known as a pretty flamboyant character.
I didn’t know him well at all but I’d say the basis of the Eddie we know today was blossoming in him at 16.
61. Ozzy Osbourne
Never knew him personally my friend’s dad went to school with Ozzy Osbourne, he was the class clown but who hated school with a passion. In those days school in Birmingham was horrific, the teachers would beat you if you even put a finger out of line.
Apparently, every time he was bad, the teacher would make him pick out a book from the back, and the teacher would then bend him over in front of the class and beat him with it. So as revenge he would put nails on the teacher’s seat and other harmful pranks to get back at them.
62. Bill Murray
Bill Murray is my wife’s cousin. I dont know what he was like before he was famous since he has been famous since the 70’s but my father in law used to say bill made a career out of being himself. When I met him he knew exactly who I was prior to our greeting. I always found that endearing since it was a very large gathering (over 100).
He either took the time (or his sister told him before we spoke) to find out who the people were he didn’t know. This happened in the 80s at the height of his fame. I think most “stars” wouldn’t have bothered. Their parents did something right because the whole family are very nice people.
63. Jim Carrey
My dad did comedy with Jim Carrey in the 80s – apparently just a very strange man in general. He said and did a lot of weird stuff and always talking in funny voices.
My dad seems to think he’s actually gotten less weird, but doesn’t know him personally anymore so who knows!
64. Taika Waititi
I did meet Taika Waititi at a film fest close to 8 years ago? He was premiering What We Do In The Shadows at a small horror film fest.
Nicest f**king dude. Genuine and Delightful to talk with. A friend of mine was able to just sit and chat about movies with him for 4 hours one day during the after-party.
65. Ali Wong
I used to know Ali Wong. I helped run a violence prevention org and we would fly her out for our multimedia festival for several years (she’s always been a supporter of helping girls and women). Because we were very grassroots, she’d sleep on sofas of volunteers’ apartments. I’d drive her back and forth to her comedy events.
She was just as raunchy in her stand up then as she is now. She is the most down to earth person and super nice. Also does not drink any alcohol. My husband thinks she’s this angry Asian lady always yelling at people but of course, she’s not like that in real life. I remember her Netflix stand up when she mentioned she makes her husband lunch every day. She is a nurturing person. I’m so glad she got famous.
66. Jack White
I met Jack White about a month or six weeks before the White Stripes became near world-famous. He was super polite and quietly spoken. I then put on a show by the band in my town and then a few days later they were in every newspaper and magazine.
During the following couple of years whenever Jack and Meg were in town and I had a show on, they’d turn up, never emailing in advance to be on the guestlist or anything (as so many others did – usually via their manager or agent) – they’d just hand their money to the person on the door, heads down, no special treatment wanted.
67. Justin Roiland
I went to high school with Justin Roiland. He was always cool, and he got along with everybody. After graduating and going off to college, I kept in touch via AOL instant messenger and MySpace for a little bit.
I remember his buddy Steven Chunn used to send me sketches of Bill Cosby that he’d make, and I’d send him beats/music I was working on. I lost touch with those guys, but it’s cool to see someone from our little town make it big.
68. Steve Harwell
My parents went to high school with Steve Harwell, the lead singer for smash mouth. After high school, all three of them happened to be at the same bar one night. My mom flirted with my dad then gave him a fake number.
Since Steve knew my mom and where she lived, he drove my dad to her house to get the right number. They have been married for 28 years and have 5 kids! About two years ago, my parents went to one of his concerts and hung out with him after. He didn’t remember that night at all, but was really cool and happy that it worked out!
69. Lebron James
Lebron James. He has not changed. He was a douche before, he’s still a douche. He definitely always has been incredibly self-centred. He also has always been really whiny. That time he was carried off the court because of a heat cramp did not surprise me at all.
I’ve lived through worse conditions than a hot arena and have had severe heat cramps as well as high activity leading to heatstroke in 130+ heat. He’s a sissy and would definitely lose a fight if you ever confronted him.
70. Matt Tuck
Matt Tuck from Bullet for my Valentine used to work at a Virgin megastore near my hometown. He looked like the typical “Mosher”.
I would always ask him for recommendations because he looked like he knew what good music was. He was always very nice.
71. Maisie Williams
A friend of mine from college used to take performance classes with Maisie Williams before she was famous and apparently she wasn’t a pleasant person. She’d go to the fields with their classmates/ friends and Maisie would routinely take class A drugs.
The only other things they used to say was that she didn’t care about the feelings of others at all. After the course had finished my friend made no attempt to contact her and doesn’t want to. I never knew the exact timeline but I think they were about 16.
72. Michael Phelps
I went to school with Michael Phelps. In elementary school, he was picked on all the time. He was tall, gangly, and had huge ears and no one let him forget it. He used to try to be mean back but it was always a pathetic display. At the time I mostly knew him by reputation because he was a year or two older than me, but everyone knew him as that weird swimmer kid.
His mom worked for the school system and he would complain to her about the people and teachers he REALLY didn’t like and they’d always wind up in trouble. That used to make me so mad because I was picked on mercilessly but nobody did s**t about it.
73. Jane Weidland
I went to high school with Jane Weidland of the Go Gos. She seemed on the shy side then, she hung with the glam rock crowd, but she was not a musician then, that we knew.
She seems to have gained more confidence, but otherwise, what videos I’ve seen of her since high school she seems pretty much exactly as I remember her.
74. Nick Offerman
Spent four years of high school with Nick Offerman. We were in band together (he played bari saxophone & occasionally percussion during marching band).
Specifically, I recall him being in the school production of Oklahoma. Apparently, he was already taking to performing. Cool, confident midwestern kid. Think his dad drove a bus.
75. Emily Ratajkowski
I went to school with Emily Ratajkowski. She’s always been kind and really smart and genuinely talented. The worst I can say is in middle school she auditioned for a play and she didn’t get the part she wanted so she didn’t do the play at all.
I ran into her when we were in college (still before she got famous) and she seemed sincerely happy to see me and catch up, I remember she loved the coat I was wearing. IMO her interviews and ‘famous persona’ are authentic – she is a legit badass babe. I’m super proud of her.
76. Dave Grohl
I grew up in the Washington DC area and would go to various punk rock shows in and around DC. One of my favourite bands at the time was Dain Bramage who Dave Grohl was the drummer. Just watching him you could see he was heads above anyone playing at that time.
I would hang out with him after their sets and would frequently run into him at other shows and venues. He was one of the nicest people I ever encountered in the punk scene and he’s pretty much the same person you see today as I knew back then.
77. Paul Rudd
My dad’s best friend was Paul Rudd’s roommate in college. I’ve heard plenty of funny stories and shenanigans that went down, but my favourite still is when they smoked out of an apple and Paul later used it as a prop in a comedy sketch.
Knowing him from that to an Avenger is really funny to me, but I also don’t think he’s changed that much haha.
78. James Franco
I have a friend who moved out to LA to make it in Hollywoodland where her apartment neighbour was James Franco. This was before anyone even knew who he was.
To make money, he worked at Mickey D’s and used fake accent/personalities on customers in the drive-thru to practice his acting. A few years later, BOOM!: Pineapple Express! She said he’s an awesome dude, still talks to him sometimes too.
79. Jason Mamoa
My aunt used to babysit Jason Mamoa while she was in high school. From what she’s told me he was a really laid back nice kind of skateboard kid.
I don’t know if he would remember her still because it’s been quite a while since she’s talked to him but he still seems to be a pretty chill dude.
80. Insane Clown Posse
Met the guys from Insane Clown Posse a few times over the years and they were super cool. Very nice guys. When we met them we were in line at a Rallys burger restaurant and they came in.
We noticed them, I said hey and after a moment of conversation one of them paid for our food and they sat a table over. They were cool dudes. They threw fries at us lol.
81. Hulk Hogan
My grandmother was next-door neighbours with Hulk Hogan, she has never said a decent word about him.
Said he was one of the biggest assholes she has ever known, crazy to see interviews of other WWE /WWF stars who also say he is a huge asshole lol.
82. Tyler Perry
I used to work with an older white woman who said she worked in a collections call centre with Tyler Perry years and years ago. She loved telling stories about him. She said he would sit at his workstation writing plays and scripts and ask her to read them. He would invite her to little performances.
She said he was always so nice to her and she was thrilled his career blew up. She used to talk about wishing she could reconnect just to tell him how proud she was. I offered to try and use social media to help her do that but she’d always say she didn’t want to bother him. It was all very sweet.
83. Uma Thurman
I didn’t know her, but I sat in a booth next to Uma Thurman at dinner one night. Hands down she has the filthiest mouth I’d heard up until that time.
I know that doesn’t mean much these days, but this was in the mid-90’s in Jackson, WY so a bit shocking at the time.
84. Mike Rowe
My mom was friends with Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs while they were growing up. They went to church together and he enjoyed singing in the church choir.
She said he was very into performing then, and was pretty charismatic, so it wasn’t shocking to hear he got into something entertainment related. Nice guy of course then, and seems to be still down to earth and nice now. She still runs into his parents occasionally.
85. Tom Savini
I used to hang out with Tom Savini when he was in the army at Fort Bragg, NC. He was acting in our towns little theatre.
He was wonderful! Very kind, loving and soft-spoken. I never dreamed at the time that he would become the master of horror that he is today.
86. Jimmy Simpson
I went to college with Jimmy Simpson from Westworld and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He isn’t Drake or Dolly Parton famous, but he is a pretty successful character actor. We were friendly, but I don’t want to overstate and say we were close. We were not. I have not seen him in 21 years since we graduated.
He was very mature and motivated in his early 20’s. He was just a lot more put together than the rest of us. Really nice guy. The first time I saw him on tv he got shot by Jack Bauer on 24 and I thought, “holy s**t, he might actually be able to do this”.
87. Scott Shriner
My dad grew up with Scott Shriner from Weezer, and was actually in a couple of bands with him. They’re still best friends today, and text just about every day.
Scott is like an uncle to me, and he’s always the funniest and coolest person in the room. If he’s changed at all, he’s gotten more humble.
88. Anna Faris
My buddy is cousins with Anna Faris and we all attended a wedding where she was in the wedding party. She was super nice to everyone, took pictures when asked, and really made an effort not to steal the spotlight from the bride.
She’s sweet but not super funny – so basically the same as on-screen. Also, she’s tiny.
89. Gus Johnson
I’ve got some mutual friends with Gus Johnson, met him just as his fame was starting to rise to greater levels and he wanted to start dedicating most of his time to it. By all accounts and my experiences with him he’s still just as nice a guy now as he ever was. Guy throws a great party and he’s one of the more humble people I’ve met.
I actually had no idea he was a big YouTuber because nobody mentioned it to me, until a friend shot me a “funny video” not knowing we had a connection, and I was like, “oh I know this guy. He’s chill as f**k to hang with” and my friend flipped out a bit.
90. Todrick Hall
I went to high school with Todrick Hall. He was a year ahead of me, graduated in 2003. I knew of him, mostly because he was the only male cheerleader on our varsity squad. He was always friendly. The last time I saw him was after he was on a season of American Idol.
I was on lunch break at our local mall and told him I’d stopped watching that year after he was voted off. It’s still kind of weird to know someone I went to school with is famous enough to work with people like Taylor Swift.
91. Rebecca Vardy
Had the unfortunate displeasure of attending school, although she was younger, with Rebecca Vardy. She was a complete and utter a**ehole, which she has admitted to in interviews.
She tried to get my brother beaten up because he didn’t “fancy” her. Total d**k! Every time I see her in the press or read anything about her, I think, yep. Once a t**tspangle always a t**tspangle.
92. Kate Shindle
I went to high school with Kate Shindle, who was Miss America 1998 and who has performed in Broadway and in some films. As of the last time I ran into her (some years back) she was the same person, which is to say very smart, very funny, and very kind.
I was quite the nervous nerd in high school (probably still today) and she made certain I was still invited to her cast party after our high school musical and, when I looked anxious, took the time to talk to me, calm me down, and make me feel welcomed.
93. Ryan Tanahill
Grew up with Ryan Tanahill. His dad was our high school assistant principal. He was two years younger than me and had classes with my brother. He was the biggest douchebag and made a point of bullying my openly gay brother.
His dad harassed my brother and any other known gay kid and the head principal joined in. Mr. Tanahill made a point to shut down the school and drag everyone from class down to the main hall to witness his son signing on to college. No one cared, it disrupted our day just to make us watch a bullying douche get a free ride.
94. Maggie Rogers
I went to elementary and middle school with Maggie Rogers. She was always very smart, kind and talented. The thing that got me was that after she became famous, she pushed this whole persona of being this country girl who grew up on a farm with no internet or any other technological luxuries. This is far from the truth.
Her father is a multi-millionaire and she grew up on a $5m estate equipped with a pool, pool house, guest house, Rec house and boathouse, situated on the water. The estate DOES have farmland, but I believe it is rented out to actual farmers. The summer camp she went to every summer cost something like $10k a summer.
95. Bret Hart
I am cousins with Bret “The Hitman” Hart and he is still kind and welcoming to everyone. He still always stops and talks with people if they want a picture or autograph. Great guy.
When my brother was little he discovered our family started WWF which is now WWE and he was so into it all, Bret would send my brother boxes of signed stuff. It meant the world to my brother. I also asked him about The Rock as they are still friends and he said he’s the most down to earth guy.
96. Scott Eastwood
I went camping with Scott Eastwood when we were teenagers. He was very kind, charismatic and funny. Most notably he hid his identity. All I knew was his dad was in Hollywood.
Obviously he did not go by his dad’s, immediately recognizable, last name at that time. He did a pretty good Smeagle/Gollum impression.
97. Jake Paul
Jake Paul. I was in a class with him in high school just as Vine was getting big. He hasn’t changed a bit. He’s still the attention-seeking, risky behaviours, ignore everyone who doesn’t cater to his ego person he was in 2013.
No joke, he drove his car and tried to hit a friend in the school parking lot, once classes let out, because “it was funny”.
98. Jeff Daniels
My mom and uncle went to school with Jeff Daniels. My mother says he was a pretty down to earth guy. He and his wife like to be in their hometown, so he bought a house on Cavanaugh Lake in Chelsea Michigan.
My great aunt used to clean their home, and also has said they were decent people. However, my uncle sometimes used to say that when they were in plays together that he was a d**k.
99. Steve Buscemi
My brother-in-laws mom went to college with Steve Buscemi and they were good friends. He was a fun, charismatic, nice guy then. I met him Steve and his wife and son at my sisters wedding in Southeast OH of all places.
He is a smart humble, funny, kind person truly. He didn’t steal the show or anything. Just acted like a normal guy. A really cool, normal guy!
100. Trent Reznor
Went to school with Trent Reznor back in the 80’s. We were acquaintances and not really friends, but he was a nice enough guy. Played in a local band that was very popular in college and the surrounding area and it was pretty clear at the time he was really talented.
At that age, I had to envy the groupies, but listening to his music later, it does seem to have jaded him a bit.