17. Natalie Portman Was Studying For Her Bachelor’s Degree At Harvard While Filming Star Wars
After filming wrapped on The Phantom Menace (she had to skip the premiere to study for her high school finals), Portman decided to take a break from acting to attend Harvard. She was already signed on for the Star Wars sequels, though, so filmed Attack of the Clones during the summer break after her first year. She graduated in 2003 with a degree in psychology and gave the commencement address to the class of 2015.
16. Academy Award-Winning Actress Brie Larson Once Toured With Jesse McCartney
Before she was an Oscar-winning Serious Actress™ and BFF of Emma Stone, Brie Larson took the tween world by storm with her debut album, Finally Out of PE. She promoted the release of her album – which, in the end, sold about 3,500 copies – by going on tour with a “Beautiful Soul”-era Jesse McCartney.
15. Danny DeVito And Rhea Pearlman – Who Played The Wormwood Parents In Matilda – Are Married In Real Life
DeVito and Pearlman first met in 1971, married in 1982, have three children together, and founded a film production company called Jersey Films that’s behind movies like Pulp Fiction and Erin Brockovich. They separated in 2012 after 30 years of marriage, but reconciled and called off the divorce a few months later – sadly, though, they called it quits again in March this year.
14. Courteney Cox Is Now Older Than Tom Selleck Was When He Played Her Boyfriend, Richard, On Friends
Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of Friends remembers Richard, Monica’s much-older, moustache-wearing boyfriend, played by Tom Selleck. Selleck was born in January 1945, making him 51 years old when he started playing Richard in 1996. And Courteney Cox’s birthday is 15 June, 1964 – meaning she’s currently 52.
13. Dakota And Elle Fanning Are Distant Cousins Of Kate Middleton, Duchess Of Cambridge
It’s a pretty tenuous link, but research carried out by experts at Ancestry.com in 2016 determined that the Duchess of Cambridge and the Fanning sisters were both descendants of King Edward I, making them (very) distant cousins.
The same research discovered that Kate is also distantly related to Ellen DeGeneres and George Washington.
12. Elvis Presley Was a Natural Blonde
His black quiff is the definition of iconic, but Elvis’s hair wasn’t naturally that dark – he was a natural blonde. According to his hair stylist, Larry Geller, his hair had to be dyed every two to three weeks to keep its shiny, jet black look.
11. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, And Martin Luther King, Jr. Have All Won More Grammys Than Katy Perry
All three of them have won Grammys in the Spoken Word category (Obama has won it twice!), but despite being nominated 13 whole times since 2009, Katy has never won a Grammy.
Other surprising Grammy winners include ex-presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.
10. Seth MacFarlane – Creator Of Family Guy – Has Several Big-Band Albums
Yep, the man famous for Peter Griffin and Ted is actually a pretty decent big band musician. He’s released three albums since signing with Universal Republic Records in 2011, and has even been nominated for two Grammys in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album category.
09. Kanye West Applied To Study Fashion At Central Saint Martins In London, But Was Rejected
He may have a mega-successful fashion line with Yeezy, but the journey hasn’t all been easy for Kanye. He applied to study at Central Saint Martins – whose list of alumni includes Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney – but was turned down because he was “too famous”.
08. Nolan Gould, Who Plays Luke Dunphy On Modern Family, Is a Member Of MENSA
Yep, despite the fact that his character is kind of an idiot, the youngest member of the Dunphy family is actually a certified genius – he’s a member of Mensa, has an IQ of 150, and graduated high school early at the age of 13.
07. And Kesha Is Insanely Smart And Got An Almost Perfect Score On Her SAT
She may have risen to fame singing party pop songs like “Tik Tok” and “Your Love is My Drug”, but that doesn’t mean she’s not smart. In a 2010 interview with NPR, she explained that she’d always done well in school and enjoyed learning: “I was in the international baccalaureate program, I loved physics and math, and I was in the marching band. After practice, I would drive to Belmont [a college in Nashville] and listen to Cold War history classes.”
06. Betty White Is Older Than Sliced Bread
Pre-sliced bread was sold for the first time at a bakery in Missouri in July 1928. Betty White was born more than six years earlier, on 17 January 1922. Which means that the famous phrase should ~really~ be “the best thing since Betty White”.
05. Will Smith’s Full Name Is Actually Willard, Not William
Yep! For some reason, this is totally mindblowing. Maybe it’s because his character in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air was called William?
04. Julie Andrews’ Singing Voice Was Almost Entirely Ruined By a Botched Surgery In The ’90s
In 1997, the Sound of Music and Mary Poppins star had surgery to remove benign nodules on her vocal chords – but when she woke up, she found that she was no longer able to sing. She sang professionally again for the first time in The Princess Diaries 2, and nailed the song on the first take, bringing tears to the eyes of the cast and crew.
03. Nicolas Cage Was Born Nicolas Kim Coppola. His Stage Name Is Inspired By His Favorite Comic Book Character, Luke Cage
Cage is actually a member of the Coppola family, who are basically film royalty – his uncle was Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola, and his cousins are director Sofia Coppola and actor Jason Schwartzmann – but he wanted to change his name when he got into acting to separate himself from his famous family. He named himself after his favourite Marvel character, Luke Cage. His son Kal-El, is also named after a superhero – it’s Superman’s birth name.
02. Steve Buscemi Was a Firefighter With The FDNY As a Teenager And Returned To Help In The Aftermath Of 9/11
Before beginning his incredibly successful acting career, Buscemi worked as a firefighter in New York City in the early ’80s. When the September 11 attacks occurred in 2001, he temporarily rejoined his old company and helped with the clean up at Ground Zero. He even produced a documentary, called A Good Job, which examines the work of the New York Fire Department.
01. Leighton Meester, Aka Gossip Girl‘s Blair Waldorf, Was Born While Her Mother Was In Prison
Meester’s upbringing was worlds away from Blair Waldorf’s Upper East Side lifestyle – she was born while her mother was serving a 10-year sentence for her role in a 1980s drug smuggling ring. After Leighton was born, she was sent to live with her grandmother until her mother was released from prison. Leighton is open about her upbringing and says her experience helps her not to judge people based on their past.
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