Despite their status, fame, and possibly everlasting legacy in one industry or another, every star started out as a pretty regular person, which generally meant they also went to school, where they rubbed shoulders with other people almost every single day. So naturally, some were interested in what they were like before the fame.
A curious netizen wanted to hear from people who went to school with celebrities, and the internet delivered. Some seem designed for greatness and others were downright unremarkable. So scroll through and upvote your favorites and be sure to comment your own experiences if you have them.
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Grandparents went to school with Danny Devito. They said they had always thought he would end up in jail
Image credits: xboxboy1221
Went to school with Harry Styles. Didn’t know him but he seemed pretty quiet, remember his band playing in the school hall.
Image credits: HyperactiveToast
I went to school with Natalia Dyer (Nancy from Stranger Things.) She’s an awesome person and very down to earth, quiet, and incredibly kind and thoughtful.
Image credits: anon
Regardless of what they were like, one advantage many of these stars had is that they can still claim to start out like “regular” people. These days, a common refrain when it comes to new actors or musicians is that they are simply just “nepo babies,” meaning they only achieved fame through nepotism. Take a new, “indie” artist you have found and go to their Wikipedia page. See if their parents’ names are blue.
Obviously, insider connections are generally always good, but there is a silver lining to having humble beginnings, as it might mean a person is more grounded and less likely to absolutely lose their mind when they become rich. Nicholas Cage, if you haven’t noticed, has been on an acting tear lately, due to his massive tax debt. He reportedly owed the IRS over $14 million dollars, which he paid off by taking on every role anyone would give him.
One of my good friends went to school with Avril Lavigne. Apparently she was the popular girly-girl.
Image credits: NewiePirate
my cousin went to high school with George R. R. Martin and recalled having a freshman lit class with him. when it was time for everyone to read their stories, George’s was BY FAR the best. apparently the entire class simultaneously dropped their jaws. guy’s a talent. oh, and apparently he was a typical nice dude.
oh, and he started a fight club.
EDIT: u/ConfusedCow brought up the fight club part i forgot that my cousin had mentioned
Image credits: Edawg649
Tyler the creator. I went to the same middle school and high school as him. He was KIND OF a loner. In high school he would spend his lunch in the auditorium playing on the piano. He kept to himself at school but was really goofy and energetic. I remember, In middle school he made a MySpace music page and posted some beats he made. He was already into graphic art and stuff (like the clothes and stuff he sells now). He used to skate a lot. He won first place at our middle school talent show by lip syncing a song that I cannot remember at the moment . Everyone liked him a lot.
Image credits: -outerlimits-
Fortunately, most of the people on this list actually went to high school and didn’t spend their time acting. Child stars are particularly at risk, suddenly working and subject to all sorts of attention. The result tends to be addiction later in life, as well as a feeling of estrangement from the adults who nominally should be protecting them. All too often, parents push their kids to be stars, with disastrous results.
Karlie Kloss was a year under me in high school. I didn’t really know her well but one of my best friends was really close with her. She kept her normal life and her model life pretty separate and was always super sweet and down to earth. I coached her younger twin sisters in softball and their parents were really good about supporting all their kids equally even though Karlie was clearly the one going places. Major props to her for not turning into some stuck up b***h but even more props to her family for keeping her grounded.
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My mom went to high school with Dave Grohl, dated his best friend or his brother’s best friend or something. She said a hell of a stoner, VP of the class, and would sometimes play music over the loudspeakers. And a nice guy overall.
Not me but my parents both went to school with J.K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter. Neither of them liked her, apparently she was a bit gothic according to my parents and always looked like she felt under the weather. Apparently she was like a prefect or something of that nature in her final year of school and really disliked my dad. My dad told me he would in his words,” Get in trouble for anything, literally one step out of line and she would be on me like a fly.” Apparently all of the teachers in Harry Potter are also based off of teachers from that school as well and my parents say that they can compare teachers from the books and movies with real life teachers they have. Pretty cool.
Image credits: Lordylordd
While historically, certain people have enjoyed an elevated status, national heroes, athletes, and so on, the idea of a celebrity is quite recent, in fact, many sociologists believe it’s really only been around for the last century. Mass media and the general spread of images around the world allow certain people to now be recognized across multiple continents, even in cases where people do not speak the same language or even consume their creative endeavors.
My dad went to High School with Mariah Carey. Apparently she was as full of herself then as she is now.
That didn’t stop him from naming my sister after her though…
Image credits: kaikun2236
Josh Hutcherson. He was always very quiet, didn’t talk to people that much, and wasn’t around often as he was already an actor. We weren’t friends,, but others have said that he was a little stuck up. Although I wonder if it’s because he just wanted some time to be a regular kid.
Image credits: anon
jennifer, m**********n lawrence. she was a couple years older than me but no surprise she was basically what she is now except younger (class clown, pretty nice everyone loved her)
Image credits: elena1099
These days, we combine fame and fortune, though in the past a person could be well-known, while still relatively poor. Despite this, celebrities are relatively modest compared to “real” wealth, for example, the Forbes top 100 cumulatively have a net worth of “just” $4.5 billion in 2010. This still puts them squarely ahead of the vast majority of the world, but fame perhaps isn’t the only road to riches.
My ex went to high school with zac effron. They were in play together but he ended up getting more and more famous at that point so he ended up homeschooling or something before graduation.
Image credits: Old_man_at_heart
My bro went to school with Matthew Perry. During one of the school plays Perry had the lead role and my brother was a tree.
Image credits: HighCalibrHouseplant
Christina Perri. We were pretty tight freshman year, and then I went the super angsty teen route and she took the more chill “hippie” route. We always still got along but didn’t hang out after that. She was always incredibly nice, regardless.
Image credits: anon
Of course, the downside is that many celebrities often face various risks. First of all, the aforementioned addictions, but stalking and celebrity worship, are still quite common, making it hard for some stars to have any semi-balance of a normal life. The statistics speak for themselves, as stars actually tend to die younger than the majority of the population. So at least they got a “normal” high school experience. If you want to hear more about celebs before they were famous, click here, and here.
I went to high school with Carrie Underwood. She was a grade below me. Sang at just about every football and basketball game we had, as well as the yearly “Old Settlers Day” celebration. She was nice, though there are some that might say she was just the teensiest bit snobby. This was mostly because she didn’t party like a lot of kids her age we’re at the time. She didn’t sleep around, and sang “I will remember you” at my graduation. One thing I remember: She sometimes had a strange sense of fashion. She’d sometimes wear these weird red leather pants with an old, faded Dan Marino Dolphins jersey.
Image credits: Asmodicus
Went to school with Bo Burnham. Cool guy. Didn’t get to talk to him a whole lot but he seemed cool.
Image credits: swunty
My brother and I both went to school with Tina Fey. We didn’t know her, but we likely knew everyone that helped inspire “Mean Girls”.
Wiz Khalifa went to school here for a year or two due to his parents being military. My older sister was a year ahead of him in jr high. Surprisingly, those that remember him from school say he was more of a goody-two-shoes, would have never touched weed. He played football..and supposedly still keeps in contact with some old friends here.
Image credits: Aphrodite70
Not exactly high school; however, I did go to a summer camp as a child with a very famous Canadian pop star (rhymes with Dustin feeber.) He was a brat and was constantly getting in trouble and getting picked on and laughed at, at which point he would dismiss his assailants by making claim to his soon to be fame — I guess hes laughing now.
Grandma went high school with Elvis. Everybody thought he was strange and he liked to dress flashy even then.
He had a crush on my great aunt, but she turned him down.
Edit- I’m starting to think all these people are exaggerating their stories they told us.
My mom went to middle school with Eminem. She never talked to him, she was a year older and she hung with a different crowd but she says he kept to himself a lot and just carried journals around. My grandma works at a flower shop and a few years ago, Eminem went in and bought flowers for his mom. When i asked grandma about it, she had no idea he was a famous rapper. She said “you mean Marshall?” Lol. She has copies of his signatures on reciepts at her work
I went to High School with Aziz Anzari. He used to always answer questions wrong in class and try to argue that he was actually right. Like, if the teacher asked what year America was discovered, he would say 1896 and tell the teacher they are wrong. He would ask for their source and claim the source was unreliable. Eventually, the teachers would ignore him then he’d tell me they were racist. I wasn’t really sure if he was funny or weird, I guess he was both.
My uncle grew up with Iggy Pop. They used to trade weed for LSD back in the day. In Iggy’s biography there is a chapter on Iggy’s best friend who happens to be one of my uncle’s best friends. Says he was really cool dude who always was telling him to come out and see his band. Unfortunately my uncle never went.
A friend was in acting class with Jennifer Aniston around the time she first started getting TV gigs (remember the sketch comedy show “The Edge”?) He said she was funny, smart, and really nice.
I was a bench player as a senior on the St. Vincent-St. Mary basketball team when Lebron was a freshman. Coolest dude. Had the backs of everyone.
Image credits: anon
My friends mom went to HS with Snoop Dogg. Evidently he was pretty much the same.
Dove Cameron she was a total bully.
Image credits: anon
My grandmother went to high school with Marilyn Monroe (before she was MM). Norma Jean Baker only went to the same high school as Grandma for 1 year. Grandma said she was very shy.
Not school, but I worked at a company as a brand ambassador with Nicole Johnson (Michael Phelps wife), and she is gorgeous in person as well as incredibly nice.
Ansel Elgort, a f*****g d**k who knew he was hot s**t
Image credits: soulfulplanet7
I went to school with Tony Romo. Tony was very respectful of teachers and other students. He was the best athlete in school, but he didn’t act like a jock at all, he far more of a “nerd” than anything. I believe he graduated Salutatorian.
I also went to school with the lead singer of [The Record Company](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8aNK3XMP5w), Chris Vos. Was a really nice, humble guy that loved music. Genuinely cool guy that moved from small town WI to L.A. and killed it.
My sister went to high school with Jeffree Star. It was the 2000s, let’s just say he was the emo king, and always had a full face of makeup with crazy hair. Emo girls would compete for his attention and he was an antisocial jerk. Most high school drama was about him. He started doing makeup in the porn industry, then after high school people forgot about him. Now he has his own makeup brand.
My brother went to HS with Jake Lloyd (the person who played young Anakin Skywalker in Phantom Menace) and according to him he wasn’t the most popular guy and was bullied at one point.
My boss went to HS with Rosie O’Donnell. He says she was loud mouthed and pushy just like she is today. Against all logic she was even the Homecoming Queen.
Years later she sponsored the 20 year reunion for his class and hired “The Captain & Tennille” as the entertainment.
Alexis Bledel from Gilmore Girls was in a few of my private middle school classes. Just another kid going to school, she was discovered by one of those mall talent people so during middle school/most of highschool she was just a normal student. I still have my yearbook somewhere with her in it.
John Mayer went to my high school and sang with my friend’s brother’s band. I never met him but I heard he stole a bunch of their songs for his solo album. They told me he was a d**k because of that, but not sure about prior.
I played drums with Ricky (Raviv)Ullman in high school band for 3 years til he got a lead role on a Disney show called ‘Phil of the Future’ or something like that. He was liked by almost everyone in our grade. Forgot to add that he was also very smart and probably in the top 5-10% of our graduating class.
Justin Long grew up close to me and I heard he is chill and nice to be around.
My sister graduated high school with Aaron Hernandez. I went to the same school, but graduated before they did. My sister says that he was a trouble maker and kind of a jerk. He knew football was his golden ticket and didn’t really care about anything else.
He went through a lot in his life and my sister was still happy for him when he got drafted. She lives out of state now and it used to be her go to fun fact when people would ask her about where she is from. The fact has become a lot less fun over time.
I went with a few:
Thomas Pridgen (drummer) – Awesome dude, we played in jazz band together, had some great times.
Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) – Didn’t know him too well, but was always a big force in the theater productions obviously.
The Lonely Island guys were seniors when I was a freshman, but we had some friends in common and seemed super chill from what I remember
Last time this was asked I talked about Grimes but I think this time I’ll talk about my experience with Justin Trudeau as a sub teacher.
Had him for grade eleven socials. We were learning about the origins of WWI. He started telling us about this really cool band called Franz Ferdinand. He seemed really agitated that no one in the room had heard about them. Like he was taking personal offence at that and kind of spazzing. At the time I was just thinking wow settle down man. A few months later Take Me Out became a smash hit and I thought man, that prime minister’s son sure is hip. That’s bad news for Ben Mulroney.
But I should share a serious story too. September 11, 2001, I was only 13 but I could tell that this was some serious s**t. For social studies that year I had a wouderful teacher named Tom Harpunik who’d won the Prime Minister’s award for teaching and I knew that he’d have excellent class discussion set up for that. Unfortunately I didn’t have socials that day. But my French teacher wasn’t at school that day (I never wondered why she was away that day, but come to think of it, she was East Indian so I wonder if she was afraid about retaliation against a person of colour). Our sub was Mr. Trudeau. At the time I knew who Pierre was and I think I knew he had a son who was a teacher but i don’t think I put that together at the time.
So there I am in French class on 9/11 with this sub who says that he’s actually a history and drama teacher but he’s from Montreal so he teaches French from time to time. He wasn’t going to teach us French that day;he wanted to talk about geopolitics, to the extent that 13 year olds could. He had some thoughts but he was more concerned with facilitating discussion. Unfortunately I don’t remember a lot of what was said but I remember that he really did want to hear from every student about how they thought it would affect their lives.
I’ve got my problems with his policies, but given that day I’m not surprised that he’s PM. He’s got the name recognition, he’s handsome, and he’s really good at bringing people together and making them feel heard.
Edit: grimes post https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/4mstpl/past_teachers_of_present_celebritiesfamous_people/d3y6wpb/
My FIL went to school with Bruce Willis and grew up in the same area so they played baseball together. He says he was as good kid but with a horrible stammer so he started taking voice coaching lessons to correct it. The rest is history.
I went to high school with Marshawn Lynch. He was a grade below me. He was a pretty normal kid, by the standards of kids in the Oakland neighborhoods.
On the football field though, Jesus, he was just as good as he is now.
My mom went to high school and college with Larry the cable guy and they had a close circle of friends. He actually asked my mom to prom but she stood him up. They grew up in south Florida so when she heard his act years later she thought it was so funny that his character had a heavy country accent. But she said he was always the class clown and she knew he was destined to do something big.
Dad went to college (sixth form) with Stephen Fry. Says he was a really funny and wise dude
My dad went to high school with Barrack Obama, he said he was a good basketball player. It was also rumored that he smoked weed. He also had a nice fro. My brother posted a pic of him in my [dad’s yearbook](https://www.reddit.com/r/OldSchoolCool/comments/788z94/a_picture_of_president_obama_in_my_dads_high/?st=J9G3Y42J&sh=4847be60https://www.reddit.com/r/OldSchoolCool/comments/788z94/a_picture_of_president_obama_in_my_dads_high/?st=J9G3Y42J&sh=4847be60)
Went to school with Kid Cudi. He was a year older than me and before I really got to know him he left to go to a different school. From what I remember he was a bit different but overall a nice guy. Better friends with his manager. Also, a real world contestant(?) was in my same grade. Lastly, not while I was there but MGK went to the same school.
Jake Thomas who was in a lot of stuff but is most known for playing Lizzie McGuire’s little brother. This little s**t would come into the pizza place I worked at and ALWAYS send his pizza back 2 or 3 times. He wanted so much sauce that the dough would end up being half raw. We’d always have to make the pizza in a special way to accommodate him. F**k that guy.
My older brother went to middle school with Sean Kingston. He said he was annoying and quiet which seems to contradict, but then again, my older brother is bit of a jerk so I wouldn’t take his word for it.
Does professional athlete count? I went to high school with TJ Mconnell of the 76ers. He was funny in freshmen year but kind of a douchebag for the rest of high school. I didn’t know him personally but had class with him at one time or another throughout school.
I grew up in church (Oak Hills Church in San Antonio) with Ally Brooke from Fifth Harmony. Me and my friends always thought she was kind of annoying because she ALWAYS had to be the one who lead praise and worship time/ sing everywhere! Like every Sunday, Wednesday night bible studies, any retreats, and on mission trips. I’m pretty sure for the entirety of my church life I only saw her sing and trust me there were plenty of other just as good singers there, but then she eventually got famous and left. However, you could tell she was always super cocky and didn’t really get along too well with the other girls (as far as I can remember) and when she joined fifth harmony she kinda cut off all her friends at her old high school (Brandies High School). And I remember how one of her best friends, who also went to church with us, was extremely hurt by it.
Anyways now she’s famous as s**t, and I can’t stand fifth harmony bc it just reminds me of her and how she acted all those years ago.
(Not trying to intentionally bash on Ally or anything, this is just simply how I remember her)
I went to school with Ellen Page. We were in the same group of friends, went to all the same parties and ate lunch together. She kept thinking I was calling her “Hellen” all the time which was weird.
“Hi Ellen hows it going?”
“My name is ELLEN! Not Hellen!”
My best friend dated her for a bit and they were nice together. She’s one of those people that acts exactly how you’d expect. She’s a bit timid and shy but very nice.
I went to high school with Roman Atwood. He was a good dude. We skateboarded and got into all kinds of BS. He pulled pranks then too, just not on the same scale. Good times
My Dad and Uncle went to school with David Adkins aka Sinbad the comedian. They said he was pretty much what you would expect, funny and a bit of a class clown.
I was the celebrity actually. First year I was loved, second year hated, third year loved, fourth year hated, fifth year hated, sixth year loved. I dropped out in my seventh year.
Only had a small circle of friends who stuck by me through thick and thin, even assaulting a government facility together with me
Not super famous yet, but he’s getting there! I went to school with Victor Oladipo and he was one of the nicest, funniest, care free guys I ever met. Any interview I’ve ever seen with him is exactly how he’s always acted.
Not me but my roommate went to high school with Rob Gronkowski and all of his brothers. Apparently the song Sandstorm was banned from school dances because the Gronks would go nuts on the dance floor and hurt people with their moshing.
I wouldn’t exactly say celeb, or school. One time I sat beside this guy James on a boat. He was ok I guess.
Who the f**k are these people.
Grew up with Sum41 and went to high school with them.
Out of the small handful of high school bands they seemed like they were the only ones who had a shot at being something. Turns out they did.
The first time I got really wasted at a house party & was puking, Steve Jocz was that dude who had my back “it’ll be ok buddy… you got this”. The true bro.
Just after he quit the band (before they got famous), I would occasionally DJ with Richard Roy. Solid dude.
Mark Spicoluk also quit the band before the fame. He was an idiot, but one hell of a hockey player (also played hockey with him).
Dave Baksh (and his wife) are both super stand up people and still keep in contact with a LOT of the people from back home from what I gather. Still have a few friends that do dinner with him from time to time.
Deryck Whibley was kind of the quiet kid in the cafeteria who sat alone. He got picked on a bunch, but I’m not sure why. We had these horrible hotdogs in the caf and from time to time people would throw these things at him. It resulted in the band doing a cover of the Oscar Mayer Wiener song during our Christmas talent show.
I remember that because I was dating this girl I really liked at the time. We skipped out of the “assembly” just after they did this song to go back to her place where she “changed into something more comfortable”. Came back in this crop top and shorts, sitting next to me on the couch. I was too nervous to make a move and she broke up with me the next day because I was such an idiot.
Anyways, some of them are still seen around town from time to time. They were party kids who got rich quick, nearly killed themselves on drugs & alcohol, got a manager who toned them down, but they never forgot their friends.
Roy Woods (He’s signed under Drake’s hip-hop label, OVO). He was pretty good at football, was always freestyling, and I swear to god nobody laughed more. Just a fun guy to be around, super loyal too.
Not the same school but J Cole went to my rival high school but we played sports together growing up. He was a quiet kid and I never knew he could rap.
My dad dated Demi Moore in high school. They split because she was apparently looking for a baby daddy to get out of her parents’ house.
If anybody is into Aussie league I went to School with Greg Inglis and was good mates with his little Bro Chris
My cousin took a few acting classes with Haden Christensen…Claims he was a “prissy, effeminate diva” who would regularly throw tantrums and have b***h fits for no apparent reason…
He also claims that “he wasn’t really acting” in Star Wars lol
I went to high school with Wil Wheaton’s son. I found out when his son invited me over once, and I was surprised to see him. Really kind man despite the controversy I hear about him.
Not sure if they count as celebrities, but Rena W**g also attended, as well as Mirai Nagasu (both Olympics participants). Clay and Bruce Matthews were around when I was there, too, but haven’t had personal interactions with them. Ryan Bergara of BuzzFeed was known to have done some really funny skits in our high school’s weekly video news.
There’s also Jason Chen, the Youtube singer. He’s notorious in my area for being a douche.
My dad went to school with Vinny Jones (footballer turned actor). Apparently he was a d**k. Unsurprising.
I knew someone that went to High School with Vincent Martella (voice actor for Phineas on Phineas and Ferb). Supposedly he was obnoxious about being a Disney actor.
I was in 9th grade Spanish class at John Marshall in Pasadena, CA with Jaleel White (Steve Urkel from Family Matters) right around when he first landed the role but wasn’t “famous” yet. He already had a big ego and was an annoying kid (I sat one desk in front of him) that seemed to always need attention.
Well, one day he had somehow pushed the buttons of the wrong person, a linebacker on the varsity team two times his size, and he picked him up and threw him across the room. The football player was sent to the dean’s office and Jaleel stormed out of the classroom never to return to our school again.
The crazy part of the story though is.. The next day, Jaleel’s really large father shows up to school and is out in the hallway (outside of our classroom) and is calling for Ronnie (the football player) to come out and confront him. We’re all freaking out in class (with excitement for what is going to happen next) and our teacher tells us all to stay in our seats. I’m sure the security guards came shortly and escorted him off the campus, but it was pretty wild and entertaining to us. I assume he was home schooled from that point on.
One of The best 1st fives the world has seen
Everyone knew He was going to be good when he was kicking conversions 50m out at 14 years old.
He was fine, not a d**k or anything. I did see him in town after he made the all blacks and said wassup to him and he ignored me so he turned into a bit of a d**k.