Remember when your teacher would ask the entire class about what they wanted to be when they grew up? There were always a few kids who’d say that they wanted to become adventurous astronauts, charismatic rock stars, and legendary athletes. They were shooting for the stars! And though life happens and we have to let go of some of our ambitions, not everyone gives up on their dreams. Some of them turn theirs into reality.
Maybe you didn’t know it at the time, but the person sitting next to you in class and at the cafeteria was going to become wildly famous in the future. Maybe they were the kids of famous parents and it wasn’t a secret to anyone. Well, that’s exactly what internet users discussed in an insightful thread on r/AskReddit.
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Redditors revealed who they or their relatives went to school with who’s famous now, and spilled the beans about what they were like back then. It’s amazing to learn how fun, kind, and down-to-earth many beloved celebrities were… though it’s not the case with everyone. Check out their stories below and let us know which ones resonated with you the most, Pandas!
We got in touch with entertainment, pop culture, and lifestyle expert Mike Sington for a chat about recognizing who will go far while they’re still in school. “Many people have talent, very, very few have star quality,” he told Bored Panda. We also asked Hollywood’s Ultimate Insider about the potential pitfalls that celebrities ought to be aware of, how to stay grounded, and how to behave at your next school reunion if your classmate is famous. You’ll find the full interview below.
I went to high school with **Taylor Swift**. She was endearing and awkward. Extremely kind and modest. A group of us saw her perform on Good Morning America one morning before anyone knew she was a musician. Went she returned to school later in the week and we were like “WHAT THE F**K TAYLOR?? Who are you?”
Her bashful response, “Oh… umm… I really like to play guitar”. Few months later she performed “Our Song” at our annual talent show. There was a silence before the huge round of applause. It was the first time 90% of us ever heard her music.
(I was a senior her freshman year. We had gym together)
Image credits: Rae_hers
“It’s charisma that will usually tip you off as to who will make it big in the future. Who did everyone want to be around? Who had that undefinable X-factor? Those are the people most likely to be famous in the future,” celebrity expert Mike explained to Bored Panda what the signs of someone who will probably go far in life are.
“Having talent simply isn’t enough. The most talented people in school may go on to make a living with that talent, but it’s unlikely to catapult them to stardom. Many people have talent, very, very few have star quality.”
Hollywood’s Ultimate Insider noted that there are a few major pitfalls that celebrities need to be aware of. “First, be careful of who you surround yourself with. Are those people in your life there to help and support you? Or are they just latching on to your fame for the ride and excitement of it all? Even worse, are they there taking advantage of you?” he warned.
I went to highschool with Ludacris. Back then he was just Chris, and he was hilarious.
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My dad went to the same high school as Prince. Apparently he was a very quiet kid, didn’t have many friends.
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“Second, focus on the work, not the fame. If you’re constantly feeding the fame machine, the work will suffer, and you could find yourself in the middle of a downhill spiral. Third, never take fame for granted. Fame, can indeed, be fleeting. Approach fame with gratitude and respect. Never forget how powerful fame is and how it has thrust you into the public spotlight. Never let your guard down, even for a second. You can lose fame much faster than gain it.”
Meanwhile, rely on your friends and family to stay grounded. Especially if you’re becoming famous while still in school. Mike advises spending as much time as possible in the company of your loved ones. “Doing that will remind you, you are indeed still the same person.”
“When meeting celebrities who you knew when they were younger, don’t be starstruck. They’re looking for normalcy in their life, and you reflect that, so just be you. It would, of course, be difficult to pretend their fame didn’t exist, so acknowledge it by simply complimenting their work,” he said. And that’s something to keep in mind for your next school reunion!
Demi Lovato. She was the grade below me in middle school, and then moved to Hollywood just before high school. She was a real b***h and a half. Definitely the biggest mean girl of her grade. I don’t really understand why she goes into interviews saying she was bullied so badly; it was her doing all the terrorizing.
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My dad went to high school with Neil deGrasse Tyson. They were buddies, but not extremely close. He described him as being “popular, athletic, and an all around good guy”. We even have a signed yearbook!
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My aunt made out with, and then proceeded to puke on Michael J. Fox.
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We were incredibly glad to read that so many well-known celebs used to be kind and decent kids while growing up. Unfortunately, some of them weren’t all that stellar. Stars are definitely just like ‘regular’ people in one regard—they’re far from perfect.
They had more or less the same flaws as their classmates, but these were probably later amplified by their fame. When you put any person under the microscope and subject them to attention 24/7, you notice a ton of things you probably otherwise wouldn’t. Suddenly, you start becoming hyper-aware of how outrageously funny/arrogant/charismatic/(un)likable they used to be… though you wouldn’t necessarily say the same things about your classmates who went on to have ‘ordinary’ careers.
One of the best things that teachers can do is treat all students equally. It’s human nature to have favorites, but educators ought to put in the effort to make sure that everyone, no matter their family or financial status, gets the attention they need.
Well i didnt exactly, but Johnny Depp was 1 grade ahead of me and I talked to him occasionally, and i can tell ya, he was the same as he is now, the lead in everything, the class clown/wierdo and had almost barley any friends
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My Mom went to high school with Michelle Obama (formerly Michelle Robinson), and even has a yearbook with her signature in it. They were in the National Honor Society together, and had been pretty good acquaintances. It wasn’t until one day after Obama was elected, my Mom was watching the news, and jumped in recognition and ran to find her yearbook.
My father grew up with Neil Young.
They were basically best buds & they stole that hearse together. Neil Young tells of that s**t in his biography.
Previously, Bored Panda spoke about motivating students and having a good working relationship with them with Lisa McLendon, from the University of Kansas.
“Just this week I put a current student in touch with an alum who was looking for a summer intern—I knew the student and what the alum was looking for, and I thought they’d be a good match. By Thursday she had the internship!” the professor shared with us earlier.
“It’s always nice to see when your students flourish. I also encourage (and have gotten the university to fund) students to attend an annual professional conference, to see what professionals in the field are doing and start to build their network. Every year a few students go, and they’re always happy to have had such an experience,”
Zac Efron was in my high school speech and debate league. He accused me of wanting to kill Oprah in a debate. And he won.
The sitter for my kids went to school
With Justin bieber. She said he’s a douchebag.
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My Friends Mom was asked to prom by Will Ferrell in high school. Apparently he showed up to her door completely naked and asked her in front of her parents.
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Some students are genuinely grateful for all of the help their teachers gave them. For example, some send handwritten notes, saying how much they value what they learned. Small gestures like that can help educators stay motivated when things get tough. It’s a reminder that what they do really matters.
According to Professor McLendon, educators can help guide and inspire their students by showing the purpose of what they’re doing in class.
“Relating concepts and skills to real-world activities can help many students understand not just what they’re doing but why. Explaining the purpose of big-picture things like a whole course as well as small things like individual assignments can help students understand why what they’re doing is relevant. Also, putting concepts and skills into the larger field can help students contextualize what they’re doing and see how it relates to things they’ve done before and things they’ll be doing at the next level,” she explained.
My Grandma went to school with Elvis. They had P.E. together. She said he was a real ladies’ man and he was a total sweetheart.
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Went to primary with Peter Jackson’s son (before Lord of the Rings came out). He told us his dad was making a movie, i laughed at him. Oh god why…
Dad went to school with Hugh Grant. Very popular dude. Got all the ladies at the neighboring girls schools.
Meanwhile, if you ever need to let a student know that they ought to put in more effort into their classwork and homework, the so-called ‘sandwich’ method works wonders.
“Tell the student something good about their work (bread), tell them how something could be better (filling), then tell them something else good, either about their work or about your confidence in their ability to do it (bread). Some students want simple, direct feedback on what to fix, but many want to know that they’re at least on the right track and that their teacher thinks they can do it,” the professor said.
Did you go to school with someone who later turned out to be famous, dear Pandas? Do you know a celebrity personally? Who is the most successful person you’ve seen at your school reunions so far? If you’re feeling up for it, we’d love to hear about your school days, so don’t be shy—share your thoughts with all the other readers in the comments.
My uncle went to school with Bon Jovi, he shoved my uncle in a locker…
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Not me, but OJ Simpson asked my mom to go out with him in high school… luckily she said no…
My friend’s dad went to high school with Neil Patrick Harris, and apparently used to bully him.
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Friend’s mom went to high school with Nick Cage. Yep.
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My dad went to high school with Bill Murray, apparently he was quite well liked.
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I’m classmates with Princess Mako of Japan (the emperor’s granddaughter) in 2 classes in college. Apparently there are bodyguards dressed up as students near her at all times.
Marilyn Manson went to my elementary and a rival high school of mine. He was much older than I but I have talked to people that knew him. They always said he was quite but very intelligent. They said he was a pretty normal kid.
My mom went to school with Steve from Blues Clues – she was in the drama department with him. She said he was always acting kooky, but he was super nice and artsy
Tupac. I was in French class with him in either 10th or 11th grade. I was pretty s****y at French, and I don’t remember him paying too much attention to the subject either. Then again, I remember little of those days since it was over 20 years ago. I can vouch for his having been really funny though- he had the whole class totally losing it on more than one occasion.
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Rebecca Black was my “little buddy” when she was in kindergarten and I was in 4th grade. Honestly, she was adorable and very well-spoken and polite for a 5 year old. And I remember for the two other years I went to that elementary school, we still bumped into each other every now and then–she spent most of her time in the library reading, keeping herself only two a small group of friends. And now we’ve been on Facebook for the past two years or so, even before Friday debuted.
My dad went to college with Bruce Willis. He told me stories of them listening to records in their dorm rooms, and Bruce being a real drunk. Apparently he dropped out because he was an alcoholic… Apparently when he went out to Hollywood he asked one of my dads friends to be his accountant but he thought Bruce wasn’t gonna make it.
My sister’s friend went to school with Heath Ledger and he was good mates with him. She told me when she herself met him he was a really friendly guy.
I went to high school with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I would see him once in a while walking to class or chilling with his friends. He seemed pretty laid back.
My father went to high school with John Stamos. He says that Stamos was a huge nerd and performed magic tricks at lunch. That is all
My boyfriend went to school with Michael Cera and was good friends with him until he moved away. He really is just as awkward and hilarious in real life and i have been told many funny stories about him.
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My Mom went to school with Madonna(Rochester, Michigan), she said she was a total s**t which I was not surprised by at all.
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My friends dad punched Bono when they were in school.
The full story:
So I’m slightly hazy about the exact details but the story goes Bono wrote a song (or sang a song) to my friends dad’s girlfriend, as you can imagine he didn’t take kindly to this creepy and d******d move. So the the next day he punched him right in the money maker!
Friends dad eventually married his girlfriend and they settled down on a very successful lettuce farm. Where they live happily married.
tl;dr Protects his woman by punching Bono in the sweetest thing and lives like a king on his farm, growing 2 kids and a lot of lettuce.
Image credits: Dylabaloo
Just remembered another one; an ex-boyfriend of mine would travel the pond to Ireland every summer (his mother’s Irish) and would attend an acting camp while there. Evanna Lynch, who plays Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter series, also attended every year, and they were actually on good terms. He says she more or less IS Luna Lovegood, and that most of what is portrayed on screen is how she is in real life, even down to the voice. 😀
Kesha. She was weird. Not hot weird, Just weird.
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My gym teacher always tells this one story about how she went to high school with Nathan Fillion, and he bought an election for a friend of his by promising almost all the girls in the school he’d go out with them if they voted for his friend.
My mom went to the same school as Christopher Reeve, she said he was one of those smart jock type of guys, nice too
I went to high school with LeBron James. In high school, he was pretty humble and down to earth, even when he (and the rest of the school) knew he was going to be an NBA superstar, he kept his class and played it cool through graduation. IMO, his ego didn’t blow up until after high school.
My aunt went to high school with Ellen Degeneres. They weren’t great friends or anything, but she was a pretty outgoing social person from what she said. Also, my dad rode his bike with her for awhile.
Well I went to high school with one of the Jonas Brothers. Had class together and whatnot.
He was a pretty cool dude, but really into Jesus.
My cousin went to high school with Natalie Hershlag (Portman) in Syosset, NY. I believe she said she was very nice and quiet. She wasn’t around much due to star wars filming.
The lead singer of the band Envy on the Coast went to my high school. Everyone used to make fun of him and call him “emo kid”. I’d say he got the last laugh on that one.
My aunt went to school with Kurt Cobain. She turned him down for prom one year. She said he was kind of a junkie and a loser.
I went to school with Emily Browning (Sucker Punch, Series of Unfortunate Events, etc)
She was nice enough from what I spoke to her (we were in similar social groups) but she cheated on a good friend of mine with the drummer from an Australian band, after being in their film clip.
So yeah, I have a wee bit of a grudge…
According to legend, my mom’s friends strung Rob Schneider’s underwear up a flag pole at their band camp when he was a Freshman…I brought it up with him a few years back when he was visiting town and he jokingly scolded me for “bringing up that painful memory”. In high school he was supposedly a dorky, goofy, kind of annoying but lovable kid…from my own experiences more recently, he’s silly and loves to make jokes and everything but mostly he’s just laid back and very kind. He funded our town’s band program and tries to come home for concerts and to stop by and say hello once in a while. He’s a real genuine good guy.
My mom went to high school with Suzanne Collins, author of the Hunger Games. They were friends but my mom said she doesn’t remember her that well but she does remember that she was nice.
I went to middle school with Megan Fox!
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Quite a few of my friends older siblings went to school with Jeremy Lin (basketball player) & James Franco (actor). They said that Jeremy Lin was pretty average but quite a few of them smoked with James Franco and said he was nice enough but weird as f**k and really distant.
Went to high school with:
Bo Burnham: he was 3 years younger than me and really shy at the time. Had an art class together and he started to come out of his shell and crack jokes every now and then. Knew him mainly as the brother of this guy in my grade tho.
Also a couple guys that went pro in football (Jon Geoff) including one in my grade (Chris Zardas) who was pretty cool to me.
Oh and Brian Kelly, head football coach at Notre Dame went to my high school and college.
Donald Trump, Jr. Went to the Hill School ’94-95 while he was there. He was a cocky and judgemental douche who ran with a posse of sycophants of his choosing and who also always paid his way…dude never seemed to pay his own way. He also bagged his share of girls from the all-girl schools who would get busses in for our dances…dude was well aware of the power of his family name.
The one negative encounter that comes to mind each time I see his smug face on TV is when that m**********r criticized my choice in hats. You see, I fancied myself a skatepunk in the early to late 90’s. I had decided to get a straw golf hat and safety pin it up all Australian-like on one side and festoon it with a band make from a cut up school tie…f**k the police. Anyways, he see’s me rollin’, he hatin’. He yells out, “Hey, that’s not a skater hat, f*g!”. Ridiculous reason for a grudge, sure…but f**k that guy anyway.
Went to high school (and middle school) with John Mayer. He was a good guy. We had a number of friends in common but I didn’t hang out w/him often. His band (“Villanova Junction”) played at graduation, and I don’t think anyone thought anything of it at the time.
I also went to high school with James Blake but he was a couple of years younger than I was, and I didn’t know him.
James Blake the tennis player.
My friend’s dad had a few classes with Stephen Harper (prime minister of Canada) and he was a huge nerd, got picked on, beat up and was a math god.
My Aunt went to school with Ewan McGregor. She said he was a pretty nice guy, and I guess they still keep in touch. She also knows someone immediately related to Clint Eastwood.
My dad went to highschool with Mike Judge. He said he was really nerdy and weird.
I was in the same grade as Joel Zimmerman aka Deadmau5. He was not as popular and not nearly as sexy but was interesting nonetheless.
I went to high school with Nina Dobrev. She was really sweet to all her friends, but a total b***h to everyone else. And as soon as she got her break on Degrassi she got her head up her a*s and treated everyone like garbage. Everytime I see her in magazines etc it fills me with rage because of how big a b***h she is.
Taylor Lautner. That guy is an arrogant jerk.
I’ve met that Fred character from Youtube, he went/goes to high school close to where I live. Unfortunately he’s just as annoying in real life as he is in his videos.
I went to school with Barry Sanders. He ran with a different crowd but was always friendly.