Stars may try to keep to themselves, but tabloid speculation and unfounded rumors have a way of painting an inaccurate portrait of these individuals in the public eye. More often then not, however, the truth always prevails — and it’s not what anyone expects.
These 20 celebrities don’t have much in common, but there’s one thing that unites them: there’s a fact about them that nearly everybody gets wrong. Not only will these unexpected facts completely change the way you look at some of your favorite stars, but they’ll also make you wonder what else Hollywood has been hiding all these years…
1. Jeremy Renner’s Old Job: Though the actor’s star has been rising since he took up the mantle of Hawkeye in Marvel’s cinematic universe, Jeremy Renner wasn’t always in show business — at least, not as an actor. Before he was fighting evil alongside Iron Man, Renner worked as a makeup artist and even did his own makeup for a number of his earlier films.
2. Rebel Wilson’s Inspiration: Whether it be from seeing another actor in an iconic role or simply deeming it to be their passion, most Hollywood stars were inspired by something when they began acting. For Rebel Wilson, a malaria-induced hallucination in which she was an Oscar-winning actress convinced her to break into show business.
3. Martha Stewart’s Past Life: Before she was the queen of homemaking, Martha Stewart was, wait for it, a model! In order to pay for college tuition, Stewart spent time modeling clothes and accessories for the luxury fashion brand, Chanel.
4. Kesha’s Smarts: Though her crude song lyrics and onstage antics have given her a reputation as a ditzy party girl, Kesha is actually one of the smartest people in Hollywood. The singer-songwriter scored a 1500 on her SAT and has an IQ of 140. Never judge a book by its cover!
5. Steve Buscemi’s Past: Most big-name actors may have made the leap into show business at a young age, but Steve Buscemi was on an entirely different career path before becoming a star. For four years, Buscemi served as an NYPD fireman and even returned to action in 2001 to aid in the 9/11 recovery effort.
6. Oprah Winfrey’s Mix-Up: There’s no denying Oprah’s place as one of the most influential women in the world. Even the name “Oprah” has become synonymous with success! Too bad that’s not her real name, though. See, Oprah’s birth name was actually “Orpah,” which, through years of mispronunciation, became “Oprah”.
7. Matthew McConaughey’s “Passion”: Sure, being a “foodie” is great, but Matthew McConaughey takes loving food to a whole new level. McConaughey has a self-described food fetish, one so overwhelming that he sometimes has to stop eating to prevent himself from becoming too aroused.
8. Johnny Depp’s Phobia: While it seems like there hasn’t been a role that he’s yet to refuse, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see Johnny Depp in a future adaptation of Stephen King’s It. The storied actor suffers from a phobia of clowns, or coulrophobia, which is strange for someone who basically played one in 2010’s Alice in Wonderland…
Alice in Wonderland
9. Sarah Jessica Parker’s Ancestry: From a genealogical standpoint, SJP’s performance as a 17th-century witch in Hocus Pocus might not have been much of a stretch. As it turns out, Parker’s tenth-great grandmother was condemned as a witch during the infamous Salem Witch Trials.
10. Jerry Springer’s Career: Before he was giving on-air paternity tests and breaking up televised slap fights, Springer was heavily involved in the Ohio political scene. After serving on the Cincinnati City Council, Springer was elected to a one-year term as mayor in 1977.
11. Rihanna’s Name: Cries of “Ri Ri” have echoed through arenas for years, but very few people know that “Rihanna” isn’t the pop princess’ real name. The singer was actually born Robyn Rihanna Fenty but began using her middle name shortly after she began writing music.
12. Elvis Presley’s Hair: When it comes to the King of Rock and Roll, you can’t talk about his signature looks without mentioning his legendary pompadour hairstyle and slicked black hair. On second thought, maybe you can, as Elvis was actually a natural blonde who began dying his hair black in high school!
13. Simon Cowell’s Beginnings: It’s hard to imagine everyone’s favorite unapologetic Englishman as anything less than an industry icon, but Cowell actually got his start as a set runner for legendary director Stanley Kubrick. In fact, Cowell’s first gig for Kubrick was polishing the axe used by Jack Nicholson in The Shining.
Goff / The Shining
14. Sean Connery’s Looks: There’s suave, and then there’s Sean Connery suave, which was on full display during the Scotsman’s run as James Bond from 1962 to 1983. Hopefully his “Bond girls” didn’t tug too hard on his hair, however, as Connery wore a toupée in every single film.
From Russia with Love
15. Charlize Theron’s “Audition”: Not many aspiring movie stars expect to be discovered in line at the bank, but that’s exactly what happened for Charlize Theron. As Theron berated a bank teller for not cashing a check, a talent agent, who admired her passion, handed her his card and kickstarted her career.
16. James Franco’s Education: It’s no secret that James Franco is one of Hollywood’s most controversial personalities, yet you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that works – and studies – as hard as he does. Franco attended UCLA, Columbia, NYU, Brooklyn College, and Yale and even teaches alongside his filmmaking pursuits.
17. Dolph Lundgren’s Brain: A man known more for his brawn than his brain, Dolph Lundgren is actually a certified genius. Lundgren holds a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology, has an IQ of 160, and even received a Fulbright Scholarship to MIT.
18. Halle Berry’s Inspiration: Many people may not know that Halle Berry’s given name was Maria Halle Berry, which was legally changed when she was five. Not surprising enough for you? Well, the name “Halle” was actually taken from Halle’s Department Store, a local landmark in Berry’s hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.
Amazon / Wikipedia
19. Nicole Kidman’s Trauma: We’ve seen that even Hollywood’s biggest stars aren’t immune to phobias, and Nicole Kidman is no exception. After a traumatizing childhood experience with a rather threatening butterfly, the Academy Award-winning actress now suffers from lepidopterophobia, or a fear of butterflies.
20. Katy Perry’s Hobby: Known for topping the charts with hit after catchy hit, Perry made headlines for a different reason when she revealed that she actually collects hair from her fellow celebrities. In fact, Perry once kept the locks of both Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus in her purse.
Now that you know these celebrities just a little bit better, trivia night will never be the same again!
Share these surprising celebrity facts with that one friend who thinks they know everything below!