We’re used to seeing actors’ and actresses’ sprawling estates and lavish penthouse apartments purchased with their massive Hollywood contracts. But they didn’t start out living in luxury. Before they made it to the big time, some celebrities were just trying to get by and pay the rent—and that led to some interesting living arrangements!
Before these 40 actors, actresses, and producers earned steady incomes, they bunked with another future A-Lister just trying to navigate the cut-throat film industry. Some were lifelong friends or college roommates; others lived with a fellow co-star to better nail their characters’ chemistry. But every pairing is quite interesting today…
1. Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson: This actor-director duo collaborated on essays and homework as roommates at the University of Texas long before they started working together on Anderson’s film projects like The Royal Tenenbaums.
2. Frances McDormand and Holly Hunter: Random assignments made these leading ladies roommates at the Yale School of Drama, but the co-stars of several Cohen Brothers films continued splitting rent after graduation, moving together to New York City.
3. Jude Law and Ewan McGregor: Before the British duo jointly founded Natural Nylon, a British film and theater production company, Law and McGregor shared a bunk bed. But the real question is, who had top bunk?
4. Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve: As roommates at Julliard in New York City, this iconic duo promised that if one of them made it big, they’d help the other succeed in Hollywood, too. The two maintained a close friendship until their deaths.
5. Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling: While starring together on The Mickey Mouse Club, Gosling lived with Timberlake at his family home. “We used to do terrible things,” Timberlake told Ellen DeGeneres. “We thought we were so cool.”
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6. Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling: Gosling has had more than one roommate in his career. While filming Blue Valentine, he bunked with co-star Williams to build chemistry. “He does the dishes,” Williams divulged. “And he takes care of the kids!”
7. Kiefer Sutherland and Robert Downey Jr.: In the 1980s, before he made it big, Downey Jr. hit a rough patch with his then-girlfriend, Sarah Jessica Parker. He moved in with Sutherland, who “was a shoulder [to cry on],” for three years.
8. Brad Pitt and Jason Priestley: “Just for fun,” Priestley wrote in his memoir about his time rooming with Pitt, far left, “we used to have competitions over who could go the longest without showering and shaving. Brad always won.”
9. Connie Britton and Lauren Graham: The Gilmore Girls star revealed in 2013 that she and the Friday Night Lights star lived in an empty house they “weren’t supposed to be living in” in the ’90s. Allegedly, they survived on Rice Krispies Treats and had no furniture.
10. Penn Badgley and Milo Ventimiglia: Another Gilmore Girls star, Ventimiglia, also took a roommate—the Gossip Girl star, Badgley, 10 years his junior. “I used to borrow [Ventimiglia’s] ID to get into bars,” Badgley said of his 18-year-old self.
11. Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler: At the beginning of the Apatow-Sandler film Funny People, there’s footage of a young Sandler making prank calls. That was real footage from when Apatow and Sandler lived together!
12. Jamie Dornan, Andrew Garfield, and Eddie Redmayne: The three British actors constantly saw each other at the same auditions and became real friends and roommates. “We used to go to the Standard Hotel in West Hollywood, and split a sandwich between us” to save money, Dornan said.
13. Ilana Glazer and Rachel Bloom: “Six years ago we were roommates in Brooklyn,” Bloom, the co-creator of CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, wrote on Instagram. “Now we have TV shows.” Broad City co-creator Ilana Glazer “is the best.”
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14. Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito: In the ’60s, the actors lived together in upper-Manhattan. There, Douglas learned a shocking truth about the man playing the disgusting and depraved Frank Reynolds on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia today: “He was neat,” Douglas said. “That’s not very good for his image!”
15. Winona Ryder and Gwyneth Paltrow: Rumor has it, Paltrow found Ryder’s script for Shakespeare in Love lying around their shared Los Angeles apartment and auditioned for and won the part her friend wanted. Now? They’re not so close.
16. Justin Long and Jonah Hill: The comedy duo tried rooming together, but it didn’t work out. “Jonah would recycle everything,” Long said. “We started getting in little fights—he left the bathroom door open, didn’t clean up after himself. Little things like that.”
17. Raven Symone and Lindsay Lohan: Both former child actors, the two shared an apartment after meeting during a Vanity Fair cover shoot. “She paid rent,” Symone said of the arrangement, but “she was there probably three times.”
18. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon: “We rented this house on the beach in Venice,” Affleck recalled, “and 800 people came and stayed with us and got drunk.” The two’s friendship likely led to their success in crafting films like Goodwill Hunting together.
19. Tommy Lee Jones and Al Gore: Harvard randomly paired these two as roommates during their freshman year, but Jones didn’t need a Men-In-Black-style memory wipe when the experience ended; living together was such a good experience, they continued living together for years.
20. Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman: Two of Hollywood’s most iconic actors became fast friends after living together at the Pasadena Playhouse; years later, Hoffman slept on Hackman’s kitchen floor in New York City.
Crazy that each member of these celebrity roommate pairings went on to find success! Their talents and drives must have rubbed off on each other.
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