When you’re checking out your favorite celebs on the red carpet, their IQ scores are probably not the first thing that comes to mind! Most of them have made their mark on the world for reasons outside scientific or academic success. However, many stars are actually pretty smart.
And by pretty smart, we mean genius. Every star on this list has a genius IQ according to the guidelines provided by Mensa. Whether they graduated from Harvard or dropped everything to pursue their dream, intelligence is definitely part of the reason these intelligent celevs are thriving.
1. Madonna: “The Queen of Pop” did extremely well in school, probably because of her 140 IQ. Luckily for us, she decided to pursue music instead of continuing her education. Where would the world be without this material girl?
2. Steve Martin: The comedian may seem goofy, but uses his 142 IQ to deconstruct what comedy is all about. His college philosophy classes lead him to ask, “What if I headed for a climax, but all I delivered was an anticlimax? What would the audience do with all that tension?”
3. Matt Damon: It was probably easy for this actor to play a genius in Good Will Hunting thanks to his 160 IQ. He attended Harvard University where he eventually dropped out to make movies.
Good Will Hunting / Miramax
4. Natalie Portman: She’s been acting forever, but education has always been her first priority. She has an IQ of 140 and missed the Star Wars premiere to study for finals. Portman also boasts a degree in Psychology from Harvard University. No big deal.
5. Arnold Schwarznegger: The bodybuilder turned actor turned politician came to America with nothing to his name and ended up becoming a great success. It didn’t happen by accident — his IQ of 134 probably helped him out.
6. James Franco: He got his fame from movies that aren’t exactly intellectual thought pieces, but he has an IQ of 130. He uses it, too — the actor has attended UCLA, Columbia, NYU and Yale where he has earned multiple degrees.
7. Geena Davis: This actress obtained her degree in drama from Boston University before she went on to showbiz. With an IQ of 140, she is a certified member of Mensa and an activist for women’s rights in the industry.
8. Nicole Kidman: Being insanely beautiful and talented wasn’t enough for this actress. She also has an IQ of 132. She dropped out of school in Australia to pursue acting, and if it hadn’t worked out, her brilliant mind would’ve been a great back-up.
9. Ashton Kutcher: If you want to feel weird, you can think about the fact that Ashton Kutcher and Stephen Hawking reportedly have the same IQ of 160. Certainly both men have made great and totally equal contributions to society.
10. Shakira: Her hips don’t lie and neither does her IQ. This Latin songbird is fluent in four languages and has a reported IQ of 140, making her a beauty with impressive brains.
oouinouin / Flickr
11. Conan O’Brien: The late night comedian is straight up brilliant. In high school he worked for a congressman before graduating as valedictorian and heading off to Harvard where he graduated with honors. His 160 IQ is no surprise.
12. David Duchovny: With his IQ of 147 he graduated from Princeton with a degree in English Literature. The actor went on to get his MFA from Yale, then began his PhD but has yet to complete the program. What a slacker!
13. Mayim Bialik: Unlike Kudrow, Bialik’s iconic role on The Big Bang Theory was not a stretch. She plays neurobiologist Amy and, in real life, earned a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA. Her exact IQ is not known, but it’s estimated between 153 and 160.
14. Quentin Tarantino: School wasn’t exactly for this famed director, as he dropped out of high school at age 15 to work as an usher at an adult movie theater called the “Pussycat Theater.” His 160 IQ and love of films helped him get where he wanted to be in life.
15. Lisa Kudrow: Her portrayal of everyone’s favorite airhead friend was very convincing on Friends, but it was just a true testament to her acting chops. This actress had an IQ of 158 and research credits on an academic study from college.
Courtney Cox / Instagram
16. Sylvester Stallone: The action star is a lot more than meets the eye. Hopefully his brain didn’t get too knocked around when he played Rocky, because his IQ is 160.
17. Sharon Stone: Although she isn’t a member of Mensa officially, this iconic and sometimes controversial actress allegedly has an IQ of 154. Intelligence might just be one of her basic instincts.
18. James Woods: With a staggering IQ of 184, Woods is one of the smartest actors of all time. He was attending MIT to become an eye surgeon when he dropped out just before graduation to become an actor.
19. Jodie Foster: This actress graduated from Yale University with honors while being fluent in English and French. Her IQ of 132 makes her one of the most brilliant actresses in Hollywood, though she may still be no match for Dr. Lecter.
20. Nolan Gould: Known from the beloved sitcom Modern Family, this child actor was ahead in school even while filming on-set. He has an IQ of 150 and has skipped multiple grades. Some celebs are smart, though their IQs don’t top genius levels.
Delta News Hub / Flickr
21. Ken Jeong: While you may know him as loudmouthed gangster Leslie Chow from The Hangover trilogy, Jeong is also a licensed physician, who earned his M.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1995. Jeong practiced medicine alongside his acting career for a time.
22. Dolph Lundgren: The imposing Swedish actor is known more for his brawn than his brain, but most people are unaware that Lundgren graduated from the Royal Institute of Technology with a degree in Chemical Engineering. In fact, Lundgren also earned his master’s from the University of Sydney and received a Fulbright Scholarship to MIT.
23. Lupita Nyong’o: Born in Mexico to Kenyan parents, Nyong’o graduated from Hampshire College with a degree in film and theater studies. After discovering her love for acting while serving as a production assistant, Nyong’o went on to earn an MFA in acting from Yale and landed her breakout role in 12 Years a Slave right after graduation.
The Daily Beast
24. Gerard Butler: Before he was kicking Persian messengers into bottomless pits, Butler was on the path to becoming a lawyer, earning a degree from the University of Glasgow School of Law. Though his lawyer days are behind him, it looks like he still keeps a pair of suspenders around…
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25. Meryl Streep: A small-town girl from Bernardsville, New Jersey, Streep excelled in her studies at Vassar College and went on to pursue an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. Streep acted in so many stage performances during this time that she gave herself ulcers and nearly quit acting for good.
26. Martin Luther King Jr.: While many may refer to the Baptist minister and civil rights champion as “doctor”, most people don’t know why. In reality, MLK earned his Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Boston University in 1955.
27. Emma Watson: Known for being one of the smartest witches at Hogwarts, Watson ditched her crimson robes for brown ones when she enrolled in Rhode Island’s prestigious Brown University. After spending five years in undergrad, Watson graduated in 2014 with a BA in English literature.
29.. Michelle Obama: A woman known for overcoming great adversity throughout her early life, the former first lady possesses an educational background rivaling that of most politicians. After graduating cum laude from Princeton University, Obama earned her JD from Harvard Law School in 1988.
30. Rowan Atkinson: Mr. Bean has become one of the most recognizable characters in British comedy, and Atkinson’s bumbling slapstick style of comedy remains one of his most successful bits to date. Surprisingly, Atkinson also holds a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from The Queen’s College, Oxford.
31. Rashida Jones: Daughter of legendary music producer Quincy Jones, the critically acclaimed comedian originally attended Harvard University in the hope of earning a law degree. After becoming disillusioned by the infamous O.J. Simpson murder trial, Jones decided to follow a different career path and earned a BA in Comparative Religion in 1997.
32. Shaquille O’Neal: For those that say athletes aren’t the brightest, “The Big Aristotle” says otherwise. Not only is O’Neal an NBA Hall of Famer and beloved sports personality, but he also received an educational doctorate from Barry University in 2012.
33. Sigourney Weaver: A Hollywood mainstay for over four decades, Weaver’s involvement in acting didn’t begin until her time spent living in Stanford University’s Beta Chi Community for the Performing Arts. After graduating with a BA in English, Weaver went on to earn her MFA at Yale alongside Meryl Streep.
34. Brian May: Rock and roll may have been known as the music of rebellious teens to a generation of straight-collared Americans, but British rocker Brian May is nothing of the sort. After nearly 50 years of on and off studies, the former Queen guitarist earned his Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Imperial College London in 2007.
35. Miuccia Prada: When you’re the granddaughter of an iconic designer and the heir to a billion-dollar fashion empire, what need would you have for an education? Well, tell that to Miuccia Prada, who graduated from the University of Milan with a Ph.D. in Political Science.
WikiTubia / YouTube
36. Kermit the Frog: That’s right, Kermit actually has a college degree! In 1996, LIU’s Southampton College awarded the beloved Muppet character with an honorary Doctorate of Amphibious Letters.