These stars were planning world domination together from a very tender age.
Did you grow up with any celebrities? Go to school with any A-listers? Play sports with any royal family members? Chances are you didn’t, yet there are a number of celebrities who grew up with other celebrities. While most of us don’t have any stories of a kid from our class becoming a world renowned actor/singer/reality star/whatever, some people get to remember hearing both Adele and Jessie J sing together at lunch, or reminisce about the time they tackled Prince William on the rugby field while Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne looked on.
Of course, some celebrities knew each other as kids because their parents were famous and they were part of a wealthy, celeb-filled circle. There’s a reason why Rashida Jones, daughter of Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton, knew Nicole « Daughter of Lionel » Richie. Or why Gwyneth Paltrow, who came from a movie business family, knew Maya Rudolph, the daughter of Minnie Riperton.
But, some future famous folks were just kids from average families. Two stars of The Office knew each other since they were children and just happened to end up working together. Two of the most popular singers ever just happened to go to high school in Brooklyn at the same time. A « Gin and Juice » rapper and a Charlie’s Angels star just happened to be interested in the same, uh, substance when they were teens.
Read on to find out more about celebrities who grew up together and what they had to say about their youth once they were very successful adults. And for actors who walked away from stardom, check out 15 Stars Who Quit Acting After Hitting It Big.
Ryan Gosling and Justin Timberlake were part of The Mickey Mouse Club at the same time as a bunch of other kids who went on to become super famous, like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Keri Russell. So, all of those kids sort of grew up together. But, Gosling and Timberlake’s relationship went a step further, because Gosling lived with Timberlake and his mom during a season of the show. They also, apparently, made a bet about who would kiss Jessica Simpson first when they were kids. (Yep, they knew her, too.) « We aren’t the closest of friends, for whatever reason, » Timberlake told The Hollywood Reporter of their relationship in 2017.
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You might know The Simple Life stars Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton were friends, or even that Kim Kardashian used to hang out with Hilton all the time, but they all go back way further than you may have realized. During an appearance on Watch What Happens Live in 2014, Rashida Jones talked about going to elementary school with Kardashian and Hilton and said, « They were younger than me. They were really cute and little and they wore a lot of bows in their hair. » There’s also been some throwback photos shared amongst the group, like this one of Jones and Richie, and this one of Richie and Kardashian.
John Boyega and Letitia Wright are both known as big action stars now—him as Finn in Star Wars and her as Shuri in Black Panther—but they knew each before huge franchises came calling. Boyega and Wright both attended The Identity School of Acting in London. « Letitia and I were in the same class, » Boyega told The Grio in 2018. « It was so special for me to see her in [Black Panther] because I have seen Letitia from when we both had nothing, had no credibility, and wanted our chance. We would sit and after classes, everybody would congregate at a nearby McDonald’s and I remember seeing Letitia and we would speak about our dreams and our visions. » They really got to live out their dreams together, too, because they attended the Met Gala together in 2018.
For the definitive hierarchy of one of the biggest sci-fi franchises of all time, check out Ranking Every « Star Wars » Movie, From Worst Reviewed to Best.
Ryan and Jim from The Office knew each other before they both started working at Dunder Mifflin, because B.J. Novak and John Krasinski both grew up in Newton, Massachusetts. During an appearance on Great Day Washington, Krasinski explained that they were on the same little league baseball team, and that in high school, Novak convinced him to act in a play he wrote. « He was really one of the first people ever to tell me that acting is something I should even consider, » Krasinski said.
Cameron Diaz and Snoop Dogg went to the same high school in Long Beach, California, and they crossed paths in one very specific, not at all surprising way. « I’m pretty sure I bought weed from him, » Diaz said during a 2011 appearance on Lopez Tonight. When the rapper was on the show himself, he said, « I might have sold her some of that white girl weed. » Well, at least they both confirm the same story.
For stars who are showing aging who’s boss, here are 40 Celebrities You Won’t Believe Are Over 40.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire have been in three movies together and been friends for over 30 years. They first met when they were kids, and the friendship stuck. In a 2014 interview with Esquire, DiCaprio said he spotted Maguire on the street after meeting him at an audition and asked his mom to pull over. « I was like, ‘Tobey! Tobey! Hey! Hey!’ And he was like, ‘Oh, yeah — I know you. You’re… that guy.’ But I just made him my pal. » The two actors were in the 1993 film This Boy’s Life together, in 2001’s Don’s Plum, and in The Great Gatsby in 2013.
It’s a good thing The Politician star Ben Platt and Lady Bird actor Beanie Feldstein are so close, because they’re about to shoot a film that will take 20 years. They’re both starring in Richard Linklater‘s adaptation of the musical Merrily We Roll Along, which will follow the same two characters over two decades of their lives. The two actors have known each other since high school, and according to Feldstein, they’re more than best friends. « I think what Ben and I have is beyond friendship, honestly, » she told Broadway.com. « It’s like a soulmate connection. We’re like twins separated at birth or something. »
For stars who’ve dabbled in ballroom, here are 25 Celebrities You Won’t Believe Did « Dancing With the Stars ».
Kerry Washington and Gwyneth Paltrow attended high school together at New York City’s Spence School, but were in different grades. The women reminisced over their experience on Paltrow’s Goop podcast and remembered a time when Washington auditioned for the a capella group that Paltrow was in. « I was in a singing group called Triple Trio, » Paltrow said (via E! News). « We were holding auditions because a bunch of us were graduating, and in walks Kerry Washington … This beautiful eight grader comes in so confident. She opened her mouth and the most exquisite voice came out. » Meanwhile the Scandal star said Paltrow was « always cool. »
Paltrow was also friends with Saturday Night Live alum Maya Rudolph growing up, which she talked about during her opening monologue when she hosted the show. « I hosted once before, but this week has been really extra-special to me because one of my best friends is on the show now, and I’m so proud of her, » Paltrow said. « We’ve known each other since we were seven years old, and she’s super-funny and talented, and I’m so glad she’s in the cast. Her name is Maya Rudolph! »
Eddie Redmayne has a lot of celebrity connections. First, he went to Eton College, a boarding school, with Prince William. « I did play rugby with Prince William, » the Theory of Everything actor said on Watch What Happens Live. « I always felt a bit sorry for him because basically any school you played all they wanted to do was tackle Prince William, so they could say, ‘I tackled Prince William.’ So if you were standing next to Prince William, it was actually quite easy and quite fun. »
Following school, Redmayne was roommates with a couple of fellow actors you may have heard of: The Amazing Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield and Fifty Shades of Grey‘s Jamie Dornan. « The stakes weren’t that high, because we weren’t really getting work, » Dornan told Variety. « We played a lot of table tennis and volleyball and had nice dinners. What’s the song [‘Drinking in L.A.’]—’What the h*ll am I doing drinking in L.A. at 26?’ We kept singing that. »
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Before they sang « You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore » together, Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand were students at Erasmus Hall High School in New York. They were even in the school choir together. « When I sang in the school choir, I enjoyed it, but I didn’t think that I was taking my first steps on the road to a career, » Streisand told The Sunday Post in 2018. « Besides, there was someone else in the school choir who was much better than me. He had a fantastic voice and I had the pleasure of recording a duet with him some years later. You may have heard of Neil Diamond! »
Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts are known for being a pair of Hollywood best friends, but the actors met before they were on the A-list. In 2018, in an Instagram post in honor of Watt’s 50th birthday, Kidman said that they’d been friends for 35 years, meaning they met at 15 years old. Watts previously told People that their « friendship forged » when they were both cast in the 1991 movie Flirting.
Chelsea Peretti and Andy Samberg starred together in the sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Peretti departed a few seasons ago), and they also starred together in this amazing old photo. That’s because Samberg and Peretti went to elementary school together. « I had a huge crush on Andy and for some reason he will never acknowledge this, » Peretti said on an episode of Conan. She added that she used to call his house and hang up over and over again, because she didn’t know what else to do in the days before emoji.
The idea of Adele and Jessie J singing together in school is hard to imagine, but that’s exactly what happened when they both attended the BRIT School in London. « We used to sing at lunchtime together, » Jessie J told People in 2014 about going to school with Adele. « Obviously at that time we didn’t realize that we’d both [eventually] have music out. But she’s amazing. She was always that really bright energy at school. »
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith‘s son and the youngest Kardashian/Jenner sister have been friends for a long time and also dated when they were teens. When they started dating — or « dating » — back in 2013, a source told Us Weekly of 14-year-old Jaden Smith and 15-year-old Kylie Jenner, « It’s new, but they’ve been friends forever. » Smith himself told Wonderland magazine about hanging out with the reality TV star, « She’s one of my best friends. It’s pretty awesome. »
Last but certainly not least, there are well-known Hollywood best friends Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. While everyone knows they’re buddies, they might go back further than you realize. The actors met when Damon was 10 and Affleck was eight in their hometown of Cambridge, Massachusetts. They ended up working together multiple times and won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay together in 1998 for Good Will Hunting. « I’ve known him for 35 years, and we grew up together, » Damon told Entertainment Tonight in 2016. « We were both in love with the same thing—acting and filmmaking. I think we fed on each other’s obsession during really formative, important years and that bonded us for life. »
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