Celebrity Stories

You May not have heard

Most of us are interested in true life stories, especially backstories of famous celebrities and their interesting journey of how they became so successful.

It’s no surprise that a lot of celebrities have had interesting histories. Many have grown up in interesting places, have cool career experience, and reached the dizzying heights. However, life doesn’t always follow a clear-cut path. Sometimes, the road to success was completely insane—and had often involved absolutely the last thing you’d expect.

Below are celebrities with backstories you may not know.

25. Kathrin Romary "Kate" Beckinsale

Kathrin Romary "Kate" Beckinsale is a British actress. Not only has Kate Beckinsale made a name for herself kicking ass and wearing leather in a lot in movies, she is also something of a literary prodigy. She has had several short stories and poems published and has won many awards for her writing. She is also fluent in multiple foreign languages.

24. Mike Rowe

Mike Rowe, the host of 'Dirty Jobs' is actually a trained opera singer and performed with a company for 6 years. He also host programs and has an extensive background as a narrator. His work with Discovery Channel includes narrating American Chopper, American Hot Rod, Deadliest Catch, Wild Pacific, and Ghost Lab, as well as other Discovery specials and series, Rowe is currently the narrator for National Geographic Channel's series Wicked Tuna.

23. Peter Weller

Most famous for being the original Robocop, actor Peter Weller also has a hidden talent as an art critic. He holds a Ph.D. In Italan Renaissance Art History, a master’s degree in Roman and Renaissance Art and has just received his doctorate! He occasionally teaches courses in ancient history at the university.

22. Vin Diesel

Vin Diesel is an action hero and the man behind Groot, but he is also an accomplished video games developer with his own gaming development house. For 20 years, Diesel played Dungeons & Dragons. He wrote the foreword for the commemorative book, 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons. Vin Diesel’s Tigon Studios has been reassembled, to deliver a third game in the Riddick series.

21. Rod Stewart

Rocker Rod Stewart is so obsessed with model railway that an entire floor of his home is covered in a miniature replica of 1940’s Chicago and Manhattan including railway lines, roads, buildings and tiny characters. Experts believe, Stewart's has created one of the best train sets they have ever seen.

Steward had spent 12 years creating his special railway, which measures 124ft by 23ft. He said, "Everyone should have a hobby that really captures their interest." Stewart is so attached to his train set that he even takes them on tour with him.

20. Tony Blair

Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair was formerly in a rock band and was a rock music promoter before getting into politics. While a student at St. John's College at Oxford University, Blair was the lead singer in a rock band called the Ugly Rumors. ... of songs by the Rolling Stones, the Doobie Brothers and other popular headliners.

19. James “Ultimate Warrior” Hellwig

James “Ultimate Warrior” Hellwig, was an American professional wrestler, who wrestled under the ring name 'The Ultimate Warrior.' But he was also was an artist. His artwork was known as Warrior Wisdom and was sold from his official website.

18. Jason Lee

American actor and film photographer, Jason Lee, is famous for his role in, 'My Name Is Earl.' Before acting, Lee was well known for his professional skateboarding career in the late 80s and early 90s. His other creative endeavor is also Photography. Lee see his creativity and interest is more fitting in skateboarding and photography. Lee went on to pursue acting in 1993. Jason is also credited for inventing, or at the very least perfecting the 360 flip.

17. Joanne K. Rowling

UK’s best-selling living author, Joanne K. Rowling, is one of the wealthiest women in the world. Before her success she was a single mother living on welfare. She became a writer and although she her manuscript were rejected by many book publishers she was persistent.

In 1997, the publishing house, Bloomsbury in London, eventually gave “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” the green light. Rowling finally sold her novel, while living on welfare and raising her daughter as a single mother. Always believe in yourself ... with a little magic!

16. Rebel Wilson

The Australian stand-up comedian and actress, Rebel Wilson is a Malaria Survivor. Before belting out tunes in Pitch Perfect, Wilson had dreams of a career in law or politics. She became a youth ambassador and spent time serving in South Africa. During her service, the actress contracted malaria, which she claimed caused hallucinations where she saw herself as an actress who had won an Oscar. This convinced her to pursue an acting career.

15. Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron was first noticed for screaming at a bank teller. Theron left South Africa to pursue a career in modeling, before pursuing ballet professionally, moved to Los Angeles to be an actress. One day, when Theron went to the bank to withdraw money, the bank teller told her that she couldn't access her own account.

Frustrated, Theron began yelling at the teller. Theron's temper tantrum caught the attention of a high-profile manager who happened to be there and decided, "people would pay to see this beautiful woman scream."

14. Rihanna Fenty

Robyn Rihanna Fenty, the Barbadian singer, songwriter, and actress was a Army Cadet. As a teenager, Rihanna was in the army cadets and actually reached the rank of corporal. She was a self-proclaimed tomboy, and joined the cadets to show guys she was tough. Her drill sergeant was none other than fellow Barbadian pop singer, Shontelle.

13. Katy Perry

Katy Perry was a Gospel Singer. Before the infamous “I Kissed a Girl” single, Katy Perry sang Christian songs as a musical outlet. The superstar grew up in a strict, conservative household. After singing in church during her childhood, she pursued a career in gospel music as a teenager. At the age of seventeen, Perry moved to Los Angeles where she struggled until 2007, when Capitol Records signed her to a contract and album.

12. Tom Cruise

During his early years, Tom Cruise sought to pursue the priesthood in the Catholic Church. The Francis Seminary School in Cincinnati took in Cruise at the age of fourteen where he attended school and became passionate about the Catholic faith. His passion took a turn when Cruise and a classmate decided to steal liquor from the priests at the seminary. You could say Tom’s risky business started a little earlier than planned.

11. Leighton Meester

The American actress, singer-songwriter, Leighton Marissa Meester, was born in prison. At the time of her birth, her Leighton’s mother, Connie, was serving time in a federal prison for her involvement in a drug smuggling ring with her boyfriend Doug, Leighton’s dad. Until eleven, Leighton's grandparents were her caregiver.

Leighton and her mother reunited in Marco Island, Florida, a place where Leighton spent her childhood before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in modeling and acting, which eventually led to her TV roles and her famous character in 'Gossip Girl.'

10. Bryon Anthony “Bizzy Bone” McCane II

Bryon Anthony “Bizzy Bone” McCane II, was abducted as a child. At the age of four years old, Bizzy was kidnapped by the biological father of his older sister. He was told that his mother and grandmother had died, so he and his sisterwere taken to a reservation in Oklahoma. Bizzy was forced to beg for food, made to hide whenever police passed by, and was sexually assaulted by a 12-year-old boy.

By chance, a neighbor saw Bizzy's picture on America’s Most Wanted and called the cops. Bizzy was reunited with his mother. His story is remarkable but even more amazing is that, Bizzy went on to be a Grammy Award–winning musician.

9. Liam Neeson

Before acting, Liam Neeson trained to become a teacher... until an internship went wrong. Liam Neeson was teaching when the class got out of control. As he struggle to get the class to listen, a 15-year-old student, 'a big guy' just wouldn’t calm down. As Neeson told the 15-year-old to stand outside, the student pulled a knife. Neeson reacted quickly and punched the student, “which I shouldn’t have done,” Neeson later admitted", but I felt threatened.

Neeson gave up his teaching dreams and become an award-winning actor. He said, acting is much easier than teaching a class full of kids, which he calls “the most difficult job I’ve ever tried to master.”

8. Woody Harrelson

Actor, Woody Harrelson, has played good cops and bad cops, pornographers, and cold-blooded killers. But even his darkest roles can't compare to his family life as he was growing up, which seemed to come straight out of a crime movie. His father, Charles Harrelson, was a hitman convicted of killing two, and suspected of more.

The most notorious crime involved the killing of Judge John Wood, which led to two life sentences and the first conviction for the murder of a judge in the 20th century. As Harrelson was the son of a Hitman, “Bring Your Kid to Work Day” must have been interesting.

7. Ted Nugent

Theodore Anthony "Ted" Nugent is an American musician and political activist. Nugent might have been lost in the Vietnam War—if he hadn’t dodged the draft. Nugent avoided being drafted by completely giving up on personal hygiene. He wasn’t opposed to the war, but in his own words: “Do you think I was gonna lay down my guitar and go play army...?"

Thirty days before his physical, Nugent stopped washing, ate junk food, and one week before the physical, Nugent stopped going to the bathroom. “I did it in my pants..“Poop, piss, the whole shot. My pants got crusted up," Nugent proudly told an interviewer. Finally, Nugent snorted a little crystal meth and went into his physical, where he promptly got kicked out. The strangest part of this is how proud of this story Nugent is.

6. David Bowie

At 17 years old, David Bowie first appeared on television in 1964, not as a musician but as an activist, speaking out on behalf of long-haired men. Bowie founded the 'Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men, ' which declared, that Long-haired men were discriminated against, mocked and were excluded from work. He said, 'we’ve had comments like 'Darling' and 'Can I carry your handbag?’

Later, Bowie and his band were allowed to wear their long hair as long as the audience doesn't complain, otherwise the band's fee would go to charity. There were No complaints!

5. Johnny Cash

Legend Johnny Cash, was once a Military code breaker! At 18 years old, Johnny Cash enlisted in the US Air Force and found himself in West Germany, serving on the 12th Radio Squadron. Cash, apparently, had a natural gift for deciphering Russian Morse code, and he ended up one of the Air Force’s leading code readers.

Cash was so skilled that he was on call for all of the most difficult assignments. His specialty was cracking Soviet codes. He was the very first American to pass on the message that Joesph Stalin was dead.

4. Kevin James

Kevin James, was the top-ranked wrestler at high school, which is particularly impressive, considering who was in second place: future WWE heavyweight champion Mick Foley. Foley and James were wrestling partners, and James usually won. Foley said, James was “the toughest kid in school” and could bench-press 136 kilograms (300 lb).

However, James’s wrestling came to an end when he got a back injury and his sports dream, of a football career smashed, so he settled for a life as a millionaire comedian.

3. James Cromwell

The actor, James Cromwell, known for playing the farmer in 'Babe, actually played a major role in the Black Rights Movement. In fact, he was on the Committee to Defend the Panthers. He and a group of other sympathetic activists worked to free 13 Black Panthers who had been jailed in New York for conspiracy, and they succeeded. Cromwell worked with an integrated acting group, and making speeches about civil rights.

Today, Cromwell is a major activist and supporter of the Black Panther Party, which was basically " empower black communities to take back their self-control.”

2. Bob Ross

Bob Ross, the soothing, curly-haired man who painted happy trees, used to be a Master Sergeant in the US Air Force. “I was the guy who gave orders, the guy who screams at you for being late to work,” said Ross. “The job requires you to be a mean, tough person.” His nickname was “Bust ‘Em Up Bobby.”

When Ross left the Air Force, he never wanted to scream again, so he taught painting on a public-access TV show, and became the mild-mannered man we know and love today.

1. Samuel L. Jackson

Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. words of a better world, young Samuel Jackson, a student at Morehouse College, an exclusive college for black students, felt with his friends, that the majority proportion of white staff teaching them were not right. So one day, with guns they took hostage - the college board and King Sr. until they agreed in hiring more black staff.

After the hostage, Jackson was expelled and charged with unlawful confinement. Terrified, Jackson's mother sent him to Los Angeles, where Jackson’s acting career began. Detaining the father of a Civil Rights activist against his will, turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

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