30 People Share Stories Of Celebrities Before They Were Famous
We have all wanted to be famous in our lives. Being a celebrity and living the lush life is a dream for many. But they did not always have the fame and the lavish lifestyle, celebrities were at a point of their lives just normal people who had to struggle and live a normal day to day life just like us. And yes the celebs have made a lot of mistakes in their professional careers, but who hasn’t?
Here are 30 people who share stories of celebrities before they became famous.
Paul Wight (a.k.a The Big Show)
My first job was at Schlotzsky’s Deli in Wichita, Ks. When I worked there, a Wichita State University basketball player came in quite a lot. His name was Paul Wight. Now known as The Big Show.
He’d order a family sized Turkey sandwich cut in half, and eat it like a regular sandwich. He also drove a very small car, may have been a Yugo but I’m a little iffy on that these days. Had the front seat removed and drove from the backseat.
He was a great guy, very friendly and always smiling. I was shocked when he showed up on WCW as The Giant.
Before that, maybe 3 years or so, I was still in Boy Scouts. We went on a few joint campouts with other troops, mainly with one from Park City, Kansas. One of the Assistant Scoutmasters (or something, don’t remember his title), was Denis Rader. A.K.A. the B.T.K. Killer. My dad thinks we might have been on 3 campouts with him. I honestly don’t really remember him though.
Lawrence Tureaud (a.k.a Mr. T)
When I was in high school (early 1990s) my friends and I worked at a golf course that was across the street from Mr. T’s house. During lunch, my friends and I would walk 5 minutes to the downtown area for lunch. One day while we are walking to lunch Mr. T was pulling into his gated driveway. We said “Hey Mr. T” and waved at him. He asked us what we were doing and after finding out we were going to lunch he invited us to have lunch with him since that is what he was doing.
We’re sitting on his patio eating grilled chicken with Mr. T telling stories about growing up poor and working really hard to earn what he had. It was pretty surreal.
Mr. T was just the persona… he was actually a very funny, down-to-earth and truthfully empathetic guy. I always greatly respected him after that day.
I went on a couple dates with a guy who went to the same school as Megan Fox. It was around the time she was in the Mary Kate and Ashley movie. He said she missed a lot of school because of her career but when she was at school she was nice but quiet and the other girls were kinda really mean to her. He said she actually gave him dating advice on AIM one time.
My parents used to be friends with Motley Crue before they made it big. I think they were party friends. But you know the whole glam rock costume look the band has going on? He said they just dressed like that day in day out, back before that was really even a thing. My dad said he went to get beer with Tommy Lee once and Tommy was wearing some crazy outfit with some ridiculous boots like mid afternoon, just walking down Hollywood Blvd., and people were yelling stuff at him and throwing stuff, and Tommy just didn’t even bat an eye.
Kehlani was born and raised in Oakland Ca and actually worked at a restaurant near me before she blew up. Was a burger place that had a hipstery vibe and it was one of the few places that would hire her with her many tattoos and piercings. I remember talking to her and she was always super nice and didn’t even realize who she was till one of my childhood friends from the neighborhood asked if I remembered that one cashier that was our age/kinda cute and sent me an article about her working there.
My parents knew Lzzy Hale’s parents, so we got to meet them when she and her brother were just starting out, she was 16 and her brother Arejay was slaying the drums at 13. My older brother almost took her to prom actually and he’s followed her career as one of their biggest fans. I still have a drumstick Arejay signed for me the first time I met him.
We knew they had something special even back then, never would have imagined Halestorm would go on to be Grammy winners though.
I worked with Harley Streten (Flume) at Hard Rock Cafe right before he got really famous. He seemed like a super quiet, nice dude who mainly kept to himself but always passed you with a smile or hi. Then he wasn’t at work for a few months, and then a few months later he released Sleepless and then it felt like overnight he became super, super famous.
My Dad went fishing in Australia.
He got to talking with the boat Captain.
Turns out the Captain went to high school with Steve Irwin.
Apparently Steve just loved animals that much and had the outgoing personality even back then.
Kind of funny in this day and age where so many people ‘act’ on reality tv. And yet We all saw the real Steve Irwin on Crocodile Hunter.
When my girlfriend and I started dating, she was still living at home with her parents. Their local paperboy was Shawn Mendes. He lived just down the street, and would come by a few times a month to collect $5 for delivering the paper a couple times a week. Weird to see him on TV now.
I did high school theater with Kelly Tran. She was always hilarious and totally talented. But also very friendly, she was constantly the star or lead of our shows. But never bragged and always hung out with everyone, even the techs. She showed up for set building days when others might not have. I was so happy to see how successful she became to get cast in Star wars, and then became furious at the so called fans who for no reason hate her
I went to rehab with Demi Lovato like 8 years ago. The unit had to be blocked off because of paparazzi. She very theatrically stormed out of a group counseling session once because she was told that being an addict she couldnt have painkillers for her migraines. She would sign her lunch slip “guest” so nobody would steal it and I guess sell it or something. She knew she was Demi Lovato. The entire experience was sad because busted ass junkies would drool over living with a celeb and I was a cynical dick the entire time because I didn’t know about Disney stars and was trying to figure out what was wrong with my head/how to live life without drugs. It felt like the rehab stay was robbed of being anything beneficial because of the chaos of a celebrity. Not entirely her fault but needless to say it wasn’t my last rehab stint.
My dad went to high school with Monte Yoho from the band The Outlaws. They were supposedly in band together and hung out all the time. They reconnected through Facebook a few years ago and are close enough that he gives my dad free tickets to his show whenever the band is in town. He’s a really nice, down to earth guy from what I’ve heard.
I also have a cousin who was in a show in LA with Adam Lambert before he was on American Idol. She urged everyone to vote for him that season. Not sure if they still talk or not, but according to her, he’s a really great guy.
Not super famous but Neil Boyd. He won America’s Got Talent season 3. He was an alumni of my school and fraternity and I ended up giving him a ride to get a new car after he was in a bad accident. Probably the most humble person I’ve ever met despite battling major health issues. We talked for a few hours along the ride and he ended up paying my fraternity dues for a semester which I had no knowledge of until after the fact. He passed away but I’ll always remember his stories about his experiences from not only the fame of winning but time in college.
Yeah I hung around Drake a few times because my older brother was friends with him. We goofed him for being a rapper (this was before he even put out his first mixtape) we used to pretend beg him for money. We smoked weed in weird places, like a hotel parking garage. He was really funny and witty, if you dissed him he always had a comeback, but he was nice about it too. I just remember him being really chill and everyone kinda looked up to him. I was maybe 14 at the time, they were all around 17.
I met a lovely young woman a decade ago, she was trying her absolute hardest to shed a few kilos as she had grown up chubby and wanted to be her ideal weight as all her friends were in exceptional shape (the ones I knew at least).
In the time I knew her she went from chubby to being in great shape, and dated a friend of mine who is a trainer and all around top bloke.
She was very happy, seemed to be enjoying her life, when she picked up a modelling gig, now being a tall and broad girl she wasn’t ever going to get runway modelling gigs, so this was a more “body positive” kind of gig.
From there out for quite some time I would see her and every time she was getting heavier and heavier again… A friend mentioned to me that she was told she would score more gigs in the plus size category. She certainly had “the look”.
Any-who, a little time went on, and as I’m a fitness or nothing kind of person, I never saw her out anywhere I was anymore as she wasn’t really doing any of the things I did, and she stopped seeing the people I knew as well, so I never really saw her socially again.
Fast forward another little while and a mate I was living with comes in, in hysterics wanting to show me something…
It’s an image she posted of her and another friend, well it turns out they’re now semi-famous, and hundreds of thousands of people are accusing her friend of photo-shopping her to be fatter and herself to be slimmer (just slim-shaming her friend). Well, this blows up to be world head-lines, and her career went into overdrive, now she’s famous.
I still see her regularly, and boy… It’s actually really sad. She was a really bouncy fun person when she was at a healthy weight, full of life. Now every time I see her she’s sitting down. Appears to look tired or lacking energy, never really sounds as happy. She’s now wealthy and famous, but isn’t the same person I met 10 years ago. It’s obvious she pretends that she’s happier and healthier than ever to appeal to her target audience better. It seriously is so fake it’s a mystery to me how anyone buys into it.
Her name is Kate Wasley, the other famous friend is Georgia Gibbs (who I didn’t know nearly as well).
I know a lot of people in my parent’s generation that grew up with Tom Cruise. Every single one of them said he was a terrible person. One of my girlfriends mothers in high school dated him in their high school years. She said he had a very odd obsession.. could never get it out of her tho..
My husband’s band played warm up to a young comedian in the early 80s – Jim Carey. He was doing mostly impressions back then and was just getting some good gigs. We got to hang around with him a bit and he was very nice and very funny. A month or so later the drummer for the band was on the subway and Jim Carey got on his car and recognized him from the gig. Carey went into his whole act for him right there on the subway. Our buddy wanted to crawl under the seat as this crazy man was doing his rubber faces and strange noises and everyone on the subway was looking. After Carey got off the train the rest of the ride was uneventful.
Thomas Middleditch briefly dated my roommate right before he got on Silicon Valley. He seemed like a cool guy but seemed kind of down because he was going to be in the spin off of The Office called The Farm but that didn’t get picked up. Then we got drunk and he made fun of all of my Nintendo games and called them baby games an talked about some Canadian hockey video game league he and his roommates had, like it was two or three of them and then they gave themselves a trophy. He was a cool guy though, his old improv group with Eugene Cordero was hilarious.
Then we got drunk and he made fun of all of my Nintendo games and called them baby games an talked about some Canadian hockey video game league he and his roommates had, like it was two or three of them and then they gave themselves a trophy.
Seth Grahame-Smith, writer of Pride and Predjudice and Zombies, was in 12th grade when I was in 9th. He and I were in gym class together.
I was also really small for my age back then. One day in the locker room an older student, Adrian, randomly put me in a headlock and started dragging me around the locker room. The other kids didn’t give a shit because I was a freshman.
Seth saw it and got involved, pulled Adrian off me and told him to stop being a dick. That year I was dealing with depression and a bunch of other personal issues so this stood out as one of the very few positive things from that year. I’m sure to him it was nothing (and I’d be amazed if he still remembers) when I saw a picture of him more recently I recognized him right away.
TL;DR Seth Grahame-Smith was a very decent human being back in high school.
I was in 9th grade Spanish class at John Marshall in Pasadena, CA with Jaleel White (Steve Urkel from Family Matters) right around when he first landed the role but wasn’t “famous” yet. He already had a big ego and was an annoying kid (I sat one desk in front of him) that seemed to always need attention.
Well, one day he had somehow pushed the buttons of the wrong person, a linebacker on the varsity team two times his size, and he picked him up and threw him across the room. The football player was sent to the dean’s office and Jaleel stormed out of the classroom never to return to our school again.
The crazy part of the story though is.. The next day, Jaleel’s really large father shows up to school and is out in the hallway (outside of our classroom) and is calling for Ronnie (the football player) to come out and confront him. We’re all freaking out in class (with excitement for what is going to happen next) and our teacher tells us all to stay in our seats. In sure the security guards came shortly and escorted him off the campus, but it was pretty wild and entertaining to us. I assume he was home schooled from that point on.
You’d have to be from the UK and a child of the 80s to get this reference but I knew Jill Gascoine, the British TV star, back in the day when she was the star of the Gentle Touch and CATS Eyes. I was a huge fan with a massive crush on her (I’m a female) when I was 17 and was a homeless youth living in shelters and B&Bs in London. I managed to scrape enough money together to go see her in a play in Euston around about 1984/5. I went to the stage door to wait for her to meet her and luckily for me the stage manager was a gay woman and immediately took me under her wing and ushered me into the backstage area. She told me to wait at the bottom of the stairs and a few minutes later Jill came down the stairs looking like a vision from Heaven. She signed my photo, and copy of the TV Times with her on the cover, and was the sweetest person to me, and I remember her being so kind. I told her I was an aspiring singer and asked her what advice she could give me. She looked at me for a minute and then said “why don’t you meet me tomorrow for lunch and we can chat”.
I didn’t sleep a wink that night and the next day I met her in the pub next to the theater. We had a lovely lunch and she introduced me to the cast who were all having lunch in the same pub. I met Barry Cryer and Cleo Roccos from the Kenny Everett show. They were all so nice to me. Jill and I started to meet for lunch regularly while she played out the run of that show, and then she had to go back to filming CATS Eyes. It was so weird that me, a young homeless teen living in a squalid hotel, would get calls in the evening from this huge TV star, but she genuinely cared and wanted to help. She even paid for me to join the Musicians Union as a gift. She sent me birthday cards and little notes. One day she invited me to Kent to hang out on the set of CATS Eyes while they were filming but there was a big snow storm and I couldn’t get there.
She moved to LA not too long after that and we briefly contacted each other in the 90s when I emailed her manager and she got back to me right away. I’ll never forget her kindness, her warmth and her genuine caring nature. I was insanely in love with her but of course it was unrequited because she was married to Alfred Molina (he starred in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Spiderman 2) by then and was at least 25 years older than me. She has advanced Alzheimer’s now and I get so sad when I see stories about her in the papers. She doesn’t recognize people anymore and she’s in full time care. I just want people to know what an amazing wonderful person she is. That disease is so cruel, to steal a wonderful brain and personality like that. Bless you Jill, and thank you for everything. I wish you comfort for the rest of your days.
I went to the same drama group as Sophie Turner. I didn’t see her much as she was at a different location to me, but occasionally the groups would colab.
I remember her being very cliquey and quite snotty to some people, quite up herself really. She’s younger than me though so I don’t know if it was an age thing or not. She couldn’t act either – she had one expression and one tone that she used for any scene.
That being said, I only met her a couple of times, and it really only twigged for me who she was when I watched GOT and recognised the face. A quick google and a “well look at that” moment happened.
I’m pretty chuffed for her that she’s done so well in her career… and very impressed she made it this far, considering her acting is still a bit pants.
I was childhood friends with Henry Simmons (NYPD Blue, Agents of Shield). Coincidentally, he was one of two people who helped get me interested in drawing and comic books when I was 8 or 9, and now I’m a mere mid-40s Marvel fanboy while he plays one of the leaders of the post-Winter Soldier S.H.I.E.L.D. What I remember was he was a great guy, though we were only in contact until the end of middle school when he went on to the local Catholic high school. We were also in Cub Scouts together (a den of just three kids, IIRC). Unfortunately my most memorable experience with him was when I STUPIDLY repeated to him something racist that another friend said about this Black kid in our grade – Scott – who had been getting into a lot of fights. Even for a 12-year old, I was incredibly naive, and I was completely (blissfully?) ignorant of differences between Blacks, Whites, Latinos, gays, rich, poor, fat, skinny, whatever. I repeated my friend’s statement that Scott, had “started acting really ‘Black’ lately”, unaware of how hurtful and racist that statement was. Henry, the biggest kid in the grade, jacked me (the littlest kid in the grade) up against a wall with his forearm in my throat and demanded I tell him who said it. To my credit, I didn’t give him up – I just lied and said it was someone he didn’t know, that it was someone who had moved away.
A guy I played football with was best friends with Jonathan Toews (Center for the Blackhawks) when they were kids. He never misses a chance to remind people that the only reason Toews is so good is because he’s been dangling my buddy since they were in diapers.
Toews always returns to Winnipeg to donate to charity or show off his latest Stanley Cup win, seems like a pretty genuine nice guy, which kind of goes against the stereotype of douchebag hockey bro’s.
I used to run an old shoe shop, back in detroit. every day, Barack Obama would stand outside selling matches to make a living. we didnt really talk much other than the usually hallo, goodmorning and such. until one day I saw the poor little boy cry his eyes out, he stomped on a nail, it didnt hurt his foot but his shoes were ruined, I quickly repaired the shoes and then he where on his way selling matches ones again.
My mother allegedly went on a few dates with Jeff Goldblum right after he was in The Fly, because she was a nurse taking care of his mother at a nursing home. She says he was weird and quirky, later saying that his neurotic personality in Jurassic Park was 100% spot on who he was in real life.
Later when he was back in Pittsburgh I met him due to my mother getting in touch with him. She was 100% correct. Super cool guy though.
I dated Rainn Wilson for a while before he did movies. He had an odd but endearing sense of humor. I remember him answering the phone by saying in this really suave voice, “Jimmy Crack Corn and I don’t care, how may I help you?” Which was way more hilarious than I can possibly make it sound now. And it’s anticlimactic, but he really was (and is still, I’m sure) a very nice person.
My grandma lived in the same neighborhood as Elvis Presley before and while he was becoming famous. Everyone was so glad when he moved to Graceland, no more crazy fans coming through the neighborhood. Also apparently the Presley’s were a pretty bad family, everyone avoided them.
The mom of one of my friends I grew up with dated Jim Morrison before he went to school in California and started singing for The Doors. My friend’s grandfather kicked Jim out of the house and forbid his daughter to see him again because he had long hair and rode a motorcycle.
My Girl Scout troop leader dated Johnny Depp in high school, if remember correctly. I doubt they dated long; she said he was strange. She had pictures of them together and year books and junk. We all thought it was so awesome and were wondering which kid in our elementary school was destined for fame.
She canceled our meeting one week to go to his wedding. She was cool.