It’s easy to believe that celebrities just magically appeared on the silver screen one day. When you’re not there to personally witness their rise to fame, there’s no way of knowing where they came from… and the awkward struggles they faced.
That is, unless you have access to their high school yearbooks. One peek at those precious photographs shows that celebrities really are more like us than we thought.
Not only were they homecoming kings and queens, but they were class clowns, geeks, and members of student council. Just take these celebrities in high school, for instance…
Long before McConaughey was a leading man in Hollywood, he was just another teenager attending Longview High School in Texas. While there, he played on the tennis and golf teams and was also part of the Pan Am club.
Chances are, you recognize Pratt for one of his most iconic roles—either in Parks and Recreation, Jurassic World, or as a hero in Guardians of the Galaxy. As a student at Lake Stevens High in Washington, he was on the wrestling team, he ran track, and he also played football.
Faris, who is widely known for her starring roles in funny flicks like Scary Movie and The House Bunny, recently admitted that she didn’t start dating men until her senior year of high school. She would eventually go on to marry Chris Pratt.
Anna Faris, who is commonly regarded as one of the most beautiful—and funny—women in Hollywood today, claims that she wasn’t exactly regarded as such during her days attending high school. In fact, she has stated that she was quite awkward around boys during her teenage years, hence why she didn’t even begin to navigate the dating scene until she was a senior in high school.
“I liked guys, but no one really liked me,” Faris once said in an interview, while adding that she wasn’t high on anyone else’s list of people to date, either. We bet the fellas back in her hometown regret not spending more time with her!
Berry is noted as one of the most talented and beautiful actresses in Hollywood. In high school, things weren’t much different for the starlet. In fact, in her senior year, she was voted the class prom queen!
Halle Berry’s prom queen title didn’t come without much scrutiny, though. After having beat a classmate with blonde hair and blue eyes, she and her friends were accused by several of their fellow students of rigging the voting system in her favor. This caused it to come down to a coin toss, which she eventually won—leading her to be named prom queen once and for all.
“I felt like I was accepted there until it came to being prom queen,” she said in an interview. “It took me a long time to get over it.”
After graduating from an all-girl’s high school in Nashville, Tennessee, Witherspoon has admitted that she was a nerdy teen—though, she was still quite popular at the time as well.
America’s sweetheart Reese Witherspoon is also a self-proclaimed book nerd who received all good grades as a student during her teenage years. “I was a big dork who read loads of books,” she said in an interview. “But I was a popular dork because I learned how to be funny.”
Ferrell is one of Hollywood’s most beloved comedians and it’s easy to see why. He’s likable and hilarious, much like he was when he was in high school. As a student, he won the vote for best personality; he was also the king of his senior class’s winter ball.
Will Ferrell was the student who read the morning announcements to the school every single day. Can you imagine getting to hear Ferrell talk about the school meatloaf and all of the ongoings of student council every day? That would be so funny!
Surprisingly, Ferrell was also quite the jock at California’s Irvine High School where he played basketball, baseball, soccer, and he even held the record for most field goals in football. Oddly, he was also a member of the school’s reptile club, whatever that is. One thing’s for sure: he drew laughs wherever he went.
While attending Upper Darby High School in Pennsylvania, Fey was a member of the school newspaper staff. It’s easy to see how that activity played into her eventual role as an anchor during Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update.
While he is certainly known as one of Hollywood’s most recognizable leading men today, Smith was first recognized as The Fresh Prince, a name he picked up while he was a high school student in Philadelphia.
Somewhat surprisingly, Willis was regarded by his fellow classmates as one of the most school spirit-oriented students while he was a Penns Grove high school student in Carneys Point, New Jersey. Go team!
Lively’s friends have noted how busy the Hollywood starlet was while she was a student at Burbank High School in California. This is likely because she boasted a hefty resume of extracurricular activities!
As a student at Augusta High School in Augusta, Kentucky, Clooney was a member of the varsity basketball and baseball teams. While his athleticism is well-known in Hollywood (the leading man once joked about a time when he and his cronies challenged fellow actor Leonardo DiCaprio in basketball—and won), it is less known that he suffered from Bell’s palsy when he entered high school at age 13.
Regarded as one of Hollywood’s most handsome leading men for decades, Pitt was voted “most popular” and “best dressed” while he was a student at Kickapoo High School in Missouri. He carried these superlative well into his adult life, too!
As a student attending East High School in Nashville, Tennessee, Winfrey was voted most popular. While an exceptional student, she also partook in many extracurricular activities, including student government and others.
As an outgoing student at Campbell High School in Smyrna, Georgia, this leading actress engaged in an art of a different variety: music. She played the clarinet as a member of her high school band. Who knew?
As a student at Skyline High School in California, Hanks remembers that he was regarded as a geek during his formative teenage years. He also recalled that he was extremely shy during that period of time!
Lopez attended Preston High School in the Bronx, New York, which was an all-girl’s Catholic school. Like many of the other celebrities on this list, she claims that she wasn’t popular during that period of her life.
As a 17-year-old student at Bernards High School in Somerset County, New Jersey, Streep was crowned homecoming queen. She was also a member of the cheerleading squad and, naturally, she starred in many school plays.
In addition to being a football player during his time in high school, Cordozar Calvin Broadus, Jr.—otherwise known by his professional name, Snoop Dogg—also attended school with famed Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz. He was remembered by his fellow students for his tall and skinny stature.
Born Nicolas Kim Coppola, Cage once told reporters from The New York Times that he was a straight-A student when he was in high school. Though, this was quickly halted when his parents went through a divorce and he moved in with his uncle—and Godfather director—Francis Ford Coppola for a year.
Another straight-A student, Israeli actress Portman—who was born Neta-Lee Hershlag—was a member of the winter track team. She’s been quoted in the past as claiming that she wasn’t one to attend parties during high school, unlike a lot of other celebrities her age.
Like many teenagers, DeGeneres didn’t exactly love her time attending Atlanta High School in Texas. In fact, the comedienne has been quite candid about her disdain for that time period of her teenage life!
While attending St. Francis Academy in Joliet, Illinois, McCarthy made the transition from preppy student to goth kid. Up until that point, people referred to her as “Missy” rather than her full name.
Once describing himself as “rambunctious, rowdy child” to Parade magazine, Spacey was also the co-valedictorian of one of the many high schools that he attended. In high school, he fell in love with theatre and acting.
As a young teenage student at Terrell High School in Texas, Foxx once aspired to be a professional football player. During this time, he was popular with both his fellow students as well as with his teachers.
As a student at El Camino Fundamental High School in Sacramento, California, Chastain wasn’t too fond of her learning facility. In fact, she disliked it so much that she eventually was unable to graduate for excessive absences.
Robert Downey Jr.
As a student, Downey very much disliked the curriculum, and he soon dropped out of Santa Monica High School. His poor grades were accompanied by years of drug and alcohol abuse.
As a student attending Central Falls High in Rhode Island, Davis fell in love with acting from an early age—and it was clear that it is what she would do with her life. Growing up in poverty, she became completely immersed in the arts as a teenager.
Washington had a life-changing experience while attending Oakland Military Academy in New Windsor, New York, a private all-boy’s school. A rough period during his parents’ divorce almost haunted any success he would later have.
While attending Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois, Murray worked a part-time job to help pay for his Catholic schooling. It was during this time that he earned a small stipend as a golf caddy at Indian Hill Club in Winnetka, Illinois.
As a student at Redwood High School in Larkspur, California and Detroit Country Day School in Birmingham, Michigan, Williams was voted least likely to succeed—and, fittingly, most humorous. If only they knew who he would become!
Many people have long wondered how Benjamin Haggerty came up with his rap name, and the answer is simple: He came up with it during an art project while in high school in Seattle, Washington (though, it was originally “Professor Macklemore”).