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These Celebrities Were Besties Before They Found Fame

by jvcc

We’re all fascinated by the lives of celebrities. We’re even more fascinated by what their lives were like when they were like us–just regular kids. Before glitz, glamour, and fame, these huge celebrities were kids who needed a BFF to help them navigate life and share the usual growing-up stuff like going bowling, playing at each other’s houses, and writing love notes.

These are some of the most fascinating friendships in Hollywood!

Adam Levine and Jonah Hill

Singer/songwriter Adam Levine grew up with actor Jonah Hill in Los Angeles. They’re so close that they see one another as brothers. As such, Hill officiated Levine’s marriage to Behati Prinsloo in 2014.

Hill told radio host Howard Stern, “Our dads met in the principal’s office in junior high. We were in carpool. We lived at each other’s houses.” Levine and Hill’s friendship was meant to be!

Kate Hudson and Liv Tyler

Actresses Kate Hudson and Liv Tyler became friends when they attended the Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences in Santa Monica, CA., in the 1990s. Both children of famous parents, these ladies could relate to one another right away. Hudson’s mom is actress Goldie Hawn, and Tyler’s father is Aerosmith’s lead singer Steven Tyler.

John Krasinski and B.J. Novak

Best known as frienemies on NBC’s The Office, these guys go way back! Before they were made famous by their work at Dunder Mifflin, they were classmates at Newton South High School in Massachusetts. There, they costarred in school plays and played little league together.

Novak describes young Krasinski as a “normal, popular kid,” and Krasinski (who will always be “Jim” to us) says Novak had an uncanny ability to hit bombs on the baseball field!

Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts

Actresses Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts went to high school together. They were also part of the same theater company in Australia. While these experiences formed a bond between the two early in life, it wasn’t until filming Flirting in 1991 that they became best friends. In 2007, Kidman and Watts went to the Oscars as each other’s dates. If that doesn’t solidify BFF status, we don’t know what does.

Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson

Actor Owen Wilson and filmmaker Wes Anderson are more than friends–they’re an artistic team! The two got to know one another as students at the University of Texas at Austin. They frequently collaborated, with Wilson appearing in seven of Anderson’s films, including The Life Aquatic with Steve ZissouThe Royal Tenenbaums, and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Tupac Shakur and Jada Pinkett Smith

Rapper Tupac Shakur and actress Jada Pinkett Smith attended the Baltimore School for the Arts together.

“It was the first day, and he came over to me and introduced himself,” Pinkett Smith recalled in an interview. “And in high school, Pac was a little funny looking. Definitely from looking at him, [he] wasn’t necessarily the type of cat that I would even, like, deal with.” Much to her surprise, the two became best friends, and Pinkett Smith eventually saw Shakur as a brother.

Chaz Bono and Jennifer Aniston

Would you have guessed this is a photo of advocate, writer, and musician Chaz Bono — then Chastity Bono — and actress Jennifer Aniston? Bono — born to famed couple Cher and Sonny Bono — and the Friends star attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York.

In 2011, Aniston told Allure magazine, “Every day a group of us would go to Chaz’s house after school.” She also mentioned they hadn’t seen one another in a while. We wonder if the high school versions of themselves guessed what success awaited them in decades to come!

Jeremy Piven and John Cusack

Actors Jeremy Piven and John Cusack grew up in Evanston, IL., and became buddies in high school. Then, Cusack attended the Piven Theatre Workshop–founded by Jeremy’s parents–which solidified their friendship. Later, the two lived together. Can you imagine those house parties? Just an 80s icon and one of the stars of Entourage hanging out together. No big deal.

Their relationship continued as they worked on several films together, including Grosse Pointe BlankSay Anything…, and Serendipity. Unfortunately, it’s been reported that they are no longer close. They haven’t discussed this with the media.

Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake

While most people know Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake were a couple in the late 90s and early 2000s, they don’t realize the two were good friends when they were kids. Before they became international superstars, they were castmates on The Mickey Mouse Club in 1993 and 1994. You may also be familiar with a couple of their castmates–Christina Aguilera and JC Chasez. We want to shake hands with the casting director who cast them all. He/she/they had an excellent eye for talent!

Justin Timberlake and Ryan Gosling

While we’re on the topic of Justin Timberlake . . . Timberlake and actor Ryan Gosling were also BFFs in their early years.

In addition to Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and JC Chasez, future movie star Ryan Gosling was also on The Mickey Mouse Club with Timberlake. One year during the show’s run, Gosling moved in with the Timberlake family while his Mom returned to Canada. JT’s Mom became his legal guardian during that time. You could say they were practically brothers!

Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio

Leo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire both began their acting careers at an early age. This fact alone gave them firm common ground on which to build a friendship. The two competed for several roles in those early years, which gave them a healthy respect for one another. Rather than become rivals, they chose to help one another get parts by recommending the other when one was cast.

Interestingly, both actors auditioned for the same roles in the NBC sitcom Parenthood and the film This Boy’s Life. DiCaprio was cast in both roles as a result of Maguire suggesting him for both projects. Now THAT’S a great friend!

Princess Diana and Tilda Swinton

Actress Tilda Swinton attended boarding school at West Heath Girls with Princess Diana.

According to Wikipedia, West Heath Girls’ School was an English girls’ independent school established in 1865. It was initially in London and from 1932 near Sevenoaks, Kent. It closed in 1997.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Maya Rudolph

Gwyneth Paltrow, known for her roles in Shakespeare in LoveSliding Doors, and Iron Man has known fellow actor, Maya Rudolph’s, since they were children. Rudolph’s fame began when she was on Saturday Night Live and continued to skyrocket with such films as Bridesmaids and Grown Ups.

The two women’s fathers attended Tulane University together. The would-be celebrities then met at primary school in St. Augustine by the Sea in Santa Monica, California. They remain close to this day.

Chloë Sevigny and Topher Grace

Chloë Sevigny babysat Topher Grace while the two were growing up in Darien, Connecticut. Sevigny was born on November 18, 1974, making her 46 years old at the writing of this article (2021). Grace was born July 12, 1978, making him 43. Those four years certainly do make a lot of difference when you’re twelve and sixteen!

Carey Mulligan and Marcus Mumford

Carey Mulligan and Marcus Mumford have been married since 2012. Their love story sounds like the plot of a 1990s rom-com.

Mulligan is an actress, best known for her roles in Never Let Me Go and Suffragette, and Mumford is in the highly successful band, Mumford and Sons. Their love story actually started back when they were kids. Apparently, the two went to the same church camp when they were young and stayed in touch as pen pals for a while before losing touch. They got to know one another through good ol’ fashion handwritten notes. After a few years, their correspondence stopped.

in 2011, Mulligan showed up with Jake Gyllenhaal at a Mumford and Sons party. Soon after that, Mulligan and Mumford were spotted together. It was a whirlwind romance from then on–the two were married the following year and now have two kids, Evelyn and Wilfred.

Jay Z and Busta Rhymes

Music icons Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes went to Brooklyn’s George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School together. Legend has it, they even had a rap battle in the lunchroom. DMX and Notorious B.I.G also attended the high school around the same time.

Incidentally, Jay-Z went on to become hip-hop’s first billionaire in June 2019; per Forbes, he’s currently worth about $1 billion. We wonder if any of his friends call him and ask for money from time to time!

Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance

Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance met at the Yale School of Drama in 1980. They didn’t start dating right away though. In fact, they spent a decade being “just friends.”

Today, Vance is married to Bassett. Together, they have twins, a son and a daughter, born on January 27, 2006. He and Bassett have authored a book, Friends: A Love Story, with Hilary Beard.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

While Tina Fey and Amy Poehler didn’t know one another since they were children, they definitely met long before either of them was in the public eye. Fey and Poehler first met at Chicago’s ImprovOlympic in 1993. The theater’s co-founder Charna Halpern introduced them to each other.

In Poehler’s book, Yes, Please, Poehler writes, “Charna took a liking to me, and me to her. She told me I was just as good as the big boys. She believed in me. She said there was another new improviser in another one of her classes whom she thought I would really like. Her name was Tina and she was like me but with brown hair.” Fey and Poehler have been acting together and doing life together ever since.

Scarlett Johansson and Jack Antonoff

Can you imagine telling your friends you took Scarlett Johansson to prom and having it NOT be a lie? Well, if you’re Jack Antonoff you can say just that.

Johansson, known for her roles in Black Widow and Lost in Translation, among other movies, used to date the music producer and Fun. drummer Jack Antonoff when they both attended the Professional Children’s School.