Celebs Who Knew Each Other Before They Were Famous

Hollywood might not be your typical workplace, but that doesn’t mean friendships can’t be forged there. Jennifer and Aniston and Courtney Cox, who grew close during their time on “Friends,” and Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, who played the lead roles in the blockbuster “Titanic,” are two examples of lasting celebrity friendships made on set. However, some celebrities have been friends for longer than that. In some cases, they met as kids, when stardom wasn’t even a pipe dream.

Of course, like all friendships, not all celebrity bonds stand the test of time. Whether it happens in private or in public, sometimes people fall out or simply grow apart. Check out these celebrities who knew each other before they were famous.

Carey Mulligan And Marcus Mumford

Carey Mulligan and Marcus Mumford first met when they were kids, long before she was an award-winning actress and he was the lead singer of Mumford and Sons. Apparently, they attended the same church camp and kept in touch in the old-fashioned, letter-writing way. They lost touch — as many pen pals do — but met again in 2011 and didn’t waste any time. They got married the following year and now have two kids, Evelyn and Wilfred.

Gwyneth Paltrow And Maya Rudolph

Gwyneth Paltrow and Maya Rudolph’s childhood friendship was all down to their dads, who met at Tulane University and became best friends. With both families in L.A., and Paltrow and Rudolph went to the same school. Decades later, when Paltrow was hosting “Saturday Night Live,” she gave new cast member Rudolph a shout-out in her monologue, according to People.

“This week has been real extra-special to me because one of my best friends is on the show now, and I’m so proud of her,” Paltrow said. “She’s super-funny and talented, and I’m so glad she’s in the cast.”

Lisa Kudrow And Conan O’Brien

Before Lisa Kudrow was one of the most famous “Friends” in the world, she met TV host Conan O’Brien at an improv class.

“He was really smart, really funny, and he thought I was funny,” Kudrow said. They had a romantic spark initially, but Kudrow said they discovered they were better off as friends.

Connie Britton And Lauren Graham

Actresses Connie Britton and Lauren Graham were housemates back when they were still trying to carve out Hollywood careers.

“We were in the same acting class [in New York City],” Connie Britton told the audience during her panel at New York Magazine’s Vulture Festival in 2017. “We were in class together, became friends and then we both decided to make the big move and give Los Angeles a shot.”

Robert Downey Jr. And Kiefer Sutherland

Leading men Robert Downey Jr. and Kiefer Sutherland shared an apartment in L.A. for three years during the 1980s while they were trying to get their acting careers off the ground, although Downey Jr. is fairly cagey about what the exact living situation was. However, it seems like a generally healthy dynamic. “Iron Man” star Downey Jr. told Howard Stern that while he was going through a rough patch with girlfriend Sarah Jessica Parker, Sutherland acted as a shoulder for her to cry on.

“Better him than some stranger,” he said.

Judd Apatow And Adam Sandler

Another pair who shared a pad during their rise to celebrity is Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler. Back in the day, they shared an L.A. apartment, where they fought about use of the bathroom and who was more handsome. Apatow shed some light on the experience during an interview with “60 Minutes.”

“Back then, life was just doing stand-up or writing jokes. You would sleep until noon every day and kind of stumble out,” he said. “You would have to be at work at 8:30 at night. Work was sometimes 15 minutes.”

Wes Anderson And Owen Wilson

Filmmaker Wes Anderson and actor Owen Wilson go way back. They were college roommates at the University of Texas at Austin and since then, their lives have stayed entwined. In fact, it could be said that they launched each other’s careers. Wilson’s first credited acting role was in Anderson’s first feature film “Bottle Rocket,” which Martin Scorsese hailed as one of the best films of the 1990s. Since then, Wilson has featured in Anderson’s movies “Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” “The Darjeeling Limited,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

Jay-Z And Busta Rhymes

Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes were more than friends in high school — they were rap rivals. When they both attended Brooklyn’s George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School, they had a rap battle in the lunchroom. Jay-Z shared the story on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and when asked who “won” the showdown, he said, “I love Busta Rhymes, but …”

Jessie J And Adele

British singers Jessie J and Adele both attended the prestigious BRIT School in London. In 2016, Jessie J revealed that they used to sing in the playground, telling the hosts of Australian radio show NOVA 96.9’s Fitzy & Wippa, “We just used to ad-lib and make stuff up.” She added that the pair, who graduated from the school in 2006, never predicted their future global success.

Tina Fey And Amy Poehler

Comedy greats Tina Fey and Amy Poehler really are #bestfriendgoals. They first met decades ago at Chicago’s ImprovOlympic and immediately hit it off. Poehler said that they were introduced to one another by theater co-founder Charna Halpern, who felt that “[Fey] was like me but with brown hair.”

Kelly Leonard, executive vice president of improvisational comedy troupe Second City, said, “They were inseparable walking around, and kept trying to get put in casts together.”

Scarlett Johansson And Jack Antonoff

High school sweethearts Jack Antonoff and Scarlett Johansson dated for two years when they both attended New York’s Professional Children’s School and even went to prom together. This was before Antonoff joined the band Fun and helped produce some of Taylor Swift’s songs — but after Johansson had started working as a child actor.

“When we were in high school, Jack was absolutely obsessed with her, and she broke his heart,” said another former student. “They broke up shortly after graduation … She got swept up in the Hollywood scene.”

Laura Linney And Brooke Shields

In February 2020, Brooke Shields revealed her childhood friendship with fellow actor Laura Linney, sharing a sweet snap of the two of them on Instagram. The two smiling young girls can be seen sitting next to each other with their backs together, on what appears to be a swing. Shields tagged Linney and wrote in the caption, “went way back into the archives for this one #tbt with @itsmelauralinney.”

Leonardo DiCaprio And Tobey Maguire

Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire have a 30-year friendship behind them, ever since they were young guys trying to catch a break in the film industry. After meeting at an audition, they kept in touch because DiCaprio took the initiative and asked for Maguire’s number. It’s been a mutually supportive relationship over the years.

“Every project we do, we talk about,” DiCaprio said. “Every single choice I’ve made, I’ve talked to Tobey about and vice versa. We’ve had endless conversations about certain projects and argued with one another and supported one another along the way.”

Demi Lovato And Selena Gomez

Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez were only 7 years old when they met during an audition for “Barney & Friends” in 2002 (they both got cast). They were famously inseparable during their early years on the Disney Channel, and even did a Disney Channel Original Movie together in 2009 called “Princess Protection Program.” Unfortunately, their relationship hasn’t stood the test of time (and celebrity). In an April 2020 interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Lovato confirmed that they’re “not friends.”

Ben Affleck And Matt Damon

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon grew up in the Boston area together and were both thrust into the limelight after writing the screenplay for the 1997 hit movie “Good Will Hunting,” in which they both starred alongside Robin Williams. Their friendship remains one of the most solid in Hollywood. Last month, they took their children to a memorial for Breonna Taylor, to pay respects on what would have been Taylor’s 27th birthday.

B.J. Novak And John Krasinski

B.J. Novak and John Krasinski both had roles in the smash-hit TV series “The Office,” but they’ve actually known each other since childhood. They both grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, and even played Little League together.

“John Krasinski and I have known each other our whole lives in the weirdest, most coincidental way,” Novak told Ellen DeGeneres in 2014.

Naomi Watts And Nicole Kidman

Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman first met when they were 13-year-old students at North Sydney Girls’ High School and became close on the set of the 1991 film “Flirting.” The Aussie stars, who are regularly spotted at events together, have “gone through a lot together over a significant amount of time,” Watts told People in 2017. In 2018, Kidman and other friends helped Watts celebrate her 50th birthday with a banana split sundae.

Lauryn Hill And Zach Braff

Artist Lauryn Hill and “Scrubs” star Zach Braff were high school friends, attending Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, together in the 1990s. Braff told Jane magazine that the singer came to his bar mitzvah.

“There was a game called Coke and Pepsi,” he said. “You’d have a partner, and one person was Coke and the other Pepsi. Depending on what the DJ would yell, you had to run and get on that person’s lap. And Lauryn was my Coke and Pepsi partner.”

Paris Hilton And Kim Kardashian

Paris Hilton has said that she and Kim Kardashian have been friends since they were little girls growing up in L.A. And Kardashian has Hilton to thank for her rise to fame — her first taste of celebrity was working as Hilton’s assistant, and she even made several appearances on Hilton and Nicole Richie’s reality show “The Simple Life.” Despite the odd public fallout, Hilton and Kardashian have stayed on good terms.

Ryan Gosling And Justin Timberlake

Ryan Gosling and Justin Timberlake were Mouseketeers on the set of “The Mickey Mouse Club” in the 1990s when they became friends. At that point, they were so close that Timberlake’s mother became Gosling’s legal guardian after his mother returned to Canada for work reasons. However, they’ve definitely drifted apart over the years.

“I see him around but it’s like anything where you’re friends with somebody in elementary school or something,” Gosling told a Spanish interviewer in 2013. “How many friends do you still have from elementary school?”

Madonna And Debi Mazar

Madonna and actress Debi Mazar first met in an elevator at a nightclub in New York City during the early 1980s, when Madge was still a struggling singer and Mazar was a makeup artist.

“We are old best friends in the sense that we’ve been very close for a very, very long time — like 30 years, before she even cut a record,” Mazar said in a 2015 interview with HuffPost Live. “I met her when she came to New York and we became dear friends, and then she was like, ‘I’m gonna do a video,’ and I was like, ‘I do makeup. I’ll do your makeup. Cool!’ And it was very much like that, and then she became a huge star.”

Matthew Morrison And Kristen Bell

In 2010, Kristen Bell revealed that she dated Matthew Morrison when they were both students at New York University.

“We actually dated very briefly,” she told US Weekly. “So I’ll have to say maybe Matt Morrison is my favorite part of ‘Glee’ for various reasons.”

Cameron Diaz And Snoop Dogg

Cameron Diaz and Snoop Dogg met during their teenage years in Long Beach Polytechnic High School and became close friends. In 2011, Diaz confessed to George Lopez, “I’m pretty sure I bought weed from him.” When Snoop later appeared on Lopez’s show, he joked, “I might have sold her some of that white-girl weed.”

Liv Tyler And Kate Hudson

When you’re born into a famous family, there’s a good chance your childhood playmates have celebrity blood running through their veins as well. Liv Tyler, the daughter of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, and Kate Hudson, whose mom is Goldie Hawn, went to high school together at Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences in L.A. They later shared their first breakout film, 2000’s “Dr. T. & the Women.”

Lenny Kravitz, Nicolas Cage And Gina Gershon

On “Late Night with Seth Meyers” in 2018, Lenny Kravitz revealed that he went to high school with Nicolas Cage and Gina Gershon. The trio even appeared in a school production of “Oklahoma!” with Kravitz in the pit playing drums while Cage and Gershon shared the stage. Kravitz said he had no idea any of them would be famous, adding, “It’s amazing when I see them now. It’s like, wow, we did all right.”