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"Regular" People Who Knew Celebs Before They Were Famous Are Sharing What They Were Really Like, And It’s Juicy

"I went to elementary school with Olivia Rodrigo. One time, I was being bullied on the playground by some boys in her class, and she came and defended me. They never bullied me again."

We recently asked people in the BuzzFeed Community who worked or went to school with celebs before they were famous to tell us what they were like. Here are the surprising results:

Disclaimer: These stories have not been verified. The users are supposedly speaking from their own experiences.

1. "I went to high school with Joe Keery. I'm not going to pretend we were besties, but we hung out with some of the same people, and he went to my prom. Really nice, funny theater kid, very unproblematic, and very talented."

"My claim to fame is that I made his older sister cry once in AP Lit class."


2. "I went to middle school and high school with Jane Levy. She was your typical mean girl. She was often jealous of other girls and would spread rumors about them. She made my sister's life hell because the boy she liked in 7th grade liked my sister. To be fair to Jane, though, she did acknowledge in an interview that she was a mean girl growing up, so I don't think this is still the sort of person she is today. Hopefully not!"

—34, California

3. "I went to high school with Megan Thee Stallion. She was a year above me, but we had the same art class. She was very very nice to everyone in the class and complimented one of my art projects. I remember there were stairs on the way to art class, and she tripped, but she just immediately started laughing and had the most positive attitude that it was just so contagious."

"I wasn't very popular in HS at the time, and I had very low self-esteem and depression, but I remember looking forward to art class just so I could hear her talk or just be near her because she was genuinely so sweet and so nice to me. It really helped me change to be more confident. I truly admired her and especially how she danced."


4. "I grew up just down the street from Chris Evans. I first met him when I joined his mom’s theater company. He was always a really nice person and helped me whenever I needed to work on my acting skills. When I was really young, I had a HUGE crush on him, and I think he did notice. All in all, Chris really is as nice a guy as he seems on TV in real life. He was an amazing friend and I will never forget all he helped me with."

—41, Massachusetts

5. "I was in a local theater production of Tom Sawyer with Katherine McNamara when I was eight and she was around 12. I remember the other girls being jealous because it was her first time auditioning at our theater company, and she got Becky (the female lead) while we were all just schoolgirls. I thought she was kind and talented, and we became little friends throughout rehearsals and the run of the show. When the show was over, our moms exchanged phone numbers and we were supposed to have a playdate, but we couldn’t get ahold of them. A few years later, I saw a commercial for Girl vs. Monster and realized who she was!"

"Apparently, she moved right after Tom Sawyer was over to start doing professional work, which explains why we couldn’t reach them. It’s cool to see her success, and I’m kind of proud that I got to act with her on a very small scale before she was famous!"


6. "My brother was on the same soccer team as Bryce Hall (from TikTok) for three years. They carpooled to/from practice and occasionally games as well. Bryce was a total brat and threw fits when he didn’t get his way. Hasn’t changed a bit"


"Bryce Hall went to my high school and was the year below me. No one at school had time for his ego, and I’m not sure who his friends were, but he was not Mr. Popular. It sounded like a joke when he moved out to LA, but I guess I’m glad he 'made it?' No one from my year saw him as much and then when he was having parties during COVID, it just kind of solidified my own dislike for the guy."

—24, Maryland

7. "I did K–first and grades six–12 (I think maybe it was nine–12) with the last bachelor, Clayton Echard. He was super sweet ALLLLLL the time — so much so, that the few episodes of the Bachelorette and Bachelor I watched, I was like this is not Clayton at all, but good for him for monetizing off television. Lol."


8. "I went to elementary school with Olivia Rodrigo. I was only there for one year while she was there (I was in kindergarten, she was in grade five). There is a pretty big age difference between us, so I didn’t know her, but my older sister was in her class — and had her over at our house for sleepovers pretty frequently. She seemed like a super nice girl whenever she came over. And one time, I was being bullied on the playground by some boys in her class, and she came and defended me. Never got bullied again. Overall really nice girl."


9. "I went on a date (maybe two) with Dexter Darden back in high school. I didn’t want to continue with anything, but we stayed friends for a while! Honestly, I couldn’t say a bad thing about him. Super sweet guy and I wish him nothing but happiness!"


10. "I went to high school with Lauren Ash (Superstore). She kept to her own group of friends and didn’t have much time for anyone else, but she wasn’t mean. We did assemblies about once a month (basically talent showcases), and we were among the group of kids who always participated in them. One time, she was doing a sketch where she was supposed to pull down her pants to reveal funny underwear, but she accidentally mooned the whole school. She took it really well and laughed it off — to the point where we weren’t sure it was really a mistake."

"We were also leads in the high school musical together. She has a very good singing voice. She and her friends used to do announcements/music in between classes, and they played Billy Joel’s 'Uptown Girl' so often we all wanted to stab somebody when we heard it."


11. "My stepdad worked at a boarding school where Topher Grace (That '70s Show) attended. Topher was part of a group that my stepdad would take bowling and he says that Topher was a really nice guy. My stepdad doesn't recall him as 'celebrity material,' which I guess is a good thing! He was humble and fun, and I guess he got discovered purely out of luck that a producer's daughter went to school with him and saw him acting in a school play."

—25, Pennsylvania 

12. "I went to school with Miley Cyrus — then known to us as Destiny — from kindergarten until seventh grade or so. Everyone knew she was rich and her dad was famous, but she was very normal and kind. I thought she got along with everyone pretty much, so I was surprised when she wrote a memoir saying she got bullied."

"I am happy for her success and wish her well. No one from our little town talks to her anymore, though."

—29, Tennessee

13. "I went to the same high school as Missy Franklin (the Olympic swimmer), and everyone loved her! She was always very sweet and bubbly; she never got cocky, which is awesome especially since she went to the Olympics while still in high school (2012)."


14. “I went to middle and high school with Trevor Stines (Jason Blossom from Riverdale). Tenth-grade year we had math class together and he sat in front of me. He was just so rude and entitled, and he treated/talked to everyone like they were beneath him. The way he spoke to our elderly teacher, you could tell he just had no respect for her whatsoever."

"His older brother on the other hand, James, was a real sweetheart.”


15. "I was in high school drama club with Lee Pace my freshman year. He was pretty much the star of the club. Everybody could see how talented he was. He was also super nice and a lot of fun to be around. He was always willing to help anyone work on their pieces and give them whatever advice they needed."

"He didn’t have to take so much time like that for others or be so nice and encouraging about it. I was absolutely terrible and frankly hopeless, but he still tried to help me. I’m glad he’s found success like he has."


16. "My grandma went to high school with Martha Stewart. Anytime you ask her about it, she says, 'She was such a b*tch.'"

—29, New Jersey

close up of Martha

17. "My mom went to high school with Rob Schneider. She said he was always coming to school in character and doing bits. He was voted most likely to be rich and famous."


18. "I went to high school with Dove Cameron, and I was in show choir with her. Dove was the new girl, and she was always super sweet and very talented. She was shy and quiet, but a friend to everyone. She really doesn’t bullsh*t and is exactly who she is. I remember her always wanting to be a singer/ actress, but she never pushed it or bragged about it. I don’t know her in a personal manner now, but I remember her always being humble, and it seems she is still like that! Refreshing to see!"

—28, California

19. "I went to middle school with Vanessa Burghardt (Lola in Cha Cha Real Smooth). I don't remember much about that time, but I remember her being really nice and sociable. She played Belle in our school's production of Beauty and the Beast. I had no idea she was taking acting classes outside of school, too!"


20. "I attended high school with Brian Austin Green in Southern California. We were in the same friend group and hung outside in the quad during lunch. He most definitely had a growth spurt AFTER high school, but has the same cute face and smile. He was super sweet and a little shy. I remember he owned this navy blue military-looking jacket with big gold buttons, and the kid looked fly! This was right before his debut in Beverly Hills, 90210. I still picture his face perfectly. Super sweet guy in HS. Hope all is going well for him!"

—51, USA

21. "I was in theater with Brittany Broski, and she was always nice to me when most people weren’t. She was also absolutely hilarious and amazing at improv. She was truly unproblematic and was known for being kind and hilarious — just like she is now!"

—24, Texas

22. "I went to overnight summer camp with Debra Messing for two summers, back when we were 10 and 11. She was a super nice, regular kid. We had riding lessons together and lived in the same cabin. I have a photo of all the kids in the cabin, which includes Debra. Years later, I saw an article about her in a magazine, and I wasn't really sure it was her because I knew her as Debbie Messing, not Debra Messing. Sure enough, it was her and I was amazed! I have no idea what she is like now, but she was a very nice, polite, thoughtful kid."

—54, Illinois

23. "Austin Mahone and I lived in the same area. I saw him at the movie theater once while we were in eighth or ninth grade. There was a big group of people as this movie theater was a very popular hangout for younger teens. This girl who went to my school was crowding him and asking him to tell her friend happy birthday. He brushed her off and loudly called her annoying and laughed, causing the huge crowd of teens to laugh at her, too. I didn’t particularly like this girl, but I felt bad that she was clearly a fan and he treated her that way."

—26, Texas

24. "I went to school with Breanna Stewart, the now WNBA player. She graduated two years before me, and I never knew her personally, but overall, she was really cool and nice. In middle school, she came and helped coach our after-school basketball camp that ran for about a week. My first year of high school, it was her senior year, and I remember she had a class next door to mine. It was a huge and heavily populated school, but she was so tall, well-known, and friendly that she could get through the crowd easily."

"There were also a couple of times when the school would have an assembly or pep rally, and they'd act like it was for the entire girl's basketball team — but then something unexpected would happen, like the people from Gatorade coming to surprise Breanna with an award. It was kinda wild to know we were becoming part of sports history and experiencing events that were not a part of most people's high school experience. I know a few girls who were on the team with her at the time, and I think they remained friends even while she was becoming famous. It was fun, and I've enjoyed watching her journey since she graduated in 2012. Once a Northstar always a Northstar!"

—25, New York

25. "My mom dated Owen Wilson in college. She dumped him because she thought he was too unpredictable."

—19, Boston

26. "The three members of Black Stone Cherry. Was in the same grade as Jon Lawhon and one grade ahead of Chris and John Fred. I spent more time talking to Chris than the others, and I can tell you that he's an amazing musician. John Fred was a class clown, of course — very funny and down-to-earth guy. Jon Lawhon was friendly, but like me, he didn't really fit in too much. Both of us were city boys whose families decided to move to the country, but he was a nice guy. They are still friendly and talkative like we were in high school. Great band all around."

—38, USA

Black Stone Cherry performing

27. "Elisha Cuthbert went to high school with one of my cousins and was also friends with my sister. She stayed overnight at my dad’s a couple of times and was just a normal kid that I didn’t really remember until I saw her on TV. She still owes me $5 for ice cream."


28. "I didn't actually go to school or work with either, but I met Bruce Springsteen and Clarence Clemons back in 1975–76 when they played in Detroit. I ended up joining them on their tour bus between Michigan and Ohio (and back). Bruce was very quiet, almost shy, and mainly kept to himself. Clarence had a persona as large as his physical self! He was the 'party' guy, somewhat cockeye. Right after that, they became FAMOUS!"

—66, USA

Bruce and Clarence on stage

And finally...

29. "My sister went to college with Wally Feresten — the cue card guy on SNL — and we used to call him Julian because he looked like Julian Lennon. He was always a very funny guy, and I’m not surprised he became an employee of SNL. He wrote me a drunken poem once that went, 'There’s a girl named ____ that I know, I like her better than a garden hoe.' I keep asking him to get me a date with Pete Davidson, but he still has not."

—49, Rhode Island

Did any of these stories surprise you? Did you know a celeb before they were famous? Tell us what they were like in the comments below!

Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.