21 Celebs Who Were Not Cool In High School

Hi, I’m Hannah, and I wasn’t cool in high school!

The CW

In fact, I was decidedly uncool!

But hey, I’m in good company. Turns out a lot of our fave celebs were also uncool in high school! Here are some that just may surprise you:


Charlize Theron

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Charlize described herself as a “geek” growing up, saying she had thick glasses, that boys didn’t like her, and that she was even bullied.


Jennifer Garner


Jennifer was a big band geek in high school, as she revealed in a 2016 interview with Seth Meyers. She named her saxophone “Sally the Sexy Saxophone” and even serenaded Reese Witherspoon with a saxophone for Reese’s birthday. On Instagram, she once joked about never having been prom queen, saying that nerds laugh more anyway.


Mindy Kaling

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Mindy has said she was “pretty nerdy” in high school and never had a boyfriend. She loved old comedy and SNL. Devi in Never Have I Ever is partially based on Mindy — not necessarily her experience, but her personality as a nerd. “Nerds are not always the wallflowers, the quiet ones. We’re ambitious with obnoxious personalities and want to have sex and dreams like all the other kids,” Mindy said.


Ryan Gosling

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Ryan apparently wasn’t a “heartthrob” growing up, largely due to the fact that he did dance rather than sports. He says he grew up around a lot of girls and realized none of them were interested in him when they would openly talk about boys around him. 


Selena Gomez

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Selena said of her time in school, “If my cousin wasn’t the captain of the cheerleading team, I would have been destroyed. … Because I was just, you know, I was kind of a nerd and just hung out with like, one person.” She’s also spoken about being bullied while on Wizards of Waverly Place, calling Disney Channel “the biggest high school in the world.”


Cameron Diaz

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Halsey was bullied in high school for being into emo bands like Panic! at the Disco. They told a story about how they interacted with Brendon Urie at one of the band’s shows, and then wore the wristband from the concert every day afterward until a bully broke it.


Liam Hemsworth

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Speaking about growing up, Liam said, “I used to wear my brothers’ hand-me-downs, which were all too big on me. I used to have an afro — like Will Ferrell in Semi-Pro. It was bleached blonde from the sun. I was tall and awkward. I was not cool.”


Jennifer Lawrence

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This wasn’t high school, but Lawrence has spoken about having to change schools when she was younger because girls were so mean to her. She also recalled an experience when she was asked to hand out invitations to a girl’s birthday party that she wasn’t invited to.



Kevin Mazur / Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Lizzo has admitted to being a band geek, saying that band was cool in the early days; but as she got into middle and high school, it was less so. She also joked, “I don’t think you’re a band geek if you’re just in band. I was a band geek, because I took band to the next level. Like, I would voluntarily go to band camp.”


Shay Mitchell

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Shay found high school miserable, eating in the bathroom to avoid mean girls, wearing colored contacts, and dying her hair to appear more “white.” She said she was often assumed to be the child of a nanny.


Ryan Reynolds

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Ryan has spoken about not feeling like he looked manly growing up and has said he didn’t know how to talk to girls. He also said he was a “pariah” in school, but this time in regard to the fact that all three of his older brothers had been kicked out of the same school. (He ended up being kicked out as well.)


Janel Parrish

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Janel said she was bullied in high school, as she was “not the popular girl at all” and preferred musical theater rehearsal to going to the mall. She was later homeschooled.


Halle Berry

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Berry attended an all-white school and says she was bullied because of the color of her skin, becoming the brunt of many jokes and being called names like “oreo” because she had one Black and one white parent. She was also in marching band for a brief time before becoming the school’s mascot, which she bonded with fellow band nerd Jimmy Kimmel over.


Rashida Jones

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Rashida told Playboy, “I came out of the womb reading books and thinking about my next project. I’m a born nerd. In high school I never drank, I never smoked, I never smoked weed. I was president of the varsity club and was on the math team and then student government.”


Christian Bale

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Christian was badly bullied growing up, saying he took beatings from a bunch of guys. It got to the point where he dreaded going to school — though he says this experience helped him not get bullied into not going for certain parts in Hollywood.


Pete Davidson

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On radio show Real Late With Rosenberg, Pete said that people used to pick on him in high school because he would act out due to the death of his father. He joked that he didn’t talk to a girl until he was 19 and also told the story of a boy who invited him to his birthday party because his mom told him to.


Tom Holland

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Tom told People he was bullied about being a dancer after starring in Billy Elliot in London at age 12; however, he said, “You couldn’t hit me hard enough to stop me from doing it,” and that he accepted he wasn’t cool and found his group of people. 


Zac Efron

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Zac said he “didn’t really care about being the coolest kid in high school,” and that he was mostly just focused and got good grades, which “probably made [him] a nerd.”


Jake Gyllenhaal

Mark Sagliocco / Getty Images for The Headstrong Project

Jake said he was a nerd as a young teenager, saying people treated him a “certain way” based on his thick glasses. He said he copied a bunch of other people as a teen as he didn’t know who he was and also that he was made fun of for being a performer who liked to sing and act.


And finally, Lady Gaga

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Gaga said she was teased growing up for “being ugly, having a big nose, being annoying. ‘Your laugh is funny, you’re weird, why do you always sing, why are you so into theater, why do you do your makeup like that?'” She said she didn’t want to go to school sometimes because of the bullying. Then there’s the now-infamous story of her college peers creating the Facebook group “Stefani Germanotta, you will never be famous”…and look at her now!

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