Sure, the Etons and Harvards of this world attract people that will be given better opportunities to be in the public eye, but what are the chances of it happening in not-so-famous places?
Quite high, as it turns out. The latest revelation comes in the form of an OC teen idol and an Oscar winning actor.
Rachel Bilson recently looked back on her friendship with Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek during Dax Shepherd’s Armchair Expert podcast.
She revealed the pair were “good friends” during their time together at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California.
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However, the last time she heard from him ended pretty peculiarly – Malek got in touch with his old friend via direct message to request the removal of an old high school picture on Instagram.
“It wasn’t like, ‘Hey! How are you?’ It was straight to: ‘I would really appreciate if you take that down. I’m a really private person,’” she says.
The picture in question? A classic school trip picture of the pair looking very different to how they do now, featuring the appearance of a gold chain.
Mutual friends told her it was likely to do with preserving the integrity of his Oscar campaign.
“I removed it and I even wrote to him a really nice message: ‘I’m so sorry. Go get the Oscar! You’re doing amazing.’ And I never hear anything back, which is fine. But I was super bummed because he was always so nice and we were good friends”.
It clearly worked – Malek was awarded an Oscar, BAFTA, and Golden Globe for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury back in 2019.
This debacle had us thinking - which other famous people knew one another in a past (academic) life? We had a little dig around and found plenty.
Rami Malek, Kristen Dunst, Rachel Bilson - Notre Dame High School, California
Rami Malek and Rachel Bilson also kept the company of actress Kristen Dunst.
Malek even conceded he had a crush on her at the time, as she navigated her education filming break out roles in Little Women and Bring It On.
Natalie Portman and Jared Kushner - Harvard University
Natalie Portman labelled former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law a “supervillain” when queried on this during an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Despite this, she concedes they were friends throughout their time at Harvard together.
Portman completed her degree in psychology whilst acting in the hugely successful Star Wars prequel trilogy from 1999-2003. There have been curious questions raised about Kushner’s admission to the prestigious college in the wake of a fresh admissions scandal a couple of years back - it looks as though he may have received some help to get him there in the form of millions of dollars.
Slash and Lenny Kravitz - Beverly Hills High School, California
Beverly Hills High School’s Class of ‘82 ended up birthing not one, but two guitar gods. Originally raised in the UK, Slash found himself in Los Angeles when his mother moved for work, becoming a classmate of another future rockstar.
The pair reconnected at an awards ceremony as Kravitz was gaining notoriety as one of the most talented musicians of the nineties.
They worked together on Lenny’s second album, Mama Said, where Slash laid down the lead guitar track on Fields of Joy.
“It was a one-take solo and he wanted to play it over again, but I wouldn’t let him. I always love first takes”, Kravitz recalled.
John Krasinski and B.J. Novak - Newton South High School, Massachusetts
The Office co-stars attended the same little league together as children, attending high school in the relatively small town of Newton, Massachusetts.
Novak reportedly pushed Krasinski to go into acting by casting him in a high school acting project that went down a treat. They would later end up meeting at auditions for The Office and, as they say, the rest is history.
“The way I tell it, I feel like I owe him a percentage of everything I’ve done since,” he told WUSA9.
Adele, Jessie J, Leona Lewis - BRIT School, London
“We used to hang out at lunchtimes and have a little jam,” says Jessie J of her friendship with Adele at the world-renowned performing arts school. “We’d sing songs we’d written or perform whatever we were working on”.
Leona Lewis is also known to have been in their year, but left a year early to record her first album and land that all-important first X Factor audition that she would later go on to win.
This musical trio just about missed out on being classmates with Amy Winehouse - they all finished up in the mid-noughties when Amy was on the cusp of commerical success with her album Back To Black.
BRIT School is one of just three performing arts schools in the UK that are free to attend, attracting alumni such as FKA Twigs, Tom Holland, and Kate Nash.
Jada Pinkett Smith and Tupac Shakur - Baltimore School of Arts, Maryland
The actress has described the pair as platonic best friends that hustled together as a means of “survival” in a “warzone” back in in the 1980s. They met on their her first day of high school and remained close until his murder in 1996.
Will Smith told The Breakfast Club that the friendship made him “deeply insecure” when he first took romantic interest in his wife, something he now regrets.
Cameron Diaz and Snoop Dogg - Long Beach Polytechnic High School, California
“I’m pretty sure I bought weed from him,” Diaz said. She remembers him as “ very tall and skinny” with “lots of ponytails in his head”.
“I might have sold her some of that white girl weed,” he told George Lopez back in 2011.
Zach Braff and Lauryn Hill - Columbia High School, New Jersey
We actually don’t know an awful lot about this one - the former Scrubs actor broke the news via a Paris Hilton-induced meme:
Lauryn’s musical and acting skills were recognised from a young age - she formed the Fugees when she was still at high school in 1994. Zach attended popular performing arts school Stagedoor Manor along with regular school, which counts the aforementioned Natalie Portman and Mandy Moore as alumni.
Winston Duke and Lupita Nyong’o - Yale University
This pair are old-school multi-costars, meeting each other in the most serendipitous of ways.
Lupita was responsible for giving new boy Winston a campus tour on his first day of Yale - they ended up bonding because of their “immigrant experience”.
“We shared the idea of having really big dreams knowing that we’d left our own country”, he told Esquire.
One Marvel instant-classic Black Panther and a Jordan Peele directed thriller under their belts, we’d say it worked out for the best.
Ansel Elgort, Timothee Chalamet, and Lourdes Leon - LaGuardia High School, New York
Played on the same basketball team together AND shared a drama teacher. TC dated Madonna’s daughter for some time there too. In 2017, they both ended up nominated for a Golden Globe at the same time. Both boys insist the other was more popular.
Eddie Redmayne, Prince William, and Tom Hiddleston - Eton College
It’s no surprise that the UK’s poshest school was once home to this lot.
Eddie and the Prince played on the same rugby team and were also elected to Eton’s noble prefect’s society. The Theory of Everything actor revealed in a magazine interview that William was the subject of some envy.
“I always felt slightly sorry for Will because everyone wanted to tackle the future King of England. He took all the hits”.
In spite of all of this he recalls the young Prince’s presence as more “intimidating” than his.
The two actors in this equation had more of a friendship, starring in school productions together.
“He was a great talent, even then,” Hiddleston toldThe Graham Norton Show.
“He was a huge star, and we were in a school production of ‘A Passage to India’ by E.M. Forster”
“I’m delighted to reveal that I played the front right leg of the elephant that Eddie Redmayne was riding on”, he joked. The Prince didn’t stay in touch with either film star, but the pair remain good friends.
Scarlett Johansson and Jack Antonoff - Professional Children’s School, New York
According to Page Six, this former coupling lasted two years and even resulted in the musical maestro taking her to prom.
Antonoff acknowledged the relationship in some of is his earlier work, the only time either party is known to have done so.
“Scars are in her name / And she scars me with blame / Hey Scarlett, you’re not the same”, he writes in Better Love, a song by his first band Steel Train.