Even though they make tons more money, have glam squads to make sure they’re looking their best, and can be seen in movies or on tv, celebrities are just people like you and me.
They have families and drama and stress, and even secrets! Some probably stay buried forever, but there are definitely some that make it to the surface.
Some famous faces even live double lives or were brought up much differently than the rest of us. Here are some of the celebrities that had secret hidden lives.
1. Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix is best known for his portrayal of legendary country singer Johnny Cash in the 2005 biopic ‘Walk the Line.’ His performance in the film was amazing. He took voice lessons and learned to play guitar for the role.
He is known for totally immersing himself into a role. In 2012, he drew praise for ‘The Master’ in which he played a veteran who got caught up in a cult. Joaquin didn’t have to pretend to know what it was like to join a cult, because he grew up in one.
He and River Phoenix, his brother, were raised inside the Children of God cult. Their family became members in the early 1970s. They spent years traveling all throughout South America during Joaquin’s younger years.
He defended his parents’ choice by saying that they felt they had found others that shared their beliefs. He pointed out that cults don’t call themselves cults.
His family cut ties with the group eventually, and he has put it to the back of his mind to focus on his career.
2. Dolph Lundgren
Most know Dolph Lundgren as the super macho action star who had appeared opposite Sly Stallone in Rocky and The Expendables.
Dolph is a model from Sweden. He started out as a competitive martial artist, as he holds a black belt in Karate. He was also working as a bouncer on the side when he was discovered for his first big role.
He was involved with actress and model Grace Jones which led to him meeting Sylvester Stallone and getting the part of Ivan Drago, the Russian nemesis of Rocky in Rocky IV.
You’ll be surprised to know that Dolph not only kicks butt with his martial arts skills and acting chops, but he has a bona fide genius IQ. Before he acted in blockbuster films, he was a chemical engineer.
He was always a science prodigy, so much so that MIT offered him a Fulbright Scholarship. He recalls pulling up to see the professors and thinking they must have found it strange to see a star student on a motorcycle and dressed in all leather.
3. Rock Hudson
Rock Hudson was the quintessential leading man in the 50s and 60s. He was handsome as could be with a head full of thick black hair, and kind eyes.
He became a household name after he starred in 1956’s ‘Giant’ alongside James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor.
He married Phyllis Gates in 1955, but what the public didn’t know was that is was arranged by Henry Wilson, who was Hudson’s manager. It was a ruse to keep the fact that Rock was homosexual a secret from the women who lusted after him.
The sham marriage didn’t last, of course, but he still remained secretive about his sexuality for many more years. He finally became one of the very first out Hollywood stars in 1984, against advice not to.
I’m 1985, he used his celebrity to bring attention to AIDS and spread awareness. He had been diagnosed with it, and it was still a very new and unknown disease. He passed away from it in October 1985 at just 59 years old.
4. Chuck Barris
Chuck Barris worked as Dick Clark’s assistant in the 1960s. Later, he borrowed $20,000 from his dad and created the first of many successful TV shows, ‘The Dating Game.’ He went on to create ‘The Gong Show’ as well.
He seemed to have the world on a string, as a well known and successful producer, but it wasn’t exciting enough to keep him satisfied. He took on a pretty wild side gig.
He said he worked for the United States government as a spy. He wrote about it in ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,’ his autobiography. He says that in the 60s and 70s he was a CIA assassin.
There is no corroboration and he doesn’t even attempt to prove it. The tale is compelling, though. So much so that it was made into a movie, produced by George Clooney in 2002.
The CIA says his story is untrue, but they don’t exactly out their spies, now do they?
He wrote another book about his daughter, who died as a result of drugs, called ‘Della: A Memoir of My Daughter.’
5. Caitlyn Jenner
In 1949, Bruce Jenner was born in Mt. Kisco, New York. He was a gifted athlete, lettering in basketball and football while in high school.
In any sport he tried, he excelled. He became a champion water skier after starting it just for fun. He was the All-Over Champion of the East Coast three separate times.
He moved on to Graceland College on a football scholarship, but suffered a knee injury that ended his playing days. He then focused on track and basketball.
He first competed in a decathlon in 1971, and was in the Olympics the very next year, in Munich. He finished 10th that year, but won gold just 4 years later at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. The media dubbed him the ‘world’s greatest athlete’ because he broke the record for the event.
All the while, as he was accomplishing these amazing things, he had a secret that he kept hidden from everyone. He hid it his whole life, from the time he was a little boy.
Finally, in 2015, he told the world that he was transgender and had been since childhood. She would now be living as a woman named Caitlyn. The year prior, she divorced Kris Jenner, with whom she shares 2 biological daughters. At 65 years old, she decided to live her truth after spending her life hiding her true self.
She continues to be one of the most well known people to have come out as trans.
6. Sam Hurd
Sam Hurd was known throughout Northern Illinois University as a football star with a fantastic personality and for being deeply religious.
In 2006, he got signed on with the Dallas Cowboys, which was his favorite team growing up. He was on his way to success in the NFL, but it was not to be.
Many were shocked that this nice, Christian guy was arrested for attempting to purchase a large amount of cocaine from an undercover police officer outside of a restaurant in Chicago.
He was attempting to set up a regular pickup of 5-10 kilos of cocaine a week, as well as a huge amount of marijuana, 1000 pounds. He was really setting himself up to be a kingpin of epic proportions, telling the cop he was already selling several kilos weekly.
When he was arrested, he had just been traded to the Chicago Bears with a hefty $5 million paycheck. You’d think that was enough! Instead, he ended up with no paycheck and a 15 year prison sentence for drug trafficking.
7. Coco Chanel
Coco Chanel, born in 1883, was a legend, starting out as a designer in Paris. She had her own shop before she was 30 years old and soon after launched what is still one of the most successful fragrance companies in the the world. Chanel No. 5 is one of my favorites for sure.
She is also the one who gave us the fashion staple, LBD. Little black dress. Held in high regards as the single most important piece in any woman’s wardrobe. She is credited with helping to revolutionize the fashion industry. Just the name Chanel is synonymous with elegance.
In the 1930s, France was taken over by Hitler’s third Reich. Most French nationals resisted, but not Coco. She actually began to date Hans Gunther vin Dinklage, a Nazi Officer. Hal Vaughn wrote a book chronicling the affair and outing the legendary fashion designer as an anti-Semite.
He says that Chanel even worked for the Nazis as an intelligence officer. He says she traveled the continent as an ambassador for the Nazi regime.
When the war was over, she went to Switzerland, for obvious reasons, but did return to France years later. She was aided by a wealthy family, the Wertheimers, who today still control most of the Chanel brand.
They decline to speak on the wartime activities of the company founder.
8. Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper is best known as a larger than life rock star. His dramatic costumes and makeup helped to usher in the genre known as Shock Rock, which is heavy metal with inspiration drawn from all things horror and macabre.
His on stage alter ego performed their crazy productions with stylized makeup looks and wild behavior. He once threw a chicken into the crowd, and it attacked a number of people. He was unaware that chickens didn’t fly. He watched in horror as it tore through the crowd, definitely cementing the shock factor in his act.
His persona these days is much different. He has referred to himself as a prodigal son.
Alice was raised in a very religious home, in which his dad and grandfather were evangelical preachers. His heavy metal music and antics as a rock star went against all the morals and scripture he had grown up with.
After several decades of the hard partying, wild existence as the front man of one of the most popular rock groups around, he is now born again, and lives as a devout Christian.
He still performs in the same way, it’s just an act now, rather than a way of life.
He also no longer tosses birds into the crowd.
9. Patty Hearst
Most people have heard of Patty Hearst. She was the granddaughter of the extremely wealthy William Randolph Hearst. The media empire of the Hearst family is still very much thriving in the present day, and Patty was the heir to the massive fortune built by her family.
Some might think that’s a life free of stress and problems, but at 19, Patty could have told you it was not.
She was attending Berkeley University as a freshman when a local terrorist group, The Symbionese Liberation Army, went into her dormitory and abducted her for the purpose of collecting a ransom from her rich family.
Within two months, Patty began appearing in voice recordings pledging her allegiance to her captors. The consensus was that she was being forced to do so.
That belief was squashed when she was seen on video helping in the robbery of a bank with the group. She obtained about $2 million from her dad during the time she was abducted, all while going along with the very people who kidnapped her.
She was captured by the FBI in 1975, and convicted of robbing a bank. She was given a 35 year prison sentence.
Four years into her prison term, President Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence, and she was released in 1979. Many believe she was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, and see her crimes as a result of that disorder. That would make sense, as someone in such a terrifying situation will do almost anything to survive without being harmed by the perpetrators.
She has not said much about her time with the group, so we will never know what was going through her mind.
10. Vin Diesel
Very macho tough guy Vin Diesel is a wildly popular actor starring in a number of action films, most notably the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise. He portrays a tough guy on screen and in real life for the most part.
He does have a secret, though. A big one.
He plays ‘Dungeons and Dragons,’ The fantasy game that is usually associated with prepubescent boys and nerd and geeks everywhere.
He actually isn’t too ashamed of his fantasy game pastime. He insisted that his character, Xander Cage, in XxX have a tattoo of the name Melkor on his pec. This is the name of Vin’s character in the game.
In 2004, he even penned the foreword for the book ’30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons and Dragons.’
He has even posted a video on his YouTube channel of himself and others enjoying a game or D&D. He ended the video with a raucous exclamation letting his subscribers he just played a game of D&D and had ‘so much fun!’
Were you surprised by any of the stories listed here? There were a lot of things about these stars I already knew, but definitely some surprises!