Celebs Who Were Classmates Before Acting Together

From classmates to cast-mates, these celebs have some history!

Audiences can definitely sense when there’s a strong bond between two TV or movie costars, like Nicole and Paris…

Or Courteney and Jennifer…

But not all of these friendships started on set — some celebs knew one another long before working together, back when they were still in school.

Here are 19 pairs of actors who were classmates prior to becoming costars.

1.

Camila Mendes and Cole Sprouse

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These two riverdale costars were students at New York University at the same time. In 2017, Camila described Cole as “really shy” when she opened up about encountering him and his brother, Dylan Sprouse, on campus.

“[Cole] was a weirdo!” Camila told Office Magazine. “He had really long hair down to his butt cheeks. [Laughs] He was really shy, too. I would see him at parties sometimes, and I always kind of randomly talked to his brother, but I never got a chance to talk to him because he was more to himself.”

two.

Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac

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Jessica and Oscar both attended the Juilliard School of Drama prior to starring in A Most Violent Year and Scenes from a Marriage beside one another. Although they didn’t act together at Juilliard, the performers knew each other socially and were good friends during their studies.

“There were a lot of school dances or parties or whatever where I’d be teasing Oscar. We’d be sitting on a sofa, talking about the group around us and life,” Jessica said on Backstage’s In the Envelope podcast in 2021. “And it was really sweet. It was a great way for us to connect in a really funny, pure, optical way.”

3.

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck

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Before they collaborated on Hollywood blockbusters like their Oscar-winning 1997 film, Good Will Hunting, Matt and Ben met while they were growing up near each other in Massachusetts. The two developed a bond that strengthened as they attended the same high school, where “they were drama geeks,” Matt’s brother, Kyle, told People in 2002.

4.

John Krasinski and BJ Novak

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BJ told the Boston Globe in 2005 that he’d “known John [his] whole life” before they portrayed Ryan and Jim in The Office. The pair played Little League together as kids, went to Newton South High School in Massachusetts, and graduated in the same year, 1997.

5.

Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett

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Kyle and Beck attended USC together and made comedy videos following their 2007 graduation. They later scored roles as cast members of Saturday Night Live in 2013. The comedians visited the USC campus in 2016 and offered advice to students who were enrolled in a sketch comedy course.

“It’s important to find collaborators at college you can continue to work with,” Beck said, per the USC School of Dramatic Arts website.

6.

Maya Hawke and Alex Wolff

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In to 2020 The Big Ticket podcast interview, Alex revealed that he and his Human Capital costar, Maya Hawke, were in the same preschool class and celebrated Halloween together by donning Power Rangers costumes.

“I feel like Maya’s going to deny that she dressed as a Power Ranger for Halloween, and I just want to go on record, she’s lying,” Alex said on the podcast.

7.

Josh Hartnett and Rachael Leigh Cook

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Josh and Rachael starred in the early ’00s comedy, blow dry, but before this they were students at South High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Rachael was a couple grades younger than Josh and told People in 2001 she thought “he was really cute” when she saw him at school.

8.

Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie

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Paris and Nicole go way back; the TV personalities grew up together and were classmates at the Buckley School. They later starred in the hit 2000s reality series, The Simple Lifefrom 2003 to 2007.

“I love Nicole. We were actually just texting three days ago because it’s our high school reunion, so she was reminding me of the date,” Paris said on Watch What Happens Live in 2019.

When Nicole visited the same talk show in 2018, she said “Paris is somebody that’s been in [her] life since day one.”

9.

Tupac and Jada Pinkett Smith

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The Baltimore School for the Arts is where Tupac and Jada first encountered each other. They were both students at the high school in the ’80s and quickly forged a companionship. The pair would later appear together in a 1993 episode of A Different World called “Homey, Don’t Ya Know Me?” Jada had a recurring role as Lena James in the series, and Tupac played Piccolo, an ex of her Lena’s.

“I didn’t have to lobby to get [Tupac] on [A Different World],” Jada told Entertainment Weekly in 2018. “I think it was a suggestion, and everyone was like, ‘Yes!’ … We kind of did that for each other. We were always trying to look for opportunities to work together.”

10.

Kate Hudson and Liv Tyler

11.

Jemima Kirke and Lena Dunham

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Jemima and Lena knew one another as high schoolers at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, New York. They were first costars in Lena’s 2010 movie, Tiny Furniturebefore going on to play lead roles together in the popular HBO series created by Lena, Girls. In 2010, Jemima revealed to Fader that Lena was well-loved by a diverse group of classmates at Saint Ann’s.

“At school, you had weirdos and goth kids and punk kids and the too cool for school and never went to school kids, and Lena could hang out with all of them,” Jemima said. “Everyone loved her. She was kind of clueless but rocked it. Lena had so many friends, and yet, she didn’t really hang out with anyone. She was sort of a loner who would much rather be at home writing. She came in with the strangest outfits, and you could tell she was just trying on identities and being a total geek, but people found it endearing.”

12.

Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts

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Nicole and Naomi’s tight-knit friendship began at the Phillip Street Theatre, the high school the actors both studied at. They starred in the 1991 film, flirting, and in March 2022 Naomi told Fox 5 New York that she and Nicole are hoping to collaborate together sometime soon. The King Kong star previously opened up about her enduring closeness with Nicole in 2017.

“We’ve gone through a lot together over a significant amount of time. That history binds you,” Naomi told People. “We have a strong respect and love for one another.”

13.

Zooey Deschanel and Kate Hudson

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These celebs, who appeared together in Almost Famous, went to the same high school. Zooey and Kate sang and performed side by side in a school production of Man of La Mancha.

“We were in a musical once together in high school. And we were auditioning for the big part, which we both didn’t get,” Kate said when she and Zooey were guests on Watch What Happens Live in 2015.

Kate played the niece of Don Quixote, Antonia, while Zooey portrayed a horse, the new girl actor said.

“I played Don Quixote’s horse. … I mean, I would love to upgrade myself to the part of Don Quixote’s niece, which [Kate] played,” Zooey said before adding, “We did sing together.”

14.

Sian Clifford and Phoebe Waller-Bridge

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Sian and Phoebe first met almost two decades ago during a subway ride on their way to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where they were both enrolled. “By the end of that journey, I can honestly say we were really close friends, and that’s never wavered,” Sian told the Los Angeles Times in 2019.

In the same interview, Phoebe recalled witnessing Sian’s impressive talent when they were classmates, years before the two would act in the Emmy-winning series Phoebe created, Fleabag.

“When the rest of us at drama school were throwing ourselves at walls and wearing ridiculous customs to get attention, [Sian] was working on the detail, the depth and the integrity of the character,” Phoebe said.

15.

Winston Duke and Lupita Nyong’o

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The costars of films like Black Panther and Us became close while they were students at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Winston opened up to Page Six in 2019 about his Yale memories dele with Lupita and said three words to describe his friend and costar dele are “fierce, collaborative, and generous.”

“We were dorks,” Winston said of himself and Lupita during college. “It was very much socializing academically. So seeing each other’s plays…we also had work study together a couple times where she had to usher at the Yale Repertory Theatre, and I’d be ushering at the Yale Repertory Theatre. And we ‘d be there telling jokes.”

“There was another time where we were walking the streets of New Haven, just singing. We were singing about how cold it was outside…and singing at people as they walked by,” he added.

16.

Brian Baumgartner and Ed Helms

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Another pair of office costars, Brian Baumgartner and Ed Helms, met as students prior to their work on the NBC sitcom. Brian and Ed were classmates in high school and acted together during their school days. In addition, the writer from the hit series also happened to be an alumnus of their high school.

“We did know each other in high school. [Brian is] a year older than me,” Ed told Daily Actor in 2011. “And we were — we weren’t best buddies, but we certainly overlapped, and we were in a few plays together and our high school chorus and stuff like that. And it’s really — it’s just been this sort of fun ridiculous reconnection. We went off in different directions and then circled back 15 years later. We even have a writer on staff that went to our high school, Halsted Sullivan.”

17.

Chelsea Peretti and Andy Samberg

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TV viewers will remember that Chelsea and Andy played Gina and Jake in Brooklyn Nine-Ninebut some may not know that the longtime costars also attended elementary school together as kids.

In August 2013, Chelsea posted a throwback childhood photo of her and Andy on Twitter, writing, “me an Andy Samberg hangin + being v chill in elementary school.”

Chelsea later revealed that, while they were growing up, she had a crush on her Brooklyn Nine-Nine costar and former classmate.

“I had a crush on [Andy]. … I used to call his house his, hang up, stuff like that, “Chelsea said on Fox 5 New York.” I’m trying to spread the rumor that it was a mutual crush, but it really was one-sided . “

18.

Ben Platt and Beanie Feldstein

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Ben said that he and Beanie “were best friends” as they attended the same high school, “were big theater nerds,” and went to prom together when he was a guest on The Tonight Show in 2021.

“We starred in all the musicals together in high school, and it was always our dream,” Ben said.

In 2020, the duo did a video collaboration in which they sang “It Takes Two” from Into the Woods for Broadway.com. In addition, they are leading the movie adaptation of Merrily We Roll Alongwhich was announced in 2019 and is being made over a 20-year period.

19.

Maya Rudolph and Gwyneth Paltrow

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Maya and Gwyneth have a friendship that dates back to childhood, when they both went to St. Augustine by the Sea School. The two joined forces as they appeared on Saturday Night Live in 2001; Gwyneth was hosting the show, while Maya was performing as a member of the cast. During Gwyneth’s monologue, they talked about their bond and showed a photo from when they were in the fifth grade.

Which pair of former classmates/costars did you love watching on screen the most?

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