Education is very important, and everyone reading this should stay in school and say no to drugs and eat your vegetables and follow your dreams. But sometimes people choose not to finish high school and things work out pretty well for them. Obviously they don’t represent what happens to every high school dropout, and it’s valuable to have an education whether you become rich and famous or not.
But it might surprise you that, while celebs like Emma Watson are graduating from college, other well-established stars never even graduated high school. Some of them set out to pursue their careers, while others already had careers in the making and decided to devote their time to it more fully. Aside from Mr. Grohl up there, here are twelve other celebrities who chose not to stay in school.
1. Ryan Gosling
Our precious baby goose dropped out of a high school in Ontario to pursue his acting career after getting his start on shows like the Mickey Mouse Club and Goosebumps. Since then he’s stolen our hearts.
2. Cameron Diaz
Cameron wasn’t the best student a teacher could ask for, but they didn’t have to ask for her at all after she received a modeling contract and hauled ass out of there. And where would the rom-com genre be today if she hadn’t made that decision?
3. Jim Carrey
Jim’s reason for dropping out was not due to poor grades or a desire to pursue a career, but rather because he had to find a full-time job to support his family (including his ill mother) during tough times in Canada. Thankfully he was still able to make his goal of being a comedian come true.
4. Daniel Radcliffe
I already mentioned how Emma Watson, aka Hermione Granger, lived up to her character’s studiousness and graduated college. But her co-star Daniel Radcliffe hasn’t even finished high school. He worked on the Harry Potter films starting at age 10, which made schooling difficult, and he also faced bullying, so he dropped out at 17.
Eminem, born Marshall Mathers, had to repeat the ninth grade three times because of poor grades and attendance. Eventually he just decided to drop out completely. He didn’t have an easy time of it after that, but his worked his way up in the rap industry and became a success.
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Gisele was “discovered” as a teenager and soon began her modeling career. She moved to New York at just 16. School just wasn’t part of that plan.
7. Seth Rogen
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Not too surprising that everybody’s favorite stoner also happens to be a high school dropout. Seth had been performing comedy since he was a kid, and while he was still a teenager he landed a role on Freaks and Geeks. So he dropped out of school, moved to Los Angeles and ended up supporting his family with his work as an actor.
8. Hilary Swank
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Hilary, who had competed in the Junior Olympics and the Washington State championships for swimming, moved with her mother to California to pursue acting. She attended high school there for a time, but dropped out. She later said she felt like an “outsider.”
9. Johnny Depp
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Johnny Depp has one of the most classic dropping out of high school stories you could imagine. He quit school at age 15 to become a rock star. He’s obviously since become more well-known for acting, but he’s still known to pick up a guitar every now and then.
10. Avril Lavigne
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It’s not particularly surprising that a girl who sings a song called “Sk8er Boi” didn’t finish high school. To be fair, though, she didn’t drop out until she already had a record deal.
11. Robert DeNiro
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Mr. De Niro started acting in stage productions when he was a kid, and at 16 he decided to pursue performing in film as a career, so he dropped out of school. He still got formal training in his craft at both the Stella Adler Conservatory and Lee Strasberg’s Acting Studio.
12. John Travolta
It’s kind of ironic that John Travolta quit high school as a teenager so that he could pursue a career in acting and play some pretty iconic high school students in projects like Grease and Welcome Back, Kotter.