Celebrities: They’re just like you, except much, much richer. They’ve got luxury jets, massive mansions, and pizza ovens (more on that in a moment), but they still need friends.
Sometimes, those friends are also celebrities, and sometimes, those relationships are a little bit strange. The friendships that develop among the Hollywood elite don’t always make sense from the outside; it’s not so strange that Jessica Alba hangs out with Chrissy Teigen, for instance, but it is a little weird that Superman used to work out with Darth Vader.
For those of us with boring, normal friendships, these celebrity bromances (and sister-mances, and, uh…person-mances) can be fascinating. For instance, we bet you never knew that…
1. Christopher Reeve and David Prowse worked out together.
You might not immediately recognize the name David Prowse. Try this one: Darth Vader.
Prowse played Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy…sort of. James Earl Jones dubbed in the iconic villain’s voice, since Prowse’s British accent wasn’t a great fit for the character’s ominous dialogue.
While Prowse’s voice didn’t make the final cut, director George Lucas knew that the actor’s imposing build was a perfect fit for the role. Prowse was a bodybuilder, after all.
Star Wars was, of course, a massive hit, but it wasn’t the only sci-fi blockbuster of the late ‘70s. Christopher Reeve landed the eponymous role in 1978 hit Superman, but to play his role, he needed to bulk up. He called Prowse.
“I get a call from [Superman director] Dick Donner and he says, ‘Can you get down to the studio as quick as you can, we’ve got a Superman,'” Prowse recalled in an interview found by Heat Vision. “[Reeve] was fantastic. He was a very lovely person.”
“We were like brothers, we got along so well together. And during the course of the period I had him, I took him from 170 pounds when we started and he was 212 [pounds] when he went into the suit.”
Yes, that means that at some point in the 1970s, Superman and Darth Vader were bench pressing weights together in some Los Angeles gym. Keep that in mind during your next workout.
2. Chuck Norris taught Bob Barker how to fight.
Before he hosted The Price is Right, the legendary Bob Barker hosted another game show called Truth or Consequences. There, he met martial artist Chuck Norris, better known as “the guy that all the memes were about in the mid-2000s.”
Barker was fascinated with karate, and he struck up a friendship with Norris. They trained together for eight years, and Barker obtained a red belt in Korean Tang Soo Do. He used some of the moves he learned he used to put Adam Sandler in his place in his infamous Happy Gilmore cameo.
Norris didn’t go easy on Barker. In his autobiography, Priceless Memories, Barker mentioned that his sparring partner once cracked four of his ribs, and after a health scare in 1999, the Price is Right host joked that Norris probably bore some responsibility.
“Maybe I should blame it on Chuck Norris,” Barker said. “He probably kicked me in the neck. God knows he kicked me everywhere else.”
Norris commented on that joke in his 2009 book, The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book.
— Michael Fallon (@mhfallon) October 5, 2016
“Bob, of course, was joking,” the martial arts master wrote. “Right, Bob? I’d hate to have to bring you out of retirement and get you back in the ring for a little more practice!”
3. Elton John helped Eminem clean up his act.
One of them is a self-described “Rap God.” The other sang “Candle in the Wind.” But, through the looking glass of celebrity, Eminem and Elton John seem to be pretty legit friends.
To understand the relationship, you have to go all the way back to 2001, shortly after Em dropped The Marshall Mathers LP and John was the sitting elder statesman of piano crooning. If you’re old enough, you might remember that Eminem was subject to criticism and protest for lyrics many considered harmful to the LGBTQ community.
John, who is widely respected in the community, and who is gay himself, didn’t think so.
“For me, Eminem was never [offensive],” John reportedly said in an interview with radio station Beats 1’s Zane Lowe. “I listened to the whole of the Marshall Mathers album when I drove to a show in South Hampton and I was floored by it. And I thought how could anyone think this is…he’s just writing about the way things are. Not how he thinks, but the way things are.”
John’s support helped pull Em out of the fire, especially when he appeared onstage with the rapper, joining him in a performance of “Stan” at the 2001 Grammys. (Yes, that “Stan,” the song that gave us “stan culture.”)
Later, Eminem leaned on the older performer for support when he began his attempt to become substance-free.
“I talk to Elton a lot. We became friends and I talk to him about things, career wise,” Eminem told Detroit Metro Times. “And he had a substance abuse problem in the past. So when I first wanted to get sober, I called him and spoke to him about it because, you know, he’s somebody who’s in the business and can identify and relate to the lifestyle and how hectic things can be. …Me and him have had similar lives and stuff. So I reached out to him and told him, ‘Look, I’m going through a problem and I need your advice.’”
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) December 8, 2017
If you’re looking for advice, you could do a lot worse than the Rocket Man himself.
4. Jennifer Aniston and Selena Gomez make pizzas together.
Ever since her days as a teenage Disney Channel star, Selena Gomez was obsessed with Jennifer Aniston. Is that weird? Not according to Gomez, who explained her fascination with the Friends star in a 2009 Just Jared interview.
“I always say that I worship Rachel McAdams as a movie actress but for comedy—the whole reason I started my show and mannerisms, they were after Jennifer Aniston,” the then-16-year-old said. “It was so funny, they were playing clip reels of the work she’s done and I quoted the whole thing. Every single thing she’d say, I would say it. People were sitting there laughing at me and they’re like, ‘Wow, you’re obsessed.’”
In December 2014, Gomez posted a photo on Instagram with Aniston.
“I have not only been following her career as a fan since I was 8 and now get to watch her completely transform in her new movie Cake, I have gotten to have real conversations with such a real heart, made my entire year. #cake #goseeit,” the caption read.
The stars share management, so they were in each others’ orbit.
“We met through my management—they manage her as well—so it was kind of like a friendly meeting and instantly she’s, like, inviting me to her house,” Gomez said in 2015. “She has a pizza oven. Like, we’ve made pizzas at her house.”
Gomez added that Aniston gives her “maternal advice.” Who wouldn’t want maternal advice—and free pizza—from one of Hollywood’s most famous comedic actors?
5. Mel Gibson reached out to Britney Spears in her time of need.
On first glance, Mel Gibson and Britney Spears don’t seem like likely friends. He’s 63; she’s 37. He’s an actor; she’s a singer and dancer and all-around pop star. But when you take a peek beneath the surface, they have a lot in common. Well, they have one huge thing in common: They’ve both broken down in full view of the public.
Spears’ troubles peaked in 2008, when she checked into the mental health treatment ward at the UCLA Medical Center. That was in February. By May, Spears was taking a little rest and relaxation in Costa Rica—along with her dad and Gibson himself.
— bree (@b_croston) November 24, 2013
“Mel and his wife Robin clearly saw a woman in crisis and wanted to extend themselves in any way possible,” a “source” told People back in 2008. Apparently, Gibson and Spears were previously neighbors in Malibu, and that’s probably where the friendship began.
What we do know for sure is that, when Gibson’s very, very ugly custody battle with Oksana Grigorieva went public, Spears was there for him.
“Mel has been talking to her a lot,” a “friend of the singer’s” told In Touch in 2014. “They talk on the phone all the time, usually late at night.”
It appears that Gibson and Spears supported each other in their darkest respective moments. That certainly sounds like friendship to us.
6. Russell Brand and Helen Mirren have a really weird relationship.
You might know Russel Brand for his stand-up comedy, a voice-acting role in Despicable Me, or his two-year marriage to Katy Perry. Well, here’s a new accolade for the English actor: friend to Helen Mirren.
Before we go any further, we’d better warn you that the relationship between Brand and Mirren is…kind of strange. In 2011, Brand described his friendship with Mirren as an “unconsummated love affair.” That’s what we mean by “strange.”
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Brand and Mirren spent time together on the set of the 2011 comedy remake of Arthur, which starred the pair. The film didn’t fare too well. (Rotten Tomatoes describes it as “an irritating, unnecessary remake that demonstrates the libertine charm Russell Brand exudes in supporting roles turn against him when he’s star of the show.”) But Brand and Mirren hit it off.
The friendship wasn’t without its early challenges, namely, that Brand was intimidated by the legendary, then-65-year-old actress.
“I kind of was shy when I met her,” Brand told the Telegraph. “She’s a Dame and a lady and so I was naturally quite respectful. ‘Don’t respect me,’ she said. I think she did that to break the ice.”
For her part, Mirren describes her role as Brand’s “agony aunt.”
“‘Oh Helen, I had an argument with Katy,’” Mirren told the Independent, doing an unflattering impression of Brand. “And I’d just say, ‘Shush, don’t worry darling, it’ll be alright.’”
7. Meryl Streep and 50 Cent have at least one thing in common.
What does the Sophie’s Choice Oscar-winner and the “In Da Club” rapper have in common? Well, they’re both basketball fans, for one.
50 Cent’s Instagram page tells the whole sweet story. In early 2014, Meryl Streep and 50 ended up side by side, courtside, at a Knicks-Lakers NBA contest. Pics show the actress and the rapper grinning ear to ear and even clasping hands.
— Us Weekly (@usweekly) January 27, 2014
Okay, that’s cute and all, but how does one happy encounter translate into actual friendship? Well, the party didn’t end with the basketball game. Immediately following, 50 and Streep continued to hang out. Kobe Bryant joined the party, because of course he did.
50 Cent’s caption to a ‘Gram post explains this odd couple’s friendship in more detail.
“Best ball KOBE, best rap 50, best actress Meryl Streep,” Fiddy wrote. “Top that.”
Excellence, then. That’s what they have in common. They’re all at the top of their game, and, from what we’ve heard, it gets lonely at the top. At least 50 and Streep have each other up there.
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8. Ed Sheeran played matchmaker for Courteney Cox.
Okay, it’s clear that the Friends cast is plugged into modern pop culture. Courteney Cox, famous for playing Monica and for having an extra “e” in her name, is apparently tight with “Shape of You” singer Ed Sheeran.
Sheeran introduced Cox to her beau, Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid, who has produced and written tracks with Sheeran.
“My housemate [McDaid] who I’ve lived with for a year, I introduced him to Courteney Cox. They started dating and [are] crazy about each other,” he said in 2013.
— MTV UK (@MTVUK) December 13, 2013
“I ended up spending a lot of time living in [Cox’s] beach house, while bumping into all these random people,” he said. “We spent Thanksgiving eve at Jennifer [Aniston]’s and Thanksgiving day at Courteney’s.”
We wonder whether he ran into Selena Gomez. Maybe they all shared a pizza.