Whether we had the time of our lives or the experience was the stuff of nightmares, we never forget the people we’ve called our roommates. The same is true for celebrities, who, believe it or not, were once regular people with a financial need to share living expenses.
Most of the pairings or trios on this list were living together when they were just starting out in showbiz. A few of them were already famous but there were special circumstances that led to them sharing a residence. In some cases, living together allowed them to support each other in their fledgling career, and cemented a lifelong bond between them. In other cases, it ended their friendships and marked the start of a bitter rivalry.
Which famous actors always left dirty dishes in the sink? Which star stole a script and subsequently an Oscar-winning job from their so-called best friend? What celebrity paid rent but almost never slept in the apartment? Who was the famous avant-garde director who kicked out his roommate for being too weird? Which teen heartthrobs would compete to see who could go the longest without showering?
Find out all this and more on our list of 24 celebrities you had no idea were roommates!
24. Andrew Garfield, Eddie Redmayne, and Jamie Dornan
These UK-born cuties didn’t know each other when they first hopped across the pond to try and make it in Hollywood. But when Andrew Garfield, Eddie Redmayne, and Jamie Dornan met at auditions, they hit it off and decided to take their friendship to the next level.
As roommates, they would compare notes about their auditions, and commiserate over rejections. According to Redmayne, the skint trio went to great lengths to save money, even sharing a single sandwich between the three of them,
Though they’ve all since graduated to the big time, they still support each other. In 2014 Garfield hosted an NYC screening of Redmayne’s starring vehicle, The Theory Of Everything, which would later earn him a best actor Oscar.
23. Winona Ryder and Gwyneth Paltrow
These ’90s screen queens were once constant companions who shared everything, including living quarters. Gwyneth and Winona even dated BFFs Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. But it was a man named Willy who would end their co-habitation and friendship. When Ryder was auditioning for Shakespeare in Love, Paltrow yoinked the script, and went on to win a best actress Oscar for her role in the film.
Years later, when Ryder was busted for shoplifting, the GOOP founder took a swipe at her former roomie, in her newsletter: “Back in the day, I had a ‘frenemy’ who… was pretty hellbent on taking me down… I restrained myself from fighting back. I tried to take the high road. But one day I heard that something unfortunate and humiliating had happened to this person. And my reaction was deep relief and happiness.”
22. Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller
Kiera Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean) and Sienna Miller (Factory Girl) were already well-known actors when they met on the set of the 2008 Dylan Thomas biopic The Edge of Love. The Brits hit it off immediately, and decided to rent a house together during filming in Wales. Their insta-bond never waned and when filming wrapped, they tried to keep the party going, and were spotted house hunting hand-in-hand on the Welsh coast.
Rumor has it; the London dwellers sought for side-by-side dwellings on Cardigan Bay so they could go on holidays together. Said a source, “They have really enjoyed their time in Wales – they have fallen in love with the country, they love the scenery and are actively hunting for the perfect cottages in and around the place.”
21. Raven-Symoné and Lindsay Lohan
The former Disney stars met during a 2003 Vanity Fair photo shoot and immediately clicked. Said Raven, “She was cool. We were like: ‘What up girl’… I’ll just say I thought she was from Atlanta the way she was proportioned and acted, when normally girls in the industry look a different way. And so I was like ‘I know you’re not going to college right now and I’m not going to college so let’s have a roommate experience.’”
The 18-year-olds moved in together, but it wasn’t quite as Raven as The Cosby Show star had imagined. Still, Raven doesn’t blame Lohan, saying of The Parent Trap actress, “She was real real cool actually. She became real busy with work, and she never really moved in I just got rent from her for 14 months.”
20. Ilana Glazer and Rachel Bloom
Before Comedy Central’s groundbreaking show Broad City brought us the magical pairing of Abbi and Illana, the show’s effervescent co-creator, Ilana Glazer, had extra special BFF chemistry with a different up-and-coming comedy writer/actress. Glazer’s first partner in crime was none other than Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Rachel Bloom.
When they were first chasing their writing and acting dreams, the pair shared a pad in The Big Apple. They bonded over their early struggles to break into the business, and must have had some pretty riotous times together.
In a 2016 Instagram post, Bloom reminisced about their former co-habitation with a photo collage of the old friends along with the caption, “6 years ago we were roommates in Brooklyn and now we have TV shows! @ilanusglazer is just the best.”
19. Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler
Comedy giants Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler met early on in their careers, when they were scrambling for stage time in L.A. comedy clubs. They got each other and eventually decided to rent an apartment together in the San Fernando Valley. Unfortunately for Judd, he had no idea what he was getting into.
The Knocked Up director has described having Sandler as a roommate as being akin to living with “the comfortable naked guy at the gym.” Though they weren’t yet famous, Sandler says they weren’t always pinching pennies, and would feast monthly at Red Lobster. When Sandler landed SNL, he moved to New York, but he was so worried about getting fired that he continued to pay Apatow rent for months just in case it didn’t work out.
18. Justin Long and Jonah Hill
Sometimes, it takes living with your bestie to discover that you are alike in all the wrong ways. Hill and Long shared an L.A. apartment in the mid aughts and, though they were “both equally pretty messy,” they began to get on each other’s nerves.
On Watch What Happens Live, Justin recounted their time together. “We started getting in little fights… We fought over recycling. He would recycle everything. I would find banana peels and shards of glass in the recycling bin. He left the bathroom door open, didn’t clean up after himself. Little things like that. It got to be like an old married couple. It was time for a separation.” But it wasn’t always rocky for the pals who “laughed like hyenas.” Fortunately, they ended their co-habitation in time to preserve their friendship.
17. John Cusack and Jeremy Piven
The once-frequent collaborators grew up side-by-side in Chicago, where their parents worked together at a local theater run by the Pivens. When John Cusack and Jeremy Piven realized they both wanted to break into the entertainment industry, they came up with the brilliant idea to move in together.
Their careers intertwined for years, and shared the screen in numerous films including Gross Pointe Blank, One Crazy Summer, The Grifters, and Say Anything… But then mysterious tragic circumstances led to a falling out. They moved to separate dwellings and said sayonara to their friendship.
Neither Cusack nor Piven will divulge details, but Piven has been quoted as saying, “No Comment. I mean, you could fill in the blank, I bet.” Not really. Could you please elaborate? “I was always proud of him, and I was always in his corner.” Gotcha.
16. Nikki Reed and Kristen Stewart
The Twilight actresses got on so well during production on the first film in the vampire series, that for the follow-up, they decided to move in together during production in Vancouver, B.C. Nikki Reed told Us Weekly that the young ladies usually elected for chill nights in over wild romps on the town. They even preferred eating at home, frequently enjoying gourmet pasta dinners courtesy of co-star Peter Facinelli.
Sadly, a love triangle between Pattinson, Reed, and Kristen Stewart put an end to their domestic bliss. Pattinson was dating Reed at the time, and left her to be with his leading lady, Stewart. In 2011, Reed told Seventeen Magazine, “We’re not all best friends, and we’re not all going to hang out together after the final movie is done.”
15. Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve
The Man of Steel and Mork from Ork met in the early 1970s when they were the only two students selected for the Advanced Program at Julliard School of Drama in New York City. In his 1998 autobiography, Still Me, Christopher Reeve described Robin Williams as “a short, stocky, long-haired fellow from Marin County, CA, who wore tie-dyed shirts with track suit bottoms and talked a mile a minute.”
Despite the different trajectories their lives would take, they remained close friends for the rest of Reeve’s time on Earth. When Reeve had his horseback-riding accident in 1995, Williams offered to help the family with the astronomical medical bills. Williams also got Reeve smiling again when he channelled Patch Adams and pretended to be a proctologist. Perhaps not coincidentally, Reeve named his son William.
14. Lea Michele and Dianna Agron
The Glee costars moved in together while working on the hit Fox show back in 2009, but were good about not bringing work home with them.
Michele and Agron liked the convenience of sharing the same schedule and were able to leave their work drama at work. Lea told New York Magazine, “we have these smackdowns at work and come home and are like, ‘Wasn’t it so funny when we were fighting today? Let’s make cookies!'”
Agron described Michele as “very neat” and they loved to share clothes. Together they adopted 3 cats: Zach, Claude, and Shiela. Unfortunately, this led Agron to discover a severe feline allergy. She was going to work every day with red puffy eyes. When Agron finally moved out, Michele kept the cats.
13. Brad Pitt and Jason Priestley
In his book, Jason Priestley: A Memoir, the former Beverly Hills, 90210 heartthrob revealed that when they were just starting out, he and fellow ’90s sex symbol Brad Pitt shared a Hollywood apartment. Their struggles were a tale as old as time.
“We lived on Ramen noodles and generic beer — the kind that came in white cans labeled ‘beer’ — and Marlboro Light cigarettes… We were broke.” Because they didn’t have enough money to go out, they would have hygiene competitions, seeing “who could go the longest without showering and shaving.” Anyone who’s seen True Romance won’t be surprised to learn that Pitt always won.
12. Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling
In the film Blue Valentine, Williams and Gosling played a couple whose marriage is falling apart, but off-screen, the actors were the picture of domestic bliss. Director Derek Cianfrance asked them to live together for a week, along with the young girl who played their daughter, in an attempt to get into character. They lived on a strict budget analogous to the one their one-screen counterparts would have had.
The experiment didn’t really help with their performances because they got on like gangbusters – so well, in fact, that they elected to continue living together for the remainder of production. Williams said of Gosling, “He’s so hard to hate. He does the dishes, and he takes care of the kids!” Fortunately, the consummate professionals were able to bury their mutual fondness for their Golden Globe-nominated performances.
11. Ewan McGregor and Jude Law
In the early ’90s, before they became household names across the pond, these rakish Brits shared a flat in London’s Primrose Hill neighborhood. Ewan McGregor and Jude Law actually met in L.A. in 1990, when a director gave them $30 to “get drunk to see what happened.”
Back in the Old Smoke, they moved in together and later added Johnny Lee Miller to the mix. They liked to blow off steam at a nearby drink hole called Bryant’s Bar. But everything changed when Miller and McGregor were cast in Danny Boyle’s indie sleeper, Trainspotting. The film was such a massive hit, it allowed the trio, along with Law’s then-wife, Sadie Frost, to start their own production company called Natural Nylon. They produced 6 films together, including David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ, before folding in 2003.
10. Robert Downey Jr. and Kiefer Sutherland
Before they became some of the biggest stars of the late 1980s, Robert Downey Jr. and Kiefer Sutherland lived together in an L.A. pad for over three years. At the time, the future Iron Man star was going through a rough patch with his longtime girlfriend and fellow actor, Sarah Jessica Parker. It was then that his pal Kiefer stepped in as “a shoulder to cry on.”
Downey, who possesses an incredible amount of self-awareness, wasn’t jealous of their special relationship. As he told Howard Stern in an interview, “better him than some stranger.”
Given the fact that this was peak substance abuse time for the young actors, they must have thrown some raging parties. Downey and Sutherland also worked together on 1988’s, 1969 and critics praised them for their performances in an otherwise unremarkable film.
9. Ving Rhames and Stanley Tucci
Rhames has his former college roommate, Stanley Tucci, to thank for coming up with his famous stage name, Ving (short for Irving). Tucci gave his pal the nickname during their time studying drama at the State University of New York.
Long before Rhames sought the mysterious briefcase in Pulp Fiction and Tucci interviewed contestants in The Hunger Games, the lifelong friends shared a living space for one year. There was never any trouble in paradise, but when Rhames was offered a classical theater scholarship at Julliard, he moved out and transferred schools.
The popular character actors were reunited on stage at the 1999 Golden Globes when Ving was able to present his old buddy with the award for Best Actor in a TV Miniseries or Movie for the biopic, Winchell.
8. James Corden and Dominic Cooper
When Preacher’s Dominic Cooper was a guest on the Late Late Show, he and host James Corden got to reminisce about their wayward youth as roommates in a London flat. According to James, they rented it furnished, but “it had no furniture in it, and we never thought to complain.” They had only one bed between them and not much in the way of house wares.
Says Cooper, “We only had one piece of cutlery, which was a spatula… And I remember a really depressing evening where [Corden] caught me — he came home and I was just eating baked beans with the spatula.” Corden added, “There was one time, for about three weeks, all that was in our fridge were a chocolate bunny and half a Vitamin Water, and that was it.”
7. Holly Hunter and Frances McDormand
Holly Hunter and Frances McDormand hit it off famously when they were paired up as roommates at the Yale School of Drama. They became so close that they continued to live together after graduation and made the move to Hollywood together. The dynamic duo rented a home in Silverlake while worked at breaking into the Biz.
It was Hunter who introduced McDormand to her future husband, director Joel Coen. Joel and his brother Ethan lived with the ladies along with Evil Dead director Sam Raimi. And of course, McDormand and Hunter starred in the Coen’s early films, Blood Simple and Raising Arizona. The lifelong besties went on to win a matching set of Best Actress Oscars: Hunter for The Piano and McDormand for her hubby’s film, Fargo.
6. Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman
Hollywood legends Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman share humble beginnings and at one time, a couple of residences. They met as students at the Pasadena Playhouse, and bonded over being voted “least likely to succeed”. When Hackman laid eyes on the diminutive Hoffman, he was instantly intrigued, later musing, “There was something about him… like he had a secret. You just knew he was going to do something.”
Hackman eventually got married and moved to New York with his wife. Hoffman soon followed with only $50 to his name, and begged his old pal to let him crash. But Hackman’s place was so small that Hoffman had to sleep on the kitchen floor. They had some good times together, playing bongo drums on the roof.
5. Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito
You might remember Michael Douglas and Danny DeVito as lively foils in ’80s action fare like Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile, but their friendship goes back much further than that.
In the 1960s, they lived together while attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC. Though DeVito admitted that he didn’t always pull his weight with domestic affairs (“Michael did the laundry”), Douglas fondly remembers his friend as “a really great roommate.” Douglas also calls their co-habitation “a magical time.” Perhaps he was so laid back about chores because they “were getting paid to act!”
4. Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson
The frequent collaborators met in a script writing class during their sophomore year at the University of Texas at Austin. They didn’t actually talk until after the class ended, but once they did, they became fast friends and roommates. Wes Anderson agreed to write Owen Wilson’s term paper about Edgar Allen Poe in exchange for the bigger bedroom.
Their co-habitation was not without mishaps, as they clashed with their landlord over his refusal to fix their broken windows. They staged a break-in and later moved out in the dead of the night, but a private investigator tracked them down. Inspired by the dispute, they wrote the script for Anderson’s 1996 debut, Bottle Rocket. Owen starred in the film alongside his brother, Luke.
3. Peter Wolf and David Lynch
The creator of Twin Peaks is known for his surrealistic storytelling. But the Blue Velvet director couldn’t handle living with J. Geils Band front man Peter Wolf for very long. They became friends while attending Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Lynch offered him a place to stay when he found out that Wolf had been “sleeping on the river.”
The man behind the hit songs “Love Stinks” and “Centerfold” remembers “one ‘Lynchian’ moment… when David realized there was a cockroach on his toothbrush while he was brushing his teeth.” But Lynch’s memories mostly involve thinking his roommate was “too weird”. Wolf was also weirdly bad at remembering to pay rent and after a year, Lynch kicked him out and made Eraserhead.
2. Connie Britton and Lauren Graham
During an appearance on Watch What Happens Live in 2013, Lauren Graham told host Andy Cohen that before they made it big in Hollywood, she and Nashville star Connie Britton were partners in squatting. “We lived in an empty house that we weren’t supposed to be living in,” The Gilmore Girls actress confessed. “We had no furniture and all we ate were Rice Krispies Treats.”
Though they remain close friends, Graham kvetched that Britton would always leave dishes in the sink and would occasionally borrow her shoes without asking. But she didn’t seem to mind much, calling the American Horror Story star, “A breath of fresh air all the time!” When Cohen playfully asked how often Britton brought men around, Graham quipped, “Just as often as I did.”
1. Tommy Lee Jones and Al Gore
It was pure happenstance that No Country For Old Men’s Tommy Lee Jones met future Vice President Al Gore during their freshman year at Harvard when they were randomly paired as roommates in Dunster House. Jones, who also played college football, conspired to form a country music band with the future Nobel Peace Prize winner in an effort to score with the ladies. They got along so well that they requested to live together for the rest of their college years.
They remain friends to this day. Jones gave an impassioned speech at the 2000 democratic convention when Gore was nominated as a presidential candidate, calling him, “a good, caring, loving man.” Jones also shared a few anecdotes about their youthful escapades, telling tales of shooting pool, chasing loose cows, and cooking a Thanksgiving turkey in the hearth of their dorm room.
Can you think of any other stars who were roommates before they got famous? Let us know in the comments!
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