The school of life! Plenty of celebrities didn’t finish high school, but they still became super successful — and made some serious cash along the way.
Jennifer Lawrence is one of Hollywood’s most famous dropouts, quitting her formal education while she was still in middle school. “It’s hard to explain. It’s just an overwhelming feeling of, ‘I get this. This is what I was meant to do,’” she said of acting during a 60 Minutes interview in February 2018. “And to get people to try to understand that when you’re 14 years old, wanting to drop out of school and do this, and your parents are just like, ‘You’re out of your mind.’”
It may have seemed like a bad decision at the time, but the move quickly paid off. In 2013, she became the second-youngest Best Actress winner at the Oscars, and in 2015 and 2016, Forbes named her the world’s highest-paid actress.
Ryan Gosling stayed in school until he was 17, but he struggled to keep his grades up until his mom started tutoring him at home. “It really did turn things about for me,” the Drive actor told British GQ in January 2022, adding that his mother later became a professional teacher. “She was the perfect person to ask for help when we needed it.”
While the Mickey Mouse Club alum was only homeschooled for a year, he later left high school after landing a role in the short-lived TV series Young Hercules. The teen adventure show only lasted one season, but within five years, Gosling landed the role that changed his life: Noah Calhoun in The Notebook. He’s since racked up two Oscar nominations, four Screen Actors Guild Award nods and one Golden Globe win. (He also shares an MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss with ex-girlfriend and The Notebook costar Rachel McAdams.)
Kristen Stewart left school at age 13 after her film career started taking off, deciding instead to finish her education at home. She eventually did complete high school on her own — and she held a mock graduation ceremony on the set of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
“I had just finished high school myself the week before, so I told the crew, ‘Hey, just so you know, I’m actually graduating right now, and I’m not going to have another ceremony,'” she told Interview magazine in September 2009. “So I took a mock picture with an extra. I literally asked the actor to come back and shake my hand and hand me the diploma while I was dressed in a cap and gown.”
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