32 Celebrities Who Dropped Out of School

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There’s no one path to success—and these celebrities are proof. Rihanna was just 16 when she signed her first record deal, and went on to have her own fashion and beauty empire. Jennifer Lawrence ended her formal education at age 14, and is now one of the top actresses in Hollywood. So…is education really everything? Here, click through to see 32 wildly successful celebs who never finished high school.

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Gisele Bündchen

After being discovered at a shopping mall in Sao Paolo, Brazil, the model left school when she was just 14 to pursue her career. According to Forbes, Bündchen was the world’s 5th highest paid model in 2018.

2 of 32

Ryan Gosling

Gosling dropped out of Lester B. Pearson High School in Canada when he was 17 and went on to star in Disney’s All-New Mickey Mouse Club.

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Cameron Diaz

Diaz dropped out of high school to pursue modeling full time at age 16. She soon went on to land her first acting gig, and become one of Hollywood’s best-known actresses.

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Leonardo DiCaprio

The Oscar-winner dropped out of school after his junior year and started studying at a free local drama center instead.

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Nicole Kidman

The actress dropped out of school in Australia when she was 16 to pursue acting full time.

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Jay-Z

The rapper and producer bounced around high schools in Brooklyn and New Jersey before eventually dropping out. He is currently the 5th wealthiest celebrity in America with a net worth of $900 million, according to Forbes.

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Catherina Zeta-Jones

The actress dropped out of school at 15 to study acting full time.

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Harry Styles

Styles dropped out of school when One Direction took off because he, understandably, didn’t have time for much else.

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Jennifer Lawrence

Lawrence ended her formal education when she was 14 and dropped out of middle school.

“I dropped out of middle school. I don’t technically have a GED or a diploma,”she explained during a 60 Minutes interview. “I am self-educated.”

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Rihanna

Rihanna was just 16 when she signed a record deal with Def Jam and left school. Since then, she has dropped countless hits and built a fashion and beauty empire with her Fenty lines. She is also reportedly launching a luxury fashion house.

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Jude Law

Law dropped out of high school when he was 17 to star in the soap opera Families.

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Paris Hilton

Hilton was expelled from the boarding school she attended in Connecticut.

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Patrick Dempsey

He famously played a doctor on TV, but Dempsey dropped out of school at 17.

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Drew Barrymore

Barrymore’s career took off at an early age with her starring role in E.T. at just age 7. After that, she became too busy in her career to ever finish school.

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Johnny Depp

Depp dropped out of school when he was 15 to pursue a career as a rock star. Apparently, acting was his fallback plan.

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Hilary Swank

After dropping out of high school at age 16, the actress now says she regrets it.

“I’m not proud to say I’m a high-school dropout,” admitted Swank. “I’m not proud that that’s something that happened, but it happened. I think school is really, really important and we have an education problem in this country and it’s a shame. It’s a shame for any kid to feel hopeless about their future.”

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Robert Downey Jr.

The Iron Man star dropped out of Santa Monica High School after his junior year when his father gave him an ultimatum to “either show up [to school] every day or quit and get a job.” The move definitely worked out for the A-List actor.

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Keanu Reeves

Reeves dropped out of school because he never fit in.

“It was a very small school, and I guess I didn’t fit in,” Reeves told The Daily Mail in 2008. “I had conflicts and run-ins with the staff. The principal and I didn’t see eye to eye,” he said. “I was one of those ‘Why?’ kids—I asked too many questions about everything. I couldn’t stop even if it got me into trouble.”

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Tom Cruise

Cruise originally planned to become a priest, but dropped out of high school when he decided to be an actor instead.

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Avril Lavinge

Avril dropped out of school at 17 when she signed her record contract.

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Christina Applegate

Applegate dropped out of high school her junior year and quickly found success on Married…With Children.

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John Travolta

Travolta dropped out of school at 16 to hit the acting circuit.

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Tracy Morgan

Morgan dropped out of high school to pursue his career, and he says he’s very happy he made the decision to do so.

“I’m glad I dropped out of high school, man. I wouldn’t be where I’m at. I would have had a net. I’m glad I didn’t have anything to fall back on, man, because that made me go for my dreams that much harder.”

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Seth Rogen

Rogen dropped out of high school and moved to Los Angeles to pursue comedy instead. He went on to star in Superbad, and is now one of Hollywood’s favorite funny guys.

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Chris Rock

Rock dropped out of high school in tenth grade. He went on to get his GED and after working a series of odd jobs, began to pursue his dream career in comedy.

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Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey dropped out of school not to pursue acting, but to help support his family financially.

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Damon Wayans

Wayans dropped out as a freshman to follow his older brother to Los Angeles. He later became the star of his brother’s hit sketch-comedy show, In Living Color.

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Al Pacino

The Oscar winner attended the High School of the Performing Arts in New York City, where he reportedly struggled in everything but English. Realizing that all he wanted to do was act, he soon dropped out and pursued his career.

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