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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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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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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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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The actress dropped out of school in Australia when she was 16 to pursue acting full time.
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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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The actress dropped out of school at 15 to study acting full time.
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Styles dropped out of school when One Direction took off because he, understandably, didn’t have time for much else.
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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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Law dropped out of high school when he was 17 to star in the soap opera Families.
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Hilton was expelled from the boarding school she attended in Connecticut.
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He famously played a doctor on TV, but Dempsey dropped out of school at 17.
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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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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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“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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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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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 dropped out of school at 17 when she signed her record contract.
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Applegate dropped out of high school her junior year and quickly found success on Married…With Children.
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Travolta dropped out of school at 16 to hit the acting circuit.
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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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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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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 dropped out of school not to pursue acting, but to help support his family financially.
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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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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.