6 Famous People (Whose Origin Stories Are Dark Secrets)

Nobody expects celebrities to actually be exactly the way they portray themselves publicly. Bruce Willis doesn’t go around killing terrorists every day (that probably happens, like, every other weekend). When you’re famous, it’s understood that you’ll have to bullshit a little and cultivate an image that appeals to your audience. But some do less cultivating and more top-to-bottom renovations. It’s always shocking when famous people turn out to be the complete opposite of what they’re famous for. And that’s the case with …

6

Kid Rock Was Born Rich And Grew Up In A Huge-Ass Mansion

No “celebrity goes into politics” story will ever be weird again, but the announcement that Kid Rock might run for Senate still managed to turn a few heads. After all, his biggest claim to fame was supposedly spending a summer “trying different things … smoking funny things,” and based on his ability to rhyme “things” with “things,” he surely has no better than an eighth-grade education, right?

Rock wants us to think he’s some rough-and-tumble country boy, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. His childhood home in Macomb County, Michigan recently sold for nearly $1.3 million, which we’re reasonably sure would be enough to buy whole towns around there. It turns out that his dad owned two luxury car dealerships and made some not-insignificant amounts of money.

Romeo High School
“Your little rec center shall make a great showroom for our Bentleys. Papa will be most pleased.”

Mr. and Mrs. Rock’s “four-bedroom, four-bath, neo-Georgian colonial house” is over 5,000 square feet, has an indoor Jacuzzi, amenities out the wazoo, and the property itself contains an apple orchard. Rock has tried to flaunt his down-home country style and use it to smear politicians as “out of touch.” That doesn’t have the same gravity now that we know his past.

Adam Serwer/Twitter
That’s a sad burger for so many reasons.

5

Rapper Rick Ross Was A Prison Guard

Florida rapper Rick Ross is best known for his songs about nonstop hustling and pushing it to the limit (“it” being all of the drugs). Hell, he got his name from a drug kingpin. That’s why it was kind of a shocker when it came out that Ross was a corrections officer (read: prison guard) prior to getting into the rap game.

After the story broke about his previous life of literally the opposite of crime, Ross originally denied it, but somehow the media managed to get ahold of pay stubs that proved it. For about two years in the mid-’90s, he worked as a CO in Florida. Granted, that makes him more of a badass than being a CO in, say, Terre Haute, Indiana, but it didn’t help his street cred any.

Florida Department of Corrections, Maybach Music Group
His earliest songs were about how much he hated that Urkel kid who kept visiting his house.

Even 50 Cent took a jab at Ross in a rap to point out how dumb it was for Rozay to keep acting like he was something he wasn’t. After all, if you’re only learning about smuggling drugs and weapons from someone else’s case file instead of doing it yourself, can you sincerely say your raps come from the heart?

Probably thanks to some magical PR whiz, Ross finally owned up to his past. Rather than dismiss his old job as some kind of phase, he managed to call it a “hustle” in its own right. (We’re beginning to think that absolutely anything can be a hustle as long as one declares it so.)

4

Ron Jeremy Was A Special Education Teacher

Lots of people watch porn — about 67 percent of you are only reading this while you wait for some to load. Even the “casual” viewer can probably name a fair number of lady porn stars, but for some reason, about the only male porn actor most people can identify is Ron Jeremy. He’s been the mustachioed face of videotaped boning for decades, but believe it or not, that wasn’t really his Plan A.

On an episode of Judge Pirro, Jeremy admitted that his background was in theater, and that he’d gone on to get a master’s degree in special education. As in working with disabled kids.

Jeremy is happy to talk about his educator past, and always considered his teaching degree his fallback option, or “ace in the hole” (that’s probably not the only thing he’s called that). He majored in theater in college, and much like theater majors of today, he went and tacked on an education degree “just in case.”

One time, Jeremy and a friend (the school psychologist) picked up a couple of women and brought them back to what they claimed was their “hotel,” which was in truth the school for developmentally challenged kids where they worked. The building used to be a hotel, so they didn’t lie, precisely, but that’s the kind of thing you’d expect from the future star of Ebony Humpers 2. They also told the ladies that they were going to a convention for doctors, which was pure bullshit. In the morning, Jeremy and his friend brought the women up to the “hotel restaurant,” cleverly disguised as a goddamned school cafeteria. (The kids there were reportedly quite thrilled to meet them.)

3

The “Blue Collar” Comedy Tour Is Pretty Well-Educated

The Blue Collar Comedy Tour is a group of comedians who joined forces when they realized they were essentially using the same shtick, so why not put on a show together? And put on a show they did, because as far as Larry the Cable Guy and Jeff Foxworthy go, their entire careers are an act.

Most people are probably smart enough to assume that Larry the Cable Guy is not in fact named Larry the Cable Guy. What fewer people know is that he’s as far from “Southern” as it gets. He’s originally from Nebraska, which is definitely rural, but not “The hell kind of accent you got there, boy?” rural. The closest he got was that attending Baptist University in Decatur, Georgia (to major in drama and speech), but even so, that means he went to Georgia to go to college. That’s like your friend who studied abroad in Ireland coming back to America with a Cockney accent.

Seriously, watch him duck in and out of his “Southern” accent. It’s creepy:

Foxworthy, at least, is a native Georgian. His accent is real. But asking him to host Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader was an interesting choice, because he almost certainly is — dude went to Georgia Tech.

Granted, he didn’t graduate, but that’s in part because he landed a job working for his father at IBM in mainframe computer maintenance. Foxworthy, for his part, has tried to downplay it. There’s an obvious dichotomy between “college-educated computer guy” and “redneck” in our culture, but Jeff thinks there’s a bit more nuance than that:

“Here’s the problem that the media makes: They tend to think if you gave rednecks a billion dollars they wouldn’t be rednecks anymore. Look at Elvis — he put carpet on the ceiling. We wouldn’t wear Armani suits, we would just go to every NASCAR race.”

Someone should maybe tell him that Armani makes rather comfortable sweatpants.

2

Only One Of The Beach Boys Could Surf

Surfing isn’t merely a fun beach activity — it’s a lifestyle, brah. As soon as people discovered they could ride waves, it became a culture in itself. Nobody embodied that culture in the 1960s better than the Beach Boys, with their songs about the beach, fast cars, psychedelic farm animals, and then the beach again. They knew everything there was to know about taming the wild waves and impressing those California girls with their surf moves. Right? Right?

Well, no. Only one of them could surf.

Dennis Wilson, the drummer, was the only band member who knew the correct end of a surfboard. In 1961, he told fellow Beach Boys Brian Wilson and Mike Love, “Hey, surfing’s getting really big. You guys ought to write a song about it.” And then more songs about it …

… and then a couple of albums about it …

… and then an entire career about it. Had Dennis picked another random hobby, today they’d be known as the Model Train Building Boys. The band basically owes their success to Dennis’ suggestion. Although he also introduced them to his buddy Charles Manson, so not all of his ideas were so good.

Sadly, Dennis passed away in the very California ocean he loved after falling off a boat at age 39. His legacy lives on in every pastel-colored surf shack up and down the Pacific coast, and in the hearts of every Los Angeles tourist who tries surfing with a Groupon on a Saturday afternoon.

1

Neocon Poster Boy Milo Yiannopoulos Was (And Probably Still Is) A Total Dweeb

Milo Yiannopoulos is … no, not the main character from Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire. He’s this guy:

You may know him as the firebrand Breitbart editor whose swagger lets him get away with spouting fascist rhetoric for a little too long, turning thousands of confused young men into his personal fan club and helping push them closer to all-out xenophobia. Yiannopoulos has been known to flirt with Nazi ideas and imagery, and — despite straight-up asking white supremacists for snazzy new Breitbart story angles — it’s all OK! He’s only “trolling.” When he talks about the evils of immigration or how trans people don’t deserve basic dignity, he’s not repeating the same backwards bullshit your grandpa used to complain about on the dinner table; he’s writing genius political satire, you see. Truly, a Voltaire for the age of Twitter. (Or Facebook, since Twitter banned his ass.)

But before all this, Yiannopoulos got his start as a rather inept and awkward tech writer for a bunch of websites, including Breitbart, and he looked like this:

That’s Yiannopoulos showing off his dorky, possibly Nazi ring, and presumably posing for his MySpace photo. Wonder what that profile would’ve entailed? Maybe something about how he likes to write poetry (read: plagiarize Tori Amos lyrics) for fun? Perhaps something further about how video game fans are losers and psychopaths, despite using that whole ridiculous #Gamergate saga to further his career? Months before “freedom of speech” became his battle cry and the excuse for his particular brand of outrageous dickishness, Yiannopoulos wrote a whole Breitbart column about how those goshdarn video games (which are enjoyed by “unemployed saddos living in their parents’ basements”) were probably to blame for the Elliot Rodger murders, and someone ought to do something about them.

How did he evolve his writing style from “angry letter writer at your local newspaper” to “edgiest shitlord on the internet”? He didn’t. His current work is largely ghost-written and researched by people he actively works to maintain uncredited and anonymous, because if he doesn’t get all the fame and attention, then what even is the point? Yiannopoulos is barely a person; he’s a crappy Halloween mask precariously placed on top of a heap of regressive ideas society had already flushed down the toilet. By the way, it was an unassuming teenage journalist from Canada who put the brakes on Yiannopoulos’ rising star by digging up his pro-pedophilia comments from 2016. (If it wasn’t for that, he’d probably have his own show on Fox News by now.) We’re sure it wasn’t the Universe’s intention to violently punish him in the most ironic way possible — it was just a prank, bro.

Isaac feels like a fraud pretty much every day. Follow him on Twitter.

Feel like Kid Rock has betrayed you? Don’t go cold turkey, instead try a KICK ROCKS shirt as a way to cope with the pain.

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