Some actors can play villains, others play the hero, but what is their personality really like after the director yells “cut”? It’s difficult to know for sure, but word does tend to get around about how people actually are behind the scenes. Based on experiences of journalists, fans and costars, some celebrities are as nice as (or even nicer than) their alter-egos.
Some of the friendliest A-listers who appear on this list may be super surprising, because their fame could have easily gone to their heads by now. Others are not as surprising: is it a shock that Drew Barrymore is reportedly as kind off screen as the “good girl” characters she plays on screen?
From treating fans like royalty, to supporting charities and simply being all-around great people, let’s take a look at some of the nicest celebrities.
By now, it’s easy to assume that superstar Johnny Depp’s fame has gone to his head thanks to great looks, lots of money and decades of movie stardom. In reality? Nope. Depp is known as one of the nicest all-around guys in Hollywood. He often donates his time and money to charitable causes, including signing things for auctions to actually spending time at charity events. He is also one to go out of his way to make an appearance for fans: he once made a surprise visit to a London school, dressed as the beloved Captain Jack Sparrow from “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Some of his fans have banded together to raise money for charity, and he often matches their donations. On top of it all, Depp is also a great tipper: he once left a $4,000 tip to a waiter on top of his $4,400 bill. He’s apparently great to his colleagues as well: on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean 4, he reportedly bought 500 coats for the crew because they were cold. And finally, if you happen to meet him on the street, be sure to get an autograph: he’s also one of the celebrities that is most generous when it comes to giving fans autographs.
Tom Cruise has had an on and off relationship with the media: sometimes, everyone loves his talent and great looks on screen, other times the media is ripping into his personal life. But one thing is consistent: Cruise apparently believes in the “do unto others” philosophy, as almost anyone who has ever met Tom Cruise agrees that he is a nice guy. His “Rock of Ages” costar Russell Brand once said that he was so nice it was scary. Cruise is patient with the press – who haven’t always been the kindest to him – and will always answer as many questions as possible at press conferences and movie premieres. That’s all great, but Cruise takes it a step further by also being a Good Samaritan: he has actually saved lives. Once, he rescued some people from a sinking sailboat that had burst into flames. Cruise also paid the hospital bills of a woman who was the victim of a hit-and-run accident when he learned she didn’t have insurance. All of this to say, Cruise seems to be a superstar both on screen and off.
She might have grown up in the Hollywood scene, a place where it’s easy to imagine someone could become very jaded very quickly, but Drew Barrymore is also reportedly one of the nicest actresses in Hollywood. Barrymore often plays the bubbly, friendly protagonist in films, and no wonder. According to the accounts of many fans and journalists who have met her, she’s just as kind and generous behind the scenes. She’s also notorious for tipping well at restaurants and bars and being pleasant to both her fans and colleagues.
Just like many of his friendly and loveable on-screen alter egos, Tom Hanks has a reputation for being a genuinely great guy in Hollywood. Journalists often write how much they enjoy speaking with the actor, and he has shown fans lots of sincere appreciation and courtesy over the years, from snapping photos with them or appearing on their YouTube videos, to supporting great causes. He’s well known for being one of the few A-list actors that you can always walk up to and shake hands with if you happen to run into him on the street. All of this charm has not gone unnoticed: he was voted the Most Trusted Person in America in a 2013 Reader’s Digest poll.
Rachel McAdams is definitely not a “mean girl” in real life: the Canadian actress is well known for being down to earth and nice to her fans. She’s even been known to kick up conversations with random people, and several posters on Reddit have remarked on meeting her and appreciating how relaxed and friendly she is to everyone she meets.
British comedian Russell Brand was once an alcoholic and heroin addict, but he appears to actively remember his struggles and now spends a lot of time helping the homeless in person. He once stopped to help a homeless man whose items had been spilled on the street. He also reportedly will take them to breakfast or dinner and will simply spend his time hanging out with them. While he might have the reputation of being a “bad boy,” when he puts his mind to lending a hand, from political activism to pursuing a better world by making friends with the less fortunate, he genuinely seems like a good person underneath his rough exterior.
The fashion world has a reputation for being filled with “The Devil Wears Prada” types, but designer Betsey Johnson proves that’s not always the case. The eccentric fashion designer – best known for her audacious and glamorous dresses and accessories – has done tons of down-to-earth and cool things for fans. For one, she’s actually had a yard sale at her East Hampton home – and invited the public to buy clothing, furniture, artwork and more. The designer donated 5% of the sales to the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation. She also participates in charity runs for cancer (she is a breast cancer survivor) and encourages a warm and friendly tone on her social media accounts.
Elton John is a diva onstage, but offstage he is a diva when it comes to giving to charity. Elton is well known for being a guy who is always willing to lend a hand (or two, as playing a piano at a benefit concert might require). Elton founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation and also supports many other charities from children’s charities to cancer, food drives, arts and anti-bullying campaigns. The world needs more philanthropists like him, and having such a public figure bring attention to so many great causes is certainly good for everyone.
He may have an offbeat sense of humor in his movies and is one of Hollywood’s highest earners, but Adam Sandler is actually also known for being one of the nicest, most down-to-earth men in Hollywood. In restaurants, many waiters and fans have commented that he always takes time to meet with fans who come up to say hi, and he always orders plenty of food for his friends who come out to eat with him. Sandler has also been known to stop and take time to chat with fans who approach him on the street. The funny guy is definitely well-deserving of the reputation as being one of the kindest and most sincere actors in Hollywood.
Daniel Radcliffe – aka. Harry Potter – is often said to be one of the nicest (and most down to earth) celebrities, but his Harry Potter co-star, British actor Tom Felton who played bad boy Draco Malfoy (and a number of other mean guys on screen since the Potter series wrapped up,) is also apparently one of the coolest celebrities anyone could hope to run into. Back in the days of Harry Potter, Felton showed up early to one of the movie’s premieres and brought pizzas to fans in New York who were waiting for days outside. Felton stayed to give autographs and take photos. He also spends tons of time interacting with fans on Twitter and supports a number of charitable causes.