Living with a roommate is a young adult’s rite of passage. Whether it’s a dorm at college or in a crummy basement apartment while everyone involved struggles to make rent each month, it doesn’t matter. It’s a cathartic experience. Sometimes, roommates get along like two peas in a pod, other times they fight like they’re two contestants on The Bachelor.
Having roommates teaches young adults important coping skills, whether they like it or not. It doesn’t take long to find out if you’re the type of person who’s going to leave passive aggressive notes about the mysterious salad dressing thief or if you’ll be confronting your roommate head on about their significant other who is hanging around ALL THE FREAKING TIME!
When people find they have enough money to live on their own, they generally take the leap into a place of their own, solo. In the world of unpaid, or poorly paid, internships and a volatile job market young adults may find themselves bunking with a roommate or two longer than they originally anticipated.
This is no different for an aspiring actor – auditioning constantly, waiting tables, and hoping for their big break. Many celebrities have lived alongside other former nobodies (soon to be somebodies) when they were young, broke, and just as poor as the rest of us! These 15 stars destined for greatness used to be bunkmates, whether they liked it or not!
15. Tommy Lee Jones and Al Gore
Getting paired with a random roommate in your freshman year is as typical today, as it was for two Ivy League gentlemen who were matched as roommates during their freshmen year at Harvard in Dunster House. Both coming from “well-bred” wealthy families in the late 1960s, one the son of a Tennessee Senator and the other the son of a Texan who made his money in oil, the Harvard Crimson clad duo formed a fast friendship. They bonded during their collegial years by watching Star Trek, shooting pool (and sometimes tin cans), and even cooked a Thanksgiving turkey in their shared room one year. They even joined a country music band together, hoping it would help them meet girls. Lee Jones and Al Gore remain close friends today celebrating each other’s accomplishments. Tommy Lee Jones even publicly endorsed Gore politically calling him, “[a] good, caring, loving man,” during the Democratic National Convention in 2000.
14. Justin Long and Jonah Hill
The Odd Couple-esque roommate stories are as cliché as they come, but considerably more charming if you imagine former roommates Justin Long and Jonah Hill arguing about recycling, chores, and bathroom habits. Certified type-A personality Justin climbed the walls when sharing an apartment with his slobby friend Jonah in L.A. in the mid-2000’s. Although the two managed to cohabitate for over a year, they decided it was best to part ways for the sake of their friendship and sanity. They even managed to star in the movie Accepted together shortly after their separation. Long says, “We’re still great friends but it got to be like an old married couple, we fought over recycling. He would recycle everything. I would find banana peels and shards of glass in the recycling bin.” Justin also got annoyed when Hill broke the unofficial roommate code and left the bathroom door open while using the facilities.
13. Lindsay Lohan and Raven Symone
They were both childhood stars and presumably understood the growing pains and baggage that come with celebrity at a young age, so it bunking together seemed like it would be a natural fit. Despite being former roommates Raven Symone has been quite public that although the pair lived together for some time, they never saw each other. Raven told US Weekly a few years ago, “She paid rent, and she was there probably three times.” The pair met at a fashion shoot and decided to room together. Unfortunately there are no stories about the two roomies hanging out, partying together, or even trading lip gloss and accessories during slumber party style movie marathons. Although there are worse things than a roomie who is never home: They don’t make messes, they’re quiet, and still pay half of the bills! It looks like Raven scored a pretty sweet living situation despite Lindsay being MIA!
12. Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve
It sounds like the set up to a joke: Remember when Superman was roommates with Aladdin’s Genie?, but this rooming situation really happened. In 1973, Christopher Reeve and Robin Williams were two of the select 20 students accepted into an elite theatre program at the Juilliard School in New York. The two became very close after becoming roommates, forming a lifelong friendship and brotherly bond. In Reeve’s autobiography Still Me, he shared how Williams was always able to make him laugh, even during very difficult times. In fact, following his tragic 1995 horseback riding accident, where Reeve was left paralyzed, his first laugh came care of his old roommate. Williams provided comic relief to his sick friend in the over-the-top way for which the Patch Adams star was best known. Williams came to visit Reeve dressed in a scrub hat, surgical gown, and glasses, posing as a Russian doctor who announced he was a proctologist and was there to perform a rectal exam.
11. Ryan Gosling and Justin Timberlake
Is there a more swoon worthy couple of roommates than these two blonde heartthrobs? The pair were just 11-years-old when they bunked together while they were on The Mickey Mouse Club, would routinely hang out, prank each other, and even stole a golf cart which they drove into the MGM studios. Timberlake’s mom acted as a legal guardian to Gosling during this time period as Ryan’s mom had to work north of the border in Canada. On an episode of Ellen, Timberlake described the goofy faux gangster speak the two would banter back and forth, “I was like ‘What do you want to do thug?’ and he was like ‘I don’t know cus,’ because that’s definitely how we talked, ‘I said “I don’t know man. I’m in the mood for some vanilla. And he was like ‘I’m in the mood for some chocolate.’ So then we went and got milkshakes.’”
10. Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson
Ever wonder why Owen Wilson has appeared in nearly every Wes Anderson film? The natural collaborators first began working together at school when they were roommates and students at the University of Texas at Austin. The two met during a sophomore playwriting class, really hit it off, and the rest is movie history. They didn’t begin to work together on creative projects, however, until the duo began working on a diabolical plan surrounding an altercation with their former landlord after they refused to fix several broken windows. This led to the pair staging a break in, moving out of the apartment in the middle of the night, only to later be tracked down, care of a private investigator, anyway. That was the epic first preposterous plot the pair wrote, and a few years later they put their creatively absurd genius to paper and wrote Rushmore. Their work together is characterised by a shared, distinct narrative style.
9. Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler
A long, long time ago, Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow were roommates who shared a $900 per month apartment in the San Fernando Valley. During that time, Sandler slept on a mattress, often with no sheets and once in a while shared said mattress with another one of their friends. Apatow has said of their lives back in the day, “Life was just doing stand-up or writing jokes. You would sleep until noon every day and kind of stumble out. You would have to be at work at 8:30 at night. Work was sometimes 15 minutes.” The two swear that they weren’t completely broke and would go out on a monthly dinner “date” to Red Lobster as their big night on the town. When Sandler joined Saturday Night Live and moved to New York, he continued to pay rent for quite some time on the apartment in the Valley just in case his east coast gig didn’t work out.
8. Connie Britton and Lauren Graham
Do cool TV moms make for awesome roommates? In the case of Nashville star Connie Britton and Ms. Lorelei Gilmore herself Lauren Graham, the answer is a sugar-coated, marshmallow filled, emphatic yes! This sleepover style roommate situation involved the two plucky young actors illegally squatting in an empty house together. The pair had no furniture and in true Gilmore Girl, junk food junkie style, the two future leading ladies lived on a diet consisting primarily of Rice Krispies Treats and not much else. In more recent interviews about their under the table girlie bohemian living situation, Graham joked that Britton was constantly leaving dirty dishes in the sink “forever” without washing them and was also guilty of secretly swiping her roomie’s shoes. When asked about how often Britton brought guys home to their bachelorette pad, Graham was quick to joke about her former roommates romantic escapades, “Just as often as I did.”
7. Miles Heizer and Mae Whitman
They say it isn’t a good idea to mix business and pleasure, however this is not the case for Miles Heizer and Mae Whitman who were roommates for much of the time they co-starred on the television series Parenthood. The two can’t seem to get enough of each other, and have become known for posting fun pictures hanging out together or even tweeting at each other. Mae has Tweeted, “Where is my roommate @milesdheizer when is he going to come home and take care of me #needy #needs #needyneeds” In 2015, Whitman posted an Instagram photo of her kissing her former TV brother for “National Kiss Day”. While some fans were quite upset over the roomies and TV brother/sister kissing, posting rather negative commentary, others were super supportive, and even encouraged the pair of TV siblings to take their friendship to the next level, no matter what the haters say.
6. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck
It makes sense that the Oscar winning Good Will Hunting writers and lifetime BFFs Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were roommates. It’s a case where the pair’s close relationship reflected on the screen is similar to their early realities in Hollywood. While the two spent a lot of their time together collaborating and working diligently on projects, there was also some time for a little bit of fun; maybe too much. Affleck told US Weekly about a time when the two hosted an epic party together, “We rented this house on the Beach in Venice and 800 people came and stayed with us and got drunk. Then we ran out of money and had to get an apartment.” Being young, good-looking, and talented in Hollywood just seems like a recipe for trouble. Although each has certainly found their own footing in Hollywood, they can remember their earlier, crazier days as roommates.
5. Stanley Tucci and Ving Rhames
Roommates get pretty close with one another, mostly because they live in such close quarters and have to share a lot of space. Those who get really close form inside jokes, develop fun traditions and even make nicknames for each other. This was the case for former State University of New York-Purchase (SUNY) students Irving Rameses Rhames and his fellow drama student and roommate Stanley Tucci. When Tucci suggested that his roomie consider shortening his first name to the catchier “Ving”, Irving took his roommates counsel and gave his new name a whirl. The next year, the reinvented Ving was awarded a scholarship to attend Juilliard and transferred schools. Tucci stayed on at SUNY Purchase and graduated in 1982. Ving has gone on to make millions in films like Mission Impossible and Tucci is no slouch either, having been nominated for Best Supporting Actor by the Academy Awards for his role in The Lovely Bones.
4. Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling
This roommate situation sparked a series of rumors that the co-star flatmates were an item, but they were really bunking together for just over a month in order to prepare themselves for their roles as bickering couple Dean and Cindy, who were falling apart at the seams in the 2010 film Blue Valentine. The pair were given a salary similar to that of their characters, a nurse and a carpenter, to live on, and both lived much like the married couple they were playing. While the two got to know each other well while they lived together, they didn’t fall into the same relationship traps as the couple they portrayed; they actually got along famously (pun intended). Williams fondly spoke of Gosling as a roommate saying, “He’s so hard to hate. He does the dishes, takes care of the kids.” Their sacrifice was clearly worth it, as their raw and honest performances were painfully realistic.
3. Jude Law and Ewan McGregor
On what seems like a dare, English actor Jude Law and Scottish actor Ewan McGregor first met when a director gave them $30 dollars and instructed the two to get drunk together and “see what happened”. They had a great night out on the town, and apparently the hangover never came and the two lived together in London, England for several years in the early 1990s. In fact, these two roommates got along so well, they later co-founded a British film and theatre production company called Natural Nylon in 1997 which produced David Cronenberg’s 1999 film eXistenZ and several other movies before folding in late 2003 following McGregor’s resignation in 2002, and Law’s in early 2003. The two continued to remain close after they stopped cohabiting and the pair took off on a bro-mantic motorcycle tour of South America, shortly after Law split up with his ex-fiance, Sienna Miller in 2006.
2. Michael Douglas & Danny DeVito
A drama free rooming situation was the case for these two actors when they were living together over 50 years ago. In the 1960s, while they were both students at a New York City acting school, the two happily lived together. Danny DeVito has commented on their symbiotic relationship where they took turns taking care of important chores, like all good roommates should. He told the New York Daily News, “Michael [Douglas] did the laundry.” At the time, apparently, DeVito was chasing Rhea Pearlman, while Douglas was enjoying his bachelor status as a self-proclaimed “sock on the doorknob” flatmate. Douglas boasts that he’s an early to bed, early to rise person, and that he can make fantastic pancakes, which leaves us wondering did DeVito ever get to try the famous flapjacks? The pair were later able to bring some of their real life chemistry to the big screen in blockbuster films including Romancing the Stone and War of the Roses.
1. Brad Pitt & Jason Priestley
It wasn’t an episode of 90210 you missed, Brad Pitt and Jason Priestley really were roommates back in the days that they were struggling actors awaiting their big breaks. In 1987 the young Brad Pitt moved into a place that Jason shared with another roommate. Priestley talks about their place being a true bachelor pad for broke actors, filled with crushed no-name beer cans, Marlboro cigarette butts, and cheap instant dinners. Messy, stinky, apartments filled with young men, aren’t just reserved for undergraduate students, and video gamers, they can also apply to aspiring A-Listers in Hollywood. The former roommates would routinely host a friendly competition to see who could go the longest without showering or shaving, and Priestly contends that it was Pitt who almost always won such awards. Priestley has said, “Having to go on an audition meant cleaning up, which is what usually put an end to the streak.”