When it comes to celebrities, there’s always been some question about whether they’re really smart, or if they fall on the wrong side of stupid. Part of the reason behind this, of course, is that some celebrities make proclamations that are so profound that they leave you speechless — and, on the flip side of the coin, some celebrities are so stupid that they literally hurt your hair when they talk.
In our research, we discovered that there are some really smart celebrities, and there are some really stupid celebrities — and who falls into which category may shock you. Some celebrities that you thought were dumb are actually really smart, and some celebrities that appear to be extremely intelligent are anything but.
We determined their level of “smartness” based on their schooling, actions, and statements, then we tallied these factors up to come up with a sum total result.
Without further ado, here’s our list of smart celebrities and their stupid counterparts.
20. Only Plays Dumb – Lisa Kudrow
She made her name as the ditzy Phoebe Buffay on the hit pop culture phenomenon, Friends, which is why many people believe Lisa Kudrow is a bit of a ditz in real life. But the gorgeous blonde actress not only isn’t a ditz, she’s one of the smartest celebrities in Hollywood today. Kudrow graduated from the prestigious Vassar College with a degree in biology, and before she “made it big” in Hollywood, she was working with her father — a world renowned doctor — conducting research into headaches. Right before she got the career-defining role on Friends, she co-authored an academic paper on hemispheric dominance and headache types.
19. Actually Is Dumb – Christina Aguilera
She already has a reputation for being a raging bitch in Hollywood, but in addition to her nasty attitude, Christina Aguilera has a reputation for being one of the stupidest celebrities in Hollywood. The Voice coach and erstwhile singer has said many a stupid thing during her time in the spotlight, but few things compare to the level of inanity on full display when she asked her associates where the Cannes Film Festival would be held this year (even though the name makes it rather self-evident). No wonder both Fred Durst and Eminem dragged her for filth — and, according to Ron Jeremy, no less of an authority than Ashton Kutcher remarked about what a “filthy b*tch” she was, because he had the unfortunate luck of meeting her at a party, where she was haughty and dismissive towards him.
18. Only Plays Dumb – Emma Watson
Our girl Emma Watson would do Hermione proud, as she’s known as one of the smartest celebrities in Hollywood today. The actress, who got her start in the Harry Potter films, got her bachelor’s degree in literature from the venerated Brown University. While she was at Brown University, she took a year abroad and studied further at Oxford, which is no small feat even for a non-famous smart person. And, after she graduated, she became known more for her human rights activism than for her acting — she was made a Goodwill Ambassador by the United Nations, and she gave an impassioned speech about women’s rights in her acceptance of the position.
17. Actually Is Dumb – Justin Bieber
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that Justin Bieber is on the list of one of Hollywood’s stupidest celebrities, because he’s the living, breathing proof that money can’t buy class or brains. And where do we begin with the Canadian scourge? Do we start with the incident where he peed in a mop bucket in a posh Hollywood restaurant? Do we start with the egging of his neighbor’s house, which caused him to get sued and arrested for the damages? How about we start with the incident where he attempted to rob a woman when she wouldn’t delete the pictures of him from her phone? If we were to make a list of all the stupid things Justin Bieber has done, we’d be here all day and all night. But what perhaps takes the cake is his comment about Anne Frank: “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a Belieber.” When she wasn’t running from the Nazis, sure, she’d TOTALLY have sung “Love Yourself,” right Justin?
16. Only Plays Dumb – Cindy Crawford
Many people think that models in general — and supermodels in particular — do nothing all day except get pampered and look beautiful, and as an end result, they’re nothing but toxic and vapid, little more than glorified clothes hangers. But Cindy Crawford — one of the smartest celebrities in Hollywood — flies right in the face of that stereotype. The supermodel-turned-skin-care-spokesperson was the valedictorian of her high school, and went on to study chemical engineering at Northwestern University. In addition to being multilingual, Crawford — who married Rande Gerber and had two children with him — has also been smart with her money, and made good investments while saving up her earnings over the years. As a result, she’s very comfortable, and as a woman in her 50s, still looks as beautiful as she was when she first walked the runway back in 1985.
15. Actually Is Dumb – Jessica Simpson
Thank God that Jessica Simpson is cute and talented, because God knows she doesn’t have much in the brains department. Simpson falls in the category of being one of the stupidest celebrities in Hollywood thanks in no small part to her infamous “chicken or fish” comment; during the first season of her show that focused on her marriage to then-husband Nick Lachey, Simpson was filmed eating Chicken of the Sea brand tuna fish, and she asked her husband if what she was eating was either chicken or fish (because the two obviously taste the same, LULZ). But that wasn’t her only stupid gaffe: she once was offered buffalo wings (chicken wings named after the city of Buffalo, NY, prepared with hot sauce) and refused because “she doesn’t eat buffalo.” We’ll bet you don’t, Jessica — we’ll bet you don’t.
14. Only Plays Dumb – Allison Williams
The daughter of NBC news anchor Brian Williams got her “big break” on the insufferable HBO show Girls, where she was portrayed as “The Smart One” on the show (which was rather hard to do, considering they were all insufferable in some way). But when Allison Williams shot to Hollywood stardom with her star turn in the hit psychological thriller Get Out, she proved that she was one of Hollywood’s smartest celebrities in terms of her career choices. To date, she’s the only one of the Girls’ female stars to transition into films, and part of that success is due, in no small part, to her drama training at Yale University, one of America’s oldest and most prestigious Ivy League schools.
13. Actually Is Dumb – Mariah Carey
Before she became a superstar, Mariah Carey didn’t exactly lead a charmed life. After graduating from Huntington High School in Long Island, NY, she struggled to make it big as a singer. Her talent led to landing backup vocal gigs for such artists as Brenda K. Starr, but she still had to contend with a troubled family life, including drama with her mother and her sister. So while we can give Mariah Carey a little bit of a pass, we really can’t excuse some of her behavior that landed her in the category of one of Hollywood’s stupidest celebrities. Her biggest gaffe came when she was shown pictures of starving children in Africa, and she responded, “I mean, I would love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff.” That really wasn’t the point of showing you the photos, Mariah.
12. Only Plays Dumb – James Franco
He may have made a career playing stoners and dude-bros, but James Franco is one of the smartest celebrities in Hollywood today. Despite his seemingly stupid charm, Franco collects degrees like they’re candy — during his time on the cult favorite TV show Freaks and Geeks, he interned at Lockheed Martin, a well-known defense plant. While he lived out in NY, he racked up degrees like nothing else: a degree from NYU for filmmaking, degrees from Columbia University and Brooklyn College for fiction writing, a degree from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina for a low-residency poetry program, and a degree from Yale for comparative literature. This is to say nothing of the UCLA degree he got after Freaks and Geeks was cancelled, and his visiting lecturer positions at UCLA, USC, NYU, and Columbia.
11. Actually Is Dumb – Jenny McCarthy
Hands down, one of the stupidest celebrities in Hollywood today is former Playboy Playmate turned terrible actress Jenny McCarthy. The first cousin of the very-funny Melissa McCarthy seemed to be pretty harmless when she first came into the pop culture zeitgeist, but she quickly proved us all wrong when she pioneered the anti-vaccination movement, a movement that’s been blamed for the increase in previously-eradicated diseases, and a movement which believes in long-debunked science. If that doesn’t make her stupid, nothing does.
10. Only Plays Dumb – Natalie Portman
Her painful dialogue in the Star Wars prequels may have made your hair hurt, and there’s certainly more than enough awful movies to last a lifetime. But the actress born Natalie Herschlag falls into the category of one of the smartest celebrities in Hollywood for good reason: she’s really, really smart. She has a bachelor’s degree from the esteemed Harvard University, and when Natalie Portman won the Academy Award for her role in Black Swan, she became the first Harvard alum to do so. And she didn’t just attend Harvard to be one of the “celebrity” students who graduated in name only, but did work; all of her professors reported that she was an exceptional student. She’s also multilingual — speaking six languages fluently — and her work has been published in two scientific journals.
9. Actually Is Dumb – Lindsay Lohan
God bless Lindsay Lohan — addiction will ravage your life like nothing before or since. But unfortunately, no matter how hard we try to believe otherwise, Lohan has proven she’s one of Hollywood’s stupidest celebrities. It’s a shame, too, because before the drugs took over, Lindsay was a talented and beautiful actress. But now, between the drugs, the erratic behavior, the rumored “call girl” lifestyle, and such ridiculous proclamations as “People go to college to find out who they are as a person… I kind of already know that so it would be like I’d be taking a step back or something,” we really don’t think there’s much hope for her in the future.
8. Only Plays Dumb – Jerry Springer
He’s the king of trash TV, and his catchphrase — “Jerry! Jerry!” — is synonymous with drama and catfights. But despite the collective stupidity of the guests on his show, Jerry Springer is actually one of the smartest celebrities in Hollywood. He studied law extensively, even going so far as to earning a degree in law from Northwestern University in 1967. The next year, he was made a campaign adviser to Robert F. Kennedy, the brother of President John F. Kennedy. In 1974, he made history by becoming one of the youngest people to ever be elected to the city council at the age of 27, and in 1977, he won the Cincinnati mayoral race. He made his career change shortly after he lost the Ohio gubernatorial bid, and subsequently became the Jerry! Jerry! we all know and love to hate today.
7. Actually Is Dumb – Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder has, fortunately for her, enjoyed a career resurgence thanks to her starring turn in the hit Netflix show, Stranger Things, but people forget that, for a long time, Ryder couldn’t get a job in Hollywood to save her life. The reason for her failure, of course, stemmed from her own actions — actions which qualify her to fall in the stupidest celebrities category. In 2001, at a time when she was at the height of her career, Ryder was arrested for shoplifting. This shocked many in Hollywood, and several subsequent arrests proved that she wasn’t exactly the brightest star in Tinsel Town (literally and figuratively). Her criminal record made her uninsurable by many movie houses, and she was soon dropped from many lucrative contracts. Thankfully, Stranger Things came through for her, and she seemed to get her act together. Let’s hope it sticks this time.
6. Only Plays Dumb – John Legend
He was well known in the urban R’n’B world before he made it big in the mainstream with his hit song, “All of Me.” But what most people don’t know is that Academy Award winning musician John Legend is actually one of Hollywood’s smartest celebrities. He was so intelligent growing up that he was offered scholarships to Harvard, Georgetown, and Morehouse College, but he turned them all down to go to the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in English and African-American literature. After graduation, he joined the Boston Consulting Group, which is one of the most prestigious and well-known consulting firms in the world. He stayed there until he got his “big break.”
5. Actually Is Dumb – Mischa Barton
Mischa Barton got her start on The O.C., which was little more than a show about pretty, vapid people living in Orange County, California (which is known the world over for being shallow and vapid). And she has, to date, done nothing to show that she’s not one of Hollywood’s stupidest celebrities. One of her comments that caused a huge backlash was about pretty people, when she said, “Pretty people aren’t as accepted as other people. It comes with all these stigmas.” You poor thing! But the biggest blowback came, rightly, recently, when she posted a photo on her Instagram of her in a bikini and drinking champagne, while making the caption all about police brutality. Yes, Mischa, that’s so sensitive and effective…
4. Only Plays Dumb – Flavor Flav
He’s a former member of Public Enemy who, perhaps, is now best known for his catchphrases — “Yeah, boyyyy!” and “Flavor Flaaaaaav!” — than he is for his music. This is thanks in no small part to his starring turn on Flavor of Love, where 15 women competed for his “love” — Bachelor-style — in the hopes of getting fame, fortune, and the title of Mrs. Flavor Flav. Ironically, the breakout star of the show was Tiffany “New York” Pollard, who lost the competition not once, but twice. In any event, this show made many people believe that Flavor Flav (born William Drayton) was one of the stupidest celebrities, but in actuality, he’s one of the smartest celebrities in Hollywood. He was a musical genius growing up, and can play 15 instruments expertly. What’s more, he learned how to play all of them by ear. Yeah, boyyyyyy!
3. Actually Is Dumb – Alicia Silverstone
We first got to know — and love — her when she played Cher on Clueless. But Alicia Silverstone has the unfortunate distinction of being one of the stupidest celebrities in Hollywood today, thanks in no small part to the “parenting book” she released in 2014. Now, we’re all for natural living and taking good care of your baby, but not if there’s no basis in reality for these ideas. Silverstone claims that veganism cures all diseases (while it leads to a healthier lifestyle, it’s not a cure-all), tampons cause infertility (science has debunked this a long time ago), and that it’s necessary to pre-chew food for your 11-month-0ld child (just…EW!).
2. Only Plays Dumb – Steve Martin
He’s made a name for himself playing impossibly goofy characters, beginning with his star-making turn in the early days of Saturday Night Live. But despite the inanity of his characters, Steve Martin is one of the smartest celebrities in Hollywood. He’s a certified MENSA member, with an IQ of 142, and he even chronicled his journey to get into the respected organization in a critically acclaimed piece for The New Yorker. He graduated from California State University with a degree in philosophy, and he was even considering becoming a professor before he got his big break. Most of all, in addition to his acting work — which has taken a turn towards the dramatic — he’s the author of several critically acclaimed screenplays, novels, and children’s books.
1. Actually Is Dumb – Jennifer Love Hewitt
Jennifer Love Hewitt is a former Party of Five star who made her name being sweet and wholesome. Unfortunately, “sweet and wholesome” also sometimes means “not so bright,” and Hewitt definitely falls into the list of one of Hollywood’s stupidest celebrities. Her interviews are nothing if not an exercise in vapidity, and she’s frequently been called “dumb” on dates. She even wrote a book that featured her name on the cover twice. Oy, Jennifer! But perhaps the dumbest thing she’s ever said is, “I love to take care of people, so I think I’d be a good vet.” Oh, dear.
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