Leonardo DiCaprio is arguably one of the most famous men in Hollywood. He’s been a fixture in TV and movies since he was just a child, and over time he has developed a truly favorable reputation amongst male and female fans alike. Let’s call it like it is: men want to be him; women want to be with him.
We know a lot of the basics about Leo without even trying: his career started when he was very young. He was the mega star in movies like Titantic, The Great Gatsby, Romeo & Juliet, Shutter Island, The Wolf of Wall Street, and many more. He starred in the then-popular Growing Pains TV series. He was a complete teen heartthrob (and continues to be a heartthrob today, at age 40). He has dated some incredibly beautiful, and often super famous, women. He’s never won an Oscar.
Leo is constantly in the spotlight, so many who follow his career might feel as though they know almost everything there is to know about him. But, there are many surprising facts about Leo that even the biggest fan might not be aware of. For instance, when thinking of bilingual actors and actresses, a name that might immediately come to mind is someone like Sofia Vergara. But, many don’t realize that Leonardo is bilingual, too. He is fluent in German, thanks to his mother, who was born in the country.
Here are 11 shocking things you didn’t know about Leonardo DiCaprio.
11 He’s Never Done Drugs
That’s right – he’s never done drugs! He confessed this to the Los Angeles Times around the time the film The Wolf of Wall Street came out. He talked about growing up “very poor” and how his upbringing ultimately helped him to resist the urge to do drugs amidst his peers in Hollywood.
According to Leo, he was around drugs growing up every day when he was around 3 or 4, and so that temptation just wasn’t there for him once he got older. For his role in The Wolf of Wall Street, which involved his character doing quite a bit of drugs, Leo said he and co-star Jonah Hill consulted an on-set drug expert. They also spent a lot of time studying the YouTube video, “The Drunkest Guy in the World.”
10 He Has A Daughter
Well, sort of. While filming the movie Blood Diamond, Leo worked with 24 orphaned children from the SOS Children’s Village in Maputo, Mozambique. The orphanage is home to children who are without caretakers as a result of war, poverty, and disease - some of the problems that have plagued the country for years. Leo was said to have been very moved by his time spent with them. There was one little girl he made a close connection with, and because his memories made with her were so adored, he decided to officially stay in touch with her.
He “adopted” her, according to reports. However, Leo doesn’t actually raise her or live with her. Regardless, he sends her money each month for living expenses and food, and is said to call her regularly to stay in touch.
9 He Used To Be Really Cheap
During his younger and wild drinking days, Leo was apparently known across the bar scene for being very cheap. It’s said he was well known for not tipping in any of the bars or clubs he frequented. While he’s certainly not cheap by those standards these days, he is definitely frugal with his spending (in a smart way). For instance, rather than splurging on expensive cars, he owns one vehicle: a Toyota Prius.
Unlike others of his level of fame and wealth, he consistently chooses to fly commercial instead of having a private jet, to both save money and protect the environment from unnecessary emissions. He is now, however, extremely generous when it comes to donating, and is known to be one of the top charitable givers in Hollywood, regularly supporting a number of environmental causes, and other causes dear to him as well.
8 He Has His Own Line of Fair Trade Coffee
Building on his love for environmental causes, Leo opted to collaborate with the national coffee roaster, La Colombre Torrefaction, in a charitable alliance. Together, they created a “high-end” fair trade coffee line called LYON. With the alliance, 100 per cent of the profits are donated to environmental charities that Leo and his foundation – the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation – support.
According to La Colombre Torrefaction, the coffee is described as “velvety, nectar-like and sweet” and is made by blending sourced and sustainably-grown coffees from the mountains of Haiti, Peru, Ethiopia and Brazil. In a press release from the company following the coffee line’s release, Leo talked about how important this project is to him, noting, “raising awareness on the most pressing environmental issues of our time is more important than ever.”
7 He And Mark Wahlberg Used To Hate Each Other
In a 2013 Hollywood Reporter interview, Leonardo’s The Basketball Diaries co-star, Mark Wahlberg, revealed that the two actors hated each other at the time they were both cast in the movie in 1995. According to the interview, Leo found out they were considering Mark for the role, and said he didn’t want “Marky Mark” to star along side him. Mark admits he wasn’t really fond of Leo either. But, it didn’t take long before they were working really well together for the film.
Mark went on to tell The Hollywood Reporter, “so I come in and I do the audition and I kind of look at him and he kind of looks at me, and then we do a scene, and they’re like, ‘Hmm, this f--king dude’s pretty good, right?’” And, there you have it – beef immediately squashed.
6 Near Death Experience With A Shark
In 2006, Leo was on a diving expedition in Cape Town, South Africa, and ended up coming face-to-face with the worst nightmare imaginable – a Great White shark. He later recapped the story on The Ellen DeGeneres Show saying the shark had gone after a tuna and somehow ended up lodged halfway into the cage Leo was in under water. He said his first reaction was to quickly move to the bottom of the cage. Though the shark took a few chomps at him, Leo was able to keep enough distance, and made it out without a scratch.
Now he says he is forever terrified of sharks. In addition to that near-death experience, Leo also almost died once while skydiving. His parachute wouldn’t open and luckily an instructor was close enough to save him.
5 He Speaks Fluent German
Leo’s mother was born in Germany, and her heritage has always been extremely important to her. For that reason, she taught her son to speak her native German language early on in life. His parents were divorced when he was very young, so he grew up mostly with his mother and German grandmother.
Leo and his mother are very close. In fact, she’s often seen on the red carpet alongside him. Their ongoing closeness combined with his upbringing have made the language an important part of who he is.
4 He Almost Changed His Named To Lenny Williams
At age 10, Leonardo’s agent advised him to change his name to Lenny Williams in a move to improve his appeal for getting roles. The agent thought his name sounded too ethnic. In fact, the agent refused to sign Leo until he went along with the name change idea.
However, Leo continually refused the plea. He later tried to get representation by the agent and was finally accepted using his real name, as he’d wanted all along. Before he knew it, the “ethnic” name was taking him places, and he landed his role on the hit TV show, Growing Pains. And now – really – what would the world be without “Leonardo DiCaprio”?
3 He Is Extremely Charitable
As was already mentioned, Leo loves giving back. And, what’s more, he’s got a wide range of causes he’s passionate about helping to fund. In 2013 alone, Leo gave and raised millions for various causes. He held an auction selling important pieces of artwork that raised $31.7 million for global charity initiatives. He also donated $61,000 to support gay rights, and he donated $3 million to saving tigers in Nepal.
That’s really the tip of the iceberg. He continuously donates to the tiger cause, has given $3 million in support of saving ocean wildlife, and – together with Kate Winslet – even helped pay nursing home fees for the last living survivor of the Titanic. And, these are just a few of the things he’s done.
2 He Was Once Part Of “The Pussy Posse”
When Leo was a young Hollywood star fresh off gaining Titanic fame, he was known to frequent the bar scene. He started regularly hanging out with the same group of guys when he went out, and they soon became known as “The Pussy Posse.” The group included Tobey Maguire, Harmony Korine, David Blaine and a few others. They would go out partying and look for women.
The antics of the group became so well known across New York City that New York Magazine ended up profiling the shenanigans in a 1998 profile article called, “Leo, Prince of the City.” A source in the article noted the group was, “all about seeing the girls.” Leo insists, however, that the partying with his crew never went beyond alcohol consumption, and sticks to his confession of never having done drugs of any sort.
1 He Has Never Been Married
Leo has dated so many beautiful women throughout his career, but has never once married. Perhaps he doesn’t want the title, or maybe he’s too career-focused, or possibly he simply enjoys being able to date around without the “end-all be-all” commitment. Since his first days in the limelight, Leo has dated everyone from Demi Moore and Blake Lively, to Naomi Campbell and Miranda Kerr (allegedly). He really is quite the ladies man!
Recent reports claim Leo proposed to his current model girlfriend, Kelly Rohrbach. However, nothing has been confirmed by the actor at this point. Perhaps one day Leo will be able to lock down the only two things he’s seemingly been missing in his life to date – a wife and a well-deserved Oscar.