While many celebrities are known for their generosity, doing things like giving $500 tips to waiters, granting wishes for sick children and signing every last autograph at a premier, some are rarely open about being involved with their fans. While it doesn’t make the act any less kind, when celebrities Tweet or share photos of themselves doing good, sometimes the public questions their sincerity. They say the highest form of charity is to give anonymously. So, there are many celebrities who go through great lengths to keep their generosity a secret. A recent example of this is actress Amy Adams, who gave up her first class seat on a flight for a veteran. Adams was almost able to keep this under wraps, but a reporter who happened to be on the plane tweeted the story.
In order to commemorate this incident, here are ten acts of kindness performed by celebrities and ones that they were almost able to keep a secret. Many of the names and acts will surprise you, almost as much as the beneficiaries were.
10. Jamie Kennedy
In May 2014, Jamie Kennedy finished a stand-up set at the Houston Improv to a standing ovation. He went out for drinks afterwards and when he left the bar, a friend took a picture of him standing outside on the street. The moment the shot was being taken, an out of control car that had become airborne, hit the curb. The car was smoking, but that didn’t stop Kennedy from helping to pull out two women who were bleeding. By the time the ambulance arrived, Kennedy had left the scene. Kennedy’s identity was almost never revealed, but photos and a video were leaked to the paparazzi. Both women escaped with only minor injuries.
9. Keanu Reeves
Most Hollywood stars ask for more money with every project, although there are some exceptions, one of them being Keanu Reeves. Reeves asked for $75 million of his salary from The Matrix sequels to be reallocated to the Special FX team. He also bought Harley Davidson motorcycles for the entire stunt crew. That’s practically even cooler than when Oprah gave a new car to every member of her audience. There is even an entire Reddit forum dedicated to Reeves’ acts of kindness, from helping out friends in need financially, to pulling over on the side of the road to help a woman start her car and then drive her home, fifty miles out of his way.
8. Alec Baldwin
“Alec Baldwin” and “nice guy” are usually not part of the same sentence. Baldwin is more known for being a nightmare on airplanes, mean to his children and difficult to everyone everywhere. However, most people don’t know that Baldwin has done some incredibly kind things for others. A few years ago, Baldwin read the story of a young female solider, Resha Kane, in the New York Times. Kane came from a poor family and joined the army to further her education. Baldwin was so touched, he personally called Kane’s mother and offered to pay for the portion of her college tuition not covered by the military. Baldwin has also silently supported many other charities, proving that his heart might be larger than his mouth, including establishing a $1 million scholarship fund for the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU.
7. Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen is Hollywood’s ultimate bad boy, but what you might not realize is that he has a good heart. Sheen has donated over $1 million to the USO and pledged to give them 1% of the profits from his show, Anger Management. He also donated $75,000 to a girl who was suffering from a rare form of cancer called Childhood Rhabdomyosarcoma. Sheen learned about the girl’s story when he met her father, who is of all things, a cop on Hermosa Beach. And no, he wasn’t trying to arrest Charlie when they met. Sheen told him no parent should have to go through the pain of having a child with cancer, so he wrote a check and started a fund in the little girl’s honor.
In 2010, rapper T.I. saved a man’s life by talking him down from the roof of a high rise building in Atlanta, Georgia, where he was about to commit suicide. According to a police officer on the scene, T.I. was able to convince the man that, “life isn’t that bad.” In 2008, the rapper spent nine months in prison and at the time of the incident, was on the verge of having his probation revoked, so he most certainly related to the suicidal man’s struggle.
5. Russell Brand
Russell Brand has touched the lives of many people, and not just through his stand-up comedy and films. Recently, Brand founded a non-profit rehab for homeless youth with 100 beds, called Freehab. The center, as the name suggests, is entirely free. He is also known to spend time with, and be helpful to many of the homeless addicts on Skid Row in Los Angeles. Brand takes them to dinner, buys them clothes and takes them to the 12 step recovery meetings that he himself attends. While many celebs help most needy people by writing checks, Brand truly goes above and beyond.
4. Paul Walker
The late Paul Walker kept one huge act of generosity a secret until his death. He anonymously bought an engagement ring for an Iraq war veteran. In 2004, Kyle Upham and his fiancée, Kristin, were looking at rings in a Santa Barbara, California jewelry store. Upham couldn’t afford his future bride’s dream diamond, which cost $10,000. After overhearing the couple, Walker told the manager to put the ring on his tab and walked out of the store. The couple was completely taken aback by this stranger’s generosity, but when they asked who paid for it, the sales associate said it was an anonymous gift. The sales clerk kept the story a secret until after Walker’s death because she wanted everyone to know what a great guy he was.
3. Zach Galifianakis
Before Zach Galifianakis was a huge star, he was a struggling LA actor who did his laundry at the laundromat, just like everyone else. Between fluffing and folding, Galifianakis befriended an older lady, Elizabeth “Mimi” Haist, who worked there. Several years ago, he found out that the now 88-year-old woman was homeless, so he started paying her rent and utilities. He often takes Mimi to his movie premieres as his date. In true Hollywood style, she is picked up and dropped off in a limousine. If Zach is not in town to attend his premieres, Mimi goes in his place and brings a friend.
2. Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal is a super hero. Not just in his movies, but also in real life, when he saved several people from the evil meter maids of Beverly Hills. A few years ago, while out shopping in the upscale area, Gyllenhaal noticed several cars with meters that were about to expire. He might not have saved lives, but he definitely saved several strangers paying hefty fines. He would have been able to keep this small act of kindness a secret, had it not been for the paparazzi that caught him in the act. The most surprising thing about this story is that Jake Gyllenhaal actually had change on him because the parking meters in Beverly Hills also accept credit cards. Seriously, who still carries change for parking meters?
1. Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp isn’t only one of the world’s hottest actors; he’s also a hero. There is a laundry list of almost under the radar acts of kindness he’s performed, from saving a horse from being put down on the set of Sleepy Hollow; to getting homeless people gigs as extras on his sets. One of his bravest acts was when he saved the life of British musician, Stephen Jones from a mugger with a broken bottle. Upon being approached, Depp told the mugger to “back off.” When he realized he was about to rob one of the biggest superstars in the world, he said, “I ain’t stealing from Captain Jack.” In a huge twist, Depp gave the mugger some cash and told him to straighten up his life.
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