WTF Secret Lives Your Favorite Celebs Keep Under The Radar
Wherever you're reading this, look around you. Assuming you're not in the bathroom, the people surrounding you all have secret lives you may never know about. And that's not just the case for random schlubs, either. For celebrities, keeping closeted passions out of the limelight can be difficult.
In honor of season 2 of Impastor, TV Land's dark comedy about a con man posing as a man of God, which premieres Sept. 28 at 10:30/9:30c, Cracked rifled through famous people's darkest secrets to find out what kind of alternative lives they've been living under the radar ...
Snoop Dogg Is A Licensed Football Coach Who Operates A Charity Youth League
Snoop Dogg is famous for his string of hip-hop hits, his past run-ins with the law, and, of course, his pioneering use of words ending in "izzle." Combine that with his public fondness of recreational herbs, and it's almost impossible to not see him as the celebrity version of the stereotypical slacker roommate ... which is why the way he really spends his time outside of music is all the more surprising.
Snoop is a licensed football coach who started coaching his son's team, Rowland Heights Raiders, in 2003 and hasn't looked back. Currently, the man is the head coach of the Diamond Valley Steelers, formerly a "ragtag group of 12-year-olds" whom he has turned into one of the better youth teams in the country. What's more, Snoop is way more involved in his mentor role than the usual coach-and-team dynamic requires; he routinely sits down with the kids, talking about their personal lives, grades, and bullying. The evidently emphatic and effective Coach Snoop is so far removed from the cool-and-dangerous image of Snoop Dogg, he has made a point of never, ever rapping to his players. If one of them makes the mistake of even calling him Snoop Dogg, it's push-up time.
But wait, it gets even better. Where some people would consider living out the plot of an inspirational 1990s sports movie a pretty great achievement, Coach Snoop has taken things even further by setting up an entire league for youth teams just like his. Snoop Youth Football League currently hosts 19 teams. The league is entirely nonprofit, and its sole aim is to give inner-city children a healthy environment regardless of race, creed, or economic background.
It looks like this is not just some passing fad like that time he released a reggae album, either. Snoop Youth Football League had its inaugural season in 2005. The Dogg himself describes the venture as a way to teach the kids discipline, self-respect, and teamwork, and he has even said that it's his true calling -- that whole pesky "music" thing is just a means to an end.
Justin Bieber Is An Amazing Hockey Player
Thanks to the nature of his fame, his millionaire status, and pretty much every headline ever written about him, it's easy and tempting to write Justin Bieber off as a frail and simple man-baby who desperately flexes his nonexistent tough-guy muscles at the world.
That is, unless you're Matt O'Dette, coach of the ECHL ice hockey team the Bakersfield Condors. O'Dette has seen Bieber play hockey, and what he saw was enough for him to offer the then-18-year-old pop star a tryout contract for the 2012-2013 season.
Unfortunately, the Maple Leafs got there first.
It's easy to assume that O'Dette's comments and the contract offer come with copious amounts of salt and rampant air quotes, but the guy's enthusiasm about Hockey-Bieber goes well above and beyond the usual publicity stunt. Having seen video material of Bieber in action, O'Dette rants and raves about the pop star's extraordinary blend of skill, toughness, and shot technique. He even compares Bieber's talents to those of Mike Ribeiro, a renowned center who has been playing in the NHL since 1998.
As absurd as this all sounds, it's good to remember that Bieber is Canadian, and thus has hockey flowing in his veins by birthright. He has played from a pretty young age and very much continues to do so, despite his superstar status.
As evidenced by this pic from last Tuesday.
Man, add that to the fact that Bieber can solve a Rubik's Cube in 83 seconds and is a masterful multi-instrumentalist, and you might even start thinking that the most famous young pop "talent" in the world actually has, you know, talent.
Viggo Mortensen Is The Leonardo Da Vinci Of Indie Art
If you're really good at reading between the lines, you might be able to read Viggo Mortensen's true passions from the roles he chooses. While Aragorn from The Lord Of The Rings, Man from The Road, and his characters in various David Cronenberg movies tend to be charismatic and hard men, they also share the theme of an outsider-type who nevertheless has gifts and talents that allow him to rise above the rest.
That same theme applies to the actor himself: During his off hours, Mortensen embodies the "genius indie multi-talent" trope so hard that passing struggling artists presumably get sucked into his singularity. Viggo Mortensen is what that annoying screenplay writer hogging the best table in your local Starbucks dreams to become when they grow up: He speaks six languages. He's a photographer. He makes records. He paints and writes poetry. All while being one of the world's most esteemed movie actors.
Turns out "Hipster Strider" is a surprisingly solid career move.
At the time of this writing, Mortensen's body of non-movie-related artistry includes around 17 books (mostly various combinations of paintings, photography, and poetry) and 17 music albums. Sometimes his interests also bleed into his movies. He performed and co-composed a song for The Return Of The King, because of course he did. In A Perfect Murder, he played a painter and many of the character's works were his.
Shockingly, he was a bad guy.
Despite his insane prolificness, Mortensen's not hogging all the indie-artist glory for himself. In 2002, fresh off the financial stability brought on by the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, he founded Perceval Press, a publishing house aimed specifically to work with interesting artists and writers whose style would likely be rejected by traditional publishers. While we have no firm idea of the quality of their output, the fact that the site's front page has a "Duck of the day" feature puts Perceval Press firmly in our good books.
Rosario Dawson Is A Huge Star Trek Geek
Rosario Dawson's acting chops are many and varied, but her on-screen presence can best be filed under "badass." She's equally commanding when she's verbally smacking down superheroes in Daredevil and Jessica Jones or gunning down bad guys in Sin City. If they remade Aliens today and cast her as Vasquez, the aliens would flee for the next solar system within minutes. And then she would turn in her battle gear, change to her favorite sweatpants, and spend the rest of the day geeking out on Star Trek and practicing her Vulcan nerve pinch on a teddy bear.
What we're saying is that Rosario Dawson is a huge Trekkie. Like so many passionate geeks, she's not particularly shy about her object of affection either; as this poor MTV interviewer finds out, mentioning the words "Star" and "Trek" can and absolutely will derail a casual movie promotion interview with Dawson into a two-and-a-half-minute monologue about the enticing nature of the Star Trek universe, the varying quality of the movies, and the fact that the second someone invents a proper holodeck you'll never see her again.
Look at her face. We've never been that exited about anything.
Dawson's Trekkie nature has inevitably led to some interesting situations when she's met people actually involved with the franchise, especially as her particular geek flavor is of the "gotta play it cool when meeting your idols" variety. She ran a Twitter petition about getting a role -- any role, though she would have preferred a sexy Vulcan -- in Star Trek: Into Darkness, but when she actually ran into J.J. Abrams on a flight, she ended up choking and discussed politics and T-shirts instead. When she did a movie with Chris "Captain Kirk" Pine, she kept completely mum until Pine found out about her Trekkie-ness during the press tour. At which point she geeked the hell out on him.
Oh, and of course Rosario Dawson also speaks Klingon:
Sure, she claims that she knows only a few words, But come on -- anyone who's comfortable enough with their Klingon to bust it out live on an episode of Conan totally owns several copies of The Klingon Hamlet and keeps a bat'leth by their bedside "just in case." Which, now that we think of it, would only make Rosario Dawson more awesome.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson Is An Award-Winning Ballroom Dancer (And Almost Joined An Exotic-Dance Troupe)
Neil deGrasse Tyson is many things: famed astrophysicist, popular TV presenter, noted educator, and confounder of the flat-Earth-truther movement. These are all par for the course in his role as the patron saint of science nerds everywhere. Less in line with said role: his past as an expert dancer. Here he is in all his leotardy glory, at the center of his team in the 1980s:
Note how every other guy in the picture instinctively fades into the background, but he looms.
Like every young man, Tyson was keenly interested in what his body could do. However, unlike the rest of us who mostly opted to do this in the safety of solitude, he was willing to do it in front of an audience. By his own admission, Tyson was already strong and flexible. He saw dancing as the next level of body control and embraced the gracefulness and careful muscle control it requires with "almost an academic curiosity." This eventually paid off big-time; Tyson's University of Texas team was good enough to take home the gold medal in Latin ballroom at a 1985 national tournament. Why Bill Nye was chosen for Dancing With The Stars despite the science community having a bona fide ballroom dancer, we'll never know.
Somehow, the story of Neil deGrasse Tyson the dancer manages to get even better: Our favorite astrophysicist was once very, very close to joining a Chippendales-style exotic dance troupe. If you have trouble with that mental image, keep in mind that this was young Neil deGrasse Tyson:
Ultimately, Tyson backed out at the last minute when he found out that the show would have required him to wear an asbestos thong and set it aflame while dancing to Great Balls Of Fire. And while that's a sensible decision and all, we can't shake the mental image that in some alternate universe a version of Neil deGrasse Tyson really, really got into exotic dancing and is hanging upside-down from a pole somewhere even today.
Danica McKellar Is A Math Guru
The life of a former child star emerging into adulthood tends to follow a prefixed route: a rebellious phase that screams "I'm not a child anymore" to the world; a short, possibly scandal-tainted honeymoon with the public and media; and a slow descent into relative obscurity. And then there is Danica McKellar, better known as Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years, who ignored all that jazz completely. Not only has she been getting steady (if slightly more low-profile) work as a TV and voice actor since her hit show went to the sitcom graveyard, but she has also carved out for herself the least-likely side career in former-child-star history: She is a UCLA-graduated mathematics genius.
Seen here in her natural environment.
What makes it even more impressive is that she didn't even really mean to do this. She enrolled with the intention to major in film but soon got fed up with constantly being recognized as Winnie, so she started taking math classes to prevent her head from turning to mush. (Incidentally, math class had the exact opposite effect on us.) She turned out to be really good with numbers. One day, a dude tapped her on the shoulder and finished his "Hey, aren't you the girl ..." question not with "... from TV?" but with "... who got the highest score on the midterm?" That, for her, was the point of no return. She went on to number crunch so hard, she was part of a group that has a theorem about temperature for a mathematical model of magnetic material informally named after them. She has also written several math books aimed specifically at girls in an effort to promote the fact that it's OK for women to be whatever they want to be, prejudices be damned. For millions of little boys whose first crush was Winnie Cooper, there's no greater satisfaction than knowing she somehow went on to be even more perfect years after the show.
Jeremy Renner Is The Hawkeye Of Aesthetics
Most actors are very different from the characters they play once the cameras stop rolling. Others, like Mayim Bialik (who has a PhD in neuroscience just like her character in The Big Bang Theory) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (who is secretly a murderous robot from the future, just like his character in Jingle All The Way), share surprising similarities with their most famous roles. But only Jeremy Renner manages to simultaneously be exactly like and the complete opposite of his most famous role. Like Clint "Hawkeye" Barton, the real-life Renner has an eye so keen, it's bordering on a superpower. Unlike his Avengers character, however, Renner's sharp eye powers are focused entirely on making things pretty.
"I tried to pitch that one to Kevin Feige once. He still hasn't stopped laughing."
You see, Jeremy Renner -- the man we associate with badass roles like Hawkeye, The Town's Jem Coughlin, Staff Sgt. James from The Hurt Locker, and understudy Jason Bourne from The Bourne Legacy -- is a tried and tested makeup artist. This was his "embarrassing thing that I had to do before I made it" job, only he's not the slightest bit embarrassed about it; on the contrary, he remembers it fondly as a great gig and has retained his skills to the point that he could give you smoky eye at a moment's notice.
Of course, Renner is now a multi-millionaire who doesn't have to touch a damn makeup brush ever again. That's not to say he's letting his powers rest on their laurels, though -- if anything, he has Hulked them right the hell up. These days, he's known as an amazing house renovator that can flip houses for insane profit. This is not just a "Oooh, let's paint the walls and see if we can raise an extra $10,000" thing: Over the years, Renner and his business partner have bought, painstakingly renovated, and sold around 20 houses, and their profit per house appears to be pretty massive. Their most lucrative flip so far was an L.A. mansion that they bought for $7 million. In 2013, it sold for close to $25 million.
"See, this is why it doesn't bother me that Downey earns eight figures per Marvel film
and I get paid in used sticks of chewing gum."
Sure, Renner's not the only celebrity doing this; Vanilla Ice is experiencing a second coming in the house-flipping industry. But Renner is certainly one of the only people who's wrestling plumbing plans and interior decoration to the tune of millions of dollars while being a super bankable A-list movie star. Let's see Iron Man do that.