13 Celebrities Who Ditched The Limelight And Went To University

​We look at the celebrities who put their careers on the back-burner to hit the books


Imagine passing Emma Watson in the kitchen of your halls of residence dressed in your pyjamas with a towel turban on your head.

Or buying a round of VKs in your student union only to find you've pushed past Karlie Kloss to get to the bar. 

Well, this face-to-face interaction with a celebrity at university could be a reality for students at Howard University in Washington D.C. as Nick Cannon – a.k.a the American rapper-turned-actor and Mariah Carey's ex-husband – has just enrolled as a freshman (leading many to believe he is living out his 2002 Drumline character Devon Miles' life who gives up a career as a drummer to go to college).


As a result, we've rounded up a list of our favourite actors who swapped their scripts for textbooks and press conferences for group Powerpoint presentations. Lucky them.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

The 10 Things I Hate About You actor enrolled at Columbia University in New York following his sting on 3rd Rock From The Sun.


Natalie Portman

The brainbox actress is a Harvard graduate having majored in Psychology. In fact, the Black Swan star missed the premiere of the 1999 Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace film so she could study for her school exams.

Jodie Foster

Child star-turned-director Foster enrolled at Yale University after school, graduating with a degree in Literature.

Ashley Olsen

One half of the Olsen twins enrolled in NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized study after interning with fashion designer, Zac Posen.

Emma Watson

Following a career in the Harry Potter franchise, the actress studied at Brown University in the U.S, with a year abroad in her hometown of Oxford, before returning to receive a degree in English Literature. Well, she did get 3 As in A-Level English literature, geography and art so it's not a surprise she's such a genius.

Kristen Stewart

ELLE's September Issue cover star enrolled in a UCLA class in 2013 and hopes to pursue a full degree in the future. 


Dakota Fanning

Allowing her sister Elle to takeover Hollywood for the moment, Dakota has been taking a backseat from film to finish her studies at NYU.

Claire Danes

After starring in My So-Called Life and Romeo And Juliet, the Homeland actress took a two year break to study Drama at Yale University.

Karlie Kloss

The supermodel hung up her wings at Victoria's Secrets to enroll in an Independent Study course at NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

Julia Stiles

The Bourne actress attended Columbia University (much like her 10 Things I Hate About You co-star Gordon-Levitt) to study English Literature.

Jack Gleeson

Gleeson (who plays the despicable Game of Thrones character Joffrey Baratheon) gave up acting following his stint in GOT to become a student at Trinity College Dublin.


The Grammy winner studied a course in the history of western civilisation at UCLA in California, hanging her name and wearing caps to disguise her identity. Those hips might have given her away, though. 

James Franco

The Spider-Man actor has studied degrees at Rhode Island School of Design, New York University, Brooklyn College, Columbia University, UCLA, and Yale University. Greedy, much?

So, these stars have brains and beauty. Where did we go wrong?

Read Next: