18 Celebrities Who Are Secretly Total Nerds & Way Smarter Than You Ever Realized

RIMINI, ITALY - APRIL 16: Kesha attends Calzedonia Summer Show Forever Together on April 16, 2013 in Rimini, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Calzedonia)
Source: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

It takes a certain amount of smarts to make it in Hollywood, but you might be surprised to learn that these celebrities know way more than how to climb the ranks in the industry. These famous folks are surprisingly smart — albeit in very different ways. Some of these celebrities have off-the-charts IQs, while others have impressive college degrees or former prodigy status. So which secret celebrity nerds slipped under your radar? Click through to find out. 

Kesha

Kesha may sing about wild parties and macking on dudes with beards, but that’s not the only stuff she knows about. 

Kesha

Kesha scored a 1500 on her SATs but dropped out of high school just shy of graduation to pursue her pop dreams. But that doesn’t mean she had no interest in learning. According to her interview with Seventeen Magazine, she would often go to a local college and take classes “just for fun.” 

JWoww

JWoww may be a Jersey Shore princess, but she’s also a college grad. 

JWoww

Before she was getting wasted with BFF Snooki on Jersey Shore, the reality star was earning her bachelor’s degree from NYIT in graphic design and computer programming. 

Flavor Flav

The rapper and star of reality show Flavor Of Love idiotic antics hide the fact that he’s a musical genius. 

Flavor Flav

Yep, you read that right: musical genius. Flavor Flav was reportedly a child prodigy who taught himself how to play a variety of instruments, from piano to trombone. 

Shakira

Shakira can move like this and is also insanely smart? The world is not fair. 

Shakira

According to Mensa International, Shakira has an IQ of 140, making her a genius by their standards. She’s also fluent in four languages. 

Cindy Crawford

Crawford’s life could have gone very differently had she not pursued modeling. 

Cindy Crawford

Crawford earned a scholarship to Northwestern University to study chemical engineering, but dropped out to model during her freshman year. 

Jerry Springer

The host of the trainwreck daytime talk show didn’t start a career by telling people who their real fathers were. 

Jerry Springer

According to Cracked, Springer was a smart politician who worked for Robert F. Kennedy immediately after graduation from Northwestern University and was elected to Cincinnati council when he was just 27 years old. 

Sylvester Stallone

The Rocky star is equal parts brain and brawn. 

Sylvester Stallone

Stallone reportedly has an IQ of 160 and is constantly ranked as one of the smartest men in Hollywood. 

James Woods

The Once Upon A Time In America actor attended one of the most prestigious universities in the world. 

James Woods

Woods majored in political science at MIT before dropping out to pursue an acting career. 

Lisa Kudrow

She may be famous for playing Phoebe on Friends, but if things went a little differently she might have become a scientist. 

Lisa Kudrow

Kudrow studied biology at Vassar before realizing that she was more interested in comedy than science. 

Ken Jeong

You’ll never believe what this Hangover star was doing before landing his breakout role in the comedy. 

Ken Jeong

Jeong was a doctor of internal medicine who did comedy on the side. It wasn’t until he landed the part of Mr. Chow that he decided to pursue his hobby full-time. 

James Franco

I don’t need to tell you that Franco is one of the busiest actors in Hollywood, but you might be surprised to learn just how much of his time is spent pursuing academia. 

James Franco

Franco has studied at UCLA, NYU, Columbia University, Brooklyn College, and the Rhode Island School of Design. He was recently accepted into Yale University’s English program. 

Weird Al Yankovic

The singer doesn’t just craft ridiculous parodies. 

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al was valedictorian of his high school class and graduated two years earlier than he was supposed to. 

Matt Damon

The Bourne Identity actor is more than just an action star. 

Matt Damon

Damon attended Harvard University and started the Academy Award-winning script for Good Will Hunting in one of his playwriting courses. 

Mira Sorvino

The Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion star also attended the Ivy League school. 

Mira Sorvino

Sorvino graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Chinese. She speaks fluent Mandarin. 

Rashida Jones

And, of course, we can’t forget about this Harvard alum. 

Rashida Jones

The Parks and Recreation star studied religion and philosophy at the Ivy League school. 

Kate Beckinsale

Before she was the star of the Underworld films, she was a student at this prestigious institution. 

Kate Beckinsale

Beckinsale attended Oxford University before dropping out to pursue her acting career. 

Sharon Stone

The Basic Instinct actress isn’t a member of Mensa, but she is smart enough to qualify. 

Sharon Stone

Nolan Gould

He plays the not-so-bright Luke on Modern Family, but offscreen the child actor is insanely smart. 

Nolan Gould

The actor is a Mensa member with an IQ of 150. He graduated from high school at age 13. We can’t say the same for Luke.