People Share Their Most Memorable Celebrity Encounters

April 9, 2019 | Henry Gomes

People Share Their Most Memorable Celebrity Encounters

For us normies, meeting a celebrity can be truly unnerving. Are they somehow worse than their bad reputations? Are their bad reputations undeserved? Or are they [gasp] “just like us”? As you’ll see in these real-life celebrity-civilian encounters, meeting a famous person is always a memorable experience.

1. Meeting His Airness

My dad and I bumped into Michael Jordan at a Walgreen's near Chicago. This was back in 2006 or so. We were picking out birthday cards for my mom, and MJ and his son came in the same aisle browsing some cards. My dad kept his cool and continued to look through different cards, giving him his personal space. I, on the other hand, was 9 years old and in awe and staring at him. After MJ picked out his card, he winked at me and gave me a walk-by fist bump. It didn't really set in until I was older how cool that was.

Celebrity Encounters FactsWikipedia

2. A Touching Gesture, Cowboy

I worked at a Barnes & Noble in New York as a clerk, but once or twice I'd be called over to the in-store Starbucks cafe to help out whenever they were understaffed. One time, Alan Rickman came up and ordered something. I can't recall what, but I do remember writing “Hans Gruber” on his cup. He smiled at me when he noticed it.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone FactsGetty Images

3. That’s Kind of Creepy

I was in the horror section in a bookstore in Rhode Island. I picked up a book by Stephen King, and flipped it over and saw his picture on the back (or inside the cover, I don't really remember).

I look up, and in the next aisle over, right across the book shelf from me, is a guy that looks exactly like Stephen King. So I hold up the book and say, “Is this you?”

“Yeah,” he responds.

“Good books.”


And that was that.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

4. You Don’t Pay for Your Drinks at Chuck Norris’ Bar, Chuck Norris Pays for You

My husband was vacationing in Newport, California, killing time in a bar over a burger and a beer. A guy sits next to him and my husband has a nice chat with him. The guy leaves and my husband goes up to close his tab and the bartender tells him it’s been covered by the guy he was talking to. The bartender asked if he knew who he was talking to. My husband had no idea. It was Chuck Norris—and he was the owner of the bar!

Space factsGetty Images

5. Jaws, Raiders, E.T., Random Home Video of Move-in Day

I helped Steven Spielberg move his daughter's bags into her college dorm. I was working a shift helping first-years move in and I see a guy in a hat and sunglasses who is unmistakably Spielberg. I strike up a conversation and ask if he needs help with the bags, etc. He explains, with first names only, “We're from California. My wife, Kate, and I sent all our kids to East Coast schools though.”

Stuff like that. Later, when his daughter opened the door for the first time, he whipped out a camcorder and, wearing the biggest dad grin, recorded the whole thing before turning the camera on my friend and me to ask us about the city. So in a way, I have a supporting, speaking role in a limited release film shot by Steven Spielberg.

Saving Private Ryan factsGetty Images

6. Staying on the Good Side of the Gladiator

I worked at a hotel and Russell Crowe came in the lobby. He went to the house phones and called front desk, where I was working. I could see him pretty easily. I answered the phone and he asked to be connected to a room, so I put him through right away. This wasn't long after he threw a phone at a hotel clerk, so I didn't want to take a chance at ticking him off.

Russell Crowe FactsGetty Images

7. A Tip From Peak Leo

I used to be a server at a Mexican restaurant right outside LA in the late 90s. One day Leonardo DiCaprio came in with who I assume was his mom to have lunch. This would've been post-Titanic, so really at the peak of his breakthrough mega celeb status. He was wearing a ball cap, sunglasses, and was unshaven, but I recognized him anyway.

I didn't let anyone know and I wrote something like, “Your movies are awesome, I hope you liked our food” on his receipt when I dropped it off at the table. After he left, I swung by and picked up his payment and he had left me a note back that said, “Thank you so much for not blowing my cover,” with a $100 tip. Being only 19 at the time, it was really awesome. I went and bought some PlayStation games with it after my shift ended.

Inception FactsGetty Images

8. A Day That was Seized

Robin Williams used to walk around my lonely childhood country town near San Francisco. I saw him once after hearing many rumors about his sightings, not entirely unlike Bigfoot or Nessie sightings. My brain didn’t fully comprehend what it was seeing. But I could tell he was trying his very best to remain incognito and not draw any unwanted attention. We locked eyes. He smiled, I smiled and nodded back, and we both went our separate ways.

Aladdin FactsGetty Images

9. The Plaque Whisperer

This happened yesterday! My wife took my son to the zoo, and he wanted to read every little plaque in the reptile area. My wife was distracted for a moment, so he asked the nearest stranger to read the plaque for him. My wife turned around to see Scarlett Johansson happily reading the information to him.

Cannes 'Match Point' PhotocallGetty Images

10. Hard to Believe that Fitz Would Drop Something

I was sitting at the Genius Bar at an Apple Store one day and a very large man with dreads came and sat next to me. He was bringing his phone in to get fixed, because he dropped it and didn’t have a case. I overheard an employee jokingly say, “You wear a helmet when you play football, shouldn’t your phone have the same protection?”

I knew it was Larry Fitzgerald, but I didn’t want to be a fanboy, so I started asking very broad questions about what he did as a profession to stay engaged in a conversation with him. Larry Fitz is, to this day, one of the nicest, most humble people I have ever met.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

11. Not Recognizing a Popstar? Cry Me A River!

I met Justin Timberlake and had no idea that it was him until someone told me afterward. I had gone to a basketball game with my dad and we stopped by the bar area in the arena first. The game had just started so it was pretty empty except for the bar itself. My dad goes to the restroom and I walk up to the bar to order a beer. There's only one seat at the bar next to a guy in a baseball cap and sunglasses.

I politely ask if the seat is taken and he just says, “Nope, it's all you, man.” We chit chat for a couple of minutes. He's sitting on my right and eventually, he says he and his wife are going to go to their seats. He extends his hand and asks my name. I tell him and ask his name. He says, “Justin. Nice to meet you dude, have a good night.” He and his wife leave and the bartender comes up to me and says, “You know that was Justin Timberlake, right?”

I immediately did a double take and couldn't believe I didn't recognize him even with the hat and sunglasses. I told my girlfriend at the time who was a huge Justin Timberlake fan and she couldn't believe I met him without knowing it was him. She wouldn't let it go for like a month.

Justin Timberlake factsGetty Images

12. When Hogwarts Comes to the Zoo

I was 10 years old in 2002 when my mom took me to the Bronx Zoo for the first time. It was a rainy day so we practically had the whole place to ourselves except for three British kids running around, chaperoned by a woman. My mom quickly befriended the woman while I joined the horde, looking at spiders and scorpions and sharing in the awe and excitement of the animals.

After about an hour when we said our goodbyes, my mother told me that the kid, Daniel, who I had been hanging out with had played Harry Potter in the movie that came out last year! I thought he looked familiar!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone FactsGetty Images

13. Pretending to Forget About Dre

When I was younger with fewer responsibilities I used to just drive around for the hell of it, especially late at night when the streets are empty. My uncle liked doing this too. One night, I asked him if he wanted to meet at American Coney Island. We sat down in a booth. A couple of guys walked in after us and sat down behind us. They were Eminem, Dr. Dre, and a guy I later found out was Jimmy Iovine.

We paid them no attention, but we knew who they were. They finished before us and as they were walking out, Eminem nodded at us and said, “Thanks for not making a big deal about this. We got you.” He and the other guys disappeared around the corner.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

14. Playing it Cool With Steve Rogers

I worked at a movie theater in Albuquerque at the time they were filming the first Avengers film. Captain America was about to come out, I remember because we had the huge standee of him in the lobby. I was reading in the box office when three people came up. The guy asked for three tickets to Bridesmaids. It was dark out and he had a green baseball cap and sunglasses. He paid with a credit card that read “Christopher Evans.” I stared at the card after I swiped it. Handed it back and said, “I need you to sign the receipt.” He did and then he walked in.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

15. An Awkward Situation

I was at a test screening of the movie Valkyrie. My friends and I were near the front of the theater, talking before the movie started, and I went on this big, loud rant about how “normally I like Tom Cruise movies but War of the Worlds was such a piece of crap, one of the worst movies I've ever seen, the plot didn't make sense, they strung a bunch of cool scenes together and put a crummy happy ending on it and called it a day.”

After I wrap up my five-minute rant outlining everything wrong with War of the Worlds, the person sitting behind us tapped me on the shoulder and pointed four seats down in my row to Tom Cruise glaring at me. I gave him the nod and sat there for what might have been the longest 10 minutes before a movie started ever.

Celebrity Name Changed StoryGetty Images

16. Having a Drink With Your Idol

I used to be obsessed with a band called Nickel Creek, but they broke up about 12 years ago. I kept following the three band members on Twitter just to keep up with their new projects. Quite a few years after their breakup, the guitar player tweeted about being in my hometown, opening for another band. I sent a tweet to Sean Watkins and was like, “You’re in my hometown! Awesome!”

I quickly looked online and realized the show was already sold out. So I just resigned myself to not seeing him, and went to bed. Around 10 pm, my phone makes an alert sound, and Sean had tweeted back asking, “Where are you?” I responded, “The show was all sold out! But if you guys are bored after the show and want someone fun to hang with, let me know!”

I don’t even know why I said it. I’m usually way too shy to make jokes like that! He private messaged and let me know what pub they were heading to after the show, and said that I should come hang with them all! So I jumped out of bed, got dressed, and headed in town. We exchanged phone numbers, and he texted me that the rest of the band decided to go somewhere else, but I should still meet up with him so he “wasn’t drinking alone.”

So, I went and hung out with him till the bar closed. I tried to act as calm as possible. It was funny, he was telling me stories about growing up and his story of how he got into music, and I just kept thinking, “Yeah, I already know this from interviews and biographies of you!” I waited almost an hour before I let him know that I was a fan of Nickel Creek.

He said, “I used to be in this band called Nickel Creek,” and I said, “yeah...I know Nickel Creek.” He was like, “You do??? Why didn’t you say anything?” I said, “You seemed like you didn’t want someone just fan-girling all over you. You seemed like you just wanted some chill conversation.” He said, “That’s completely true! The only reason I asked you to hang out was because you seemed so calm and relaxed! When you’ve been touring since you were 10, you don’t always want to deal with crowds and fans. Sometimes I just want to relax and have a quiet drink.”

Needless to say, it was a pretty awesome experience. We continued to text for a couple years, just random messages about him recording new albums, and Merry Christmases and whatnot. But I still stand firm in the idea that “famous” people respond better to people who don’t act like crazy fans. They feel more comfortable connecting with someone who treats them like an old friend instead.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

17. One Word for This Story: “Wow!”

A couple of years ago, my sister and I were at Comic-Con. You tend to see some a lot of famous people there, but it's usually with them in booths with guards and stuff. Anyway, me and my sister were at one of the booths waiting for their giveaways when a man suddenly came up beside me all excited and in a bit of wonder. He told us how great everything was there and how much of an experience it was for him there, all while I was probably looking at him strangely because of how familiar his accent, his voice, his face, and his blonde hair was.

He asked where we got our poster tubes, and that's probably when I remembered who he was but decided to just not mention it because I was kind of still in disbelief and pointed him to one of the far off booths where they sell poster tubes. The man was Owen Wilson. I wasn’t totally sure it was him, because I always thought he'd be a lot taller. It was kind of warming to see how excited he was to be there in the crowds.

Premiere Of Disney And Pixar's 'Cars 3' - ArrivalsGetty Images

18. Protecting the QB

I live near Pittsburgh and Ben “Big Ben” Roethlisberger came through the drive-thru at the McDonalds I worked at. He had a hat on and a bulky jacket, and he was trying really hard to be inconspicuous, so I just let it pass. I told my coworkers later and my manager was like “Oh, you should have said something! We would have had him come in and take a picture with the crew!” And that was the exact reason why I didn’t freak out when I saw him. No one needs that.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

19. The Lookalike Conundrum

One of my best friends’ doppelganger is Ethan Hawke. Like it's scary how much he resembles him, to the point that during those stupid Facebook challenges he just changed his profile picture to him and nobody realized it. Also, his favorite story was that one time at San Diego Comic-Con, he actually confused Rosario Dawson at a hotel bar.

Anyway, one night I'm walking home from work in New York City, and I see who I thought was my friend. He was just walking on a kind of secluded part of 9th Ave. around Hell’s Kitchen, and I yell “JOHN!” He doesn't turn around. So I decided to yell it again, and instead of responding his pace quickens. I decide the best thing to do is to run at him which seemed to terrify him, as keep in mind it's late and there are very few people around. Anyway, I catch up to him and say, “Oh, you're not John” and then walk away from what was a very frightened Ethan Hawke.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

20. A Pretty, Prettay Good Celebrity Interaction

I was a student-athlete in college and was required to volunteer a certain number of hours per year. One of the options was to help freshmen move in. I just finished helping move a kid's stuff and head back to the loading area, and a black SUV pulls up. Out hops Larry David, his ex-wife, and their daughter, who was starting school. I immediately recognized him but played it cool.

He wasn't getting a ton of recognition since I'm guessing not many college students are fans of Curb or Seinfeld. I introduced myself to them all and he introduced himself and said “Hi, I'm Larry,” and mentioned they were from LA. I replied and said, “I used to live in LA, and you look really familiar. Did we meet?” To which he replied, “No, I'm just one of those faces,” and gave me a huge wink.

He was cracking jokes the entire move and introducing himself to everyone just as Larry. Just as funny in person as he is on TV. After finishing the move he was nice enough to take a photo with me. Great guy, and the only major celebrity I've ever met.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

21. Where was Cousin Mose?

My wife and I were on a trip for nine days with Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office) and his family. I know he doesn't like being treated like he's just a character from a television show so I refrained from mentioning it or even letting on that I knew he was a famous actor. One day he had a sandwich with some beetroot in it, turns to his wife and says “These beets are really amazing.” It took every bit of me not to say something about Dwight at that moment. He's a fantastic guy and his family is lovely.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

22. Giving George Lucas Some Space

This is unconfirmed, but I believe that I once encountered George Lucas in a bookstore. A long time ago, before Episode I existed, I was up in the California wine country and was browsing in a shop. All of a sudden, there was a person who looked incredibly like George Lucas! I stood still for a second, trying to figure out whether it was he. He noticed me staring.

This is what makes me believe it was truly Lucas. He immediately tensed up and the look in his eye plainly said, “Oh jeez. Not another geeky fan. I really want to be left in peace today. For once. Oh jeez.” I can identify with people who want to be left alone (especially in bookstores), so I smiled slightly in what I hope was a reassuring manner.

I bent forward and made a show of browsing for books. He was visibly relieved. And I may have received a thank you smile. That’s the story of how I communicated with George Lucas on a silent Force-like level. If it was truly him. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I’d said something like, “Excuse me, do you work here? Where are the Star Wars books located?”

Star Wars FactsWkipedia

23. The Fonz is Always Cool

My father was coming back from work and was walking around a bus that was outside the Port Authority in New York City. As he's coming around, someone else is coming the other way and they bump into each other. My father apologizes and the guy just gives him a smile, letting him know it that it's cool. As he walks away, he looks back again and realizes that it's Henry Winkler! My dad almost knocked down The Fonz on his butt.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

24. He Didn’t Know Who He Was, Gosh Darn It!

I was in the waiting room at physical therapy. Another patient walked in, and without looking up from my reading material, I could tell by how the staff greeted him that he was famous. I looked up, and saw a huge man, with the build of a retired football player, walk towards the workout area. At the end of my appointment, I was in the back room, getting electrical-stimulation on a table.

The guy was on the table across from me. I gave him a friendly hello, and we chatted as he got worked on. The guy who owns the place is a terrible gossip (I don't go there anymore), so I just said on my next appointment, “Hey, there was a guy here at the same time as me last week. I could tell he was famous, but I don't know who he is. He looks like a pro football player.”

He goes, “Oh! You must mean A.C.! Yeah, you remember what he's famous for, right? He was O.J.'s buddy, and was driving the white Bronco in the get-away!” I was just a kid at that time, and didn't give a damn about O.J. and his trial, other than media helicopters circling my school occasionally and messing up my studies. I never watched any of the news about it; I only watched cartoons at the time.

Of course, I'd seen the footage of the car chase since. But honestly didn't really know or care about it. The next time Al Cowlings and I had appointments at the same time he walked in with a huge smile and greeted me. I realized that he thought he'd finally met someone who didn't know his infamous past, and just treated him like a regular dude. I didn't want him to lose that.

So I kept up the facade. I had appointments with him for months. We always greeted each other warmly, and talked about little stuff, like recent sports events, or the weather. He seemed to really take a liking to me. I decided I'd have to keep it up forever, so that he could have 20 minutes a week talking to someone like a regular dude. I saw him every other week for about eight months.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

25. This Guy Smelled What The Rock was Cookin’, But Kept it to Himself

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was at the Gold Coast, Australia to film San Andreas. He came into Surfers’ Paradise where I worked, with a woman and a young child. He was kind of in disguise, as had his head covered and had something partially obscuring his chin. I served them and didn't recognize him at first. The woman handled the talking, and he just kind of hung back quietly.

I looked at him once, and probably wouldn't have given him a second thought, but his eyes widened for that split second (possibly he was wondering if I'd recognized him and was about to cause a scene, it was a packed center) and it just clicked in my head to connect the eyes with the news of The Rock being in town. Once I made the connection, it was totally obvious who he was, and since I was still looking at him, I could tell by now he knew he'd been spotted.

Then I just wished the group enjoy their day and half-smiled at him, and he gave me a nod, and they went about their business. I didn't tell anyone at work, because I didn't want the dude to get swamped when he was trying to spend time with his family. I didn't tell anyone I knew, because it's really not that much of a story. In fact, this is the first I've ever shared this story with anyone.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

26. It’s Not Everyday When the Greatest Walks Into Your Magic Shop

I was working in a magic shop in my 20s and Muhammad Ali came in one day. My boss (huge Ali fan from back in the day) was visibly staggered. I guess Ali was his idol when he was younger. Ali hung around for a couple of hours, we did some tricks for him and he did some for us (pretty good, too, considering his hands trembled and he didn't talk). He was totally beyond cool with us taking some pictures (he pretended to punch my boss in the chin in one of them), and wrote a “Thank you” postcard to us a week or so later. He signed it “Cassius Clay, oops, I mean Muhammad Ali.”

Conor McGregor factsWikimedia Commons

27. Didn’t Expect Machete to Be a Such a Nice Guy

Danny Trejo is a sweetheart. I was visiting my friend who was a doorman at the hotel Trejo was staying at, and he came out on his way to dinner. He stopped to say hi to my friend, and he introduced himself and his wife to me, and took time out to chitchat for a while.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

28. Happy to Work the Convention Circuit

I met Nathan Fillion when I was working a convention a few years back. He seemed legitimately excited to be there, which is not something that can be said for every celeb I've met that way. Many of them serve their fans, but behind the curtains breathe a sigh of relief. Maybe I just caught him on a good day (conventions can wear you down like nothing else), but it stuck with me.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

29. An Encounter with the Zen Master

When I was a kid, I saw Phil Jackson at a small restaurant in Bigfork, Montana. This was in the mid-90s at the height of Bulls-mania and I was a huge Jordan fan so I was shocked when I turned around and looked at this really tall guy in line behind us and realized it was Chicago’s head coach. He was with his family and nobody was bothering him but I went up and awkwardly asked for his autograph.

He was really friendly and said sure. I didn't have anything for him to sign so I got a dollar from my parents and he signed that. He talked with my parents and me for a couple minutes. I don't really remember the specifics but I remember him being really nice. I also remember looking down at his feet. He was wearing Birkenstocks and had super long yellow toenails. But the poor dude was on vacation and probably wasn't expecting to be noticed.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGettyImages

30. Passing Time and Other Things On Set

I met Leslie Nielsen when I was around 12 on a film set some family members worked on. He had, unknown to everyone at the time, a little fart-noise machine in his pocket. Not some stupid little one, but a machine with several different 'types' and duration. When my four siblings and I were around him and a bunch of other adults, he would periodically let the thing rip mid-conversation, and then stay perfectly calm, not leading on.

Only then to give little eyebrow raises and other funny faces to us kids as no one else was looking, putting us in on the joke but leaving the adults all confused and embarrassed. This went on the entire day we were on set, and I could barely keep from peeing myself.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

31. He Didn’t Break His Achy-Breaky Heart

Billy Ray Cyrus is the nicest guy ever. The studio had a policy that you’re never supposed to touch the food that any of the artists order or bring in and you’re especially not supposed to take any home. As I was leaving, he slipped me two huge meat and cheese trays out the door when no one was looking. As an intern trying to make it as an audio engineer that sustained me for almost two weeks.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

32. Hopefully This Person Didn’t End Up On “The List”

This was probably 10 or 11 years ago. I was working behind the scenes at a WWE house show. My job was to find the contest winners and bring them to introduce them to a couple of the bigger stars. My immediate report went to Ricky Steamboat, who was incredible. I had a question for him (don’t remember what it was anymore), but he was standing there talking to Chris Jericho.

Not wanting to be rude, I stood to the side, waiting for their conversation to end before I interrupted. Jericho stopped mid-sentence, looked at me and asked “Are you freakin’ lost?” When Ricky turned around to see who Jericho was talking to, he recognized me and was super pleasant and answered my question. However, Jericho was pissed and thought I was a groupie or something.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

33. Gambling With Kojak Sounds Like a Blast

About 40 years ago, my father was sitting next to Telly Savalas at some Vegas blackjack table. For about an hour, they talked and bet some large amounts of money and my father never let on that he knew the guy was famous. Telly finally says, “It’s pretty cool that you haven't asked for my autograph.” My father responds, “Well, you didn't ask for mine.”

Telly laughs and writes on a cocktail napkin, “Hey Jeff, can I have your autograph?” He carried that damn napkin with him for years.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

34. “Moonstruck” by an Actor

My sister was at an away wrestling match in SoCal when a guy by himself sat next to her and hardly said a thing the whole time, except to cheer for his son. After a while he asked her who she was there to see and she said, without looking at him, that she was there to watch her boyfriend, and as she was going to ask who his son was, she looked at him and saw that it was Nicolas Cage in a ball cap.

She was stunned and couldn't talk, and he smiled and basically read her mind, then pointed out his son with a proud-dad smile. She got very nervous so he asked her if she wanted to take a picture with him, to which she said yes. Being at a public school to proudly watch his son wrestle, this encounter made Nic Cage seem so regular and grounded, Being. I don't understand how she didn't recognize his voice.

Tim Burton FactsGetty Images

35. Sympathy for the Limo Driver

My dad was a limo driver and often chauffeured celebrity clients. One day he got Mick Jagger. Naturally, the limo got mobbed by screaming fans. They were on all sides, pounding on the glass, climbing on the hood. My dad had never dealt with anything like that and started to panic. Mick reached over the seat from the back, patted my dad on the shoulder and said, “It's alright mate. Just slooooowly take your foot off the brake. They'll clear off.” Mick Jagger soothed my dad through a panic attack.

Wildest Concerts In History FactsWikimedia Commons

36. Throwing Away His Shot

After a crazy series of events, I ended up on the other side of the country in New York, sleeping on the street for a chance at Hamilton tickets. Anyway, I was by one of the exits, looking at my phone, when Lin-Manuel Miranda walks out, looking super tired. I didn't want to bother him, but I also didn't want to just not acknowledge my writing idol, so I did a little wave and said “Thanks for everything!” with this big smile.

I think he was relieved that I didn't freak out, so he slowed down and waved back. This was apparently a mistake because my speaking caught someone's attention and they all started screaming and rushing him. He had to sprint for his car while this over-aggressive lady knocked on the window begging him to sign something. If you ever read this, Lin, I'm sorry I got you mobbed. I was trying to do the literal opposite because I think you're rad.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

37. Kline Not So Kind

I was walking down E 42nd St. in Manhattan towards Times Square with my parents, and as I'm walking past Bryant Park, some jerk blows cigarette smoke directly in my face. I figure “Whatever, it's New York City, it happens” and continue on. My mom goes “Did you see who that was?” and I turn around and lo and behold, Kevin Kline blew cigarette smoke right in my face. I'll be damned.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

38. The Great One Not Living Up to His Name

When I was about 12 years old, I was in Toronto for a Maple Leafs game (not a fan, but I'm from the Maritimes so any live NHL game is gold). They were playing the Coyotes and, at the time, Wayne Gretzky was their part owner. Because of this, we decided to eat at Wayne Gretzky's restaurant downtown on the day of the game. While we were waiting for our meal, my friend and I played table top hockey.

I then went to visit the boys’ room and my friend said: “You watch, Wayne Gretzky will show up when you're in the bathroom.” Sure enough, when I finished up there was a buzz in the restaurant and Walter Gretzky (Wayne's dad) was at our table getting pictures with our families. Wayne had walked through and was standing in one of the exits. My friend's dad took us to ask for a picture. Wayne put his phone to his ear, put his hand up in the “one-minute” gesture and left the building. I chose Mario Lemieux as my favorite player of all time after that.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

39. Why Bill, Why?

When William Shatner did his Route 66 tour, he was supposed to stop in my town at our (pretty good sized) historical Route 66 Museum. The town got a big good ol' fashioned Western Oklahoma welcoming committee together, with hotdogs and a bunch of food, and was even showing a Star Trek documentary inside the mini theater.

Hell, someone even made cookies in the shape of the Enterprise! They waited and waited. And then everyone finds out that he already passed Amarillo. Not only did a bunch of geeks get their hearts broken, but this also meant he went on the I-40 interstate (which almost runs along 66 in Oklahoma) instead of using the actual Route 66, which is where the museum is situated.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

40. The Rules Can’t Be Broken, Even for 007

My mom yelled at Pierce Brosnan. She and my dad were at a ski resort getting lunch. My mother gets quite hangry—an unfortunate trait I inherited—and was waiting in line to order. Right as she's about to order a guy tried to cut in front of her and interrupt her. She snapped and told him to go to the back of the line like everyone else. She got her food and went back to my dad sitting there mouth wide open in shock. “Do you know who that was?” my dad asked.


“That was Pierce Brosnan. You just yelled at James Bond!”

“Well, he shouldn't have tried to cut me.”

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

41. New Meaning to Shaqtin’ A Fool

About five years ago my dad was in Los Angeles for business and got into the elevator of his hotel to head down to one of his meetings. When he got in, he instantly recognized a huge, legendary, Hall of Fame LA Laker standing next to him. Normally, my father would never say anything but for some reason felt compelled to introduce himself. He stuck out his hand and said, “Shaq, it's nice to meet ya.” He immediately realized he messed up and the guy responded, “I'm Magic Johnson but it's nice to meet you too.” The secondhand embarrassment is real!

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

42. Disappointing Behavior From a Celebrated Author

I was a bookstore worker for a large chain in a popular city. We did a ton of author signings and talks. Authors are almost universally great. George R.R. Martin was fantastic and really insightful to fan's questions. Stephen King is awesome and stays for everyone. Chuck Palahniuk is great, and really hilarious. Toni Morrison stayed and talked in the coffee shop for hours.

Margaret Atwood knows more about books and sci-fi than literally anyone I've ever met. However, Mitch Albom was something else. He's a colossal jerk to everyone. He openly berated the baristas for his coffee's lack of quality. He sat in this super tight T-shirt and sat with his left arm behind his right to try and push out his biceps and look buffer.

Which is hilarious, because he's maybe 5'6” tall and 130 lbs. He was slimy and gross to every woman in sight from ages 18-45. It was the worst signing ever. Plus, he acted like Tuesdays with Morrie is wisdom on level with the Dalai Lama. My boss actually had to ask him to leave immediately when his scheduled signing was over. His handler/agent was a very nice woman who was clearly sick of his crap. That poor lady.

Celebrity Encounters FactsGetty Images

43. I Don’t Know It’s Just the Way I Am

I was visiting family in Michigan when I met Eminem. I was given a list of food to buy at the grocery store the night before Thanksgiving, so I'm standing there eyeing eggs when I see a guy in a hoodie walk up to the milk. I glance at him, then go on about my egg-buying business. He starts messing around with the milk jugs, so I look at him again and recognize him. I kind of fidgeted for a minute before I asked, "are you who I think you are?" His epic reply? "If I wasn't, then why would I say I am?" We exchanged Happy Thanksgiving wishes and parted ways.

Bizarre Celebrity Encounters factsEarn The Necklace

44. Dafoe’s Got Jokes

I used to live in the East Village about a block from Willem Dafoe. I would see him around the neighborhood a lot, enough times that we would nod to one another in greeting as we passed on the sidewalk. One day I walked into our corner convenience store and I completely spaced about why I came in there. I stood just inside the door trying to remember what I came for when I hear the bell on the door jingle and I turn around and see Willem Dafoe standing behind me.

It was a small store and he thought I was standing in line at the counter so I politely told him to go ahead of me because I have no idea what I needed. He steps in front of me, stops, and says, “Now I can’t remember either.” After a few seconds he snaps his fingers, reaches up on the shelf and pulls down about five packs of condoms and giddily throws them on the clerk’s counter. I told him I just remembered that I only came in for some dishwashing liquid, got it from another shelf and stood behind him to pay. After he pays, on his way out the door he turns around to me and says “It’s gonna be a big night!”

Bizarre Celebrity Encounters factsSlash Film

Sources: Reddit, , ,

More from Factinate

Featured Article

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.

Catherine of Aragon Facts

Tragic Facts About Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s First Wife

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but very few people know her even darker history.
June 7, 2018 Christine Tran

Featured Article

My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.

Dark Family Secrets

Dark Family Secrets Exposed

Nothing stays hidden forever—and these dark family secrets are proof that when the truth comes out, it can range from devastating to utterly chilling.
April 8, 2020 Samantha Henman

More from Factinate

Featured Article

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.

Madame de Pompadour Facts

Entrancing Facts About Madame de Pompadour, France's Most Powerful Mistress

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
December 7, 2018 Kyle Climans

Featured Article

I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.

These People Got Genius Revenges

When someone really pushes our buttons, we'd like to think that we'd hold our head high and turn the other cheek, but revenge is so, so sweet.
April 22, 2020 Scott Mazza

Dear reader,

Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to Thanks for your time!

Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at Thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,

The Factinate team

Want to learn something new every day?

Join thousands of others and start your morning with our Fact Of The Day newsletter.

Thank you!

Error, please try again.