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14+ Celebrities Who Dropped Out Of School

While some celebrities have a surprising amount of degrees, others dropped out of school to pursue their passion.

Whether they finished their educations or took a different path, pop culture wouldn't be the same without any of these celebs. Let's see the ones who had to drop out to get the job done.

Robert Downey Jr.

School was never for RDJ. At 15, his father gave him an ultimatum: go to school every day, or get a job to support himself.

You can guess what happened: he dropped out.

Daniel Radcliffe

Surprisingly, Daniel didn't drop out of school until after the Harry Potter movies were finished.

He left at 17 to focus on his career, but has yet to return. I get the feeling he probably won't, how about you?


Rihanna made a life-changing choice when she dropped out of school at 16. She left to move to America and signed a record deal with Def Jam.

I mean, the rest is history.

Drew Barrymore

This one is no surprise. To be honest, the most surprising thing is that Drew made it to 17 before dropping out. I just assumed she was already too big a star by then to be in school.

Avril Lavigne

Sometimes, things don't have to be complicated — drop out, make music. (I'm sorry for that joke.)

Avril left school at the age of 17 because she landed a record deal. Things worked out for her!

Tracy Morgan

Instagram | @tracymorgan

Tracy Morgan actually said he was glad he dropped out of school and didn't go to college.

"I'm glad I dropped out of high school, man. I wouldn't be where I'm at. I would have had a net. I'm glad I didn't have anything to fall back on, man, because that made me go for my dreams that much harder."

Jennifer Lawrence

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Unlike many celebs, Jennifer Lawrence didn't have to give up school for her job — she dropped out before she was famous.

At 14, JLaw chose to leave school and then pursue her dream of acting. She says she's "self-educated."

Gisele Bündchen

Instagram | @gisele

Gisele dropped out of school pretty early — 14! — to pursue her dream of modelling.

It totally paid off. Gisele didn't stop learning, though, and now speaks 5 languages. What a queen.

Paris Hilton

Okay, so maybe Paris dropping out wasn't exactly voluntary.

After moving to three different schools (all thanks to her dad's job), Paris landed at a boarding school in Connecticut...where she was promptly expelled.


Unlike the others, Jay-Z didn't drop out of school to focus on his entertainment career.

Instead, he dropped out to deal drugs. That eventually led him to music and entrepreneurship, and now he's a billionaire.

Keanu Reeves

Instagram | @aliwong

Keanu Reeves dropped out for a heartbreaking reason: he didn't fit in.

"I had conflicts and run-ins with the staff. The principal and I didn't see eye to eye," he said.

Harry Styles

This isn't much of a surprise. Harry Styles dropped out of school at 16 to audition for The X-Factor.

After hitting it big in One Direction, he never went back.

Tom Cruise

So, get this: before he found acting, Tom Cruise was planning to be a priest.

Doesn't that somehow make total sense? He eventually dropped out to pursue acting, of course, but now I'm going to wonder what the world would be like if Tom Cruise was a priest.

Hilary Swank

Instagram | @hilaryswank

Hilary is not a proud high school dropout.

"I’m not proud that that’s something that happened, but it happened. I think school is really, really important and we have an education problem in this country and it’s a shame," she said.

Walt Disney

Yeah, even Walt himself dropped out of school.

He left at 16 to join the army, but was too young to enlist. He joined the Red Cross instead, and then later went on to...well, become the Walt Disney.