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10+ Interesting Facts About Jake Gyllenhaal Fans Didn't Know

Jake Gyllenhaal is most known for his roles in Donnie Darko, Brokeback Mountain, and Zodiac.

He's generated fanfare in his personal life as well due to his many high-profile relationships, like the one he had with Taylor Swift.

But beyond that, there's a lot you probably don't know a lot about the star. These 10+ interesting facts will change that.

1. He comes from a famous family:

There's a lot of star power in the Gyllenhaal family.

His father, Stephen, is a film director and poet, while his mother, Naomi, is a screenwriter and director.

When it comes to his sibling, Jake's sister is Maggie Gyllenhaal!

The siblings starred in the 2001 movie, *Donnie Darko*, together.

This was a unique experience for him, as he once shared.

“My sister is probably the reason why I do this, she’s somebody I admire more than anybody in the world and drives me nuts sometimes.”

They've both even been nominated for an Oscar.

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When Maggie got hers for her role in Crazy Heart, Jake had some brotherly advice.

“He said, ‘It’s a lot of fun, and enjoy it in that spirit. If you make it too much more than that, you’ll probably go astray.'"

2. His first acting role was in 1991's *City Slickers*:

Castle Rock Entertainment

He was just 10 when he starred as Billy Crystal’s son in the film.

While his role was pretty minimal, he has gone on to have a successful career with movies like Donnie Darko and Zodiac.

3. He attended high school with Jason Segel:

They both attended Harvard-Westlake School, which has had a lot of famous alumni over the years.

In addition to Jake's sister, Maggie, this includes Tori Spelling, Shirley Temple, Jessica Capshaw, and Bryce Taylor.

4. He's the inspiration behind Taylor Swift’s breakup song "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together":

Yikes! The pair dated for only a few months, but he clearly broke her heart. Just look at these lyrics:

"I'm really gonna miss you picking fights / And me falling for it screaming that I'm right / And you would hide away and find your peace of mind / With some indie record that's much cooler than mine."

That's not the only song Jake has been rumored to inspire.

Fans also think that he's the subject in "All Too Well" and "The Last Time."

In "All Too Well," the lyrics sing: "Left my scarf there at your sister's house/And you still got it in your drawer even now."

Fans think this is about Jake since Taylor spent Thanksgiving with Jake's family before their breakup.

Other famous exes of the star include Kristen Dunst, Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, and model Alyssa Miller.

5. His godmother is Jamie Lee Curtis:

In addition to his famous family, he has a famous extended family.

If that wasn't enough star power, Paul Newman gave Jake his first driving lesson! Not a lot of people can say that.

6. He had to attend "cowboy camp" before filming *Brokeback Mountain*:

Since Heath Ledger grew up in farms in Western Australia, he refused to go.

But Jake was basically forced to since he was a city boy who needed "roughing up."

7. He worked a string of normal jobs as a teen:

In order to keep him grounded, his grandparents encouraged him to work a bunch of different jobs during the summertime.

This included working as a lifeguard in Martha's Vineyard and as a restaurant busboy.

Being a lifeguard wasn't always easy.

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Remember that episode in Friends when Chandler had to pee on Monica's leg since she got stung by a jellyfish?

Well, he had to do that for some poor woman!

8. He was almost Spider-Man:

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Before production on the second film started, Tobey Maguire dropped out due to back issues.

While Jake prepared to suit up and play Spider-Man, Tobey ended up recovering in time.

9. He skipped his Bar Mitzvah to volunteer at a homeless shelter:

YouTube | The Howard Stern Show

A Bar Mitzvah is a big deal for any Jewish teenager.

When they turn 13, they get to have a huge party with lavish gifts and attention centered around them. But the actor chose to skip all this to give back to others.

He also shared that this was a way for his parents to find a middle ground between their religions.

That's because one was Christian and one was Jewish.

Jake wasn't the only one giving back. He also had his guests help out and feed the homeless.

10. He once had a near-death experience:

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In 2006, Jake was on vacation with his family at the Manka’s Inverness Lodge when a fire broke out.

This happened after a massive windstorm caused a tree to crash into the hotel around two a.m.

Thankfully, no one was hurt — something that might be attributed to Jake.

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Daniel DeLong, chef and co-owner of the lodge, said that Jake was helping pull things out of the fire.

He seriously is a stand-up man!

11. His parents made him turn down a role in *Mighty Ducks*:


“I definitely remember crying on the kitchen counter,” Gyllenhaal said on The Howard Stern Show.

“I was like, 'You guys are crazy.'"

In the end, they made him pass because of his education.

"My parents were like, ‘Look, you’re about to enter junior high school, you gotta get your education, that’s the most important thing."

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"I promise you, you hate us now, but you’ll thank us later,' and I do.”

If he got the role, it would have been his second one, right after City Slickers.