In Hollywood, it seems like success often comes down to who you know (or who you're related to). However, some celebs have given aspiring performers a helping hand — whether professionally or personally — before they were super famous.
Here are 14 celebs who did HUGE favors for other celebs:
1.When Ed Sheeran bought a one-way ticket to LA in 2010, Jamie Foxx let the aspiring singer sleep on his couch for about a month and a half.
They met when Ed visited Jamie's satellite radio show, The Foxxhole, to introduce himself and wound up doing an impromptu audition. Jamie invited him to stay with him but said, "Listen, man, I think you've got the goods, but I've got to check you out." Then he let Ed perform at his weekly music gig.
Jamie said on The Graham Norton Show, "He got a standing ovation in 12 minutes, and the rest is history."
2.When Chadwick Boseman was a student at Howard University, he couldn't afford to attend the British American Drama Academy's Midsummer in Oxford program, so his mentor Phylicia Rashad called up her friend Denzel Washington — who agreed to cover the tuition for Chadwick and his peers.
In a speech he gave to honor Denzel's Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 2019, Chadwick said, "Imagine receiving the letter that your tuition for that summer was paid for and that your benefactor was none other than the dopest actor on the planet. ... There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington. And not just because of me, but my whole cast — that generation — stands on your shoulders."
3.After auditioning for Blood Simple, Holly Hunter turned down the role because of a prior commitment, but she recommended her then-roommate, Frances McDormand, for the part. Not only did Frances get the role, but she also found love on set and married codirector Joel Coen the year the film debuted.
The Coen brothers then wrote their second feature, Raising Arizona, for Holly to star in.
4.When Kevin Hart found out that then-up-and-coming comedian Tiffany Haddish was living in her car, he loaned her $300, which was enough for her to rent a motel room until she got an apartment.
She told Vanity Fair, "I got me a motel room, and he told me to write out a list of goals and start doing something every day toward those goals. ... I wrote: 'Get myself an apartment. Do these things, all these people I wanna work with,' everything. I pretty much tackled almost all those goals. But it’s crazy, because the next day I got a phone call and was offered an apartment. I go look at it, and it’s, like, the most raggediest apartment you could ever imagine. It was just nasty and disgusting, roaches everywhere, cigarette stains in the carpet, the walls are all yellow from whatever, whoever was living there before smoking so much. It was just disgusting. The stove was full of roaches and the refrigerator was broken. It was all bad. The guy was like, 'It’s $550 a month,' and I was like, 'It’s perfect! I’ll take it!'"
On the set of their movie Night School, she paid Kevin back in cash.
5.When Chris Pratt was 19, he was experiencing homelessness and working as a server at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. on Maui. He waited on actor-director Rae Dawn Chong, who offered to bring him to LA to act in her directorial debut, Cursed Part III.
Chris told Entertainment Weekly, "I was like, 'You’re in the movies, right? I always wanted to be in the movies.' She said, 'You're cute. Do you act?' I was like, f— it, 'Goddamn right I act! Put me in a movie!'"
6.On the set of her debut film, Julia, Meryl Streep was mentored by Jane Fonda, who also "open[ed] probably more doors than [Meryl] probably even [knew] about" by recommending her for roles afterward.
Jane told Good Morning America, "I was close to Bette Davis. I was close to Barbara Stanwyck [and] Katharine Hepburn. And why didn’t I ask them endless questions? 'What do you do when you are nervous? How do you overcome fear?' And I didn’t! You know the only person who has ever asked me those kinds of questions? And of course it would be her: Meryl Streep."
At the 2014 AFI Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony honoring Jane, Meryl said, "I thank you for [your guidance]. And all of the young actors I’ve worked with subsequently, in the years following, thank you too, because that lesson and kindness got passed down. And it does keep going."
7.After winning a bidding war with Justin Timberlake, Usher helped then-12-year-old Justin Bieber sign a recording contract with Island Def Jam Recordings because "when [he] finally got the chance to hear [Justin] sing, [he] knew that this was a kid that was going to go very far."
Usher told Good Morning America Weekend, "And I felt like I could offer him a lot. I took him to [Island Def Jam Music Group chairperson and music producer Antonio] 'L.A.' Reid and I said, 'Man, you are not going to believe the talent that I have come across. This kid is really like once-in-a-lifetime glimpse at a prodigy or something incredible.' And when he met him, he knew exactly what I meant. And the story begun and very fast paced. Not much different than my story."
8.Later on, Justin Bieber passed it on by helping launch then-13-year-old Madison Beer's music career by sharing her cover of "At Last" by Etta James on Twitter.
He wrote, "Wow. 13 years old! She can sing. Great job. #futurestar."
9.After Nicki Minaj released "Super Bass," Taylor Swift requested that it be played during a radio interview. She also effortlessly rapped the lyrics herself, introducing the song to a wide audience of new fans.
While accepting the Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist Award at the 2011 American Music Awards, Nicki said, "Well, I have to thank [Taylor] because if it wasn't for her just being open and honest about a new song she liked, no one would know ... her fanbase would not have known about 'Super Bass.'"
Years later, after Nicki was given the Video Vanguard Award at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards, she praised Taylor on Instagram, saying, "The big winner of the night is the beautiful Taylor Swift. Barbz, I know you love her; we all love her."
10.Similarly, Taylor Swift also helped boost Troye Sivan's music career by calling his Wild EP "STUNNING AND AWESOME" on Twitter and "Vibes. Mood. Feelings." on Instagram and Tumblr. Her promotion caused a 20% spike in his global Spotify streams in one day.
Troye told Mashable, "Insanity ensued. I hardly slept that night — feels so amazing to be validated by someone who I look up to so much."
Wild also took the top spot from Taylor's 1989 on the iTunes Top Albums chart.
11.When YouTuber Colleen Ballinger was getting into entertainment, Ariana and Frankie Grande and their mom, Joan, invited her to stay with them in New York City and helped her launch her career.
In a YouTube video, Colleen said, "The Grandes were the first people to ever really believe in me as a performer, as a comedian. They took me in as a stranger. They didn't know who I was."
12.When Bow Wow was 6, Snoop Dogg pulled him onstage during the Columbus, Ohio, show on his Chronic tour. Impressed with Bow Wow's impromptu performance, Snoop invited him backstage, gave him his nickname, and later helped him launch his rap career.
At the time, however, Bow Wow didn't understand how big a gesture this was. He told the Chicago Tribune, "I was so little at the time that I was like, 'Oh well, whatever.'"
13.On the set of Gilmore Girls, Edward Herrmann made it his mission to mentor Alexis Bledel, who was acting in her first role ever.
Alexis nodded in agreement as costar Kelly Bishop told Today, "He mentored Alexis; he really took her under his wing because he realized she was new to the business."
14.And finally, to help out his theater coworker Blythe Danner, Kiefer Sutherland babysat her daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow, "on a couple of occasions" for an hour or two at a time.
In a 2009 red carpet interview, he said, "I think it was very funny because it's unbelievable how fast someone goes from 13 to 18, and obviously they look so different, that when Gwyneth started to work, I thought, Well, that must be another girl, because I always remember her as being 11 or 12 years old."