Advertisement

23 Behind-The-Scenes Celebrity Facts That Are Just 10,000% Wholesome

1.Steve Buscemi, a former firefighter, spent five 12-hour days digging people out of the rubble after 9/11, looking for survivors. Feeling depressed and anxious after the attacks, he headed for the site and found his old engine company, asking if he could join them. The Brotherhood of Fire Facebook page later pointed out that, “Very few photographs and no interviews exist because he declined them. He wasn’t there for the publicity.”

Man in glasses and a black layered outfit with a patterned scarf at an event

Buscemi later said, “It was a privilege to be able to do it. It was great to connect with the firehouse I used to work with and with some of the guys I worked alongside. And it was enormously helpful for me because while I was working, I didn’t really think about it as much, feel it as much.”

Dia Dipasupil / FilmMagic

2.Robin Williams used to call Steven Spielberg every week to cheer him up while he was filming Schindler's List. “Robin knew what I was going through. ... He would do 15 minutes of stand-up on the phone. I would laugh hysterically," Spielberg revealed. "He’d always hang up on you on the loudest, best laugh you’d give him. Drops the mic, that’s it.”

Steven Spielberg and Robin Williams
Ron Galella, Ltd. / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

3.Another amazing Robin Williams story concerns Christopher Reeve — the two became best friends after their time as roommates at Juilliard. After Reeves was in a horse-riding accident that ended up paralyzing him, he was going into a risky surgery to reattach his skull to his spine. He later said he only had a 50/50 chance of survival and wanted to die. He wrote in his autobiography, "I lay on my back, frozen, unable to avoid thinking the darkest thoughts. Then, at an especially bleak moment, the door flew open and in hurried a squat fellow with a blue scrub hat and a yellow surgical gown and glasses, speaking in a Russian accent. He announced that he was my proctologist and that he had to examine me immediately."

Closeup of Christopher Reeve and Robin Williams
Fotos International/Frank Edwards / Getty Images

"My first reaction was that either I was on way too many drugs or I was in fact brain damaged." However, it turned out to be Williams in disguise, coming to cheer him up. "For the first time since the accident, I laughed. My old friend had helped me know that somehow I was going to be okay," Reeve wrote.

Closeup of Christopher Reeve
Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

4.The first-ever interracial kiss on TV was on Star Trek in 1968, between Nichelle Nichols and William Shatner, and it was a massive deal — but it almost didn't air in the Southern part of the US. Luckily, William Shatner made sure it did. According to Nichols, NBC wanted to shoot two versions of the scene, including one where they did not actually kiss, so that this version could be shown in the South. Shatner was not on board, and intentionally messed up all the takes where they didn't kiss — for example, by crossing his eyes and making Nichols laugh. The kiss ended up airing, marking a landmark TV moment.

Screenshot from "Star Trek"
NBC

5.We all know Mr. Rogers was one of the most wholesome figures in Hollywood, but that doesn't mean I'm sick of talking about it. In another amazing example of allyship, Rogers invited Black police officer François Clemmons on to his show and shared a kiddie pool with him in 1969. This was a landmark moment considering many community pools were segregated, and there were racist beliefs about the "dangers" of sharing a pool with Black people. Clemmons would later say, "It was a definite call to social action on Fred's part. That was his way of speaking about race relations in America."

Screenshot from "Mr. Rogers"
PBS

6.This is obviously less ground-breaking, but another Mr. Rogers fact I love is that all of his sweaters on the show were knit by his mom.

Fred Rogers on the set of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood with the Neighborhood Trolley
PBS / Courtesy Everett Collection

7.Bob Ross was another universally beloved figure with many wholesome moments, but I think the most impressive fact about him is that he did his PBS show for free. Ross made his money from selling supplies and workshops, which he rarely advertised on his show.

Man with afro smiling, holding a paint palette, surrounded by landscape paintings
Acey Harper / Getty Images

8.Also, the reason he spoke with such a soft, gentle voice was because he had spent years in the military. “[I had to be] the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work," he revealed. "The job requires you to be a mean, tough person. And I was fed up with it. I promised myself that if I ever got away from it, it wasn't going to be that way anymore."

Bob Ross in a TV show scene with inspirational quotes about life and painting
PBS

9.I've always loved this story about Robert Downey Jr. that Dana Reinhardt wrote for Reader's Digest, and I feel like not enough people know it. Reinhardt was 20 when she met Downey Jr. in the early '90s while she was escorting her grandmother to a garden party for the ACLU of Southern California. Reinhardt had noticed Downey Jr. in attendance and pointed him out to her grandmother, who was unimpressed. As they stood to leave, her grandmother tripped and fell onto a wheelchair ramp, slicing her shin. Dizzy from the blood, Reinhardt found herself unable to help — so Downey Jr. stepped in, ordering that one onlooker call an ambulance, another to bring water, and another to get a blanket. He then wrapped his own jacket around the grandmother's wound.

Close-up of celebrity in dark glasses and formal attire
Steve Granitz / FilmMagic via Getty Images

"He told her not to worry and that everything would be all right," Reinhardt described. "He knew, instinctively, how to speak to her, distract her, and — most critically — play to her vanity. He held on to her calf, and he whistled. He told her how stunning her legs were. She said to him, to my humiliation, 'My granddaughter tells me you’re a famous actor, but I’ve never heard of you.' He stayed with her until the ambulance came, and then he walked alongside the stretcher holding her hand and telling her she was breaking his heart by leaving the party so early, just as they were getting to know each other. He waved to her as they closed the doors. 'Don’t forget to call me, Silvia,' he said. 'We’ll do lunch.'”

Robert Downey Jr. wearing a floral shirt under a jacket, at a public event
Ron Galella, Ltd. / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Too star-struck and worried about her grandmother, Reinhardt did not speak to Downey Jr. But 15 years later, she saw him at a restaurant in Los Angeles and approached him, reminding him of the story and thanking him. According to Reinhardt, "he stood up and he took both of my hands in his and he looked into my eyes and he said, 'You have absolutely no idea how much I needed to hear that today.'"

Closeup of Robert Downey Jr.
Jim Spellman / WireImage via Getty Images

10.You probably already know this, but Alan Rickman was MUCH nicer IRL than his character Snape in Harry Potter. Though one time, he did act in character — when Rickman found out that a child with cancer visiting the set was denied his request to be in the film, he went into "Snape mode" and demanded to know why. Rickman even brought the child into the shot, though the scene was later cut.

Alan Rickman wearing a dark suit and shirt at an event
Mike Marsland / WireImage via Getty Images

11.I definitely don't think enough people know about Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, which provides free books to children up until age 5. The program has sent millions of books to children regardless of their family's income, both in the US and abroad, and currently mails about 2 million books every month. Dolly said she started the program as a tribute to her father, who Dolly called "the smartest man I have ever known" but said "I know in my heart his inability to read probably kept him from fulfilling all of his dreams."

Dolly Parton poses with arms extended, wearing a sparkly outfit at the Academy of Country Music Awards
Omar Vega / FilmMagic via Gertty Images

12.Daniel Radcliffe is one of my favorite celebrities, because I just believe he's an incredibly good human. One of my favorite things about Radcliffe is the way he spoke against J.K. Rowling's anti-trans comments and retained a safe space for LGBTQ fans of Harry Potter. Radcliffe, who has worked with the LGBTQ youth organization The Trevor Project for years, published a note via their website in the wake of Rowling's comments affirming that “Transgender women are women. Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I.”

Daniel Radcliffe sitting, smiling in a black jacket and blue shirt, on a white couch
Nathan Congleton / NBC via Getty Images

He continued, “To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you.” He said he spoke out because he knew how many queer and trans people had identified with the series. "Seeing them hurt on that day I was like, I wanted them to know that not everybody in the franchise felt that way. And that was really important.”

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in a Hogwarts uniform with glasses and a Gryffindor tie
Murray Close/Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

13.Daniel Radcliffe also has a close relationship with his former stunt double David Holmes, who was paralyzed after a stunt gone wrong in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Radcliffe hosted a celebrity charity auction and dinner to pay for Holmes's medical bills, and the two remain close — they even host a podcast together. Radcliffe has called Holmes "an incredibly important person in my life," which was evident in the HBO Max documentary he produced about Holmes last year, David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived.

Closeup of Daniel Radcliffe and David Holmes
HBO

14.One of my favorite Morgan Freeman facts is that he converted his 124-acre ranch into a honeybee sanctuary after taking up beekeeping in 2014, telling Jimmy Fallon, "There is a concerted effort for bringing bees back onto the planet… We do not realize that they are the foundation, I think, of the growth of the planet, the vegetation..." He doesn't even harvest the honey. He also seems to be some sort of bee whisperer, as he says he doesn't even wear bee gear when feeding them, yet they've never stung him.

Closeup of Morgan Freeman
Corine Solberg / Getty Images

15.Guy Fieri might seem like a bit of a silly guy, but I gained a lot of respect for him when I heard this story. To celebrate Florida lifting its ban on same-sex marriage, Guy Fieri literally married 101 same-sex couples in Florida in an event organized by celeb chef Art Smith. They got a bunch of other celebrity chefs to help out. In case you didn't know, Fieri's sister (who passed in 2011) was queer.

Closeup of Guy Fieri
Ethan Miller / Getty Images

16.First of all, I don't know how I didn't know that Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman were married IRL, but this fact makes me love them even more. As it turns out, Mara Wilson's mother had breast cancer while Mara was filming Matilda, so DeVito and Perlman (who played her abusive parents in the film) took care of her on set anytime her parents had to go to the hospital. "I was 8 years old. It was very hard…and they were very nice,” Mara said of that time in her life. “While my mom was sick and in the hospital, they would invite me over and take care of me and get my mind off things. I felt very familial.”

Closeup of Rhea Perlman and Danny DeVito
Walter McBride / Getty Images

“Danny and Rhea would take me to the theater to see a play, or to the movies or to just hang out at their house," Mara continued. "It really kept me distracted, and it really did keep me happy." She also said that DeVito would hug her as soon as she came to set, saying, “I really did feel like he was my favorite uncle.”

Screenshot from "Matilda"
TriStar Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

17.I know how we feel about private jets around here, but I still think it's extremely commendable that Ludacris lent his private jet out to bring supplies to survivors of the Haiti earthquake. John Travolta and Harrison Ford also used their jets to transport volunteers, medics, and supplies.

Closeup of Ludacris
Rich Polk / Getty Images for Flipper's Roller Boogie Palace

18.Speaking of Harrison Ford — for anyone who loves his friendship with Ke Huy Quan, you'll probably think it's as sweet as I do that while the two were starring in Indiana Jones together, Ford taught then-12-year-old Quan how to swim.

Ke Huy Quan and Harrison Ford embracing
Charley Gallay / Getty Images for Disney

19.And speaking of Quan — he was inspired to return to acting after seeing the massive success of Crazy Rich Asians. In fact, he saw it in theaters three times, and cried each time. “For a long time I thought I was at peace with [retiring from acting], but something was missing, and I really didn’t know what it was until Crazy Rich Asians came out. I saw my fellow Asian actors up on the screen, and I had serious FOMO because I wanted to be up there with them.” Luckily, Quan made a major comeback, winning an Oscar for his supporting role in Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Closeup of Ke Huy Quan
Araya Doheny / WireImage via Getty Images

20.It's no secret Keanu Reeves is one of the nicest guys in the biz, but still, he didn't need to go this far — basically, when Reeves was negotiating his pay for the Matrix films, he forewent his profit-sharing points so that they could go to the special-effects and costume-design teams instead. "He felt that they were the ones who made the movie and that they should participate," said an anonymous movie exec.

Closeup of Keanu Reeves in "The Matrix"
Warner Bros./ Courtesy: Everett Collection

21.Another of my favorite Keanu stories is that after Sandra Bullock told him she had never tried champagne or truffles, he surprised her at her house with both, along with a bouquet of flowers. On his motorcycle, no less. Bullock then painted his nails. Bullock was using the story to highlight what a great listener Keanu is. "The more I jibber-jabbered on, the quieter he would get. And I thought, 'I don't understand what's happening! He's looking at me with eyes of confusion. He's quiet. Did I say something to offend him?' And then a day or two later, he would arrive with a note or a little package, saying, 'I thought about what you said.'"

Closeup of Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves
Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic, Inc via Getty Images

22.Eminem has his issues, but I've always loved how close he is with his children. I feel like not many people know that Eminem actually has three children. He adopted his ex-wife Kim Scott's sister's child Alaina, who had mostly lived with him and Kim since she was born due to a tumultuous home life. He even talks about Alaina in "Mockingbird," saying, "Lainie, I'm talkin' to you too, / Daddy's still here." Then in 2005, Eminem adopted Kim's child that she'd had by another man only six months after their 2001 divorce, Stevie. He's credited his children with helping him through a lot, and appears very close with them — he even walked Alaina down the aisle at her 2023 wedding.

Eminem performing on stage, wearing a leather jacket, with a microphone in hand
Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

23.And finally, this one's a little silly, but it's still one of my favorite cute facts to pull out: Prince was a massive fan of the sitcom New Girl, and he was a major Nick and Jess shipper. The massive musical legend literally contacted Fox asking to guest star, as long as he could help Nick and Jess get together. In the episode, he gives Jess advice after Nick tells her he loves her.

Prince saying "How rude of me. I haven't given you enough time to freak out. You may do so now" to Nick and Jess, who then freak out, in New Girl
Fox

What's your favorite little-known, wholesome celebrity fact? Let us know in the comments!