Celebrity Dropouts Who Earned a GED

You, too, can be successful with a GED

A lot of people think high school dropouts are losers. Not true! There are many, many valid reasons people don't finish high school in the "regular" way.

Here is our growing list of celebrity dropouts who earned a GED. If these people can be successful with a GED, so can you!

Be sure to check out 25 More Celebrity Dropouts Who Earned a GED and Celebrity GED Pep Talks.

1
Christian Slater

Christian Slater - Fotos International - Getty Images Entertainment - GettyImages-72422009
LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 2: Actor Christian Slater talks at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on November 2, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Piyal Hosain/Fotos International/Getty Images). Christian Slater - Fotos International - Getty Images Entertainment - GettyImages-72422009

Donald Deane wrote for HuffPost TV: "Christian Slater, star of ABC's 'The Forgotten,' appeared on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' and discussed his decision to go back to school and get his GED as a way to show his children the importance of a good education."

"I was working from the time I was nine years old. So, the school was not very important to me; it wasn't a great priority," Slater said. "And then, when I had kids, I want them to obviously get a full education ... I didn't want to lose the argument. So, I figured the best thing to do is to go and at least take some action, get the GED."

Image: LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 2: Actor Christian Slater talks at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on November 2, 2006, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Piyal Hosain/Fotos International/Getty Images)

2
Bill Cosby

Bill-Cosby-Larry-French-Getty-Images-Entertainment-187717371.jpg
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 11: Bill Cosby speaks onstage at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund 25th Awards Gala on November 11, 2013 in Washington City. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for Thurgood Marshall College Fund). Larry French - Getty Images Entertainment 187717371

Bill Cosby has had some negative press recently. It doesn't change the fact that he went far on a GED.

A lengthy bio of Bill Cosby at Biography.com includes these passages: More interested in sports than academics, Cosby played on his school's track and football teams. He was placed in a high school for gifted students after scoring high on an IQ test. But Cosby failed to apply himself and ended up falling behind in his classes. He switched to Germantown High School, and even there he learned that he would have to repeat a grade. In frustration, Cosby dropped out. He worked several odd jobs before joining the U.S. Navy in 1956. ... Regretting his decision to drop out of school, Cosby earned his high school equivalency diploma while in the service.

Image: WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 11: Bill Cosby speaks onstage at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund 25th Awards Gala on November 11, 2013, in Washington City. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for Thurgood Marshall College Fund)

3
Michael J. Fox

Michael J Fox - Evan Agostini - Getty Images Entertainment - GettyImages-72510384
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 11: L-R: Actor Michael J. Fox and wife actress Tracy Pollan pose with singer Sheryl Crow and Muhammad Ali at 'A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's' benefit gala at the Waldorf-Astoria, November 11, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images). Michael J Fox - Evan Agostini - Getty Images Entertainment - GettyImages-72510384

MichaelJFoxdatabase.com has this to say about Fox's education: "Although Michael was close to finishing high school, he decided to light out for Hollywood, California, USA to pursue his career. It was decided that Michael would leave after his 18th birthday, but before graduating High School. (Michael would not receive his General Equivalency Diploma until 1995.) His father drove him to Los Angeles and gave him $3,000 to get started."

Image: NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 11: L-R: Actor Michael J. Fox and wife actress Tracy Pollan pose with singer Sheryl Crow and Muhammad Ali at 'A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Cure Parkinson's' benefit gala at the Waldorf-Astoria, November 11, 2006, in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

4
Nicholas Cage

Nicholas Cage - Mark Davis - Getty Images Entertainment - GettyImages-71504440
SAN DIEGO - JULY 22: Nicolas Cage attends the 2006 Comic-Con held on July 22, 2006 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images). Nicholas Cage - Mark Davis - Getty Images Entertainment - GettyImages-71504440

NicholasCage.net says this about Nicholas Cage: "He hated school and ended up getting his GED."

Image: SAN DIEGO - JULY 22: Nicolas Cage attends 2006 Comic-Con held on July 22, 2006, in San Diego, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images)

5
Eminem

Eminem - Bill Pugliano - Getty Images Entertainment - GettyImages-52825193
DETROIT - MAY 14: Rap artist Eminem speaks about his financial past and present at the 1st Financial Hip Hop Summit May 14, 2005 in Detroit, Michigan. The summit, which brought together Russell Simmons and hip Hop and Rap artists to raise awareness of young adults about the importance of financial empowerment. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images). Eminem - Bill Pugliano - Getty Images Entertainment - GettyImages-52825193

Eminem's bio at Biography.com includes this paragraph: Eminem attended Lincoln High School in Warren, Michigan, where he failed the ninth grade three times and eventually dropped out at the age of 17. Despite being a poor student, Eminem always had a deep affinity for language, devouring comic books and even studying the dictionary. "I found that no matter how bad I was at school, like, and no matter how low my grades might have been at some times, I always was good at English ... I just felt like I wanna be able to have all of these words at my disposal, in my vocabulary at all times whenever I need to pull 'em out."

Although there are references on the Internet to Eminem's efforts to earn a GED, I couldn't find a definite source.

Image: DETROIT - MAY 14: Rap artist Eminem speaks about his financial past and present at the 1st Financial Hip Hop Summit May 14, 2005, in Detroit, Michigan. The summit, which brought together Russell Simmons and hip Hop and Rap artists to raise awareness of young adults about the importance of financial empowerment. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

6
Christina Applegate

Christina Applegate - Peter Kramer - Getty Images Entertainment - GettyImages-53238794
NEW YORK - JULY 14: Actress Christina Applegate makes an appearance at FYE to sign copies of the new 'Sweet Charity' CD on July 14, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images). Christina Applegate - Peter Kramer - Getty Images Entertainment - GettyImages-53238794

A trivia item in IMDb's biography of Christina Applegate states, "Passed the GED with flying colors toward the end of her Junior year."

More on Christina Applegate from Diana Mimon.

Image: NEW YORK - JULY 14: Actress Christina Applegate makes an appearance at FYE to sign copies of the new 'Sweet Charity' CD on July 14, 2005, in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)

7
Bo Bice

Bo Bice - Evan Agostini - Getty Images Entertainment - GettyImages-53106464
NEW YORK - JUNE 20: American Idol runner-up Bo Bice performs on the NBC Today Show June 20, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images). Bo Bice - Evan Agostini - Getty Images Entertainment - GettyImages-53106464

Craig Spychalla of Capital Newspapers wrote this about Bo Bice for the Portage Daily Register:

"...He tried enrolling himself, but was stopped by a staff member at the school and questioned about his rocker looks with long hair and piercings.

"This guy says, "Excuse me. Where are you going?' I said, ‘I'm going to enroll in school. He said, ‘Not looking like that you're not. Cut your hair, take your earrings out, get that shirt tucked in and you come back tomorrow.'"

"The long and short of it, I did not end up finishing school, but I got my GED," Bice said.

More on Bo Bice from Bill Lamb.

Image: NEW YORK - JUNE 20: American Idol runner-up Bo Bice performs on the NBC Today Show June 20, 2005, in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

8
David Bowie

David Bowie - Jo Hale - Getty Images Entertainment - GettyImages-50958290
NEWPORT, ENGLAND - JUNE 13: David Bowie performs on stage on the third and final day of 'The Nokia Isle of Wight Festival 2004' at Seaclose Park, on June 13, 2004 in Newport, UK. The third annual rock festival takes place during the Isle of Wight Festival which runs from June 4-19. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images). David Bowie - Jo Hale - Getty Images Entertainment - GettyImages-50958290

You will find David Bowie's name on lists of GED celebrities, but I can't find a good source. If you can help, leave a comment.

Read about David Bowie at Classic Rock with Dave White.

Image: NEWPORT, ENGLAND - JUNE 13: David Bowie performs on stage on the third and final day of 'The Nokia Isle of Wight Festival 2004' at Seaclose Park, on June 13, 2004, in Newport, UK. The third annual rock festival takes place during the Isle of Wight Festival which runs from June 4-19. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)

9
50 Cent

50 Cent - David Lodge - FilmMagic - GettyImages-74799476
Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival - 'Home of the Brave' Photocall at in Cannes. (Photo by David Lodge/FilmMagic). 50 Cent - David Lodge - FilmMagic - GettyImages-74799476

50CentNews.com includes this bit under Education in its profile of 50 Cent: "Andrew Jackson High School, expelled in 10th grade for possession of crack. Got his GED while in jail."

Read more about 50 Cent from Henry Adaso.

Image: Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival - 'Home of the Brave' Photocall at in Cannes. (Photo by David Lodge/FilmMagic)

10
Oscar de la Hoya

Oscar de la Hoya - Ethan Miller - Getty Images Sport - GettyImages-71456236
LAS VEGAS - JULY 15: Daniel Ponce De Leon raises his arms as he stands with Bernard Hopkins (L), Marco Antonio Barrera and Oscar De La Hoya (R) of Golden Boy Promotions after knocking out Sod Looknongyangtoy in the first round of the WBO junior featherweight world championship fight to retain his title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena July 15, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images). Oscar de la Hoya - Ethan Miller - Getty Images Sport - GettyImages-71456236

At JockBio.com, boxer Oscar de la Hoya's education is referred to in this paragraph: "His boxing schedule became so busy that eventually, his family had to hire a tutor to help him with all the school he missed. Formal education, however, was of secondary importance."

Read about Oscar de la Hoya from Andrew Eisele.

Image: LAS VEGAS - JULY 15: Daniel Ponce De Leon raises his arms as he stands with Bernard Hopkins (L), Marco Antonio Barrera and Oscar De La Hoya (R) of Golden Boy Promotions after knocking out Sod Looknongyangtoy in the first round of the WBO junior featherweight world championship fight to retain his title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena July 15, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

11
Waylon Jennings

Waylon Jennings - Fotos International - Archive Photos - GettyImages-51650548
American country and western singer and guitarist Waylon Jennings (1937 - 2002) wears a cowboy hat and leather vest as he sings with his eyes closed in front of a microphone, April 1979. (Photo by Fotos International/Getty Images). Waylon Jennings - Fotos International - Archive Photos - GettyImages-51650548

On January 29, 1990, the Times Wire Service reported: "Country music star Waylon Jennings is singing a different tune since gaining a high school equivalency diploma: 'Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be dropouts.' Jennings was scheduled to accept his General Educational Development certificate from Kentucky First Lady Martha Wilkinson at the Capitol in Frankfort today."

Image: American country and western singer and guitarist Waylon Jennings (1937 - 2002) wears a cowboy hat and leather vest as he sings with his eyes closed in front of a microphone, April 1979. (Photo by Fotos International/Getty Images)

12
Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton - Barry Brecheisen - WireImage - GettyImages-74678695
Paris Hilton at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago, Illinois (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/WireImage). Paris Hilton - Barry Brecheisen - WireImage - GettyImages-74678695

At IMDb.com, Paris Hilton's bio includes this sentence: Her childhood was spent in palatial dwellings in the priciest neighborhoods on both coasts and featured a brief flirtation with the educational system, including high schooling at the ultra-exclusive Dwight School, from which she dropped out and ultimately earned her high school GED

Image: Paris Hilton at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago, Illinois (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/WireImage)

13
Peter Jennings

Peter Jennings - Jim Spellman - WireImage - GettyImages-74703482
Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, New York (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage). Peter Jennings - Jim Spellman - WireImage - GettyImages-74703482

IMDb.com says this about Jennings: "Dropped out of high school in Grade 10 in Canada and failed to attain the equivalent of a GED. His father owned/managed a TV station, however, and he got his foot in the door that way."

But the site also states Jennings attended Carleton University, Rider College and the University of Ottawa.

Image: Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, New York (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)

14
Angelina Jolie

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Brad Pitt, nominee Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for 'Babel'and Angelina Jolie at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage). Angelina Jolie - S Granitz - WireImage - GettyImages-75485165

You will see Angelina Jolie on many GED lists, but IMDb.com states she graduated from Beverly Hills High School when she was 16. Do you have more info about Angelina Jolie and GED? Comment!

Image: Brad Pitt, nominee Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for 'Babel'and Angelina Jolie at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

15
Wally Amos

Famous Wally Amos - Spencer Platt - Getty Images News - GettyImages-696843
400990 04: Famous Amos displays his line of hats by the company Elope at the 99th annual International Toy Fair February 12, 2002 in New York City. Over 1,500 manufactuers, distributers, importers and sales agents are gathered for the five day event which will feature new toy products from twenty-nine countries. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images). Famous Wally Amos - Spencer Platt - Getty Images News - GettyImages-696843

Wally Amos sold the world's first gourmet chocolate chip cookie. He's an author, speaker, reading advocate, positive thinker, and GED earner.

His website proclaims: "Whatever you believe creates your reality." "Respect yourself as well as others." "Together everyone achieves more." "Enthusiasm is the wellspring of life."

Image: 400990 04: Famous Amos displays his line of hats by the company Elope at the 99th annual International Toy Fair February 12, 2002, in New York City. Over 1,500 manufacturers, distributors, importers and sales agents are gathered for the five-day event which will feature new toy products from twenty-nine countries. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

16
Fran Lebowitz

Fran Lebowitz - Brad Barket - Getty Images Entertainment - GettyImages-57489689
NEW YORK - APRIL 28: Lisa Robinson of Vanity Fair, T Bone Burnett, Annie Leahy, Director,Tribeca, Fran Liebowitz and Callie Curry pose for a photo at the 'T Bone Burnett' discussion panel during the 5th Annual Tribeca Film Festival April 28, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for TFF). Fran Lebowitz - Brad Barket - Getty Images Entertainment - GettyImages-57489689

Author Fran Lebowitz's biography at goodreads.com states: "After being expelled from high school and receiving a GED, Lebowitz worked many odd jobs before being hired by Andy Warhol as a columnist for Interview."

Image: NEW YORK - APRIL 28: Lisa Robinson of Vanity Fair, T Bone Burnett, Annie Leahy, Director, Tribeca, Fran Liebowitz and Callie Curry pose for a photo at the 'T-Bone Burnett' discussion panel during the 5th Annual Tribeca Film Festival April 28, 2006, in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for TFF)

17
Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan - Georges De Keerle - Getty Images Entertainment - GettyImages-71788020
VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 05: Actress Lindsay Lohan runs back to the crowd as she attends the premiere of the film 'Bobby' (work in progress) during the seventh day of the 63rd Venice Film Festival on September 5, 2006 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images). Lindsay Lohan - Georges De Keerle - Getty Images Entertainment - GettyImages-71788020

Actor Lindsay Lohan also appears on most GED celebrity lists, but I can't find a reliable source. I also can't find any reference to her graduation from high school. If you can help, leave a comment.

Image: VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 05: Actress Lindsay Lohan runs back to the crowd as she attends the premiere of the film 'Bobby' (work in progress) during the seventh day of the 63rd Venice Film Festival on September 5, 2006, in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)

18
Kelly Mcgillis

Kelly McGillis - Brenda Chase - Hulton Archive - GettyImages-849397
1/12/99 Los Angeles, CA Kelly McGillis and husband Fred Tillman attend the premiere of the movie 'At First Sight.'. Kelly McGillis - Brenda Chase - Hulton Archive - GettyImages-849397

At IMDb.com, actor Kelly McGillis's bio states: "She decided to drop out of high school to pursue a career as an actress and eventually attended Juilliard in Manhattan and Pacific Conservatory of Performing Art in Santa Monica, CA."

Image: 1/12/99 Los Angeles, CA Kelly McGillis and husband Fred Tillman attend the premiere of the movie 'At First Sight.'

19
Ruth Ann Minner

Ruth Ann Minner - Mark Kegans - Getty Images News - GettyImages-53252147
DES MOINES, IA - JULY 17: (L-R) Governors Tom Vilsack (Iowa), Ruth Ann Minner (Delaware), John Warner (Virginia) and Mike Huckabee (Arkansas) take turns grilling pork tenderloins during an outing at the Iowa State Fair for participants in the National Governors Association annual meeting July 17, 2005 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Mark Kegans/Getty Images). Ruth Ann Minner - Mark Kegans - Getty Images News - GettyImages-53252147

Usa-hero.com calls Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner a hero. On her biography page, the site states: "Minner did not have an easy life as a youth and left school at age 16 to help support her family. Later she qualified for a GED and attended the Delaware Technical and Community College."

Image: DES MOINES, IA - JULY 17: (L-R) Governors Tom Vilsack (Iowa), Ruth Ann Minner (Delaware), John Warner (Virginia) and Mike Huckabee (Arkansas) take turns grilling pork tenderloins during an outing at the Iowa State Fair for participants in the National Governors Association annual meeting July 17, 2005 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Mark Kegans/Getty Images)

20
Pink

Pink - Michael Caulfield Archive - WireImage - GettyImages-75492544
Pink and TI, presenters at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California (Photo by Michael Caulfield/WireImage). Pink - Michael Caulfield Archive - WireImage - GettyImages-75492544

Biography.com states that Pink had a rough childhood: "...it proved to be a hard life for her to manage, as she was swallowed by a world of drugs (she nearly overdosed at the age of 15) and petty crime. She eventually dropped out of high school before returning to earn her G.E.D. in 1998."

Read more about Pink from Bill Lamb.

Image: Pink and TI, presenters at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California (Photo by Michael Caulfield/WireImage)

21
Mary Lou Retton

Mary Lou Retton - Ken Levine - Allsport - Getty Images Sport - GettyImages-244770
1989: Mary Lou Retton looks on. Mandatory Credit: Ken Levine /Allsport. Mary Lou Retton - Ken Levine - Allsport - Getty Images Sport - GettyImages-244770

Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton is another celebrity who appears on GED lists, but I can't find a source to verify this. If you have information, please leave a comment.

Read about Mary Lou Retton from Jone Johnson Lewis.

Image: 1989: Mary Lou Retton looks on. Mandatory Credit: Ken Levine /Allsport

22
Chris Rock

Chris Rock - Albert L Ortega - WireImage - GettyImages-74762678
Chris Rock, wife Malaak and daughters at the Pauley Pavilion in Westwood, CA (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage). Chris Rock - Albert L Ortega - WireImage - GettyImages-74762678

We have blogged here that Chris Rock earned a GED, but we're unable to substantiate it for this new list. The popular comedian appears on most celebrity GED lists. If you can help us with a reliable source, please comment.

Read a biography of Chris Rock by Patrick Bromley.

Image: Chris Rock, wife Malaak and daughters at the Pauley Pavilion in Westwood, CA (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)

23
Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simpson - James Devaney - WireImage - GettyImages-74663720
Jessica Simpson at the Streets of Manhattan in New York City, New York (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage). Jessica Simpson - James Devaney - WireImage - GettyImages-74663720

JessicaSimpsonMusic.net states: "Jessica dropped out of high school her senior year in order to pursue her music career. (She would later get her GED.)"

Image: Jessica Simpson at the Streets of Manhattan in New York City, New York (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)

24
Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia - Steve Eichner - WireImage - GettyImages-74708017
Jerry Garcia of Grateful Dead in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Steve Eichner/WireImage). Jerry Garcia - Steve Eichner - WireImage - GettyImages-74708017

You'll see Jerry Garcia on GED lists on the Internet, but I couldn't find a reliable source. Biography.com includes this statement: He dropped out of school at age 17 and served nine months in the U.S. Army before being discharged for poor conduct.

Read about Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead from Dave White.

Image: Jerry Garcia of Grateful Dead in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Steve Eichner/WireImage)

25
Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas - Mike Simons - Getty Images News - GettyImages-692486
399461 03: Mourners pay their respects to Dave Thomas in the lobby of the Corporate Headquarters of Wendys January 10, 2002 in Dublin, OH. The founder of the burger chain, R. David Thomas, 69, died January 8,2002 at his home in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. (Photo by Mike Simons/Getty Images). Dave Thomas - Mike Simons - Getty Images News - GettyImages-692486

Dave Thomas of Wendy's Restaurant fame could be another poster child for the GED. His bio at wendys.com includes this paragraph: When he was 15, he found work at the Hobby House Restaurant in Ft. Wayne. It was then that he made what he considered his greatest mistake: he dropped out of school to work full-time. His father and stepfamily were preparing to move again and Dave decided to stay in Ft. Wayne, move into the YMCA and work full-time. This decision to drop out haunted him until he went back to school 45 years later and received his GED from Coconut Creek High School in Ft. Lauderdale. He said this was one of his greatest accomplishments, as was being named “Most Likely to Succeed” by the graduating class of 1993.

Image: 399461 03: Mourners pay their respects to Dave Thomas in the lobby of the Corporate Headquarters of Wendys January 10, 2002, in Dublin, OH. The founder of the burger chain, R. David Thomas, 69, died January 8, 2002, at his home in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. (Photo by Mike Simons/Getty Images)

Be sure to check out 25 More Celebrity Dropouts Who Earned a GED.