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21 celebrities who turned out to be real-life heroes


These celebrities faced a difficult situation where someone needed their assistant, and they helped without hesitation. These famous men and women rescued other people and even saved lives. Keep reading to see which celebrities proved they were truly worth our admiration, and not just for their talents.

Mathew McConaughey

When Mathew McConaughey screened his movie Thirteen Conversations About One Thing at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival, everyone was certainly talking about one thing – but it wasn’t the movie! During the screening, a woman suffered a seizure and had apparently stopped breathing. In an instant, McConaughey was on her and provided mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. According to the woman, he stroked her hair and said, “It’s okay, sweetheart.” Local police said McConaughey’s quick thinking saved her life, but he only said, “It was no big deal, she needed help and I was there.”

Mathew McConaughey

Renée Zellweger

In her most famous movies, Renée Zellweger played the female lead in lighthearted romantic comedies. There was nothing funny or lighthearted about what she came across during a 2004 hike, however. Walking through Los Angeles’ Runyon Canyon Park with her personal trainer, Zellweger came across a fellow hiker in trouble. Apparently, the woman had collapsed and took a tumble down a hillside. So while her personal trainer went out to get help, Renée stayed with the woman until it arrived to make sure she was okay.

Renée Zellweger

Meryl Streep and Cher

In the annals of unlikely celebrity friendships, our favorite might just be three-time Oscar winer Meryl Streep and the Goddess of Pop herself, Cher. In fact, the two are a little like Batman and Robin – we’ll let you decide which is which. While they were going to get ice cream in New York City, the two legends happened to notice a man assaulting a woman. Instead of running away, they ran towards him, screaming, and chased him away. When the woman collected herself, she was dumbfounded to realize she was just rescued by two A-listers.

Meryl Streep and Cher

Naya Rivera

Sometimes, heroism and selflessness aren’t rewarded the way we’d like them to be. In July, 2020, Glee star Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Dorsey were sailing through California’s Lake Piru on their boat. At some point in their trip they went for a swim in the lake, which is notorious for having unexpected and very strong undercurrents. Though details are sketchy, it’s possible they were caught up in one. With her strength draining, Rivera pushed her son back to the boat but tragically could not save herself. Her body was recovered days later.

Naya Rivera

Hannah Brown

Hannah Brown is no stranger to attention. The former Miss Alabama finished in the top seven of season 23 of the The Bachelor, and then went on to star in her own season of The Bachelorette. In June, 2020, however, she got attention of a whole new kind. A group of friends were rafting in Tennessee when their raft flipped over. One of the guys was quickly being carried downstream by the rapids… until Hannah stepped in. When she saw him coming towards her raft, she reportedly pulled him out and brought him aboard. Now THAT deserves a rose.

Hannah Brown

Heidi Klum

Hawaii seems like a tropical paradise – and for the most part, it is! Even paradise has its sharp edges, however, and Hawaii’s beautiful beaches and picture-perfect oceans have a dark side. In 2013, supermodel and TV personality Heidi Klum found that out the hard way. Vacationing in Oahu, the America’s Got Talent judge saw her 7-year-old and his two nannies get swept away by a sudden riptide. Klum immediately activated her mom powers and jumped into action, getting all three back to shore safely with the help of her boyfriend.

Heidi Klum

Mark Harmon

Hardcore Mark Harmon fans might know that the NCIS star was a standout football player in UCLA. Making heroic plays on the field apparently wasn’t enough for him, though. Back in 1996, two teens crashed their car near Harmon’s Brentwood, California home. The actor rushed out and used a sledgehammer to smash the car’s windows, then pulled both boys to safety. In 2013, 17 years after saving their lives, they were reunited. “There’s no way I can repay him,” one of the boys said, “except for pay it forward, and I try to do that in my life.”

Mark Harmon

Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks may have friends in low places, but for two Oklahoma boys in 2003, he was the only friend they needed. In 2000, Brooks was visiting his in-laws in Oklahoma when he noticed a grass fire raging towards a residence, whose occupants were apparently unaware of the impending danger. Along with an unidentified man, the country star banged on the door and then dragged the two brothers living there, aged 10 and 14, to the safety of a neighbor’s truck.

Garth Brooks

Danny DeVito

When you think of Hollywood stars who might secretly be superheroes, Danny DeVito probably isn’t the first name that springs to mind. Nevertheless, someone possibly owes him his life. You actually probably know that man – Michael Douglas! According to DeVito, while the two were filming Romancing the Stone in Mexico in the ’80s, they happened across a guy with a truck full of snakes. Ever the hot shot, Douglas grabbed one to show off – and the snake bit him on the hand. DeVito sucked the venom out – and told Douglas he was lucky he wasn’t bitten anywhere private.

Danny DeVito

Blake Shelton

Country stars like to nurture this rugged, outdoorsy image, but we suspect most of them live in gated communities and haven’t really seen nature except on TV. Not so for Blake Shelton. This Oklahoma boy still resides in his home state, a world away from The Voice’s Hollywood lot. Lucky he does, too, especially for friends who got stuck in a mudhole in 2015. Their buddies went to get help – and found Shelton. He first tried to get them out with his car, but failed. Undeterred, he went back home and got his tractor. That did the trick.

Blake Shelton

Sean Penn

While Sean Penn is known for his acting prowess, and has won two Academy Awards, he’s also known as one of the most socially conscious people in Hollywood. In his activist’s persona, Penn supports a variety of goals – but doesn’t limit himself to only writing checks. Case in point, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 and thousands upon thousands of people found themselves in distress, Penn headed down to the Big Easy and personally helped an estimated 40 people stuck on roofs due to rising floodwaters.

Sean Penn

Idris Elba

With Daniel Craig winding down his career in Her Majesty’s Secret Service, speculation’s running rampant as to who might take over for him as James Bond. One frontrunner is British star Idris Elba. Whether he lands the role or not, he’s already had real-world heroics. In 2019, while he was giving a performance of his play Tree in Manchester, England, a woman in the audience suffered a seizure. When she came to, she saw Elba hovering over her to make sure she was okay. He then took a ride with her in the ambulance to the hospital.

Idris Elba

Vin Diesel

On the big screen, in the Fast and Furious movies, Vin Diesel plays a speed demon outlaw who saves his family time and again. In 2001, he saved someone else’s family. Diesel was riding his bike on the Hollywood Freeway when he happened to see a car spinning out of control and then rolling over several times before catching fire. Channeling his inner Dominic Toretto, Diesel ditched his bike, ran to the car, and proceeded to save the adult and two kids trapped inside. Minutes later, the vehicle became completely engulfed in flames.

Vin Diesel

Danny Trejo

For decades, Danny Trejo has played bad guys in movies and television, but we recently discovered that he’s actually a hero. In 2019, he happened to witness a two-car collision in Los Angeles, with one of the cars flipping over. When he saw there was a baby in the upturned car, he sprang into action. With the help of a woman who unbuckled the baby’s car seat, the Machete star pulled it out to safety. “Everything good that has happened to me has happened as a direct result of helping someone else,” he later told reporters.

Danny Trejo

Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling lived up to his “genuine nice guy” reputation when in 2012, he rescued a woman from stepping right into the oncoming traffic. The journalist, named Laurie, didn’t look to her right side before crossing, and Ryan immediately stepped in and stopped her before she was hit by a car. Lauren tweeted that Ryan Gosling literally saved her from a car, and the response to that tweet was overwhelming. So much so, that she then wrote an article called “Ryan Gosling saved me from a speeding car but there’s war in the Middle East so everyone calm down.”

Ryan Gosling

Benedict Cumberbatch

Dr. Strange actor Benedict Cumberbatch was recently riding an Uber through London when he spotted four men assaulting a deliveryman as they attempted to mug him. Benedict – and his Uber driver – reportedly jumped out of the car to help the man, pulling the muggers off of him and yelling at them to leave him be. He apparently even dodged a few punches in the process, before the attackers ran away without stealing anything. The delivery company – called Deliveroo – thanked the actor for his brave intervention, but Benedict humbly replied, “I did it out of, well, I had to, you know.”

Benedict Cumberbatch

Brad Pitt

While filming the post-apocalyptic action film World War Z, actor and director Brad Pitt came to a woman’s rescue, as they were filming a stampede scene. It was reported that production used 700 extras, who played zombies and frightened people alike – but that amount of people is difficult to control. As they were making their way down a street, Brad apparently noticed a woman who fell into the crowd, and immediately ran to her, pulling her away from the stampede before she could get seriously hurt. Now that’s a hero!

Brad Pitt

Jamie Foxx

Actor Jamie Foxx was driving in California when he suddenly saw a startling sight. A car had spun off the road and rolled over a few times right into a ditch. The car was in flames, but Jamie acted quickly. He and an EMT who was off-duty cut his seatbelt and helped the driver out of the car. The driver, named Brett Kyle, already had burns all over his body, but he survived. Thanks to Jamie and that EMT, he’d been pulled out just in time.

Jamie Foxx

Tom Cruise

When Tom Cruise spotted a hit-and-run in Santa Monica, back in 1996, he went above and beyond to help. Budding actress Heloisa Vinhas was hit by a car, and the Top Gun actor hurried to her aid. Not only did he call 911 and wait by her side for the paramedics to arrive, but when he discovered she had no insurance, he picked up the $7,000 medical bill himself. He even checked up on her after she was released from the hospital. How sweet!

Tom Cruise

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood is known for being a tough guy. He’s the kind of man you’d want on your side when things get hairy. And apparently, he’s also who you’d want around when you happen to choke on a piece of food. In 2014, the legendary actor noticed CEO Steve John choking on some cheese, during a golf tournament. Clint quickly used the Heimlich maneuver on the man, lifting him no less than three times before the food came out. John had said that Clint saved his life when he did.

Clint Eastwood

John Malkovich

John Malkovich was in Toronto when he saved a man’s life. Jim Walpole was visiting the city with his wife, when he suddenly fell right into scaffolding. His throat was severely injured, but luckily the actor rushed over to pressure the wound and stop the bleeding, which was reaching dangerous levels. When first responders arrived and handled the wound, the man asked who his savior was, but he only gave his first name. It was only later the man discovered that the man who saved his life was John Malkovich.

John Malkovich

Gerard Butler

Scottish action star Gerard Butler proved he was a real hero in real life too, when he saved a boy from drowning. He was at a picnic in Scotland when he heard someone screaming for help, as reported by The Herald. He ran to the water to find a 14-year-old boy drowning in the water. Without hesitation, the actor bravely jumped into the water and helped the boy out. “When I brought him out he was lifeless. I’m just glad he’s all right now,” he said.

Gerard Butler

Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence is another actress who helped a person in need. When a young woman had collapsed outside of her apartment building, the Hunger Games star called the paramedics and stayed at her side until they arrived. An eyewitness said Jennifer was genuinely scared for the woman. Even as the EMT got there, she wanted to stay and make sure the woman was okay. It later turned out that the woman was intoxicated, and she was treated and taken home.

Jennifer Lawrence

Patrick Dempsey

Teenager Weston Masset lost control of his car, and it crashed after it was flipped three times in the air. Reportedly, it was Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey, who used a crowbar to open the door and pull Weston away from the crash. It’s rumored that the boy asked if he was famous – to which Patrick replied, “Yeah, I’m a doctor,” referring to his role as Dr. Derek Shepherd. Thanks to McDreamy, the teen walked away mostly unharmed by the accident.

Patrick Dempsey

Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford got to play the hero in many films, including Indiana Jones, Blade Runner, and the Star Wars franchise. But the famed actor didn’t only pilot the Millennium Falcon – he’s also a licensed helicopter pilot in real life, and has made several rescues thanks to that. He saved two hikers who got lost in the woods, with one of them already severely dehydrated. The following year, Ford helped track down a 13-year-old boy scout who was separated from his group in Yellowstone National Park.

Harrison Ford

John Krasinski

Before he was star of The Office, John spent a few months after high school teaching English in Costa Rica. He was at the beach when he noticed a woman being swept away by a riptide. There was no one around to help, so he went into the water after her. For moments there, he thought this choice might cost him his life, as he was caught in the current with her. Thankfully, he managed to get the woman out, and was later quoted saying the experience has changed his life.

John Krasinski

Kate Winslet

Richard Branson’s family were staying in their Carribean home, along with Kate Winslet’s family back in 2011. There were 20 people inside the house when it was suddenly struck by lightning and began to catch fire. Everyone on the scene managed to escape the house without injury. And apparently, Kate carried billionaire businessman Richard Branson’s 90-year-old mother down the slippery stairs as they were escaping the burning house in the middle of a hurricane. While Kate says she would’ve probably made it on her own, we still think it’s pretty amazing.

Kate Winslet

Prince Harry

Prince Harry, now the Duke of Sussex, knows just how to handle an emergency due to his military training. He’s also literally a “prince on a white horse”. During a polo match, his fellow player Bash Kazin was thrown off a horse – his head was hit so hard, he passed out. The Royal Family member was apparently the first to get off his horse and rush to his aid. He turned him to to the side to help him regain his consciousness and make sure he breaths properly.

Prince Harry

Steve Buscemi

Before he was the ruthless Nucky Thompson on HBO’s hit show Boardwalk Empire, Steve Buscemi actually served as a New York firefighter between 1980 and 1984. And it was reported that after the events of 9/11, he returned to his old firehouse in order to help. True to a real-life hero, Buscemi spent days searching for survivors under the rubble. And the actor said it had been a privilege to be able to help out along with his old crew.

Steve Buscemi

Zoe Saldana

Guardians of the Galaxy actress Zoe Saldana proved she wasn’t only a fierce heroine on-screen, when she came across a car accident. Zoe helped an elderly woman, injured in the incident, out of the car and immediately called 911. She didn’t leave when they arrived at the scene, either. She stayed with her all throughout and eye-witnesses said she was incredibly sweet and caring towards her, even getting her personal belongings from the car as she was getting help.

Zoe Saldana

Demi Moore

In 2009, Demi Moore stepped in when she saw a frightening tweet on her Twitter feed. A woman had written that she intends to take her own life, and Demi responded immediately. She reposted the tweet and wrote, “Hope you are joking.” She also took no chances and alerted the police about the matter. The San Jose Police then located the tweeter of the post, a 48-year-old woman, and provided her with the necessary help that she needed.

Demi Moore

Tom Hardy

Tom is a phenomenal action star, and apparently he’s just as tough in real life as he seems on the big screen. When two thieves crashed into a car with a stolen moped, they were unlucky enough to have the actor on the scene. One of these guys tried to run, but Tom chased him, caught him, and handed him over to the cops – not before patting him down for weapons. Witnesses told it was crazy to see the actor switching into superhero mode, bringing the bad guys to justice.

Tom Hardy

T.I.

Clifford Joseph Harris Jr. – better known as the rapper T.I. – helped talk a man off the ledge of a 22-floor office building. The man was threatening to jump, and the police tried to talk him down. The rapper, who was passing by, offered his help. And after the man agreed to meet him (who wouldn’t, right?), he was convinced to finally come down and receive the help he needed. He was brought in for a psychological evaluation, and what could’ve been a tragic disaster was averted thanks to T.I.

T.I.

Amy Winehouse

In 2009, the late Amy Winehouse had reportedly saved someone from drowning. While having a sailing lesson in St. Lucia, a woman named Louise Williams was suddenly thrown off the boat and was injured by a rock she hit. Amy, who saw the incident, apparently ran to her from the beach and helped her as she was almost swept sway by the waves. Williams had said she was amazed by the Rehab singer’s kindness towards her. Without a doubt, it was lucky she happened to be there.

Amy Winehouse

Leonardo DiCaprio

On December 30, 2019, Leonardo DiCaprio was vacationing in the Caribbean when he added “real-life hero” to his long list of accolades – he rescued a 24-year-old Frenchman who had fallen off a yacht and had spent 11 hours lost in the water. DiCaprio and his boat were near the island of St. Barts when the emergency call went out. He went for the search, and miraculously found the man at dusk, as a storm closed in. After saving his life, the Oscar-winning actor provided the man with drink, food, and clothes, before delivering him to coastguards.

Leonardo DiCaprio