Jessica Chastain Reveals She Dropped Out of High School

by Jackie Willis 5:18 AM PST, January 09, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

Before she was an A-list actress, Jessica Chastain was too cool for school.

The Interstellar actress revealed to Entertainment Weekly a secret from her adolescent years. "I dropped out of high school. I was not a hard worker," Chastain confessed. "I was a terrible student. Eventually I got my adult diploma, but I did not graduate. And it wasn't that I just dropped out and never went back -- at the end of the year I had too many absences to graduate."

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While she's become a force to be reckoned with on the big screen, Chastain's teen years weren't not so ambitious. "I would cut school and sit in my car, reading Shakespeare," the Golden Globe nominee recalled.

Chastain's love of Shakespeare led her to act in the 1998 staging of Romeo and Juliet at Bay Area productions, among many other plays. This inspired her to audition for the prestigious Juilliard School, where she was accepted at age 22. "I got to Juilliard and I'd never been around literature like that," she said. "It completely opened me up."

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The 37-year-old actress hopes that her success story can inspire kids who aren't doing well in school. "I thought that I wasn't an intelligent person because I did so poorly," she recalls. "There are kids out there that aren't doing well in school -- and I hope they never think it means they’re stupid. It's all about finding where your interest lies and finding what you're good at."