Hollywood stars seem so larger-than-life and glamorous that it’s hard to imagine that there was ever a time when they weren’t famous. But before they were making millions on movies, they were just like us, taking on less-glamorous jobs to support their acting dreams.
Many people have stories about how they went to school with a star before they made it big, but assume the now-celebrity will never remember their face.
But one hilarious red carpet run-in proved that’s not always the case.
Hugh Jackman is an international star; while he’s had hits with Les Miserables and The Greatest Showman, he’s best known for his long-running role as X-Men superhero Wolverine, a role that shot him to stardom back in 2000.
But like the centuries-old mutant Logan, Jackman has some past lives most people don’t know about.
In 2013, Jackman was at the Zurich Film Festival in Switzerland, about to receive the festival’s Golden Icon Award.
He was on the red carpet doing interviews—but none was more eventful than his chat with Reuters entertainment reporter Rollo Ross.
Ross started asking Jackman questions about his award, but suddenly, Jackman stopped the reporter—and had a question for him instead.
“Rollo, I’m sorry man, we go way back,” Jackman said.
“I used to teach you at high school in PE and I want to know how your physical education is progressing. It’s very important to me.”
Jackman used to teach phys-ed—and remembered his old student!
Long before he was famous, Jackman took a gap year in 1987 and worked as a teacher’s assistant at Uppingham School in Rutland, England, where he was a PE instructor.
And long before he became a journalist, Ross was one of his young students—and recalls learning that his old gym teacher was suddenly a movie star.
Ross told E! News that he got a call from a classmate asking if that was “their school teacher, Mr. Jackman, starring in the movie,” back when the first X-Men film was released.
“You just don’t make the correlation that your teacher is now a movie star,” Ross said.
Jackman and Ross first made the connection during an earlier interview, and Jackman has been messing with the reporter ever since.
“How was your education? Did I set you up for life?” Jackman teased on the red carpet.
The interview continued, but Jackman couldn’t resist the opportunity to bring up their old student–teacher history once again.
When Ross asked the actor, who’s known for rage-filled roles in X-Men and Prisoners, what makes him angry in real life, Jackman brought up an old grudge:
“Students who don’t really listen, the kind of students who don’t bring their kit and the kind of students who don’t jump in the pool when I tell them too,” Jackman joked.
“That’s what makes me angry, Rollo! In fact, I’m remembering you more and more ….”
It was definitely a memorable red carpet interview. When Ross put up the video under the title “That awkward moment when Hugh Jackman remembers he taught you at school,” it went viral with over 6 million views.
Jackman may have become a Golden Icon that night, but he also got a reminder of his humble beginnings as a gym teacher.