We often think of celebrities as selfish bastards that spend their money on extravagant ways of creating luxury barriers between the fans and their high-life. However, this is not always the case, and at least some celebs are kind-hearted even when the on-screen good guy/girl role ends.
From simple acts of decency to donations in the range of millions, many ways exist to express gratitude and give back to the people and communities that held you on their shoulders towards success. Smart celebs acknowledge that they would be nowhere if it were not for simple folks like you and me tuning in to enjoy their performance.
Yes, you can say that many works of charity are just publicity stunts. Nevertheless, when you get down to details and learn that they spent hours in a row discussing simple things and acting like normal people, you underhand that deep down inside, where no spotlight can reach, a golden heart beats for what matters the most.
1. Tom Hanks
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Tom Hanks made us all laugh, cry, and experience all other emotions in between as Forrest Gump.
When acting is not on the agenda, Hanks engages in charity work or supports beautiful causes. The actor has donated impressive sums to NGOs involved with children support and AIDS prevention and treatment. He is also one of the many stars that made a pledge to fight against global warming by investing in electric cars and renewable sources of energy.
However, there a causal side of Tom Hanks only people that met him in real life and outside his official endeavors get to know.
While on vacation in Fargo, North Dakota, Tom Hanks took the time to accept a fan’s invitation of faking drunk photos. I mean, you are one of the highest grossing actors in Hollywood (more than $8 billion worldwide), and you accept such a strange request from someone you barely knew and don’t want as a drinking buddy.
You have to be incredibly generous to do that!
2. J.K. Rowling
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J. K. Rowling gave the world Harry Potter and the incredible saga at Hogwarts. The series were enough to make her a billionaire and one of the most influential persons in the world.
Nevertheless, there is more to the author than a content-creating machine. J. K. Rowling’s donations for various charities reached $150 million in total last year, at least according to Forbes. From the causes the author chose to support, multiple sclerosis (MS) stands out as the one with the biggest emotional connection.
The reasons are simple – her mother died because of MS and Scotland, the country she currently resides in, has the highest rate of MS patients amongst its population.
J. K. Rowling made the headlines in 2002 when she left behind the good practices of her trade and disclosed how “The Goblet of Fire,” the fourth Harry Potter book, will end, to a dying girl. According to the British author, this connection left footprints of her heart.
3. Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp is paid tens of millions for each role he plays and still has the will to share happiness with those less fortunate for free.
The actor is known around the globe for the charismatic role of Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series. Depp brings immense joy to children in various hospitals by taking the pirate costume outside the filming sets.
When your life becomes the waiting time between chemo sessions, seeing a piece of Hollywood narrative come to life on the corridors you ended up hating, is a real life changer.
Many charities benefited the generosity of Johnny Depp and even his recent divorce from Amber Heard send money in that direction. His ex-wife donated the $7 million divorce settlement to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
4. Will Smith
Will Smith touched our hearts in “The Pursuit of Happiness.”
At 48, Will Smith has long reached happiness. He is a legend in Hollywood and has a beautiful family to be proud of (at least if you exclude Jaden). However, he did not stop there and currently fights to make the world a better place for others too.
The former Prince of Bel-Air supports more than 30 charities and causes. He created the “Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation” and, like many other wealthy celebrities made a pledge to donate a significant percent of his total earnings.
Many fans meeting Will in real life scenarios reported that the actor is the same outgoing and down to earth guy we see on screen. Unlike other celebrities that chat for as long as is needed to get a selfie or do an autograph, Will ask people personal questions and sometimes invites them for dinner back at his impressive residence.
5. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga might have a flamboyant persona on stage and a capricious one backstage, but she reveals her soft and natural side once in causal contact with fans.
The slums of Rio de Janeiro are notorious for their violence and poverty, and the place might be the last you want to go if you are a multi-million brand. However, the negative image of Brazil’s most populous city did not scare Gaga from making an unannounced visit.
Photos of her taking high heels off to play soccer with local children made headlines some years ago and showed everyone what a kind-hearted person she is.
Lady Gaga joins the ranks of many celebrities that donated for the relief efforts following natural disasters of recent times like the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2011 Japan earthquake, and Hurricane Sandy. The artist spends a lot of her free time advocating measures to counteract global warming and enforcing safe sex. No one wants a bad romance!
6. Matt Damon
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Matt Damon is the good guy not only in action-packed Hollywood productions but also in real life.
The actor made famous by his role as Jason Bourne did not settle for generous donations and small acts of kindness towards the fans he met in real life. Apart from doing that, Damon engaged in a massive effort to change the face of the Black Continent.
As we speak, Africa’s main problems are the mass killings of civilians by military groups and access to safe drinking water. Damon founded H2O Africa Foundation that later became Water.org, and joined hands with colleagues Brad Pitt and George Clooney to unleash the “Not On Our Watch” project.
We can also praise the actor’s indirect contribution, with the role in “The Martian.” There is a parallel between the subsistence organic crops Damon grew on Mars and his engagement with “Feeding America,” a nationwide effort to offer food to the poor.
7. Dave Grohl
Celebrities often help people by renewing their hopes that everything is going to be just fine in the end.
Exactly that happened when the last two trapped miners in the 2006 Beaconsfield Mine collapse requested music from the Foo Fighters alongside other bare necessities of survival.
Dave Grohl, the frontman of the band, sent them a personalized letter as well as free tickets to his next concerts. We are not sure how much this helped 1 km under the ground, but when the two finally came out, Grohl wrote a song called “Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners” in their honor. He also joined them for the beers he promised earlier.
The former Nirvana drummer was an early supporter of same sex marriages in the US, an element which put him high on the open-minded scale of kind-hearted celebrities.
8. Marilyn Manson
You probably consider Marilyn Manson the last man on the planet fit to label as kind-hearted.
Last time we checked, parents were burning posters and crushing CDs of Marilyn Manson in an attempt to keep their kids away from such a negative and disturbing influence. However, when all that makeup is off, Brian Hugh Warner is as normal as you and me.
Responding to fan letters and granting their wishes is a common thing amongst star, although most of them see it as just a routine to boost their popularity. Back in 2002, Marilyn Manson spent many hours with a cancer patient, bringing him collectibles and engaging in casual chat. The artist was down to earth, and they even played video games.
Although the fan died just three weeks after, he was at peace. The things we are not sure about is if you still have a ticket valid for Heaven once you listen to “Antichrist Superstar” and “Mechanical Animals.”
9. Angelina Jolie
If Mother Teresa had a Hollywood equivalent, that would be Angelina Jolie.
The recently divorced celebrity always had an eye for the less fortunate. The accolades for her humanitarian work are close to surpassing those for her acting career.
It all started while the gracious actress was filming Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001). Direct contact with the awful situation in which Cambodia was at that time triggered a sympathetic response in the heart of the 26-year-old.
Angelina brought down all records regarding traveling in problem area around the world. Whether we are talking about war zones or famine-stricken lands, nothing was too much for the woman that was chosen as the sexiest in the world several times.
Jolie had a particular interest in assisting “forgotten emergencies,” the ones mainstream media failed to report accurately. Jolie went as far as getting a flying license to cargo food supplies in remote villages.
10. John Cena
via Kayfabe News
Wrestling might be a sport where fights are fake, but John Cena’s good deeds are for real.
Make-A-Wish is a wonderful foundation that targets to grant wishes for children that are in terminal conditions or have illnesses severely affecting the quality of their lives. The popular wrestler entered the organization’s hall of fame by granting 500 such wishes.
Cena connects with children in a special way, giving them strength to carry on with their less exciting fights. Seeing the 115 kg of muscles outside the ring and surrounded by children can melt everyone’s heart.
Inviting a seven-years-old kid in the ring on Monday Night Raw, to celebrate his triumph over cancer, was the TV moment when men cried.
11. Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift is fresh and young, and her gorgeous legs are standing on top of an unprecedented wave of popularity.
Most artists hire professional dancers for their videos. However, Taylor Swift made some fans jubilate by inviting them to appear in the cultural cornerstone that was “Shake it Off.”
Social media is the tool that facilitates contact between fans and the 26-year-old diva. She selects the most interesting comments or the people she likes the most and surprises them in various ways. Christmas presents, attending birthdays and bridal showers, or simple one-on-one dates, all of them make Taylor’s fans dream big.
Enjoying the company of fans all day long might seem like a waste of time for a busy celeb, but judging by the fact that she is a superstar mainly due to them, it all makes sense. If you wake up next to Swift, do not worry! She is there to win your heart.
12. Christian Bale
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Bale was a Dark Knight not only in the Batman trilogy but also in real life.
Impressed by the 2012 Aurora shooting, Bale visited survivors in hospital and paid his homage at the cemetery where most of the 12 that died were buried. Scenes with the actor expressing his regret are heartbreaking, and they remind us of how Bruce Wayne starred at his parents’ gravestones.
For those of you that don’t remember, the shooting occurred in a movie theater, during a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.” The movie that grossed more than $1 billion worldwide is packed with violent scenes and might have inspired the killers to proceed with his barbaric act.
Sensing the danger that the media might link the movie too strong with the incident, Bale came forward as a way of limiting the impact and doing good acts of an undeniable decency.
13. Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence stole our hearts not only as the Girl on Fire but also because she is a kind and compassionate persona when the camera is off.
The beloved actress remembered the place she left and Louisville, Kentucky, her hometown, recently received $2 million in donations. The money went to a children’s charity.
Volunteering as a tribute in place of her sister was a big screen extension of the acts of kindness Jennifer does in real life. The actress planned on being a nurse before hitting big in Hollywood.
Many photos of her visiting hospitals and homes for children show that when the lights and camera are off, Jennifer plays no role when attending the needs of those less fortunate.
2015 was the year when Jennifer’s efforts took a more coagulated form. The Jennifer Lawrence Foundation became a reliable sponsor for the Boys & Girls Club of America and the Special Olympics.
14. Gisele Bundchen
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Gisele Bundchen is one of the best paid models, and her incredible catwalk career brought her amongst the richest women in entertainment.
When you are the beauty everyone craves for, you feel the need to give something back to the world. Gisele joined the pledge to donate a significant part of her earnings to those in desperate need.
But every rich people does that. The simple things give the true nature of one’s kind heart, those that cost you time rather than money. The Brazilian model initiated a unique search for beauty in the infamous favelas, enforcing young girls to demand more from life.
Surprise visits from your favorite celeb are often the only things capable of bringing a smile on those sentenced to premature death. Back in 2013, Gisele Bundchen spent the second day of Christmas at the home of a Boston teen battling bone cancer. She and the young girl exchanged make-up and fashion tips, in what was a precious present.
15. Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves taught us incredible moves in the Matrix series.
However, when he is tired of deciding between the red pill and the blue pill, the 52-year-old actor does good things with the multi-million paychecks earned throughout his career.
A great deal with the Matrix producers guaranteed Reeves 15% of the subsequent earnings. Most celebrities would buy one or two supercars and spend the rest partying hard. This was not the case with him. The actor looked back at the men and women that made it all possible for him.
In an unprecedented act of kindness and gratitude, Keanu Reeves donated close to $80 million to the members of the special effects and costume crews. Although some say this is just an urban legend, there are many other clues to Reeves’s inclination for philanthropy work.
Because his sister battled leukemia for many years, the actor grew a particular connection with the community of cancer patients. He set up a charity and supported the Stand Up For Cancer initiative generously.