Follow TV Tropes


History with Celebrity

Go To

"[Emilio and I] have been friends with your father for over 20 years, and he's never asked us for a favor before."

What's one way to quickly tell your audience that your character has an interesting and storied backstory? Have them say they have ties to a specific celebrity (real or fictional). Maybe they were childhood neighbors, they dated in college, or they run in the same elite social circles. No matter the connection, other characters will be impressed at this anecdote.

Sometimes this connection is used to justify a Celebrity Star appearance or cameo by a famous person in the work. Other times, characters will namedrop a celebrity without them showing up, which may raise further questions — how did Alice go paragliding with Brad Pitt?

Contrast Celebrity Lie, where someone falsely claims that they have history with a celebrity. See also Mutually Unequal Relationship when the character and the celebrity see each other in completely different ways. Compare Historical Character's Fictional Relative when the character actually is related to a real-life celebrity and Fictional Fan, Real Celebrity, when a character is connected to a celebrity via fandom rather than history.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • One Filler episode of Case Closed depicted a young Aya Ueto making a promise with a young Shinichi to become professionals at their respective hobbies.note 

    Comic Books 
  • Sensational Wonder Woman: The orderlies taking care of the elderly woman Katie in Ultimate Fangirl think she's just an aged Wonder Woman fangirl, but she turns out to have been friends with Wonder Woman since WWII.

    Films — Live Action 
  • In La Cité de la peur, bodyguard Serge Karamazov says he once had sex with Prince Charles.
  • In The First Wives Club, Annie and Brenda's husbands (along with the latter's mistress) are entirely unaware that Annie and Brenda were college friends with movie star Elise Elliot, which does wonders for their joint scheme against said husbands.
  • Glass Onion:
    • Tech billionaire Miles's island is filled with evidence of his celebrity associations: Banksy designed the dock to his island, he's hawking products from Jared Leto (hard kombucha) and Jeremy Renner (hot sauce), Gillian Flynn wrote his initial murder mystery plan, Philip Glass composed the hourly "dong" noise and Serena Williams is his personal trainer.
    • And Benoit Blanc, the master detective, has Zoom chats with Angela Lansbury, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Natasha Lyonne, and Stephen Sondheim.
  • In the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt special Kimmy vs. The Reverend, it's revealed that Kimmy dated Josh Groban at some point during the Time Skip between this movie and the end of the series. Groban cameos briefly if you make the right choices.
  • The Other Guys. At the end, Gamble says he lost his virginity to Heather Locklear. Hoitz is incredulous that Gamble doesn't realize how impressive that is.
  • Something's Gotta Give. Erica is impressed to learn that Harry was once engaged to Diane Sawyer a long time ago; he describes her as being, "This adorable little lanky girl from Kentucky with the greatest pair of legs. Never understood how she got a job where she never shows them."
  • The Spy Who Dumped Me: Edward Snowden and main character Morgan went to the same summer camp a few years ago and Snowden had a crush on Morgan, which Morgan uses to get Snowden's help decrypting the drive they are trying to protect.
  • There's Something About Mary: Mary once had a boyfriend named "Brett". The ending reveals him to be famous football quarterback Brett Favre.
  • In You've Got Mail, Birdie apparently had a brief fling with Generalissimo Franco.
  • Forrest Gump met Elvis Presley before "The King" became famous and directly inspired his hip swaying dance moves. He also met three American presidents — John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon (and inadvertently blew the whistle on the whole "Watergate" thing).

  • Tinkers: Gilbert the hermit claims he went to school with Nathaniel Hawthorne. Nobody believes this, because Gilbert is a filthy, smelly hermit who lives in the woods, and because if that were true Gilbert would have to be very very old. But after Howard does some DIY Dentistry and yanks Gilbert's last tooth, he receives in the mail a pristine, signed and inscribed, first edition of The Scarlet Letter once given to Gilbert.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock: Liz is shocked to discover that her mother's hometown ex-boyfriend Eddie is, in fact, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, the astronaut.
  • Bones: Angela turns out to be Billy Gibbons' daughter and he has dropped by to see her several times.
  • Captain Kim on Brooklyn Nine-Nine is an inhumanly perfect do-gooder, so of course she dog-sits for the Obamas.
  • Castle: As a best-selling crime novelist, Richard Castle is friends with several real-life members of the profession. Several episodes feature poker games held at his apartment featuring James Patterson, Stephen J. Cannell, and Michael Connelly. He's also apparently on a first-name basis with baseball great Joe Torre, and another episode sees him call Wes Craven for advice when he thinks he's the victim of a curse.
  • Crash Landing on You: Korean drama actress Choi Ji-woo is a friend of Se-ri's, and cameos in Episode 13 as a favor for Joo-mok.
  • Criminal Minds: Rossi is friends with Ringo Starr. Apparently, Rossi's first wife routinely wrote to the Beatles begging them to come perform at a local bar, and Ringo eventually responded and the three kept in touch.
  • Dharma & Greg:
    • Dharma has dated a member of ZZ Top (and knows one of their beards is fake), has "done it with a(n unnamed) senator", and has an ongoing platonic relationship with Bob Dylan, who has sent such musicians as Lyle Lovett and k.d. lang to her for life counseling.
    • Abby is convinced that she was the "Witchy Woman" in the song written by Don Henley for The Eagles.
  • Doctor Who: At this stage, it's probably safe to assume the Doctor's made contact with every famous person on Earth at least once, whether shown in-narrative or mentioned at some point as having happened on an unseen trip, ranging from helping Shakespeare write his sonnets to giving Elvis Presley a mobile. He's also married Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth I.
  • In Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, deuteragonist Chloe is friends with James Van Der Beek, who ends up serving as a major supporting character.
  • Frasier: In "A Tsar Is Born", Frasier and Niles excitedly think an old family heirloom is proof that they are descended from the Romanov dynasty. It turns out the heirloom came to them from their great-great grandmother, a kitchen maid who stole it from a royal princess, escaped to America and worked as a prostitute in New York before marrying their great-great grandfather. They take what solace they can from theorizing that their great-great grandmother might have been the same Russian prostitute who had an affair with Henry James.
  • Gavin & Stacey: The Comic Relief special "{Barry) Islands in the Stream" establishes that Nessa once dated Tom Jones, and that she wrote the song "Sex Bomb", which he then stole and passed off as his own. Nessa is still mad at him, and he joins her and Bryn for the World Championship of Karaoke in an effort to make it up to her.
  • Gilmore Girls: In the revival A Year in the Life, making a guest list for their wedding, Luke casually mentions to Lorelai that he's inviting his fishing buddy Kiefer Sutherland to their wedding.
  • Girls5eva: As a Girl Group in the late '90s and early '00s, the girls mingled with several celebrities. Dawn once hooked up with Derek Jeter.
  • The Good Place: Exaggerated to the point of parody with extremely rich and well-connected socialite Tahani, for whom namedropping her famous friends, acquaintances, and godparents is a recurring Running Gag. For example, she once picked up mortar shells in Vietnam with her godmother Diana, Princess of Wales, was deeply upset by her good friends Taylor Swift and Kanye West's feud over her best friend Beyoncé, is privy to beef between Quvenzhané Wallis and Stephen Hawking, her diary contains forewords by Kylie Minogue and Malala Yousafzai, and she was apparently Baz Luhrmann's muse for a while. While none of these celebrities have made appearances on the show, Michael's lie detector implies that all this is true. Taken to an illogical extreme when she mentions that one of her many godfathers is Big Ben. Yes, the clock tower.
    Tahani: (clearing out her phone contacts) Goodbye, Bono... Goodbye, the Edge... Goodbye, the Edge's real phone number that even Bono doesn't know about...
  • Gossip Girl: Rufus, the father of two of the main characters was a rock star, and this is how his connection with Lisa Loeb (a musician known for her One Hit Wonder "Stay") comes up. Much later in the finale, it is shown that they have got back in touch and are dating, becoming a canon Crack Ship.
  • Hospital Playlist: Ik-Joon's sister asks him if he knows a celebrity because one asked her about him. He confirms he once dated actress Go Ara years ago, but it didn't work out between them. The very next day, Go Ara shows up at the hospital where he works because her father is receiving treatment there, and they reminisce over lunch.
  • Home Improvement had this a few times, most notably with Bob Villa (who Tim had a rivalry with that resulted in Bob making multiple appearances on the show) and the Beach Boys (who were Wilson's cousins).
  • I Dream of Jeannie. Jeannie was the one who formed The '60s singing group Boyce and Hart, after bringing together four young strangers and bestowing musical talent on them so Amanda Bellows could have a group perform at her charity bazaar.
  • Although I Love Lucy had a number of Celebrity Star appearances - particularly during the Hollywood season arc - the only one who really truly had any in-universe connections with the cast was country star Tennessee Ernie Ford, who was a friend of the Ricardo family, and even stayed with them for quite sometime. Very much like a southerner, Ernie considered Lucy and Ricky to be his cousins.
  • Jane the Virgin: Rogelio will frequently namedrop his famous friends, acquaintances, and enemies, some of whom actually appear on the show. Justified due to being one of the world's biggest telenovela stars in-universe. If Rafael's hotel isn't the reason for a Celebrity Star guest appearance, then Rogelio's showbiz career is.
    Rogelio: Celebrity friendships need to be very carefully calibrated. Someone like Paulina [Rubio] you ask a favor every seven years. Someone like Gloria [Estefan], every 20 years. Now, Oprah... you just don't ask favors. Your best bet is to ask Gayle [King].
  • Just Shoot Me!
  • On The Larry Sanders Show, one episode reveals that Paula used to date Brett Butler. This creates an awkward situation when Butler is booked on the Show Within a Show.
  • M*A*S*H. Charles had once dated Audrey Hepburn. After spending a great deal of time trying to top each other's tall tales, Hawkeye and B.J. try to call Charles out on his story, until he produces a photograph of him and Audrey having dinner together, much to their chagrin.note 
  • In Mad About You the Buckmans appear to either have Kevin Bacon as a neighbor or neighbors who count Kevin Bacon as a friend. He shows up as a punchline to a running gag throughout the episode when the Buckmans discuss the spread of news and the six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon.
  • Parodied to an extreme in Monty Python's Flying Circus where a man gets a note from the BBC wanting him in a sketch, and his wife namedrops various neighbors who have gone on to greatness.
    Man: It's from the BBC. They want to know if I want to be in a sketch on telly.... I'm a plumber. I can't act.
    Wife: Oh, you never know till you try. Look at Mrs Brando's son next door. He was mending the fridge when they came and asked him to be The Wild One...I'll look after the cat. Goodness me, Mrs Newman's eldest never worried about the cat when he went off to do The Sweet Bird of Youth.
  • The Odd Couple (1970) eventually became grounds for weekly Celebrity Star appearances (mainly as attempts to keep ratings up), and many of them shared pasts with both Felix and/or Oscar, such as...
    • New York City Ballet dancer Edward Vilella was a friend of Felix's, and Felix tried desperately to get him to help him persuade Oscar into developing an appreciation for ballet.
    • Felix was army buddies with actor and TV personality Richard Dawson, and apparently even discovered him; Felix harbored a grudge toward Dawson for having a successful show business career, as opposed to his career as a photographer.
    • Child star Rodney Allen Rippy turned out to be the owner of the apartment building that Felix and Oscar live in; when Felix asks how a small child comes to own such a big apartment building, he simply responds, "Tax shelter."
    • Opera singer Marilyn Horne was Oscar's coworker whom Felix felt had potential as - what else - an opera singer, though she was initially sigh and insecure about her talent.
  • On Parks and Recreation, R&B singer Ginuwine is Donna's cousin. He shows up in the season 6 finale, and she pushes him to perform at the Unity Concert by threatening to tell embarrassing childhood stories.
  • Sanford and Son. Celebrity Star appearances became very heavy during the show's final season, however, as far as pasts with celebrities are concerned, it was revealed that B.B. King had been going steady with Esther, of all people. As it turns out, Esther eventually left King for her now-husband Woodrow, and it was the loss of Esther that turned King to singing the blues. In fact, upon meeting Woodrow, King presents him with a royalty check in gratitude for essentially launching his career.
    • Fred's buddy Hutch's niece is singer/actress Della Reese.
  • Seinfeld.
    • Each of the characters share some sort of connection with baseball great Keith Hernandez: he and Elaine dated for a brief period of time, Jerry had something of a man crush on him, while Kramer and Newman got spat on by him after they heckled him for losing a big game.
    • An indirect example has a friend of Elaine being friends with actress Marisa Tomei, and after learning that he's her type, George develops an obsession with her. Elaine eventually caves in to George's pleading and fixes the two of them for a meeting, but when Marisa learns George is engaged, she punches him and leaves. Much later, after Susan's death, the first thing George does is call Marisa up and try to ask her out, only to have her hang up on him.
    • Kramer apparently has a history with animal expert Jim Fowler, claiming, "I practically raised his kids." Fowler appears on The Merv Griffin Show set that Kramer set up in his apartment, and Fowler even asks, "Where are the cameras?"
    • Mickey Abbott was once Macaulay Culkin's stand-in.
      Kramer: What's he like?
      Mickey: (fondly) He's a good kid.
    • Kramer has an obsession with Bette Midler, and soon becomes her personal bodyguard after George accidentally injures her, which leads to a big misunderstanding that the public believes was intentional so her understudy in a Broadway music (who was Jerry's Girl of the Week) could steal the spotlight away from her.
    • Kramer also apparently once had his picture taken with former president Gerald Ford, but some untold Noodle Incident prompted him to have Ford airbrushed out of the photo.
  • Monk: Adrian Monk once helped NBC's Bob Costas out with a matter involving a demented cat salesman and thus, in "Mr. Monk Makes the Playoffs", Costas repays the favor with press box tickets. His wife Trudy was a fan of Willie Nelson, and a season 1 episode is about Monk clearing Nelson himself of a murder accusation.
  • Party Down has 80s star Steve Guttenburg as himself as one of the guests.
  • Reba McEntire showed up on One Life to Live in the early 90s to visit her old high school classmate Luna Moody note 
  • Inverted with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will knew the members of Boyz II Men back in Philadelphia, and claims he can get them to sing at baby Nicky's baptism. It turns out that the reason he knows them is because he stole Nathan Morris' girlfriend back in high school, and so they refuse to perform. They end up singing at the baptism after all, however.
  • On Schitt's Creek, the Roses often namedrop celebrities they were acquainted with back when the family was still super-rich, with Alexis seemingly having dated every man in Hollywood.
    Johnny: You know, in the old days, I stood by your side no matter how you wanted to spend the holidays. Whether it was heading to Miami for Puff Daddy's Poolside White Party, or that uncomfortable tree trimming at Arnold and Maria's. How 'bout the night you wore your fur coat to the PETA Christmas Fundraiser?
    Moira: I heard Peter Fundraiser! Bogdanovich loved a mink.
  • In Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Pelia is a Lanthanide and has been around for millennia (spending a lot of it on Earth). At one point, she quotes a friend of hers. A cinephile might recognize the quote as belonging to Cary Grant.
  • Ted Lasso:
    • As evidence of how Rebecca runs in very posh circles, she says she is an annual attendee of Elton John's Christmas parties alongside other celebrities like Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz.
    • After Ted makes a reference to Showgirls, Roy reveals that he actually once dated Gina Gershon. Then in an episode the following season, it's revealed that Coach Beard did as well.
  • Treme frequently has real-life musicians on in guest appearances, and they often seem to be acquainted with the musician characters on the show.
  • What We Dointhe Shadows 2019 has Donal Logue (who played a vampier on screen) acknowledging himself as an actor, but also as someone who played an actual vampire

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Peculiar barber Gunther from Ray Billingsley's syndicated strip Curtis often claims to have rubbed elbows with various celebrities, and has photos to prove his claims. However, someone's thumb always intrudes on the camera lens, obscuring the "celebrity" next to Gunther.

  • Annie: Oliver Warbucks is sort of Vitriolic Best Buds with FDR — while Warbucks is dead set against the New Deal, the two still have an open line to each other, and FDR is on hand to arrest Rooster, Lily, and Miss Hannigan at the Warbucks Mansion in the final scene. note 

    Video Games 

    Visual Novel 
  • The protagonist of Melody played with a number of celebrity musicians as a session musician. This is what piques Melody's interest in his lessons, and eventually, with him.

  • IDGet. IDGet claims to have gotten to know President Barack Obama, and even has a photo to prove it; because of this, he decides this gives him special privilege to suggest new laws to be signed. It turns out it wasn't really Obama, but Fred Armisen impersonating him; IDGet remarks how convincing he was.

    Web Video 
  • Critical Role: In Campaign 3, Orym being a former bodyguard to Campaign 1 character Keyleth of the Air Ashari, who by this time had taken become Voice of the Tempest, leader of the Air Ashari, and a major player in Tal'dorei, is sometimes treated like this.

    Western Animation 
  • Arthur. Celebrity Star appearances have been a Once a Season occurrence since the series' beginning, and while most of them are simply tossed in for Very Special Episodes, some of them do share pasts with the show's characters.
    • Fred (Mister) Rogers is a longtime friend of the Read family - he and Jane grew up in the same neighborhood - and pays them a visit. Both Arthur and D.W. are initially excited about the visit, though Arthur soon becomes a recluse at the thought of his friends and classmates teasing him, since Mister Rogers "is for babies."
    • Francine learns that jazz musician Joshua Redman is her distant uncle, and asks him to perform for a children's show at the library.
    • Mrs. MacGrady is longtime friends with blues singer KoKo Taylor, and frequently hosts jam sessions at her house with her. Later on, fellow blues singer Taj Mahal attends a jam session, implying Mrs. MacGrady also knows him as well.
      • The episode "Elwood City Turns 100" invokes this in an interesting way, as Muffy adds all of the previous Celebrity Stars (up till that point) to attend show musical's big performance, including Art Garfunkel (who sang and narrated "The Ballad of Buster Baxter"), Michele Kwan (who taught Francine a thing or two about sportsmanship), and YoYo Ma (whom D.W. asked to perform at the same children's show at the library that Francine wanted Joshua Redman to perform at).
  • Family Guy:
    • We learn in "Road to Europe" that years ago Lois had a one night stand with Chaim Witz; she discovers that Chaim changed his name to Gene Simmons and is part of KISS. When being interviewed on TV she gives the Spoof Aesop that "you never know who's gonna grow up to be famous, so just make yourself available." Also, when Peter proudly announces "My wife did KISS!", Lois quietly adds "...and J. Geils".
    • One Cutaway Gag had the Griffins being visited by cousin Kathy Griffin.
  • Johnny Bravo:
    • 70s icon Farrah Fawcett turned out to be Little Suzy's cousin, and Johnny is desperate to meet her after he had declined an invitation to Suzy's birthday party.
    • Later, it’s shown that she and Mr. T “go way back!”
    • This eventually comes into play after singer Donny Osmand's initial guest appearance as Johnny's nanny. Upon appearing in the Christmas Special, Donny is thrilled to see Johnny again, much to Johnny's chargrin.
    Suzy: You two know each other?
    Johnny: (Being hugged by Donny) Unfortunately.
  • King of the Hill: One episode has Hank's cousin Dusty Hill (of ZZ Top fame) show up as part of a reality show he's making. Hank is less than pleased, because Dusty and his bandmates have been pranking him for years, which only gets worse because the show's Jerkass producer wants to milk it for ratings. However, after one of the producer's stunts gets Dusty trapped in a burning car and Hank saves his life, Dusty cancels the show and threatens the producer to back off ("You've seen what we do to Hank, and we like him!").
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Applejack was fillyhood friends with her universe's version of Lady Gaga. They'd lost touch and AJ doesn't follow pop music, so she's as surprised as everypony else.
    • Twilight starts the series as a student of Princess Celestia's, the major Big Good in Equestria, and later discovers her beloved childhood foalsitter Cadence was in fact Princess Cadence.
  • In the Christmas Episode of The Penguins of Madagascar "The All Nighter Before Christmas", Santa Claus shows up at the end to help resolve the problem. He casually greets King Julien who says to Marlene "We go way back."
  • The Simpsons:
    • In Season Two's "Blood Feud", Mr. Burns interviews a ghostwriter for his autobiography; the man's first question is whether Burns has ever "slept with anybody famous?" Burns starts to recall Countess Von Zeppelin, before sputtering in outrage and kicking the man out of his office.
    • It's revealed in Season Four's "Krusty Gets Kancelled", Krusty's half-brother is Luke Perry, and he once co-owned a race horse with Bette Midler.
    • In Season Five's "Rosebud", Mister Burns is showed as being a sibling of George Burns.
    • One episode had Lisa reading a celebrity magazine to see what cousin Jessica was up to.
    • In Season Nine's "The Cartridge Family", when buying a gun, the store owner notes that Homer once beat up President Bush (Homer angrily says "former President Bush). He still gets a gun.
  • South Park
    • In "Weight Gain 4000", Garrison lost a high school talent show to Kathy Lee Gifford. He plans to kill her when she comes to town.
    • When the boys organize a benefit concert for Chef in "Chef Aid", they discover that he has helped a lot of rock stars in his career. For example, he inspired Meat Loaf's stage name and introduced Elton John to lyricist Berny Taupin.
  • An early episode of Static Shock reveals that Robert Hawkins (the father of the protagonist and his older sister) is friends with NBA Superstar, Shaquille O'Neil. After Robert's kids question how the two know each other, Shaq and Robert (who Shaq refers to as "Mr. H") explain that when Shaq was around Virgil's age, he was enrolled at a basketball camp where Robert was working as a counselor, and the two have been good friends ever since.


Video Example(s):


Britney Spears & Rogelio

Rogelio was friends with Britney Spears until she embarrassed him on national TV. Though that's not the whole story...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / HistoryWithCelebrity

Media sources: