20 Times People Met Someone Famous And Didn’t Even Realise Who They Were

Published 1 year ago

Sometimes, celebrity encounters can be wholesome, and sometimes they can be awkward. But what if you meet a famous person and don’t even know who they are? It’s weird but it happens a lot more than you can imagine.

In this Quora thread, you can find all sorts of interesting stories in which people explain their accidental encounters with stars they didn’t know. We have compiled some of the answers here, scroll below to read them.

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Image source: Maureen Hughes, Wikipedia

“I worked in a camera shop in my early years and someone came in to pick up a camera which was being repaired. I asked his name. It was Paul McCartney. He very politely gave me his name. No attitude whatsoever. I met him quite a few times after that and he was never other than a nice, genuine person.”


Image source: Dodi Zaku

“I dated Jennifer Lawrence in 2008. I met her at a yoga class in Santa Monica. I had no idea who she was when I met her. I just thought she was cute and I started talking to her. She said I shouldn’t watch a lot of TV, and that she was on a crappy show on TBS. She ended up giving me a ride home from the class, and then I asked for her number. We went out a couple more times after that, but soon I learned that she was only 17 at the time. But it was cool to get to know her anyway. I lost touch with her after a few months since her career was starting to take off. Now it’s kind of a trip when I see her in movies.”


Image source: Ed McManus, Unknown author

“No, but I remember hearing Pres. George H.W. Bush tell a story about vising an old folks home and chatting with a pleasant older lady in a wheel chair. After a while he asked her, “Do you know who I am?” She replied, “Ask at the desk. They’ll know.””


Image source: Roving Mauler, Scott Penner

“A friend of mine told me about the time he saw Prince go through the airport TSA.

Prince was travelling with a gorgeous model. He was also wearing thigh high purple boots and purple cape type thing.

Prince had the special security stamp on his ticket that meant he had to get pulled aside and inspected.

The TSA agent was a 70 year old ex army vet. He rolled his eyes and said, “Step this way sir. And remove your boots.”

Prince unzipped his thigh highs and got the full pat down, all while his super model girlfriend looked on.

When he left everyone was starstruck, asking the old man “Do you know who that was?”

The old man replied, “Looked like a real fruit cake to me.”

RIP Prince.”


Image source: Mark “Stone” Atherstone, 2pac

“Back in about 1996, I was vacationing in Cabo San Lucas area. I got up early in the morning to go for a walk and went into town, which was largely deserted.

As I was walking by some different bars and restaurants, I heard music playing and was curious about what was going on, so I walked into the building.

Went I walked in, I looked further and saw about 20–30 really beautiful African American ladies that were dressed to the nines.

About that time, a young AA man walked out of the area and smiled at me and said “hello”. I said hello back and asked him what was going on with the music and girls…

He said, “we’re shooting a video for MTV”. I told him that I thought that was really awesome and that I was happy for his success. Then I asked him if minded me asking for his name. He said, not at all…

When he gave me his name, I thought he said 6-pack… I was embarrassed and admitted to him that I wasn’t familiar with his music. He said that it was ok and then he wished me good luck and an enjoyable stay during my vacation and left.

He was super nice, squared away and pleasant. Looking back, it kills me that I wasn’t able to get a selfie with him because I wasn’t familiar with his music. But I’ll never forget what a pleasant experience it was to chat with him. I wish he was still with us.

RIP Tupac”


Image source: Rajyashree Tripathi, John Mathew Smith

“Yes, but not in so many words.

One early Saturday morning, I took our German Shepherd with me to get gas in the car and pick up a few picnic essentials while my husband was still asleep.

As I pulled up, I saw a fancy car and a couple of folks surrounding the driver, who was handing them over something. In a few minutes, they all left. As I was about to get back in my car, he walked up to me, and we exchanged trivial pleasantries. He complimented my dog for his looks, and asked: “Want my autograph?” Seriously!

“Only if you want mine” I responded.

He pulled a calling card from his pocket, asked for my name, wrote something on the back, and handed it over back to me. Without looking I put it on the dashboard

I gave him a napkin, with my name written on it, and we bid farewell.

At breakfast, I told my husband about my encounter with this chap and gave him the card.

“My God! Are you crazy… you met him and didn’t even recognize him?”

With “Who HE?” look on my face, I stared at my husband.

The card was from Jamieson’s, the trendy bar and restaurant in the same block as our office, and the owner himself Sugar Ray Leonard … the boxing champion, had signed and written. on the back of the card:

“Admit Raji, husband and 10 guests for lunch/dinner/drinks. Carryout for German Shepherd.“”


Image source: Julie Hyde, Wikipedia

“I was getting my hair cut at a Fantastic Sams in a small town in Santa Barbara County in CA. The girl who cuts my hair is originally from Mexico and obviously must not ever have listened to rock music. She told me that this man came in to have his hair cut. He was very nice she said. After he paid, he went outside and returned with a guitar. He started singing to her. After he left, she couldn’t figure out what the big fuss about him was. Her co-worker asked her if she knew who he was. In her heavy accent she said she was told he was someone very famous. “Hees name is Meek Yagger”. That would be Mick Jagger. She said she was very embarrassed that he sang to her in front of her coworkers. He didn’t ask her “Do you know who I am” but I think he could tell she didn’t know and it was likely a rare moment for him. Just a guess on that though.”


Image source: Jim Hong

“My wife did. We were staying in Vancouver, BC for a short vacay at a nice hotel where a lot of celebrities apparently stay when they’re filming. She went down to the hotel gym and rode the elevator up with Jeff Goldblum.

She knew he was some actor, but all she managed to say was, “You’re the guy from the Apple commercials, right?” (this dates the encounter). He said, “Yes, I am.” And she said that her husband (me) would be frustrated that she didn’t get a name (this whole time she’s showing him around the hotel gym). To which he resopnds, “Jeff…….” and then she says, “Yeah, sorry…….” And then he tells her the full name.

The kicker to this story is that she comes back up to the room after her workout and says to me, “I met a celebrity in the gym!” I’m like, “ok, cool. Who was it?” And then says, “Jeff GOLDMAN.” I’m like, “Who?” “JEFF GOLDMAN.” I’m all, “Yeah, I don’t know who that is.” And then she says, “The Apple commercial guy!” And then I’m like, “You mean JEFF GOLDBLUM.” “YES! THAT’S RIGHT!”



Image source:  Elizabeth Barnett

“When I was 8 (1985), I was diagnosed with acute intermittent porphyria, and spent a couple months in Children’s Hospital at Stanford the next year.

We were very poor, but had pretty good insurance (CHAMPUS — ,for military dependents, dad was Air Force) but it paid slooooooowly. And didn’t pay everything. Since I was heathy looking, and when not having an acute attack could do most anything any other nine-year-old could do (it took several months from being first diagnosed to CHS admission) they offered to have me in a commercial to pay a large portion of what CHAMPUS wouldn’t.

So, I’m in this studio set up like a test room, I’m going to be walking on a treadmill with a breathing mask thing, and in walks this pretty lady wearing the same jelly bracelets I’m wearing, in the same way. And I get VERY excited — she’s the first adult I’d ever seen wear them that way. We talk about the bracelets, how best to wear them, then she asked, “What are you in in for?” and listened patiently as I tried to explain what porphyria was, what it did, and how much it hurt. She cried a bit, I hugged her, the director comes in and I’m expecting her to leave — I thought she was just a babysitter…

The lady doesn’t leave. I say something like, “Oh, are you another patient?“

She looks very amused. “They didn’t tell you who I am? You’re probably a little young to recognize me.”

Maria Osmond. She was SERIOUSLY nice to a little kid in a lot of pain. She actually was a pen pal for the rest of the time I was in the hospital.”


Image source: Bruce Gutman, Wikipedia

In college, I worked in the electronics department at Macy’s.

This dude with long hair came in one day and asked me about the data cable for either the Sharp Wizard or Casio Boss. For those who aren’t old, these were electronic organizers that were the predecessors to the Palm Pilot, iPhone, etc.

It was on sale, but he asked me if it was cheaper anywhere else. I replied that I didn’t know. He decided to buy it.

While I was ringing him up, he asked “do you know who I am?”

I turned to look at this dude with long blonde hair and replied “no.”

“You really don’t know who I am?”


“I’m Michael Bolton.”


He looked completely shocked. “You don’t know me?”

“I have no idea.”

“What kind of music do you listen to?”

“College radio, alternative, punk.”

“Like 10,000 Maniacs?”

“No, but sure.”

“What planet are you from?”


“Do you know ‘Sitting on the Dock of the Bay’?”

“You aren’t Otis Redding.”


We talked some more and he started asking questions about computers. I mentioned that my friend Randy worked at a computer store that was just a couple miles away.

About two hours later, Randy called me laughing hysterically. Randy was working in the back room and one of the sales guys was super excited and came running back:

“Randy, Randy, Michael Bolton is here and he wants to speak with you.”



Image source: Jean Thiebaux

“I was working as a barman in Rockey street 1994. I had finished my shift and had gone to the bar next door called Rockerfellas for a beer. I walked in, walked pass this very drunk English guy, went inside and sat down next to his 2 mates. Struck up conversation. They told me they were English, I told them I was French, blah blah blah.. I noticed a group of very attractive ladies looking at them and I informed them but they seemed oblivious to it. The one guy told me they were their groupies. I said “Really? Are you in a band?”.. “Yes, Depeche Mode, maybe you’ve heard of us?” Was the answer… FACEPALM… I was rather embarrassed, started asking stupid questions… But I did get an autograph from them. And just squirmed away..

The epic thing was going home. My GF always knew that I’d have a couple of beers after work but never really stayed up that late. So when when I got home.. “I guess you’ve been pissing it up with your drunken friends?” , “Yes, Depeche Mode, with a slight grin on my face. She didn’t believe me until I gave her the autograph and she asked my drunken friends that had seen me sit with Martin and Alan. Dave was outside drinking with other ppl.”


Image source: Greg Page

“I work in media production, and and in 2009 we were producing a corporate video for the big Walmart Annual Meeting. They always bring in a big star to host, and that year it was Ben Stiller. So Ben rolls into Fayetteville Arkansas with a modest entourage, and we quickly whisk him out to the local Walmart where we are shooting a little comic piece, with Ben playing a cashier. It was a very loose setup, and we’re moving fast, since the big show was the next morning and we had to shoot and edit this piece before we slept that night. We had grips and makeup people posing as customers, and Ben asked one of his traveling companions, an older guy named Jeff to join the fun and man the cash register behind him. Jeff suited up in a Walmart shirt, and we got the shots. As we started to wrap, the production assistant made the rounds and got signed releases from everyone that appeared on camera. She brought back the release from Ben’s friend Jeff The Cashier with her jaw practically dragging on the floor. It was filled out correctly and completely and signed…..Jeffery Katzenberg. We were all big film buffs and we worked in the industry, but you just don’t expect to see someone of that stature traveling under the radar, so NONE of the crew had recognized him. You can clearly see Mr. Katzenberg working the register behind Ben in this old picture.”


Image source: Kelly Evans, Reagan White House Photographs

“A few years back we took my horse mad daughter to the Royal Windsor horse show for her 8th birthday.

We spent the morning watching various showing classes, watching army & police horses strut their stuff much to the enjoyment of my daughter.

I noticed one of the showing classes had a little more audience than most so we wandered over.

As we got closer I saw standing watching was Queen Elizabeth, Prince Andrew & her daughter Princess Anne. All three were dressed down for want of a better description wearing wax jackets, Wellington boots with both the Queen of UK & her daughter Princess Anne wearing their typical country headscarf. It turns out one of the Queens own bred horses was in said showing class.

I leaned down to my daughter & discreetly pointed out “look over there babe, that is the Queen. Go and stand a little closer so I can get a picture”. My daughter looked to where I was pointing rolled her eyes and said in her loudest voice “what that old lady? Don’t be silly mum that’s not the Queen! She isn’t even wearing a crown”!

needless to say we didn’t get our picture but we do still laugh about it to this day.

My daughter is now 22, still horse mad with 4 horses of her own and half way through a masters degree training to be an veterinarian equine physio.”


Image source: Alex Capio

“Yes indeed, I was at an atm waiting with a few people in an orderly line. When a luxury car pulls up behind and the driver leaves the car running. Out pops out a scary looking lady with large shades. She some how stumbles towards the front of the line and says, “excuse me, I’m very important and famous, you all don’t mind me skipping to the front?” No one answered and some even looked away ignoring her. I was second to last and she comes up to me. Takes her shades off and says, “you look like a gentlemen, you know who I am, may I just get some quick cash…” I politely replied, “No idea who you are mam, but I’d be no gentleman if I’d let you go in front of all these people patiently waiting.” She storms off and gets back in her lux car then proceeds to flip me off.

The lady behind me then asks, “ How do you feel being flipped off by Courtney Love?” I replied, “Like a gentleman.””


Image source: Nicole Shankar, Toglenn

“Brad Pitt and I happened to catch the same elevator. His appearance was different than I had remembered from Ocean’s Eleven. He said “hello” and asked how my day was going and we made small talk about the weather. We got off on the same floor and he wished me a nice day.

Awkwardly enough, we were headed the same direction, got tied up by security, and walked up on some women self detonating. Shortly after, a few paparazzi ran up and began snapping pictures. I immediately covered my face because I’ve had groups of people behave like that (from China/Korea/Japan) by walking up to me, touch my hair, and take pictures without asking. I knew I was absolutely not important and was puzzled by the situation. I just don’t understand the unnecessary hype of “celebrity gossip.” Being nosy and making small talk, I asked security what was going on as Mr. Pitt stood there. The guy didn’t respond and seemed taken aback by the question.

I heard some more women sprinting up to Mr. Pitt and screaming his name. He ignored them, looked at me and said “have a nice day” (fist bump included), and darted off. After Mr. Pitt left I was asked if I “knew who that man was” and I said “not at first.” Offended, the women huffed away and the scene became peaceful.

*I live in L.A. Maybe it’s a big deal if you don’t live where “famous folk” live, but I don’t get the hype. If Mr. Pitt opened his wallet and handed me $1000 risk-free, maybe I would detonate. Until then, I’ll mind my own business.”


Image source: Michael Walrath

“Not EXACTLY… but fun memory.

I was studying in the park at Washington Square in Manhattan. Two GORGEOUS women, one a blonde and the other a super tall black woman, just stunning and OBVIOUSLY both models or something, walk by pushing a baby stroller and sit in the grass nearby.

I notice everyone staring at them and all I can think is “damn, people suck, just gawking at these two women who are just minding their business playing with their baby.” At one point a guy passes on his bike, nearly crashes, stops and literally takes a picture. WTF? Anyway…

The blonde starts walking over to where I am smoking a cigarette and studying my flashcards. She asks if she can borrow my light, and sits on the wall next to me. I am friendly of course, wanted SO bad to chat with her, but didn’t want to join the ranks of these other clowns that I’m SURE she saw gawking, that day and every day.

She does this a couple times over an hour and a half or so, obviously getting away from the baby to smoke, so we chat a little here and there but I leave it at that. On the way home, I’m sitting across from my roommate on the subway, telling her about this crazy attractive blonde I “sort of” met in the park, laughing a little wondering who she was. Then my roommate opened the paper and there she was, a full spread on the back of the paper. Cameron Diaz! I didn’t have a clue, lol.”


Image source:  Maureen Shaner, Allan Warren

“Back in the early sixties in England, I was a receptionist in a high end car showroom. One day a gentleman strode up to my desk and I greeted him with a smile and said “Good morning.” He didn’t return my greeting but said in a very terse manner. “I want to see Mr. Xx” Mr. Xxx was the sales manager for the Aston Martin. His rudeness irked me so I smiled at him and asked for his name, knowing full well who he was. He said. “Don’t you know who I am?” He was obviously cross that I didn’t recognize him, smile got wider as I told him I had no idea who he was. “I am Peter Sellers.” “Do you spell that with a C or an S?” I asked as l picked up the phone to ring Mr. Xx. Mr Sellers didn’t reply.”


Image source: Hina Khan-Mukhtar, Paramount Pictures

“Oh, I have the best response to this question! This actually happened to my uncle, not me, in the late 1970s. It’s become a legendary story in our family, and I’m thrilled to share the anecdote here now…

My uncle worked for PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) in NY and would often hop on free flights to CA (on other airlines) to visit us whenever the mood struck him. It was one of the perks of working in the air travel industry, but the caveat was that he could only fly stand-by if there was actually an empty seat available; no one was ever bumped in order to make room for him.

One day he managed to secure a seat for himself in first class. As he settled in and got comfortable, he noticed that his young, handsome seat-mate was attracting a lot of attention from the flight attendants and from other passengers. People were asking for his autograph, shaking his hand, complimenting him, smiling at him. My uncle had no idea who he was.

He finally decided to just ask him: “Excuse me, are you someone special? Why does everyone seem to know you?”

The gentleman informed him that he was an actor who had recently been in a film that had done very well. He told my uncle his name and then asked him, “Now do you recognize me?”

My uncle told him, “Nope. I only watch Indian movies. Do you know who Amitabh Bachchan is?” (Amitabh was – and still is – the biggest actor in Bollywood with a worldwide following. To this day, we crack up at my uncle’s response.)

The actor answered in the negative, and my uncle gushed, “Oh, he’s the best! You should watch his movies! You will love them!” And then, intrigued, he pushed further: “So are you famous?”

The fellow passenger smiled and responded, “Tell you what. When we land in Los Angeles, you tell me if you think I’m famous or not.”

When my uncle saw how excitedly people at LAX reacted upon seeing the celebrity who disembarked his flight with him, he became convinced that the man was indeed famous.

So who was the man?

None other than John Travolta.

And his movie that had recently been released to great acclaim?


(By the way, my uncle STILL has not seen any of John Travolta’s movies, even though he will loudly and proudly repeat this story to anyone who will listen – he just gets a real kick out of seeing people’s reactions when he reveals whom he was trying to convince to become a fan of Bollywood King Amitabh Bachchan! Lol!)”


Image source: Douglas Boulter

“Well, I met one celebrity, and he didn’t quite say, “Do you know who I am?” Instead he just introduced himself.

It was in the early 1960s and my father had driven 300 miles in the winter to see this man perform in the nearest “big” city to our small town. He had brought my brother and me with him. At the city, we stopped to get something to eat in a diner and, lo and behold, the man was there. My father, never shy, went over and asked him to say hello to my brother and myself.

So he came over and said, “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.”

My brother and I were quite shy at that age, and couldn’t look him in the eye. He reached into his pockets and pulled out two guitar strings and gave one to my brother and one to me.

So, I never got the chance to say I didn’t know who he was — he pre-empted that possibility. That’s my one fleeting moment of a meeting with celebrity.”


Image source: Marilyn Hagar

“I was about 18 working at a store in Carmel Ca. This was 30 years ago. A guy came in brought his stuff up to the counter to check out. I asked for ID when he gave me his credit card to pay and I said thank you, he said “you don’t know who I am do you?” I said no sorry. I read his name again, Sean Connery, went home and told my mom and she freaked out! She had a huge crush on him! I had no idea. He was a good looking older man tho.”

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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celebrity encounters, interesting celebrity encounter, people having no clue about celebrities they met, people meeting celebrities without knowing them, people not knowing celebrities
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