Versatility is a rarity in Hollywood — Dennis Quaid, however, has made a career of it. From astronauts and English knights to baseball players and twin-chasing winery owners, Dennis has played them all en route to becoming one of the most famous faces in Hollywood. Yet the man behind the characters is often never as he seems, and for Dennis Quaid, there truly is quite more to the beloved actor than meets the eye.
Dennis was born in Houston, Texas in 1954. The son of a real estate agent and an electrician, Dennis always looked up to his older brother, Randy, as a role model.
His parents and the influence of his older brother generated a creative curiosity in Dennis, who started exploring his artistic side at an early age. He studied dance in high school, and his creativity blossomed as he got older.
John Springer Collection / CORBIS / Corbis via Getty Images
Dennis attended the University of Houston, and there he began his formal acting training under famous acting coach Cecil Pickett. Yet after just a few years of school, Dennis dropped out to take his dream to the next level.
Dennis knew there was no future for him in Houston, so he moved to Hollywood to pursue an acting career. He was in his early 20s at the time and was hungry for change. But success wouldn’t come so easily…
20th Century Fox
Hollywood was particularly tough on Dennis, who struggled to find work in L.A in the early going. Nevertheless, Dennis persevered and eventually landed a part in the 1979 film Breaking Away. The role proved to be Dennis’ breakout, establishing him as an exciting new face on the scene.
20th Century Fox
Still, things didn’t get much easier for Dennis right away, and for the next few years he bounced around from one small role to the next. It wasn’t until he starred in the 1983 film, The Right Stuff, that things started to really go his way.
By 1987, Dennis’s career was really heating up. Alongside icons like Cher and Meg Ryan, Dennis starred in big-budget films like The Big Easy, Innerspace, and Suspect, quickly establishing himself as a bona fide star.
Tri-Star Pictures / Getty Images
Yet not only did these films help solidify his career, but Innerspace in particular also introduced Dennis to the beautiful Meg Ryan. The two met on set and became good friends, though it wasn’t long before things got a little more… romantic.
Georges De Keerle / Getty Images
Dennis and Meg quickly became Hollywood’s “it” couple, which is why it came as no surprise when Dennis proposed to Meg only a few months after getting together. Unfortunately, this storybook romance soon took a turn for the worse.
Tom Wargacki / WireImage
Dennis had a bit of a reputation as a party boy. He was notorious for spending his free time drinking and doing drugs, and Meg couldn’t tolerate his habits. She gave him an ultimatum: it was either her, or his party-boy lifestyle.
Warner Brothers / Getty Images
Dennis knew he had to get clean for Meg to take him seriously, so he checked himself into a rehab facility. He fought hard to kick his bad habits, and after a few-week stay, he succeeded.
Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images
Having proved to Meg that he loved her more than drugs and booze, Dennis finally wed his longtime love in 1991. Their incredible romance finally had the ending it deserved, though Dennis wasn’t through making changes just yet.
Warner Brothers / Getty Images
Newly sober and newly married, Dennis recognized that his Hollywood lifestyle was a major contributor to his drug addiction. And so, in 1990, the actor decided to take a self-imposed break from acting to focus on his growing family.
Mitchell Gerber / Corbis / VCG via Getty Images
Yet even with Dennis being more selective with his roles, he and Meg were still looked at as one of Hollywood’s most successful and stable couples. Behind closed doors, however, it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies for the clean and sober star.
Steve Granitz Archive 1 / WireImage
In 2000, Dennis and Meg shocked the world by announcing they were getting divorced after almost ten years of marriage. They cited “irreconcilable differences” and finalized the divorce in July of 2001. Fans everywhere were devastated.
SGranitz / WireImage
Following the split, Dennis decided to throw himself into his work and let everyone in Hollywood know he was back in business. But after such a long hiatus, it wasn’t clear whether Dennis would be able to regain his superstar status.
Gordon Correll / Flickr
Luckily, Dennis picked his projects wisely and climbed right back to the top. With critically acclaimed performances in The Rookie and Traffic, Dennis was once again a household name.
Walt Disney Pictures
Three years later, Dennis met and fell in love with Texas real-estate agent Kimberly Buffington. Things seemed perfect at first, but, just like his relationship with Meg Ryan, it wouldn’t last.
Chris Polk / FilmMagic for LIVEstyle Entertainment
In 2018, Dennis and Kimberly divorced after almost 15 years of marriage. Shortly after, he wed 26-year-old University of Texas PhD student Laura Savoie, though from time to time, Dennis still recalls fond memories of the one who got away.
Terry Wyatt / Getty Images for YouTube
Even now, Dennis refers to his marriage to Meg Ryan as his “most successful” and a key factor that shaped his career. Meg, on the other hand, had a very different path to stardom.
Barry King / Liaison
Most people who saw this Burger King ad in the early 1980s didn’t realize they were staring right at one of the future’s brightest stars. Of course, they wouldn’t have predicted that she’d vanish so suddenly either.
Born Margaret Hyra, the young beauty initially eyed a career in journalism. She studied that field at UConn and NYU until her lucrative part-time job convinced her to seek out a different path.
Meg made a few bucks acting on the side, but her perspective totally shifted when she started booking regular roles. Following a recurring part in the soap opera As the World Turns, she chose to drop out of college with just a semester left.
As the next few years saw Meg bounce around small turns in TV shows, it wasn’t until 1986 that she introduced herself to mainstream audiences. A supporting role in the blockbuster Top Gun suddenly put her in the same echelon as Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer.
In the late 1980s through the ’90s, Meg established herself as queen of the rom-com. She frequently collaborated with Tom Hanks, in classics like Joe vs. the Volcano, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. She’s also behind one of the most iconic moments in film.
Movie buffs may ultimately remember Meg best for When Harry Met Sally. Audiences experienced just as much pleasure as Meg pretended to have in the iconic deli scene. She wasn’t just making headlines for her acting work either.
Meg married fellow actor Dennis Quaid in 1991 after they starred in the movies Innerspace and The D.O.A. together. In this new chapter of her life, she started taking more creative risks.
One of these risks, her foray into voice acting, paid off big time. She headlined Fox’s Anastasia, which won over enough moviegoers to break Disney’s stranglehold on animated flicks. However, not all of Meg’s gambles worked out for her.
Meg came under fire as she transitioned from romantic comedies to serious drama. Not even the additional star power of Diane Keaton and Lisa Kudrow could rescue the drudgery of Hanging Up, the tale of three sisters bonding after their father’s death.
With the new millennium arriving, the flops only continued. Meg floundered with Russell Crowe in Proof of Life, though the harsh reviews weren’t even the worst part. Rumors of an affair with Crowe followed her, tainting her personal and professional reputation.
That drama led to Meg’s split with Dennis in 2001. Meanwhile, her forays into strange new genres continued. Erotic thrillers, boxing flicks — it just didn’t pan out. And what was worse was that some projects that could’ve defined her career totally fizzled out.
Years prior, she memorably passed on the lead in Pretty Woman. While Julia Roberts was eternally grateful, that iconic part could’ve kept up Meg’s marketability through her string of flops. Then, there were big roles that never came to pass.
With the behemoth sitcom How I Met Your Mother about to end, CBS planned a spinoff called How I Met Your Dad. Meg provided the future voice of the main character — played by Greta Gerwig — but the network killed the show after a disappointing pilot.
Not long before, critics called Meg Ryan “America’s Sweetheart.” Then, a few years into the 2000s, she could barely get a guest spot. She didn’t have a husband, so she turned to the other man in her life.
Meg had always been close to her son Jack, who made a name for himself with an appearance in The Hunger Games. When she vented about her lack of opportunities, Jack encouraged her to keep taking risks, particularly one she always had on her mind.
After countless hours of being bossed around in front of the camera, Meg wanted to try her hand at directing. Understandably, she felt nervous before making this leap, so she called up an old friend.
She recruited Tom Hanks for 2016’s Ithaca, in which she also starred. Though not all critics adored it, Meg called it one of her most fulfilling experiences. However, behind-the-scenes developments prevented her from hopping back into the director’s chair.
Meg had too much going on in her personal life — especially with a new daughter! After adopting Daisy a few years earlier, the actress needed to set aside extra time as her daughter came of age. Plus, she had a bit of romance to enjoy as well.
You couldn’t call Meg the Cougar in this relationship because she was dating the legendary John Mellencamp! In 2018, they tied the knot and took some time to enjoy each other’s company before delving into their next big projects.
With so much going on, Meg will doubtlessly return to the silver screen once she’s ready. After all, performers often step away from the camera for a variety of reasons; others, though, don’t have a choice.
Throughout the ’90s, if a movie was billed as a comedy, you better believe Jim Carrey’s name was attached in some way. But as he accrued more and more roles, he eventually took a stand that nearly landed him on the sidelines with Meg.
From a young age, Jim Carrey always knew he wanted to be a comedian. With a knack for impressions and physical comedy, it wasn’t long before Jim was doing stand-up at local comedy clubs in the hope of being discovered.
And discovered he was, as legendary comedian Rodney Dangerfield quickly took a shine to the young joker and signed him as a supporting act. With his star on the rise, Jim decided to take his talents to Hollywood to see if he could make it big.
The Un-Natural Act
It wasn’t long before Jim’s popularity as a comedian took off, and by the early 80s, he was making regular appearances on An Evening at the Improv and The Tonight Show. But everything changed when in 1990, Jim became a regular cast member on the sketch comedy show In Living Color.
In Living Color
Jim and his expressive slapstick style of comedy became a huge hit, and his success on television launched him into starring roles in comedy classics like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Dumb & Dumber, and The Mask. But this was only the beginning for young Jim Carrey.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective / Dumb and Dumber / The Mask
After reprising his role as Ace Ventura in 1995’s Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and starring as the Riddler in Batman Forever, Jim’s price tag reached an astonishing $20 million per film. In fact, Jim was so sought after that he even began to score leading-man roles in dramatic films like The Truman Show.
The Truman Show
Around the turn of the century, Jim began to shy away from comedies in favor of films he considered to be more “highbrow”. With his performance in 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind receiving critical acclaim, it appeared that the comedian’s acting style was beginning to shift — and people were taking notice.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
During an interview that same year, Jim’s acting pursuits were called into question. Although he attributed his transition from goofy comedian to serious actor to the nature of the roles he was given, there was still no denying that Jim’s slapstick days were now behind him…for better or worse.
The latter proved to become a reality when in 2007, Jim starred in the psychological horror film The Number 23, which was both a critical and commercial disaster. While he’d bounce back a year later with the comedy Yes Man, this marked the first moment of decline in the storied actor’s career.
The Number 23
Though in the years to come, we saw him star in films like A Christmas Carol, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and Dumb and Dumber To, Jim’s performances were receiving more and more mixed reviews. Then, in 2013, the floodgate holding Jim’s career in place finally burst.
A Christmas Carol / Mr. Popper’s Penguins / Dumb and Dumber To
Several months prior to the release of the film Kick-Ass 2, Jim took to Twitter to denounce his role in the project. Citing the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the actor withdrew his support for what he believed to be an excessively violent film.
“I did Kick-Ass a month before Sandy Hook,” Jim tweeted, “and now in all good conscience, I cannot support that level of violence. My apologies to others involved with the film. I am not ashamed of it, but recent events have caused a change in my heart.”
Though some praised Jim for sticking to his morals, an overwhelming majority — including Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar and some of Jim’s co-stars — openly rebuked his comments. But this wouldn’t be the last time Jim’s mouth would get him into trouble.
In 2015, the comedian once again took to Twitter to share some of his more controversial beliefs. Not only was Jim not a fan of Kick-Ass, but apparently he was anti-vaccination as well.
“California Government says ‘yes’ to poisoning more children with mercury and aluminum in mandatory vaccines,” Jim declared, in reference to a recently passed California law. “This corporate fascist must be stopped.”
Public outrage was immediate, with many pointing out that mercury is no longer used in vaccines and that refusing to vaccinate children poses a serious risk to public health. Though he backtracked his comments in several follow-up tweets, the labeling of Jim as an anti-science nutcase had already begun.
In fact, Time magazine even published an article titled, “Jim Carrey, Please Shut Up About Vaccines”. As one would expect, this kind of bad publicity only made finding work more difficult for the already struggling actor.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Despite being brought on for an episode of Saturday Night Live, film and television studios seemed to have blacklisted Jim, leaving his 2015 filmography almost completely blank. Things were bad for the former megastar, but what came next was the final nail in his coffin.
Following the suicide of his ex-girlfriend Cathriona White, a lawsuit was brought against Jim by her family and estranged husband. They alleged that Cathriona took her own life using prescription drugs that Jim provided her with just days before her death.
Not only that, but Cathriona’s mother accused Jim of emotionally abusing her daughter, giving her STDs, and using “high-priced Hollywood lawyers” to intimidate her following their breakup. The case is still playing out in court, with Jim fighting desperately to repair his already shattered public image.
In late 2018, Jim made his return to acting in Showtime’s comedy-drama Kidding. While the former Hollywood heavyweight will likely never regain the kind of stardom he achieved early on in his career.
Let’s hope that new opportunities will allow Jim to redeem himself in the eyes of his many fans and admirers. But Carrey certainly isn’t the only celeb to rack up a few tabloid headlines. In fact, Jim seems totally normal after hearing some of these Tom Cruise facts…
1. Over the years, Tom Cruise allegedly allowed Scientology elders to select wives for him to “audition.” High-ranking Scientologists allegedly trotted out a series of women for Cruise to date, including actress Nazanin Boniadi.
2. Tom Cruise adopted two kids, Isabella and Connor, with fellow actor Nicole Kidman and pushed them towards Scientology. They started practicing, but Kidman didn’t, so Scientology labeled her a non-believer. Cruise eventually (allegedly) pressured them to never see her again.
3. In a 2005 interview with Matt Lauer, Tom Cruise railed against prescription drugs, even those used for treating postpartum depression. According to him, depression could be cured with vitamins and exercise. In the same interview, he also rebuked psychiatry, which is a big position for Scientologists.
Today / YouTube
4. Over his decades in the spotlight, Tom Cruise was never afraid to hold journalists accountable for lies, rumors, or stuff they just couldn’t really prove. Whenever someone sullied his character, he jumped at the opportunity to sue. A lawsuit might have been preferable for the next guy…
5. Once, when a reporter squirted Tom Cruise with a water gun mid-interview, he lost it. “Why would you do that?” he asked. “Do you like thinking less of people? Is that it?” Cruise then grabbed the reporter’s hand and reprimanded him as he tried to flee.
6. Tom Cruise once melted hearts and made true romantics swoon when he enthusiastically jumped on Oprah Winfrey’s couch during an interview while professing his love for then-wife Katie Holmes. Some rumors suggested the whole thing was staged and not an authentic outburst of emotion.
7. At a wedding many dubbed to be one of the strangest they had ever attended, Tom Cruise serenaded Katie Holmes with the song “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” which was the tune he once famously sang in Top Gun.
8. It hadn’t even been two weeks after Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes publicly announced they were expecting that photos of Holmes and her baby bump appeared in the tabloids. Rumors swirled that Cruise had Holmes wear a fake belly to quell gossip he was infertile.
9. Thanks to Scientology’s theories, Cruise proposed that his children be born in complete silence. No screaming nor encouragement from nurses was allowed. And so, Suri Cruise entered the world in a room where you could’ve probably heard a pin drop.
katieholmes212 / Instagram
10. An accomplished actress in her own right, Katie Holmes—who became a household name after her role on Dawson’s Creek—seemed to disappear once she married Tom Cruise. Allegedly, he persuaded her to turn down film roles and drop her manager.
Kevin Ballard / Flickr
11. While she was married to Tom Cruise, cameras often caught Katie Holmes with her friend, Jessica Feshbach. As it turned out, Feshbach was an established member of Scientology who once was Cruise’s assistant. Many suspected she was hired to keep an eye on his wife.
12. After his divorce from Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise allegedly imposed rules on his ex-wife, such as barring her from talking to the press or dating anyone else for five years. Coincidentally, just over five years later, photos of Holmes with actor Jaime Foxx surfaced.
13. According to actress (and former Scientologist) Leah Remini, Tom Cruise once erupted in a fit of rage because he wanted to make cookies but couldn’t find any cookie dough. Of all Cruise’s faults, this one might be a bit more understandable ’cause, you know, cookies.
14. Leah Remini dished additional Tom Cruise rumors in her Scientology tell-all. Apparently, Cruise once invited her to play hide-and-seek with Will Smith (among others) at his 7,000-square-foot home. She declined, but he “tagged” her and told her she was “it” anyway.
15. Tom Cruise (pictured here as his character from Tropic Thunder) worked tirelessly to recruit other Hollywood stars to Scientology. Allegedly, he tried bringing Jennifer Lopez, Alec Baldwin, and Margot Robbie into his world of thetans and dianetics.
16. Another ex-Scientologist, Nick Lister, said that Tom Cruise once spotted his 14-year-old niece kissing a boy. Thinking it was unbecoming of her, Cruise exiled the teenager from future family events.
HBO via E! Entertainment
17. According to ex-Scientologist Amy Scobee (pictured), Tom Cruise employed a gaggle of Scientologist minions to keep his former Los Angeles home up and running. He “had to hire an executive housekeeper, a maid, a cook, who all had to be Scientologists.”
18. Over the years, the leader of Scientology, David Miscavige, has been a target for several sinister allegations, including one about his wife who hadn’t been seen publicly since about 2007. Miscavige’s best bud? None other than Tom Cruise.
Church of Scientology via LA Times
19. On the big screen, Tom Cruise has thwarted plenty of evil villains and dastardly foes, but even movie magic hasn’t captured his real-world destiny. As one of Scientology’s leading members, some have alleged he believes he’ll lead humanity in a fight against aliens.
Impact Magazine via LA Times
20. Tom Cruise once starred in a video where he spoke of Scientology in a way that not even the most loving mother would speak of her child. The strangest part? He did so as the Mission: Impossible music played softly in the background…