Can You Guess the State Based On Its Most Famous Celebrity?
The states that raised the stars.
Though Hollywood is home to many celebrities, the star-studded town is not usually their first home. Rather, most A-list celebrities are born and raised in much less glamorous parts of America. Do you know which superstar is from your home state and might have walked the same streets you did? We've rounded up the most famous celebrity with ties to each of the 50 states to put your knowledge to the test.
Where was Betty White born?
Hint: The beloved actress shares a home state with the birthplace of the world's first skyscraper.
While her family moved her to Los Angeles at any early age, Betty White was actually born in Oak Park, Illinois. The actress is so beloved in her home state that Illinois natives are currently questioning why White hasn't already been honored in her birthplace.
Where is Pharrell Williams from?
Hint: The "Happy" singer shares his home state with the very first English settlement.
Pharrell Williams grew up in Virginia Beach—and while the singer no longer resides there, his presence is felt just the same. Not only did Virginia Beach's mayor give Williams a key to the city in 2014, but he also declared June 7 "Pharrell Williams Day" in the state of Virginia.
Where did Meryl Streep grow up?
Hint: This actress's home state is also the birthplace of the Miss America pageant.
Meryl Streep grew up in Summit, New Jersey, before moving to Bernardsville with her family and becoming a high school cheerleader. And today, her love for New Jersey is still strong—even if outsiders don't see the appeal.
"Good that they think that [New Jersey's] not nice," she said at the 2018 Montclair Film Festival. "So, stay away. It was great to grow up here. It was just fantastic."
Which state does Bill Clinton call home?
Bill Clinton was raised in Hot Springs, Arkansas—and while he moved out of the state to complete his higher education, he returned home to teach law at the University of Arkansas. Of course, the politician eventually became governor of the state for a total of five terms, and later took on the most important job of all: president of the United States.
Which state is Ariana Grande from?
Hint: This pop singer is quite a big fan of the little mouse who also calls her state home.
Pop star Ariana Grande hails from Boca Raton, Florida, where she performed locally with the Fort Lauderdale Children's Theater, appearing in shows like Beauty and the Beast and The Wizard of Oz. Her TV debut, in fact, occurred when she sang the national anthem at a televised Florida Panthers' hockey game.
Where was Kanye West born?
Hint: The rapper was born in a peachy state.
While he was raised in Chicago, rapper Kanye West was actually born in Atlanta, Georgia, where his father was one of the first black photojournalists at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. And though he moved when he was only three years old, the state still acknowledges their ties to West; one Georgia State University professor even created a course featured entirely around the rapper!
Where was Serena Williams born?
Hint: This tennis pro shares a home state with the car capital of the world.
Though Serena Williams spent most of her childhood in California's Compton area—a place where her family moved so her and sister Venus Williams could train for their future tennis careers—the pro was actually born in Saginaw, Michigan.
Where does Bob Barker call home?
Hint: The The Price Is Right host's home state is known for its "great places" and "great faces."
Though Bob Barker was born in Washington state, he spent most of his younger years on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Mission, South Dakota, where his mother was a teacher. South Dakota even honored the host's upbringing by inducting him into the South Dakota Hall of Fame.
Which state was Janet Jackson born in?
Hint: The superstar's home state is also home to the covered bridge capital of the world.
While she eventually moved to Los Angeles with her star-studded family, superstar Janet Jackson was actually born in Gary, Indiana. Since her brother Michael's death in 2009, the midwestern city has become a tourist attraction, where fans flock to visit the Jacksons' childhood home. (Janet even made a visit in 2017!)
Where is John Mayer from?
Hint: This state is also home to the oldest continuously published newspaper in the United States.
Musician John Mayer was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and raised in Fairfield. According to the Connecticut Post, Mayer first started taking lessons at Fairfield's Professional Music Center, and nowadays, he credits this exploration of his musical talent for helping him find his identity.
Where was John Goodman raised?
Hint: Home to over 6,000 caves, this star's home state is also known as the "Cave State."
Roseanne star John Goodman was born in Affton, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. And while the actor left to pursue a Hollywood career, he credits his hometown as one of the things that helped shape him into the person and artist he is.
"Being from St. Louis has definitely molded me," the actor told Explore St. Louis. "St. Louis is always in my heart. It is a great place to come back to. It was a great place to grow up—the best in the world. I do miss it."
Where is Demi Moore from?
Hint: The actress's home state's flag features the colors of Spain—the country that first colonized it.
Though Demi Moore moved all around the world throughout her childhood, the star was actually born in Roswell, New Mexico. She recently returned to her birthplace in 2018 to film the movie Corporate Animals.
Which state was Michael Jordan raised in?
Hint: This state is also the birthplace of the beloved doughnut franchise, Krispy Kreme.
Basketball legend Michael Jordan may have been born in New York, but he spent most of his younger years in Wilmington, North Carolina. His home state loyalty proved strong when he chose to play for the University of North Carolina, and he's even given back monetarily throughout the years, donating to Carolina's hurricane relief in 2018 and to his old high school in 2019.
Where was Jennifer Lawrence born?
Hint: It's also home to one of the most popular horse races in the country.
While she's now a big name in Hollywood, Jennifer Lawrence actually grew up in the small town of Indian Hills, Kentucky. According to her older brother, Ben, she's still "a Louisvillian at heart," which is evident by the overwhelming $2 million she donated to Kentucky's Kosair Children's Hospital in 2016.
Where was Mark Ruffalo born?
Hint: The Hulk's home state is also home to the dairy capital of the United States.
A-lister Mark Ruffalo was born and raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin. And, while he moved to Virginia with his family during his high school years, it appears Ruffalo is still beloved by Wisconsin natives, seeing as there was a Facebook campaign in 2015 to elect the actor as governor of the state. (Governor Hulk does have a ring to it…)
Where is Oprah Winfrey from?
Hint: This media mogul is from the most notoriously hard-to-spell state.
While Oprah Winfrey is a household name nowadays, the star actually grew up on a small farm in Kosciusko, Mississippi—an upbringing that she credits for how she lives her life now.
"I was raised on a tiny farm in Kosciusko, Mississippi, by my grandmother, and she grew everything. Never went to town for food. Other than baking powder, baking soda, and maybe some yeast, we bought nothing," Winfrey wrote on her website in 2013. "Whatever our dreams, ideas, or projects, we plant a seed, nurture it—and then reap the fruits of our labors. That lesson was there for the taking way back in Mississippi."
Where did Jimmy Kimmel grow up?
Hint: This late night host's home state is also home to the infamous Area 51.
When he was just a boy, Jimmy Kimmel and his family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. There, he started his entertainment career while still in high school by working as a radio station DJ for the University of Nevada.
"The first thing I ever did in any kind of show business was a college radio show on Sunday nights in Las Vegas at KUNV. I was in high school at the time," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "And I would look in the telephone book and I'd find people who seemed like interesting characters and then I would goof on them."
Where is John Legend from?
Hint: This music icon's home state has the only non-rectangular flag in the United States.
Grammy winner John Legend is an international success, and he owes it all to one place: his hometown of Springfield, Ohio. "I wouldn't be here without Springfield," he said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the John Legend Theater, opened in Springfield in 2016. "I want to extend the same opportunities to our young people."
Where does Miley Cyrus hail from?
Hint: Not only is this state home to the former Disney star, but it's also where Elvis Presley's enormous estate is.
While these days she's singing about "Malibu," this superstar actually got her start in Franklin, Tennessee. And, though she has planted Hollywood roots throughout the years, Miley Cyrus bought a $5.8 million Franklin farmhouse in 2017, further solidifying her connection to the town.
Where does Harrison Ford call home?
Hint: The veteran actor lives in the country's least populous state.
While Harrison Ford was born and raised in Illinois, his later years have been spent in the state of Wyoming. In fact, Ford currently owns an 800-acre ranch in Jackson, Wyoming—and as a conservation activist, the actor even donated 389 acres of his Wyoming land to the Jackson Hole Land Trust.
Where is Lionel Richie from?
Hint: You could say that this singer's birth state is a "sweet home."
Legendary musician Lionel Richie was born and raised in Tuskegee, Alabama. Though he enrolled in Tuskegee Institute for a period, the crooner eventually dropped out to pursue his music dreams as a member of The Commodores and later as a solo artist. But it was in Tuskegee that the The Commodores recored their hit song, "Brick House."
Where was Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson born?
Hint: The Rock's home state has the largest population in the country.
Not every Hollywood hotshot is actually from California—but as it turns out, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is. The muscular movie star was born and raised in Hayward, California—by a family of wrestlers, in fact.
Where is Jada Pinkett Smith from?
Hint: This actress shares a birthplace with America's first major railroad station.
Jada Pinkett Smith was born in Baltimore, Maryland, where she attended the Baltimore School for the Arts. Her and husband, Will Smith, even donated $1 million to Pinkett Smith's alma mater in 2006 for renovations and expansions.
Where is Mark Wahlberg from?
Hint: This revolutionary state is the birthplace of doughnut empire Dunkin' Donuts.
The Walhberg family is Boston-based—from the neighborhood of Dorchester, more precisely—and Mark Wahlberg doesn't go out of his way to hide it. However, the actor admits that growing up, he wasn't exactly considered the perfect citizen.
"Growing up, I think I was arrested 20-odd times by the Boston police," the actor told Redbook magazine. "The good news is that I've been able to use those experiences in a lot of my roles, and that has been a blessing."
Which state is Tonya Harding from?
Hint: The ice skater's home state has a particularly famous trail.
Infamous skater Tonya Harding grew up in Portland, Oregon, where she learned how to skate at just three years old. And while her career has been rocky to say the least, there's no denying the impact she's had on her home state. Portland Monthly even referred to Harding as "Oregon's most famous solo athlete, ever" in 2017.
Where did Steve Harvey grow up?
Hint: Harvey's home state's motto is "Mountaineers Are Always Free."
While his family eventually moved to Ohio, Family Feud host Steve Harvey was born in Welch, West Virginia. And even after his family's relocation, Harvey still spent summers on his grandfather's farm in West Virginia, where he says he truly "grew up."
"A farmer really understands more than most people will ever achieve in their life," Harvey said, while speaking on his upbringing. "I really respect farmers and their commitment."
Which state is Aaron Paul from?
Hint: The Breaking Bad star probably ate a lot of potatoes throughout his childhood.
Actor Aaron Paul was raised in Emmett, Idaho. And while he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams of acting after graduating from high school in Boise, he still loves his home state all the same.
"I love that Idaho is this sort of kept secret," he told Men's Journal. "I kind of took it for granted when I was being raised there. It was just a daily occurrence to be cliff jumping and floating down rivers… the more time I spend away from there, the more I miss it."
Where was Lynda Carter born?
Hint: Wonder Woman hails from the same state that produces the most copper in the nation.
Lynda Carter was born in Phoenix, Arizona—and before she dropped out of college in the state to pursue an entertainment career, the actress made plenty of waves. In the early '70s she was named both Miss Phoenix and Miss Arizona, and she eventually went on to represent her state in Miss World USA.
Where was Bill Gates born?
Hint: This legend shares a birthplace with another legend: the coffee franchise Starbucks.
Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. While he left the state to attend Harvard University, Gates eventually returned to Washington—and he even brought the Microsoft headquarters with him. Nowadays, the businessman lives in Medina, Washington, in a massive mansion valued at $127 million.
Which state was Mandy Moore born in?
Hint: This Hollywood starlet's birthplace was the first state to declare its independence from England.
While Mandy Moore's family relocated to Florida when she was still young, the actress was actually born in Nashua, New Hampshire. Despite not spending much time there as a kid, Moore still acknowledges her birth state to this day—like in this tweet from 2018.
Which state was Tim Allen born in?
Hint: This actor's home state is the only state to ever turn down an opportunity to host the Olympics (in 1976!).
Tim Allen was born and raised in Denver, Colorado—but following a motor accident that killed his father, Allen's family relocated to Michigan when he was still just a teen. It's clear that Allen still has a lot of love for his first home state, however, seeing as he and his now-wife had a Colorado wedding in 2006.
Where is Ellen DeGeneres from?
Hint: This beloved comedian's home state is also known for beignets and Mardi Gras.
Before moving to Texas when she was 16, Ellen DeGeneres grew up in Metairie, Louisiana. DeGeneres returned back to her home state to attend the University of New Orleans, but eventually dropped out to pursue a stand-up career. Her love for Louisiana hasn't dropped, however, as she continues to support and give back to the state unconditionally.
Where is Jennifer Lopez from?
Hint: She's still Jenny from this Block—which is widely recognized as the birthplace of hip-hop music.
Jennifer Lopez has never been quiet about her New York upbringing in the Castle Hill neighborhood of the Bronx. Even though she's made it big time in Hollywood, she still returns to the neighborhood often, like in her 2014 "Same Girl" music video.
Which state does Stephen Colbert call home?
Hint: This late night host's home state is also known as "The Palmetto State."
While he was born in the nation's capital, Stephen Colbert grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. And though he's since moved on, the late night host still gives back to the state he called home. In 2015, for instance, Colbert helped raise $800,000 in order to fund every South Carolina teacher's grant request on the crowd-funding site Donors Choose.
Where is Roseanne Barr from?
Hint: This state is known best for its Mormon community.
Longtime sitcom star Roseanne Barr was born and raised in Salt Like City, Utah. And while she eventually moved out of Colorado to start her entertainment career, Barr still considers Utah a safe haven from Hollywood. In 2018, for instance, after controversy led her to lose her long-running Roseanne show, the actress was seen recovering from the scandal in her home state.
Which state is Ryan Phillippe from?
Hint: This Hollywood actor's home state was the first to ratify the United States Constitution.
Cruel Intentions star Ryan Phillippe was raised in New Castle, Delaware. The actor has been spotted returning to Delaware numerous times, including most recently at the Firefly Music Festival in June 2019.
Where is Melissa Etheridge's birthplace?
Hint: This state is also home to a famous ball of twine.
Singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge was born and raised in Leavenworth, Kansas. And while she eventually moved to Hollywood to pursue a music career, Etheridge says Kansas is "a great place to be from." She even still returns from time to time, like to sing the national anthem at a Kansas City Chiefs game or perform with the Kansas City Symphony.
Where is Barack Obama from?
Hint: This former president's home state has a rainbow-inspired license plate.
Barack Obama was born in the Hawaii state capital of Honolulu. While he moved to the mainland to attend college and serve in the Illinois state Senate, Obama eventually became the first black president and the first president hailing from Hawaii.
Where is Bob Dylan from?
Hint: This legendary musician's home state is also home to more than 11,000 lakes.
Bob Dylan was born in Duluth and raised in Hibbing, Minnesota. And while he eventually left Hibbing to attend the University of Minnesota, it seems that the musician will never be truly separate from his hometown.
"He was that weird kid from Hibbing that a lot of people didn't understand, but he's more Hibbing than a lot of people give him credit for," Aaron Brown, who helped run the Dylan Days Festival in Hibbing, told MPR News.
Where is Debra Messing from?
Hint: This actress is from the smallest state in the United States.
While she was born in Brooklyn, Debra Messing moved to Rhode Island when she was only three years old—and there, she grew up near the town of Providence. In fact, she's so "Rhode Island" that the actress claimed it took her years to lose her accent while training to be an actor.
"I had to study how to speak for three years and it was intense. I moved to Rhode Island when I was young… You know, 'You goin' to the Warwick Mall?'" she joked in her original accent on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Where was Beyoncé born and raised?
Hint: This superstar is from the "Lone Star" state.
Beyoncé is not one to keep quiet about her Texas roots. The icon was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and she continues to give back to her home state with her BeyGOOD organization. Fans even travel to Houston just to visit some of Beyoncé's favorite spots, which Visit Houston conveniently rounded up.
Where was JoJo born?
Hint: This pop star was born in the state whose name means "green mountain" in French.
Pop star JoJo was born in Brattleboro, Vermont—but according to the singer, she only lived there for three weeks. Instead, she was raised in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Jersey. However, JoJo did seem excited to visit her birthplace in 2016, tweeting out: "Gonna be in Vermont tomorrow for a show at St. Michael's college. I was born in Brattleboro, VT and haven't been back since! I'm hype!"
Where is Stephen King from?
Hint: Think lobsters.
Hint: This Hollywood star's home state is also the birthplace of the famous flavored drink, Kool-Aid.
Actress Gabrielle Union was born in Omaha, Nebraska. And while she was later raised in California, she has pride for her home state of Nebraska—especially when it comes to sports.
In a 2012 ESPN interview, Union said she's been a Nebraska Cornhuskers fan since birth (despite her relationship with Miami Heat's Dwayne Wade). "In my family if you couldn't talk Cornhusker football—that means knowing the black shirt defense, knowing the I-back formation—then you don't get to have an opinion," she said. "When I first toured the Nebraska campus and I saw Turner Gill walk, I freaked out. That was like the biggest star-struck moment I've probably ever had in my life."
Which state is Kevin Hart from?
Hint: This comedic celebrity's home state was also home to the man on the $100 bill.
Kevin Hart was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which is also where his comedy career began. Hart's home honored him back in 2017 by unveiling a giant mural near his childhood home and by dubbing his birthday, July 6, "Kevin Hart Day" in Philadelphia.
Which state does Blake Shelton call home?
Hint: This state also birthed the world's first parking meter.
Country singer Blake Shelton's roots come from Oklahoma, where he was raised in the town of Ada. And while he eventually moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to pursue his music career, he still considers Oklahoma home.
Which state is Josh Duhamel from?
Hint: This state shares a park with Canada called the "International Peace Garden."
Actor Josh Duhamel was born in Minot, North Dakota. Nowadays, while he's down in Hollywood, Duhamel still appears as the face of North Dakota Tourism's advertising.
"I've always been very vocal about the pride that I have in this state," the actor said. "North Dakota will always be home. It's real. It's authentic. It's where I can find a quiet spot to fish or go mountain biking or golf a round with old friends. I love the open roads, the simplicity of the countryside, the people and the pace. It is the peace I find when I am there that I miss the most."
Where is David Lynch from?
Hint: This state's unofficial nickname is the "Treasure State."
Twin Peaks creator David Lynch was born in Missoula, Montana—and while it's not considered the most riveting place in the world, Lynch says he still has respect for where he was raised.
"I'm just a guy from Missoula, Montana, doing my thing, going down the road like everybody else," he wrote in his autobiography, Catching the Big Fish. "And so, even though I'm from Missoula, Montana, which is not the surrealistic capital of the world, you could be anywhere and see a kind of strangeness in how the world is these days, or have a certain way of looking at things."
Where is Sarah Palin from?
Hint: This politician's home state is nicknamed "The Last Frontier."
While Sarah Palin was born in Idaho, her family moved to Alaska when she was still just a baby. The politician grew up in Wasilla, Alaska, and eventually she rose up to become the ninth governor of the state in 2006. The former VP nominee even had a TLC show created to showcase her life in Alaska called Sarah Palin's Alaska.
Which state does Ashton Kutcher call home?
Hint: This That 70's Show star's home state is the only state whose name starts with two vowels.
Ashton Kutcher grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, before he moved to the town of Homestead. And though he eventually left the state in pursuit of modeling, his hometown love is still strong.
"I left Iowa wanting to get out of Iowa, and the older I get the more I want to come home," he told The Des Moines Register in 2017. "In part, because the more places I go, the more I realize how great it is here, and the more I realize that I almost owe everything of who I am to where I come from." And for more on all your favorite A-listers, check out these 50 Crazy Celebrity Facts You Won't Believe Are True.
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