In amongst the fashion clothes-horses, overnight reality sensations and airheaded wannabes that grace the media, there are some hardcore intellectuals. Unis and colleges in the UK and across the pond have spawned some truly brainy celebs with degrees that may surprise you...


1. No dumb blonde

Lisa Kudrow

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Lisa Kudrow, 52, was ditsy and crazy as hell as twins Phoebe and Ursula Buffay in US hit sitcom Friends. And she played her part well. But the actress actually has a degree in Psychobiology from Vassar College, New York. After graduating, she worked with her dad – founder of the California Medical Clinic for Headache – as a researcher, before turning her hand to acting. As Phoebe once famously said, ‘I may play the fool at times, but I’m a little more than just a pretty blonde girl with an ass that won’t quit’!

2. Not all Greek to him!

Coldplay's Chris Martin

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Devonian Chris Martin, 39, is a class-act musician when it comes to performing with Coldplay. But he has hidden depths educationally, too. Brainy Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin and Ancient Greek Studies. Now that’s impressive.

3. Model student

Christy Turlington Burns

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There’s more than meets the eye to supermodel Christy Turlington Burns, 47. The founder of Every Mother Counts – a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safer for every mother – has a degree in Comparative Religion and Eastern Philosophy from New York University, and a master’s in Public Health from Columbia. Pretty and brainy…or should that be pretty brainy?!

4. Brainy beefcake

Dolph Lundgren

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You’d have thought Swedish actor, director, screenwriter, producer and martial artist Dolph Lundgren, 58, had enough strings to his bow. But the brainiac – who has an IQ of 160 – also graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology. He later followed it up with a master’s in the same subject from the University of Sydney. All before his time playing meathead boxer Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.

5. Parlez-vous Francais..?

Brooke Shields

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Brooke Shields, 50, is a woman of many talents, turning her acting hand from serious drama to over-the-top comedy… Remember in Friends, when she played Erika Ford, the delusional, obsessive superfan of Dr Drake Ramoray – a fictional TV soap character played by Joey? Hilarious! And definitely not brain. But did you know the much-credited actress also has a Bachelor’s degree in French Literature from Princeton University? Well, you do now!

6. Madcap lawman

Bob Mortimer

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Shooting star Bob Mortimer, 56 (star of such comedy madness as The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer and House of Fools), studied Law at both the University of Surrey and the University of Leicester. He remains a registered solicitor. In fact, it was Mortimer who represented Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker when he was arrested at the 1995 BRIT Awards for storming the stage during a performance of Earth Song by Michael Jackson. The Middlesbrough boy did well – Jarvis was released without charge.

7. May can play

James May

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Petrolhead presenter James May, 53, is actually a classically trained pianist. He graduated with a degree in Music from the University of Lancaster. So, if the former Top Gear trio’s promised new series The Grand Tour comes a cropper, Bristolian May could always take up teaching piano!

8. Law’s loss, our gain

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Scottish-born rugged actor Gerard Butler, 46, graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in Law. He started training as a lawyer with local law, but he was kicked out over his rock ‘n’ roll antics just one week before qualifying. A bad-boy, brainy lawyer? Who’d have thought it!

9. Cerebral celebrity

Sasha Baron Cohen

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Outrageous, filter-free comedian and actor Sasha Baron Cohen, 44, comes across as a complete idiot when playing his character creations Ali G, Borat and Bruno. But he’s very far removed from them in real life. More a boffin than a buffoon, he graduated with an upper second-class honours degree in History from Christ’s College, Cambridge. He didn’t exactly put his education to good use on leaving Uni, though… He started his career with a spot of fashion modelling!