Celebrities You Didn't Know Had Connections to Rhode Island

It may be the smallest state in the union, but Rhode Island has a lot to offer! The Ocean State is home to many celebrities, some of which may surprise you.

1. Viola Davis

Ok, so maybe you did know this one. The How to Get Away with Murder star moved to Central Falls, RI with her family when she was a baby. She attended Rhode Island College, majoring in theatre. With one Emmy, two Tony’s, and a ton of other accolades under her belt, she is one of Little Rhody’s most famous residents.

2. Taylor Swift

Another easy one. Tay bought a mansion in Westerly for $17.75 million in 2013. Her vacation home has famously been the spot for dates with boyfriend-at-the-time Tom Hiddleston, and a star studded 4th of July bash last summer.

3. JFK

President John F. Kennedy married the iconic Jackie O in Newport in 1953. They were married at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, which still holds weddings today!

4. Emma Watson

That’s right, Hermione Granger herself graduated from Brown University in 2014! She started school in 2009 and also studied abroad at Oxford University in the UK. Clearly Emma is just as smart as the Harry Potter character she plays onscreen.

5. Jesse Williams

Aka the beautiful Dr. Jackson Avery on Grey’s Anatomy. He went to high school at Moses Brown School in Providence, RI! He graduated in 1998.

6. John Krasinski

That’s right, Jim Halpert attended Brown University as well! He studied theatre arts and graduated in 2001. While at Brown he coached youth basketball at the Gordon School in East Providence. Lucky kids!

7. Shepard Fairey

You’d know him as the man who created the OBEY clothing line and the 2008 Obama “Hope” poster. He’s a graphic designer and street artist who attended Rhode Island School of Design. Fairey started the “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” sticker campaign right here in Rhode Island.

8. Debra Messing

This Emmy winning actress is most famous for her role on Will and Grace. She moved to East Greenwich, RI when she was three. She started acting at East Greenwich high school, and was Rhode Island’s Junior Miss in 1986.

9. Meredith Vieira

From The View to Today to The Meredith Vieira Show, she is one of America’s most famous journalists. And she was born right here in Providence, Rhode Island! She was raised in East Providence and went to the Lincoln School in Providence.

10. Seth McFarlane

This man brought us Family Guy and Ted, and helped create American Dad and The Cleveland Show. Seth McFarlane studies film, video and animation as Rhode Island School of Design. It was during his time at RISD that he created a thesis film The Life of Larry, which became the inspiration for Family Guy.

11. Christopher Walken

Film and television star, Academy Award winner, Block Island property owner. He bought a BI vacation home for $1.1 million in 1999. The house is now worth over $2 million.

12. Olivia Culpo

Culpo became famous in 2012 when she won the Miss USA pageant representing Rhode Island. She went on to win Miss Universe 2012, making her the first American to win the crown since 1997. Olivia is from Cranston, RI and attended Bay View Academy. The first pageant she ever entered was the 2012 Miss Rhode Island USA competition. Olivia is the first Rhode Islander to ever win the title of Miss Universe!