What You Never Knew About Rebel Wilson

Ever since Australian actor Rebel Wilson stepped into the comedy scene, she's been taking over the big screen. Now, it's hard to believe that when she began acting back in her high school plays, she "was never cast in the lead role ever," as she admitted on "The Kelly Clarkson Show." (Uh, who in the world was her acting teacher?)

From Fat Amy in "Pitch Perfect" to that annoying roommate in "Bridesmaids," this actor has played some of our favorite comedic characters of all time. Yet, she's hoping everyone will take her seriously, too. "Originally when I started acting, I thought I would be like the next Dame Judi Dench," Wilson told InStyle.

Off screen, she's been making moves in the courtroom, reinventing the runway, appearing at dog shows, and transforming her own body. From Fat Amy to Fit Amy, here are a few things you never knew about the aca-amazing actor Rebel Wilson.

Rebel Wilson was named after her parents' wedding singer

With a name like Rebel Wilson, many fans would assume it's just a stage name — but it's really not. It's one she's been called her entire life. In fact, the actor was named after someone incredibly important. Rebel was the girl who performed at her parents' wedding, according to Gulf News.

Although her mother was in love with the name, it posed a big problem a few years later. When Wilson's parents were signing her up to attend a Christian school, they realized "we can't enroll her with a name of Rebel," the actor explained on "Ant Middleton & Rebel Wilson: Straight Talking." They were afraid that teachers may think of their daughter differently with a name like that. Instead, she was forced to go by another name she was referred to, so "at school, I was Mel or Melanie," she said. It wasn't until Wilson finished up high school that she started being called by her real name — one that everyone in the world would eventually come to recognize, too.

The Pitch Perfect star has a law degree

Most actors have dreamed their entire lives of one day being in show business. Yet, Rebel Wilson had her sights set on something entirely different at first — becoming a lawyer. She even got accepted into the top-rated law school in Australia. Yet, it was during her second year studying law that she started booking movie roles.

After appearing in a few films, the people in her class began to recognize her during exams. Many even asked her why she hadn't dropped out of school yet to continue her path into stardom. "It took me so long to get into law school," Wilson explained on "The Late Late Show with James Corden." "You have to study really hard, so I thought I may as well finish it even though I was already kind of famous."

Funny enough, her law degree has since come in handy when handling her own movie contracts. When her film "The Hustle" was given an R rating by the Motion Picture Association of America in 2019, she didn't think it deserved such a harsh review. "So I represented the film in the MPAA arbitration," she revealed on "The Graham Norton Show." Though Wilson has never practiced law professionally, she clearly hasn't lost any of the skills she learned in school. "The jury deliberated for less than five minutes and declared me the winner," she said.

She grew up in a family of professional dog showers

This actor may have portrayed a feline in "Cats," but she was born and bred in a dog family. When Rebel Wilson was growing up, her parents traveled all over the country as professional dog showers. Her great-grandmother was even the one who founded the official Beagle Club of Australia. "My mom was devastated when I didn't continue the family legacy of being a dog shower," Rebel Wilson admitted on "The Kelly Clarkson Show."

However, when Wilson got offered a hosting gig on a TV show about dog competitions, she truly thought it was meant to be. "It's not like any reality show I was going to go on," she said. "I had to do this one." In 2020, fans were able to tune into "Pooch Perfect" for the very first time on ABC.

Though her family clearly has a fondness for these furry animals, Wilson once told Gulf News that she will never own one herself. Why? "I am allergic to dogs," she admitted to Clarkson.

You may have missed Rebel Wilson in Ghost Rider

Everybody began recognizing Rebel Wilson's name after her breakout role in "Bridesmaids," but she actually starred in an American film long before that. She played Girl in Alley in the Nicolas Cage-led "Ghost Rider" film in 2007. Though she only appears in a single scene, her character definitely makes her mark on the big screen. There, she's hilarious as she explains to a local news reporter that she had seen Cage's character's hair on fire.

Her American movie debut was equally as interesting of an experience, too. "It was that classic thing where I went on set and someone told me, 'Whatever you do, don't look at Nicolas Cage in the eye. Do not talk to him,'" she said on "Conan." Yet, during their first interaction, she decided to compliment his hair, which she instantly found out was actually a wig upon touching it. Yikes. Yet, as her character so famously says in the movie, "It is an edge look, but he totally pulled it off."

Rebel Wilson was super shy before she was a star

It's hard to believe now, but Rebel Wilson wasn't always the outgoing, hilarious star we see on screen today. As a kid, "I was a super shy girl," she said on "Lorraine." She didn't have many friends and instead kept her head buried in her books.

To get her to open up, her mother decided to sign her up for a local drama class — but Wilson was not at all interested. "I held onto the car door and would not go, and she literally physically dragged me into this place," she explained on the podcast "The Producer's Guide: Todd Garner & Hollywood's Elite." "It was so embarrassing." Once Wilson was inside, she remembers pretending to be anyone but herself. She even started talking in an American accent to avoid having to open up to the people around her.

However, after a few classes, she slowly fell in love with acting. It was an easy way "to express myself," she said. "And I could much easily do that through characters."

Rebel Wilson has designed her own clothing line

In 2015, Rebel Wilson was able to add yet another thing to her long list of accomplishments when she became a fashion designer. That year, she partnered with Torrid to design special pieces to be sold in their stores. She must have loved it because she went on to try and design an entire collection for her own clothing line two years later. "Without knowing when and if the brand might be released, I designed pieces specifically to wear in 'Pitch Perfect 3' with the hope that I'd be able to sell these when the movie came out," she shared to People. "I know there's a lot of plus size girls and women out there who love my character, and I wanted them to have the opportunity to look like her."

While purchasing clothes for herself, even Wilson has admitted she has trouble finding options — and everyone else seemed to agree. Shortly after the premiere of "Pitch Perfect 3," her collection called Rebel Wilson x Angels was released.

Her roommate in Bridesmaids became her real-life roommate

Remember Kristen Wiig's two roommates who she could barely stand in "Bridesmaids"? It was Rebel Wilson's first major role in a movie, and it turns out, she loved her co-star roomie maybe even more than her character did. "Because we played roommates so well in 'Bridesmaids,' we thought, 'Yeah, we'll do it for real," she said on "Conan," so for three years, she and actor Matt Lucas lived together off screen.

The two had a house in West Hollywood where they bonded over their love of Broadway musicals. They would spend a lot of their time singing around the neighborhood, and unfortunately, a specific someone found them just as annoying as Kristen Wiig's character did. Recalling one evening, Wilson admitted, "We got a letter in the mailbox," which asked them to stop singing or their neighbor would call the cops. Personally, we can't imagine complaining about a free show from one of the "Pitch Perfect" stars.

This scary experience inspired her to pursue acting

As soon as Rebel Wilson graduated from high school, she had an important job ahead of her. She moved to South Africa as a Youth Ambassador for Australia. Yet, even while she was focused on her volunteer work, it was there that she began thinking more about acting — and her life completely changed course in more ways than one. "I got malaria really badly. Almost died," she revealed on "Conan."

The disease, which begins after being bitten by an infected mosquito, can cause fever, chills, and even hallucinations. While on bedrest, Wilson was having all sorts of strange visions that got her thinking about her future. "I had this hallucination that I was an actress, and I won an Oscar," she said. "And I thought, 'Hmm. I should go back to Australia and try to be an actress.'" Crazy enough, that's how her start in show business really began.

Rebel Wilson has PCOS

When Rebel Wilson was in college, she noticed herself gaining weight at an alarming rate. Yet, she wasn't doing anything differently when it came to her lifestyle. It was then that she spoke to a doctor and was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. The disorder directly affects hormones in the body that can cause infertility and weight gain among other symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic. "I can kind of tell when people have it usually by their body type," Wilson said in an Instagram video. "They normally have a similar body type to me and how they carry their weight."

It was her body weight that brought her into the world of comedy, too. Before we ever saw her on screen, "all my original roles on stage were serious," she explained to InStyle, adding, "And being a bigger girl, I was like, comedy is kind of a good sell when you're bigger and can do it well. So I went down that path."

Rebel Wilson is pretty skilled with a set of nunchucks

Horizontal running may be Fat Amy's favorite physical activity, but Rebel Wilson has always had an interest in martial arts. Over the course of her childhood, the actor became super skilled with a set of nunchucks. When producers found this out, they were impressed. Fans of "Pitch Perfect 3" can even see these skills for themselves during one of Fat Amy's fight scenes. "I get to do my nunchucks, and I get to fight like 10 men at once, which was incredible, and I was really proud of those things," she said on "Lorraine."

Throughout her childhood, Wilson was entered into various karate competitions, one of which she was even awarded a gold medal, she revealed on LOL Network. Though she didn't have a black belt, she told Lorraine Kelly, "I've always felt like I have ninja abilities inside of me."

A scandal nearly shattered Rebel Wilson's acting career

In May 2015, Rebel Wilson sat down at her computer and saw multiple articles online that talked horribly about her. In them, an anonymous former classmate claimed that the actor had been lying to the public about her age, where she grew up, and much of her life story. "For someone who prides herself in being very candid and authentic, it was just probably the most devastating thing they could have said to me," Wilson admitted on 7News Spotlight. However, she tried to let it roll off her shoulders — until movie studios weren't interested in hiring her anymore.

Once the actor had finished up her voicing characters in the animated films "Kung Fu Panda 3" and "Trolls" (via The Guardian), Wilson got an alarming phone call. "I got fired," she said. "From two family movies that I had already completed, which was probably, like, my lowest point." It was in that moment that she decided to sue the publication responsible for slandering her name.

After weeks in court, Wilson successfully proved that she had never lied about her life story, and Bauer Media Group was required to pay her $3.6 million (in Australian dollars), according to The Hollywood Reporter. In the end, however, after the decision was appealed, she had to repay most of the money, only being awarded $600,000 instead.

Rebel Wilson got a concussion on the set of one of her comedies

After "Pitch Perfect" hit theaters, movie musicals quickly began to become Rebel Wilson's thing. In 2017, she was cast in yet another comedic one called "Isn't It Romantic." While she was busy playing a character who suffers from a concussion, she actually ended up with one off-set as well.

As she was walking to a rehearsal one day, the actor accidentally slipped down a grassy hill. "I got a concussion and was rushed to the hospital for three hours," she later told People. Yet, as any pro actor will tell you, the show must go on, and she returned to finish a 16-hour work day. "I thought, how ironic, not from doing one of the crazy stunts, but from the grass having a bit of dew on it."

Unfortunately, when she woke up, everyone wasn't singing around her like the storyline of the movie — but wouldn't that be romantic?

This is the real reason Rebel Wilson decided to lose weight

Many people choose to lose weight as their New Year's resolution, but Rebel Wilson made it her reality in 2020. That year, she shocked the world after dropping more than 60 pounds for a special reason. "At first, it wasn't even really [about] myself," she admitted in an Instagram live, as reported by ET. "It was more thinking of a future mini me, really."

Wilson has always wanted to be a mother. During a meeting with her doctor shortly before turning 40, she expressed how she was interested in freezing her eggs. "And the doctor was like, 'Well, you'll have a much better chance if you were healthier,'" she said. At first, the actor was extremely upset by his advice. However, she was willing to do whatever it took in order to have a chance at creating a future family. 

"So I was like, 'Okay, I'm going to do this,'" she told her fans on Instagram. "I'm going to get healthy." And she brought her followers along throughout her entire weight loss journey.

Rebel Wilson's ears aren't pierced

Every star seems to have the most amazing accessories on the red carpet. Yet, there's always been something missing from Rebel Wilson's outfit — a pair of earrings. "I actually don't even have my ears pierced!" she revealed to InStyle.

Though the actor always looks amazing at whatever event she's at, she's actually not a big fan of jewelry in general. "So you'll notice on red carpets I'll usually wear zero jewelry," she explained to People. Yet, she has been caught a few times with clip-ons, like when Wilson wore entire ear cuffs during the Glamour Women of the Year Awards back in 2013.

While expensive jewelry may not be important to this movie star, there is one accessory she may keep close to her heart. In 2021, director Paul Feig sent her an engraved ring for the anniversary of her breakout film "Bridesmaids," according to People. The massive sparkler looks very much like one an athlete would win at the Super Bowl — but let's be real here. With a life like Wilson's had, we wouldn't be surprised if she took over the football field next.