What You Never Knew About Paul Rudd

Paul Rudd has spent more than half of his life in the spotlight, but behind the scenes, he likes to live his life as private as possible. When he was named People's 2021 Sexiest Man Alive, this humble actor got a lot more attention than he was expecting. Yet, at this point, he said, "I'm not going to try to be like, 'Oh, I'm so modest,'" adding in his true comedic fashion, "I'm getting business cards made."

Over the course of Rudd's life, his business card has certainly said a lot of different things, too. From actor to business owner to even a DJ, it seems as though he's done it all, and his acting career has crossed through all sorts of different genres, too. While many fans still know him mostly from his famous comedies, he "didn't want to just do specifically comedy," as he told Vulture. "I still don't want to just specifically do comedy," he shared. Turns out, there are a lot of other lesser known facts about this actor, too.

Here are just a few of the things you never knew about 2021's Sexiest Man Alive.

Paul Rudd grew up with British parents

Paul Rudd may be an American actor, but he certainly didn't grow up that way. Before he was born in New Jersey in 1969, his parents had immigrated to the U.S. from England. He may not have inherited their accent, but he was still surrounded by all sorts of things that weren't as common in the states. "Growing up with tea and crumpets and Sunday roast and Yorkshire pudding, and all of that, it's all my favorite stuff," he explained on an episode of "Hot Ones." However, he had a hard time relating to a lot of the other kids growing up in Kansas City, Kansas. "I knew that, like, my next-door neighbors weren't having Yorkshire pudding," he admitted.

Throughout his childhood, Rudd even was able to experience England firsthand. He and his family often traveled back and forth to Europe to visit relatives. "I've always felt genuinely at home here," he told The Guardian, "just from the little things."

The actor owns a candy store

It turns out, show business isn't the only industry that Paul Rudd has completely taken over. Rudd and his good friends Andy Ostroy and actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan also own a candy shop in Rhinebeck, New York, called Samuel's Sweet Shop. Their popular store specializes in classic candies and even desserts.

This endeavor all started in 2013, when the previous owner of the store unexpectedly died. "We didn't want the store to be anything else other than what it was," Morgan explained on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," "so we decided to step in and buy the candy store." Though these two actors admittedly don't have much to do with the day-to-days of the business (after all, Rudd has certainly been keeping busy on our big screens), there's a huge perk about being in the candy business. "The best thing about being an owner of a candy shop is getting my favorite holiday candy in June," Rudd shared on their website, and none of us can disagree with that.

He originally hoped to play an entirely different character on Clueless

We could never imagine anyone else playing Josh in "Clueless" (ugh, as if!), but, surprisingly, Paul Rudd wasn't originally interested in the part. "I thought Justin Walker's character, Christian, was a really good part," Rudd explained to Entertainment Weekly. When Rudd didn't end up with that role, he still had eyes for another part that still wasn't Josh. "Then I asked to read for Donald Faison's part, because I thought he was kind of a funny hip-hop wannabe," Rudd said. However, he added, "I didn't realize that the character was African-American."

After multiple auditions for the film, Rudd ended up accepting a role in "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers" instead. Luckily, filming for that ended earlier than expected, and "Clueless" casting director Marcia Ross was still searching for the perfect person to play Josh — so she gave Rudd a call to come in and read with the actress cast as Cher, Alicia Silverstone. "The chemistry was instant, the connection was just there," the casting director later told Metro. "They were just great together. You couldn't deny he was the right person to play Josh." The rest, as they say, is pop culture history.

You won't find Paul Rudd on social media

In a world obsessed with what every star is up to on Instagram, Paul Rudd is a rarity. In fact, you won't find him using any sort of social media whatsoever. "I think if I were on social media, I would be glued to my phone even more than I am," he said during an interview at the Maui Film Festival. The actor is much too busy taking calls from his agent, after all!

In addition to that, Rudd likes to keep his life extremely private. Living in the spotlight can make achieving that a lot harder than it has to be. Plus, he doesn't care what kind of comments people would make about him. "I think the noise of everything outside can be a little overwhelming," he admitted. (However, we think he'd be happy to know he was trending on Twitter after being named People's Sexiest Man Alive in November 2021.)

While social media has certainly made it easy to connect with people on all corners of the globe, Rudd is happy living in his little corner. "As my world gets bigger, I try to keep it smaller," he told Elle. "I don't really want to talk to the people I know. Let alone people I don't." We can definitely relate, Rudd.

He was a professional ham glazer before moving to L.A.

Aspiring actors have all sorts of odd jobs before they ever make it big. However, the one Paul Rudd had right before he moved out to Los Angeles is probably the most unique one of them all. "For about six months, I was a ham glazer," he revealed during an interview with IMDb.

Back in his hometown of Kansas City, Kansas was where it all began, and it was the perfect place to be due to its popularity regarding BBQ. As a professional ham glazer, Rudd would go through the same process again and again each day. He would start by removing the ham from a meat slicer and then put it onto a spit where he would glaze, coat it with sugar, and wrap it up for hungry customers. "I smelled like ham all the time," he even admitted.

While there are a lot of people who wouldn't be angry to smell like their favorite food each day, the people Rudd surrounded himself with at the time were less than impressed. "My friends would make fun of me," he explained. "They used to call me Paul Ham Glaser, like Paul Michael Glaser from 'Starsky & Hutch.'" It seems as though he was truly destined for show business all along!

Paul Rudd is classically trained in theater

Many fans know Paul Rudd from his hilarious roles in "I Love You, Man," "Knocked Up," "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," and "Anchorman." However, unlike many comedic actors before him, he has absolutely no experience in that area. "I never went to Second City. I didn't do stand up," he admitted to Vulture. "I studied classical theater. That was my thing."

Rudd has been serious about acting ever since he graduated high school. In fact, even after he had already been receiving role after role in Hollywood, he decided to attend Oxford's British American Drama Academy to learn even more. As a student, he spent a lot of time starring in Shakespearean plays. "I loved working on the plays," he told ShortList. "My hair was down to the middle of my back. I was enthusiastic and optimistic and taking everything in. It was joyous." From there, he decided he would only accept acting roles that he got excited about — whether they be on the stage or on the screen.

Yet, since landing roles in some of our favorites — like "Ant-Man" — Rudd may have had a change of heart when it comes to his acting career. "I haven't had the burning desire to go back to the stage and do a Shakespeare play," he later told NPR. "But I imagine I will for sure."

He lived on the set while filming Wet Hot American Summer

When Paul Rudd landed a role on "Wet Hot American Summer" in 2001, he was stoked to be part of such a funny storyline. "Up until that movie, I had never worked on any comedy that was really my own sense of humor," the actor told Vulture, so he was willing to give his all when it came to his character. In fact, he even lived out the life of Andy himself — all of the actors did. "We lived at the camp. We slept there," Rudd revealed to Entertainment Weekly. "It was like being in summer camp." Even though all of the actors were playing characters nearly half their age, they were having a lot of fun doing it.

In the end, it was more than just the cast that loved the movie. Fans obviously wanted more of it. In 2015, a television reboot was made called "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp." Two years later, another series was created called "Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later." Luckily, fans can catch Rudd starring as Andy in all three.

Paul Rudd said one Living with Yourself scene was super difficult to film

From the stage to the big screen, from comedies to more serious roles, it seems as though Paul Rudd has truly done it all at this point. Yet, nothing seemed to prepare him for playing two characters in the Netflix series "Living with Yourself." Not only was it confusing for the actor to differentiate between them both, but the very first scene of the entire series — where his character emerges from a buried plastic bag in the woods — was the most difficult thing he has ever had to film. "I'm not so claustrophobic really, but something within us knows that it's not the right thing to be buried alive," he told The Independent. "There was a tube that went underground so I could breathe."

While all of us watching from home realized how truly disturbing it was, there were actually viewers watching front and center as it was being filmed. Rudd had to act it out in a busy public park in New York City. "But that's the great thing about New York," he said. "Somebody getting out of the ground in a diaper is the third weirdest thing they've seen that day."

Paul Rudd met his wife at his publicist's office

Because Paul Rudd likes to keep his life on the down low, fans don't know a whole lot about his wife, Julie. However, he has shared the special story of how he met her, and while many meet-cutes are in a coffee shop or the grocery store (or, in these days, through a dating app), Rudd met his sweetheart at his own publicist's office.

After wrapping up on the iconic film "Clueless," Rudd took the advice of his director and decided to hire himself a publicist. "I went to New York, and Julie was the first person I met," the actor explained on "Friday Night in With the Morgans." She happened to be the one working at the public relations firm that he had decided to hire.

Rudd later explained during an interview with Luke Crisell that he didn't know a single soul in the big apple. After a few days by himself, he decided to give Julie a call and ask her to have lunch with him — and it must have been a pretty good meal. The two tied the knot in 2003 and now have two children together named Jack and Darby.

He helped write Ant-Man

When Paul Rudd was cast in the superhero film "Ant-Man," even he was surprised. "Marvel seems to have this history of casting people and putting people in films that you would not necessarily associate with that kind of thing," he said on "Nightline" (via ABC News). At the time, he was known as more of a comedic actor, so he didn't seem to fit the bill for starring in an action-packed film — at first. Now, fans of the film know how funny it truly is, and that's all because Rudd actually helped co-write it.

While many of his co-stars have said that the funniest lines in the film were written by Rudd himself, he's a lot more humble about it. "I try and think of the film as a whole and I think of every character," he said during a press conference for the film, per ComicBook.com. "This has been a collaborative effort more than anything I've ever worked on and to think that I actually wrote it would be a gross overstatement."

This actor was in fraternity

Sure, Paul Rudd was busy learning all about acting during his time at the University of Kansas, but just like most college students out there, he had a pretty fun social life as well. He even once admitted while speaking at the University of Florida that he didn't do as well as he had hoped academically because he was more focused on the "social endeavor" of it all (via College Magazine). In fact, Rudd rushed the fraternity Sigma Nu. (Other notable alumni of Rudd's fraternity include Harrison Ford and Bob Barker.)

While Rudd didn't have the highest grades, he did graduate — just not from the University of Kansas. When he became more serious about acting, he transferred to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena, California, according to an interview with Luke Crisell. However, he doesn't have any hate for K.U. He's still a huge fan of his original university. "I wore a K.U. hat in 'Clueless,' and it was my hat that I had for a couple years," the Jayhawk for life explained on "Big Slick Kansas City."

He pulled the same prank on Conan O'Brien for 17 years

According to The New York Times, Paul Rudd hates interviews. The humble actor simply hates talking about himself, so when he asked to appear on "Conan" to promote the finale of "Friends" in 2004 (remember when he played Mike Hannigan on "Friends"?), he didn't feel comfortable about it. "I just remember the very first time thinking, 'It's so artificial to come on and sell your wares and show a clip from your movie. What if I just show a clip from another movie?'" he later explained on the show. So instead of showing a clip of what they were talking about, he opted to play a clip from the movie "Mac and Me," which no one was expecting at all. Ever since, Rudd has always shown the same clip whenever he appears on "Conan" — no matter what project he happens to be promoting, and Conan O'Brien is somehow always surprised. "Every time, for years, I would be convinced that I would see the real clip," the former late night host admitted.

Why did Rudd choose that clip out of everything else in the world? It turns out, that scene from "Mac and Me" was always something that had stood out in his mind. However, Rudd said, "There's another movie that I was obsessed with at the time that was equally like, 'Who was this made for?' called 'Baby Geniuses,'" which boasted the clip he initially almost shared instead.

He originally wanted to be a painter or graphic artist instead of an actor

Many actors could never imagine themselves doing anything else professionally. Paul Rudd, however, originally had other plans for his future when he was growing up. "I wasn't one of those kids who was like, 'I want to be an actor,'" he admitted to The New York Times. "It wasn't in my wheelhouse at all. I wasn't from a family that did this or in a place where people did this." In fact, he told GQ that he had always dreamed of doing something else creative by becoming a painter or a graphic artist.

It wasn't until Rudd began competing on his high school forensics team that things completely changed for him. His school frequently competed in national tournaments where they would debate with other schools and even act out small stories. "I seemed to be confident in this one area, and with who I was, really," Rudd explained during an interview with Luke Crisell.

While he was home practicing one day for an upcoming competition, a family friend saw him and recommended he look into acting. "That was the lightning bolt moment for me," Rudd said. "I thought, 'You know what? Maybe I do want to be an actor.'"

A Lego figure made Paul Rudd made realize he'd 'made it'

Whether you're a fan of dramas or comedies, Paul Rudd is undoubtedly one of the most famous faces in show business today — and it seemed to happen practically overnight. "My career, it's weird," he even once told The New York Times. "I definitely have been on film sets and looked around and realized I'm the veteran of the group." Yet, there were defining moments in his acting career when he really realized that he had "made it."

After wrapping up "Ant-Man," Rudd saw his own Lego superhero figure for the very first time. "I grew up playing with Lego and my kids have Lego, and that one stopped me in my tracks," he admitted. Another major moment for the actor was when one of his friends called and told him to look at his morning newspaper. It turns out, his name was the answer to one of the clues on a New York Times crossword puzzle. "I love crossword puzzles and I do them, and then to do the puzzle and discover myself," he said.

Both of these moments have caused him to pause and really take a moment to realize where he's at in his successful career. "When you're like, 'You know what? This is working out,'" he said.