Leonardo DiCaprio has been in the limelight for more than three decades, so it’s hard to imagine that we don’t know every detail about his life.
Indeed, he’s one of the world’s highest-paid actors with a net worth of $260 million, an extremely talented movie star, and a renowned environmentalist.
But this Academy Award winner also has a few interesting facts about himself that perhaps not so many know about.
To find out what interesting experiences the A-List actor has lived during his lifetime, continue reading our list of 20 Leonardo DiCaprio facts below…
1. His Name was Inspired by a DaVinci Painting
Call it cliche, but this fact about Leo is still super-cool! Leo’s parents were on their honeymoon in Florence and during their visit to the Uffizi Gallery, little Leo kicked for the first time while his pregnant mother was staring at a DaVinci painting. His father took this as a sign that he should be named ‘Leonardo’. Well, that makes total sense…
2….But his Name was Rejected by Hollywood
That’s right! Leo’s full name was deemed “un-American” in Hollywood when he first started out his acting career. The star’s agent suggested he change his name to ‘Lenny Williams’ in order to sound “more American”, but Leo declined.
3. Leo Attended an Experimental Progressive School
As a child, Leo briefly attended an experimental progressive school. This short stint is what made him want to get into acting as a teen and shortly after, he dropped out, so he could follow his dreams at a drama center.
“His time at the school, away from the public school system and his gritty neighborhood, made him want to retreat into acting as a teen,” reported The Guardian. As told by The Independent, “He would beg his mother to take him to auditions because he hated attending public school”.
4. He Was Fired from his First TV Job
When you feel down about your career, here’s a little reminder that even the most successful people had to fail in order to succeed. That’s right! Leo was fired from his first TV job! The actor was said to be too disruptive while filming for a series called Romper Room.
5. Leo Started his Career in TV Commercials
Wondering how Leo finally stepped into the world of Hollywood? After his TV failure, he made it into Hollywood by appearing in a number of TV commercials during the 80s. His first one was for a children’s car and track set.
Soon enough, the young star began “attracting the attention of producers, who cast him in small roles in a number of television series, such as Roseanne (1988) and The New Lassie (1989)”. In 1991, Leonardo finally made his film debut in Critters 3 and eventually landed his first breakthrough gig on Growing Pains.
6. He Once Got the Award for ‘Worst Actor’
This piece of trivia will come as a major surprise! Despite being a talented and Oscar-winning actor, Leo actually received the Golden Raspberry Award for ‘Worst Actor’ in 2001 for his role in The Beach, a movie which was heavily criticized.
It seems the guy can’t catch a break when it comes to worthy awards! It took him over 20 years to finally nab that well-deserved Oscar in 2016!
7. Leo Has a Terrible Singing Voice
While Leonardo’s acting skills are impeccable, his singing skills are far from it. That hasn’t stopped him from getting out of his comfort zone and singing in a number of movies – including his recent box office hit Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. “Well, thank god I wasn’t hired for my voice for this movie,” Leo told Entertainment Weekly.
Bonus fact? Leo was set to star in Moulin Rouge, but he and the filmmaker realized that his singing voice was “pretty atrocious”, costing him the lead role.
8. Kate Winslet Flashed Him While Filming ‘Titanic’
You’ve got to love Leo and Kate Winslet’s friendship! Apparently, to make Leo feel more comfortable and prepared for their nude scene in Titanic, Kate flashed him when they met on set for the first time, so nothing would be left to the imagination. That totally explains Jack and Rose’s undeniable chemistry…
9. A Woman Was in Prison Because of Him
…And rightly so! During a night out in 2005, a model named Aretha Wilson slashed a bottle over Leonardo’s head which resulted in emergency care and a whooping 17 stitches. The model was later jailed for two years after pleading guilty to the offense. Apparently, she thought Leo was her ex-boyfriend. Wowza!
10. He’s an Environmentalist and Philanthropist
Leonardo is forever donating to a good cause. Over the years, he has donated computer equipment to the Loz Felipe, where his childhood home was once built, and also donated $1 million to the Wildfire Conversation.
But that’s not all. If you follow Leo’s social media pages, you’d have noticed his passion for climate change and the environment. He has also created the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation which is “dedicated to securing a sustainable future for our planet” and made two short web films (Water Planet and Global Warning) about environmental issues.
11. Leo Sponsors a Baby in South Africa
We always knew he had a big heart! Besides donating money, Leo has also sponsored a baby girl in South Africa. While filming Blood Diamond, the A-List star met the child at an orphanage and decided to “adopt[ed] her from a distance”. He now sends her money to ensure she gets the right care and education, and in return, her carers send updates to the actor.
12. He is a Vegetarian
While Leonardo DiCaprio may seem like a fancy man, he’s just a regular guy trying to save the planet one step at a time. Leonardo is a strong advocate for not eating meat. While he hasn’t confirmed if he’s vegan or not, the actor once encouraged his Twitter followers to join him in eating plant-based foods to save the planet.
13.…But He Ate Raw Liver for ‘The Revenant’
I mean, there’s a reason why Leo won the Oscar for this movie. He was dedicated to the role, so much so that he ate raw liver for a particular scene. Although there was the option to eat a prop version, Leo chose to eat the real uncooked animal organ because “the fake did not look genuine”, according to Variety.
“The bad part is the membrane around it. . . . It’s like a balloon. When you bite into it, it bursts in your mouth,” he squeamishly revealed.
14. Leo Had ‘Drug Training’ for ‘Wolf of Wall Street’
The actor has never been a fan of the drug scene, and we’re totally proud of him for that. Although Leo gave a convincing performance in The Wolf of Wall Street, he actually required training when it came to pulling off the iconic scenes.
He and Jonah Hill would meet with an on-set drug expert and watched YouTube videos to get inspired for their roles. Even the real Jordan Belfort was hired to accomplish the scenes, “I showed him what it looks and feels like when you are high on quaaludes,” Belfort told The New York Post. “I… started crawling around. We were both on the floor, drooling. His father walked into the room and asked us what the f*ck we were doing.”
Leo revealed that they were “literally doing fake coke for, like, seven months, every day,” which even led to Jonah Hill being hospitalized after snorting too much!
15. He Hated Mark Wahlberg At First
Although the two actors are best buddies now, Leo and Mark Wahlberg had a mutual hatred for each other when they first met in 1995 on the set of The Basketball Diaries. Was it Mark’s infamous crimes that left a bitter taste in Leo’s mouth? Or perhaps the animosity was based on pure competition?
Whalberg told The Hollywood Reporter, “Leonardo was like, ‘Over my dead f—— body. Marky Mark’s not going to be in this f—— movie…Because we’d had a thing — I didn’t even realize it, [but] I was a bit of a d— to him at a charity basketball game. So he was like, ‘This f—— a—— is not going to be in this movie.’”
The celebrity feud was quickly forgotten, as soon as they saw each other perform. Mark continued, “So I come in and I do the audition and I kind of look at him and he kind of looks at me, and then we do a scene, and they’re like, ‘Hmm, this f—— dude’s pretty good, right?’”
He concluded, “The next thing you know, boom, we’re hanging out.”
16. Leonardo Has OCD
The actor is far from perfect, and we’re happy to hear a Hollywood legend open up about mental health so honestly. The popular celeb reportedly battles with OCD. He admitted to rearranging hotel furniture and stepping on gum compulsively, but has actively worked on getting past the disorder over the years.
In fact, it’s what helped him connect to the role of playing Howard Hughes in The Aviator. “I’m able to say at some point, ‘OK, you’re being ridiculous, stop stepping on every gum stain you see. You don’t need to do that. You don’t need to walk 20 feet back and put your foot on that thing. Nothing bad is going to happen,’” DiCaprio told the Daily Mirror.
17. He Was Part of a Famous 90s Clique
What a bad boy! During the late 90’s, Leo was part of a crew called “The Pussy Posse”, which also included the likes of Tobey Maguire, David Blaine, Jay Ferguson, Josh Miller, Ethan Suplee, Kevin Connolly, Scott Bloom, and Justin Herwick. The group would enjoy plenty of wild nights out, whilst “bedding as many beautiful women as possible”!
18. He is Building an Eco-Friendly Resort
The well-known environmental activist is building an eco-friendly vacation resort on an island he purchased near Belize. Sadly, his plans have been halted for now, as locals have been protesting the new building site.
19. Leo’s Haircut was Banned in Afghanistan
Leo’s iconic hairstyle in Titanic was allegedly banned in Afghanistan! The signature 90s curtain-cut was deemed offensive to Islam, as the bangs would interfere with the ability to bow and say prayers. In fact, 22 barbers were jailed for giving their clients this hairstyle! Mind-blowing!
20. He Rescued His Dogs From a Frozen Lake
During his Around the Table interview, Leo explained that he had to jump into a frozen lake to save his two dogs while filming the Netflix hit, Don’t Look Up. “Basically, they both fell in a frozen lake…the other one started licking the one that was drowning, and then we all were in the frozen lake together,” he said.
Jennifer Lawrence added to the shocking story, revealing that the actor “immediately got naked in the car” to warm up his body. Now, that sounds like mayhem!
There’s clearly quite a bit about Leo that remains under wraps in Hollywood, so it seems! The actor may keep his private life discreet, but thanks to our list, you’ve learned a bunch of cool facts about the star you probably never knew before!
Which of these facts about Leonardo DiCaprio have surprised you the most? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below.