Things You Might Not Know About Rebel WilsonPublished on March 2, 2016. Updated February 18, 2020
Actress and comedienne Rebel Wilson has taken Hollywood by storm with her natural comedic ability that has audiences laughing out loud. Given her prominence in the industry and blockbusters now, it is really surprising that she really only gained major recognition seven years ago in 2011’s Bridesmaids. Since then, Wilson’s star has risen very fast and she is highly sought after for many major films. Regardless of being well-known, she is also very good at keeping her personal life private, so here are 10 things you didn’t know about Rebel Wilson.
10. Real Name
In mid-2015 there was an uproar when an Australian publication revealed Rebel Wilson had been lying about her upbringing, name, and age in Hollywood. It is stated that her real name is Melanie Elizabeth Bownds, but she still insists she only used the name Melanie because going to a “Christian girl’s school, [Rebel] is not the best name to have.”
9. Real Age
For a long time, Wilson avoided questions about her age, and when she did confront it she said she was 29. That same Australian publication dug up school photos of the actress and discovered she was born on March 2, 1980, making her 36 at the time. She finally addressed the issue, saying age for women in Hollywood is a major problem. “My movie was No. 1 and [the Australian press] tried to find anything they could that was bad on me. The most they could find out is that I stopped saying my age in press articles. It’s a business thing because you don’t want to be like, ‘Oh, I’m 29, about to be 30 coming to America, great.’ That’s not a positive thing to do when you’re an actress in Hollywood.”
8. Net Worth
Rebel Wilson has been acting since the early 2000s, but has hit it huge lately with Bridesmaids, Bachelorette, Pitch Perfect, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Pitch Perfect 2, and How to Be Single, and as already made a net worth of $5 million, which is only going to keep getting bigger with her many roles on the horizon.
7. Long Lost Family
Rebel Wilson is distantly related to Walt Disney. Walt was married to Lillian Disney (nee Bownds), who is Rebel’s great-aunt, from 1925 until he died in 1966.
As a former stand-up comedienne, humor and improv come naturally to Wilson, but many don’t realize one of her funniest Pitch Perfect lines was improvised. In the scene where she is talking to Bumper (Adam DeVine) and he says he has a feeling they should kiss, she replies, “Well, I sometimes have a feeling I could do crystal meth but then I think ‘hmm, better not.'” Later, Wilson stated about the scene, “There’s a line about crystal meth that I didn’t even remember saying. When I saw it in the final cut, I thought, ‘Wow, that was a pretty good line!'”
5. Very Educated
Rebel Wilson was a self-proclaimed “nerd” in school. She scored an almost perfect 99.3 percent on her Higher School Certificate (HSC), and originally had plans to be a lawyer, graduating from the University of New South Wales with a Bachelor of Arts degree and Bachelor of Law degree.
4. Weight Wars
In 2011, Wilson was a spokesperson for the famous weight loss company Jenny Craig in Australia and she stated in 2012 she had lost 22lbs. For her role as Fat Amy in Pitch Perfect, however, the producers told her she was not allowed to lose any more weight and signed a contract stating she would stay the same size. Her agreement with Jenny Craig ended in 2012, but she did say that once her film commitments were over she would diet again, but that is proving to be difficult with Pitch Perfect becoming a franchise with three films.
3. Alternate Career?
Aside from being a possible lawyer, it turns out Wilson is also very good at rapping and she and her sister Liberty used to compete in many music competitions when they were growing up.
For a time, Wilson was a Rotary International Youth Ambassador for Australia and was based in South Africa for a year where she ended up contracting malaria. “I almost died… I was in intensive care for two weeks… I was the skinniest I have ever been. It was great,” she joked after the scary incident. It was also the event which made her decide to become an actor thanks to hallucinations she had while in the hospital. “The malaria medication was very powerful. I had to keep taking these pills and it was so gross and I was hallucinating – I don’t know whether it was from the drugs or the disease. I hallucinated I won an Oscar and then I went up there and gave an acceptance rap instead of an acceptance speech, and it brought the house down…I came back and enrolled in Australian Theatre for Young People.”
1. Disappointing Her Mom
After thinking her daughter was going to become a mathematician or a lawyer, her mother Sue was disappointed when Rebel told her she was going to focus on becoming an actor. “I cried when she said she is going to America,” Sue stated. “She was supposed to be a lawyer and she got an amazing mark.” Her law background did help in Hollywood though with Wilson adding, “In the early days I used to negotiate my own contracts.”