Thanks to the recent release of Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War, Scarlett Johansson is once again one of the main actresses on everyone’s lips. While she’s perhaps most famous for her role as the highly skilled assassin Black Widow in the Avengers franchise, there’s much more to Johansson than that! She was one of the highest paid actresses in the world back in 2016, and she’s already earned herself a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame despite being just 33 years old. She’s gone from a child actress to a grown-up star of the big screen and the stage. Johansson is also famous for her support of charitable causes, and her political activism. Is there anything she can’t do?
Since Scarlett has grown up in the spotlight, it’s easy to assume that we – the viewing public – know everything there is to know about her. However, that couldn’t be more wrong! Johansson has all manner of secret talents, unknown Hollywood connections, and surprising interests to her name. Taking a peek into the personal life of this blonde bombshell may well throw up some unexpected and interesting facts! Luckily, if you want to find out a bit more about this acclaimed actress, we’ve done all of the hard work for you. Here are just some insights into her life that you probably haven’t encountered before.
21Scarlett Has A Twin Brother (Although She’s The Older Sibling)
With a total of three full siblings, a half-sibling, and an adopted sister, it’s safe to say that Johansson comes from a pretty big family! According to E!, Johansson’s oldest sibling, Vanessa, is also in the acting business, and the two have often been spotted attending industry events together. Vanessa’s official page on her agent’s site states that she most recently appeared on-screen in the Danish movie Skavengers – a hark back to her family’s Scandinavian roots.
As well as having an older sister, Johansson has a younger brother, Adrian, and a non-identical twin! E! notes that Scarlett is technically older than her brother Hunter, but only by a meager three minutes.
The two are incredibly close, and Hunter can often be seen walking red carpets with his twin.
Cute! E! also reports that Scarlett has a younger half-brother on her father’s side, Christian Johansson, and a super-cute adopted younger sister, Fenan Sloan. According to The Huffington Post, Johansson’s mom adopted Fenan from Ethiopia back in 2010, when the young girl was about 20 months old. Fenan has since made a public appearance at the unveiling of her older sister’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and she’s undeniably adorable. The whole family seems pretty tight-knit!
20She Attended One Of The Most Prestigious Performing Schools Out There
Right from her childhood, it was very clear that Scarlett Johansson was born to be a successful actress. In an interview with NY Mag, she admitted that in her younger years she would stare at herself in a mirror until she was able to make herself cry because she wanted to be like “Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis.” Now, that’s some dedication! Sadly, though, Johansson almost had her hopes and dreams slashed when she was just 7. A talent agent chose to sign her twin brother Hunter, but rejected Scarlett. She admits that she was “completely devastated”, but was determined to get into the acting industry regardless.
One of the first steps that Scarlett made following this rejection was to enroll in one of the most prestigious performing arts schools in the world: The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. According to The Observer, she also spent time at the Professional Children’s School in Manhattan, an institute specializing in the education of aspiring child actors. Johansson wasn’t just focused on performing arts, though: according to the Daily Mail, she was also pretty academically gifted! While the actress admits that she botched her Mathematics SAT tests, she got an overall score of 1080, an above-average grade at the time! She’s clearly one smart cookie.
19She Made Her Acting Debut Aged 8
Despite getting a devastating rejection from an agent as a 7-year-old, young Scarlett quickly bounced back. She threw herself into attending as many auditions as possible, and her hard work paid off! According to People,
She made her acting debut at the age of 8, starring opposite Ethan Hawke in an Off-Broadway production of the play Sophistry. She may have only had one line, but it was a start.
After this initial breakthrough, the roles began to come in thick and fast for Johansson. While, as the New York Times notes, she wouldn’t return to the stage for almost twenty years, she began to win both big- and small-screen roles. As People notes, she was nine when she appeared in the movie North as John Ritter’s daughter. She later admitted that this was the experience that proved that acting was for her: Johansson claims that once she reached the movie’s set, she “just knew what to do, instinctively. It was like, I don’t know… Fate.” That’s a pretty profound experience for a nine-year-old! Still, it was a feeling that would eventually be proved right. After making a name for herself as a child actress in a decade’s worth of roles, Johannson transitioned into teen and adult roles in 2003 – and her career truly took off.
18As A Teen, She Dated Bleachers Frontman, And Lena Dunham’s Ex, Jack Antonoff
I bet this is a celebrity couple that you never knew existed! Well, “celebrity” may be pushing it, as neither party was actually famous at the time. But still! Who would have put Scarlett Johansson and Bleachers frontman, Jack Antonoff, together? According to NY Mag, the two dated when they were in high school, although each party has a different account of for how long: Johansson claims it was a senior-year fling, while Antonoff maintains that the two dated throughout all of their high-school years.
For a long time, indie-rocker Antonoff pined for his lost high-school love! NY Mag reported in 2006 – four years after the pair apparently split – that one of the artist’s songs with his then-band Steel Train was entirely about his relationship with Johansson. Lyrics included “She sees nothing she did before… Hey, Scarlett, you’re not the same” and “I say I don’t, but I miss her bad.” Poor Jack! At the time the song was released, Johansson was dating fellow actor Josh Hartnett, and she never did return to Antonoff. For his part, he moved on from Scarlett with actress and activist Lena Dunham, whom he dated for five years before they split earlier this year. Ah, young love…
17She Was Rejected By New York University
While she was quite a promising student during her high school days, Johansson never actually made it to college. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course – it’s not like she needed a degree to achieve success! However, at the time of graduating from high school, not gaining a college place was something of a sore point for teenage Scarlett. According to The Express, Johansson had been hoping to attend the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. However, despite her best efforts, the young actress failed to gain a place.
After facing this rejection, Johansson decided to focus on her acting career and worry about going to college later on.
As it happens, this was the best possible choice she could have made! According to Celebuzz, Scarlett’s career reached new heights in 2003 – the same time that she should have been beginning college. It was in this year that she starred in both Lost in Translation, for which she earned both critical acclaim and a BAFTA award, and the popular period drama Girl With A Pearl Earring. After these two high-profile roles, Johansson didn’t exactly have time for college – offers of roles in blockbuster movies began to roll in! Everything really does happen for a reason.
16She Used To Be Married To Ryan Reynolds
Over the years, Johansson has had quite a few high-profile relationships. According to People, the actress was spotted out and about with actor Jared Leto in 2004, although the two never confirmed that they were dating. She went on date her Black Dahlia co-star Josh Hartnett for a year, ending the relationship in 2006 due to the pair’s busy and conflicting work schedules. After this relationship ended, Johansson met the man who was to become her first husband: Deadpool and The Proposal star Ryan Reynolds!
According to the Daily Mail, Reynolds and Johansson married in 2008 after a couple of years of dating. At the time, they seemed like one of Hollywood’s golden couples! Johansson was already a hugely successful actress, while Reynolds’ star was on the rise. However, the marriage was not to be. The pair divorced after just three years of marriage, calling it quits in 2011. Ultimately, Johansson admitted that she didn’t regret her time with Reynolds: she called marrying him “the best thing I ever did.” However, their conflicting work schedules and lack of time together meant that the relationship was doomed to break apart.
Still, it all worked out for the best: Reynolds is now married to Gossip Girl star Blake Lively, while according to Vanity Fair Johansson is in a relationship with Saturday Night Live writer Colin Jost. Happy endings all round!
15She Filmed Avengers: Age Of Ultron While Pregnant
As of Avengers: Infinity War, Johansson has made six appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Natasha Romanoff – otherwise known as Black Widow. Her portrayal of this classic Marvel character has earned her a legion of new fans and has sent her stardom shooting up to new heights. Black Widow is the strong female character that we all need to be represented in comic book movies, and her butt-kicking ability has only increased as the series has progressed.
While Johansson obviously isn’t an actual superhero in real life, she’s still pulled off some amazing feats that make her a pretty remarkable woman. One is filming the second Avengers movie, Age of Ultron, while heavily pregnant! In an interview with E!, the actress reminisced about being on the set of a high-octane action movie while preparing to give birth.
Impressively, she did as much filming “as she possibly could” – she only used stand-ins when it was absolutely necessary.
While her stunt double Heidi Moneymaker (best name EVER) engaged in all of the heavy-handed fight scenes, Scarlett still managed to do a lot of work – all the while making sure that her baby bump wasn’t too visible! It didn’t take long after shooting wrapped for Johansson’s baby daughter, Rose, to make an appearance: filming ended in August 2014, and Rose was born the following month! Talking about working up until the last minute…
14In 2008, She Told A Fib About Her Relationship With Obama
Back in 2008, the famously politically active Scarlett pretty publically took a shine to that year’s Democratic Candidate for the U.S. Presidency: one Barack Obama! In an interview with Politico, Johansson admitted that she had a “bit of a crush” on the future President, even joking that “my heart belongs to Barack”. The actress then gushed about having frequent email contact with Obama throughout his campaign, even meeting him multiple times as he traveled around the country. She stated that she supported him due to their shared anti-war views and that she and Barack generally got on like a house on fire. Johansson backed up these positive words with considerable cash: she hosted a number of apparently “lucrative” fundraisers for the Obama campaign and appeared in a viral “Yes We Can” video.
In this interview, Johansson painted a clear picture of a close friendship with Mr. Obama. However, this enthusiasm quickly turned into a major embarrassment when the man himself passed comment on their “relationship”. Just two weeks after Scarlett had her chat with Politico, New York Mag reported that Obama had denied striking up a friendship with the young actress. In reality, he’d merely sent a polite reply to one of Johannson’s emails through his personal assistant. It seems that Scarlett embellished this into a “close connection” that simply didn’t exist. Oops! Talk about being left red-faced…
13Scarlett Apparently Inspired A Famous Katy Perry Song
2008 wasn’t just the year of Scarlett Johansson’s embarrassing Obama-related incident. It also marked a time when she became a muse for an on-the-rise pop star named Katy Perry! Perry burst onto the music scene in ’08 with her debut single, “I Kissed A Girl.”
While it may have seemed like nothing more than a flirty anthem designed to get people talking, in reality, this hugely successful song had links to Scarlett!
Shortly after “I Kissed A Girl” reached the top of the charts, Perry sat down with NME to discuss the inspiration behind the song. She revealed that it came about due to a conversation that she’d had with her then-boyfriend, Travie McCoy, about really wanting to kiss Scarlett Johansson! Perry recalled that “I opened up a magazine and I saw a picture of Scarlett Johansson… I was with my boyfriend at the time, and I said to him, “I’m not going to lie: If Scarlett Johansson walked into the room and wanted to [kiss] me, I would [kiss] with her.” Since this scenario presumably never actually came true for Perry, she decided to write a song about it instead! It helped the singer along in her meteoric rise to stardom, while Johannson remained one of the biggest Hollywood heartthrobs in the world. Everybody won!
12She’s Released Two Albums Herself
As well as inspiring popular music, Scarlett Johansson is also pretty good at performing it too! While her acting career is perhaps better-known, Johansson is also a talented musician who’s released two albums and numerous other singles. According to Today, her first album, Anywhere I Lay My Head, was released back in 2008 to mixed reviews from critics. It was an album entirely made up of Tom Waits songs, to which Scarlett may or may not have done justice: her true singing voice was apparently hidden behind a lot of production effects.
Still, this lukewarm reaction to Johansson’s first album didn’t put her off the music industry. She told Today that she hadn’t been looking for anyone’s approval in the first place and that she was totally happy with how Anywhere I Lay My Head had sounded. A follow-up record came in 2009: entitled Break Up, it was an album of duets with singer-songwriter Pete Yorn. According to the Evening Standard, this again received mixed reviews, and Yorn even felt the need to defend working with Johansson in a 2016 interview. Scarlett hasn’t released another album since Break Up, and these days, she tends to stick to acting rather than singing.
11Her Beauty Has Won Her Many Fans, But Once Lost Her A Role
It’s been long-acknowledged that Scarlett Johansson is one of the most attractive women in the world. According to the Daily Mail, she placed tenth in a poll by skincare brand Artistry by Amway that aimed to find the most beautiful woman of all time. CBS News also reported back in 2013 that she’d been voted the Sexiest Woman Alive by Esquire magazine readers for the second time, the first being in 2006. Johansson was actually the first ever woman to receive the accolade twice. It’s hard to argue with credentials like that!
However, this beauty hasn’t always been a positive factor in Johansson’s life. In fact, it once lost her a role in a pretty high-profile movie.
According to News.com, she didn’t get the titular part in the adaptation of the hit crime novel The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo because she was deemed “too beautiful” to portray Lisbeth Salander.
Johansson also didn’t make the cut for Tom Hooper’s Oscar-winning movie musical Les Misérables, although for slightly different reasons! She apparently auditioned for the role of Fantine – for which Anne Hathaway would eventually win an Oscar – but had laryngitis on the day and botched her song. Talk about bad luck!
10Her Mom Used To Be Her Manager – Until Scarlett Fired Her
When Scarlett Johansson first entered the acting industry as a young girl, she found a manager in the same way many child stars do: she simply hired her mom. According to ABC, Melanie Sloane had control over Scarlett’s career right from her very first film role in North, back when the actress was nine. While this arrangement continued to work for some years, the situation changed in 2009. Johansson herself stated that she fired her mom at this time in order to “cut the cord” following her marriage to Ryan Reynolds. In Sloan’s place, she brought in Rick Yorn, one of Hollywood’s most prolific agents.
While Sloan and Johansson are still on pretty good terms following this shock firing, things haven’t always been rosy for mother and daughter. As ABC News reported, Sloan found herself in financial trouble after losing her long-time job, and apparently had to pull out of buying a $1.4 million apartment in New York City as she could no longer afford a mortgage. According to the New York Daily News, Johansson had become sick of supporting her mother’s “extravagant” lifestyle, so refused to bail her out. Still, it’s not like Sloan was left homeless: she already owned a pretty swanky pad in Los Angeles.
9She’s Good Friends With Her Avengers Co-Star, Chris Evans
While Johansson seems to get on pretty well with all of her Marvel Cinematic Universe co-stars, she’s particularly close to Captain America actor Chris Evans. According to Elite Daily, the two have had plenty of time to strike up a friendship! Even before starring together in the Avengers movies, they’d been co-stars twice – firstly in 2004’s The Perfect Score and then again in 2007’s The Nanny Diaries. Throw in five MCU movies together, and you can see why Evans and Johansson are such good buds!
Although ‘Elite Daily’ reported that some romance rumors floated around regarding these two following Johansson’s second divorce in 2017, there’s no evidence that they’ve ever been more than good friends…
…Plus, they’re both currently dating other people anyway! Much to the annoyance of many Marvel fans, it doesn’t look like any sparks will fly between their Avengers characters, either. Although a hint of chemistry seemed to appear after Black Widow and Captain America worked together in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this was apparently never going to blossom into anything more than a close friendship. In an interview with ET Online, both Evans and Johansson stated that even before Black Widow struck up a relationship with Bruce Banner in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Cap and Widow were only destined to be very good pals.
8She’s Always Wanted To Star As A Disney Princess
While Scarlett Johansson is a highly successful actress in quite a few movie genres, there’s one kind of film that she’s always wanted to star in – but hasn’t managed to as of yet. According to Vogue, she really wants to portray a Disney princess, both for her own sake and for that of her young daughter, Rose! Johansson told the New York Times that she’s been trying to land herself a Disney movie spot for decades, but has sadly been unsuccessful so far. While Marvel is now technically owned by Disney, we’re not sure her role as Black Widow counts!
While playing a Disney princess might seem like a far cry from Johansson’s usually more gritty roles, she’s been open about the fact that she likes to take on parts that are different – and that challenge her. She told the New York Times that rather than boxing herself into one type of movie, she seeks out “project with filmmakers who want to make things that give the audience a fresh experience.” Well, Scarlett-meets-Disney would certainly be fresh! Since every single animated Disney film ever seems to be getting the live-action remake treatment these days, we’re sure the actress’ day will come.
7Scarlett Became A Meme After Falling Over In Public
Back in 2013, poor Scarlett lived through one of many people’s worst nightmares. As the Radio Times reported, she took a very public tumble while visiting Scotland – and someone captured it in a photo. While it may have looked like a humiliating accident, in reality, the fall was all planned. It was part of a scene for a movie she was filming at the time, Under The Skin. However, this didn’t stop people from ruthlessly mocking the picture in question. As soon as it reached the Internet, the Photoshop wizards of the world collected together to do their thing, and the image quickly became the meme of the week.
As ‘Mashable’ reported, the image of Falling Scarlett Johansson was superimposed onto many different amusing scenes.
She was made to play the bongos, or ride on the back of a dolphin. She found her way onto the Magic Carpet from Disney’s Aladdin – not quite the Disney princess role she was hoping for, perhaps! Scarlett was thrown off a cliff by Scar in The Lion King, was made to spin some DJ decks, and was also placed into numerous fight scenes. As is often the way with memes like this, the enthusiasm surrounding the photo quickly died down. However, the results of this movie-shot-turned-embarrassing-moment are still on the Internet for all to see.
6Hollywood Likes To Cast Her With Older Men
As Vulture once noted, there seems to be a bit of a problem in Hollywood with much younger actresses being cast as the love interests of middle-aged men. Jennifer Lawrence is one example that the website gave: the 27-year-old has been routinely cast opposite 40-plus-year-old guys since her early twenties. You might not pick up on it when you’re watching her movies – who actually remember the ages of Bradley Cooper and Chris Pratt, for example?
However, even J-Law hasn’t been as subject to this trend as Scarlett Johansson. Johansson actually got her big break in a movie that cast the then-18-year-old actress opposite 52-year-old Bill Murray: the critically acclaimed Lost In Translation. Since this age gap is central to the film’s plot, you can explain it away fairly easily. However, things haven’t got much better for Scarlett since. As Vulture noted, she’s even 15 years younger than her Avengers love interest Mark Ruffalo!
There’s no word on what Johansson thinks about this Hollywood pattern. However, in the past, she’s been linked to some older guys in real life too. As NY Daily News reported, shortly after her divorce from Ryan Reynolds, Johansson briefly dated Sean Penn – an infamous Hollywood bad boy 24 years older than her. While the fling only lasted for a few months, it was the talk of the town for a while!
5A Bad Experience Has Left Her Terrified Of Cockroaches
Now, not many people in this world can honestly say that they’re a fan of cockroaches. They’re the epitome of creepy-crawly, and while we’re sure they have a special place in this world, we’d rather that place wasn’t the inside of our houses. Still, becoming deathly afraid of these critters is a whole new level of distaste for their presence – and it’s one that Scarlett Johansson has unfortunately reached.
According to the Irish Examiner...
Scarlett’s fear of cockroaches all stems from an incident in which she woke up to find one perched on her face. Yeah… We can see why that may not have been a pleasant experience!
In an interview with Vulture, the actress got candid about her biggest fears in this world. One of these is birds – apparently, “something about wings and beaks and the flapping” sets Johansson’s skin on edge. While she stated that she could probably briefly cope with one perching on her shoulder, it’d be “hard” to bear. However, more severe is her hatred of cockroaches. Speaking to iVillage, she stated that the insects were her “kryptonite” and that she’s “crippled by them” and “hates them”. She even said that she even preferred the lions and tigers she encountered on the set of We Bought A Zoo to these comparatively tiny bugs!
4She’s Inspired Songs, TV Characters, And A Tarot Card Design
Since Scarlett Johansson is one of the most famous actresses in the world, it’s perhaps unsurprising that she’s become a muse for many artists and creators. However, the sheer range of ways in which she’s been depicted is pretty impressive! For one, Scarlett has made her way into one Italian artist’s tarot card set. According to Tarot Heritage, Francesco Clemente portrayed the actress as the Queen of Swords in his custom-designed pack. It wasn’t the first time he’d captured her likeness: Clemente told The New Yorker that he’d painted her before the tarot card sitting and that the two were “good friends, in a New York kind of way.”
As well as her tarot card appearance, Johansson’s likeness has been captured through another pretty unique artistic medium: cartoon! As the Looney Tunes Show Wiki notes, she inspired a character in this much-loved series: the appropriately named Starlett Johansson. Starlett appeared in the episode “Casa de Calma” as a love interest for both Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny. In the end, Bugs gets the girl, despite the rather obvious species barrier involved. Johansson didn’t get to voice her alter ego, but did appear in a different Looney Tunes episode as the first female President of the United States. Not too shabby!
3She Hates Being Called “Scar-Jo”
For years now, the media has shortened various celebrities’ names into bite-size, easier-to-type nicknames. It all started with J-Lo, but now many more famous faces have fallen victim to the shortened-name curse. In Scarlett Johansson’s case, many reporters have dubbed her ScarJo. Unfortunately, though, she isn’t exactly a fan of being referred to in this way. Not that this stops a lot of people, but oh well…
In an interview with Glamour, Johansson totally laid into anyone who chooses ScarJo over her actual name.
She called the nickname “tacky”, “lazy” and “flippant”, and went as far as to say that there’s “something kind of violent about it. There’s something insulting about it.”
Oh dear! According to the Huffington Post, Scarlett also threw a bit of shade at J-Lo, stating that “I associate that name with pop stars.” Judging by the rest of the conversation, she doesn’t see that as a good thing. Well, it is her name, to be fair – surely she gets a say in how she’s referred to! There must be nothing worse than having a nickname that you despise, and literally millions of people around the world calling you by it anyway… We can see why Scarlett might be a tad angry!
2She Convinced Four Of Her Avengers Pals To Get Matching Tattoos
So, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ll have heard that this little movie called Avengers: Infinity War has just hit cinemas. It’s a superhero extravaganza, bringing together literally dozens of Marvel Cinematic Universe characters – including Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow! Viewers have been left reeling from the film’s plot twists, tragedies, and pretty darn frustrating cliffhanger. Still, the general opinion of Marvel fans everywhere is that Infinity War is a must-watch cinematic event.
The fans aren’t the only people who totally loved this movie, mind. The actors are pretty keen on the end product too! Scarlett Johansson clearly had a blast making the movie if her way of commemorating it is anything to go by. According to EW.com, the actress convinced a number of her fellow original Avengers cast members to get matching tattoos! Robert Downey Jr. revealed that he, Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth all got inked with the iconic Avengers symbol. While Mark Ruffalo opted out, his place was taken by the tattoo artist who worked on the other cast members! This idea was totally Johansson’s brainchild, and it’s a pretty sweet way to remember the franchise that sent her career soaring to new heights.
1She Has European Roots
With a surname like Johansson, you’d expect Scarlett to have at least some Scandinavian heritage. Sure enough, in an interview with the Scandinavian Traveler, the actress confirmed that she has roots in both Denmark and Sweden! Johansson’s father was Danish, as were both of her paternal grandparents. However, her great-grandfather actually emigrated to the country from Sweden, after marrying her Danish great-grandmother!
Johansson has been very vocal about her appreciation of Scandinavian culture, stating that the area is “part of her heritage.”
She even revealed that she and her half-brother Christian had recently taken a trip to Copenhagen – and to Legoland!
On her mother’s side, Johansson’s cultural background is equally rich. According to The Times of Israel, on her mother’s side, the actress is descended from Polish and Russian Jewish families. Tragically, she discovered on the genealogy TV show Finding Her Roots that her great-uncle and his family perished in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Second World War. Meanwhile, her grandfather escaped the Holocaust and moved to the USA, where Scarlett’s mother was born. While Johansson admitted that this knowledge was difficult to deal with emotionally, she also thinks it’s left her feeling more in-touch with a branch of her family that she never had the chance to meet.