Hey Girl, Here Are 40 Fun Facts About Ryan Gosling

We're celebrating the La La Land star's 40th birthday by spilling all of his secrets.

By Tierney Bricker Nov 12, 2020 11:00 AMTags
Watch: How Ryan Gosling Changed Eva Mendes' Mind on Having Kids

It's neither crazy nor stupid to love Ryan Gosling—especially on his 40th birthday.

That's right, the La La Land star turns the big 4-0 on Nov. 12 and we're celebrating the only way we know how: Gifting you with all of his secrets.

In honor of the his milestone birthday, we're revealing hot goss about the Hot Gos (see what we did there?), including the shocking reason he was suspended from school in the first grade to the unexpected "great love" of his life. (Eva Mendes, you may want to look away!)

Plus, did you know that Gosling lived with one of his Mickey Mouse Club co-stars when they were teens, even sneaking into Disney World to stir up trouble? Or that the First Man actor gave himself a tattoo and took dance lessons with a Dancing With the Stars champion? 

These 22 Celebs Love Ryan Gosling Just As Much As You Do

So hey girl, here are 40 facts you might not know about Gosling...

1. Born in Ontario, Canada to parents Thomas, a paper mill salesman, and Donna, a secretary, Ryan Gosling grew up in a Mormon household. 

"I wasn't really Mormon, my parents were," he told Belief Net. "My mom was really cool. She said, 'This is an option, but this isn't the only option. This is an idea, but this isn't the only idea. You have to find your own truth.' I never really could identify with it. There's good things about going to church. [Being Mormon] socialized me at a young age. You have to pray in public, shake a lot of hands, talk in public, sing in church, stuff like that. It has definitely stayed with me."

2. Gosling was bullied in school and often got into fights, landing him the nickname "Trouble," according to The Guardian. He was suspended from school in the first grade after he brought steak knives to school and threw them at his classmates after watching the movie First Blood

3. Eventually, his mom began home-schooling him after his parents divorced when he was 13. 

"I was literally raised by my mother and my sister," Gosling told The Independent. "And I just feel like I wouldn't know how to think any other way. My sister was my best friend and my hero growing up."

4. Gosling got his start in the entertainment biz by singing "When a Man Loves a Woman" at weddings with his sister, Mandi Gosling.

"We'd do it right before the garter ceremony," he explained to Interview. "While the bride was sitting on the chair, I would get down on my knees and sing the song, and then my sister would sing another song, and then together we would sing 'Old Time Rock & Roll.' Then sometimes if we were really killing it, I'd sing 'Runaround Sue.'"

5. Gosling auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club when he was 12 years-old, ultimately landing a Mouseketeer role along with Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake. In a 2007 interview with The Guardian, Gosling claimed he was a bad influence on the rest of the young cast.

"I just told them what I heard, like positions and stuff.' Teaching Britney Spears about sex: Now there's an achievement!" he said. "I feel somewhat responsible for how sexual she is now...when I see her with a snake around her neck, I think: Did I do that?"

6. Timberlake's mom Lynne became Gosling's legal guardian while filming the Disney Channel series in Orlando after his own mother had to return to Canada.

"We were probably a little closer than the rest of the kids that were on the show just because we had to share a bathroom," Timberlake told Ellen DeGeneres in 2011.

7. And in his 2018 memoir, the "SexyBack" singer spilled some of the pair's on-set antics. 

"We had employee cards that gave us access to the theme parks for free," he wrote. "Ryan and I once stole a golf cart and drove it to the employee entrance for the Tower Of Terror. We went on that ride 12 times in a row."

8. He was offered a lead role as a member of The Midnight Society on Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of the Dark? but he turned it down to do The Mickey Mouse Club. He would later appear in a season five episode before landing the starring role in the shortlived action series Young Hercules

9. While the show only lasted one season, Gosling revealed in 2013 that his time as the Roman god is one of the roles he's most proud of in his career that he felt is "not appreciated" as much as it should be.

"I had a fake tan, leather pants," he explained to Jake's Take. "I was fighting imaginary monsters—they weren't really there, but I was acting like they were there. So..."

10. While it's hard to imagine any but Gosling playing Noah Calhoun in 2004's The Notebook, director Nick Cassevetes admitted to Vh1 he had to fight to cast the then-23-year-old actor.

"When I told [New Line Cinema] I wanted to hire Ryan for the lead, they kind of looked at me like I was out of my mind," Cassavetes revealed to VH1. Gosling was a little surprised, too, especially after his first meeting with the director.

11. Before Rachel McAdams landed the role of Allie, one of Gosling's former co-stars was actually considered for the part: Britney Spears, his Mickey Mouse Club pal and, you know, one of the biggest stars in the world.

In an interview with ET, Gosling revealed he had screen-tested with Spears, saying, "I did...I hadn't seen her really since she was about 12—we were both 12—so she's grown up, but she was really good, actually. She did a really nice job. We were 12, I don't remember much from when I was 12, but yeah, no, she did an excellent job, actually. That was cool."

12. The actor moved to Charleston two months before filming, during which he rowed the Ashley River and made furniture and even apprenticed with a cabinet-maker in town. 

"We made all the Adirondack chairs in front of the house," Gosling told People. "We sat in them a lot."

13. Oh, and that dining room table in the house Noah builds Allie? It was also made by Gosling.

"We shot a scene where Rachel and I consummate our relationship on a table I made," he revealed. "But I couldn't keep it. We used a special wood, and the deal was [the cabinetmaker] got the table. But he doesn't know what happened on it."

14. While they became one of Hollywood's most beloved couples, Gosling and McAdams couldn't stand each other while filming The Notebook

"We weren't throwing Ming vases at each other, so it wasn't loathing, but our relationship was not what you saw on the screen," McAdams told The Times in 2013. "I would say that we were both, well, professional. [Our later relationship] certainly wasn't something that either of us had expected would come out of that filmmaking experience."

15. The pair would date for three years before breaking up in 2009.

"God bless The Notebook. It introduced me to one of the great loves of my life," Gosling would later tell GQ. "But people do Rachel and me a disservice by assuming we were anything like the people in that movie. Rachel and my love story is a hell of a lot more romantic than that...the only thing I remember is we both went down swingin' and we called it a draw."

16. His first major relationship in Hollywood was with his Murder By Numbers co-star Sandra Bullock, who was 16 years his senior. After meeting on the set of the thriller, the couple dated for one year, though they never publicly commented on their romance at the time. 

17. Of his romances with Bullock and McAdams, Gosling told The Times in 2011, "I had two of the greatest girlfriend of all time. I haven't met anybody who could top them."

18. Gosling and Eva Mendes met and fell in love in 2011 on the set of The Place Beyond the Pines. They were first photographed together on a date at Disneyland.

19. Gosling's obsession with the Happiest Place on Earth has been well-documented after numerous sightings over the years and the actor weighed in on his "love/hate relationship" with Disneyland in an interview with The Independent

"What's so interesting to me is that the attention to detail there never gets old," he explained. "There's always something new to find, something they've thought of. And there is always the idea of somebody who had a dream and made it so real you can walk around in it."

20. Gosling and Mendes have two daughters, Esmeralda, 6, and Amada, 4. In an interview with GQ, the private star opened up about fatherhood, saying, "Your whole life, you hear what it's like to have kids, and all the clichés are true. I felt I knew that everything would be different, but until you experience that, there's no way to really know what people mean."

He continued, "Eva's the dream mother, and they're dream babies, and it's like a dream that I'm having right now,. I'm dreaming it all."

21. Gilmore Girls was this close to casting a then-unknown Gosling in a minor role as a football player, according to casting director Jami Rudofsky, who initially met him during an audition for another teen drama. 

"I rolled my eyes because he was late, and he was blonde," she said at the 2016 Gilmore Girls Fan Festival, going on to admit she was so blown away by his acting chops that she called him in after she was hired on the iconic WB series. However, her team was unimpressed and he "fell flat."

22. Gosling and fellow Canadian Justin Bieber are actually related, according to Ancestry.com, who reported in 2012 that they are 11th cousins once removed, with their connection dating back to French people who moved to Quebec in the 1600s.

23. Because he didn't have many friends growing up, Gosling revealed he took ballet lessons. And still continued to take them as an adult, telling The Independent, "I practice whenever I can."

That included going to a Los Angeles studio where "a lot of the students are young girls so they're there with their moms but they just kind of watch and tell me to keep it up" he said. "They try and be positive but I'm so bad."

24. In 2011, Gosling reportedly turned down the title of People's "Sexiest Man Alive," with his The Place Beyond the Pines co-star Bradley Cooper going on to fill the slot. (Internet backlash swiftly followed.)

"They tried a few times, especially during his huge year in 2011," a source told The Wrap. "The consensus was he's too serious for it, too artsy."

25. Rumors popped up once again in 2014 that Gosling declined the "SMA" honor that ultimately went to Chris Hemsworth

26. Gosling reportedly has five tattoos, including one on his wrist that he gave himself. Describing all of his body ink as "ridiculous," he told The Guardian, "A tattoo should never be meaningful because at a certain point you're going to hate it, and it might as well make you laugh."

27. To prepare for La La Land, Gosling trained for several weeks with Dancing With the Stars pro Jenna Johnson, who admitted to People that she "about peed her pants" when she learned she would be his rehearsal partner. 

"He'd had training when he was really young, but I was so shocked at how incredible he was at picking up things and what kind of partner he was," Johnson recalled, going to call him "the nicest human being ever...he made me giggle. He made me want to cry when I had to leave."

28. And for Crazy Stupid Love, the actor had his friend who owns a Los Angeles bar give him several bartending lessons after the producers asked him to learn how to make drinks.

"I justified a reason to go to a bar and be there for awhile," he joked to Collider.

29. Gosling signed on to star in Crazy Stupid Love without even reading the script after learning Steve Carell was attached.

I just love Steve Carell, always wanted to work with Steve," he explained to Collider. "When I first moved to Los Angeles I did a pilot, was 17, had a small part, so did Steve. We didn't get to work together but he was so funny I would go to set just to watch him work."

He continued, "I became a huge fan… Eventually I got this opportunity to work with him so I decided to jump at it. I didn't really think of it as a conscious choice to do a comedy, although the prescription was looming there in my subconscious, but I really wanted to work with Steve. I would have done anything to work with him."

30. The 2011 rom-com's infamous homage to the Dirty Dancing lift scene actually came from Gosling. When he met with the writers to discuss the part, Gosling talked about the time "he had done the Dirty Dancing lift in real life to a girl," screenwriter John Requa told Entertainment Weekly. "Me and Glenn [Ficarra] turned to each other and said, 'OK, that's going in the movie!" He's like, 'No you can't put that in the movie.' We put it in, much to his chagrin."

31. In addition to looking like, well, that, Gosling is also skilled in the kitchen, per Mendes. 

"Ryan is an amazing chef AND baker," Mendes replied to a user on Instagram. "For reals. Incredible. No joke. I'm not sure that what I do is cooking. It's more like steaming veggies and juicing and making rice. He really cooks. I survive."

32. Gosling is one of the co-founders of Beverly Hills restaurant Tagine with Abdessamad "Ben" Benameur after meeting the Moroccan celebrity chef in 2004. "He was a little kid who was just trying to establish himself. He had just broke up with Sandra Bullock when I met him," Benameur recalled to The Moroccan News, adding that the actor invested $50,000 in the restaurant against the advice of his team.

33. His guilty pleasure is actually Twizzlers, which his frequent collaborator and close friend Emma Stone revealed to Vanity Fair. "Ryan can eat more Twizzlers than anyone you've ever met," she spilled. "He would keep it in his coat pocket and just, you know, hand out Twizzlers and eat Twizzlers himself. That was his move on La La Land."

34. In 2007, Gosling was fired from The Lovely Bones after gaining 60 pounds in an effort to look old enough to play the father of a teenage girl. (Mark Wahlberg would end up being cast.)

"I was 150 pounds when [director Peter Jackson] hired me, and I showed up on set 210 pounds," Gosling later told The Hollywood Reporter. "We had a different idea of how the character should look. I really believed he should be 210 pounds. I was melting Haagen Dazs and drinking it when I was thirsty."

He continued, "I really believed in it. I was excited about it. I showed up, and they said, 'You look terrible.' And I said, 'I know! Isn't it great?' 'No, it's not. Go hit the treadmill'...Then I was fat and unemployed."

35. Gosling followed that firing with a three-year break from acting. 

"That break did me good," he told the Independent. "in the sense that taking some time out meant I had some experience of life. Experience of normal life, I mean, that you can then reflect in a movie. It's not good just to have life experience of film-making and that's all. It's hard to play a real person when you've been in jets and town cars for three years."

36. In an interview with The Independent, Gosling described George, his adopted mixed breed dog, as "the love of my life...I take him everywhere, I have special paperwork so he can travel with me wherever I go."

37. Gosling even brought George on stage with him during his appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, explaining the origins of his furry friend's mohawk haircut. 

"He insists on it," he said. "Ten years ago I shaved a mohawk just for the summer. And then, every time it started to grow out, he turned into a total jerk. And then, I'd shave it back and he'd turn into a nice guy again."

38. During an appearance on The Ellen Show in 2017, Gosling confirmed the sad news that George passed away at the age of 17. "He was a good friend to me," he said, adding he wasn't yet ready for a new dog. 

Two years later, Gosling and Mendes adopted Lucho, a Doberman, from the Friends for Life Rescue Network.

39. After a campaign to get the First Man actor to visit Grinder Coffee, a local Toronto shop, went viral in 2018, Gosling surprised owner Joelle Murray by checking out the café for himself

"He made it seem that he enjoyed meeting me as much as I enjoyed meeting him," Murray told Canoe.com. "And it was a lovely feeling. He was very well-spoken, a wonderful Canadian boy with very good manners."

40. After Ryan McHenry, the creator of the "Ryan Gosling Won't Eat His Cereal" video on Vine, passed away in 2015, Gosling paid tribute to the meme-maker by posting a video on the platform.

After pouring himself a bowl of Corn Flakes, Gosling raised a spoonful in McHenry's honor and chomped down on his cereal.

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