Kevin Hart attends the Netflix Is A Joke Fest Presents: Jeff Beacher's Madhouse at The Hollywood Roosevelt on May 10, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. Kim Kardashian attends The 2024 Met Gala Celebrating "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2024 in New York City. Jeremy Renner attends Level 8 Grand Opening Party At Moxy Downtown LA on September 13, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

A lot of actors got their start in music videos before they become famous. While trying to make a name for themselves in the entertainment industry – or just trying to pay their rent – many actors used their good looks to their advantage to get roles in music videos.

Taye Diggs’ first-ever credited role was in Tupac’s 1995 music video for “Temptations.” The song’s music video does not have any shots of Tupac since he was incarcerated at the time for alleged sexual abuse. Instead, the video features many celebrity cameos, such as Coolio, Ice-T, Issac Hayes, Warren G, Adina Howard, Salt-N-Pepa, Shock G, B-Real, Treach, Jada Pinkett Smith, Marcus Chong, and Kenya Moore. Taking place in a hotel, the video opens and closes with the concierge (Ice-T) complaining about Coolio (a bellboy). The main plot of the video follows the late Coolio while he is working in the hotel.

In the video, Diggs is playing strip poker with Salt-N-Pepa’s Cheryl James and Spinderella. In 1998, Diggs made his film debut in How Stella Got Her Groove Back, which brought him much acclaim and exposure. He later starred in popular and award-winning films and television shows like The Best Man, All American, Brown Sugar, Rent, and Malibu’s Most Wanted.

Another star who was featured in music videos before fame is Friends alum Matt LeBlanc. He starred in Alanis Morissette’s 1991 music video for “Walk Away.” In the video, he’s playing pool with two other men in a bar. He plays Morissette’s boyfriend in the video and arrives late for a date with her. Once he realizes this, he leaves his buddies and tries to reach her by pay phone with no luck. When he finally meets up with her after running around the city, she ices him out. After she teaches him a lesson not to leave her waiting, the couple make up at the end and share a kiss.

mattlebl_20000518_00983.jpg, 6 Actors Who Were In Music Videos Before Fame
(photo by Newsmakers)

When Beyoncé was just 17 years old, she played the love interest in singer-songwriter Case’s late ’90s classic, “Happily Ever After.” This was just one year after Destiny’s Child released their self-titled debut studio album. Bey has since ventured into acting, co-starring in Austin Powers in Goldmember, and with lead roles in Dreamgirls, Cadillac Records, Obessessed, The Pink Panther, and The Fighting Temptations. She also did voice acting for 2019’s The Lion King.

See below: 6 actors who starred in music videos before fame:

  • Courteney Cox in Bruce Springsteen's 'Dancing In The Dark'

    Forty years ago, Friends alum Courteney Cox got her start in Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 music video. The video is a straight performance video, with Springsteen inviting a young woman from the audience, who happened to be Courteney Cox, to dance with him on stage at the end. As a huge Springsteen fan, Cox decided to audition when she found out there was an opportunity to dance with “The Boss” on stage. Springsteen was unaware that she was an actress, having starred in the soap opera As The World Turns. Ten years later, she landed the starring role as Monica Geller in Friends.

  • Aziz Ansari in Jay-Z and Kanye West's 'Otis'

    Before Ansari created and starred in the award-winning series Master of None, he made his music video debut in 2011 with rap legends Kanye West and Jay-Z. During this time, he was cast in the comedy show Parks and Recreation. Wearing a suit and black sunglasses, the comedian is seen pushing the chopped-up Maybach 57. In an interview with MTV following the video release, Ansari was asked about pantomiming Ye’s lyrics. He told the publication that director Spike Jonze told him “to be their hypeman and do whatever I felt like doing, so that was in the moment.” A few years later, Ansari opened up about his friendship with Ye and Jay, and they let him sit in while they were recording Watch The Throne.

  • Jeremy Renner in Pink's 'Trouble'

    In the 2003 western-themed music video, which was filmed where the television show Little House on the Prairie was shot in the in the 1970s, but depicted life in the 1870s–90s, the future Marvel star plays a bad boy sheriff who has his eyes on troublemaker Pink. After she gets whisked away after getting into a brawl with everyone in the saloon, she kicks Renner in the face. Visibly turned on by it, she seduces him into letting him out of her cell. Of course, she played him: she quickly handcuffs him to the window bars of his office to finish the fight she started in the saloon. Pink and the Renner face each other in a whip fight in the middle of the street and she takes him down with the help of her female comrades. Without much acting credits beneath his belt at this time, Renner played Jeffrey Dahmer in 2002’s Dahmer. He would later star in The Town, The Bourne Legacy, and his role as Hawkeye in the Marvel films and television series. In 2017, Renner took to X (formerly Twitter) and reminisced on his “sweaty” days with the pop star.

  • Kevin Hart in 'Lean Back' by Fat Joe & Remy Ma

    Before Kevin Hart blew up as a comedian and movie star, he starred in the iconic music video for 2004’s “Lean Back.” In the video, Hart tells the crowd waiting to get inside the party that Fat Joe himself gave him orders that no one else is getting in. Hilariously, Lil Jon is among those wanting to get in and pushes their way through Kevin. Fat Joe met Hart on the set of 2003’s Scary Movie 3 and found him funny. Recalling that two weeks later while shooting the music video, he asked to get “the funny little guy” in the video. Hart got sentimental about his first role, too, taking to Instagram in 2021. He wrote in the caption: “I was hype as hell…it’s all about progression….this was a forward step for me at that time in my career. There is no such thing as a little moment…they all add up and will eventually be talked about when you’re telling you’re big story of how you got to the place that you now are….”

  • Kim Kardashian in Fall Out Boy's 'Thnks fr th Mmrs'

    Before Kim K was the business mogul and reality star we now know her as, she starred in the music video for one of Fall Out Boy’s most popular songs of all time. In 2007, bassist Pete Wentz sits on a bed at one point during the music video and attempts to kiss his character’s love interest (Kardashian), only to have a chimpanzee stop him and show him the correct way to kiss her. As Pete tries to leave, Kim stops him and the couple kiss, prompting Pete to stay. As Pete and the chimpanzee vie for Kim’s affection, Pete has had enough and smashes his bass guitar into the “B” from the “FOB” lights on the back wall, and leaves the stage. Wentz reflected on Kim appearing in the video over ten years later and said, “It’s just so interesting when you look back on that moment, you’re like, ‘This is like the last moment Fall Out Boy interacted in public with Kim Kardashian where we had the same amount of fame as her.’ It’s funny when you look back at this stuff. Thanks for the memories, Kim.”

  • Djimon Hounsou in Tina Turner's 'I Don't Wanna Lose You'

    Before Hounsou became an award-winning actor, he starred in several music videos. Between 1989 and 1991, the West African native appeared in the music videos for Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up,” Janet Jackson’s “Love Will Never Do (Without You),” Madonna’s “Express Yourself,” and En Vogue’s music video for “Hold On.” In Turner’s 1989 video, Hounsou is being caressed in a bathtub and his lover shaves his head. The next scene he is featured in is completely nude, covered only by clothes hanging out to dry near the balcony he is on. He would later star in films like Gladiator, In America, and Blood Diamond.

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