Zac Efron is the latest celebrity to enter a romance with someone outside of the industry, but he's definitely not the first.
It's a tale as old as time: Celebrity meets civilian. They fall in love. The end.
OK, so it's not really a fable out of the story books we all grew up on, but it is the stuff of modern fairy tales. And Zac Efron is the latest male star to take on the role of Prince Charming after he was photographed holding hands with his new love interest. The twist? She's not a Hollywood starlet or a TikTok influencer, she's just a regular ol' human being who just now happens to be the living embodiment of hope to millions of women around the world.
Of course, The Greatest Showman actor isn't the far from the first celeb to fall for a normal person with no ties to the industry, though it is a rarity.
Another former Disney star once made headlines for dating his biggest fan, while a Jonas brother didn't have to travel to the year 3000 to find his soul mate—he just had to go on a family vacation.
Here are celebs that have fallen for civilians, from Matt Damon's unexpected love at first sight across a bar to Jon Stewart's fated blind date…
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It was the start of something new for the High School Musical heartthrob when he went into the cafe Vanessa Valladares was working at in Australia earlier this year.
"He started seeing her in July and they have been together ever since," a source told E! News. "She spends the night at his rental house all the time. They have fun together and hang out a lot. He loves the area and the lifestyle and she has shown him a lot of great places. He's in a good place and happy down under."
Additionally, the insider revealed Efron is "looking to buy" his own pad in Australia—where he filmed some of his Netflix reality series Down to Earth—and Valladeres is helping him house hunt.
The eldest Jonas Brother met his future wife while on a family vacation in the Bahamas. But Danielle Deleasa, a hairdresser from New Jersey, wasn't initially interested in a cross-country romance with the boy-bander.
"'I'm never going to see this kid again, so why would I spend time away from my family while we're on vacation?'" she told PR.com in 2012. "I was like, 'Why should I waste my time?'"
But Jonas knew she was the one, later admitting to Glamour he may have "went overboard" in his pursuit post-vaca.
"I cyberstalked her after we met and cyberstalked to see what flight she was going to be on coming home, and then I called her the minute she landed," he revealed. "That might have been a little overboard, but I just went for it."
The couple married in 2009 and have since welcomed two daughters: Alena, 6, and Valentina, 3.
The Wizards of Waverly Place star gave hope to fangirls everywhere when he began dating his biggest Internet admirer in 2015.
Danielle Ceasar had tweeted at Austin for years before they finally met an autograph signing in NYC in 2011. But the pair didn't start dating until they reconnected four years later.
"We're young and having fun just getting to know each other. It doesn't matter how you meet someone—on set, in a coffee shop, at school, or in the business," the actor said in a statement to Seventeen at the time. "Sometimes you connect with people at the right moment and you just click."
They pair dated for several years before seemingly breaking up in 2019, with Austin deleting all photos of Ceasar from his Instagram.
Alba wasn't looking for love when she suited up for 2004's Fantastic Four, but she ended up finding it on the set of the superhero flick with then-production assistant Cash Warren.
Four years later, the Honest Company founder and Warren tied the knot and the couple have three children together, daughters Honor, 12, and Haven, 9, and son Hayes, 2.
Alba told E! News that she and her producer husband make it a priority to spend quality time together despite their busy schedules.
"We definitely like to carve out time with each other," she explained. "It's not always so formal like we have to go to a restaurant and have a date night…It's just spending time and having a giggle and reviewing the day I mean, that's just as important as anything else."
The Oscar winner met Luciana Barroso while he was filming the 2003 movie Stuck on You in Miami, where she was tending bar. In a twist of fate, the movie, which he was initially hesitating to sign on to, was supposed to film in Hawaii.
"I literally saw her across a crowded room, literally," he explained on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2011. "I don't know how else our paths would've crossed if that didn't happen. If all those things didn't happen…When you're tired, suck it up and go to the bar and you might meet your wife."
Two years after their fateful meeting, they tied the knot in a quiet civil ceremony and have been happily busy raising their four girls—their daughters together, Isabella, Gia and Stella, and Alexia, Barroso's daughter from her previous marriage.
"A lot of it boils down to luck: my wife's a civilian and that takes a lot of pressure off," Damon told The Guardian of their low-key marriage. "It's really sex and scandal that moves those magazines, and there's nothing scandalous about a guy who's married and has kids. If they come outside where I live, they are going to die of boredom—there's just nothing really going on that would sell a magazine."
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It was love at first sight for O'Brien when he spotted Liza Powel in the audience during a 2000 taping of his show, later telling Piers Morgan, "Somewhere, in the vault at NBC, there's footage of me literally falling for my wife on camera."
O'Brien quickly made his move and the couple exchanged vows two years later. They've since welcomed two children, daughter Neve, 16, and son Beckett, 14.
Hairstylist Jillian Fink didn't actually think the Can't Buy Me Love star was coming into her salon when she saw his name listed in among her appointments in 1994.
"All the people he had written in were names of celebrities famous in the '80s, like Molly Ringwald," she explained to People, admitting she "was shocked" when he actually walked in. "But at the same time, I was happy because he was so cute."
The two began dating three years later—after many haircuts and flirtatious banter—and got married in 1999.
But after fifteen years of marriage, she filed for divorce. But after going through couples' counseling, the pair—who are parents to daughter Tallulah, 18, and 13-year-old twin sons Darby and Sullivan—reconciled one year later.
"Everybody has their own path. Jill and I decided it was time to work on our issues and improve," the Grey's Anatomy actor told People of calling off their divorce. "We want to be role models for our children—if you have differences, you can work them out."
In the summer of 2011, the 30 Rock star first met yoga instructor Hilaria Thomas at Pure Food and Wine, a restaurant in New York City.
"I remember during my lifetime I would meet women, and it was almost like God would say to me, 'Now, this woman here is not the one you are going to end up with, but she is going to be a lot like this woman; look at this woman, study this woman,'" Baldwin would detail on his MSNBC talk show, Up Late With Alec Baldwin, years later. "And when my wife showed up, he was like, 'You recognize her now?'"
Baldwin told the New York Times he gave his future wife his number, and the two played phone tag until they finally arranged a time to meet for dinner. The pair would go on to tie the knot in June 2012 and have since welcomed five children together: Carmen, 7; Rafael, 5; Leonardo, 3 and Romeo, 2, and Eduardo, born on Sept. 8, 2020.
The former Daily Show host was, quite literally, Tracey McShane's exact type before they were set up on a blind date in 1996, which wasn't actually so anonymous for her since she had watched him on TV.
"It's a fairy tale from my end," McShane told Oprah. "I had just gotten out of a seven-year relationship. I was depressed, and my friends were trying to set me up all the time. After a bad date, they'd ask, ‘What are you looking for?' I had discovered The Jon Stewart Show, so I said, 'Someone funny and sweet, like Jon Stewart.'"
The couple wed four years later and have two children, son Nathan, 16, and daughter Maggie, 14.
The National Treasure star met his third wife Alice Kim when she was a waitress at Los Angeles restaurant Kabuki back in February 2004, and ended up putting a ring on her finger two months later. The couple tied the knot at a ranch in northern California in July of that year and welcomed their son, Kal-el Coppola Cage, in 2006.
Cage later explained that his seemingly sporadic decision to wed Kim was so she could travel with him to South Africa while he shot the 2005 film Lord of War.
"You can connect the dots. And we did it because we loved each other," he told The Guardian. "I made a very clear decision to marry out of my own zip code," he said. "I mean, way out of my own zip code. I married into another culture, and it's interesting because in Korea they call me the Son-in-Law."
Cage and Kim decided to party ways in 2016 after eleven years of marriage.
"I never planned to marry," the Batman Begins actor told Sydney Morning Herald in 2012. "Everyone was divorced in my family, so I didn't have very healthy ideas about marriage."
But then the Oscar winner met Sibi Blazic, who was working as his Little Women co-star Winona Ryder's assistant at the time, and everything changed, with Bale saying married life "suddenly it seemed a fantastic idea."
The couple eloped in Las Vegas in January 2000, welcoming daughter Emeline in 2005 and son Joseph in 2014.
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