Celebs Who Don't Actually Know How To Drive

As Olivia Rodrigo sang on, you guessed it, "Drivers License," "I got my driver's license last week/ Just like we always talked about." For many young people, particularly in North American cultures, getting a driver's license is both a rite of passage and an expected life goal. Subsequently, those who cannot drive are still subjected to immense stigma in some quarters. 

But Gen-Z is fighting back against the notion that a license ought to be a prerequisite for entry into adulthood. As the Washington Post reported, the number of young people who are getting their license is rapidly on the decline, something attributed to the ubiquity of Uber, as well as increased awareness of the risks associated with driving. It, therefore, seems like the days of facing criticism for being "a virgin who can't drive," as Brittany Murphy's "Clueless" character Tai would put it, are fast disappearing in the rear-view.

That being said, the stigma around those who can't drive is amplified with aging, and there's a special sort of prejudice faced by middle-aged people who never got their license. But as these celebs prove, driving is by no means a measure of one's worth. And with scientists highlighting the long-term detrimental effects that driving has on the planet, there's arguably even more reason than ever to swap cars for public transport. Put the pedal to the metal (or, if you're like these stars, don't) as we give the rundown on celebs who don't actually know how to drive.

Lena Dunham said it's best for everyone that she can't drive

Lena Dunham famously said, "I think that I may be the voice of my generation. Or at least a voice. Of a generation." The statement turned out to be more prophetic than expected: As previously mentioned, Gen-Z and younger Millennials are the least drive-savvy generation in modern history. And Dunham, like a hefty percentage of the generation that succeeded her, cannot drive. As a New York native, she likely never felt any need to get her driver's license. And now that she has made London, where public transport is readily available and traffic is rife, her second home, she has even less reason to learn. 

But in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2013, she revealed the true reason why she never got her license in a quintessentially blunt Dunham manner: "I'm afraid of Rebecca Gayhearting a child." This morbid jibe is in reference to Gayheart accidentally hitting and killing a nine-year-old boy whilst driving in 2001. And almost a decade later, Dunham still can't drive. In 2021, she tweeted, "I may lack self-awareness but at least I know I shouldn't have a driver's license!"

If her semi-autobiographical show "Girls" is anything to go by, maybe it truly is for the best that Dunham can't drive. In the Season 5 episode "Homeward Bound," her character, Hannah Horvath, infamously caused a car crash after she decided it would be a good idea to perform a sex act on her pal in a moving vehicle.

Ricky Gervais' logic for never learning to drive

British funnyman Ricky Gervais went from writer and creator of the UK "The Office" to branching out into more dramatic roles with "After Life," exemplifying his versatility and eagerness to adapt. In 2015, he was even touted as a possible replacement for Jeremy Clarkson as the host of "Top Gear." However, he swiftly shut down any suggestions that he should host the long-running series. 

"I cannot even drive, and I very rarely wear a jacket with jeans and brogues. So I wouldn't fit in," he told The Mirror. He has offered some intriguing logic as to why he never decided to take driving lessons. In a chat with Graham Norton, Gervais quipped that drinking and driving is illegal, so there's no point in him getting a license.

During an appearance on "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," Gervais made it resoundingly clear that he has no interest in ever sitting in the driver's seat — or the passenger's seat, for that matter. As host Jerry Seinfeld roared across the highway in his 1967 Austin-Healey 3000, Gervais appeared car sick and anxious. "Are we in 'The Italian Job'? We're going for coffee, for Christ's sake," a nervous Gervais pleaded with a speeding Seinfeld, per TVGuide. "We're not trying to diffuse a f***ing bomb... Even Jack Bauer had an hour." Later on, he joked that the premise of the series should be changed to "A man wants to drive you around New York really fast in a death machine, laughing."

Barbara Walters never felt the need to drive

In her 93 years on the planet, veteran broadcaster Barbara Walters interviewed a breadth of famous figures, from Fidel Castro to Sean Connery (where she called out the erstwhile 007 for his misogynistic remarks). But there's one thing she never did — learn to drive. Walters commanded enough respect and esteem in her heyday that she didn't need to acquire a license: Throughout her life, she was able to travel to and from work via a private limousine.

In a 2012 episode of "The View" (via Huffington Post), it was revealed that Walters once modeled for Sport Car and Hot Rod magazine when she was a 20-year-old struggling to make ends meet. "So they put me in this car in Central Park, and doesn't it look great? Except I can't drive!" Walters quipped. The revelation came as a surprise to co-host, Joy Behar, who questioned whether the veteran journalist had ever obtained her license. Walters replied in the negative.

But in time, she grew sick of such questions. When Vogue brought up the matter in a 2008 interview, Walters became vexed, replying, "Don't try to analyze me; it's just how it is." Her irritation at constantly being pressed on her inability to drive likely lies in the reason why she never got her license. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Walters revealed that she actually had a fear of driving. When Winfrey asked Walters whether there was anything she was afraid of, she remarked, "Other than driving and cooking?"

Being unable to drive didn't stop Freddie Mercury from amassing a car collection

In both life and death, Freddie Mercury developed a reputation as a flamboyant materialist. Lover of all things ostentatious, he collected high art, lavished his beloved kitties with thoughtful Christmas presents, and hosted opulent parties at his swanky London pad. Unsurprisingly, he also acquired a number of fancy cars — that he was unable to drive.

Yes, he may have been in love with his car, but Mercury never actually learned to drive. That job went to his loyal chauffeur, Terry Giddings, who afforded Mercury the luxury of enjoying his cars without ever having to get behind the wheel. Despite his prima donna persona, Mercury was a highly altruistic man. When he sadly died in 1991, he left Giddings a whopping £100,000 — no doubt a life-changing sum in the early '90s.

Mercury didn't let his lack of driving expertise prevent him from purchasing cars. His most famous vehicle was his 1974 Rolls Royce. The car was bought by Ukrainian Eurovision winner Verka Serduchka in 2013. "I bought the car not to drive it, but to preserve it to fans of the Queen!" she said after snagging the prized vehicle, per Music-News. The Roller changed hands again in 2022, when the prestigious Sotheby's put it up for auction, with all proceeds going towards aid in Ukraine. It sold for an impressive £286,250 ($345,306).

Kate Beckinsale would rather be driven around by her daughter

Despite living in Los Angeles where the overwhelming majority of people rely on cars to get around, Kate Beckinsale has never learned to drive. But the witty star is able to poke fun at her troublesome dilemma. "I'm basically trapped in my house unless someone takes pity on me," she joked to Entertainment Weekly. "I don't want to get into it because I know there's going to be a few [failed] tries." The actor told KCTV5 that she mostly relies on Uber to get around.

The admission came after a spate of attempts to get her license, all of which proved fruitless. In 2009, Beckinsale, then aged 35, had been trying to learn how to drive for the past 18 years. Unfortunately, she kept failing her test and ultimately conceded that her daughter, Lily, would probably be able to get behind the wheel before her. And this did turn out to be the case. In 2017, she shared an Instagram video of Lily, then a teenager, driving her around, along with the cheeky caption, "I've never had anything spring out of my uterus and drive me around before. I need a second."

But Beckinsale shows that passengers have all the fun. In 2021, she shared an Instagram snap (via the Daily Mail) of herself riding in the passenger seat of a car with her floofy cat, Clive, adorably tucked into her shirt. Beckinsale proves that taking a backseat is the cat's meow.

Cardi B can't drive, but her pals have her back

As one of the biggest stars on the planet, Cardi B never fails to astonish her stans. The musician achieved the distinguished honor of being hailed the best-selling female rap artist of the 2010s. Given her massive success and busy schedule, we can forgive Cardi for not having the time to take driving lessons. Indeed, the "MotorSport" star can't actually get behind the motor.

In 2021, Cardi tweeted about the downside of being unable to drive. "Just like that girl wrote a song about getting her drivers license Imma write a song about the struggle of not having a driver's license," she wrote in reference to Olivia Rodrigo. "I really wanted my McDonald's at 4am last night instead of today but I couldn't so I [fell] asleep hungry." But Rodrigo made it clear that she's Cardi's ride or die, replying, "Girl I will pick u up and take u wherever u wanna go."

Nevertheless, the rapper hasn't let her inability to drive stop her from buying swanky vehicles. During an appearance on "Carpool Karaoke," Cardi discussed owning five cars that she keeps simply for show. "You can't drive? So what is the point of having these cars?" asked host James Corden. "Take pictures with it," replied Cardi. Based on how fetching her car collection is, we can't argue with that logic. Corden did go on to give the rapper some driving lessons, which went catastrophically wrong when she knocked down every obstacle in sight.

Noel Gallagher bought a $100k car... but can't drive

"Tonight I'm a rock 'n' roll star," wrote Noel Gallagher on Oasis' titular 1994 hit song. A man who aspired to live said rock 'n' lifestyle, Gallagher has bought everything from lush London mansions to, by his own admission, £1 million worth of drugs. And, as with so many rockers, he has a garage full of swanky vehicles. There's just one problem: He can't drive them. "I do like cars," he told Radio X. "Got a few cars, but I can't drive any of them... I think I'd be involved in a road rage incident within an hour of passing my test." Similarly, he revealed on "Chatty Man" that he gave up hope of ever getting a license after failing his test one too many times.

Asked by The Guardian about his most ridiculous purchase ever, Gallagher replied, "A Jaguar Mark 2, Inspector Morse car, had it built specifically for me — a £110,000 car. Never had a license. Never had a lesson." Although he vowed to eventually give the car to his son (he dismissed notions that his daughter Anais should inherit the car, declaring, "She's not getting a big Jag. It's a lad's car"), Gallagher ended up selling it in 2022. The Mancunian rocker decided it was finally time to part ways with the Jag, as it had been sitting in his garage since the '90s. He ended up making an $18k profit from the sale.

Robbie Williams is another Brit without a license

Formerly a member of '90s boyband Take That (sort of like the British version of New Kids on the Block), Robbie Williams launched a successful solo career at the tail end of the decade. Famously, he became the face of Y2K in the United Kingdom when he released his track "Millennium," which reverberated across bars and clubs for what felt like — well, you can imagine.

He may be old enough to have ushered us into the millennium, but Williams still cannot drive. While the British popster acknowledged that he didn't need a license when living in London, his inability to drive became somewhat of a problem when he relocated to Los Angeles. "I don't have a driver's license," he said in 2011, per Digital Spy. "In London you just don't drive because the traffic is terrible so you get cabs to go everywhere, which has left me being 37 and still without a driver's license in Los Angeles."

Has Robbie decided to take up driving since then? Well, he thinks driving is something stupid. In 2020, Williams showed us exactly what would happen if he were to get behind the wheel. In a cheeky Instagram story (via Hello!), his wife, Ayda, posted a video of a golf cart that had crashed backward into a tree. "I never had driving lessons, I never passed my test," Williams quipped. "So it's always great when I get to get my kicks."

Javier Bardem has no interest in getting a license

Javier Bardem is quite dissimilar from his peers, and we don't just mean that infamous pageboy haircut (expertly characterized by "Family Guy" as "Everything: Long in the short places. Short in the long places") in "No Country For Old Men." While other stars are happy to keep their contentious hot takes to themselves to avoid backlash, Bardem is the type of guy who's more than happy to shade the Catholic Church, brand the Mayor of Madrid stupid, and wax lyrical about his love of heavy metal. It comes as little surprise, then, that this idiosyncratic and rebellious actor isn't keen on driving.

He may have sat behind the wheel in a number of his movies, but away from the cameras, Bardem hasn't got a license. In a 2008 interview with Time, the Spanish star revealed that legally he cannot drive, but had to learn to do so — albeit marginally — for his role in Woody Allen's dramedy "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." "If you see this movie, you'll see me driving one of the nicest cars I've ever seen," he explained. "It took me hours just to learn to drive one little trip from here to there, but I finally did it. I don't have a driver's license. I don't like cars."

Like the aforementioned Barbara Walters, Bardem never got his license due to an intense phobia of cars. "I am frightened of cars more than planes," he once told the Los Angeles Times.

David Mitchell is just fine with being unable to drive

Best known for his role as the incorrigible Mark Corrigan in the hit British sitcom "Peep Show," David Mitchell is as much of an oddball behind the camera as he is in front of it. Known for his idiosyncratic hot takes on linguistics (do not under any circumstances tell him that you "could care less") and contemporary culture, Mitchell has an equally unique perspective on driving. Like many Londoners, he not only doesn't own a car, but he cannot drive one.

In a 2012 article for The Guardian, Mitchell explained that his aversion to driving was shaped by his parents, who frequently argued over who was more capable of taking the helm at the wheel (his father having propagated the sexist notion that women are bad drivers). "Personally I love not driving, from which we can conclude either that I'm not a real man or that some elements of people's personalities aren't determined by their gender. Or both," he reasoned.

Writing for the outlet a couple of years later, he admitted that his fear of causing an accident, and potentially killing someone, had deterred him from taking driving lessons, or even regularly traveling in a car. In quintessentially Corrigan-esque manner, he offered the following logic as to why fear kept him away from the driver's seat: "If I perish, I'll do so blamelessly. On some mad level, I think I crave the hollow vindication of dying in a way that's somebody else's fault."

RM is the only BTS member who cannot drive

Among the biggest heartthrobs on the planet, boyband BTS have sold out stadiums and even had the esteemed honor of meeting Joe Biden at the White House (or, perhaps, it was Biden's honor if you're barmy for the A.R.M.Y.).

In 2019, RM, aka Kim Namjoon, the band's exquisitely coiffed pretty boy, came to the aid of a fan who was feeling down after failing their driving test. "Hi, I just wanted to say I failed my driving license test and I feel like a loser," tweeted the fan. To their surprise, Namjoon replied with a little confession of his own: "Thts [sic] why I never do the test... Lol no worries at least this planet has namjoon." It's not every day that a multimillionaire pop star interacts with stans in such a nonchalant manner. Moreover, the singer's admission made the A.R.M.Y. feel a whole lot better about their own misgivings. "I can't even ride a bike without crashing into something XD," commented one fan.

During a BTS Live video (2:55), Namjoon revealed that he is the only member of the group who cannot drive. "I'm jealous," he said with regard to his bandmates' driving capabilities. "Personally, Suga always tells me this: He said I shouldn't drive for the peace of the world." Ouch! This wasn't the first time Suga shaded Namjoon for his inability to drive. He once said that he had to scrap an entire BTS project due to Namjoon not having a driving license, per Koreaboo.