The Untold Truth Of Topher Grace

Most people got to know Topher Grace during his stint as Eric Forman on beloved sitcom That '70s Show, but it's far from the actor's only role. In fact, Grace has worked with a plethora of renowned directors, from Steven Soderbergh, to Sam Raimi, to Christopher Nolan. And while Tom Hardy is currently synonymous with the role of Venom, Grace played the character in 2007's Spider-Man 3, which earned him some seriously mixed reviews. Plus, the star has worked behind-the-scenes on several projects that you might not even know about.

In 2019, Grace revealed to VICE that he feels some guilt about being catapulted to fame in his first professional role. He said, "I never auditioned for That '70s Show 20 years ago. I just went in with only a school theater background. When they first called me, they didn't offer me the role, they just asked if I wanted to try out for something." But it's clear that Grace's innate talent scored him that big break, and led to a dextrous career. Although he continues to remain fairly private about his personal life, Grace hasn't stopped surprising fans with new ventures. From starting a podcast, to launching a website, to dating the president's daughter, there's so much more to Grace than meets the eye. Here, we take a look at some of the lesser known facts about the former TV star.

He really dated Ivanka Trump

Topher Grace married actress Ashley Hinshaw in 2016, and the couple welcomed a daughter named Mabel Jane in November 2017, per People. But before he settled down and started a family, Grace apparently used to date Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump. In November 2006, People reported that Trump and Grace "got close ... in Las Vegas, where she celebrated her 25th birthday ... at Pure nightclub." The publication alleged that the pair "danced and cuddled on the VIP bed and even shared a quick kiss," and that the unexpected union was bound to come as a surprise to many. People even wrote that the actor "left holding hands" with Trump, which is hardly scandalous, but also a bit hard to believe.

When asked by the Daily Beast in 2018 if he ever dated the president's daughter, Grace replied, "Uh ... I did," with the interviewer describing the actor's reluctance to answer. Grace continued, "Certainly it wasn't a political statement. This was a decade ago. I met her here in New York and we went on a couple of dates. I wouldn't say that we 'dated,' but ... I didn't do it for political reasons." Grace also apparently made it clear that he "never met her father."

Topher Grace: failed online entrepreneur

In 2014, Grace spoke to Mashable about his latest venture. Rather than promoting a movie, Grace discussed a new website he'd set up called Cereal Prize. Of his impetus to start the site, Grace told the publication, "I'm the guy that when you come over to my house to hang out, I always want to show people some weird video I found on the Internet." Sadly, the website is no longer in existence, but Mashable described it as "a hodgepodge of sketch comedies, revamped movie trailers and unaired pilots, among other hilarious 's***' that Grace gathers to share with viewers." 

Mashable explained that Grace was driven to create the site when social media didn't help him to connect with people in the way that he wanted. Rather than just sharing updates or tweets, Grace was keen to build a community of his own, where he could recommend movies and pop culture that he was into, as well as providing updates about his acting career. As he told Mashable, "I feel like it's that Saturday morning, you know, your folks are asleep, you come downstairs to watch cartoons, gobble those crazy sugary cereals that they don't really make anymore." He continued, "You find that prize in it, and each one of these things, each one of these posts, should be like that feeling like you get that prize."

Chris Pratt and Anna Faris can thank Topher Grace for introducing them

Topher Grace actually co-wrote the story for a movie which starred a lot of famous people. Take Me Home Tonight, which premiered in 2011, co-starred Anna Faris, Chris Pratt, Teresa Palmer, and Dan Fogler, and also marked Grace's first project as a producer as well as star. In fact, it was on the set of the '80s-themed teen comedy that Pratt and Faris met, which led to them getting married and having a son together. And, although they've gone their separate ways now, it seems significant that it was on the set of Grace's movie that they first met and fell in love. Pratt told ELLE in 2015, "We were friends first but she left her husband at the end of the movie, and we started dating when we were back in Los Angeles." 

Take Me Home Tonight faced a lot of issues though. Having been filmed in 2007, it struggled to get released on account of the heavy drug use in the movie. When the movie finally came out in 2011, Grace told Reuters, "Our feeling was you can't do a movie about prohibition and not show alcohol use, just as you can't make Dazed and Confused without people smoking joints. If you're going to have a group of twenty-somethings partying in Beverly Hills in the 1980s, you'd be lying not to show cocaine." He also cited "John Hughes films" as a major inspiration. 

Topher Grace feels guilty about his That '70s Show success

In a way, Topher Grace feels like his success on That '70s Show came too easy. Speaking with VICE in 2019, he said, "I was honestly lucky to not only get on That '70s Show with all those talented people, but also land on a show that did so well for all of us. We got to choose what we wanted to do from there." He discussed the "privilege" he felt in having starred in a hit sitcom, and revealed, "I've always felt guilty about that."

Grace also explained the challenges he, and the rest of the cast, faced coming on to a hit show without much experience. He told Reuters in 2011, "That specific time period was hard at the beginning because we were learning how to act and working hard to make a hit show. Most of us hadn't acted before." Clearly, the creators of That '70s Show saw something in Grace and knew he'd be a great fit for the role. The actor continued to be humble about being catapulted to fame so early in his career as he told VICE, "I guess I imagined that I was going to fail, but I did it anyway. That's sort of how I've operated lately. I've tried to never take the kind of roles in movies that people would assume I would take."

He had to do a lot of research to play a Ku Klux Klan leader

Topher Grace surprised fans with his haunting performance as Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman, which was released in 2018. Based on true events, the movie followed an African-American undercover police officer who infiltrated a branch of the Ku Klux Klan. To play Duke, who was described by The Times as a "white supremacist and former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan," Grace had to dive into a pretty dark world. In an interview with The L.A. Times in 2019, Grace said, "The research on that was the worst I've done in my life." 

He continued, "I had to both figure out an impression of [Duke] because he's someone people know publicly, and then also figure out more than just an impression. So that meant reading his autobiography, which is like his Mein Kampf, and watching filmed interviews with him." Clearly, Grace's work on the role paid off, as the movie earned incredible reviews, but the actor told The L.A. Times that, understandably, the "preparation was horrible."

Need a lesson on Ebola? Topher Grace has you covered.

Grace tackled another tough topic in 2019 when he starred in National Geographic's miniseries, The Hot Zone, based upon the non-fiction book of the same name by Richard Preston. The series explores the origins of the Ebola virus, and follows an army scientist (played by Julianna Margulies) who tried to stop an outbreak in 1989. Grace told The L.A. Times"The research was not just depressing, it was terrifying. This is not a fictional monster. This is something that has been on U.S. soil; this is the time it was on U.S. soil. It's the worst kind of monster; it's invisible."

But it seems that Grace got some helpful hints and tips from his research, as he also told the outlet, "I could tell you everything that's scary about the disease, and when you're working on a production like this, you start washing your hands a lot more and being aware — a lot of these scientists who work with diseases like this, they rarely touch their face" Basically, if you ever wondered why you're always getting sick, according to Grace, the trick is rigorous hand washing, and remembering not to touch your face after you've been in a public place, or potentially come into contact with any germs. Sounds simple, right?

Topher Grace just wanted fresh breath, but he got hallucinations instead

In an appearance on Lopez Tonight in 2010, Grace revealed that he once got drugged at a party. The actor recalled that he was at a big charity event, and his That '70s Show co-stars, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, were also present. During the night, a woman at his table "[offered] him something," which Grace took to be a minty "breath strip." However, he started to have his suspicions when she asked him, "Do you want half? It's really strong." Not knowing what it was, Grace revealed that he confidently replied, "Babe. I think I can handle an entire breath strip." Oh, how wrong he was.

Grace figured out that what he'd taken was actually a drug when he pulled a friend aside to ask them, "Is there lava coming out of the back of my head?" Understandably, the friend asked if Grace was okay, to which he apparently replied, "No, I think I'm fine, but I can touch colors," before asking if he should take his clothes off. Eventually realizing what had happened, Grace told his friend, "That girl gave me a breath strip that tasted weird." 

The one bright spot in what could have been a disastrous evening? Grace said that although he couldn't remember doing it, he repeatedly told Kutcher, "I love you, you're my brother." Aw! 

Tom Hardy vs. Topher Grace: Who's the better Venom?

One role that Topher Grace is remembered for, but for all the wrong reasons, is Spider-Man 3. Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe existed, and pre-Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man, Tobey Maguire landed the coveted role of the webslinger. And completing Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, Grace was cast as the infamous villain Venom in the third movie. In a 2018 interview with Inverse, Grace handed over the baton to the new actor playing Venom, Tom Hardy. He said, "To me — I truly mean this — I think Tom is the guy to play that role." And his enthusiasm for Hardy's casting was emphatic as he said, "I'm thrilled to watch it as a fan. I really mean that."

In a previous interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Grace addressed the bad reviews he received playing Venom and said, "I know the movie did well for Sony, but I also know a lot of people weren't happy with it." And he also discussed his somewhat surprising casting during Michael Rosenbaum's Inside of You podcast (via CinemaBlend). He told the former Smallville star, "I was a huge fan of the character of Venom when I was a kid." He continued, "I was a huge fan of it. And I was surprised and a little bit like 'Huh?' when they wanted me to play it." It sounds like Grace is more than ready to move on from the role at this point.

He's ready for That '70s Reunion

Topher Grace left That '70s Show in its penultimate season, only returning briefly for the show's finale. As for whether he'd return for a reboot of the series, Grace admitted in a 2018 interview with The Hollywood Reporter that he'd consider it. He said, "I would do it for sure because that was a very wonderful time for us. We were all very close, having that experience every single day with each other." The actor also revealed that he's "still great friends with those guys," and the thought of getting paid to hang out with his pals for a reunion show hugely appealed to him.

But as for the likelihood of such a reunion happening, Grace isn't hopeful. He also told the outlet, "Yeah, I don't think it will happen. It would be so hard to bring that crew together." Whether or not the That '70s Show gang will ever reunite, it's good to know that Grace is willing. As he explained to the publication, "For me, I'd do it if no one ever saw it. Just 'cause it would be great to hang out with them for a week or something," which is beyond sweet.