The Truth About Jeff Bridges' Military History

Many celebrities have served in the military, but one wouldn't necessarily think of Jeff Bridges when thinking of the "armed forces." The Hollywood icon, who announced his diagnosis of lymphoma in October 2020 ("the prognosis is good," Bridges said in his Twitter announcement), will by-and-large remain "The Dude," his beloved character in the 1998 cult hit The Big Lebowski, to fans everywhere.

Famously easygoing like The Dude and a renowned Buddhist, Bridges is also outspoken about his liberal politics. Even in September 2020, on the eve of announcing his lymphoma diagnosis, he was busy stumping for Montana's U.S. Senate Democrat candidate, Governor Steve Bullock, reported Billings Gazette.

Bridges even spoke to CNN in 2017 about his deep-rooted faith in peace and understanding, despite his personal opposition to President Donald Trump being in office. "We point fingers at people, we point fingers at [Donald] Trump, he points fingers at people. How are we going to come together and realize that we're on this little dust spec in space, you know? Things are finite here, you know. How are we going to work together to make the most beautiful existence that we can, you know," he asked the news outlet.

So what could a peace-loving man like Bridges have done in the military and what did he think of his service? Read on and let's find out together.

Jeff Bridges both hated and appreciated his time in the Coast Guard

According to, Jeff Bridges made his first foray into the military when his parents, deeming him "a discipline problem at school" and hoping to "take his mind off of [sic] girls," shipped him off to military school his freshman year of high school. Bridges apparently despised "every minute" of the experience, but, really, what teenager would look fondly upon any form of punishment? By age 16, he had returned to a public high school.

When he turned 18, however, Bridges found his way back to the military when he moved to New York City to study at Herbert Bereghof Studio. According to Military.comhe enlisted and served in the Coast Guard Reserves for seven years. Bridges often found himself belabored with humbling physical tasks. He says of the time he had to chip paint off buoys, "The ceiling is about 7 feet tall and below the racks where you sleep there's three or four racks stuffed into that space and you're out in the ocean at sea in a flat-bottomed boat up against the wind and the swells and everyone is puking."

As unpleasant as that must have been, Bridges, whose father was a war veteran, admits to being grateful for the hard discipline. "That was a pretty terrible living condition. But, again, all the tough times make great memories when you look back. Like, I'm glad it's in the rearview mirror," he observed.