Zach Braff Has A Surprising Connection To Lauryn Hill

While it is always fun to uncover obscure celebrity trivia — who doesn't love sharing such fun anecdotes at a dinner party? — when said factoids involve unlikely celebrity connections, the discovery just tastes that much sweeter. Maybe it's the unexpected nature of it all, or maybe it's more along the lines of the old saying, "Celebrities, they're just like us!" No matter what the case may be, the story behind how one celebrity knows another celebrity from back in the day can pique anyone's interest. Case in point? Actor and director Zach Braff's connection to rapper and performer Lauryn Hill. (Hint: They have known each other since they were kids!)

Yes, it's true: Braff and Hill not only knew each other before they became famous, but they might have ended up inadvertently encouraging each other to pursue their respective careers in the entertainment industry. Curious to find out how Zach Braff and Lauryn Hill are connected? Read on after the jump to find out. 

Zach Braff and Lauryn Hill spent their early teens together

While any internet sleuth could probably piece together the higher-than-average chance that Zach Braff and Lauryn Hill might have known each other as teenagers by comparing their respective pages on IMDb — Braff's, in particular, states under his "trivia" section that he "attended the same high school and graduated the same year (1993) as R&B singer and hip-hop MC Lauryn Hill" — it is something that Braff himself has brought up over the years. 

The most recent example of Braff name-dropping the solo rapper and singer's name was on Dec. 11, 2020 in a self-authored listicle for Us Weekly, in which Braff shared 25 little-known, fun facts about himself. Among them was this small gem — that "Lauryn Hill was at my bar mitzvah," per Braff, and that they "would regularly commute from our high school in New Jersey into New York City for auditions." While the timing certainly works out — both Braff and Hill are the same age — we definitely did not see this connection coming.

Zach Braff and Lauryn Hill were dance partners

While it would be a number of years before Zach Braff made his career-changing debut on the TV comedy Scrubs in 2001, Lauryn Hill was already well on her way to success. Not only was Hill already a veteran performer, having appeared on stage at Live at the Apollo — and she would make her film debut in Sister Act II: Back in the Habit the same year she and Braff graduated high school — but she was already well on her way to becoming a landmark music artist by joining the hip hop group The Fugees during her freshman year of high school.

In addition to being commuting buddies, Braff and Hill were purportedly also dance partners. According to an interview Braff gave to the now-defunct Jane magazine, the Garden State actor recounted how it happened. "Lauryn Hill did go to my bar mitzvah," Braff said at the time. "There was a game called Coke and Pepsi. You'd have a partner, and one person was Coke and the other Pepsi. Depending on what the DJ would yell, you had to run and get on that person's lap. And Lauryn was my Coke and Pepsi partner."

While it is unclear as to whether Braff and Hill are still in touch, one thing is for certain: considering Braff seems Kevin Bacon-esque in the sense that he seems to have surprising connections to other celebrities in similar ways, maybe it is not so surprising he knows Hill after all.