11 Stars With Secret Skills

Including Willie Nelson, who just got his black belt
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2014 9:14 AM CDT
11 Stars With Secret Skills
Willie Nelson, the country music icon who turns 81 this week, bows as he receives his fifth-degree black belt in the martial art of Gong Kwon Yu Sul on Monday, April 28, 2014, in Austin, Texas.   (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Ralph Barrera)

When you think of Willie Nelson, "country singer" and "rampant pot smoker" are the two descriptions that first come to mind. But now you can add "black belt" to that list. It seems Nelson, who turns 81 this week, has a not-very-well-known love of martial arts, and last night he got his fifth-degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul, the AP reports. "Honestly, I was surprised to be getting this degree," said Nelson before the ceremony, which took place at the Austin studio where he's studied for 20 years. "I never thought about anything beyond second-degree black belt." More stars whose skills may surprise you:

  • Another celebrity martial artist: Bob Barker, who took karate lessons from Chuck Norris.
  • Mike Tyson is into competitive pigeon racing, and has been raising pigeons his whole life.
  • Colin Farrell was a country western line-dancing instructor in the early 1990s.
  • Leslie Mann can ride a unicycle, the Daily Beast reports.
  • Susan Sarandon and a host of other stars are really into ping-pong. Emma Watson is said to be so intimidating, her Harry Potter co-stars wouldn't play against her.
  • Tom Cruise fences.
  • David Arquette knits.
  • David Beckham took photography lessons, Celebuzz reports.
  • When she was in high school, Natalie Portman made it to the semifinals of an elite science competition; she went on to study neuroscience at Harvard.
For more on that last subject, click for five other surprising scientists-slash-stars. (More celebrity stories.)

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