High-school reunions can be a mixed bag. You get to see all your old friends, but you also have to encounter your one-time enemies. People subtly compete over who went on to have the most success. Add alcohol to all the mix, and things can become very awkward indeed. So, you need a celebrity present to lift the mood! Perhaps a star of one of the highest-grossing movies ever? Call up actor Chris Evans.
It’s nice to see the popular people living ordinary lives. Now, the student body president runs a small eldercare facility, the homecoming queen works part-time in the post office, and the athletics star lives in a rehab center somewhere in the Midwest. The worthless class clown, however, flew to the reunion in a private jet.
Quite a few high-school reunions have welcomed a student-turned-celebrity into their midst. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for at least one pupil to go on to achieve great success as an adult. But the graduates of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School got somebody special. Their old friend Chris Evans had, it’s safe to say, done very well for himself.
At the same time that his billion-dollar movie Avengers: Endgame was in theaters, Evans showed up at the humble high-school reunion. Plenty of reports have come out detailing about what it was like to be in the vicinity of an A-list actor on the night. And for the former students of Lincoln-Sudbury, it was clearly an evening none of them will ever forget.
In fact, the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School had already produced quite a few notable alumni over the years. John Linnell and John Flansburgh of the band They Might Be Giants went there, for instance, graduating in 1977 and 1978 respectively. Callie Thorne of The Wire also attended in the 1980s. And comedian Paula Poundstone was another Lincoln-Sudbury student, although she didn’t graduate.
But out of everyone who ever went to Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, Chris Evans has arguably achieved the most. In addition to playing Captain America in various movies, he’s also been in other big films such as Fantastic Four, its follow-up Rise of the Silver Surfer, and Sunshine.
But long before he was Captain America, Chris Evans was a regular kid growing up in Boston, Massachusetts. Nonetheless, his family were connected to the entertainment industry even then. His mother Lisa Evans was a director of a youth theater, for example, and Evans himself loved to get up on stage as a kid.
Indeed, all the Evans kids had theater in their blood. Evans, his brother Scott — who went on to be a successful actor as well — and both of their sisters each performed multiple shows at the local theater. Older sister Carly later went on to be a drama tutor at the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, in fact.
Moreover, it was watching Carly on stage that had first stirred the young Evans’ enthusiasm for acting. “Her play would end, and she’d get flowers and candy, and it just seemed like such a good time. She was having a ball and hanging out with her acting friends – it just looked awesome,” he told Backstage in 2011.
So Evans began to want a piece of the acting action for himself. “I was like, ‘I’ll give this a shot,’” he explained. Of course, it turned out to be a lot more than a shot. He even went to a stage camp between school terms. “I fell in love with that, too. I started doing plays year-round, I was always onstage,” Evans recalled.
By the time Evans was a junior at Lincoln-Sudbury, he was already considering an acting career. As a result, he asked his parents to allow him to stay in New York during the holidays and see if he got anywhere. Evans ended up getting a summer internship that allowed him onto the set of Spin City with Michael J. Fox. It was a good first step for him.
Evans had had to gain his parents’ permission before heading to New York. “It was very easy,” he told Boston in 2011. “In the summer after my junior year, I talked my parents into letting me move to New York City to get an internship. That was the most difficult hurdle. At the end of the summer, I went back to finish my senior year of high school but was traveling to New York maybe once a week for auditions.”
Evans still gives credit to his family for supporting him. “A lot of that I attribute it to the people around me, my parents, who said go for it. Go to New York. You can do it,” he informed the LA Times in 2017. “As a result, even though it wasn’t the path that most people are taking, I never had sleepless nights thinking this was a mistake.”
Of course, Evans’ parents knew that his heart was in it. “We all thought it was so normal to be singing in front of my cousins and aunts and uncles at Christmas. Mortifying,” the actor told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019. “Thank God this acting career worked out. Otherwise I’d just be this forever dork. I probably still am.”
It’s hard to believe that Evans could ever be described as a “dork,” but he nonetheless maintains that he was one in high school. Indeed, when he appeared on the Thirst Aid Kit podcast in 2018, he was pretty self-deprecating. “If you look back on some of my photos from childhood, it was not kind,” he said.
During the interview, Evans continued to look back on his growth to adulthood. “I had a really bumpy road. And I think like most of us, we still feel like that – no matter what,” he said on the podcast. “No matter what happens, we kind of connect to that chapter in life when you first start exploring the feelings of comparison.”
Chris Evans may be a dreamboat now, but apparently he really didn’t have much romantic success in high school. In 2011 Evans was interviewed by Boston magazine and asked if there were any “old girlfriends who dumped” him whom he now felt smug about. “Uh, I think they all dumped me,” Evans said.
Not only that, but he also even got ditched during what should be one of the most important moments in a teenager’s life. “I got dumped on prom! Can you believe that? I got f****** dumped on prom!” the now highly sought after Evans recalled, laughing. “Heartbreaking! I can’t believe it. Ruthless.”
The interviewer then probed Evans about the specifics. “You were standing there in your tux, and she was like, ‘Listen, we need to talk’?” they asked. “Yeah, it was right after the prom,” Evans answered. “We were at the after-party, and she said, ‘I just don’t think this is going to work out.’ And that was it.”
And yet Evans revealed that there were no hard feelings towards the girl. “I’m sure she’s regretting it now,” the interviewer said. “Actually, she’s still a good friend of mine,” Evans replied. For those who’ve followed the career and personal life of Evans, though, that kind of magnanimity should come as no surprise.
Indeed, almost every story that comes out about Evans presents him as one of the nicest, sweetest men in Hollywood. It’s no surprise, then, that he’s still on good terms with a former girlfriend from high school, because he’s also still pals with his Gifted co-star Jenny Slate, whom Evans dated from 2016 to 2018.
And despite their breakup, Slate had almost entirely good things to say about Evans when she spoke to New York magazine in 2017. “Chris is truly one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, to the point where sometimes I would look at him and it would kind of break my heart,” she said.
“He’s really vulnerable, and he’s really straightforward,” Slate added. “He’s like primary colors. He has beautiful, big, strong emotions, and he’s really sure of them. It’s just wonderful to be around. His heart is probably golden-colored, if you could paint it.” That was very high praise indeed for Evans.
And Evans’ Avengers co-stars have said similar things. “He loves to rally the entire group,” Scarlett Johansson told Variety in 2014. “Even if you’re just not having it – ‘Chris, I’ve had the longest week of stunts and my body hurts’ – he’s like, “All the more reason for you to go out and celebrate!” I think that’s probably because he comes from a big family.”
Evans has also put his Captain America fame to good use. For example, in 2015 he and Chris Pratt, who plays Star-Lord in the Marvel movies, visited young patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Evans came dressed as Captain America himself, in fact, and the kids were reportedly delighted. In addition, he and Pratt donated a large sum of money to the hospital.
Evans has also been careful to remember his roots. When he spoke to Boston magazine in 2011, for example, he mentioned something special he’d done for a member of staff at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School. In fact, he’d taken his old drama teacher to the Tribeca Film Festival with him.
And in 2018 Evans began shooting a new TV series in his home city. Defending Jacob is a show for Apple TV+ that tells the story of a lawyer whose teenage son faces murder charges. Fans from all over Boston have subsequently been flocking to the filming locations to try to get a glimpse of Evans.
So bearing all that in mind, it’s perhaps not surprising that Chris Evans turned up for his high-school reunion. And by all accounts he wasn’t there to brag or to rub his success in anyone’s face, either. According to those lucky enough to join him at Conrad’s Restaurant in Sudbury, he was every bit as nice and polite as interviews with and about him indicate.
One of the managers of Conrad’s, Donna Scott, spoke to People magazine about Evans’ appearance at the reunion. He had a lot of fans there, apparently. “Many people wanted to take pictures with him,” she said. “Everyone was pretty excited that he was there.” And she added that Evans seemed to be enjoying himself as well.
The waiting staff at the restaurant were thrilled to have a celebrity in their midst, too. “I know one of my waiters heard that he was in there,” Scott told People. “And he has two young boys, so he purposely made a point to come into the room to ask if he could take a photo with him.” Indeed, lots of photographs were taken that night.
And, of course, some of those photos made it onto social media. Fans of Evans were over the moon, and commented on how the people posing with Evans had managed to keep their composure. “The woman in blue dress in the second picture is holding up pretty well, I would have screamed my voicebox out, or jumped breaking through the ceiling or downright fainted, or maybe all of these,” read a comment on Instagram.
And one detail in particular jumped out at people. Despite being among the most famous actors in America, Chris Evans was wearing a name tag which read “Chris” – as if everybody present didn’t already know his name. Not only was it strangely funny, but it also pointed towards the actor’s humble nature.
The internet delighted in commenting on the name tag in particular. “Chris Evans attending his 20 year high school reunion and writing ‘Chris’ on his little name tag the same weekend Endgame becomes the 2nd highest grossing movie of all time feels like the Chris Evansiest thing to ever Chris Evans,” read one tweet.
Activist April Reign also tweeted her appreciation of the actor. “Chris Evans went to his 20 year high school reunion and I’m not sure if my favorite accessory is the cardigan, the beard or the name tag,” she wrote. “This is why he’s the Best Chris.” The others would be Pratt, Hemsworth and Pine – but no one’s publicly caught them at high-school reunions yet.
Moreover, the organizers of the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School reunion did their best to keep things as private for Evans as possible. In their coverage of the reunion story, Boston.com reporter Kevin Slane stated that he’d asked around for more details from the other attendees but had received no response.
And though that means Evans’ fans only get to see a small smattering of photos from the event, it makes perfect sense with regards to how Evans lives his life as a movie star. He’s often spoken about how his nervousness flares up when he’s surrounded by cameras and people he doesn’t know. It can even make film premieres difficult, in fact.
In 2016 Evans spoke to Rolling Stone about his anxiety. “A red carpet lasts, what, 30 minutes tops? But that to me is like 30 minutes of walking on hot coals,” he said. “It’s not like a junket – junkets you sit in a room and they bring ’em in. I can do that all day and not have a meltdown. But the premiere – that’s overwhelming.”
Indeed, Evans actually came close to turning down the role of Captain America, simply because he didn’t want to have the responsibilities and the lack of privacy that comes with being a high-profile film star. He knew he would have to do tours, parties and all sorts of other engagements. Evans put it like this to Rolling Stone: “I love acting – but that’s not all you’re asking me to do.”
Of course, Evans became Captain America in the end anyway, and most people would seemingly agree he’s done a wonderful job. But it wasn’t easy. “I don’t like having silly surface discussions,” Evans said. “A lot of times that’s required in this business. That’s when the social anxiety kicks in.” During the interview his mother, who was also present, made an obvious point. “In case you haven’t figured this out, he’s super-private,” she explained.
Evans also felt pressure just from living in L.A, he told Rolling Stone. “L.A. is where I come to work, where I have meetings and, unfortunately, where I feel moments of anxiety,” he admitted. But just after Evans said that to the interviewer, his phone rang and it was one of his “buddies from Boston,” the kids he grew up with.
Evans confessed to Rolling Stone that he felt more at ease among his old friends and the children they’d gone on to have. “Going home and being around them feels great,” the actor said. He also shared that he too plans to have kids one day. And if he does, then perhaps he can bring them along to the next high school reunion.