Vince Vaughn is one of the most famous funnymen on the planet. But no matter how many of the actor’s comedy films you’ve seen, you still may not have noticed his unusual thumb. Vaughn isn’t trying to hide his deformed digit, though. In fact, he has opened up about the oddity – and even revealed the shocking way in which it came to be.
Vaughn was raised in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, though Minneapolis, Minnesota, was his birthplace. His mother, Sharon, enjoyed great success selling both shares and property, and Vaughn would later cite her as a major influence on his acting career. His father, Vernon, meanwhile, was a sales representative at a toy business.
Growing up, Vaughn enjoyed baseball, football and wrestling. And yet in 2004 he told People, “I’m not athletic. I played some sports and stuff in high school, and I was very average.” So, in light of his perceived lack of sporting prowess, Vaughn pursued another passion: musical theater.
In a 1997 interview with Rolling Stone, Vaughn revealed, “My mom was always a big fan of theater. And there was a local community theater that would put on musicals – a bunch of kids ten and under doing The King and I. I’d be there morning till night – almost like daycare. I really loved it.”
Later, Vaughn’s interest in musicals developed to include acting in general. And at the age of 17, the future star had set his sights on Hollywood. A year later, in 1988, Vaughn achieved a breakthrough when he gained his first screen role in a Chevrolet commercial. A stint in China Beach and appearances in a few CBS Schoolbreak Special episodes followed, before the actor landed his debut movie part in 1993.
The film in question was Rudy’s, and the role introduced Vaughn to fellow actor Jon Favreau. The pair would go on to star together in 1996 cult comedy Swingers – a flick that Favreau had written with the intention of certain pals, including Vaughn, playing the lead parts. Swingers became a commercial and critical success, and it’s generally considered to be Vaughn’s big break.
After all, it was after seeing Swingers that Steven Spielberg offered Vaughn a role in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. The blockbuster propelled the actor to bona fide stardom, and he went on to appear in a handful of dramas. But it wasn’t until the early 2000s that Vaughn found his acting niche in what have now become known as “Frat Pack” comedies.
Alongside actors such as Ben Stiller, Steve Carell, Owen Wilson and Jack Black, Vaughn starred in some of the decade’s highest-grossing funny flicks. His movies during this period included the likes of Starsky & Hutch, Dodgeball and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. But arguably the star’s biggest role of that era came in Wedding Crashers, which grossed an impressive $285 million worldwide.
Thanks to Vaughn’s many comic roles, he earned a reputation as a “motor-boating motor-mouth,” as described by Jonathan Heaf in British GQ in 2015. The actor often starred as some kind of amiable rascal, you see, with an irreverent attitude and smart-aleck wit. However, Vaughn seemingly began to grow somewhat tired of this typecasting.
In the 2015 interview with British GQ, Vaughn explained, “Things like Dodgeball and Wedding Crashers, these things were smart and cool. I thought they were badass. And the characters were appealing. It felt like we were kind of doing rock ‘n’ roll back then. I felt good about those movies.”
However, Vaughn then revealed that it was after his 2007 film Couples Retreat that he wanted to retire from these so-called Frat Pack movies. But said career switch-up was easier said than done. “I don’t know, you get sucked on to a sort of conveyor belt. It’s the cliché, but it’s true,” the actor admitted. “I started doing what I would now call assembly-line comedies.”
And while Vaughn had become a little dismissive of the genre that had made him a star, he did ultimately concede that he’d controlled his own fate. “I’m not blaming anyone else but myself here. The machine can make you idle. You read a script, and then you agree to a role. Then, soon enough, you’re on set looking at a scene that has had all the juice and the life sucked right out of it,” he confessed.
Consequently, Vaughn began to star in an increasing number of dramatic roles. One of the first was the 2007 film Into the Wild, and then in 2015 the actor featured alongside Colin Farrell in the second season of the acclaimed crime series True Detective. Since then, Vaughn has taken on straight parts in the likes of 2016 thriller Term Life and war movie Hacksaw Ridge.
But while Vaughn was distancing himself from comedic roles, he didn’t shake his funnyman reputation altogether. After all, humor comes naturally to the actor, and apparently it always has done. Back in 1997, for example, Vaughn’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park co-star Julianne Moore told Rolling Stone, “It’s a very sophisticated, dry sense of humor he has.”
It goes without saying, then, that Vaughn clearly has a funny bone, but he hasn’t been afraid to speak out about serious issues, either. In fact, as a staunch libertarian, the actor has been vocal about a number of heavyweight topics. He has, for instance, expressed his support for the decriminalization of drugs and for the right to bear arms as outlined in the Second Amendment.
When speaking about the divisive subject to British GQ, Vaughn stated, “I support people having a gun in public full stop – not just in your home. We don’t have the right to bear arms because of burglars. We have the right to bear arms to resist the supreme power of a corrupt and abusive government.”
In the no-holds-barred interview, Vaughn even said that he’d go so far as to permit firearms in schools. “In all of our schools, it is illegal to have guns on campus,” he stated. “So, again and again, these guys go and shoot up these f***ing schools because they know there are no guns there. They are monsters killing six-year-olds.”
But gun control isn’t the only issue that Vaughn is willing to speak out about. In fact, the star has in the past publicly addressed another topic that must be close to his heart. And the subject in question is one that has also fascinated some of his fanbase over the years: Vaughn’s abnormal right thumb.
Eagle-eyed fans will notice from watching Vaughn’s movies or studying photos of him that one of his thumbs is shorter than the other. And at some point around 2013, the peculiarity even inspired a reddit thread entitled “Vince Vaughn’s thumb… Wut,” where fans could swap theories regarding what they believed had happened to create the deformed digit.
Revealing what had sparked them to start the reddit thread, the original poster, HelsiGS, wrote, “I was watching Four Christmases earlier today and noticed it. I put that s*** on pause and snapped a pic.” And then, the redditor uploaded the image to the discussion site – setting the rumor mill into overdrive as a result.
On the subject of Vaughn’s unusual thumb, a reddit user named explainittomeplease mused, “He has very wide nails – like his hand got smushed.” Another redditor, meanwhile, refused to believe that there was anything unusual about the actor’s digit at all. “It’s a Band-Aid,” they insisted. But both theories would eventually be proved wrong.
In fact, the true story behind what happened to Vaughn’s thumb was relayed in another comment on reddit. The user in question wrote, “It happened in a car accident. The tip is missing.” And it was this version of events that the actor himself alluded to in an interview with Rolling Stone.
You see, in 1997 Vaughn told the magazine how he’d been involved in a terrifying automobile crash as a teenager. The incident left him with a number of issues, in fact, including the injury that affected his thumb. But Vaughn also revealed that it was this very accident that had led him to discover his true passion for acting – and that this in turn had spurred the actor on to pursue it as a career.
Speaking of the life-altering event, Vaughn told Rolling Stone, “In high school, I played sports – that kind of thing… Then, when I was 17, I was a passenger in a one-car accident. A Jeep flipped, and I hurt my back a little bit. I’m fine now, but I had to take it slow for a while, so I wasn’t able to go out for any sports.”
And in lieu of an athletic release for his energies, Vaughn sought a creative one instead. “There was a high school play going on, and I got one of the leads. I just found acting again. After that, I wanted to get involved professionally.” In a way, then, if it hadn’t been for the accident, Vaughn might never have found fame.
And as Vaughn has become more well-known, he has learned how to tackle questions about his unusual thumb with his signature humor. For example, he’s reportedly colorfully referred to the digit as “a penis with a fingernail.” But while Vaughn may be one of the very few celebrities who are willing to speak candidly about physical imperfections, he isn’t the only one with a bodily quirk.
Another actor who can relate to Vaughn’s tipless thumb, for example, is Matthew Perry. That’s because the Friends star is lacking the end of his middle digit – and he too has a car to blame. For Perry, though, the incident wasn’t as dramatic as a crash, though it was probably still very painful indeed.
Perry had been at preschool when a painful accident happened involving a car door. It seems that he somehow trapped his finger – and lost the end of it in the process. And yet despite that mishap, the actor still managed to become a top junior tennis player in his native Canada. Impressive, indeed!
Morevoer, perhaps Perry’s body oddity served as inspiration for his character in Friends, Chandler, who famously has three nipples. But there’s a real-life celebrity who can go one better than that. Yes, former One Direction heartthrob, Harry Styles, has claimed that he has no less than four nipples. And the singer’s certainly not afraid of letting the whole world know about it.
In an interview with The Mirror, Styles claimed, “I’ve got four nipples! I think I must have been a twin, but then the other one went away and left its nipples behind!” Adding that he wasn’t concerned about his added appendages, the 1D star said, “I feel so free. I think you could safely say I’m not shy.”
But Styles isn’t the only celeb who seemingly has additional body parts. For instance, in certain photographs, TV queen Oprah Winfrey appears to possess six toes on one of her feet. When people sport extra digits, they have a condition called polydactyly, while those who are born with fewer fingers or toes than usual have oligodactyly.
However, according to Toronto-based foot specialist Sheldon H. Nadal, Winfrey probably doesn’t have either of these conditions. Writing on his website, footcare.net, Nadal stated, “It appears that Oprah has what I, as a Toronto foot specialist, would refer to as a splay type foot.”
Explaining what the condition entails, Nadal added, “This means that the long bones – or metatarsals – spread apart like a fan when she walks. The toes then go the opposite way. They point inward. In Oprah’s case, this has resulted in a large bump on the big toe side of the foot, called a bunion, and another large bump on the baby toe side of the foot, called a tailor’s bunion or bunionette.”
Nadal concluded, then, that Winfrey’s sixth toe was merely a trick of the eye. “From the end view of the foot, the tailor’s bunion looks like an extra toe,” he explained. “But if you looked at it from the top, you would see that it is actually a bump on the side of the foot, just behind the baby toe. This can look, from a distance, like an extra toe.”
Another star with unusual feet, meanwhile, is Aerosmith front man, Steven Tyler. The singer has been spotted with severely tangled toes, and they reportedly cause him a lot of pain. Tyler has found his feet to be so troublesome, in fact, that he was happy to accept the role of judge on American Idol in 2010, as it meant that he could take the weight off them for a while.
In fact, Tyler has revealed that his toes are twisted due to an ailment called Morton’s neuroma, which leads the nerves in the middle toes to thicken. This in turn causes swelling and pain, with some sufferers describing the experience as akin to walking on marbles.
For Tyler, though, it appears that foot pain has been an occupational hazard. In a statement obtained by People in 2008, a spokesperson for the singer revealed that the musician had undergone surgery and physiotherapy “to correct long-time foot injuries resulting from his trademark athletic performance onstage.” But thankfully, the statement promised that “Aerosmith has no plans to stop rocking.”
Such body imperfections aren’t confined to men, of course, as demonstrated by Karolína Kurková. The Victoria’s Secret model doesn’t appear to have a belly button, you see, and for a while the cause was unknown to the public. Some people even wondered if photoshopping was to blame, in fact. But said theory turned out not to be the case.
After batting off questions about Kurková’s belly button – or lack thereof – for so long, in 2008 her team finally commented on the perceived abnormality. In a statement to the New York Daily News, the model’s spokesperson revealed, “She had an operation when she was an infant. It’s a fact, and just thank God she’s healthy.”
So, it seems that no one is truly perfect. As these stories prove, no matter how famous we might become, we all still have our quirks. And if these celebs can teach us anything, perhaps it’s to embrace the so-called imperfections that we possess. After all, they’re what help to make us unique – and being unique is what makes us us.