True Story: Jon Hamm And Paul Rudd Were Romantic Rivals As Teenagers

People in the industry always talk about what a small community Hollywood is. Every single person might not know each other, but there are way more strange connections than you would think—like this one, for example. Did you know Jon Hamm and Paul Rudd have known each other for more than two decades? Better yet, did you know Jon Hamm would probably be doing something else for a living if Paul Rudd was never cast in Clueless? Both are facts.

Back in the early 1990s, Paul Rudd was a freshman at the University of Kansas. He roomed with a guy from St. Louis named Preston Clarke. During the year, Clarke’s little sister Sarah, who was still in high school, came up to visit, and Rudd fell for her hard, so hard, in fact, that he later arranged a trip to go stay with the family. While there for the weekend, Sarah invited over the guy who took her to senior prom: Jon Hamm. According to a brand new profile in Vanity Fair, the evening later devolved into an incredibly serious game night, in which poor Paul Rudd desperately tried to compete with his younger foe’s almost otherworldly handsomeness and surprising intelligence.

Here’s a quote from Rudd about the crazy night…

"He seemed like he was a good-looking, athletic guy who possessed qualities I did not possess. We were playing Trivial Pursuit in teams. Sarah and I were on one team, and Jon and Preston were on the other team. Jon would want to go right to Yellow, which was History, and I was like, 'Oh great, this guy is smart, too.'"

Rudd wound up dating Sarah, and he later moved to Hollywood. After seeing his former romantic rival on the big screen in Clueless, Hamm was reportedly inspired to move to Los Angeles, where he and Rudd struck up a very close friendship that lasts to this day. Professionally, he struggled for awhile and was forced to appear on bad dating game shows and even work as a set dresser on soft-core Cinemax porn movies, but thanks to Mad Men, he eventually turned into one of Hollywood’s most famous leading men. As for Sarah Clarke, she and Paul Rudd broke up, but she later found fame as, you guessed it, an actress. She played Bella Swan’s mom in the Twilight series and now stars on The CW’s The Tomorrow People.

God only knows what Hamm might be doing right now if he wasn’t inspired to make his acting dreams come true, but personally, I like to think he’d be working as a high level executive in a creative environment, driving all of the secretaries wild with his perfect hair, dashing personality and other physical gifts.

Mack Rawden
Editor In Chief

Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.