Scarlett Johansson stands as one of Hollywood’s highest-grossing film stars ever and, as such, lives her life in the spotlight. But one facet of her personal life has remained relatively private since she broke onto the A-list. She has a just-as-gorgeous twin sibling, in fact, whose passions lie far from the red carpets that Scarlett walks.
You’d think having a superstar as a twin would make it hard to live life that way. But Scarlett Johansson’s womb-mate has led a remarkable off-camera life. For one thing, they’ve served on the 2008 campaign to re-elect then-President Barack Obama. They’ve been employed as a community organizer in Manhattan, too.
And now, Scarlett’s twin has started a company that provides first responders with solar panels so that they in turn can provide care when the electricity goes out. This project receives support from the movie star herself, too. But Scarlett’s twin nonetheless manages to elude the same level of tabloid attention, even when they walk red carpets by their sister’s side.
Scarlett Johansson isn’t the only celebrity with a twin who lives outside of the spotlight, of course. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen is another example – she has a twin sister named Patricia. And together with sister Gabby, the twins once took a class in modeling, Gisele told Vanity Fair in 2009.
“We did ballet, gymnastics – I think my mom was trying to keep us busy,” Gisele said. “She had to work, so we went to a modeling course.” But Patricia’s participation showed her precisely what she didn’t want to do: become a model. She quickly realized that she preferred a simpler life.
Nevertheless, Patricia’s never too far from Gisele. That’s because she now works as her supermodel sister’s manager. She lauded her sibling’s work ethic in the same interview with Vanity Fair. Patricia said of Gisele, “Her willpower made her successful. She never let the critics put her down, and this has never changed.”
Much like Gisele’s twin Patricia, actor Rami Malek’s identical twin brother seems to prefer life far from his sibling’s Hollywood exploits. But that doesn’t mean ESL teacher Sami has never exploited his brother’s matching looks. During a 2015 episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, Rami told a story about a favor he once did for his twin.
“So [Sami] calls me one day,” Rami recalled. “He goes, ‘Hey, do you know a Greek monologue from a Greek tragedy?’ ‘Yeah, of course, I’ve just been doing this for four years.’ He goes, ‘Listen, I need you to come down to my university’ – a major American university here in Los Angeles.”
So, Sami hoped that his actor brother, Rami, would perform in his place – and the future Oscar winner obliged. “I deliver this monologue in front of the entire lecture hall, and I get a few [bits of] applause. People dig it,” Rami recalled. “And I think [the professor] starts looking at me kind of accusatorily, like, ‘Where the hell did you come up with that?’”
Thankfully, actor Rami came up with a quick response. He said, “I told her, ‘Er, it’s just a hobby.’” Not all twins have that luxury, of course – fraternal sets can’t step in for one another without anyone noticing. Take actor Vin Diesel and his womb-mate Paul, for instance. The Fast and Furious franchise star’s iconic looks are markedly different to his brother’s.
Obviously, Vin Diesel’s known for his completely bald head. But when he introduced Paul to the world via Facebook, fans instantly took note of something. The Fast & Furious star’s twin has a full head of salt-and-pepper hair, making him look very different indeed to his famous brother.
Ashton Kutcher’s twin brother Michael is also fraternal. Michael has had to contend with a series of medical issues that have made his life quite different from that of his actor brother. Doctors realized that Michael had cerebral palsy when he was young. Then, in his early teens, he received a heart transplant at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.
In April 2017 Ashton received the Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character Award and, in his acceptance speech, he paid tribute to Michael. “I was born a twin and from the moment I came into this world, I had to share it with someone,” Ashton said. “I shared every birthday, every Christmas, I shared my bedroom… I shared everything I had in this world, and I didn’t know that there was another way because I always had my brother with me.”
“My brother was born with cerebral palsy, and it taught me that loving people isn’t a choice and that people aren’t actually all created equal,” Ashton continued. “The Constitution lies to us. We’re not all created equal. We’re all created incredibly inequal to one another, in our capabilities and what we can do and how we think and what we see.”
Ashton felt that having a brother with such grave health issues had helped him learn so much – lessons that others could take into account, too. He said, “We all have the equal capacity to love one another, and my brother taught me that.” Nonetheless, Ashton admitted to feeling guilty about his seemingly good health in comparison to Michael’s.
“When I got older, I spent years and years feeling bad about it, our inequalities,” Ashton explained. “He also taught me that he had gifts that I didn’t have. Extraordinary gifts that I didn’t have, and that every time I felt sorry for him in life, I made him less. He taught me that and he gave that to me.”
As we’ve already heard, another star who’s presumably learned a thing or two from her twin is actress Scarlett Johansson. The pair came into the world on November 22, 1984, in New York City, joining an older brother and sister. And the Big Apple offered the perfect backdrop for the profession that Johansson knew very early in life that she wanted to pursue.
At first, Johansson would perform songs at home. She started lessons in tap, too. Johansson also recalled standing in front of a mirror and willing herself to cry, like Judy Garland’s character in Meet Me in St. Louis.
Johansson temporarily gave up on acting at a young age, however, when a talent agent scouted her – but overlooked the future star in favor of signing Johansson’s brother. Her hiatus didn’t last long, and soon she found herself trying out for commercial roles. Then came theater and movie auditions, with Johansson’s debut coming Off-Broadway in Sophistry, although she was only given a couple of lines in the play.
Eventually, though, Johansson got the break she’d always dreamed of – Johansson starred as John Ritter’s daughter in the 1994 movie, North. Later, she revealed that, even as a fledgling nine-year-old actress, she’d felt at ease while making her first feature film.
From there, Johansson made waves in her debut starring role, which came in 1996’s Manny & Lo. In it, she plays the sister of a teenage mom-to-be who flees the foster home in which they live. Johansson earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead for her performance.
Manny & Lo also helped Johansson to make the switch into more adult parts. Moreover, director Sofia Coppola saw Johansson’s performance in the 1996 indie flick and subsequently cast her in the 2003 romantic dramedy, Lost in Translation.
They year 2003 also saw Johansson starring in Girl With a Pearl Earring, which is set during the 17th century. In it, she portrayed a maid named Griet who works in artist Johannes Vermeer’s home. Her performance earned rave reviews, as well as BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations. She lost out on these awards for Girl With a Pearl Earring, but still ended up taking home a BAFTA for her work in Lost in Translation.
With those two roles, Johansson solidified her reputation. Indeed, Variety stated that her part in Lost in Translation proved Johansson to be “one of her generation’s most multi-faceted young actresses.” And she’s proceeded to underline that again and again since her 2003 breakthrough.
Johansson has gone on to record two Billboard 200-charting albums, Break Up and Anywhere I Lay My Head. She’s also won a Tony Award for her 2010 Broadway turn in A View from the Bridge. And Johansson has joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Black Widow, which has seen her to star in movies including Iron Man 2 and The Avengers.
With such a lengthy filmography, Johansson has made an indelible mark on the film industry. And it demonstrates that she’s a huge box-office draw. In fact, in North America her movies have raked in $5 billion while earning almost three times that amount internationally. This remarkable figure makes her the third-highest-grossing actor in the history of cinema.
Through it all, Johansson has had her family support system by her side. And one sibling in particular many people might not have known about. This, of course, is the 34-year-old actress’ twin brother Hunter. According to PopSugar, Scarlett was born three minutes before him.
Hunter has chosen a life outside of the spotlight, but in his earlier days he seems to have explored the possibility of a career similar to his sister’s. On his IMDb page, he has a single credit. It’s a part in Manny & Lo, the movie for which Scarlett received an Independent Spirit Award nomination.
Since then, though, Hunter’s life has veered far from the Hollywood path. Instead, he’s completed a pair of degrees. From the University of Vermont, he holds a BA in applied economics. Next, he went on to do an MPA in nonprofit management at New York University. And he then pursued a career in public service and non-profits.
For starters, in 2008 Hunter worked for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign. He’s also served as a community organizer in New York. Since then, Hunter has gone on to found his own company, Solar Responders, and he continues to serve as its chief executive officer.
According to his biography on the Solar Responders website, Hunter has always had “an unwavering drive to serve and affect positive change through community organizing, advocacy, partnership building and fundraising.” After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, Hunter knew how to put those skills to work.
While on the ground in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, Hunter met Captain Richard Birt, who helped him to understand the importance of renewable energy in such critical situations. Many first-responder stations in Puerto Rico had lost power and their back-up generators ran on diesel fuel. Solar energy would have provided them access to lasting and potentially life-saving power.
That trip – and the enlightening information he learned – inspired Hunter to found Solar Responders. The organization has a three-pronged goal, according to the CEO’s bio on the website: the “opportunity to save lives, positively impact the environment, and create cost-savings by equipping first responders with renewable energy.”
So, Solar Responders, led by Hunter, fit out first-responder posts with solar panels to keep everything running during the day. The panels also provide power to solar batteries, which the emergency crews can use to power their efforts overnight.
Moreover, Hunter has had a great amount of support in his venture from his twin sister Scarlett, as well as from her fiancé, comedian Colin Jost. For example, on January 19, 2019, Hunter shared a Solar Responders-related update on his Instagram. He thanked his sister and Jost for their help installing solar power at a Rincon, Puerto Rico, fire station.
And this wasn’t the first time that the Johansson twins had joined forces to support a worthy cause. In 2014, for instance, Scarlett and Hunter walked the red carpet together for the Champions of Rockaway Hurricane Sandy Fundraiser in their hometown. The pair hosted the event, too – and Scarlett explained why.
According to Bustle, Scarlett said at the event, “Hunter and I were here in New York – we were 15 years old when September 11 happened, and that was pretty shocking. We thought the city that we grew up in was rock solid, and it shook the foundation of the city – for very different reasons [than Hurricane Sandy] obviously.”
So, as adults, Hunter and Scarlett decided to do something when they witnessed the damaging effect that Hurricane Sandy had in 2012. “Seeing the city shaken once more, it was totally, totally shocking for the people that were living here,” Scarlett explained. “Two years later, people are feeling huge effects of this devastating loss.”
Since then, of course, Hunter has continued to work with his environmentally friendly, lifesaving energy installations through Solar Responders. Most recently, he shared a flyer via Instagram for a fundraiser to benefit the organization’s efforts in Puerto Rico. Donors could dine and drink cocktails in Montauk, New York, for a cool $500.
As for Hunter’s twin sister, Scarlett has recently made official her longtime relationship with Jost – the pair announced their engagement in May of 2019. On top of that, she once again starred as Black Widow in the 2019 Marvel blockbuster Avengers: Endgame, which has become the highest-earning movie ever. Not a bad record for either Johansson twin.