Hollywood superstar Sandra Bullock has been on the big screen for years, but unlike some of her peers she’s kept her career remarkably free of scandal. She’s also been very private about the raising of her children. Yet she’s shared some small but significant tidbits over the years, so the more dramatic details of her life are out there if you look hard enough.
20. She’s had some harsh words to say about rom coms
Bullock has appeared in many romantic comedies. She was the star of While You Were Sleeping, and Two Weeks’ Notice among others. But back in 2009 she told the website Contactmusic she was done with the genre, saying, “They’re not funny, they’re not romantic, they’re not written well for women anymore.”
However, that was the same year Bullock appeared in The Proposal alongside Ryan Reynolds. Yet she was insistent it wasn’t the same sort of film she was slamming. She told Harper’s Bazaar magazine, “I hate the term rom com. Yeah, there’s some comedy and romance [in The Proposal]. Isn’t that in every film?”
19. She had allergies that people thought were something else
During the 2018 Academy Awards ceremony, people noticed that there was something different about Bullock’s face. She explained it all in an interview with InStyle magazine in May of that year, saying, “This past Oscars I was sick and had allergies, but I was like, ‘I’m just going to go. It’s part of my job, and I’m happy to be there.’”
Bullock continued, “Then the next day they were saying, ‘Oh, she has cheek fillers and implants.’ When I saw the photos and how swollen I was, I got it. But I was like, ‘‘Well, if I got injections, I only got them on the top, which was not very good.’” The actress further admitted, ‘‘I am affected by it because I don’t feel confident when I dress up and go on the red carpet.”
18. She wanted to be a mother when still a teen
Bullock has been a mother since adopting her first child in 2010, but she’d wanted to be one for a very long time. In 2018 the 54-year-old star spoke to the TV show Entertainment Tonight at the premiere of her movie Bird Box and shared the interesting revelation, “I would have been pregnant or knocked up at 17.”
The actress went on, “I wanted to be a mom at a very young age. So I kind of felt the drive and the desire to.” But, she went on to explain why it never happened, saying, “My mother knew that and she kept me under lock and key.” Bullock’s own mom was the opera singer Helga Meyer.
17. She loves chickens
Bullock has an affinity for poultry and it dates back a long way. In 1996 she told the magazine Detour, “When I was like 12, I had a chicken named Colonel Sanders and he was not a chicken chicken. He liked people. He would stand on the top of your handlebars while you were riding your bike through the neighborhood.”
And even now, many years later, the actress still keeps chickens around. In 2013 she revealed to Vogue magazine that she has three pet chickens named after female comedians: Wanda Sykes, Carol Burnett and Phyllis Diller. Phyllis, however, had to have a name change when Bullock discovered “she” was actually male.
16. She won an Oscar and a Razzie in the same year
In March 2010 Bullock decided to turn up in person to accept a “worst actress” Razzie for the movie All About Steve. It actually won her more fans, because she accepted the slam with grace and humor. She even turned up with assistants wearing “Team Bullock” shirts and a wagon full of copies of the offending movie.
And then just one day later Bullock took home a Best Actress Academy Award for her performance in the film The Blind Side, making her the first and so far only person to win both an Oscar and a Razzie in the same year. She joked while accepting her Oscar, “Did I really earn this or did I just wear you down?”
15. She’s survived several accidents
Bullock has had an extraordinary amount of luck in many ways. In December 2000 a plane she was on crash-landed at Jackson Hole Airport during a blizzard. The star was shaken, but no-one was seriously hurt. That wasn’t even the first time she had a mishap with a plane: while promoting Hope Floats she had accidentally damaged her face when she walked into a wing.
And that wasn’t all. In April 2008 Bullock and her then-husband Jesse James were hit by a drunk driver in Massachusetts. Luckily, they walked away unharmed, as did the person who hit them. And if that wasn’t a bad enough run of transport-related luck, in 2012 11 people were injured in a bus crash on the set of Bullock’s film The Heat.
14. She doesn’t use social media
In May 2018 Bullock was asked by Instyle magazine if she felt pressurized to get social media. The actress said, “I look over people’s shoulders, going, “What is that little vignette of a cat on a fan?” I’m just lazy. But I’m going to get on it and troll my friends. Once my kids are using it, I’ll know how to navigate it. I don’t want to be naïve.”
However, it might be a while before that happens. In February 2020 Bullock said in Interview magazine, “I look at everyone who is trying to raise kids, and I go, ‘How are we supposed to raise children outside of a bubble? And show them the difference between right and wrong, and what kindness looks like, when it’s really hard to find it with all the noise on a screen?’”
13. She had a premonition about her son
Bullock has starred in a movie called Premonition, but she’s claimed to have had an actual one as well. In 2018 she tearfully told TV show Today that Hurricane Katrina had affected her in a strange way. She said, “Katrina happened in New Orleans and something told me, ‘My child is there.’ It was weird.”
And as it turned out, Bullock’s son Louis was indeed adopted from New Orleans. Later another child, Laila, was adopted by Bullock as well. They’re ten and eight now, and in February 2020 the actress told Jennifer Aniston for Interview magazine that she planned to follow her kids all the way to college.
12. She’s friends with George Clooney
Gravity co-stars Bullock and George Clooney have been friends for a very long time. In 2018 the actress reminisced to the magazine InStyle, “George and I have known each other since before we had careers. He was always the funniest dude in the room. He would have a little tequila and do a wicked Buddy Hackett impression that would make you wet yourself.”
But both parties are adamant there’s never been anything between them. In 2013 Bullock told the TV show Daybreak, “We’ve known each other for so long, sexy is gone. Not that he’s not sexy because he is very, very handsome. If you like that kind of dashing, charming, smart, talented, successful kind of thing. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea.”
11. She dislikes Hollywood culture
During an interview with The Guardian newspaper in March 2010, Bullock was asked if she viewed the movie business as “meaningless and empty.” She answered, “Oh yes. Because it is meaningless and empty! I’m not wary of it, though – I’m just aware. It holds nothing for me, although it will hold a great table in a restaurant, when you’re at your peak.”
Bullock went on, “If you don’t have other real things in your life that you love just as much, then you will drown in it.” Elsewhere in the interview she said, “Leaving my house and getting on to a red carpet is always crazy for me, because you have to find a way to be comfortable in the most uncomfortable situation imaginable.”
10. She found it hard adopting her son
When she decided she wanted to adopt, Bullock was faced with a big problem: how to keep it secret from the press. It was hard. In June 2016 she told No. 1 magazine, “The biggest reason being that the outside world was a little crazy then. Photographers waiting outside 24/7, people everywhere. I didn’t want that to be in [Louis’s] life.”
Bullock went on, “People that I had worked with for years couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t let them into my house for fittings. I would have them meet me at random hotels down the street from the house, claiming work was being done.” But of course, all her secrecy paid off in the end.
9. She’s had a very unusual facial
While promoting Ocean’s Eight in May 2018 Bullock went on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and admitted to something weird. She’d had a “micro-needling” procedure which “pushes through the skin and ruptures the collagen and you look like a burn victim for a day.” But what was pushed through the skin?
The thing injected into the skin, Ellen said, was remnants of discarded baby foreskins. Bullock explained, “It’s not like I’m lying there with these little pieces all over my face. I call it the ‘penis facial,’ and when you see how good it is to your face, you too will run to your local facialist and say, ‘Give me the penis.’” Er.
8. She speaks German
Ever wonder how come Bullock’s German in the film Ocean’s Eight sounded so good? It’s because that’s her heritage. Bullock’s mother Helga was German-born, and the young Sandra went with her as she sang opera all around Europe. Needless to say, she had a good grasp of the language from an early age.
In 2015 Bullock was asked by the German magazine Lufthansa if she planned to teach her son the language and she said, “Of course I sometimes speak to him in German, but most of the time he just looks at me. He’s got a good ear for the language, though, and often repeats what I’ve said.”
7. Her mother had some upsetting deathbed words for her
Bullock’s mother Helga passed away in 2000, and Bullock was there for her when she died. Many years later, in December 2015, the actress shared with People magazine her mom’s deeply emotional last words. Bullock said, “Before my mom passed away, we had a moment at her bedside where I was shut down and trying not to cry, and she simply said, ‘Don’t be like me.’”
But Bullock understood where that came from. She told People, “In that moment a lot of our lifetime together had been explained. She didn’t want me to go through life shut down, afraid of feeling. Well, life has made sure I feel everything now, and I’m not ashamed to admit it anymore.”
6. She had stalkers
In May 2003 it was reported that Bullock had been given a restraining order against a man, Thomas Weldon, who’d been stalking her. That was bad enough, but other stalkers followed. In 2007 the actress was harassed by a woman called Marcia Valentine, who even tried to hit her then-husband with a car.
Sadly though, even that wasn’t the end of Bullock’s experiences with stalkers. In 2015 another man, Joshua Corbett, broke into her house and caused her to hide in a closet while calling 911. Corbett was sentenced to probation and ordered to have mental health treatment, but he killed himself in 2018 during an extended altercation with police.
5. She was raised unusually
In a 2009 interview with Parade magazine Bullock discussed her upbringing. She said, “My sister, Gesine, and I were lucky enough to be raised by a mother who did things unconventionally, and a father who was fine with the kids being raised that way. There was no gender in our house. I didn’t realize that I couldn’t do what boys could do, because my dad raised me as a boy.”
However, the young Bullock didn’t always like having that kind of childhood. She told Parade that her mother “had blinders on. She did what she did and didn’t care what people thought. But as a kid, I was like, ‘Oh, dear God, please make her stop and be normal.’ I wanted an ordinary mom.”
4. The paparazzi interfered with her becoming a mother
Bullock has found it difficult giving her children normal lives, and she’s not happy about it. During a 2018 interview with InStyle magazine she said the constant press even put Laila’s adoption process in danger. She explained, “When you adopt a child, there’s a placement period, and if something goes sideways, they have the right to take the child away.”
Bullock went on, “It’s a tenuous, strenuous six months. We had an allergy scare that sent us to the E.R., and we were followed by the paparazzi, so the word was out that I had another child. And everyone wanted photos. It was heartbreaking.” Luckily, the adoption still took place.
3. She was stoic about being cheated on
In 2010 just as Bullock should have been celebrating her Oscar win for The Blind Side, it transpired that her husband Jesse James had been cheating on her with multiple women. James released an apologetic statement but the damage had already been done. Bullock divorced him, and it was all over the papers.
But Bullock was able to find peace with it all eventually. In December 2018 she told newspaper The Independent, “My life took a trajectory that wasn’t very pleasant, but I feel like it had to happen in order for me to fully understand what family was about.” She added, “My life went the way it went because it was supposed to be that way.”
2. She was the highest-paid actress of 2014
In the year 2014 Forbes magazine named Bullock the highest-paid actress of that year. And it was by quite a lot, as well. Bullock had earned $51 million, and her closest competitor Jennifer Lawrence had a “mere” $31 million. That was a good year for Bullock, as she also won an Oscar nomination for Gravity.
In fact Bullock has done very, very well for herself money-wise. Gravity alone made $723 million around the world. That’s not even the half of it though. All put together her films are estimated to have made at least $5 billion. And Bullock herself is reportedly worth a very impressive $200 million.
1. She doesn’t like one particular parenting phrase
Since both of Bullock’s kids are adopted, she’s become an advocate for adoption herself. In May 2018 InStyle magazine asked her, “There are hundreds of thousands of foster kids who need homes at the moment. Is the situation getting better?” and she started to cry from the emotion she felt.
Bullock said to the magazine, ‘Let’s all just refer to these kids as ‘Our kids.’ Don’t say ‘my adopted child.’ No one calls their kid their ‘IVF child’ or their ‘Oh, s**t, I went to a bar and got knocked-up child.’ Let’s just say, ‘Our children.’” There’s no doubt that the actress is an incredibly devoted mother.