19 Celebrities Who Can't Swim



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Many people took swimming lessons as kids, but there are a few famous folks who never learned how to swim. Some of these celebrities who can't swim have a fear of water, but others simply never got around to learning. Swimming is a skill that certainly comes in handy, especially if you are the owner of a fabulous ocean-front home with a breathtaking pool.

Rihanna doesn't swim because she is afraid of fish and other creatures who live in the ocean, while Eva Mendes doesn't even know how to doggy paddle. Baywatch stars Carmen Electra and Donna D'Errico both played lifeguards on TV despite not knowing how to swim. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler learned how to swim for the film, as did actor Tenoch Hureta.

Are you surprised that so many celebs can't swim? Take a look at this list to learn more about theses terrestrial stars.

  • “I can’t swim. In inner City Philadelphia, there’s not a lot of swimming pools, and I never actually learned how to swim, and I’m embarrassed about it,” Will Smith told David Letterman in 2013.

    Willard Carroll Smith Jr. (born September 25, 1968) is an American actor, rapper and media personality. In April 2007, Newsweek called him "the most powerful actor in Hollywood". Smith has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards and two Academy Awards, and has won four Grammy Awards. In the late 1980s, Smith achieved modest fame as a rapper under the name The Fresh Prince. In 1990, his popularity increased dramatically when he starred in the NBC television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which ran for six seasons until 1996. After the series ended, Smith transitioned from television to film and went on to star in numerous blockbuster films. He is the only actor to have eight ...more
  • “It was so great because I actually don’t know how to swim. It’s ridiculous – I know and I am Cuban, I come from an Island, and I don’t know how to swim at all. Not even doggy paddle,” said Eva Mendes in a 2008 interview.

    Eva de la Caridad Méndez (born March 5, 1974), known professionally as Eva Mendes (), is an American actress, model and businesswoman. Her acting career began in the late 1990s, with a series of roles in B films such as Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998) and Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000). Mendes's performance in Training Day (2001) marked a turning point in her career, and led to parts in the commercially successful films 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) and Hitch (2005), the latter of which made her one of the first minority actors to play the lead in a mainstream romantic comedy. She starred in Ghost Rider (2007) and The Spirit (2008), both film adaptations of comics, and ventured ...more
  • Ryan Coogler
    Photo: j-No / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Ryan Coogler did not know how to swim until he had to direct Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

    "A lot of us were raised to have fear of water," he said. “I had to figure out how to swim so I could direct this movie.”

    Ryan Kyle Coogler is an American film director and screenwriter. His first feature film, Fruitvale Station, won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
  • Carmen Electra lied and told Baywatch producers that she could do the breaststroke when auditioning for the show. In 2022, she explained how she relied on her dancing talents to fake her swimming skills and she ultimately got the gig.

    Tara Leigh Patrick (born April 20, 1972), better known by her stage name Carmen Electra, is an American glamour model, actress, television personality, singer, and dancer. She began her career as a singer after moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she met Prince, who produced her debut record. She later relocated to Los Angeles, California, to pursue a career as an actress, gaining notoriety for her role as Lani McKenzie on the television series Baywatch. She made her film debut in the horror comedy American Vampire (1997), and has had roles in multiple parody films, including Scary Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, and Disaster Movie. Electra has also appeared as a ...more
  • For years Oprah Winfrey did not know how to swim, but she took lessons to learn the skill in 2011.

    “Move with the flow. Don't fight the current. Resist nothing. Let life carry you. Don't try to carry it. Sometimes we just have to be reminded. A swim lesson did it for me,” she wrote following the lesson.

    Oprah Gail Winfrey (born Orpah Gail Winfrey, January 29, 1954) is an American media executive, actress, talk show host, television producer and philanthropist. She is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, broadcast from Chicago, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history and ran in national syndication for 25 years from 1986 to 2011. Dubbed the "Queen of All Media", she was the richest African American of the 20th century and North America's first black multi-billionaire, and has been ranked the greatest black philanthropist in American history. She has also been sometimes ranked as the most influential woman in the world.Winfrey was born into ...more
  • Greg Tarzan Davis

    Not only did actor Greg Tarzan Davis have to learn to fly to be in Top Gun: Maverick, he also needed to learn to swim.

    "In order to fly in the F-18, you have to pass a swim test requirement, and that was a traumatic experience because I didn’t know how to swim,” he said.