27 times celebrities unexpectedly appeared on your favorite TV shows

Brad Pitt was on an episode of

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Brad Pitt was on an episode of “Friends.”
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NBC

Television shows provide numerous outlets for some perfectly unexpected celebrity cameos.

Whether stars are playing themselves, like Kris Jenner on “The Mindy Project,” or are showing their acting chops, like Britney Spears on “How I Met Your Mother,” it’s always a joy to recognize a celebrity on your favorite show.

INSIDER rounded up unexpected guest appearances made by celebrities on TV.


Britney Spears has had a number of fun cameos throughout the years, including on “How I Met Your Mother.”

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She was on two episodes.
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CBS

Spears played a receptionist who fell in love with Ted and ended up briefly engaged to Barney during a two-episode stint on the third season.

Some other shows she has made cameos on include “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” “Glee,” and “Jane the Virgin.”


Kesha popped up on “Jane the Virgin.”

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She was a surprise.
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The CW

The musician played Jane’s rude neighbor who kept blasting her music and having band practice late at night, messing with baby Mateo’s sleep schedule.


Pete Wentz, from Fall Out Boy, made an appearance on “One Tree Hill” with the band and solo.

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Pete did his eyeliner with the ladies.
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The WB

Fall Out Boy performed twice on the show, but Wentz formed a connection with Peyton and joined the girls on a weekend trip to the woods. They started a relationship, but it ended when Peyton used a plane ticket he bought her to visit an ex.


First Lady Michelle Obama played herself on a special episode of “iCarly.”

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She hung out with the cast.
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Nickelodeon

The episode helped promote Obama’s Joining Forces initiative, which was created to support military families. Carly’s father on the show was a Colonel stationed overseas.


Tennis icon and superstar Serena Williams made a guest appearance on “Law and Order: SVU.”

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She’s done some other acting as well.
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NBC

She played a basketball player who becomes an unwitting internet porn victim after taking her shirt off in a bar.


Prince’s first sitcom appearance ever was on “New Girl.”

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The episode took place at a party at Prince’s house.
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Fox

Prince was originally approached to do a cameo appearance on the second season of “New Girl,” but turned it down. But as a fan of the show, Prince had his manager reach out about a cameo and the show’s writers penned an episode around his guest appearance.


Paris Hilton played herself on an episode of “Supernatural.”

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Paris Hilton was on season five.
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The CW

A Leshi is a shape-shifting being, and on the series, the supernatural being transformed into the socialite.


Carrie Fisher played herself on an episode of “The Big Bang Theory.”

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She was ready to hit Sheldon with that bat.
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CBS

Sheldon and other guest star James Earl Jones rang Fisher’s doorbell and ran away before she came outside. She emerged with a bat and yelled, “It’s not funny anymore, James.”

It was actually the first time the “Star Wars” co-stars met in real life. Though Jones lent his voice to Darth Vader, he was never on the film’s set.


Fisher wasn’t the only “Star Wars” actor to make an appearance on “The Big Bang Theory.” Mark Hamill had a surprise cameo on season 11.

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Michael Yarish/CBS

Hamill officiated Sheldon and Amy’s wedding as himelf. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor accepted an invite to be on the show without seeing a script.


Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson may be an action star, but he got dolled up for an episode of “Hannah Montana.”

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Miley and Lilly gave him a makeover.
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Disney Channel

Miley and Lilly posed as hotel beauticians and gave the Rock a makeover in an effort to capture an embarrassing photo of him. Miley wanted to exchange it for a paparazzi photo that would reveal her secret identity as Hannah Montana. He helped them get the photo back and kept her secret.


Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner met Mindy on “The Mindy Project.”

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Kris Jenner had a brief cameo as herself.
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Hulu

Jenner was doing a book signing when Mindy pops to the front of the line in an effort to get Jenner to promote her fertility clinic.


Oprah Winfrey sat next to Liz on a plane on “30 Rock.”

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Liz hugged Oprah.
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NBC

Well, sort of. Liz has a conversation with Winfrey on the plane, but it later turned out to be a hallucination.


Brad Pitt guest starred on “Friends” while he was married to Jennifer Aniston.

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Brad Pitt on “Friends.”
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Warner Bros.

He was the president of the “I Hate Rachel Green Club” in high school.


Cher played herself on two separate episodes of “Will & Grace.”

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Cher was in a dream sequence for her second appearance.
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NBC

Cher’s first appearance consisted of Jack mistaking her for a Cher impersonator, but the second cameo consisted of a dream sequence and musical number.


Ginuwine was only one of the special guest stars that performed for the Pawnee/Eagleton Unity Concert on “Parks and Recreation.”

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Ginuwine was perfect.
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NBC

Not only did he play Donna’s cousin, but he also performed his hit song “Pony” in honor of the late mini-pony Li’l Sebastian.


Charlize Theron was an Academy Award winner before she was on “Arrested Development.”

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She wore a lot of hats.
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Fox

Theron was Rita, a woman who was briefly in a relationship with Michael. She was thought to be a spy because of her British accent but was mentally challenged.


Ed Sheeran found a way to perform on “Game of Thrones” with his cameo appearance.

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He met Arya Stark.
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HBO

Sheeran played a Lannister soldier who sat around the fire and sang during the hit show’s season seven premiere. He ended up deleting his Twitter after getting some backlash for the appearance but then returned to the social platform and hit back at his critics.


Singer Demi Lovato showed up on an emotional episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

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Her role dealt with mental illness.
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ABC

She played a young girl incorrectly diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and almost placed in a psychiatric ward. She was later correctly diagnosed and underwent a successful surgery.


Owen Wilson surprised “Community” fans with his guest spot.

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It was a brief spot.
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NBC

Wilson played the leader of a “cool study group” on an episode of the show’s first season.


Carole King did the theme song and appeared as a guest on “Gilmore Girls.”

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She was on multiple seasons.
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Warner Bros.

King’s “Where You Lead” was the show’s theme for seven years. She first made an appearance on the show’s second season as Sophie Bloom, the owner of a music store. She reprised her role in the show’s revival.


Bruce Willis surprised fans when he walked on during the end of an episode of “Roseanne.”

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It was an adorable appearance.
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CBS Television Distribution

Roseanne Barr screamed in shock when Willis walked into the room and got into the bed next to her.


Victoria Beckham popped in on an episode of “Ugly Betty.”

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She is Posh.
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ABC

Beckham played Wilhelmina’s maid of honor for her wedding day.


Kevin Hart appeared on season three of “Modern Family.”

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Kevin Hart on “Modern Family.”
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ABC

Hart plays the Dunphys’ neighbor, Andre, during season three. The orthopedic surgeon shows up twice. Andrew offers to help Phil build a treehouse and later convinces Phil to buy a Porsche.


Snoop Dogg played himself on ABC’s canceled soap opera, “One Life to Live.”

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Snoop Dogg went by his real name on the show with Bo Buchanan.
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ABC

Snoop Dogg would show up from time to time in Llanview, Pennsylvania, where he was friends with a bunch of the people in town and they referred to him by his real name, Calvin. He even sang his own version of the theme song one time he was on the show.

Snoop Dogg said he was a big fan of soap operas since he was a child because of his mom and grandmother. If he’s as big of a fan as he said, he probably didn’t need to be caught up on all of the drama of Llanview.

You can watch one of his appearances here.


“True Blood” star Joe Manganiello was part of a secret celebrity “Dungeons & Dragon” club on “The Big Bang Theory.”

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The women of “The Big Bang Theory” get to play with Manganiello.
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Michael Yarish/CBS

Manganiello really is a big fan of “D&D.” The actor told Stephen Colbert that he hosts his own games in his basement with celebrities like “Saturday Night Live’s” Taran Killam.


Before “ER,” George Clooney was Roseanne’s boss.

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George Clooney on “Roseanne.”
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ABC

George Clooney played Jackie and Roseanne’s original boss, Booker Brooks, at Wellman Plastics. He started dating Jackie, but he wasn’t very good at keeping their relationship secret.

Clooney was on the show until its fourth season.


Rita Moreno appeared on season 12 of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

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Rita Moreno appeared on an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.”
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ABC

The “West Side Story” actress played an estranged wife of a patient who suffers from memory loss. Moreno currently stars on “One Day at a Time.”