Celebrity birthdays: 5 things you didn’t know about Jake Gyllenhaal

Celebrate the actor’s 33rd birthday with fun Jake Gyllenhaal facts!

It's Jake Gyllenhaal's 33rd birthday, so celebrate with little-known trivia about the actor, from his famous godmother and acting legend driving instructor to the reason he peed on someone's leg.

1. Jake has a famous godmother

If you're born into a film industry family (dad Stephen is a director, mum Naomi Foner is a producer and screenwriter, and sister Maggie Gyllenhaal is an actress), you'll likely have showbiz connections.

That's certainly the case for Jake, whose godmother is Jamie Lee Curtis. Jake himself is godfather to Matilda, daughter of Jake's 'Brokeback Mountain' co-stars Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams.

2. A big screen legend taught Jake to drive

Jake's first ever driving lesson as a teen was with none other than family friend Paul Newman. What makes this even more enviable is that Paul was once a professional racecar driver.

Jake told Metro he was just 15 when Mr Newman, who was writing a script with Jake's mum at the time, took him out to the racetrack, drove at 60 miles per hour and then slammed on the brakes, spinning the car three times when they were 100ft from a wall. Paul then said: "That was what you don't do".

3. Jake will pee on you if necessary

When he wasn't being terrified by Paul Newman's driving, Jake had a job as a lifeguard during his teens on Martha's Vineyard. It gave him the opportunity to try out that jellyfish sting cure.

The actor told People that he peed on someone's leg to counteract the sting, which was about as exciting as his "pretty tame" experience got. He revealed he took inspiration from 'Baywatch' and ran down the beach holding the lifeguard buoy occasionally, to make it seem like something was happening.

4. Jake studied philosophy with Uma Thurman's dad

There seems to be no end to Jake's connections with other famous folk.

While a freshman at Columbia University, Jake took a Tibetan philosophy and civilisation class with his sister Maggie, taught by 'Kill Bill' actress Uma's dad, Professor Robert Thurman.

5. Jake named his pets after his favourite novel

There seems to be something about celebs turning to books, musicals and TV shows for inspiration for their pets' names. Jake's ex Taylor Swift named her cat Meredith after her fave character on 'Grey's Anatomy', and Lea Michele called her cats Claude and Sheila after characters in the musical 'Hair'.

Jake named his German Shepherd Atticus and his Puggle Boo Radley after characters in his number one book, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' (it's Niall Horan and Victoria Beckham's fave book too).