Top 15 Most Famous Tennessee Celebrities: Famous People from TN

Fact Checked by Michael Peters

Few states have the type of connection to fame Tennessee does, thanks in large part to Music City (Nashville) and Soulsville, USA (Memphis).

Thanks to those cities’ bevy of musical and acting stars, Tennessee punches above its weight class celebrity wise, with some of the most famous actors and singers calling the Volunteer State home over the years — and that doesn’t even include the ones who moved to the state as adults to seek fame and fortune.

BetTennessee.com took a break from Tennessee sports betting and utilized a weighted system between AhRefs.com Keywords Explorer and Google Trends to look at the most searched Tennessee celebrities over the past 12 months. Once finding both statistics, they were averaged to determine the Top 10. Tennessee celebrity was defined as a person who resided in Tennessee in their formative childhood and teenage years. Celebrity was broken down to include only actors/actresses, singer/songwriters, TV personalities, comedians, dancers, athletes and social media influencers.

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15 Most Popular Tennessee Celebrities Ranked

Rank/CelebrityHometown CitySearch Volume Over Past Year
1. Miley Cyrus, Singer-SongwriterFranklin3.3M
2. Megan Fox, ActressOak Ridge3.0M
3. Morgan Wallen, Singer-SongwriterSneedville2.2M
4. Morgan Freeman, ActorMemphis1.5M
5. Dolly Parton, Singer-SongwriterPittman Center1.4M
6. Justin Timberlake, Singer-SongwriterMemphis736K
7. Quentin Tarantino, DirectorKnoxville682K
8. GloRilla, RapperMemphis512K
9. Natalia Dyer, ActressNashville502K
10. NLE Choppa, RapperMemphis477K
11. Michael Oher, Former NFL PlayerMemphis454K
12. Kelsea Ballerini, Singer-SongwriterKnoxville441K
13. Usher, Singer-SongwriterChattanooga440K
14. Randy Orton, WWE WrestlerKnoxville430K
15. Hayley Williams, Singer-SongwriterFranklin408K

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Miley Cyrus Takes Top Spot as Most Famous Celebrity From Tennessee

You know Tennessee is a proverbial ‘whose who’ of celebrities when the state’s emissary Dolly Parton barely cracks the top 5, with the legendary country star finishing fifth, behind her goddaughter Miley Cyrus, actress Megan Fox, singer Morgan Wallen and Academy Award winning actor Morgan Freeman. It’s the kind of upset you could win big on at Tennessee betting apps

1. Miley Cyrus, Actress and Singer, Franklin. Search volume: 3.3M. Overall, Cyrus was the most famous Tennessee native, with a search volume of 3.3 million after a two-decade career in the limelight that’s seen her do everything from acting (starting her career as Hannah Montana) to winning north of a 100 awards (including a pair of Grammy Awards in 2024). Cyrus has sold millions of albums since taking up singing full time in 2007, while being named to the Time 100 twice (in 2008 and 2014) and Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2014 and 2021.

2. Megan Fox, Actress, Oak Ridge. Search volume: 3.0M. The Franklin native beat out Oak Ridge native Megan Fox as the most famous Tennessean in 2024, with the former “Transformers” star wracking up 3.0 million in search volume during the calendar year. Fox, 37, has taken home four Teen Choice Awards for her litany of film roles.

3. Morgan Wallen, Singer, Sneedville. Search volume: 2.2M. The former “The Voice” contestant has gone on to make quite a name for himself in recent years, with his debut record “If I Know Me” scoring a No. 1 spot on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, as did his follow-up “Dangerous: The Double Album,” which spent 27 weeks atop the Billboard 200. The Sneedville native did even better on last year’s third album “One Thing At A Time,” which spent 18 weeks in total atop the Billboard 200, while his single “White Hot” topped the Hot 100 chart.  

More Well-Known Tennessee Celebrities

4. Morgan Freeman, Actor, Memphis. Search volume: 1.5M. The so-called “Voice of God” himself couldn’t break the Volunteer State’s top three in 2024, despite the 86-year-old acting star winning every award known to man. Freeman’s 60-year acting career has run the gamut of genres, from comedy to drama and even on-stage, as he was nominated for a Tony Award in 1978 for his role in “The Mighty Gents.” Freeman has been an ambassador of sorts for the state over the years, wearing his Memphis roots with pride.  

5. Dolly Parton, Singer, Pittman Center. Search volume: 1.4M. When one thinks of Tennessee, images of the state’s spunky blonde-haired queen of country music likely come to mind. Parton has shined on the stage for more than a half-century, winning 11 Grammy Awards across more than 50 nominations to go with 10 Country Music Awards. Parton went from a childhood of poverty in the Smokies to the state’s unofficial spokesperson, speaking to the immense impact the 78-year-old has made on music and Americana at large since her career began in 1956.

6. Justin Timberlake, Singer & Actor, Memphis. Search volume: 736K. The former NYSNC member turned star on his own has sold more than 88 million albums during his 31-year career, fusing pop and R&B vocals with ease on the stages of America. Throw in a handful of acting roles and you have a career that’s seen 10 Grammy Awards, four Primetime Emmy awards and a handful of other accolades.

7. Quentin Tarantino, Director, Knoxville. Search volume: 682K. The director known for cult favorites like “Pulp Fiction,” “Reservoir Dogs,” and “Kill Bill” is a Knoxville native. He began his career in 1987, long after he left the Smokies for Los Angeles with his mother as an infant in 1966. Six decades later, Tarantino has established himself as one of the most unique directors in American cinematic history, taking home a pair of Academy Awards for best original screenplay (Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained) while receiving six other nominations between 1995 and 2020.

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Other Famous People From Tennessee to Make List

8. GloRilla, Rapper, Memphis. Search volume: 512K. The up-and-coming rap artist from Memphis was nominated for Best Rap Performance at the 65th Grammy Awards, serving as the opening salvo of what’s sure to be a star-studded career for the 24-year-old. GloRilla, or Gloria Hallelujah Woods, gained fame through her TikTok videos in 2022, paving the way for her to become one of the state’s next round of stars.  

9. Natalia Dyer, Actress, Nashville. Search volume: 502K. The “Stranger Things” star began her acting career in her hometown of Nashville. Now, the 29-year-old has parlayed her role as Nancy Wheeler in the Netflix horror series into roles in eight films between 2019 and 2023.  

10. NLE Choppa, Rapper, Memphis. Search volume: 477K. The 21-year-old Memphis-born rap star began his career in 2018, signing with Warner Records ahead of his debut album, “Top Shotta,” which was released two years later. His singles “Camelot” and “Walk Em Down” reached the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100.  

11. Michael Oher, Former NFL Player, Memphis. Search volume: 454K. The former Ole Miss and NFL star began his road to fame by having his life story portrayed in Michael Lewis’ book “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game” which went on to be turned into the 2009 film of the same name. On the field, Oher was a Super Bowl champion with the Baltimore Ravens and played in 110 games in the league between 2009 and 2016, making him more than just the star of a hit film.  

12. Kelsea Ballerini, Singer-Songwriter, Knoxville. Search volume: 441K. Ballerini is a country star that has seen seven of her songs chart on the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay lists.  

13. Usher, Singer-Songwriter, Chattanooga. Search volume: 440K. Anytime you get to perform at the Super Bowl, you know you’re doing something right. That’s exactly what Usher did this year in Las Vegas, on the heels of the star singer’s residency in the Sin City. Throw in a career that’s netted him the nickname “The King of R&B” and you have a snapshot of what he’s done since he launched his act back in 1993.  

14. Randy Orton, WWE wrestler, Knoxville. Search volume: 430K. Orton took himself from the far reaches of Knoxville to the bright lights of WWE in 2000. Orton became the youngest world champion in WWE history at 24 and continues to be a force in the ring.  

15. Hayley Williams, Singer-songwriter, Franklin. Search volume: 408K. The frontwoman of the indie rock giant “Paramore” has seen her share of success since starting her career in Franklin 20 years ago. The 35-year-old hails from Mississippi originally but built her successful recording career in the Volunteer State.

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Most Famous Celebrities from Tennessee FAQ

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Author

Christopher Boan writes for BetTennessee.com and has been covering sports and sports betting for more than seven years, with experience at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.