Jonathan Kimble Simmons was born in the Detroit area, but spent much of his early life in Ohio, according to Men’s Health. He shortened his name to “J.K.” before launching his film career, per The Guardian. In high school, he sported long blonde hair and played JV football. At John Worthington High, you had three choices – be a jock, a nerd, or “a weird hippie freak. You cannot cross these lines,” he explained. After ending up on a team with the motto, “It’s gotta hurt!,” he was sorry he did.

In 2015, he told Esquire his abusive coaches made his life a living hell, screaming at players and denying them water. “I literally got kicked in the a** repeatedly and called all kinds of names,” he said. So, the young athlete traded in his cleats and team jersey for sandals and tie-dyed t-shirts. “I went from being a jock to a hippie,” he said. “Quickly, I was back in the pine trees with the hippies, listening to my Jimi Hendrix and my Janis Joplin and turning on, tuning in and dropping out.”

But there’s more to this story. He questioned if being a football player was worth his time, since he thought the hippie girls were prettier than the jock girls. He also was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease, a common affliction in adolescents, which causes knee pain. That, unfortunately, put an end to his football career once and for all.

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