April 21, 2017 09:00 AM

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Think Julia Roberts is the most successful person to attend her high school? She’s got some competition.

The Oscar-winning actress, who is PEOPLE’s 2017 World’s Most Beautiful Woman, looked back at her life before fame with PEOPLE editor-in-chief Director Jess Cagle — and said she was “awkward” in high school.

That didn’t stop her from making friends with some “fabulous” people — one of whom is NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough.

Julia Roberts
Alexi Lubomirski for Lancôme

Julia Roberts

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The two, both now 49, stayed in touch, and Kimbrough, who just returned from almost six months aboard the International Space Station, chatted with Roberts from space the day before the Pretty Woman star sat down with PEOPLE.

Roberts explained:

“[There was] a boy I went to school with who was smart and a football player and was handsome. And dated the prettiest girl — not as pretty as his wife, but back then was the prettiest girl. And he went on to become an astronaut and he is in space —  and we Skyped with him yesterday.”

“He, like, floated and told us all about this space mission that he is on,” Roberts continued. “And I told him, ‘You are officially the coolest guy I went to high school with.’ ”

Shane Kimbrough
Ivan Sekretarev/AP

Kimbrough just may be. After his days as Roberts’ classmate in Smyrna, Ga., he went on to earn a Presidential Scholarship to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y, Smyrna Patch reported, where he captained the baseball team while earning a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering.

From there he became a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, piloting Apache helicopters in the Gulf War. He earned a Master of Science degree in operations research from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1998.

He was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2004, and in 2008 went on his first mission — a 16-day, six-million-mile supply delivery mission to the International Space Station as a member of the STS-126 Space Shuttle Endeavour crew.

After his most recent trip to the Space Station, he landed in in Kazakhstan on April 10.

RELATED VIDEO: How Julia Roberts Talks to Her Kids about Beauty: ‘You Don’t Want to Mess Them Up’

So does Kimbrough’s success destroy the myth that people who had their glory days in high school go on to live less-than exciting lives? Roberts thinks so!

“He goes against all the rules — and there have been plenty of movies about these rules [that say] you peak too early [and] it’s all downhill,” she explained.

Roberts believes she’s only hitting her own peak now.

“I think I’m a slow rise,” she said. “I’m like a slow Thanksgiving dinner roll.”

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