Stars: They’re just like us, right? Money, fame and power have their benefits. Most celebrities will readily admit they have incredible lives. Getting paid millions of dollars to act, attend movie premiers and live in gorgeous houses sounds amazing, but there is a price to pay for everything. Being rich and famous gives you nice things, but it cannot protect you from experiencing life’s harsh realities.
Here are ten celebrities who have more difficult lives than you may think. Some of the names on this list have to live with tragedies they’ve experienced in their past, particularly their childhoods. From the worst kind of childhood trauma, such as experiencing the murder of a parent, to surviving molestation, sometimes that level of tragedy can fuel success, as it has for two women on this list. Sometimes, you can put the past away, but you cannot always forget what happened. One celeb on this list has to deal with a child who is currently in prison and has been for years. For one formerly beautiful woman on this list, a car accident scarred her for life, leaving the press and the public to wonder why her face just never looked the same.
And there’s always loss. Whether it’s the loss of a child, a parent or even a spouse, it shows us that celebrities are just like us, especially when it comes to the worst losses a person can experience in life.
10. Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves has had an equally tragic and successful life. In 1998, he met Jennifer Syme and began dating her. She became pregnant in 1999, but their daughter Ava Archer Syme-Reeves was stillborn. They were never able to get over that tragedy and broke up. In 2001, Syme died in a car accident, as a result of driving while high on various drugs. Reeves still longs for his ex-girlfriend. He told Parade in 2006, “I miss being a part of their lives and them being part of mine. I wonder what the present would be like if they were here – what we might have done together. I miss all the great things that will never be.”
9. Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron is one of the most beautiful, glamorous and talented women in Hollywood, but she has also witnessed nearly unspeakable tragedy. Theron grew up in South Africa. Her father was an alcoholic and could be violent. One time, he came home with his brother in a rage and threatened to kill Charlize and her mother, Gerda. Charlize watched as her mother shot and killed her father and wounded her uncle. The court found the murder was in self-defense and she was never charged with a crime. Theron told ABC News “I know what happened. And I know that if my daughter was in the same situation, I would do the same thing. I think, for me, it took a long time to sink in, what had really happened because you just don’t think stuff like that will ever happen to you. You always think it happens to somebody else.”
Oprah is one of the most successful women in the world. Between her magazine, OWN Network and everything else, the “Oprah Effect” will always be in full effect. However, life hasn’t always been easy for her. Oprah was born into rural poverty in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Her grandmother regularly beat her. The billionaire told David Letterman, “She whipped me so badly that I had welts on my back and the welts would bleed. And then when I put on my Sunday dress, I was bleeding from the welts. And then she was very upset with me because I got blood on the dress.” Oprah was also sexually molested from the age of 10 to 14 and became pregnant. The baby died at two weeks old. But even Oprah has admitted all of these events made her the successful woman she is today.
7. Rose McGowan
Actress Rose McGowan had a difficult childhood, raised in a cult in Italy, called The Children of God. Living on a commune that cut off contact from the outside world, the family left when the cult leaders began to encourage children to have sex with adults. McGowan told MailOnline, “I was not molested because my dad was strong enough to realize that this hippie love had gone south.”
In 2007, McGowan suffered another tragedy when she as in a terrible car accident which disfigured her face. While she underwent plastic surgery to try and restore her looks but, her face never looked quite the same ever again.
6. Shania Twain
Shania Twain is one of the most successful country singers in history, but her life has never been easy. When she was a little girl, growing up in rural town of Timmons, Ontario, her family was very incredibly poor and sometimes there wasn’t enough food to eat. When she was 22, her parents were killed in a car accident and Shania ended up raising her three teenage siblings. Even as a successful adult, her money, success and fame couldn’t protect her from the ultimate betrayal. Fourteen years into her marriage with producer, Robert John “Mutt” Lange, she discovered he had been cheating on her with longtime friend and employee Marie-Anne Thiébaud. They divorced and Shania ended up marrying none other than Marie-Anne’s ex-husband, Frédéric.
5. Katie Holmes
Like many woman (at least who are over the age of 30), Katie Holmes had a crush on Tom Cruise. Her dream became her reality when she married him; but wedded bliss soon turned into cult hell for her. Vulture recently reported she was trapped by the Church of Scientology and had to escape through an elaborate plan which involved three divorce attorneys in different states, filing for sole custody of their daughter Suri, renting an apartment in New York on the down low and a burner phone. It sounds more like a movie, than a movie star’s life. Holmes still hasn’t publicly revealed what exactly happened with the Church of Scientology, but it’s fair to say, it was probably terrifying.
4. Bruce Jenner
On April 24th, 2015, in an interview with Diane Sawyer, Bruce Jenner came out as transgender. At 65 years old, the person who was once considered the epitome of American masculinity, as an Olympic champion, said he saw himself as having the “soul of a woman.” Jenner has suffered his whole life and through three marriages trying to hide his secret from the world. While there have always been speculations about his gender, it wasn’t until the paparazzi found out he was having a tracheal shave to reduce the size of his Adam’s apple, that he was truly outed. This caused Jenner to consider suicide. But, he stayed alive to tell his story and hopefully become an advocate for the transgender community.
3. Michael Douglas
Michael Douglas is one of the most talented movie stars to walk the face of the earth. Catherine Zeta-Jones is his beautiful wife and they have two children together. However, Michael’s son Cameron, from his first marriage to Diandra Douglas, has made Michael’s life very difficult. Cameron has been in prison since 2010 for conspiracy to distribute narcotics after he was caught selling crystal meth from a New York hotel room. Cameron is set to be released from prison in 2017. Douglas has shared his sadness and frustration with the media, proclaiming “At first I was certainly disappointed with my son, but I’ve reached a point now where I’m disappointed with the system. If you happen to have a slip, they punish you. In my son’s case, he has spent almost two years in solitary confinement.”
2. Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson is one of the most popular actors in Hollywood and adored by many, but sadly he will never experience the adoration of his wife, Natasha Richardson, ever again. Richardson died in 2009 after she hit her head in a skiing accident. She thought she was fine at first, telling her husband, “Oh darling. I’ve taken a tumble in the snow.” But later, Neeson found out her brain was up against the side of her skull, rendering her brain dead. He described his final words to his wife to People, “And I went in to her and told her I loved her. I Said, ‘Sweetie, you’re not coming back from this. You’ve banged your head. It’s – I don’t know if you can hear me, but that’s – this is what’s gone down. And we’re bringing ya back to New York. All your family and friends will come.’ And that was more or less it.”
1. Lea Michele
Lea Michele appeared to have it all. She had starred on Broadway and was one of the main characters on the hit show, Glee. Her career and love life to her co-star Corey Monteith, were in full bloom. They were planning to move in together, but Monteith had a huge problem, he was addicted to drugs and alcohol. In June 2013, he was found dead in a downtown Vancouver hotel room of an overdose. This was devastating to Michele. While it must have been incredibly hard for her, Michele has moved on and found a new beau in actor Matthew Paetz, but Monteith will always remain a part of her.
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