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15 Stars Who Survived Surprisingly Rough Upbringings

Entertainment

Childhood memories are supposed to be remembered with fondness. However, people can be subjected to horrific upbringings that can lead to traumatic experiences. The problems inside the home could be more harrowing than the problems outside of it. So, boys and girls will often run away from their living situations. They should be in their warm beds and not on the streets.

Even though money can help their situation, they’ll still struggle with their past for the rest of their lives. Celebrities within the United States are primary examples of such. They may have fame and fortune now, but their youth can still haunt them. They quell their pain by self-medicating. Their alcohol abuse, drug binges, or eating disorders complicate their problems. They can go to AA meetings, NA meetings, or pricey rehabs, but their self-help methods aren’t remedies enough.

Civilians witness the tragic downfalls of their idols all the time. They’re either mourning the deaths of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, or worrying about the lives of Amanda Bynes and Miley Cyrus. What did all four stars have in common? They dealt with unsavory upbringings, and their stardom only added to their misery. However, their fans were focused on the music or TV shows more than the circulating rumors of drug abuse, domestic violence, and child molestation.

While Jackson and Houston passed away, Bynes and Cyrus were lucky enough to thrive. Not all of their colleagues in the entertainment industry can say the same.

15. Kehlani

Kehlani

Kehlani is like her album title—sweet, sexy, and savage. Her childhood and adolescence molded her into the woman and musician she already is today. Her interview with Fader gives fans insights on how she survived her rough upbringing. “I really had to wait outside of a train station and snatch iPhones out of people’s hands and run and sell them. I’ve been banned from Walgreens. I’ve been banned from Walmart for stealing clothes and food. Lucky’s caught me with a box of Wheat Thins and some bread,” she recalled. She had to fend for herself at a very young age. Her biological father passed away when she was a toddler while her biological mother was usually doing hard time in prison. Kehlani had to grow up fast because she had no other choice.

14. Ariel Winter

Ariel Winter

Ariel Winter is a Modern Family actress with a family unlike anything modern. Her living situation was so intense that she wanted emancipation from her mother’s house. According to the actress, her environment was extremely toxic. “Allegations that Ariel was being physically and emotionally abused by her mother were serious enough that the judge placed Ariel in a temporary guardianship with her older sister,” a report states.

She was in tears over her unfortunate situation, and she was so worried that the judge would rule in favor of her mother. However, her father and sister vouched for Winter, so she was granted her freedom from her mother’s rule. She was ecstatic, and she relayed her joy via Twitter. “I am now officially emancipated!!! Thank you to all of my family, friends, and fans who have supported me,” she Tweeted.

13. Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron is known for her roles in Mad Max: Fury RoadYoung Adult, and Monster. Before her fame, she was living in South Africa with her mother and father, but they were far from the picturesque family. Her father was an alcoholic, and was abusive towards her mother. The women lived in fear, and they were always afraid of his presence. In 1991, her mother ended his violent ways for good. “The Oscar-winning actress watched as her mother killed her father after he pulled a gun on the pair after returning home drunk,” an article relays. He had threatened to kill his wife and daughter, so his wife acted on self-defense. She was never sent to prison, and Theron was never upset at her mother. They had survived a horrific tragedy together.

12. Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie is different than most actresses. Unlike her female counterparts, her biological father was American actor Jon Voight. Jolie and Voight were distant. Voight was always working, and he spared little time for Jolie. She missed her father, but her father was busy with other priorities. His son (her brother) James Haven affirmed his dad’s culpability. “He lived in the same town. We saw him around Christmas time or at school recitals. He was always around but he never did his job as a father,” Haven says.

When Voight was a part of the family, he was just as absent. According to Haven, the man would treat his wife like a dog, not to mention his children. Jolie and Haven were never without the necessities, but they were without a father’s love. Voight’s apathy caused great harm to Jolie and her brother.

11. Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is the poster child of acceptance. She encourages people to be themselves, love themselves, and express themselves. She stresses the importance of identity, and her unabashed opinions are what make her so popular. When her song “Born This Way” was released, her fans went crazy. Her hit was the anthem they were awaiting, and her positive words and peppy encouragement made more than a Billboard Hot 100 song. “Born This Way” made people feel brave and empowered. Where did the singer get her inspiration? According to her mother, the doyenne’s formative years planted the seed. “She had to learn painful lessons about the dangers of cruelty. She was creative and unequivocally her own person, but her peers didn’t always appreciate the things that made her unique,” her mom has stated.

10. Katy Perry

Katy Perry

Katy Perry‘s childhood resembles adulthood. Her parents were very strict and religious, so she was banned from worldly music. Apart from that, she was even scolded if she said anything with the word “Devil.” The young woman was raised to be pristine, prim, and proper. However, she valued other ideals. In 2008, Perry became an artist of interest with her song “I Kissed a Girl,” a single that promoted her bi-curious behavior. Her parents were the opposite of enthused, but they accepted their daughter’s choices. “Sometimes when children grow up, their parents grow up. Mine grew up with me. We coexist. I don’t try to change them anymore, and I don’t think they try to change me. We agree to disagree,” she affirms.

9. Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio may be one of the greatest actors of all time, and I’m pretty sure that his colleagues would agree with that. After all, the environmentalist slammed his fist, broke his glass, and bloodied his hand on the set of Django Unchained. He proved he was more than talented. He proved that he was very committed to his craft. The man would do anything to achieve his artistic vision, and his admirable tenacity came from his childhood hardships. “His mom drove him the 10 miles to Westwood, and he begged her to take him to auditions because he hated public school. It was not unusual for him to witness people smoking crack and shooting heroin in those days,” an article relays. If he wanted to succeed, he had to stay away from drugs, and thank goodness he stayed clean. People needed to see more of him on-screen.

8. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Does Oprah Winfrey even need an introduction? The businesswoman is worth over $3 billion, and she’s the reigning queen of daytime television (even though she ended the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2011). Her fingerprints are everywhere. Just ask Phil McGraw.

She’s helped her friends with their own talk shows, and she’s gifted her own guests with lavish presents. She’s obviously very generous. She credits her tough childhood for her thick skin and big heart.

During her younger years, she was plagued with unfathomable pain. She was “brutally r*ped” at nine years old and “sexually molested between the ages of 10 and 14.” She underwent countless crimes of sexual abuse…not to mention physical abuse. She was suffering like Cinderella, but she had no fairy godmother. She had to rely heavily on her faith instead. Her God was her savior. “I don’t believe you can go through adversity without believing in a power greater than yourself,” she has stated.

7. Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey has been a “cable guy,” a “yes man,” and a “liar liar,” but he’s only role-playing on-screen. His life is actually nothing like his parts in comical movies. When the comedian dwells on his childhood, he remembers the sad and stressful things. “My parents were heavy smokers. I remember locking myself in the bathroom and crying because I thought they were going to die. I don’t know if I got over that fear at that time. My mom was not well; she was always sickly, ill, or depressed. Things like that would just shake me to the core. It’s terrifying,” he has stated.

6. Halle Berry

Halle Berry has the trifecta of qualities—talent, beauty, and brains. However, what she lacks is a sturdy foundation, so she has to build one herself.

When the actress was in kindergarten, she witnessed domestic violence in her household. Berry watched her mother get beaten, thrown, and tortured by her father figure. He was a mean-spirited man with a flaring temper, so he relieved his anger by terrorizing his loved ones. “The Oscar winner recalled watching her mother get ‘kicked down stairs’ and hit in the head with a wine bottle,” an article relays.

5. Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry may be synonymous with the name Madea, a character he plays in a series of movies. Like Perry, Madea invokes laughter and lightheartedness. The jovial role plays an important part in Perry’s life, but not for the reason people may think. The multimillionaire is a survivor of physical and sexual abuse, and his harrowing experiences gave him his drive. “Physically abused by his father and sexually molested by other adults, Tyler was able to transcend his horrific childhood by writing stories,” an article states. He finds his remedy in his comedy, and he’s so grateful for the life he lives now. He knows his life could’ve ended in a scary scenario. “Statistics say that I’m supposed to be in jail, and I’m not supposed to be alive,” he has said.

4. Jessa Duggar

Jessa Duggar

Jessa Duggar is a daughter of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the parents behind the infamous TV show 19 Kids and Counting. At first glance, the woman seems happy and healthy. She looks like she’s living in a fairytale on-screen, but her reality paints a different picture. Even though she’s a wife and mother to two boys, the Christian is haunted by her past.

When she was a young girl, her brother, Josh Duggar, molested her. While he went away to a rehabilitation center, Duggar received counseling. However, the abuse is something she will never forget, even if she forgives.

3. Zendaya

Zendaya

Zendaya has accumulated gross amounts of fame and fortune at just 20 years old. While she’s made several appearances in Disney shows and haute couture, the businesswoman will never forget her humble beginnings.

Her childhood was plagued with bullies, so she was put in uncomfortable situations. She chose to rise above their ugliness making sure to have a positive mindset about their hate. “She was tormented by mean kids when she was in school, but she learned not to take their nasty comments to heart. She now believes the trouble she suffered as a youngster gave her the thick skin she needed to make it in show business,” an article stated.

2. Shia LaBeouf

Shia LaBeouf

Shia LaBeouf will always be remembered as the charismatic Stanley in the movie Holes. His reality is not focused on mountains and shoes, though. The man’s childhood was dissimilar to Stanley’s. LaBeouf grew up in a troubled home with his father being addicted to heroin. His father’s problems infiltrated into LaBeouf’s well-being. He was always getting into trouble. “Growing up with a heroin-addicted father, LaBeouf’s family dressed as clowns and sold ice shavings to make ends meet. After being ‘kicked out of every school I ever went to’, LaBeouf eventually landed a gig on Disney’s Even Stevens,” according to an article. The actor was doing well for a while, but his demons got the best of him. He was in active alcoholism and he entered treatment a few times.

Hopefully, he got the help he deserved.

1. Drake

Drake

Drake may be considered a sensitive rapper, but he’s tough too.

He grew up in a single-parent home with just his mother by his side. He occasionally saw his father, but the two were separated by distance. Drake had to fend for both himself and his mother, so his work went into careers rather than extracurricular activities. “We rented someone’s basement and the first floor. I grew up with a mother that was deep in debt because she wanted the best for her family,” he says. The pair worked hard to provide for themselves, but Drake’s jobs were the gateways to his opportunity of a lifetime. He was going to join one of his idols Lil Wayne. The two rappers proved to be a dynamic duo, and Drake’s popularity skyrocketed.

He and his mother wouldn’t be struggling anymore.

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