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15 Amazing Celebrities Who Overcame Life’s Biggest Hurdles

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15 Amazing Celebrities Who Overcame Life’s Biggest Hurdles

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When you’re down and out, one of these entries will help you get back on your feet. Most people hide their problems and their troubles for fear of what others might think. We all want to appear strong, even if on the inside we feel weak. Celebrities feel the same way. When reading this article one notices that not a single one of these celebrities told the public their story while they were down. Like many of us, they were perhaps ashamed of themselves and couldn’t find the courage to tell others until they beat their problems to the ground. What they did do though, is get themselves out of their depression and hardships and went on to have successful lives. Sure these people have money and can afford the best, but many of these celebrities had the biggest pains and hardships when they were just like you and I. What hardships could they possibly have had one may ask? Homelessness, death, addictions, molestation, cults, medical issues, violence and even something as simple as being surrounded by people who did not believe in them. Everyone has to read this if only for inspiration to get out of whatever ails us now.

In many cases it took these very rich people decades to overcome the same issues we have. They did it and so can we, no matter how long it takes. Never lose hope.

15. Angelina Jolie

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Controversy follows this actress, who has received equal amounts of criticism and praise for many of her moral choices. One thing that cannot be taken away from her, is her status as one of the most giving celebrities, both with her time and money when it comes to helping women and children in areas of the world where they have little access to hope and prosperity. Tragedy struck this superstar in 2013 when the actress had both breasts surgically removed after discovering that she carried a genetic mutation in her BRCA1 gene. This left the mother-of-six with an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. Although she didn’t have cancer, she did perform a double mastectomy to stop the eventual contraction of the disease. Doctors then reconstructed her breasts using tissue from her body. Not only did she overcome a trauma that has affected many women before her, but the woman who lost every single female member of her family to cancer also raised awareness of this procedure to other women, thus potentially saving more lives as well.

14. Jim Cramer: Was Living On The Streets After Graduating From Harvard

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consumerist.com

Many of us watch CNBC for only one reason, in order to get our financial advice from one man, Jim Cramer. Rags to riches stories are common, but who would have guessed that this loud man was homeless immediately after receiving his Harvard Law Degree. Back in 1979, the financier was homeless for a six month period, having been forced to live out of his car. Of course it was a big enough car, a Ford Fairmont to be exact, but it was still a car. According to his memoir, Confessions Of A Street Addict, his apartment got robbed clean and, “Bereft with no way to pay my rent, and literally the shirt on my back and not more than a couple dollars in my pocket, I descended rapidly into the world of working homeless.” Eventually he found a job at Goldman Sachs, becoming a hedge fund manager and turning into the 100 million dollar man many of us rely on for advice. He also stated in another interview that he is: “ashamed. I don’t want to say I feel guilty about the wealth I have. But I’m ashamed that we’ve gotten to the point in this country where we believe that being poor is just your own damn fault.”

13. Malala Yousafzai: Shot In The Head And Left To Die As A Teenager

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There are countless rags to riches stories, along with people overcoming disease and death of loved ones. Most of these stories occur when living in the Western World. How does a child, a girl no less, living in a land that did not have room for her, survive being shot in the head in by the Taliban and succeed in ways no one else has? At the age of 12 the youngster was encouraged by her dad to write blogs for the BBC detailing the fear in her Pakistani town prior to the Taliban taking over. In 2011, she received Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and she was nominated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu for the International Children’s Peace Prize. In 2012, the Taliban voted to kill her and shot her in the head. She survived thanks to help from her father and other villagers and continued her work to promote women’s rights, winning the Nobel Peace Prize as a teenager, two years later.

12. J.K. Rowling

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www.radiotimes.com

Many of us have been told over and over again that we can’t do something even though inside of us, we always knew we could. If that’s the case, then this is also your story. From an early age, J.K. Rowling had an ambition to be a writer. She often tried her hand at writing, although little came from her early efforts. Aged six she wrote a book about a rabbit with measles. In the early 90s, she became an English teacher. By 1993 she got divorced and moved back to her motherland, Scotland, with her only child. She lived on state subsidies while writing her book; Philosopher’s Stone. It took a year to write the book. When it came time to publish it, the author got rejected until she found a small firm willing to take a chance on her. The man who published her first book became interested only because his eight year old daughter liked it, but he still told J.K. to stick to teaching as there was no money in children’s books. She continued to believe in herself and after a couple more years of living on pennies, she proved her publisher wrong and became a billionaire.

11. Jim Carrey

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Many people have overcome economic adversity and homelessness as an adult. However, the comedian overcame this tragedy as a fifteen year old teenager and had to grow up faster than many of us ever had to. At this age his father, a musician who had steady employment in the past, was out of work for far too long and eventually the family lost their house and lived out of a van. Jim quit high school at fifteen and worked as a janitor in order to help his family get back on their feet. While he was in school, he was a rather disobedient child. However he struck a deal with his teachers who allowed him to entertain his classmates for a few minutes in exchange for his obedience. He didn’t always entertain the teens at first, but he gained the experience to become who he is today.

10. Michael J. Fox

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By now, everyone (including his mother) knows that Michael J.Fox, the star of Back to The Future and Family Ties, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 at the age of 29. It still doesn’t diminish what he has accomplished in the past 25 years, having been afflicted with an illness that usually affects people in their 50s. At the time of his diagnosis in 1991, he went to the doctor complaining about a shoulder twitch, only to find out that it was something more serious. In 1998, during his second season on the popular series Spin City, he announced his disease to the world. Two years later, he quit the television series to work full time on his new project, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. As the most credible spokesperson ever for the disease, he raised awareness to new heights, thus increasing research funds as well. In 2012, Fox announced his return to acting and he did not disappoint. He guest stars as Lewis Canning, the devious attorney who uses his tardive dyskinesia to his client’s advantage, in the CBS hit drama The Good Wife. In 2013 he starred in an NBC show called The Michael J. Fox Show. His supporters hosted approximately 2000 house parties around the country for his first show.

9. Rose McGowan

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The actress became famous on the WB series Charmed and later Conan The Barbarian 3D. Rose was born in Florence, Italy, to American Parents. She spent her first nine years of life in a cult called the Children Of God. According to the actress, the setting where she grew up in was idyllic, and although she believed in God, she was not in accord with the sect’s free-love-type hippie lifestyle. She ”remembers watching how the cult’s men were with the women, and at a very early age I decided I did not want to be like those women. They were basically there to serve the men sexually. The women would go to bars as lures (to pick up recruits) – they called it flirty fishing.”

When her father began to fear that Rose might be molested, she says, “My dad was strong enough to realize that this hippie love had gone south.” He took his family out of there and moved back to the USA. McGowan recalls that: “it was not an easy assimilation into the mainstream way of life. My brothers and sisters, we thought everyone was boring.” She doesn’t think that this gave her a disadvantage in life though, as she has stated, “There are people who will read this story and think I had a strange existence, I think they’ve had a strange existence!”

There are actually several other Hollywood celebs who grew up in this same cult, such as Joaquin and River Phoenix, and musician Christopher Owens. Joaquin didn’t think anything bad about the cult, but Christopher likened it to being raised by the Taliban, as they were told how bad the rest of the world was, including America.

8. Ashley Judd

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One might think that the person who at one point was Hollywood’s highest paid actress, should have grown up just fine. After all her family was country music royalty. One thing can be clear though; a musician’s mind is not all there. Like many musicians, her parents were drug and alcohol addicts who could not keep their anger contained. Between the ages of 5 and 18, she went to 13 different schools. As a child it is difficult when you can’t get attached to anything and have no sense of normalcy at home. After all, your first role models are your parents. As a teenager she was subject to various sexual predators who came in and out of her house. Her parents apparently didn’t care as they continuously neglected their child. As an adult she overcame her trauma and used her knowledge to help girls in Southeast Asia who grew up the same way. All of this was revealed in her book All that is Bitter and Sweet, back in 2011.

7. Winona Ryder

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About two and a half decades ago, Winona was a teenager who was both a promising actress and a trainwreck, all at the same time. She also had a high profile relationship with Johnny Depp that ended when she was 19 years old. Around that time she began abusing alcohol and spiraled into depression. Her many uncontrollable anxiety attacks showed the world that she was a person in need of help. Unfortunately as any addict knows, the world enjoys mocking people who undergo these traumas, only hurting you more and as such, they will not help. Only you or people who understand you can help, and Ryder eventually did seek treatment after falling asleep and setting herself on fire with a cigarette. In 1999 she starred and produced the film Girl, Interrupted, about a young girl’s experience in a psychiatric ward; obviously a deeply personal movie. Today, she is doing just fine.

6. Jennifer Hudson

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In 2006 she won an Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Dreamgirls. Later that year her world turned upside down by one man; her brother in law. William Balfour shot and killed her mother, her brother and her nephew, in what prosecutors deemed a fit of rage. Eventually Hudson learned to forgive her family’s assailant and channeled her energy into the Julian D. King Gift Foundation in honor of her nephew’s memory. The foundation aims to “provide stability, support and positive experiences for children of all backgrounds to help enable them to grow to be productive, confident and happy adults.” On July 31, 2013, Hudson was honored at the Do Something Awards for contributions to society. In 2008, her debut album went platinum.

5. Charlize Theron

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Diane Sawyer is someone people go to in order to breakout a big story. In 2004 Charlize did just that. She was already a media darling, and a beauty queen by then but in an interview on ABC, she told the world something no one could believe. Back in South Africa, at the age of 15, the actress witnessed the unthinkable; her mother shot and killed her father. “My dad was a big guy, tall, skinny legs, big belly,” Theron told Sawyer. “[He] could be very serious but loved to laugh as well, and enjoyed life. He also had a disease. He was an alcoholic.” Her father was never a physical abuser but a verbal abuser, but one day he just went mad. On the night of June 21, 1991, Theron’s father was returning home after a night of heavy drinking.

An aunt who saw them drunk called her mother to warn them. According to her mother’s testimony, upon coming home the father began banging angrily on the door of Charlize’s bedroom, saying, “Tonight I’m going to kill you both with the shotgun.” Then he fired his gun into Charlize’s room. Upon hearing the shots her mother grabbed her own handgun and shot the two men, killing her husband and wounding his brother. According to Theron’s sworn statement to police, she asked her mom: “What happened?” The answer: “Charlize, I shot them … I shot them.” Today she feels that: “I know that if my daughter was in the same situation, I would do the same thing.”

4. Kelsey Grammer

moviehole.net

moviehole.net

When Kelsey was young and as his career was starting out, he was just surrounded by death, and not just people he didn’t know, but it seemed all of his family members were dying a little at a time. The actor has been among the most recognizable figures in North America since his two-decade run playing the endearingly know-it-all shrink Dr. Frasier Crane, on Cheers and Frasier. Recently he has been in several comic book films. Between 1975 and 1995, Kelsey had a serious cocaine addiction, but no one really noticed. Somehow he could cover it up and do his job, nevertheless he was always close to the edge of self-destruction.

When he was 13 years old, his father was shot and killed by a psychopath. Soon after his two half-brothers died in a scuba-diving accident. Then came the death of his 18 year-old sister Karen. She was abducted, r*ped, and murdered in Colorado by spree killer Freddie Glenn in 1975. There were two accomplices. Kelsey identified his sister’s body and then informed his stricken mother. More than 30 years later, when the killer was up for parole in 2009, Mr. Grammer described him as a monster and successfully opposed his release. “I miss her in my bones”, he wrote to the parole board. “I was her big brother. I was supposed to protect her—I could not…. It very nearly destroyed me.” Nevertheless even at a late age when most of us give up, he finally rebounded and took control of his life.

3. Oprah Winfrey

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This is the last rags to riches story we have. We’ve heard them all before, but this one is just so impressive. Oprah was born in 1954 to a single mother. Hence one understands that she grew up with fewer things than most of us had. She moved from one rural and urban ghetto to another. At one point in her life she was forced to wear dresses made from a potato sack. Needless to say, the local school children had a field day with this one at Oprah’s expense. When she grew up she became an actress and had some inspiring roles to her credit. Her passion though, became helping others. She became a billionaire as she somehow managed to make so many connections to important people in her life through her own show. Even though her mother raised her, Oprah says her success is simply a result of the non-stop work ethic impressed on her by her father later on in life.

2. Nicole Kidman

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Nicole hasn’t always been a media darling, having been embroiled in some big controversies in her life. This does little to change the fact that she became a role model for many mothers who could not bear a child. The actress who was once Batman’s flame on film, had fertility issues that left her barren. Determined to have children, her first child was conceived via a surrogate. She then adopted two children before eventually giving birth to her own daughter, thus ending her fertility issues. It was a long, hard road but science has progressed and she never gave up. “I’ve had an ectopic pregnancy, miscarriages and I’ve had fertility treatments,” Kidman told Who Magazine. “I’ve done all the stuff you can possibly do to try to get pregnant. So the way it just happened with Sunday was like, ‘What?’ The percentages were so low. It is the miracle in my life.”

1. Owen Wilson

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His public persona is that of a laid back, fun-loving dude, but that was just a ruse, as the man was a deeply troubled human being. In 2007 the actor did what no one saw coming. At the age of 38, Wilson was found bloody and dazed after trying to commit suicide by overdosing on pills and slitting his wrist in the wake of a blow-up with a close friend. Luckily, his brother Luke found him. It is hard to understand why a man who has it all could ever try something like that, but it happens. The brain is a hard thing to understand and it functions differently in different people. In the end he survived and recovered with the help of his family. The moral of this story is don’t end it all. Everyone’s life is worth it and even if you feel that there is no one around you, if you look hard enough there is always someone who appreciates you.

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