Sometimes when you look at celebrities, you may be tempted to think that their lives have always been all about bling, glamour, money, fame, and red carpets. However, some of these big time celebrities started at a very low point in their lives. Many of them have earned their stripes the hard way, having gone through harsh childhoods, and they still made it. Their stories are quite remarkable and they can help to inspire hope in many people's lives. In fact, they can be consistent with the Cinderella fairy tale. Here are some stories of celebrities who went from rags to riches.
10 Leighton Meester
The story of Leighton Marissa Meester is uplifting and inspiring. She is a successful actress and singer in America who was born when her mother was in prison. Her beauty, charm, and romantic life with Adam Brody seem to have covered the fact that she started life on a rough patch. During the time of her birth, her mother was in federal prison for her involvement with smuggling drugs from Jamaica to the USA. She gave birth to Leighton in a hospital, and then proceeded to nurse her at a halfway house.
Leighton's grandmother then took her and her mother continued serving time. Eventually her mother was done with her sentence and they started life afresh at a bare minimum. The family moved to New York where Leighton attended Professional Children's School and took up modeling and acting in commercials. From there she built her acting career, which has pushed her to where she is today, a successful musician/actress with a net worth of over $5 million.
9 Halle Berry
Halle Berry is a former model and a big-time actress. She made a big name for herself in Hollywood when she won an Oscar award for a leading role, which has not been the case for other African American women. Her mother was a psychiatric nurse and her father was a hospital attendant before becoming a bus driver. They divorced when Halle was four years old and they never heard from her father since. Halle's mother worked numerous jobs to support her and her sister. She entered numerous beauty contests in which she did very well and moved to Hollywood to pursue her acting dream where she faced challenges and often slept at homeless shelters to survive. From there Halle went through thick and thin to make her dream come true. Currently she is valued at over $80 million and an array of awards and nominations to her credit.
8 Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker is a very big name in Hollywood and she is known for glamour, red carpet events, high fashion, and big hits. She was born in a big family of eight children from her mother's two marriages. She started her career as a child actress at a young age and she made a name for herself in Hollywood eventually. She also gained most of her acting respect from doing major Broadway pieces. Her mother lived on welfare for many years to be able to support her eight children. Sarah Jessica Parker has gradually become one of the world's biggest names in the fashion front and her successful acting career (most notably on the hit show Sex in the City) has earned her many achievements in her time. SJP is currently worth over $90 million.
7 Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey is a successful comedian, impressionist, actor, producer, and screenwriter. People know him for his rib-cracking gimmicks and he has been named as one of the big time comedy stars in Hollywood. Jim did not start on a silver platter either. He was born in Newmarket, Ontario to a housewife who was married to an accountant/musician. When his father lost the accountancy job, their lives deteriorated from middleclass to poor and Jim had to drop out of high school at the age of 15.
Jim sought full-time employment as a janitor and a security guard to support his then ill mother. He even struggled with being homeless for a time before their fortune changed. He started as a small-time comedian, graduating from open mikes to regularly paid shows. He then move to Hollywood and worked his way up from comedy to theater and now to the big screen. Currently, Jim is worth over $150 million with numerous awards in his career.
6 Demi Moore
American actress Demi Guynes, well-known as Demi Moore, was born in Roswell New Mexico after a two-month marriage between her biological parents. Her biological father Dan Guynes committed suicide two years after separating from her mother Virginia. Her mother frequently changed spouses, forcing them to move from place to place without any real roots. Demi dropped out of high school when she was sixteen to pursue acting.
Before dropping out of high school, Moore's life had been a series of ups and downs with her mother being arrested for things like drunk driving and arson, and causing her embarrassment by posing nude for a low-end magazine. She was also cross-eyed as a child, which necessitated having two surgeries. She left home at 16, went to Europe to work as a pin-up girl, and enrolled for drama classes. From there Demi Moore built her empire, which is now worth over $150 million.
5 Leonardo Dicaprio
Leonardo Dicaprio was the only child born to his mother, a former legal secretary, and father, a producer, artist and comic books distributor. His parents divorced when he was only a year old, forcing him and his mother to live in dingy LA neighborhoods. He was exposed to gangs, prostitution, violence and drugs at a tender age.
Dicaprio's mother had to work numerous jobs to support the two of them, leaving him all alone at home. He dropped out of high school in his third year and had to spend most of his childhood in Germany with his grandparents. He got his break in acting by doing commercials and small-time series. His career picked up from there and now he is one of the most common names in Hollywood. Leo is currently valued at over $200 million.
4 Arnold Schwarzenegger
This guy has done it all. He has been an author, business man, activist, professional body builder, philanthropist, filmmaker, politician and investor. However, he is worldly known for his acting career as well as his two terms as the Governor of California. Looking at his profile today, it is hard to believe that he was once a poor immigrant from Austria. Arnold started by begging and borrowing money to start his pumping bricks business. He used the money to finance turning his body building passion into a career at the age of 15 years old. He even served in the Austrian Army at the age of 18.
Schwarzenegger moved to the USA at the age of 21, enrolled in a gym and made his name as a wrestler. For many years he was well known for wrestling and body building until he joined the acting fraternity by being cast as Hercules in New York. Despite his funny accent, funny name, and a weird body, Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most famous actors of all time. He has built his empire from rags to a net worth of over $300 million.
3 Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise is an American actor, filmmaker and currently one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Despite the fame, numerous nominations and awards, Tom Cruise started out on the wrong side of Hollywood. His mother was a special education teacher while his father was an electrical engineer. Tom had a hard childhood living in poverty and with an abusive father. Eventually his mother left her husband and shortly after, he died of cancer.
Tom was forced to live as an orphan after his mother left him. Tom cruise attended 15 schools in a span of 14 years due to instability and hardship. Eventually he decided to pursue his talent in acting where he started thriving steadily. To date, he is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood with a net worth of over $500 million.
2 JK Rowling
Joanne Rowling is a name that is often associated with rags-to-riches fairy tales. She is a British novelist who is best known for her outstanding work creating the Harry Potter fantasy fiction series. She was born in Yate, Gloucestershire where she also grew up. Her life was that of a simple girl trying to juggle work and the grief of her dead mother. She was also dealing with domestic abuse, which led to divorce from her first husband. She had to result to state benefits to help her support her family. JK Rowling had a passion for writing ever since she was a young girl. However, her major break came when she wrote the Harry Potter sequel which sky-rocketed her to multi-millionaire status. She is valued at $1 billion and is one of the richest women in the world today.
1 Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Gail Winfrey is probably the most famous and influential woman on the planet today due to her compassionate work that has changed lives across the world. It is also no secret that Oprah did not have a smooth childhood since she has opened up numerous times about her ordeals when she was young. She lived with her grandmother and mother, as well as other relatives, and they could hardly make ends meet.
Oprah was a victim of sexual assault by a relative when she was only nine. She got pregnant at 14 but unfortunately, her son died as an infant. At the age of 19, she moved in with her father who was a barber in Tennessee, got a job at a radio station while still in high school and she never looked back since. She is currently dubbed the Queen of all media personalities and has become the most influential woman in the world. Her estimated value is over $2.7 billion making her one of the richest women in the world today.
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