While rappers like Jay-Z and Eminem have written songs about their humble beginnings, there are a lot more celebrities who had a difficult childhood because of their parents’ financial issues.
Discover 10 celebrities who grew up poor and find out how they became millionaires or even billionaires. From actresses born to mothers who were in jail to singers who grew up in very poor rural areas, here are the stars who managed to overcome those obstacles and become rich and famous.
The “Gossip Girl” actress had the most humble of beginnings, as her mother was jailed for marijuana trafficking during her pregnancy.
After giving birth to Leighton in a hospital, she was allowed to nurse her for three months in a halfway house, before returning to serve out the rest of her sentence. The actress was then cared for by her grandmother until her mother left prison.
Sarah Jessica Parker
At a very young age, Sarah Jessica Parker became the big breadwinner in her family. The “Sex and the City” actress is one of the celebrities who grew up poor in a small house with 7 other siblings. “We were on welfare. I remember being poor. There was no great way to hide it. We didn’t have electricity sometimes,” she told The New York Times. Despite the financial problems, her family managed to pay for dancing lessons for your Sarah, who started acting at the age of 11.
While he’s not worth over $200 million, Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t have a very comfortable upbringing. “I grew up very poor and I got to see the other side of the spectrum,” he told the LA Times. While his mother worked two jobs to support the family, Leo managed to win a scholarship to a good school. After returning to the public school system, he decided to become an actor.
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With a net worth of almost $3 billion, Oprah is one of the few celebrities who grew up poor but managed to crack the 1%. During her childhood, the talk show queen had to go live with relatives more than once, since her mother couldn’t afford to feed her and her half-sister with the little money she made.
After his father lost his job, Jim Carrey went though a really dark time in his life, having to after school at the age of 12. The comedian and his family even ended up homeless for a while. “We went from ‘lower middle class’ to ‘poor’. We were living out of a van. I quit school at age 15 to begin working to help support my family as a janitor,” Carrey explained on “Inside the Actors Studio”.
Since she spent her childhood, Hillary Swank is definitely one of the celebrities who grew up poor, but once she moved to California, she was also homeless for a while. The actress and her mother lived in their car before she got her big acting break.
While the “Harry Potter” author was born into a lower-middle class family, Rowling struggled with poverty later on, as a single mother. “I was as poor as it’s possible to be in this country,” she told the Daily Mail, expressing her thanks for the welfare checks that allowed her to feed her daughter before her book series became a worldwide sensation.
Because her father abandoned her mother before she was even born, Demi Moore is also one of the celebrities who grew up poor. After struggling with money for a long time, Moore finally escaped poverty at the age of 16, when she left school in order to pursue a career in modeling.
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She’s worth $350 million, but the country singer had a really hard childhood, going to school hungry. “I would certainly never have humiliated myself enough to reach out and ask for help and say, ‘You know, I’m hungry. Can I have that apple that you’re not going to eat?’ I didn’t have the courage to do that,” she told ABC News.
Few celebrities who grew up poor had as hard a childhood as Mariah Carey. After growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Long Island, Carey user her vocal skills and managed to become a superstar by the age of 20, leaving behind the hardships of poverty.