Who doesn't love a rags to riches story? It's especially satisfying when we hear that those superstars we see gracing the red carpet and covers of glossy magazines weren't, in fact, born with a golden spoon in their mouth. Actually, many of the celebrities we know and love had it tough growing up. Before they got famous, some of them were even living on the brink of poverty.
Celebrities from Jay-Z to Selena Gomez to Nicki Minaj all suffered their fair share of hardship, but look at how their lives turned out. That's not to say they're lives are entirely problem-free now, but they certainly don't have to worry about not having enough money to put food on the table. Let's take a look at who those celebrities are.
15 Jim Carrey
He may be a successful comedian today, but Jim Carrey had nothing to laugh about back when he was a child. At just 12 years old, Carrey found himself homeless after his father lost his job. He was living in a van; that's how bad things got for the actor. It's hard to believe that someone with such a tough beginning could flourish into a famous comedian. Yet, that's exactly how Carrey's story unfolds. Thanks to landing a role in In Living Color, Jim Carrey's career catapulted and it wasn't long before he found himself as a Hollywood luminary, starring in movies that have grossed $4.9 billion worldwide. Not bad, huh? Today, Jim Carrey has a net worth of approximately $150 million.
14 Selena Gomez
With 80 film and TV credits, Selena Gomez is both a movie and a musical superstar. With a net worth of over $60 million, Gomez certainly isn't strapped for cash and won't be for a long time by the looks of it. However, her beginning was far from lavish. Back in 2011, Gomez revealed to Hollywood Life magazine that her mother was just 16 years old when she gave birth to Selena and had to work several jobs just to keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table. She also revealed, "I remember my mom would run out of gas all of the time and we'd sit there and have to go through the car and get quarters and help her get gas."
13 Jennifer Lopez
Remember that line, ''I used to have a little, now I have a lot'' from Jennifer Lopez's Jenny From The Block? They were some of J.Lo's most famous lyrics and the reason for that could have something to do with the truth behind those words. See, despite what you may think, J.Lo didn't grow up rich. She grew up in the Castle Hill section of the Bronx to poverty-stricken parents and she saw, first hand, the hardships her parents suffered. "I watched my parents," she told the Daily Mail in 2013. "My dad worked nights, and I was aware of how much he was doing for us. My mom was a Tupperware lady and also worked at the school. I always felt that I couldn't let them down. And I had a natural discipline from early on. I was always training for something." J.Lo's current net worth stands at around $380 million.
12 Mila Kunis
Born in the Ukraine, Mila Kunis and her family fled to the U.S. when the Soviet Union collapsed. Back in 2016, Kunis said in an interview that she was forced to eat ketchup soup as a child because food was scarce. Only a few years prior, she claimed in an interview with Metro UK that she ''acted her way out of poverty.'' It was her role in That '70s show when she 14, that started her career and served as the gateway to success and the escape from poverty. Kunis may be worth $55 million now, but she hasn't forgotten her roots. She's even publicly vowed that her and Ashton Kutcher won't raise entitled children. And we guess the reason for that is pretty clear. It's because she knows how it feels to be poor.
Close to being a billionaire, Jay-Z's $900 million net worth makes you wonder how he ever could have struggled paying for clothes. Yet, back when he was a child, those were the struggles he faced. Raised in a public housing project in Brooklyn, the singer admitted he did a few underhanded deals to escape poverty. But he admits he did it just to survive. That's how tough things got. "I was thinking about surviving," he said. "I was thinking about improving my situation. I was thinking about buying clothes." Today, Jay-Z is one of the highest-earning hip-hop stars with an ever-growing empire of clothes, spirits and a number of other start-ups. Talk about a transformation. This is what you call a rags to riches story.
10 Halle Berry
Without a doubt, Halle Berry hasn't been unlucky in the acting department. She's had an amazing career, thanks to her roles in movies like X-Men and her breakout minor roles in Jungle Fever, and has a net worth of at least $80 million. Even so, that doesn't mean she's always had it easy. Halle Berry grew up poor. She was raised by a single mother in Cleveland and even lived in a New York City homeless shelter when she was younger, before rising to fame in Hollywood. Talking to Reader's Digest about that time of her life, Berry recalls: ''a girl had to do what a girl had to do. You can do that when you’re 21 and ambitious, and your eyes are this big and you don’t want to go home.''
9 Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson is another celeb on the list that came from a troubled background. Cast your minds back to 2016, when she was reduced to tears while performing her song Piece by Piece on American Idol. Those tears weren't shed for nothing y'know. They were shed because the song was actually about her troubled childhood; her father leaving and her family being split up among family members. Kelly Clarkson is living proof that your past doesn't have to define you, as long as you don't let it. And she sure did not. Her singing career bagged her an incredible 14 nominations and three Grammy wins. She also has a net worth of around $28 million. It's satisfying to hear that she refused to let difficult circumstances shape her future.
8 Snoop Dog
Most fans know that Snoop Dogg's childhood involved a great deal of poverty and violence. He had numerous run-ins with the law on the streets of California. In fact, that's what shaped his early '90s gangsta rap music, as one can see in his lyrics. It's pretty clear that his background is documented in his songs. Snoop Dogg is someone who didn't let his background prevent him from achieving success in his life and career. He transformed that background into a successful future and made something out of it. Now he is a global icon and worth over $135 million, thanks to his music career and various investments on the side. It's always amazing and inspiring to see someone turn their life around and Snoop did exactly that.
7 Nicki Minaj
While she may be secured by her $75 million net worth today, Nicki Minaj's life hasn't always been so stable, especially where finances are concerned. The singer grew up in a poor neighborhood of Queens, New York, after coming to the U.S. from Trinidad, and a short stay in the Bronx. "When I first came to America, I would ... pray that God would make me rich so that I could take care of my mother,'' Minaj told Rolling Stone in 2010. But how far she has come since then! Since signing to Young Money Entertainment, Lil Wayne's record label, in 2009, Nicki has grown into one of the biggest names in rap music. She has come a long way since her early days in that poor neighborhood of Queens.
6 Mark Wahlberg
Thanks to his $68 million earnings last year, Mark Wahlberg was considered 2017's highest-paid actor. While he may boast a current net worth of $255 million, that doesn't mean Wahlberg has always been so lucky. Actually, he had a pretty rough childhood from what we've heard. One of nine siblings, he came from a broken home and sold substances to earn an income as a child. He was also involved in a series of vicious assaults back when he was young. In fact, he once even faced imprisonment. Today, Mark Wahlberg is one of the most famous actors in the world and clearly, one of the richest too. His story is a true rags to riches tale and a lesson to all that success is attainable to everybody.
After being abandoned as an infant, Eminem (born Marshall Bruce Mathers III) was raised in a poor area along 8 Mile Road, Detroit's poverty dividing line. And if that wasn't bad enough, he also got bullied badly at school. "I would change schools two, three times a year," he told Anderson Cooper in a 2011 interview. "I got beat up in the bathroom, beat up in the hallways, shoved into lockers; for the most part, just for being the new kid." No wonder he dropped out of school in the ninth grade. Still, that didn't stop him from transforming into the most famous rap artist in the world. With a career spanning 20 years and a net worth of $190 million, Eminem has come far since the days of poverty, bullies and overall hardship.
4 Leonardo Dicaprio
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Boasting a net worth of $245 million, it's no surprise Leonardo Dicaprio was ranked the highest-paid male Oscar nominee back in 2016. But before he racked up all that wealth, Dicaprio was living on the other side of the coin. Raised in a squalid neighborhood of Los Angeles, the actor isn't unfamiliar with the struggles of poverty. He reminisced about the days to the Los Angeles Times back in 2014, tracing his passion for acting to surviving a violent beating on his first day of school after gaining a scholarship to a private school. "It goes back to that neighbourhood,'' he told the Times. ''It came from the fact that I grew up very poor, and I got to see the other side of the spectrum."
3 Shia LeBeouf
Talking to Parade, in a 2009 interview, Shia LaBeouf opened up about his poverty-stricken upbringing which involved being raised by ''starving artist'' parents who couldn't get their family out of poverty. The only way LaBeouf found refuge was by starting a stand-up comedy career when he was just 10 years old. It wasn't a bad idea. It put him on the path to success, after all. "My dad and my mom were both artists who never found an audience for their artwork," he told Parade. "And so I lived in poverty. Now that I'm not poor, I know that is what it was. As Hemingway said, you can't write anything if you've never been shot at or been gored by a bull, you know? So I look back at that stuff, and I'm grateful. It's like scars. You become proud of them." Now, he has a net worth of $25 million.
2 Hilary Swank
Hilary Swank grew up in a trailer park, but at one point in her life, called a car home. Her family suffered severe financial insecurity. But her experience growing up in poverty is something Swank believes has shaped her career. "Growing up in a lower-income family, you don't have the resources to make ends meet, and you have to find creative ways to get by," she told the Daily Mail in 2011. "That infuses your character with a lot of drive and determination." Her words contain a great deal of truth. Today, Hilary Swank is a two-time Oscar winner and boasts a net worth of $40 million. Thanks to her roles in Boys Don't Cry and Million Dollar Baby, Swank is certainly not strapped for cash anymore. She can live in a house.
1 Sarah Jessica Parker
In an interview with the New York Times, back in 2000, Sarah Jessica Parker described her childhood as one satiated with the stigma surrounding getting free lunch at school. She also recalled basic utilities getting switched off in her family's home. "I remember being poor," she told the Times. "There was no great way to hide it. We didn't have electricity sometimes. We didn't have Christmases sometimes, or we didn't have birthdays sometimes, or the bill collectors came, or the phone company would call and said, 'We're shutting your phones off.'" Thanks to her big break in Broadway with the leading role in Annie, Parker's career catapulted and she was able to escape her poverty-stricken past. Today, SJP possesses a $100 million net worth. Impressive!
Sources: gobankingrates.com, Time.com, the-numbers.com, celebritynetworth.com, USMagazine.com, dailymail.co.uk, marieclaire.com, vanityfair.com, rollingstone.com, cbsnews.com, independent.co.uk, parade.com, nytimes.com