These 7 Celebrities Overcame Incredible Hardship To Make It Big

Posted by GreaterGoodness

With million-dollar red carpet fashions and paparazzi stampedes, it’s easy to forget that most celebrities grew up just like the rest of us. In fact, quite a few faced incredible hardships before they made it big.

From an Oscar winner who lived in a homeless shelter, to chart-topping singer who left home as a teen, you’ll be shocked by these rags-to-riches transformations!

Johnny Cash

As the child of cotton-farming parents during the Great Depression, things weren’t easy for Johnny growing up. His house didn’t even have glass in the windows, and during the winter his mother hung blankets to keep out the cold. Things got even tougher for Johnny when his older brother, Jack, was killed in a work-related accident at the saw mill. Even after his life of poverty was over, Cash never forgot his upbringing — it went on to inform many of his greatest hits.

Jim Carrey

Jim’s father was a struggling musician, and according to Jim’s interview on “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” the family went from “lower middle class to poor” when he couldn’t make ends meet. They eventually lost their home and started living in a van, and Jim was forced to drop out of high school to help pay the bills. But he didn’t let it stop him from pursuing his dream career.

Ringo Starr

Ringo’s parents scraped by working at a bakery in a poor area of Liverpool. Sadly, his father walked out on the family when Ringo was just three years old. Ringo’s health was also very fragile as a child, sending him to the hospital for months at a time. When he finally regained his health at age 15, he knew that returning to school was out of the question. Instead, he opted to find a job, and we all know how that turned out.

Shania Twain

Born into a struggling family in Ontario, Canada, Shania lost her mother and stepfather in a car accident when she was only 21. As the oldest of five children, it was up to her to support the family. She began singing at local resorts to get by, and once her siblings were old enough to care for themselves, she set her sights on Nashville.

Hilary Swank

Did you know Hilary Swank is a high school dropout? It’s true. Hilary grew up in a trailer park in Washington after her father abandoned the family. When Swank was 15, her mother lost her job and the pair decided to move to Los Angeles to attempt to launch Hilary’s acting career. For months, they lived out of their car and relied on pay phones to make calls to casting directors and agents. Their hard work eventually paid off.

Halle Berry

Like many stars on our list, Halle’s father left the family when she was only four years old, and she hasn’t seen him since. After briefly attending community college, Halle moved to New York City in 1989 to pursue her acting ambitions. At one point, Halle ran out of money and had to live in a homeless shelter. She remained resilient, receiving no financial help from her family.


It’s no secret that Rihanna had humble beginnings in Barbados, but few are aware of the crippling headaches she suffered as a child, or of her father’s cocaine and alcohol addictions. To help make ends meet, Rihanna sold clothes with her father in a street stall in town. Singing was her outlet, and after getting noticed at an audition, she left home to launch her career when she was only 16.

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