Celebrities Who Went From Rags-to-Riches

March 23, 2011 By:
Celebrities Who Went From Rags-to-Riches

While there are a lot of stars that emerged from a long lineage of celebrity royalty, not everyone in Hollywood was born with a spotlight on them. Some had a rough, tumultuous rise to the top, and those rags to riches stories certainly make us respect them more. Somehow, knowing that a celebrity had a poor past makes us feel a little bit better about their hair selling for $40,000.

Speaking of the well-groomed pop icon, Justin Bieber had his beginnings in a rodent-infested home with “mousetraps everywhere.” .

“I didn’t have a real bed,” Bieber said. “I slept on a blue pull-out couch in my room. We didn't have anything in the fridge, except maybe luncheon meat for school and macaroni and cheese.“ .

Today, Bieber could fill that fridge with lobster tails and filet mignon, because after being discovered by Usher, the mop-topped singer is now reportedly worth $65 million. .

And while Bieber’s career began modestly, on mousetraps and mac n’ cheese, Mariah Carey's early career was even more turbulent. .

“Someone said I never paid any dues,” Carey said. “My whole life was struggling, because we were poor. We were alone; we had nothing--no security. I feel I have paid my dues. I’ve been paying my dues all my life.” .

Carey grew up in a Long Island neighborhood where she lived around racist neighbors that allegedly did everything from poisoning her dog to setting her family car on fire. Those are dues no one should have to pay. And after Carey’s parents divorced, her mom took on several jobs to support her family. .

Carey soon moved to New York City, and if you’re not rich and you’re living in New York City, I just assume you’re going to be struggling. Indeed, Mariah was working several part-time jobs to pay her rent, while simultaneously planning to complete beauty school. .

She soon met Columbia Records exec Tommy Mottola at a party, and the rest was Grammy Award-winning history. .

Star Jones gets a lot of flack, but she’s worked hard to earn that flack. The journalist/lawyer grew up in a housing project in Trenton, New Jersey, where her family had trouble making ends meet. Star’s mom struggled to finish college, realizing the importance of an education, and instilling that into her children. At the age of six, Star knew she wanted to be a lawyer, and she worked hard to make that dream happen. .

Star told HOLLYSCOOP, “I never consider myself a Hollywood person. I am an author, an attorney, a journalist and a talk show host. I let the actors do what they do and I’m just privileged to see the end product.” .

Sure, she might have an opinion about everything, but Star’s modest beginnings have kept her grounded. .

And who’s had a more troubled past than Oprah? Rape, miscarriage, sexual abuse…most women who go through that kind of suffering—all before the age of 16—aren’t as lucky to be where Oprah is, years later.

After being discovered as a well-liked local news anchor in Tennessee, Oprah was soon given her own talk show. Since then, she’s become a twice, almost three-times over, billionaire. .

So next time you complain about how much Oprah makes, just remember, this woman has been through the ringer! .

J.K. Rowling didn’t have it easy before her Harry Potter franchise, either. After getting divorced, being left alone to raise an infant, and living on welfare in Edinburgh, an unemployed Rowling decided to devote herself full-time to writing a children’s book. She had a vision of the series while she was on a train ride. .

And the work didn’t end when she finished writing. Rowling still had a difficult time selling it to publishers. After several rejections, she finally got picked up and is now a billionaire. Talk about a fairy-tale ending! .

Celebrity rags-to-riches stories not only help us have some respect for who they are and what they’ve been through, it gives the rest of us hope as well. We might not all be working to become celebrities, but most of us have hopes and dreams that we’re sacrificing for and working hard toward. .

Although he grew up in an Ivy League family, Conan O'Brien put it best when he said, “If you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.” These stars are perfect examples of those amazing things happening.