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Unbelievable Stories: 10 Rich Celebs Who Grew Up Poor

Unbelievable Stories: 10 Rich Celebs Who Grew Up Poor
Written by Irina Vasilescu

A lot of people who are wealthy today were born into affluent families. Donald Trump is a good example of this, but not all the richest people in the world were born with a silver spoon in their mouth. There are those who worked their way up to a position of incredible wealth from penniless and disadvantaged beginnings. Are things tough for you now?

Be inspired by the incredible rise of these famous people and remember – it could be you – if only you can find the right formula.

1. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is worth an estimated $2.9 billion today, but she grew up the hard way. Her mom was a single parent, and little Oprah lived with her grandma and later her mother in very basic conditions.

There was even a time when her family couldn’t afford to buy clothes and made her outfits from old potato sacks instead. As a child, she suffered from poverty and abuse, but she rose above it all to become the icon she is today.

2. Celine Dion

Celine is one of the richest people in the world today. Her fortune is estimated at $800 million, but she didn’t start out with any financial support from her family. It wasn’t that they didn’t love her.

They simply couldn’t afford it. With 14 children to raise, it’s no wonder that there was never money in the house, but Celine says she was fortunate in her family. There was no shortage of love and support, and the confidence this gave her united with her fantastic singing talent, skyrocketed her to success as a global singing sensation.

3. Sean Combs

Sean is more than just a rapper. He’s also a successful business person. He grew up in the poorest part of Haarlem, and his dad was involved in dealing drugs but was shot when Sean was still very young. His mother struggled on, and when he grew up, Sean didn’t let his background hold him back. Today, he is believed to have a fortune amounting to $700 million.

4. Soichiro Honda

Soichiro Honda’s mother was a weaver, and his dad had a bicycle repair business. While they weren’t dirt-poor, they certainly weren’t well off. As a young job-seeker, Honda couldn’t get a job with Toyota.

To make ends meet, he started building scooters in his garage at home, and the rest is history. Today, the Honda brand needs no introduction. Soichiro’s story proves that it’s not only showbiz talents who make it from rags to riches to become worldwide celebrities.

5. Doctor Phil

The famous TV doctor won’t have money difficulties in the future, but when he was a kid, he lived in a car with his dad who was struggling to get through his psychology internship. This determination must have inspired Dr. Phil, because he followed in his father’s footsteps, now being one of the most famous doctors in the US today. 

His net worth is estimated at around $200 million, and he earns $50 million a year, but there are sources that cite even higher figures.

6. Mariah Carey

Until; her parents’ divorce, Mariah lived in an upper-middle class home, but after that, times were tough. Her mother struggled to support her children, but worked hard as a singing teacher, eventually making enough money to move out of the atrocious neighborhood she had been forced to live in. As for Mariah, she is worth $510 million today.

7. Stephen King

Stephen King’s mother also struggled to raise her children after her divorce, but when her parents became ill, she stopped working to take care of them. Donations from family members got the Kings through, but today, Stephen hasn’t a financial care in the world. The famous author is believed to have a fortune of $400 million.

8. Tom Cruise

It’s hard to believe that a world-famous actor who is rumored to have assets valued at $380 million grew up in impoverished circumstances, but his family had other problems too. Tom’s dad was abusive and wasn’t above hitting and criticizing his son mercilessly.

Luckily Tom’s mom realized the situation couldn’t continue, and got a divorce despite the additional strain this would put on her already limited financial resources.

9. Leonardo Di Caprio

Times were rough for Leonardo’s mother. She had to hold down two jobs just to continue living in an awful area where prostitution and violence were rife. But Leonardo is worth $220 million today, and we’re sure he’s helping his mom after all the sacrifices she made on his behalf. We’ve seen some lovely photos of Leonardo walking the red carpet with a proud and radiantly smiling mom.

10. Demi Moore

Demi’s life got off to a rough start. Her natural father was out of the picture before she was born, and her mom had addiction problems that must have been a severe drain on the few resources the family was able to scrape together. Demi’s step-dad wasn’t the coolest of characters and struggled to keep a job. But Demi fought her way up to stardom and a fortune of $150 million.

Do you have to be a celebrity to make it from rags to riches?

There are a lot of mega-wealthy people out there who you wouldn’t recognize if you saw them on the street, and not all of them had the benefit of lots of money when they started out. They are businesspeople, investors, people with great ideas that they turned into realities. The founder of Starbucks, for example, grew up on the wrong side of the tracks but overcame all obstacles to achieve success.

So if you can’t sing, can’t act, and can’t write best-selling books, you can still go from wealth to poverty with confidence, creative thinking, and a little bit of luck.

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Unbelievable Stories: 10 Rich Celebs Who Grew Up Poor

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our crafty designer. She joined the team three years ago and is also involved in the writing process.

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