veryone loves a rags-to-riches story, especially when it involves a celebrity. There's something about knowing that with hard work and a dream, one is able to overcome even the most dismal of circumstances. Before they were bright and shiny Hollywood stars, these celebrities came from humble beginnings. Yet with their talent, hard work, and dedication to a shared dream, these silver-screen legends persevered against all odds, rewriting their destinies to include fame, success, and net-worths beyond their wildest dreams. Here are 20 celebrities whose fortunes prove they paved their own way along the walk of fame.
Leonardo Dicaprio is one of Hollywood’s top leading men, but his celebrity status is not one that he inherited. According to Business Insider, the versatile actor was raised by his mother, who worked several jobs to support them.
While DiCaprio was only five years old when he began acting, it would take a decade of small sitcom and commercial roles before he would be recognized as one of his generation’s defining talents. Leo earned an Academy Award Nomination at the age of nineteen for his role as an autistic teen in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.”
Oprah’s name is synonymous with success. With a career spanning the decades, Oprah has managed to keep her finger on the pulse of America’s heartbeat, turning everything she touches into gold. But Oprah’s story did not start out a fairytale; she had to work hard for her happy ending.
The Mississippi-born media mogul was born to a single and teenage mother and was raised by her grandmother. Enduring sexual assault as a child and becoming pregnant at only fifteen, only to lose her son in infancy, Oprah had to fight her way out of misfortune.
Sent to live with her father, Oprah found her calling when she applied for a radio gig while still in high school. A few years later, she was reporting the evening news for a local station. As we all know, Oprah’s talent and drive paid off. She is said to be worth $2.9 Billion dollars. And while it’s not grammatically correct to capitalize “billion,” it just felt wrong not to.
As a young rapper, Mark Wahlberg got into his share of trouble. According to the Daily News:
The rapper-turned-actor had a cocaine addiction by the age of 13 and a criminal record by 15 after harassing and yelling slurs at black children in his neighborhood. He served 45 days of his two-year sentence after attacking two Vietnamese men, beating one until he was unconscious.
Sarah Jessica Parker
Watching Sarah Jessica Parker walk the red carpet in her signature Manolo Blahnik’s, one would never suspect that she wasn’t born with designer booties on. Yet, her background reveals quite the contrary; SJP walked a mile or ten in some pretty worn hand-me-down sneakers for the first few decades of her life.
Her parents divorced when she was only two-years-old, leaving Sarah Jessica’s mother a single mom with four kids. Her mother soon remarried and had four more children with Sarah Jessica’s new stepfather. With seven siblings and only their stepfather’s trucker income supporting them, Sarah Jessica Parker managed to land a role on Broadway at only eleven years old.
Her talent would continue to carry her further and further from her humble beginnings, landing her the role of a lifetime on HBO’s Sex and the City, where she will forever remain the style icon and spirit animal of single women everywhere. She is now estimated to be worth $90 million dollars and has one hell of a closet.
It’s a good thing Jim Carrey has a sense of humor as things were not always smooth sailing for the comedian. Forced to drop out of high school to help contribute after his father was laid off, Carrey did his best to help his family make ends meet by working as a janitor and as a security guard. Sadly, it was not enough to prevent the family from losing their home, leaving them to live out of their van.
The repeated hardship didn’t stop Carrey from continuing to strive for success. The funny guy struggled to find any real recognition as a comedian, until getting his big break on his first television show, “In Living Color.” Celebrity Net Worth estimates the actor’s net worth to be $150 million dollars.