10 Celebrity Rags To Riches Stories You Don’t Know About

We love to hate celebrities because they have everything – money, good looks, fame and talent. However, some celebrities have paid a huge price for their fame and deserve every single bit of success they have today. Here are ten celebs who started from the bottom.


1. Nicki Minaj.

The “Anaconda” singer was born Onika Tanya Maraj. She was one of 15 siblings and lived with her family in Trinidad before moving to the States at age five. You might think this was the beginning of her rise from the bottom but it gets worse before it gets better. While she was living in Queens her father became addicted to crack cocaine and beat her mother. This terrible origin story culminated in Minaj’s father burning down the family home in an attempt to kill her mother who managed to escape.


2. William Shatner.

Shatner or “The Shat” as literally nobody calls him is reportedly worth $100 million today. You might think “big deal, he’s Captain Kirk – that guy never had to work hard a day in his life” but in the 70s after Star Trek was cancelled, The Shat was living out of his truck following a messy divorce.


3. Chris Pratt.

Chris Pratt was living in a van in Hawaii while trying to ‘find himself’ probably. The only reason Pratt is the hottest star on the planet right now is because he ran into Rae Dawn Chong while busting tables at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and was cast in his first movie role.

4. Leighton Meester.

Leighton Meester might look like she has it all, but she had basically the worst beginning imaginable. Meester’s mother was a drug smuggler (as was most of her family) who gave birth to her daughter in jail and Meester’s aunt was the first woman ever to be placed on the US Marshals’ Most Wanted list for escaping prison.


5. Michael Caine.

You might think Michael Caine was born a movie star since he’s been around forever but before he struck pay dirt with Alfie, Caine couldn’t afford to support his wife or daughter which led to divorce. After his father died the same week of his divorce, Caine decided he’d had enough of being British and took off to France with $70. At the start of his new French life Caine had to live off discarded fruit and sandwiches given to him by a worker at a snackbar.


6. Dr. Phil.

Before he was on TV solving everyone else’s problems and keeping the fact that he’s not a licensed psychologist close to his chest, Dr. Phil had a few problems of his own. At one point, he was living in a car with his dad, but they were eventually able to save enough for a $5/week room at the YMCA.

7. Billie Holiday.

To say Holiday’s life was hard is an understatement. At the age of ten a neighbor tried to rape her, at 11 she dropped out of school and at 12 she ran errands for a brothel – is this a yearly account of an awful childhood? Pretty much, but this time she skipped 13 and went straight to full blown prostitution at 14 – luckily she was signed to a record label at 17 or there’s no telling how sideways her life would have gone.


8. Tom Cruise.

Tom Cruise was no ‘top gun’ when he was born. He lived in poverty and his father was abusive. He probably wished there was more than ‘a few good men’ around for his mother at that stage but life was ‘risky business’ for Cruise who was a target for bullies at school – give that man a ‘cocktail’. He also had learning difficulties at school (being diagnosed dyslexic at seven) and didn’t learn to read until he was 26-years-old – by that stage he had ‘all the right moves’.


9. Drew Carey.

At age 18 Carey was homeless and trying to make his way from Las Vegas to California. After selling his plasma for money and searching sidewalks for change, he got his big break.

10. Demi Moore.

Moore was raised by an alcoholic mother and stepfather (her real father split before she was born). The life lottery decided to crap all over Moore’s life before it began but that didn’t mean it was done. Moore was born cross-eyed and suffered from kidney dysfunction that continually saw the actress in and out of hospital. To top it all off her stepfather committed suicide when Moore was just 17 and she suffered from a drug and alcohol addiction for years until director Joel Schumacher threatened to fire her from the cast of St. Elmo’s Fire if she didn’t sort her life out – guess that means we have to forgive him for Batman & Robin.