Celebrities’ Rags to Riches Story

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Celebrities' Rags to Riches Story

Some stars have gone through a long way and bumpy road to escape extreme poverty or broken family and achieve success and financial security that they are entitled now.

AceShowbiz – Not all rich people are born with a silver spoon in their mouth. While some are lucky enough to inherit their family’s wealth, some others have to go through a long way and bumpy road to achieve success and financial security like they have now.

Some renowned celebrities are real-life examples of this. Whether it’s poor childhood or broken family, a number of public figures have proven that when one struggles hard enough to escape poverty and unfortunate situation, hard work never betrays and better days are waiting ahead.

Since finding out and learning from others’ success story can spread the positivity, let’s take a look at which stars who went from rags to riches and how they came to where they are today.

1. Cardi B

Cardi B

Cardi B has made no secret that she wasn’t coming from a high class. Not ashamed of her bad English and grammar, the Bronx native, who was born Belcalis Marlenis Almanzar, has been catching flak for being “ghetto and ratchet,” or as she called it just being herself. Growing up in poverty, she worked as a stripper in Manhattan and starred on VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop: New York” before pursuing her career as a rapper.

Thanks to her hit “Bodak Yellow”, she gained her stardom and her debut studio album “Invasion of Privacy” won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, making the mother of one the only woman to win the award as a solo artist. She alluded to her rags to riches story on the said album, spitting in her opening track “Get Up 10”, “I was covered in dollars, now I’m drippin’ in jewels.” As of 2021, her net worth is estimated at $24-30 million.

2. Halle Berry

Halle Berry

World-class star Halle Berry is known for her elegant and calm demeanor, but not many know she had a rough childhood. As a young girl, she witnessed her mother being abused by her father. When her parents separated, she and her older sister were raised exclusively by their mother and barely had contact with her father. But that’s not the end of her hellish situation.

After some success in the beauty pageant circuit as a teen and coming in sixth in the Miss World 1986, the Oscar-winning actress moved to New York City to pursue modeling. Reaching her dream, however, wasn’t as easy as saying it as at one point, she ran out of money and had to live in a homeless shelter in 1989. Her big break came when she starred in 1992’s romantic comedy “Boomerang” alongside Eddie Murphy. She has since landed numerous awards and lead roles, with her net worth being estimated at $90 million in 2021.

3. Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker
WENN/Ivan Nikolov

Carrie Bradshaw’s splendid lifestyle was far from Sarah Jessica Parker‘s childhood situation. Born as the fourth child out of her eight siblings, she was raised by her mother and stepfather, who was often unemployed. The actress has opened up about living on welfare and not being able to celebrate festivities because they were poor.

“I remember being poor,” she told The Times. “We didn’t have electricity sometimes. We didn’t have Christmases sometimes, or we didn’t have birthdays sometimes, or the bill collectors came or the phone company would call and say, ‘We’re shutting your phones off.’ ” Sarah sometimes brought money home from song and dance performances to help the family stay afloat, but thanks to the success of her HBO series “Sex and the City”, the 56-year-old now can enjoy the rest of her life not worrying about her finance with her approximately $150 million net worth.

4. Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey

Things were not always that bad for young Jim Carrey, at least not until his father lost his accounting job. From then on, his family went through a lot of stuff, from being forced out of their home and moved into a farmhouse on factory grounds to living in a Volkswagen bus. When his mother became ill and bedridden, he quit school to care for her.

The Ontario-born comedian even had to work as a security guard and a janitor at age 15, before he made use of his skill to entertain his mom to enter the comedy circuit. His talent shone and he soon scored acting gigs, which led him to his breakthrough roles in 1994’s movies “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”, “The Mask” and “Dumb and Dumber”. His net worth is estimated at $180 million as of 2021.

5. Demi Moore

Demi Moore

One of silver-screen icons of her time, Demi Moore had a troubled past. Her biological father left her mother after a two-month marriage before Demi was born, and her mother had to endure two alcoholic stepfathers. Not only a dysfunctional family, but she also had impoverished childhood and had to live in trailer parks. At 15, she was raped by a man, who claimed that he paid Demi’s mother to get access to the then-teenager to rape her.

The now-58-year-old beauty decided to make her own future when she was 16, leaving her family’s house and quitting school in her junior year. She entered the entertainment industry in 1984 but found her break in 1986 when she starred in “About Last Night”. Her other prominent roles include ones in 1990’s “Ghost”, 1992’s “A Few Good Men” and 1997’s “G.I. Jane”. She now is estimated to own $200 million.

6. Shania Twain

Shania Twain
WENN/Judy Eddy

Shania Twain started performing at a young age of eight, but that wasn’t the worst of her rough childhood. The country superstar was raised by her mother and stepfather, who were in an abusive relationship. Struggling financially, her mother once was forced to place her and her siblings in a foster home because there was not enough food for the family.

After her mother and stepfather died in an accident, 21-year-old Shania had to take care of her siblings until they were old enough to fend for themselves. Only then she was able to move to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a singing career. Her career took off after she released her second studio album “The Woman in Me” (1995). With other charting albums and numerous hit singles, her net worth is now estimated at $450 million.

7. Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton

With her approximately $600 million net worth, Dolly Parton may now be able to buy any house she wants now, but back when she was a child, her family of 14 had to crumple in a one-room cabin in Tennessee. Her father worked various jobs to make ends meet and paid the doctor who helped deliver her with a bag of cornmeal. The country music legend has described her family as being “dirt poor” and she outlined her family’s poverty in her early songs “Coat of Many Colors” and “In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)”.

Dolly started performing at church before singing on local radio and television programs as a child. By the age of 9, she was appearing on “The Cas Walker Show” and later was signed to a small Louisiana label, Goldband Records. However, it wasn’t until she switched genre from pop to country that she found her big break in the industry, with her duet with Porter Wagoner, “The Last Thing on My Mind”, which reached the country Top 10 in January 1968.

8. J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling

Before being named the world’s first billionaire author by Forbes, J.K. Rowling lived a tumultuous life for years as an adult. Following her divorce from her first husband, the British author raised her daughter as a single mother and at one point had to rely on welfare to survive. In a 2013 interview with Daily Mail, she admitted that she was “as poor as it’s possible to be.”

Fortunately, one train ride inspired her to write the first novel of the wizard boy Harry Potter and its sequels, which have done magic to her after all seven books in the “Harry Potter” franchise became worldwide best-sellers. Remaining humble, she disputed Forbes’ claim that she’s a billionaire, although the magazine noted that it was only after she gave away much of her earnings to charity.

9. Jay-Z


Hip-hop community is often closely associated to gang-related activities and while Jay-Z didn’t go as far as those, he didn’t escape the shady street life. Raised in a Brooklyn housing project, the now-hip-hop mogul revealed in his lyrics that in 1982, at age 12, he shot his older brother in the shoulder for stealing his jewelry. He also admitted in his interviews and lyrics that he sold crack cocaine to escape the trap of poverty and was shot at three times during this period.

“I was thinking about surviving,” he said in defense of his dark past. “I was thinking about improving my situation. I was thinking about buying clothes.” Fortunately, with his sold-out records and empire that has spanned clothing, sports, alcoholic beverage as well as cannabis business among other things, bringing his estimated net worth to $1.4 billion, Hov now can afford to fill his closet with an array of clothes that he can choose to wear from.

10. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Speaking of a self-made billionaire, one cannot forget to mention Oprah Winfrey. Her life as a poor child from a poor family was often highlighted on her popular daytime talk show. Raised by her single mother in rural Mississippi without indoor plumbing, she also endured sexual abuse during her childhood and early teens. She became pregnant at 14, but her son was born prematurely and died in infancy.

Things went to slowly get better after Oprah was sent to live with the man she calls her father, Vernon Winfrey, a barber in Tennessee. After entering the daytime talk show arena, she launched her own production company and hosted “The Oprah Winfrey Show“, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history and ran in national syndication for 25 years. With a strict business sense that she learned from her “father,” she now owns a media empire and is valued at approximately $2.9 billion.

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