A lot of celebrities are born rich or come from show biz families, but believe it or not, there are famous people who literally started from the bottom and worked their way to the top with talent, perseverance, and of course luck. Here are 13 true-life rags-to-riches stories of celebrities who went from homeless to famous. These will either inspire you or make you feel bad you haven't achieved more.
1. Steve Harvey
Steve Harvey is on TV nearly every day, but before he hit it big he lived in his car. Harvey told People Magazine that he spent three years living in his 1976 Ford Tempo—he would wash up in gas stations, or swimming pool showers—until he got his big break performing on Showtime at the Apollo.
He currently has a net worth of $100 million dollars. Not too shabby.
2. Halle Berry
She's an Oscar winner now, but when she first moved to New York at age 21, Halle Berry was a struggling actress who ran out of money and ended up in a homeless shelter. In an interview with Reader's Digest, she said, "It taught me how to take care of myself and that I could live through any situation, even if it meant going to a shelter for a small stint, or living within my means, which were meager. I became a person who knows that I will always make my own way."
What's your excuse?
3. Dr. Phil
Today Dr. Phil has his own successful TV show, but at the tender age of 15, he was homeless. He admitted on his show, "My dad and I had to split up from the rest of our family because we couldn't afford for everybody to stay together. We spent a number of nights in our car, and then we found a room at the YMCA for $5 a week, and he and I lived there until we got an apartment that was close enough to school for me to walk."
He can afford several homes now.
4. Jim Carrey
Funnyman Jim Carrey didn't always have a lot to laugh about. When he was 12 years-old, his family was forced to live in a van when his father lost his job. On an episode of Inside the Actors Studio, Carrey described this period of his life as “a traumatic kick in the guts.”
His current net worth is listed at $150 million. Alrighty then.
Today she's a multi-platinum recording artist, but did you know Jewel was homeless for a year? She explains on her website, "I kept writing songs, and started singing in a local coffee shop called The Inner Change Cafe. I developed a loyal following. No one knew I was homeless."
Her first album sold 12 million copies.
6. James Cameron
When James Cameron was writing The Terminator he was broke and living in his car. According to IGN, Cameron sold the rights to that screenplay for only one dollar. Luckily for him, he sold it to producer Gale Anne Hurd, who took a chance on the unknown writer and named him the director. The Terminator went on to make $77 million worldwide, and made Cameron famous. He broke box office records with Avatar and Titanic, and currently has a net worth of $700 million dollars.
Maybe it's time you go finish that screenplay?
7. Daniel Craig
Before he was Bond, James Bond, he was broke, dead broke. According to MSN, Craig didn't have money for rent while he studied at the National Youth Theatre so he couch surfed and slept on park benches in London. That all changed when he made his film debut in 1992. Today Daniel Craig is rich enough to turn down acting in James Bond films.
He's reportedly worth $95 million.
8. Suze Orman
She's now a famous financial guru, but Suze Orman actually was homeless at one point in her life. According to The Huffington Post, back in the early 1970s, Orman lived in her van and took a job clearing trees in Berkley, California for $3.50 an hour, until she could get back on her feet.
Today, she's a multimillionaire dishing out financial advice and rockin' the sh*t out of some pantsuits.
9. Shania Twain
In her memoir, From this Moment On, Twain describes her troubled childhood enduring abuse and life in a homeless shelter in Toronto. She writes, “Mom got out of the car to use a pay phone while we sat and waited in the car, returning a few minutes later with a piece of paper on which she’d scribbled the address of a homeless shelter. That night, we slept in a crowded, sweltering place on cot-like beds spread out along the walls of a series of spacious, open rooms designed for large groups.”
Twain went on to win five Grammys, have her own show in Las Vegas, and now has a reported net worth of $350 million.
10. Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry is a household name now, but there was a time he didn't even have a house. He told Oprah about the time in 1992 when things got so bad he was left homeless. Perry didn't give up on his dreams and today his net worth is $400 million.
11. Jennifer Lopez
Jenny from the block was homeless at age 18, she told W Magazine: "My mom and I butted heads. I didn't want to go to college - I wanted to try dance full-time. I was homeless.” Lopez spent several nights crashing on a cot in a dance studio, and within a year she got her big break, a spot as a Fly Girl on In Living Color.
Since then she's become a multi-platinum singer, movie star and fashion entrepreneur with a net worth of $300 million dollars.
12. David Letterman
When David Letterman left Indiana for Los Angeles to pursue comedy, he lived out of his 1973 Chevy pickup truck. According to MSN, he soon picked up work writing jokes for comedian Jimmie Walker, and ended up with a little show of his own. You may have heard of it.
His net worth is currently $400 million, although he kind of looks like he lives in a truck now.
13. Chris Pratt
When Chris Pratt was 19, he lived in a Scooby Doo van for a year—with a roommate. (And you thought your apartment was cramped.) Pratt was waiting tables at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company in Maui when he was discovered. He talked to Ellen about his time living in the van, as well as this picture of him (below) with the van and the script. He said, "That script is for Cursed Part 3. The movie that I got paid $700 to do. I was like, 'Score! I live in a van. ...Woo hoo!'"
The always upbeat Pratt hasn't forgotten his humble roots and frequently posts on social media how grateful he is for his huge success.