back to top

11 Celebrity Rags To Riches Stories

it's the hard knock life

Posted on

1. J.K. Rowling

Before the Harry Potter series took off the author was a recently divorced single mother living on welfare in Edinburgh, Scotland. She worked on her book while struggling to support herself and her daughter. It is believed she begin scribbling the first draft of the Harry Potter novel on a napkin. Now the world famous author is worth around $1 billion.

2. Puff Daddy aka P. Diddy aka Diddy aka Sean Combs

Diddy was born in a housing project in New York City. His father was a “business associate” of a convicted drug dealer, and was shot to death when Puff was just a child. Following the death of his father he and his mother moved to upstate New York. He went on to attend Howard University, but dropped out after only two years. His real break was when he interned at Uptown Records. He was later fired, but used his experience to create Bad Boy Records. Today he has a net worth of over $700 million!

3. Sarah Jessica Parker

It’s hard to imagine the Sex and the City star ever had a life without Manolo Blahniks. She was born into a working class family in Ohio, and is one of EIGHT children. Her parents struggled to get by, but from a young age encouraged her creativity, and at age 11 she was cast in the Broadway production of Annie!

4. Stephen King

The author was abandoned by his father when he was only 2, at which point he was raised by his mother who struggled to support the two of them. Eventually relatives paid his mother to care for her elderly parents, which offered a stable income. King made a name for himself with his 1973 classic “Carrie”, and went on to publish more than 40 books! He is now worth $200 million.

5. Oprah Winfrey

Ranked the Richest African American woman of the 20th Century, the “queen of all media” actually grew up in poverty. Born to a single mother in Mississippi, and raised in inner-city Milwaukee, Winfrey was raped twice before the age of 13 and became pregnant at 14 only to lose her son during infancy. It wasn't until the age of 32 that she became a millionaire when her talk show went national. Her net worth is now $2.9 billion.

6. Nicki Minaj

The Anaconda rapper was actually born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago. When she was five she moved to Queen, New York with her mother. Nicki's father was an addict, and had attempted to kill her mother. She claims that as a child she would pray to be rich so she could take care of her mother. After numerous record contracts and mix-tapes she was discovered by Lil Wayne and signed to Young Money Entertainment. Now she is worth an estimated $15 million.

7. Jim Carey

The Canada native had to drop out of high school to support his struggling family. After his father lost his job Carey worked as a security guard and a janitor to help pay the bills. Sadly it wasn't enough and his family lost their home and were forced to live out of a van! Things finally started to turn around for the funny man when he landed his breakout role on In Living Color. Now he earns around $20 million a picture.

8. Snoop Dog aka Snoop Doggy Dog aka Snoop Lion (lolz)

Snoop grew up in Long Beach, California and quickly fell into the wrong crowd. He was allegedly a member of the Rollin’ 20 Crips gang, and was arrested for possession of cocaine following his high school graduation. He spent the following three-years in and out of prison. During this time he and his friends would record mix-tapes which happened to fall in the hands of Dr. Dre. The rest is history.

9. Hilary Swank

The Oscar winning actress grew up in a trailer park in Washington State, and was ridiculed throughout her youth for being poor. When she was young her father ran out on her family, and then when she was 15 her mother lost her job. The two of them moved to California and lived out of a car until they could afford a place to live. Today the actress is worth $40 million.

10. Leighton Meester

The Gossip Girl star may be the ultimate rags to riches story. He mother gave birth to her in a federal prison where she was serving time for smuggling marijuana to the US. Her mother was able to nurse her for 12 weeks in a halfway house, and then had to return to prison to complete her sentence. Despite her parents legal troubles Meester has maintained that she had a very normal upbringing. Blair Waldorff would be all, "what!". Today she is worth around $5 million.

11. Jay Z

Today Jay Z is considered one of the most successful hip-hop artists, with 19 Grammys, 75 million records sold, a $520 million net worth, and Beyoncé as a baby-mama. But, his early life was far from fabulous. He was born in a housing project in Bedford-Stuyvesant to a single mother after his father walked out on the family. As a teenager he sold drugs to get by, and didn’t graduate from high school. He first sold CDs from his car until he reached a distribution deal with Priority Records, and released his debut Reasonable Doubt. His career has since spiraled out of control.

This post was created by a member of BuzzFeed Community, where anyone can post awesome lists and creations. Learn more or post your buzz!