back to top
Celebrity

19 Successful People Who Had A Rough Time In Their Twenties

Don't panic, twentysomethings. Here's further proof that life is a marathon, not a sprint.

Posted on
Advertisement

5. Kristen Wiig

Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Wiig spent her twenties working every odd job imaginable, from selling peaches to babysitting to drawing bodies of plastic surgery patients. SNL finally noticed her work with the Groundlings and hired her at 32.

7. Ang Lee

Imeh Akpanudosen / Getty Images

After earning his master of fine arts, Lee spent six years as a stay-at-home husband while his film career stalled. Ashamed, he briefly considered a career in computer science until his wife, the family's sole earner, urged him to continue pursuing his dream.

8. Don DeLillo

Timothy Hiatt / Getty Images

To focus on becoming a "serious" writer, the award-winning novelist walked away from a cushy advertising gig and moved into a $60-a-month apartment, where his main expense was paying the phone bill. He published his first novel at 35.

Advertisement

9. Walt Disney

R. Mitchell / Getty Images

At 24, he had Oswaldo the Rabbit, his first successful cartoon character, stolen from him by Universal Studios. At 25, MGM told him no one would ever like Mickey Mouse. At one point in his twenties, Disney was so poor that he resorted to eating dog food.

Advertisement

15. Steve Jobs

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Although Jobs was a millionaire by 23, he became so disliked at Apple by the end of his twenties that his own company fired him. Jobs credited this devastating setback with helping him enter "one of the most creative periods" of his life.

Advertisement

19. J.K. Rowling

Ben Pruchnie / Getty Images

By the end of her twenties, Rowling was a divorced, unemployed single parent on welfare. After being rejected by eight publishers, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published right before her 32nd birthday and quickly became a best-seller.