14 famous people who grew up poor and 14 who were born rich

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Grew up poor: Viola Davis

During a 2014 Variety Power of Women speech, the actor said, “Although my childhood was filled with many happy memories, it was also spent in abject poverty. I was one of 17 million children in this country who did not They knew where their children were. the next meal would come.”

“I went to great lengths to get food. I’ve stolen to eat. I jumped into huge dumpsters with worms for food. I made friends with people in the neighborhood who I knew had mothers who cooked three meals a day to eat, and I sacrificed a childhood for food and grew up in immense shame.


Born Rich: Lana Del Rey

The singer’s father is the millionaire founder of Web Media Properties, a publishing and media company that operates 8,000 specialized sites. He is also CEO and President of a real estate investment and brokerage firm.


Grew up poor: Jennifer Lopez

In 2014, the singer said that she grew up sharing a bed with her two sisters in the Bronx.

Jennifer told W Magazine that she learned how to work hard from her parents growing up. “My dad worked nights and I knew how much he was doing for us. My mom was a Tupperware lady and she worked at the school too. I always felt like she couldn’t let them down.”


Born Rich: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

His great-great-grandfather founded the Louis-Dreyfus Group, a multibillion-dollar French conglomerate dealing in agriculture, food processing, international shipping, and finance.


Grew up poor: Selena Gomez

The singer’s mother had her when she was 16. Selena’s parents divorced five years later and she was raised by her mother in Texas. In a 2011 E! special, the actor said, “I remember my mom running out of gas all the time, and we’d sit there and have to check the car and get coins and help her get gas.”


Born Rich: Anderson Cooper

The broadcast journalist is the great-great-grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, who made a fortune in shipping and railroads and was one of the richest Americans in history. His mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, was a fashion designer, actress, and writer.


Grew Up Poor: Shania Twain

One of five children, the singer often went to school hungry. “It’s very hard to concentrate when your stomach is rumbling,” he told ABC News. She remembered being jealous of the other children’s lunches. “Certainly, she would never have humiliated me enough to go over and ask for help and say, ‘You know, I’m hungry. Can I have that apple you’re not going to eat?’ I didn’t have the courage to do that.”


Born Rich: Adam Levine

The Maroon 5 singer’s father was the founder of the M. Fredric retail chain. Adam attended Brentwood School, which is highly selective and extremely expensive.

In rural Mississippi, the talk show host grew up in abject poverty. His house had no running water, and sometimes he wore overalls made from potato sacks.


Born Rich: Gwyneth Paltrow

The actor’s father was a film and television director and producer, and his mother is actress Blythe Danner. Growing up, Gwyneth attended Crossroads School in Santa Monica, known for her famous former students, and the Spence School, a private girls’ school in Manhattan. His godfather is director Steven Spielberg.


Grew Up Poor: Leonardo DiCaprio

During a 2014 interview with the Los Angeles Times, the actor recalled “crime and violence everywhere” in his Los Angeles neighborhood. He said: “I grew up very poor and was able to see the other side of the spectrum.” After getting beat up at school, he told his mother, “I want to be an actor. Please take me to auditions.” Because I had to get out of that public school system.”


Born Rich: Paul Giamatti

The actor’s father was the president of Yale University, where Paul attended college, and the seventh commissioner of Major League Baseball.


Grew Up Poor: Leighton Meester

The actor was born while his mother was serving a federal sentence for drug trafficking, and lived with his grandmother until his mother was released. When Leighton started taking acting classes as a teenager, he preferred the adult ones because he couldn’t relate to his classmates. “‘Jimmy doesn’t like me!’ Who cares? I was worried that we wouldn’t have money for gas or food. Those were my worries,” he told Marie Claire during an interview.


Born Rich: Rashida Jones

The actor’s father, Quincy Jones, is a music producer and songwriter. He has received a whopping 80 Grammy Award nominations and has been called one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century. His mother was actress Peggy Lipton.


Grew up poor: Hilary Swank

The actor grew up in a trailer park in Washington state. She told Together magazine: “I had a roof over my head and food, so it wasn’t that being poor and having those experiences was a bad thing. The bad part was learning about classes at such a young age, not from my friends, but my friend’s parents, who said, ‘You shouldn’t go out with her.’ At 6 years old, for a parent to say, ‘You’re not welcome in our house, you have to leave.'”


Born Rich: Cara Delevingne

The English model’s family is full of titles, powerful connections, and even ties to the royal family. On her mother’s side, her grandmother was a lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret, and her grandfather was a knighted publishing magnate. On her father’s side, her grandmother was an aristocrat and her grandfather was a stockbroker and friend of the then Prince of Wales. Her father was a property developer and her godmother is English actress Dame Joan Collins.


Grew up poor: Cardi B

“I have very good parents, they are poor,” he told Global Grind in 2016. “They have regular jobs and poor and all that. They are very good people and all that, I grew up in a bad society.”


Born Rich: Michelle Williams

The actor’s father wrote many books on stocks and commodity trading. He created market indicators and won the 1987 World Cup Trading Championship by turning $10,000 into more than $1.1 million over 12 months. Twice, he was the Republican candidate for senator in Montana, but lost both times.


Grew Up Poor: Kelly Clarkson

“We lived from prepaid check to prepaid check,” he told the Dallas Morning News. “I thought, whatever I do, I just don’t want to have to worry [like] that. He always used to hate it when people said, ‘Money doesn’t buy everything,’ when you’re small and poor. The rich say that, not the poor. I don’t know a single poor person who says, ‘Money doesn’t buy happiness.’ It pays you to get out of eviction notices.”


Born Rich: Jaden and Willow Smith

The father, Will Smith, is one of the highest paid actors in the entertainment industry. His mother is an actress and red table talk presenter Jada Pinkett Smith.


Grew up poor: Demi Moore

The self-described “trailer park girl” moved 30 times during her childhood. At 16, she dropped out of school and moved away from her alcoholic parents to escape an abusive home. “You could be trapped by what’s going on around you or you could find a way out,” she told The Guardian. “I think that everything, even if it’s scary or good, comes into our lives to help us rise and expand as human beings.”


Born Rich: Kate and Rooney Mara

The sisters come from a multi-million dollar soccer family. Her mother’s side founded the Pittsburgh Steelers while her father’s side founded the New York Giants.


Grew up poor: Tyler Perry

In New Orleans, the actor grew up in a poor and abusive home. He put all the money he made into his first play and lived in his car for months while he worked on the production.


Born Rich: Ariana Grande

The “Thank U, Next” singer’s mother was CEO of a communications company and her father founded a graphic design company. Her parents’ wealth gave her early exposure; she sang the national anthem at a Florida Panthers home game where her parents reportedly had season tickets.


Grew up poor: Jim Carrey

In The Howard Stern Show, the actor recalled how his father lost his job. The family ended up living in a car, then lived in tents in camps around Ontario. At 15, Jim was working as a janitor and security guard to help support his family.

After Howard asked Jim if he was mad at his dad, the actor responded, “I guess I was for a while, but my dad was cool, man. That’s the only thing about therapy, they focus a little bit on what what your parents did, what they didn’t do. Yeah sure, in a way, they made me grow up fast. But the list of what they did for me was huge.”


Born Rich: Nick Kroll

The comedian’s father founded a corporate investigation and risk consulting company that offered services such as employee background checks and fraud investigations. In 2004, it was sold for $1.9 billion.


Grew Up Poor: Mary J. Blige

After the singer’s father left the family when she was 4 years old, she grew up in New York’s housing projects. During an interview with Oprah, she said, “Life was about surviving, getting money any way you could.”


Born Rich: Edward Norton

The actor’s grandfather was real estate developer James Rouse. He was a co-founder of The Rouse Company, which invented indoor malls.

Can you think of any other celebrities who were born poor or born rich? Sound off in the comments below!

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