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22 Celebs Who’ve Talked About Growing Up Poor



Not every celebrity is a nepo baby. Some have had to work hard to get to where they’re at.

If you ask some people, they’ll tell you a lot of Hollywood’s biggest talent haven’t earned their esteemed places in the industry.

Some people certainly work harder than others, though not everyone is open with that experience.

These celebrities have opened up about the experience of growing up poor and becoming a star.


Sean “Diddy” Combs has always been boastful about his success, but that’s because it came after years of hard work.

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Diddy shared a life-changing moment with CNN in 2016. “One day, I asked my mother for a pair of sneakers, and she almost started to cry,” he said. “My hustle was born. I never wanted to see her face like that again.”

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Oprah Winfrey was shuffled between family members in rural Mississippi, where they sometimes wore potato sacks because they couldn’t afford clothes.

“I don’t think of myself as a poor deprived ghetto girl who made good,” Oprah once said of her early life. “I think of myself as somebody who from an early age knew I was responsible for myself, and I had to make good.”

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Jim Carrey revealed that his family lived in poverty when he was growing up after his dad lost his job. At times, his whole family worked together as janitors or security guards while living in a van. He used visualization to help get him through it.

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“I would visualize things coming to me that I wanted. And I had nothing at that time, but it just made me feel better. At that time, all it really was, was kind of just, making me feel better. I would drive home and think, ‘Well, I do have these things, and they’re out there. I just don’t have a hold of them yet, but they’re out there.'”

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Camila Alves grew up in a family of farmers in Brazil. When she moved to LA at 15, she had to learn English and save up to move to New York.

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“I didn’t have the luxury to call my parents to pay my bills, so I cleaned houses and worked in restaurants as I learned English and saved to go to New York to look for an agency to represent me,” she told ATX Woman.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger tweeted about growing up without running water, which is a far cry from where he is today.

My brother and I would schlep the water from the well to the house, and then we would all clean ourselves – first my mother, then my father, then my brother, then me. The water was dirty by the time it was our turn but my brother and I weren’t going to schlep back to the well.

Arnold Schwarzenegger/Twitter / Via Twitter: @Schwarzenegger


Hilary Swank grew up in a trailer park in Washington State before her mom drove to Los Angeles so she could pursue acting. She saw the ugly side of life as a child, and it stayed with her.

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“I grew up feeling like an outsider because we had no money, so I understood ‘classism’ at a young age,” she once shared. “A lot of parents didn’t want their kids playing with me, even though the kids didn’t care.”

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Leonardo DiCaprio grew up in a once-rough area of Hollywood where he said “there used to be a major prostitution ring on my street corner, crime and violence everywhere,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

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“It goes back to that neighborhood. It came from the fact that I grew up very poor, and I got to see the other side of the spectrum.”


Nicki Minaj has talked about how her family struggled when they first immigrated from Trinidad to the United States.

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“When I first came to America, I would go in my room and kneel down at the foot of my bed and pray that God would make me rich so that I could take care of my mother.”

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Justin Bieber struggled growing up being raised by a single mom with not a lot of resources.

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“I remember being poor and being teased by other kids,” he told Clique TV. “I remember sitting in restaurants with my mother, and she’d make me order water instead of soda. I remember so badly wanting to order a soda. And I also remember that when I got my first big paycheck I was so glad to be able to use that money to take care of my mother.”

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Mark Wahlberg grew up sharing a room with his five brothers in a working-class family in Boston and ended up in a gang and in serious trouble before straightening out.

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“Three of my brothers had done time. My sister went to prison so many times I lost count. Finally, I was there, locked up with the kind of guys I’d always wanted to be like. Now I’d earned my stripes, and I was just like them, and I realized it wasn’t what I wanted at all,” he told The Daily Mail. “I’d ended up in the worst place I could possibly imagine, and I never wanted to go back.”

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Mariah Carey grew up in a financially difficult situation to a broken family and dealt with drug use and abuse up close until she worked her way out of it.

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“When I was 12 years old, my sister drugged me with Valium, offered me a pinky nail full of cocaine, inflicted me with third-degree burns, and tried to sell me out to a pimp,” Mariah recalled in her book.

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Selena Gomez’s family struggled throughout her childhood, but always did what they could to help others.

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“I remember always being reminded that people had less than we did, and we didn’t have much,” she told Vogue. “But I felt like we did because my mom was always doing a hundred million things just to make me happy, and we volunteered at soup kitchens on Thanksgiving; we went through my closet for Goodwill.”

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Cardi B grew up in a struggling family and fell in with a bad crowd, splitting her time between the South Bronx and Washington Heights.

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“I have real good parents, they poor. They have regular, poor jobs and whatnot,” she said in a Global Grind interview in 2016. “They real good people and whatnot; I was just raised in a bad society.”

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Sarah Jessica Parker was the youngest of four until her mom remarried and had three more kids. The family of 10 struggled heavily, with her recalling her childhood as “Dickensian.”

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“We were on welfare … I remember being poor,” she told The New York Times. “There was no great way to hide it. 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.'”

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Chris Pratt grew up in a family that sometimes struggled and would rely on food stamps. Early in his career, he lived out of a van on a beach in Hawaii.

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“I grew up in a small town, we had 7,000 people in our town, and we had some economic hard times, and we had a food bank nearby, and I’m not ashamed to say that there were moments when my family would need to eat from a food bank,” Chris shared during an Instagram Live interview. “There’s no shame in it — especially right now with what we are going through. There is help out there, and you can find that help and get that help, and there’s nothing wrong with needing that help.”

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Shania Twain and her siblings grew up missing meals. From those times, she recalls how impossible asking for help felt.

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“It’s very hard to concentrate when you’re stomach’s rumbling,” she told ABC News. “I would certainly never have humiliated myself enough to reach out and ask for help and say, ‘You know, I’m hungry. Can I have that apple that you’re not going to eat?’ I didn’t have the courage to do that.”

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Leighton Meester was born while both her parents were serving time in prison. They split up after getting out, and both sides of her family struggled financially as she was growing up. Leighton didn’t even consider going to prom because of her financial status.

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“I couldn’t relate to kid stuff. ‘Jimmy doesn’t like me!’ Who cares? I was worried we didn’t have gas money or food. Those were my concerns,” she told Marie Claire. “It was a lot of money for a ticket. And I just didn’t care that much.”

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Kelly Clarkson has worked through a lot of her feelings about growing up poor and in a difficult family through her music.

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“We lived pre-pay check to pre-pay check. So I definitely had this whole mentality, I was like, whatever I’m gonna do, I just don’t wanna have to worry about that,” she told The Dallas Morning News. “I always used to hate when people would be like, ‘Money doesn’t buy everything,’ when you are little and poor. Rich people say that. Not poor people, I don’t know one poor person that’s going, money doesn’t buy happiness. It pays you to get out of eviction notices.”

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Mila Kunis emigrated to the United States from Ukraine as a child, where they faced poverty and antisemitism. Ashton Kutcher also grew up poor, getting caught breaking into his school to steal money. As a result, the two want to make sure their kids don’t grow up entitled.

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“It’s so important because we both came from pretty solid poverty backgrounds and grew up very poor and are very much self-made and are very aware of what a dollar is worth,” she adds. “Nothing’s been handed to us.”

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Dolly Parton grew up in a one-room shack in rural Tennessee with up to 14 people at different points in her life.

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“We bathed once a week whether we needed it or not, as the saying goes. When I was in high school, it was a big deal. I had to take a bath every night because I wanted to be clean,” Dolly recalled of her childhood. “The kids peed on me every night. We slept three and four in the bed. I would wash every night. And as soon as I go to bed, the kids would wet on me, and I’d have to get up in the morning and do the same thing.”

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Celine Dion was the youngest of 13 siblings, so money was often tight. Still, she never felt like she was lacking in her childhood.

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“We were safe and warm and taken care of. Three or four of us in the same bed was normal to us. We weren’t poor, but we never had money. I don’t know if that makes sense,” she shared. “We were given love and affection and support. What else did we need?”

What celebrities do you admire for working their way to success from a difficult place? Share in the comments.

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Paris Hilton’s Top Travel Essentials Will Have You Saying “That’s Hot”



Paris has partnered with Klarna on their latest campaign exploring Y2K trends and the evolution of fashion, beauty and tech. The campaign features Paris in a series of films, the setting a dream-like, Y2K-inspired Klarna world directed by Grammy Award nominee Tanu Muino. In one clip, Paris unveils some of her top travel essentials to help inspire you to sliv your best life during all your upcoming travel plans. With Klarna’s shop now, pay later feature, shoppable videos and more, you can use the app to easily shop all the Paris-approved fashion, beauty and tech products at the best prices and times.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect pair of sunglasses or low-rise jeans that fit the Y2K aesthetic, Klarna’s latest “Global Y2K Trend Report” will help you explore the evolution of shopping since those nostalgic times, with the help of the early-2000s superstar herself.

Obviously, all things pink are in the cards for Paris’ travel essentials, from her Swarovski crystal-encrusted handheld fan to her chic QUAY sunnies and signature scent. Scroll below to shop her picks for yourself, plus check out the perfectly glamorous BTS video from the campaign for some serious “that’s hot” energy.

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Pamela Anderson Addresses Tim Allen’s Denial to Flashing Her on TV Set



Reflecting on why she included this story in her memoir, Anderson noted, “It was because it was my first job, Home Improvement, that I felt that was important to say.”

“I only talked about really pivotal moments to try get across that some of these things had happened, you know, in my childhood, my career,” she said. “And I kind of wanted to sprinkle in some of these things. I mean, not all. Obviously, I didn’t tell every story in my life, or I’d be writing volumes.”

E! News reached out to Allen’s rep regarding Pamela’s latest remarks but did not receive additional comment.

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The Bear’s Ayo Edebiri Is Joining Abbott Elementary



Ayo Edebiri is getting out of the kitchen.

The actress, who plays Sydney on FX’s The Bear, has joined the second season of ABC’s Abbott Elementary, E! News can confirm.

Ayo will play Janine’s (Quinta Brunson) often discussed, yet-to-be seen sister Ayesha on the Feb. 8 episode of the Emmy-winning comedy.

Quinta, who also created Abbott Elementary, celebrated the casting on Twitter Feb. 6, posting a photo of herself, Ayo and Janelle James, who plays Principal Ava Coleman on the show. The actress captioned the photo alongside two heart emojis, “new episode this Wednesday.”

While Ayesha will only appear briefly in the episode, titled “Valentine’s Day,” the network says Ayo will return later in the season for a “larger storyline.”

In a sneak peek of the episode shared by Entertainment Weekly, Janine prepares for a FaceTime call with Ayesha on her birthday, telling Jacob (Chris Perfetti) that her sister can be “really intense,” “over-the-top,” and “nosy.”

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