10+ Celebrities Who Grew Up Very Poor

While some famous celebrities came from extravagant wealth and families already in the industry, others came from much more humble backgrounds.

There are many celebs that grew up poor and had to work really hard to build their careers, and these stars definitely have a real understanding of the changes that wealth can bring.

Here are 10+ celebrities you might not realize grew up very poor.

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber became a huge pop star with fans all over the world, but his beginnings were much less fabulous.

He grew up in Canada where he slept on a pull-out couch in a home infested with rats. He started posting his singing on YouTube and hit the jackpot when he was discovered by Usher.

J. K. Rowling

While now the author is one of the most successful writers of all time, she struggled as a young single mother to provide for her children.

“I remember 20 years ago not eating so my daughter would eat. I remember nights when there was literally no money. I would have done anything to work, and I took as much work as I could," Rowling said to The Daily Mail.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is one of the most successful women in Hollywood. She was the first black woman to become a billionaire, but she went through some pretty awful things before she became rich and famous.

She was sexually assaulted as a child, and she lived with her grandmother as her mother struggled to make ends meet.


Jay-Z, whose given name is Shawn Carter, is a wealthy rapper and entrepreneur, not to mention Beyoncé's husband.

But, growing up, he lived in the housing projects of Brooklyn where he sold drugs to survive. Now, he and Bey have a combined net worth of over a billion dollars.

Leonardo DiCaprio

DiCaprio is an A-list star who has been in so many major Hollywood films that it's hard to imagine he didn't always live in luxury.

He has explained in interviews that he grow up very poor and surrounded by drugs and prostitution.

Stephen King

Stephen King is another super-successful author who has written some iconic scary stories.

However, his upbringing was pretty modest. His mother and father separated, and his mother had to help take care of his grandma.

King would take the money he made from selling short stories to survive as a young adult.

Chris Pratt

With lead roles in big franchises like Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World, Pratt is doing really well for himself and making a ton of money.

But, before his fame took off, he was homeless and lived out of a van in Hawaii.

Chrissy Metz


The This Is Us star only had 81 cents in her bank account when she went to audition for the role of Kate.

She wasn't even sure if she had enough gas in her car to get to the audition. Metz landed the role, and this opportunity turned her life around.

Mariah Carey

The pop star and fabulous diva doesn't have to worry about money now, but growing up, she lived in one of the poorer areas of Long Island.

She has talked many times about coming from basically nothing and that's why she doesn't feel bad being a bit of a diva now.

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez is a famous and rich pop star, but growing up her mother struggled to afford things like food and gas.

Her mom had Selena when she was only 16, so things weren't always easy for the two of them.


Eminem isn't shy about exploring his background while he was growing up in Detroit and living in poverty.

He was raised by a single mother, and the rough realities of his childhood are the inspiration for many of his songs. Now, however, Eminem is making bank.

Nicki Minaj

Nicki's family moved from Trinidad to a neighborhood in Queens, New York.

While she's now a wealthy superstar, her family struggled financially growing up.

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

Jennifer Lopez

While Jennifer Lopez is now known for living a rather lavish lifestyle, she grew up in a poor family.

She grew up in the Bronx but left home at a young age to pursue a dance career.

“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 told W Magazine.

Jim Carrey

We all know Jim Carrey as a hilarious superstar, but his life growing up wasn't very glamorous at all.

When he was a kid, his family lost their home and had to live out of a van. He had to quit school when he was 15 to get a job to help the family.

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton is country music legend who is loved by millions of fans, but her upbringing was very different than her life today.

She grew up really poor and lived in a one-room cabin in the woods of Tenessee with her nine siblings.