It's no secret that celebrities make some pretty major cash once they're established. Once they've worked their way up to the A-List they can often command hundreds of thousands of dollars per episode of a television show or millions per movie. Musicians will get major bucks for going on a huge tour, where they spend a lot of time on a luxe bus or private plane jetting from city to city. However, there aren't many celebrities who are discovered and reach the A-List immediately — for most, it requires years and years of struggling before getting to that point.
And for many celebrities, when the roles don't come in and they're in that aspiring stage of their careers, they're unable to do things like pay rent — or perhaps they didn't have enough for a damage deposit, to begin with. After all, there is no base salary for an artist — many of them end up becoming wildly successful, but there are also many who spend years and years making far less than minimum wage as they try to make their dreams come true.
So, there are plenty of celebrities who now live lavish lives and have homes around the world worth millions that were once homeless — here are 15 of them.
15 Chris Pratt Lived In His Van In Maui
Nowadays, Chris Pratt is a major action star who is raking in millions for his movie appearances. Even before that, he had a role on a successful sitcom, Parks and Recreation, playing the lovable goofball Andy Dwyer. However, before any of that, he was just a 19-year-old guy living in his van in Maui. He apparently was gifted a one-way ticket by a friend and assumed he'd just live in a tropical paradise while trying to figure out his life. However, he didn't appear to mind it much — he confessed to a publication that "we just drank and... worked minimal hours, 15-20 hours per week, just enough to cover gas, food and fishing supplies. You know, it was a charming time." While he was waiting tables in Hawaii, he was discovered by Rae Dawn Chong, who then decided to cast him in a project — and the rest is history.
14 Halle Berry Spent Time In Homeless Shelters In New York
Rather than heading to sunny California, Halle Berry had her sights set on New York City — she went there when she was 21 years old with a big dream and stars in her eyes. However, she soon ran out of money, and because she wasn't yet booking big gigs, she didn't have enough coming in to hold her over. So, she did what many struggling young adults do — she asked her mother for some help. Her mother, it seems, was in the tough love camp, and decided to let her daughter fend for herself — so Berry ended up staying in a homeless shelter for a while. She speaks of the experience candidly and admits it definitely helped her build character — she told Reader's Digest that "it taught me how to take care of myself and that I could live through any situation.... I became a person who knows that I will always make my own way."
13 Before He Was James Bond, Daniel Craig Slept On Park Benches In London
Daniel Craig seems like the kind of guy who has just always been successful — I mean, with his killer accent, his chiseled features, many people probably assume that before he got the coveted role of James Bond he was a sensation in British television or something like that. It seems that wasn't the case, though. He apparently did what many actors did, waited tables, while he tried to make it in the industry, but was so broke that he had to sleep on park benches from time to time when he was younger. His park bench days may be long behind him now, but that's not the kind of thing you easily forget — we have a feeling he works incredibly hard to make sure he never gets to that point again.
12 Sylvester Stallone Slept At The Port Authority Bus Station
Sports movies are always fairly popular, but we bet that no one conceived of quite how popular Rocky would be. It is without a doubt the role that catapulted Sylvester Stallone to superstardom — and he definitely had some struggles for a while. There was apparently a period in his younger years where Stallone slept at the Port Authority bus station in New York for a little under a month. He ended up becoming so desperate for money that he actually worked for two days on an adult film and got $200 to move to a safer location. He eventually got the role of Rocky, and with that, there were many doors formerly closed to him that swung open — and nowadays he's more likely to be sleeping in his lavish homes around the world than at a bus station.
11 Jewel Was Homeless In California For A Year
Becoming a successful musician is just as tough as becoming a successful actress — many musicians end up having to do countless gigs for free or very little money before they get signed to a label and start making the big bucks. Jewel knows that better than anyone. The aspiring singer-songwriter moved to California from her Alaska hometown with the dream of making it big in the music industry, and she worked at a computer warehouse to pay the bills until that happened. However, her boss ended up firing her because she refused to sleep with him — and she soon found herself homeless. Jewel kept her eyes on the prize, and just kept writing songs and singing in local coffee shops, trying to build her fan base — and eventually, she made it to the point where she didn't need any kind of computer warehouse gig.
10 Jennifer Lopez Slept At A Dance Studio After Arguing With Her Parents
Jennifer Lopez is definitely a triple, or even quadruple, threat. She sings, she acts, she dances, she's involved in various business ventures — it's tough to find fault with the insanely successful career she's built over the years. However, back when she was an 18-year-old, she had one dream in mind — becoming a dancer. She told her parents, and they refused to support the risky career choice, so she ended up kicked out of her home. The homeless Lopez found a solution that seems straight out of a movie — she slept on a cot in the back of the dance studio where she was studying at the time. Eventually, she booked a gig, then ended up getting a deal for her music, and the rest is history — she's an international superstar now.
9 Rose McGowan Was Homeless For A Year In Oregon and Washington
Given the bravery and courage, Rose McGowan has shown lately, dealing with various struggles in her life, we don't doubt that she could make it through absolutely anything. However, that inner strength definitely doesn't mean that being homeless is any easier. McGowan has been candid about her earlier struggles and told Interview that "I was homeless for a year. I teamed up with this other girl — I met her the first day I was on the streets — and we roamed all over Oregon and Washington." She even slept in nightclubs for a while, which, if anyone has ever visited a nightclub, knows is definitely not the coziest place to spend time after hours. Luckily, she ended up finding her way to Hollywood, started booking roles, and eventually found herself a lot more financially secure.
8 Shania Twain Was Homeless Multiple Times, Squatting In Homes And Sleeping On Buses
Shania Twain is such a massive star now that it's hard to imagine a time when she wasn't — I mean, she's been in the music industry killing it for decades. However, she definitely didn't have the easiest upbringing. Twain had a tough childhood and ended up staying in a Toronto homeless shelter with her mother and her siblings when she was younger. Then, when she was a teenager supporting herself, she ended up squatting in vacant houses and sleeping on buses because she just didn't have the funds to make rent. Luckily, those days are long behind her now — while she's still had struggles over the years, she's at least known that she'll always have a roof over her head as she tries to deal with them all. She made it, all on her own.
7 Carmen Electra Had Several Homeless Years In Los Angeles
Carmen Electra had a bit of a unique situation when she was in her early 20s trying to make it in Los Angeles. She had been touring with Prince and had built up a few thousand dollars in savings, so she probably thought she was in a pretty good position — she definitely wasn't wealthy, but she didn't have to worry about becoming homeless. Then an awful boyfriend took all the cash she had saved and essentially left her penniless. She was the glam star we know today then, appearance-wise, but those false lashes and perfect physique didn't help her much when it came to paying rent. So, she spent a few years homeless in Los Angeles before she managed to book her Baywatch gig. From that moment on it became easier for her to pay the bills.
6 Kelsey Grammer Slept In Alleys With His Motorcycle
It's tough to imagine a time when Kelsey Grammer wasn't successful. He had a television gig on Frasier for many years and has since become so wealthy it's almost ridiculous — I mean, just check out the glimpses we got of his life when his then-wife Camille was on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. However, he hasn't always had it easy. Grammer suffered a ton of tragedy when he was young, and without family to fall back on, he ended up sleeping in the alley when he was a struggling actor. He had his motorcycle to serve as a bit of a shelter, and presumably to help get him to auditions quickly, but that's definitely not an easy life. Thankfully he now has homes around the world where he can rest his head at the end of a busy day.
5 Natasha Lyonne Was Homeless In New York Before Making Her Big Comeback
Natasha Lyonne achieved a huge amount of success when she was very young, snagging roles in iconic movies like American Pie. However, she also struggled with substance abuse issues, and in the mid-'00s found herself homeless in New York City. A publication actually found her being treated for a variety of health issues including a heart infection and hepatitis C, in a New York hospital — using a fake name to try to keep any press away. As anyone following pop culture knows, she has managed to make an absolutely massive comeback thanks to her role on Orange Is The New Black — hopefully, now that she's achieving that success as an adult rather than a teen, she knows enough to save some of that money to ensure she's never in a position where she ends up homeless again.
4 Tyler Perry Lived Out Of His Car Rewriting Scripts
Nowadays, Tyler Perry is a critically acclaimed director and scriptwriter who has countless projects under his belt. He's achieved enough success that he can basically just work on the projects that interest him and that he's passionate about now, which is pretty amazing. However, it certainly wasn't an easy journey. He was working on a theatrical production, I Know I've Been Changed, early in his career — he believed in the project, but it ended up causing him to lose basically all the money he had to his name. So, he ended up living in his car for a while as he rewrote the script and tried to make it a success. It eventually ended up getting great reviews, he started on other projects and built his career to what it is today, bit by bit.
3 Movie Legend Cary Grant Grew Up In The Streets Of England
It's tough to picture legendary stars like the late Cary Grant at a time in their lives before success. And, while there were some stars who came from wealthy families and had a fairly comfortable path to stardom, Cary Grant certainly wasn't one of them. His mother was sent to an institution when Grant was just 9, and when he was 10, his father just up and left him to fend for himself. So, he did — he worked on the docks to make enough money for food and slept on the streets of Southampton. It's pretty amazing that he managed to pick himself up by the bootstraps, find opportunities, and eventually carve his path to stardom. Talk about an inspiration! Now he's remembered as one of the greatest actors of all time — not too shabby.
2 Kelly Clarkson Slept In Her Car Before Idol
Kelly Clarkson had one major break when it comes to her career as a singer — she auditioned for a singing reality competition show, American Idol, and ended up winning. However, just winning something like that doesn't guarantee success — there are countless winners from other seasons who have all but disappeared into obscurity since they snagged the title on their respective season. Clarkson's talent is what kept her on top once she managed to snag the platform that a win gave her. However, she almost didn't make it to the audition — thanks to an apartment fire and a move to a new city, Clarkson ended up living in her car until she could find a place. We bet her struggles made that moment where she was crowned on live television even sweeter.
1 Djimon Hounsou Was A Homeless Teen In Paris
Djimon Hounsou has managed to carve out quite a career for himself, with roles in a variety of movies. Before he was an actor, he worked as a model and achieved quite a degree of success at that as well. However, even before that, he was a homeless youth sleeping on the streets of Paris. As he said back in 2008 to a U.S. Senate panel, "I lived on the streets for some time — fighting for survival, searching out nothing more than my daily necessities for a meager existence." The fact that he managed to turn being scouted as a model for his stunning features into a successful career as an actor is absolutely amazing — he's definitely a guy who isn't afraid of hard work and isn't afraid to tackle a challenge.
Sources: insider.co.uk, ranker.com, stars.topix.com