When it comes to the rich and famous, the public can often get hung up on the successes from their recent projects or the net worth that they've been able to accumulate throughout their careers. Yet, it's interesting to see where some of these stars have come from and what their childhood was like before they ever became a household name. Learning that a celebrity has been able to build themselves up with a rags-to-riches story is actually helpful in creating even more appeal with the public. Everyone loves to hear a real underdog story and learning that a celebrity came from humble beginnings can help people to root for them even more.
Yet, not all of Hollywood's celebrities have come from humble beginnings. In fact, there are quite a few celebrities that actually grew up quite comfortably and there are even those that lived a life of opulence throughout their younger years. From children that came from a celebrity family to kids whose parents built a fortune outside of the entertainment industry, it's interesting to know that some of these celebrities have never known a world outside of the cushy lifestyle that comes with fame. Check out our list of the 15 celebrities that grew up rich and 15 that worked their way to the top and see if this will change the perception of some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry.
30 Kylie Jenner Is Rolling In Dough
When Kylie Jenner was first featured in the reality television series, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, she was seen as the youngest in the Kardashian/Jenner clan without much fanfare surrounding her small scenes in the show. Yet, she started to garner a huge following as fans saw her grow up in front of the cameras. While she may have started off as a bit of a forgettable character, she has since created a huge empire through her product endorsements. Forbes recently featured her for building a $900 million fortune in less than 3 years, but it's important to note that she grew up in a family that already had an incredible fortune of their own.
29 Lady Gaga Was An Upper West Sider
When Lady Gaga first emerged in the music industry, she made quite an impression on the world. Her over-the-top fashion choices and her jaw-dropping stage performances made people think of her as far more than just another pop singer. She chose to express herself through every aspect of her public persona and people were instantly drawn to her ultra-unique style. Yet, many people have been surprised to learn that she wasn't just some young girl trying to express herself through her antics. As the daughter of a hugely successful Internet entrepreneur, Gaga grew up on the Upper West Side in Manhattan and even went to the same prestigious high school as the Hilton sisters.
28 Gigi Hadid Grew Up With A Ton Of Money
While Gigi Hadid is currently thought of as one of the most successful young supermodels within the fashion industry, there was a time when she was just starting out in the modelling world. Her mother, Yolanda Foster, was featured on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and there were a number of scenes that showed Gigi just at the start of her rise to fame in modelling. Not only is Gigi's mother a former supermodel but her father is the billionaire real estate developer, Mohamed Hadid.
27 Ed Sheeran Grew Up With Artsy Parents
When Ed Sheeran first emerged as an up-and-comer in the music industry, people couldn't help but remark on his unique look and style. He didn't exactly fit the mold when it comes to pop singers with catchy choruses and ultra-romantic lyrics. Yet, his incredible vocal talent and his highly publicized friendship with Taylor Swift helped to build up his fanbase. Nowadays, he's seen as one of the most talented singer-songwriters in the music industry, despite his distinctive look.
While he may seem like someone with incredibly humble beginnings, he's actually the son of a hugely successful art curator and lecturer.
His parents made quite a fortune through the art consultancy business, Sheeran Lock.
26 Paris Hilton Was Meant To Be A Socialite
With the surname of Hilton, Paris grew up in the lap of luxury and attended a series of prestigious schools. Conrad Hilton was the founder of the Hilton hotels and her father, Rick Hilton, made a fortune as the co-founder of a successful real estate firm. Paris was able to rub elbows with the rich and famous throughout her childhood and ultimately gained acceptance as a celebrity socialite. She has since gone on to create a huge empire through her product endorsements and DJ business, but it's important to know where all of it came from in her upbringing.
25 Robin Thicke Is Actually Talented, Too
When Robin Thicke started releasing his own music, his career didn't exactly skyrocket upon the first single. There were quite a few misses throughout his music career and it wasn't until his 2008 album, The Evolution of Robin Thicke, that people really started to revere his talent as a vocalist and musician.
After a string of hit singles and a few controversies regarding his personal life, people seem to have forgotten about his Hollywood roots.
Robin Thicke is actually the son of the hugely successful actor, Alan Thicke, and TV actress, Gloria Loring.
24 Gwyneth Paltrow Grew Up In Hollywood
The Academy Award-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow has made quite a name for herself through the lifestyle website, Goop. She's been heavily criticized for featuring products and articles that only appeal to the ultra-rich but that is undoubtedly due in part to the fact that she's grown up in the lap of luxury her entire life. As the daughter of the famed director and producer, Bruce Paltrow, and the acclaimed actress, Blythe Danner, Gwyneth Paltrow has always lived a luxurious life.
23 Adam Levine Has A Private School Education
When Adam Levine was first introduced to the world as the lead singer of the rock group, Maroon 5, it seemed like he had come out of nowhere with his incredible musical talent. The public was able to see more of him once he branched out in a solo career and became a judge on the hit television series, The Voice.
He had an incredible amount of appeal due to his down-to-Earth personality, but he has actually had quite a privileged upbringing.
As the son of Fred Levine, the founder of the hugely successful M. Frederic retail chain, Levine attended the prestigious private school, Brentwood.
22 Ariana Grande's Family Is Well Connected
When Ariana Grande first emerged on the music scene, she completely won over fans with her incredible vocal talent. People couldn't help but compare her to Mariah Carey due to her similar ability to reach fantastic high notes and deliver runs comparable to the platinum-selling artist. She was often referred to as a younger version of Carey but has ultimately made a name for herself as her own distinct musical talent. Yet, she wasn't just some young girl that was discovered for her vocals since she had a great background network due to her father. Her father, Edward Butera, had a great deal of notable connections due to his celebrity client list as the CEO of the acclaimed graphic design company, Ibi Designs Edward Butera.
21 Jordin Sparks Spent Her Childhood On The Field
When Jordin Sparks was introduced to the world as the fresh-faced contestant on American Idol's season 6, she was seen as an unknown. When she went on to become the winner of her season, the public was incredibly happy to see such a bubbly winner with an incredible voice. Yet, she wasn't exactly knew to the glamorous life of rubbing elbows with the rich and famous. Her father, Phillippi Sparks, was a well-known cornerback for the New York Giants and ultimately joined the Dallas Cowboys. Her mother helped to add to their fortune as an entrepreneur and Jordin's childhood wasn't exactly a life lived from one paycheque to the next.
20 Taylor Swift Grew Up Comfortably
When Taylor Swift first emerged as a younger newcomer in the world of country music, she was seen as a singer/songwriter that really embraced her country roots. She sang about stereotypical country themes and it appealed to people that really saw her with homegrown roots. Yet, Swift didn't exactly come from some small country farm with parents that struggled to make ends meet. Swift's father made quite a cushy life as a financial advisor at Merrill-Lynch and Swift's mother worked as a marketing executive for mutual funds.
19 Allison Williams Has A very Important Dad
While Allison Williams has starred in a number of different roles on the small screen, it's her role as Marnie Michaels in the HBO series Girls that the public will always remember. She has since gone on to transition to the big screen and she made quite a mark on Hollywood with her role in the critically-acclaimed film Get Out.
While she's often appeared as the beautiful girl-next-door type, her childhood was anything but ordinary.
As the daughter of the famed reporter Brian Williams, Allison had a childhood filled with privilege and the finer things in life.
18 Michelle Williams Is No Ordinary Girl Next Door
When Michelle Williams was featured on the hit television series Dawson's Creek, she was seen as the fresh-faced young girl that really rounded out the cast. Yet, it was her transition to the big screen that really showed off her acting talent. While she's proven that she can play a wide variety of different roles, it's the most vulnerable characters that have been heralded throughout her career. From Manchester by the Sea to Brokeback Mountain, Williams has a girl-next-door appeal that really resonates on the big screen. Yet, Williams didn't exactly have a typical childhood as the daughter of a high-profile commodities trader that previously ran as a senatorial candidate.
17 Kristen Stewart Was Meant To Be An Actress
When Kristen Stewart first started out in her acting career, the public didn't seem to known much about her. She had a few small roles that seemed generally forgettable but her career exploded once she starred as Bella Swan in the Twilight film series. She went on to star in a number of other high-profile films and has even seemed to get beyond some of the scandals within her personal life.
While she may have appeared as an unknown actress at one point, the fact of the matter is that she's actually grown up within the Hollywood elite.
Her parents, Jules and John Stewart, have been engrossed in the entertainment industry as a successful script supervisor and stage manager.
16 It's In Jake Gyllenhaal's DNA
There aren't many Hollywood actors that can boast having the same amount of incredible success on the big screen as Jake Gyllenhaal. He's starred in a number of ultra-memorable roles and first appeared on the big screen back in 1991. With huge hits like Southpaw and Nightcrawler, Gyllenhaal has proven that he can portray a wide variety of different roles. His most acclaimed role came from the 2005 film Brokeback Mountain, which earned him the Best Supporting Actor award at the British Academy Film Awards. Although it might have seemed like he was an actor that came out of nowhere, he's actually the son of an acclaimed film director and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, which allowed him to grow up in the lap of luxury.
15 Jim Carrey Struggled As A Kid
Jim Carrey is thought of as one of the most successful comedians that has been able to transition onto both the small and big screen. He famously got his start as a stand-up comedian at the tender age of just 15 years old in Canada, but has been able to transform himself into much more than just a comedian or comedic actor. He's appeared in both serious and comedic roles and is highly respected as a celebrity willing to put in the hard work. Yet, that may have something to do with his humble beginnings and he's even spoken out about the struggles his family had to face after his father lost his job and their time being homeless.
14 Jennifer Lopez Slept On The Couch Of A Dance Studio
Jennifer Lopez has long been seen as a triple threat in the entertainment industry since she's an accomplished dancer, singer and actress. She has built an empire out of her product endorsements, sold-out performances and television appearances. Her most recent success has been the hit single "Dinero" which features DJ Kaled and Cardi B.
While she's known for singing about the finer things in life and the endless hustle for building her fortune, this may all stem from her incredibly humble beginnings.
She's spoken out about the financial struggles she endured in her younger years and the fact that she used to have to sleep on the couch of a dance studio during the beginning years of her struggling career.
13 Billy Bob Thornton Didn't Have Running Water
As the former husband of Angelina Jolie, it seems like the world was constantly perplexed by how different the two of them were when they were seen together on the red carpet. Yet, it wasn't just the age difference and their looks that made it an odd pairing. While Jolie had lived a childhood filled with luxurious things as the daughter of Jon Voight, Billy Bob Thornton's childhood couldn't have been more different. He's spoken out about his humble childhood and the tiny family cabin he lived in that didn't even have electricity or running water.
12 Selena Gomez Is More Humble Than We Thought
When Selena Gomez was first introduced to the world through her role as a Disney kid, people could already see that there was something incredibly special about her. Her role on Wizards of Waverly Place was a huge hit and she eventually transitioned to become a full-fledged music artist and even dabbled in a bit of acting on the big screen. She's also made huge headlines through her high-profile romances and for becoming the new face of Louis Vuitton. Yet, some people might be surprised by her incredibly humble upbringing as the daughter of a single mother that often had difficulties making ends meet.
11 Chris Pratt Lived Out Of His Van
When Chris Pratt was seen as solely a TV actor, it was his role on Parks and Recreation that had him getting noticed in the entertainment industry. Yet, it was his marriage to Anna Faris that seemed to amplify his star power in Hollywood. She was seen as the bigger star until his incredible weight loss and newfound leading man roles on the big screen helped him to make a name for himself outside of his comedic TV roles and his Hollywood marriage. With his incredible success as a leading man, it's surprising to know that he came from humble beginnings and even once lived out of his van while living in Hawaii.
10 Halle Berry Lived In A Shelter
There aren't many actresses that can boast having the same stellar success on the big screen as Halle Berry. Ever since she first appeared on the silver screen in the early 1990s, it was obvious that there was something truly special about his incredibly beautiful actress. She proved that she was far more than just another pretty face and even went on to win an Academy Award. While she's consistently proved that she can still reign in an audience at the box office, it's interesting to know that her humble beginnings include spending a brief time living in a homeless shelter.
9 Steve Harvey Was Homeless For Three Years
Steve Harvey is a comedian that is considered to be one of the greats that have a huge fanbase from his time as one of the "Kings of Comedy." He's transitioned to become a celebrated and beloved television personality, from his talk show to his hosting gigs. Yet, he's also a best-selling author that has made a name for himself for his incredible insight in how to get beyond difficulties in one's past. Harvey has been quite open about his struggles in his younger life and was even homeless for three years during his time as a standup comedian.
8 Oprah Winfrey Is A Rags-To-Riches Story
There is no greater rags-to-riches story than that of Oprah Winfrey. While she's currently known as being one of the world's most influential self-made moguls with a $2.9 billion empire, she was actually born out of extreme poverty. She lived in a home without electricity or running water and often spoke about how she dreamt of a different kind of life than what her grandmother showed her as a child. Despite coming from extremely poor circumstances, she's been able to build a fortune that is difficult to rival.
7 Daniel Craig Ended Up Sleeping On A Park Bench
When Daniel Craig was slated to appear as the newest James Bond character on the big screen, it definitely came with a fair share of criticism. People complained that he was too blonde and short in stature to appear as the iconic 007 but all of that went away once he proved himself on the silver screen.
Nowadays, he's seen as one of Hollywood's biggest actors so it's interesting to learn that there was a time in his life when he would sleep on park benches in London.
As a struggling actor waiting on tables, The Independent reported that Craig once resorted to sleeping on park benches during his difficult financial times.
6 Hilary Swank Grew Up In A Trailer Park
There aren't many actresses that can boast having the same sort of success in their careers as Hilary Swank. She has won numerous awards throughout her career, including two Academy Awards for her role in Million Dollar Baby and Boys Don't Cry. She's consistently proven that she can portray a wide array of different characters, which may be in part due to her incredibly difficult upbringing. Swank revealed some of her childhood life during her Oscar acceptance speech when she stated, "I don't know what I did in this life to deserve this. I'm just a girl from a trailer park who had a dream."
5 Tom Cruise Had A Really Tough Childhood
Tom Cruise is seen as one of Hollywood's hottest actors due to his incredible success throughout his career. He's chosen roles that have become hugely iconic and has been featured in some of Hollywood's biggest box office successes. While he's faced a few controversies surrounding his personal life, learning about his difficult childhood may put a different perspective on some of the headline-making news surrounding his public persona. Cruise has publicly opened up about growing up in near-poverty and the fact that his father was abusive toward him during his younger years.
4 Leonardo DiCaprio Worked Hard His Whole Life
Leonardo DiCaprio is thought of as one of Hollywood's most successful leading men on the big screen and has been featured in some of the most iconic films on the big screen. He's been known to the public for quite some time since he started acting at a young age but that doesn't mean that his childhood was filled with all the luxuries the world had to offer. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, DiCaprio opened up about living in the mean streets by Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue and stated,
"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."
No wonder he's so humble.
3 Kate Winslet Never Had Anything New
The Academy Award-winning actress, Kate Winslet, is one of the highest paid leading ladies in Hollywood. She's starred in some of the most memorable roles on the big screen and has proven that she can portray almost any type of character that comes her way. While she's best known for some of the period roles she's portrayed over the years, it's interesting to know that her childhood was far from glamorous. In an interview with Marie Claire, Winslet opened up about her modest upbringing and stated, "It was hand-me-down shoes and pocket money that didn't go up until I was 11."
2 Mark Wahlberg Grew Up On "Welfare Cheese"
Mark Wahlberg is an accomplished actor that has also had quite a bit of success as an executive producer, with a string of hit shows and films under his belt. He's portrayed a wide variety of different characters, from the in-your-face dominating type to the mild-mannered character looking for love. While many people know about his roots as an up-and-comer in the music industry, it was the Wahlburgers television series that gave real insight into the modest upbringing of the entire Wahlberg family. Episodes often mentioned how the entire family grew up on "welfare cheese" and how they commend their mother for always making their meals feel special, despite their poverty.
1 Shia LaBeouf Is Proud Of His Past
There was once a time when Shia LaBeouf was thought of as one of young Hollywood's hottest stars, with a huge emphasis on his leading role in the Transformers film series. Yet, a series of missteps in his personal life has caused the public to wonder whether or not he will ever be able to get back to that same leading man status.
Yet, his questionable behavior isn't a result of a privileged upbringing that made him accustom to a certain type of lifestyle. On the contrary, LaBeouf has spoken out about how proud he is of growing up poor.
In an interview with PARADE, LaBeouf spoke out about what life was like living in a family filled with starving artists and the difficulties he endured because of it.
References: People, Heavy, US magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Elle, Bustle, Daily Mail, Mercury News, Forbes, E! News, Huffington Post, ABC News, The Dirty, Independent