Puberty is a rough time for anyone and even the most successful and famous women out there didn’t always have it easy.
In fact, we could argue that all those hardships celebs had to overcome at a very young age were necessary for them to get to the place where they are now — as if those hardships served as the foundation for their future mega success. We could also call these puberty experiences "crucibles," if you will. Of course, a few of the celebs listed below didn’t really go through a crucible, but rather the heyday of their lives.
What about you and your personal experiences with puberty? What kind of emotions does this fragile period of life stir up in you?
Whatever your personal memories, be they good, bad or something in-between, be sure that you’re not alone. There’s a countless number of women in the world with exactly the same or at least similar experiences as you — and our favorite celebrities are among them.
Read on to learn more about what the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Middleton, and Cara Delevingne were preoccupied with at a time when they could roam the streets freely, without fear of being besieged by paparazzi.
Maybe you will even see yourself in one of their youth stories!
15 Mara Wilson’s Change In Her Appearance Made Her Reconsider Her Acting Career
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – that’s a fact. Except sometimes, merciless and unforgiving industries such as Hollywood create certain beauty standards and if a young talented actor/actress doesn’t fit the mold then… well, they won’t get any parts.
Puberty is a particularly crucial period for child stars. The physical transformation a kid goes through can either strengthen or break one’s film acting career altogether. Mara Wilson’s acting career ended primarily due to her changes in physical appearance.
Remember that cute little girl from the Matilda movie? That role made her famous and that was her prepuberty look. Then, as she hit puberty, she noticed that casting directors ceased inviting her to auditions, except for roles like the 'bigger girl' in a TV pilot. The realization as to why this happened was totally crushing her self-esteem. She was no longer considered classically/conventionally beautiful. At least not according to Hollywood standards.
Mara has been quite open about this chapter of her life and in 2016 she published a memoir titled, "Where am I now? True stories of girlhood and accidental fame."
In her book, she reveals that when she was at her lowest, she even fantasized about getting into an accident where she’d injure her nose and jaw so she could get guilt‑free cosmetic surgery. Fortunately, she no longer entertains such silly ideas and directs her energy into writing instead, which she actually finds way more creative and fulfilling than acting.
14 Jennifer Lawrence Is A High School Dropout And Never Excelled Academically
Not that Jennifer Lawrence would be missing out on anything by not completing her GED as she doesn’t seem to have a problem finding jobs and she’s pretty good at what she does, but recently she disclosed in a very candid 60 Minutes interview that being a straight-A student has never really been her thing. What’s more, this super successful actress dropped out of middle school at the tender age of 14, meaning she has never experienced something that many of us consider a matter of course – graduating from a high school.
She doesn’t technically have a GED or diploma, she’s home-schooled.
In the 60 Minutes interview, she details how the academic part of school was always a struggle for her, especially the dreaded math classes, and overall sitting in class made her feel out of her element.
When asked about having any regrets, she responds in utter honesty: “No, I really don’t, I wanted to forge my own path. I found what I wanted to do, and I didn’t want anything getting in the way of it. Even friends, for many years, were not as important to me as my career, I mean, from the age of 14."
But we must all agree that she ended up quite okay, didn’t she?
13 Lady Gaga Was Bullied For The Most Superficial Reasons
By all means, Lady Gaga, born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, is an insanely talented and attractive fashion icon, but even for her attending high school wasn’t a walk in the park. Actually, it was quite the opposite – a deeply harsh experience.
In an honest interview with Rolling Stone magazine, she confided how kids used to pick on her for being different.
Unsurprisingly, this is the most common reason anyone ever gets picked on - sheep dislike individuals standing out from the crowd.
"Being teased for being ugly, having a big nose, being annoying," was a daily occurrence for Lady Gaga. "Your laugh is funny, you're weird, why do you always sing, why are you so into theater, why do you do your makeup like that?”, Lady Gaga recounts everything her classmates had against her. She was called names and didn’t even want to go to school sometimes.
Wait, she was called "ugly" at such a young and impressionable age? Call a woman pretty, she'll forget it in an hour. Call a woman ugly and she'll remember it for the rest of her life.
Even in Lady Gaga’s case, such strong words will stick in her memory for some time: “I think that some of the residual wounds, from high school, from being bullied, and feeling not good enough, I think it stays with you your whole life.”
12 Lindsay Lohan's Puberty Was As Turbulent As It Can Get
Why turbulent? Two words: Legal Troubles.
Undoubtedly, the popular natural redhead is more famous these days for her multiple arrests than she is for her acting, with the first arrest dating back to 2004 when she was sued over a car crash. Fox News reported at that time that Lindsay was sued by two people who claimed she injured them in a traffic accident. Supposedly, she struck their vehicle, leaving the pair with "pain, discomfort and physical disability."
This definitely doesn’t sound like typical teenage problems an 18-year-old girl copes with.
Perhaps her sometimes erratic behavior (substance dependency, drunk driving, etc.) is just an indirect result of her own parents’ turbulent history, and we know how childhood traumas can have a complex and long-lasting effect on adult behavior.
Lindsay’s mum shed some light on this issue and claimed that Lindsay’s father, Michael Lohan, is to blame for the actress' personal woes and oddball antics.
"Lindsay saw her dad [misbehave] - that’s why she’s so screwed up. She saw a lot of crazy stuff - all [hurtful behavior]. I want the world to know the root of her problems."
Lindsay herself described her father’s behavior as unpredictable and hard to deal with.
11 Taylor Swift Blossomed Into A Beautiful Butterfly During Puberty
Growing up, Taylor Swift was an easy target for nasty bullies because she didn’t look cool enough and listened to country music.
According to Anwar from Quora.com, he had a friend in Philly who was friends with someone who went to middle school with Taylor in Pennsylvania and said that all the kids picked on her and teased her.
Rumor has it that Taylor once sat with a group of popular girls and they all got up and left her alone at a table, ignoring her intentionally.
Little did she know at that time that in the celebrity world, a touch of bullying is almost a requirement on the CV. Like so many other victims of bullying, she was picked on and teased because she was special, not because there was anything wrong with her.
But you know what they say – hurt an artist and you’ll see masterpieces of what you’ve done. Taylor followed suit and in her first album she honestly discusses being ostracized.
And as karma would have it, those same popular girls who ignored her at school need to simply take it in their stride that she’s now about 500 times more famous and influential than them and that… well, people just shouldn’t be mean to anyone, ever.
Taylor talks about her bullies: "They showed up (at Taylor’s concert), wearing my T-shirts and asking me to sign their CDs. It was bittersweet because it made me realize that they didn't remember being mean to me and that I needed to forget about it, too."
10 And So Did January Jones
In an interview for the Marie Claire magazine, January Jones revealed that she’s yet another victim of mean kids bullying. When asked about the rumor that she had gone into modeling to prove to her bullies that she’s not ugly, she reacted incredulously: "Where are you getting this nonsense? The mean girls in high school were mean because I was pretty."
As we can see, literally anyone who stands out just a little bit from the crowd can be picked on, and being very attractive, for example, carries the insidious and seemingly invisible envy debt that can make it quite hard to form genuine and long-lasting friendships.
On a slightly lighter note, January has a cool Instagram account where she regularly shares #TBT (Throwback Thursday) and #FBF (Flashback Friday) photos and they're heartwarmingly hilarious.
There’s an array of snaps ranging from feathered bangs to scary clowns to the actress washing cars, but the most famous one for sure is the one where she’s sporting a spectacular 90s mullet (see the picture above). Voted as the most awkward childhood photo in the history of #TBT, we must agree that the photo is truly memorable and the positive energy emanating from it is palpable and inspiring. “#nofilter #obviously #ilovemy9yroldself,” is the accompanying caption she posted.
9 Angelina Jolie, On The Other Hand, Hasn't Changed Much Since She Was 15
Some ugly ducklings turn into swans during puberty and some, it seems like, have always been swans. Like the drop-dead gorgeous Angelina Jolie.
The proof here is a rare collection of photos taken by the photographer Harry Langdon 27 years ago at one of Jolie’s first photo shoots. She was only 15 at that time, but the photographer wasn’t aware of that. She withheld her real age and he was under the impression that she was at least 18 years old. Browsing through these black and white photos makes you realize that Angelina’s beauty has always been completely, 100 percent natural and she, indeed, hasn’t changed much since she was a 15-year-old kid.
Fun Fact: The photographs were being sold by auction house ‘Profiles in History’ as part of their Original Vintage Glamour Photography. If only her 15-year-old-self knew that in a little less than three decades her very first show business attempts will be circulating the internet and going under the hammer.
Even at that young age, Angelina seemed to be a natural born performer and felt quite comfortable posing in front of the camera.
In an interview with Bored Panda, Harry Langdon said: “I just kept my cool and allowed her to perform. Hardly saying any more than 'turn right, turn left'. No conversation was necessary.”
8 The Olsen Twins Experienced The Peak Of Their Careers During Puberty
Very few people experience the heyday of their careers during the adolescent years. The Olsen Twins, arguably the most famous identical twins to have ever graced our planet, are the exception to this rule.
The twins retired from acting when they were only 18 years old, at the age when most aspiring actors are applying for drama schools. Kinda strange, huh? They even have their own “retirement” section on their Wikipedia page, which is rare for such young celebs.
But given the fact that at an even younger age they joined the ranks of the wealthiest women in the entertainment industry, their career decision shouldn’t be the cause for extensive bouts of regrets.
Ashley clarified back in 2009 that their decision was completely voluntary, and it felt like the next natural step to take: "Listen, I used to be in the entertainment industry. I decided at 18 that I don't really want to do this anymore. I wanted to explore other things, and with that came The Row (their fashion brand)."
Mary-Kate added that they never felt like actresses in the first place: “With what we were doing in business when we were younger, I don’t think it ever felt like we were actresses, because we spent so much more of our time not in front of the cameras, building a brand.”
7 For Drew Barrymore, Puberty Was The Darkest Time Of Her Life
Like the Olsen Twins, Drew Barrymore achieved worldwide fame sooner than most of us even get to ponder about which occupational direction to follow and what we want to do with our lives at all. But then again, purely statistically speaking, there aren’t that many child stars out there, and even the ones that do “get lucky” have to learn how to live with this ordeal (or joy, depending on how you look at it), so they wouldn’t end up like former film child star Drew Barrymore did. What exactly happened to her?
In the wake of her sudden massive stardom (Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, just in case you might have forgotten), she endured a notoriously problematic childhood and puberty.
Are you ready for the crazy escalation of events recount?
Drew was already consuming an array of illegal substances from a young age. She checked into a health-clinic at the age of fourteen because she’d attempted to end it all and spent eighteen months in an institution for the patients with mental health issues. Drew vividly described this period of her life in her autobiography, Little Girl Lost.
On a brighter note, at the age of fifteen, she successfully filed for emancipation in juvenile court.
6 Kristen Stewart Was No Stranger To Panic Attacks
Have you ever noticed that her leg sometimes twitches nervously, she always fusses with her hair and says "do you know what I mean" like 20 times in the course of the interview? Well, unsurprisingly, it’s because she, like so many of us, gets anxious every now and then. And not only that, she’s one of those folks who associate their tender adolescent years with experiencing full-blown panic attacks.
At the age of 14, she even decided to quit school because she felt she didn't fit in.
In an interview with Elle U.K., Kristen opened up about her battles with that pesky thing called anxiety: “I went through so much stress and periods of strife. I would have panic attacks…I literally always had a stomach ache. And I was a control freak and I couldn’t anticipate what was going to happen in a given situation, so I’d be like, ‘Maybe I’m going to get sick’… It’s kind of remarkable. I just grew out of it, but that’s not to say I don’t get worried.”
So many worried souls in the world can identify with her words. “Between ages 15 and 20, it was really intense… I was constantly anxious. I was kind of a control freak. If I didn’t know how something was going to turn out, I would [become] ill, or just be locked up or inhibited in a way that was really debilitating.”
5 The More Famous Cara Delevingne Got, The Emptier She felt
The fierce-eyebrowed model and actress revealed during The London's Women In The World Summit that when she was 15 years old, she began to struggle with depression thoughts of ending it all.
The rapid rise to fame and achieving something millions of girls in the world dream of didn’t “fix her feelings of emptiness", quite the contrary, it only made those feelings more prominent: “I was packing my bags, and suddenly I just wanted to end it. I had a way, and it was right there in front of me.”
Her artistic streak helped her capture what she went through during puberty and she wrote the following poem about it:
Who am I? Who am I trying to be?/Not myself, anyone but myself./Living in a fantasy to bury the reality,/Making myself the mystery,/A strong facade disguising the misery./Empty, but beyond the point of emptiness,/Full to brim with fake confidence,/A guard that will never be broken,/Because I broke a long time ago./I’m hurting but don’t tell anyone./No one needs to know./Don’t show or you’ve failed./Always okay, always fine, always on show./The show must go on./It will never stop./The show must not go on,/But I know it will./I give up. I give up giving up./I am lost./I don’t need to be saved,/I need to be found.
4 Being Dyslexic, Keira Knightley Was Called "Dumb" By Many Kids At School
Interestingly enough, quite a few famous actors suffer or suffered from dyslexia and Keira Knightley is one of them.
According to Dyslexiahelp platform, Keira was diagnosed with dyslexia at age six and remembers excruciating experiences of being called dumb by many kids at her school and one audition where she simply couldn’t read her lines.
We can say that if it wasn’t for her acting passion and her caring and clever parents, she may have never overcome dyslexia.
One day her parents made a deal with her – if she was able to learn to read, they would hire an acting agent for her.
So, over the summer holiday, she rose to the challenge and used the screenplay of Emma Thompson’s adaptation of Sense and Sensibility as her reading tool. Honestly, can you think of a better motivation for an aspiring actor/actress?
It goes without saying that she eventually got her acting agent and from that moment on, things were only getting better. “I worked hard to get the better of it and by the time I reached secondary school, it was much better. I can read and write badly but I'm fine reading scripts. And I did leave school with starred As in my GCSEs.”
3 Kate Middleton Had To Eat Lunch Alone
The Duchess of Cambridge was bullied at boarding school for the most ridiculous reasons – for being “tall, quiet and very nice”. Well, who knows, perhaps these are the very qualities that earned her the status she now enjoys.
Kate’s former school friend, Jessica Hay, revealed that the then 13-year-old Kate Middleton had her share of nasty school bullying at her exclusive $47,000-a-year Berkshire boarding school. Supposedly she had books knocked out of her hands, was pushed to the back of the lunch queue, and no one wanted to eat with her. Such experiences can be deeply upsetting for an impressionable teen as everyone desires to fit in and be liked.
"She hated it, absolutely hated it," her friend said. "The girls there were horrible. They used to put [smelly things] in her bed and she was very, very badly bullied (this piece of information is debatable as she was a day student). She was picked on because she was perfect, well turned-out and a lovely person. She was not the type of person to stick up for herself.”
Fortunately, her caring and attentive parents thought something felt off and sought professional help for their daughter. They were really worried at the time because they didn't want her to feel stigmatized and the therapy proved to be helpful.
2 To Emma Watson, Going Through Puberty Meant Having To Start Bleaching A Certain Facial Feature
Okay, not everyone goes through problematic puberty and some lucky individuals sail through it without any major traumas. And we must all agree that discovering you have a mustache at age of nine is not as traumatizing as, say, school bullying.
Emma Watson disclosed in an interview with the beauty website Into the Gloss her almost 20-year-old beauty secret:
"In the Instagram era, it’s so easy to edit your life so that it looks perfect. But I bleach my top lip and tweeze my eyebrows and you’d never get to see that, even though it’s a part of my routine."
"There’s still so much shame around the things you do to get ready while you've got a towel wrapped around your head."
"It’s important to me not to edit that out. I’ve been bleaching my top lip since I was nine."
Anyway, she has long been open about her abhorrence of social media and obsession with meticulously curating online personas in an attempt to create a highlight reel of our lives, so her honesty doesn’t come as a surprise. She thinks that curation has a treacherous nature as you’re running the danger of posturing instead of living.
"Your whole life becomes how something looks instead of how something feels. And there's such an emptiness in that."
1 Marylin Monroe Was A Shy Girl Who Tended To Stutter
Marilyn Monroe was one of the most famous yet immensely fragile female celebrities of all time and she remains an endless inspiration for numerous biographies about her. Particularly, her adolescent years spark interest and curiosity.
Marilyn disclosed in a rare 1960 audio interview how she would stutter while speaking at various points in her life, especially during her teenage years. Sounds quite paradoxical for someone who made a living from acting in front of the camera, don’t you agree? Or perhaps she could give credit to her stuttering for her famous breathy voice which, according to The Stuttering Foundation (a nonprofit organization helping those who stutter), cultivated in response to her childhood stuttering.
Speech experts explain that even though the actress stuttered as a child, the stuttering returned to plague her speech in high school. A speech therapist taught her how deliberate breathing prior to speaking could guide her to fluency. And precisely this voice and speech technique lies at the root of Marilyn’s signature breathy speaking voice.
It goes without mentioning that her stuttering problem wasn’t of much help when it comes to building a healthy and confident disposition and she was regarded as a shy person throughout her life. Again, quite paradoxical for one of the most photographed women of all time!
References: Guardian.com, Marawilsonwritesstuff.com, Youtube.com, Rollingstone.com, Accessonline.com, Intouchweekly.com, Huffingtonpost.com, Stutteringhelp.com, Wikipedia.com, Dyslexiahelp.umich.edu, Nessy.com, Hellomagazine.com, Vogue.com, Foxnews.com, Dailymail.com, Elle.com, Boredpanda.com, Intothegloss.com, Telegraph.co.uk, Capitalfm.com, Quora.com, Marieclaire.com