9 Celebrity Stories That Prove Anybody Can Reach for the Stars
We are all driven by the need to prove to ourselves that we can achieve what we set out to do. When we look at movie stars, we can’t help but think how comfortable their lives are and imagine that the grass is greener on the other side.
However, celebrities were once ordinary people. And for some, life hasn’t always been that simple. They really had to work hard to get where they are now.
1. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger is best known for his role as the Terminator and his iconic line “I’ll be back”. But before he became Mr. Olympia and an actor, he had a difficult childhood.
He grew up in a particularly strict family that was going through a rough patch. Arnold says that his relationship with his father was complicated, as he favored his older brother. On the other hand, he always had a good relationship with his mother, with whom he was always in touch until she passed away.
2. Kelly Clarkson
Before winning the first editions of American Idol at the age of 16, Kelly had a somewhat difficult situation at home. Her parents divorced when she was 6 years old, and her father pretty much abandoned her family. In fact, one of her first hits, “Because of You”, is about her complicated relationship with him. There she expresses what she feels having an absent father.
When going through her divorce from Brandon Blackstock, Kelly announced that apart from dropping her married name, she would use another name for her private life. She clarified, “I don’t think I can change Clarkson at this point. I’m 20 years in! I just kept my middle name for my personal life. I’m still Kelly Clarkson.”
3. Shia LaBeouf
The actor began his career in the Disney Channel series Even Stevens and quickly rose to fame. According to him, fame is sometimes more about luck than talent. However, LaBeouf also talks about the difficulties he faced growing up. He lived in Los Angeles and was a victim of criticism and economic problems.
In an attempt to generate income, his father started working as a clown and got Shia involved from an early age. The actor recalls, “The shame factor didn’t exist. We would walk around the neighborhood in our clown outfits. I was having fun, because I was in the middle of an act.”
4. Terry Crews
Terry Crews may be one of the most beloved actors and TV hosts. He consolidated his image in America’s Got Talent, however, the road to stardom wasn’t simple. Crews grew up in a dysfunctional home, with a strained relationship with his father, who was often rude. That gave him the drive to become strong, so he could protect his mother.
While he trained hard to be a soccer player, he went through a rough patch and was broke. But, as people say, “desperate times call for desperate measures,” and Terry tried acting even though he never really though about being an actor. He says it was out of sheer necessity that he accepted his supporting role in White Chicks. This role launched him to fame and ended his financial problems.
5. Leonardo DiCaprio
DiCaprio is one of the most famous actors of his generation. He’s tried the big and small screens, and many other things. But his path to success was not without challenges. Leo grew up in a low-income neighborhood in Los Angeles, surrounded by troubled neighbors and suffering criticism that led him to drop out of school at age 16.
Despite everything, he says that one of the things that kept him out of trouble was the unconditional presence of his parents, who, despite having been divorced since he was a baby, were always there to support him in all his career decisions. They even took him to auditions after school from an early age.
He says his father, a comic book artist, used to give him the best life advice: “My dad always told me, ’Go out, son, do what you want to do. I don’t care if you’re successful or not, just lead an interesting life.’”
6. Sarah Jessica Parker
Perhaps, every time we see Sarah Jessica Parker, we imagine all her characters and her stylish fashion sense. Her parents divorced when she was young, and her stepfather was a truck driver who was hardly ever at home. The actress describes her childhood as one out of a Charles Dickens novel for many reasons. For example, her family had to constantly ask for state aid, rarely celebrated Christmas or birthdays and lived in a house where power outages were frequent.
Elementary school was tough. Sarah says she wore second-hand clothes and felt singled out as she was among the list of children who received free lunches. “It was a stigma. I wasn’t the only person getting a free lunch, but you’re aware that you’re different,” she says. Her mother noticed Sarah Jessica had a special talent in music and acting, so she cleaned studios in exchange for lessons for her daughter.
Cher’s fame as a singer with a unique voice and a forever youthful appearance makes one wonder how she can pull that off. But, behind the successful façade, there’s a lesser known side.
Cher had a difficult childhood. Her parents divorced when she was a baby. She met her biological father, a truck driver with legal problems, only when she was 11. In addition, her mother faced financial difficulties, forcing her to leave Cher in orphanages temporarily while her financial situation improved.
8. Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda is one of Hollywood’s most famous actresses, with an impressive acting lineage: her father, Henry Fonda, was a famous actor for decades. However, her childhood was difficult despite having a family name and an immediate presence in the industry. Her mother suffered from mental problems and was repeatedly institutionalized until she passed. Jane was 12 then.
Although Henry Fonda was a prominent figure in Hollywood, life at home was very different. Jane says that her father criticized her for her appearance and weight, which led her to struggle for years to please him and feel loved. In addition, her father was rarely at home and did not spend time with his children.
9. Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton is one of the most popular country music singers in the world, but it all started with a dream. As a little girl, she’d give concerts for farm animals in her native Tennessee. Her family was very poor and did not always have medical care nearby. She says only one doctor came on horseback when called and could be paid with whatever was on hand, not necessarily money.
She also says that her mother encouraged her to follow the path of music despite all the difficulties, such as living without electricity: “I was on television before we ever owned one, on local TV. Before we had electricity, we had an old battery radio that we used to pour water on the ground wire in order to bring it in. I love my people, I love my home, but I just wanted to do more.”