10 Famous Celebrities Who Went From Rags To Riches

Celebrities are personalities that are celebrated not just for the fame that they managed to garner in their area of craft, but also for the amount of money they have been able to amass in comparison to from where they started. A transformation like this has always been a true motivation for everyone setting out to go places in their area of the domain and make a dent in it. It is highly inspiring if a person went from rags to riches. In this article, we will be looking at 10 such celebrities who had humble beginnings, but managed to prove their mettle in the chosen field and went on to become wealthy.

10. Halle Berry

Hell Berry

Halle Berry is famous and had a successful acting career but many do not know her childhood. She was raised in a poor family by a single mother. She admitted that she lived in a homeless shelter in New York. This was during her initial days as a budding actress. Halle Berry’s mother refused to lend her money when she needed the most and was forced to live without a roof. To earn some extra bucks, she had worked as a bartender and she was fired from there. A girl who was so poor and needy went on to win the 2002 Academy Award for Best Actress. Halle Berry was the first black women to win this prestigious award. She was also the highest paid actress during the 2000s. The ageless beauty has also had ventured into modeling and beauty contests in the past.

9. Jay-Z


Shawn Corey Carter, popularly known by his stage name Jay-Z, is an acclaimed rapper of all time. He is estimated to have a net worth of $900 million, and that makes him one of the wealthiest musicians in the world. It would be difficult for anyone to digest the fact that this multi-millionaire once sold crack cocaine for money during his adolescence. He was raised in public housing project-Marcy houses as his father had abandoned the family and his mother had to raise four kids. A boom box that his mother gave him for his birthday sparked his interest in music, and the rest is just history. His debut album Reasonable Doubt received the platinum status and was ranked 248th in Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time

8. Celine Dion

Celine Dion

Dion might have been raised in a poor household, but she managed to have a happy childhood, thanks to her parent’s upbringing. Even though she was born into a large household, since music was part of the Dion family’s lifestyle, it became a great platform for Celine to hone her singing abilities. Rene Angelil decided to nurture her tender talent after her brother sent him a recording of her first song. She soon shot to fame with numerous hits to her credit. All this finally gave her the much-needed financial acclaim and more importantly the recognition that she deserved as a gifted singer.

7. Eminem


The king of Hip-Hop, Marshal Mathers, is no stranger to difficulties and hardships in life. Eminem grew up in a primarily black, Detroit neighborhood where he was constantly beaten up by black youth several times and was a victim of bullying. To add-on to the trauma, there was very little money at home and the relationship that he shared with his mother was rarely stable. He dropped out of school and worked odd jobs to help his mother pay bills. He struggled to achieve the traction in the underground hip-hop scene since it was dominated primarily by the youth of the black community. Despite the struggles, he was beginning to garner recognition and what happened from there is just history. Eminem didn’t stop facing hardships in life, but he was financially stable. His net worth is estimated at around $100 million.

6. Hilary Swank

Hilary Swank

The broken marriage of parents along with financial difficulties is more than sufficient to wreck the tender mind of a child. That’s exactly what happened to Hilary in her childhood, but fortunately, she was forged with an iron heart to succeed in life. After her parents separated, Hilary and her mom were living out of their car until her mother could save enough money to move into an apartment. Swank acted in numerous roles in movies of different genres but received the much-needed recognition and financial acclaim only after her 2004 movie Million Dollar Baby. Many do not know that she owns a pilot license to fly.

5. John Rockefeller

John D. Rockefeller

Rockefeller is a famous character in the history of America. He is seen as a filthy rich businessman in America and around the world. He is often considered as the wealthiest American of all time and the richest person in modern history. Many do not know that he is from a poor family. His father earned the family’s living by cutting trees and then selling sweets. Rockefeller was a small boy helping his father to sell sweets. In the early days of his life, he quit his school and becomes a bookmaker. He was bored with his work and enters the oil industry. He finds that refining the crude oil is where the money is.

In 1863, Rockefeller puts all his earnings into a refinery at the age of 24. Slow and still struggling, he buys out all his competitors and becomes a monopoly in the business. Then further proceeds to become a powerful person in the world. Today, he is still remembered for his raw wealth.

4. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

The legendary Cristiano Ronaldo grew up in a poor family. His father was a gardener and mother was a cook. He grew up in a home which was Catholic and impoverished. He had to share his room with all his three elder siblings. His father was a part-time kit man. As a kid, Cristiano Ronaldo played for an amateur team by name Andorinha where his father was working as a kit man. He played from 1992 to 1995 for the team.

His first big income was £1,500 when he went on a three-day trial with Sporting CP in 1997. He was only 12 at this time. Around the age of 14, he came to know that he was capable of playing semi-professional football. He decided to drop-out from his studies and concentrate on football. He told his mother about it and she agreed. Slowly, he became one of the world’s richest and best-paid athletes.

3. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is the perfect example of someone who was born straight into poverty. Her childhood situation was so dire that she had no proper clothing and was sometimes depending on dresses that were made out of potato sacks. Oprah received the break in her life when the show that she was hosting AM Chicago became the highest-rated talk show in Chicago. After being persuaded by Roger Ebert to enter into a syndicate deal with King World, AM Chicago was renamed into The Oprah Winfrey show and has been considered the highest-rated daytime talk show in American television history. The success of the show and her involvement in other business deals has helped her amass the net worth of $2.9 Billion dollars as of September 2018.

2. Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone

As far as wrestling movies are concerned, if there is one character that is etched in every fan’s heart, it is Rocky Balboa from the Rocky series. How can anyone forget Stallone who did complete justice to the role with his fighting and acting skills? Before Stallone shot to fame with this character, he faced numerous hurdles in his life and none of them were even remotely easy. Out of sheer desperation for money, he even went to the extent of acting in an adult movie for a mere $200 for two days. Stallone’s life was once stricken with poverty and he was struggling to make ends meet. This changed in the year 1976 when the first Rocky movie was released. Since then he hasn’t had to look back.

1. Howard Schultz

Howard Schultz

In the United States, Starbucks is a coffee outlet that the majority of the population relies on a great start in the morning. If it wasn’t for Howard Schultz’s vision and leadership, Starbucks wouldn’t have grown to such a scale and achieved the market share that it has as of 2018. Schultz was born into a poor family and to escape the negativity surrounding poverty, he channeled his energy into sports, which eventually helped him get a scholarship to go to college. Post his graduation from college, he worked in sales for a bit before working with Starbucks in their marketing division.

After a point, the owners of Starbucks refused to entertain some of his strategies which led to his exit from Starbucks. This motivated him to start his own coffee outlet and it grew massively under his leadership. He later bought Starbucks from its original owners and expanded it aggressively, globally. In addition to Starbucks, Schultz was also the owner of the Seattle SuperSonics and Seattle Storm. As of April 2017, his net worth stood at $3.1 Billion.