Learn From Celebrities Who Got Their Dream Family

Thursday, March 25, 2010 Posted by Shattered Paradigm

Fame and fortune are usually the first things that come to mind when it comes to celebrities. But there are some things we would never in a million years think of associating with celebrities – things like: working as a janitor, being part of an impoverished family of 14, living on welfare, getting shot, or being sexually molested.

Yet it’s early hardships such as these that have shaped and driven some of the most powerful and important celebrities in the world, including Jim Carrey, Tom Cruise, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Celine Dion and Oprah Winfrey.

Social scientists are now studying the phenomenon which suggests a link between a tough upbringing and fame.

“We all have a basic need for acceptance and approval by social groups,” says Orville Gilbert Brim, author of The Fame Motive: A Treatise on its Origin and Life Course.

“If it's not satisfied, if a person is excluded either in infancy, childhood or, in many cases, adolescence, this frustration becomes the source of a motive or a desire to become famous.”

Here, we take a look at some of the most famous rags-to-riches celebrities:


Raised in Canada, Carrey went through hard times during his early teens, when his father was laid off work. To help make ends meet, a teenage Carrey worked as both a janitor and a security guard before eventually dropping out of high school. As time passed, the situation worsened, and the family lost their home, forcing them to live in a van.


Born in the public housing projects of Harlem, Combs moved out of New York City as a child after his father was murdered. Raised upstate in Mount Vernon by his mother, who reportedly worked several jobs at the time, Combs continuously pushed himself. His big break came as a business student at Howard University, where he landed an intern gig at Uptown records and quickly made his way from the mail room to the boardroom.


Cruise’s parents (his father an engineer and his mother a special education teacher) ended their marriage when he was 12-years-old. From that time, Cruise, along with his siblings, was raised by his mother, who reportedly held down as many as four jobs at once to keep the family clothed and fed. During their long period of near-poverty, Tom’s newspaper-delivery earnings also helped put food on the table. Adding to Cruise’s troubles at the time was his struggle with dyslexia, which caused him difficulty in the classroom.


Born into an impoverished family of 14 in Charlemagne, Quebec, Dion developed a passion for the creative arts at an early age. Growing up fine-tuning her vocal skills at her parents’ small piano bar, she never lost that drive – or the desire for a better life.


Raised without a father, 50 Cent’s mother, a cocaine dealer, was reportedly found dead after being murdered when he was just 12-years-old. Suddenly orphaned, he was taken in by his grandparents and spent much of his early adulthood using and dealing drugs. To add to the rapper’s misfortune, he was shot nine times in a failed attempt on his life back in 2000.


After Rowling's short-lived marriage of just over one year ended in divorce, she moved her daughter to Edinburgh, Scotland, where she was hard at work on the first of her best-selling Harry Potter books. During that time, the struggling writer was forced to live on welfare. In fact, apart from writing the Harry Potter novels, Rowling is perhaps equally famous for her “rags to riches” life story, in which she progressed from living on welfare to multi-millionaire status within five years.


Born in poverty to a teenage single mother in rural Mississippi, Oprah was raised on her deeply religious and poverty-stricken grandmother’s farm. Motivated by a better life, Winfrey moved to Wisconsin to be with her mother. But instead, she found just the opposite. Oprah was sexually molested by her cousin, uncle and a family friend, starting from when she was just nine-years-old. She was also raped at age nine, and, at the tender age of 14, reportedly gave birth to a premature baby, who died in infancy. Shortly after, she moved to her father’s home in Nashville, where she finally found the discipline and stability she had craved for.

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