10 Celebrities Who Grew Up Dirt Poor

Leighton Meester

Leighton Meester Attends Biotherm Event In ChinaChic and polished celebrity Leighton Meester was actually born in a Texas prison while her mother served time for drug smuggling.

Though Meester's mother was allowed to spend 12 weeks in a halfway house with newborn Leighton, she was soon sent back to jail, and Meester lived with her grandmother in Florida until her mother was released.

Meester is now worth an estimated $5 million.


Celine Dion

FFN_IMAGE_51276286|FFN_SET_60072721Celine Dion was the youngest of 14 children and grew up in a low-income French Canadian family, entertaining at her parents' piano bar, where her father earned just $160 a week to support his 16-member family.

Her big break came when she and her family sent a self-composed song to music manager Rene Angelil. Moved to tears by her voice, he mortgaged his house to pay for her first record, and continued coaching her all through her life.

The two are now married, and Dion is now estimated to be worth $400 million.


Shania Twain

Shania Twain's Welcome Event at Caesar's PalaceThe young Shania Twain was raised in a violent household in bitterly cold Timmins, Ontario, where she grew up with three siblings, impoverished and often suffering from hunger.

When Twain turned 21, her mother and stepfather were in a fatal car accident, and Twain sang in local resorts to support her three younger siblings.

After her siblings were old enough to move out on their own, Twain's showcased her songs and singing abilities and caught the attention of a few labels, including Mercury Nashville Records, which would go on to sign her and give her the platform she needed to become a star.

Twain is now estimated to have a net worth of $350 million.


Jim Carrey

The 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards Press Room in LAIt may just be Jim Carrey's world-famous sense of humor that kept him going during his tough beginnings.

Born and raised in Canada, Carrey dropped out of high school when his father was laid off to help pay the bills. Carrey worked as both a janitor and a security guard, but his family eventually lost their home despite his efforts, and were forced to live in a van.

When Carrey moved to the U.S., he struggled on the comedy circuit in Los Angeles before breaking it big in his first television show, "In Living Color."

He is now estimated to earn approximately $20 million per film.


Tom Cruise

"Oblivion" - Los Angeles PremiereCruise was raised in Ottawa, Canada, and became involved in drama during the fourth and fifth grade, but moved the to the U.S. after his parents divorced.

Despite the transition, Cruise's talent continued to flourish, and while he aspired to be a Catholic priest (his family was raised Catholic), he became an actor and first appeared in films at the age of 19, and is now worth $250 million.

Cruise's upbringing wasn't without difficulty however. While Celine Dion describes her beginnings as happy, Cruise recalls growing up in near poverty and being abused by his father, whom Cruise now describes as a bully and coward.


Demi Moore

Demi Moore and Eva Longoria at Variety's 3rd Annual Power of Women Luncheon in LADemi Moore was born is Roswell, New Mexico, and raised in a trailer park by her alcoholic mother and stepfather.

She witnessed domestic violence at home, and had an unstable upbringing, moving more than 30 times because of her stepfather, who frequently changed jobs.

By 16, Moore had moved out and signed with the Elite Modeling Agency, working in Europe as a pin-up girl, later to become a successful actress after a brief but controversial stint posing for nude photographs.

She is now worth $150 million.

Credit: Juan Rico/Fame Pictures

Leonardo DiCaprio

The 86th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals A7Leonardo DiCaprio had a very bare childhood, living with his mother, who worked multiple jobs to support the family in several seedy Los Angeles neighborhoods. He went on to graduate from high school and had already begun acting at an early age, landing an ad for Matchbox Cars at 14.

He is now worth $200 million.


Sarah Jessica Parker

"city.ballet" Series New York PremiereSarah Jessica Parker, raised in an Ohio coal-mining town, was the youngest of four children, born to struggling parents who would go on to divorce when she was 2. After her mother remarried, four more children would be born, and the family had difficulty getting by, as her mother was a housewife, and her stepfather was a truck driver.

However, Parker's talent lead her to land her first Broadway role at 11, and at 16 she would move to Hollywood to appear in her first TV show, "Square Pegs." Parker is reportedly worth $90 million today.


Jay Z

Jay Z Performs in ParisJay Z grew up humbly in Brooklyn's Marcy Housing Projects, and was involved in crime while growing up, shooting his brother int he arm at age 12 for stealing his jewelry.

As a teen, Jay Z sold drugs to make ends meet, and become a rapper which would prove to be his most lucrative move, as he is now reportedly worth $550 million.


Oprah Winfrey

The 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - ArrivalsOprah Winfrey, who was raised by her grandmother, was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother. Winfrey has spoken about experiencing significant hardship as a child, and the fact that she was raped at the age of 9 and became pregnant at 14 (her son died in infancy).

When Winfrey was sent to live with her father in Tennessee, Winfrey found employment in the radio field while still in high school, and would begin her journalism career working as a co-anchor for the local evening news at 19.

She is now worth $2.9 billion.