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10 Celebrities Who Ran Away From Home

Celebs August 30, 2017 By Hugo

Growing up is never easy no matter how rich or poor your family is because the problems children and teenagers face are relative, and that can sometimes lead youngsters to run away from the only life they know.

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Of course, in 99.9% of cases, they soon come to their senses and realize that a life of free rent and meals isn't actually that bad. For these 10 celebrities, however, they plucked up the courage to follow through with their thoughts and against all the odds; went on to achieve other-worldly success.

Here are 10 extraordinary examples of celebrities who ran away from home and never looked back. 

1. Robert Downey Jr

Most people know of the troubled childhood this talented actor endured at the hands of his abusive, alcoholic father and Robert would ultimately leave him in the apartment they shared in Santa Monica aged just 16 to pursue a career in acting.

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Infamously, Downey admitted that his father allowed him to smoke marijuana at the age of just 6, and thought that drugs were the only time his father could open up to him and express his love. 

The Ironman actor would later be plagued by drink and drug problems himself, and in his more formative years as an actor, spent time in prison.

2. Johnny Depp 

Johnny Depp is one cool stud, so it's not all too surprising that he decided to run away from home during his high school days and attempt to achieve his childhood dream of becoming a rock star.

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Funnily enough, Depp decided to go back two weeks later, but after discussing the matter with his principal, he told Depp to follow his dream of becoming a musician instead. 

Unfortunately for Depp, he never did become a rock star, but after a chance meeting with an up-and-coming actor by the name of Nicholas Cage, he put him in touch with his agent who landed Depp a string of jobs immediately after seeking his services.

3. Steve McQueen

The late and legendary actor Steve McQueen famously ran away from home at the age of 14 following years of sustained abuse from his stepfather, who he described as someone who "was a prime son of a bitch."

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Leaving his stepfather's farm without even saying goodbye, McQueen would join a traveling circus before drifting back to his stepfather, who later admitted him to a boarding school for troubled boys. After graduating aged 16, he did a series of odd jobs, which included being a "towel boy" at a brothel before breaking into acting.

4. Colonel Sanders 

The global success of the fast-food outlet Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is one of America's greatest rags-to-riches story because for most of Colonel Sanders' life; he was homeless.

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In fact, the late visionary left home when he was just 13 to work on a nearby farm after a tumultuous relationship with his stepfather, who married his mother shortly after his father's death.

5. Lance Henrikson

Seasoned horror actor Lance Henrikson ran away from his single-parent home aged only 12 and lived as a drifter for many years before enrolling in the United States Navy between 1955-958.

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Because of his troubled childhood, Henrikson claims he didn't learn to read until he was 30-years-old after studying various film scripts.

6. Harry Houdini

Arguably the most famous escape artist and magician to ever have been, Harry Houdini knew he wanted to perform magic tricks and stunts at a very young age and, as such, ran away from home by hopping onto a passing freight train and eventually making it to Missouri. He was reunited with his father eventually, and they moved to New York.

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Out of work, his father and he had to panhandle on the streets, and it wasn't until he was 17 that Houdini began his professional career.

7. The Weeknd 

Abel Tesfaye, who goes by the stage name The Weeknd, left the council-owned apartment he shared with his single mother aged only 17 and described the look on his mother's face as she watched himself and best friend Lamar leave. "She looked at me like she had failed," he recalled to Tom Lamont of The Guardian.

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In the years that followed, Abel and Lamar would claim benefits and sell soft drugs on the side, all while partying to the extreme, a period that perhaps unwittingly served as a muse to the nihilistic lyrics that characterized his first three mixtapes. He even admitted to getting into fights at the local bars on Toronto's hipster enclave street, Queen Street, and, according to the lyrics on the record Beauty Behind The Madness, even stole a person's trainers. 

Abel also described his homeless period in an early fan forum with Reddit users. "I left home when I was about 17 dropped out of high school and convinced Lamar [XO crew member] to do the same lol. We grabbed our mattresses from our parents threw it in our friend's s****y van and left one weekend and never came back." 

8. Kurt Cobain

The iconic grunge rocker's road to superstardom was befitting of his scruffy, nonchalant attitude, with a young Cobain sleeping rough under various bridges and surfing on friends' sofas after he dropped out of high school and left home. This came about after being given a choice by his mother to either find employment or leave the house following his decision to flunk high school.

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Five years later and after years of touring in sparsely populated venues, Cobain and his Nirvana bandmates released their debut album Nevermind. Their albums have since gone on to sell over 75m copies worldwide.

9. Ben Franklin 

One of America's most famous historical figures ran away from his family home in Boston aged 17. The future founding father would then set sail to nearby New York City. From there, he walked to Philadelphia.

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Upon arriving, Franklin lived on the streets until his future wife’s family took him into their care.

10. Lil Kim

Lil Kim’s earlier life, if you've ever listened to her fiery lyrics, wasn't comfortable. With little other choices, her mother left her abusive father when she was just 8, and the two found themselves thrust into homelessness.

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In fact, they lived out of the trunk of her mom’s car until Kim decided to move back in with her father. Instead of looking after her, however, he was often cruel and kicked her out when she was still only a teen. This predicament forced Kim to find any shelter she could until a chance encounter with the Notorious BIG gave her a lucrative career in the hip-hop industry. 


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