17 Stars Who Used To Be Homeless

Celebs November 6, 2017 By Vincent

We all know their faces from TV and Movies, sometimes we are more accustomed to hearing their voices on the radio but these stars undoubtedly are global forces with seriously impressive bank balances to back that fact up but that doesn't always mean that they started out that way. Of course, many of the rich and famous had humble beginnings but at least most of them had a roof over their heads. However, some of these well-known names didn't even have that luxury and here we look at a few who were homeless for a period before making a name for themselves.

1. Chris Pratt

The hottest actor on the block right now, Chris Pratt has starred in Guardians of The Galaxy and  Jurassic World as well as the Parks and Rec TV show that launched him into the mainstream but it wasn't always multi-million dollar roles and glitzy award ceremonies for Pratt who took a one-way ticket out to Hawaii on offer from a friend and then spent a period living out of a van whilst waiting tables.

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When a director took note of his good looks he was cast in Cursed Part III and was flown out to Los Angeles where he continued to struggle for a while longer but at least had a foot in the door.

2. James Cameron

The man who brought us two of the biggest films of all time in Titanic and Avatar was once living out of his car as a destitute scriptwriter struggling to make ends meet. When trying to pitch his screenplay of The Terminator he was offered money for it but he refused to sell it unless he was made the director of the projector and many studios refused to take the risk.

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Eventually, he sold the screenplay for just $1 to producer Gale Anne Hurd in return for him being named the director and the film went on to make $77m worldwide and spawn a huge franchise and launch Cameron's ridiculously successful career.

3. Jim Carrey

Canadian-American comedian and comic film star Jim Carrey saw his father lose his job and the family having to move into a VW camper van due to financial struggles that also led to a period where they camped on his elder sister's front lawn. Despite this, the family was always supportive of Carrey's showbiz aspirations although sometimes lacking the finances to help out.

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Eventually, the family resolved their issues and Carrey's career took off after his father would drive him to comedy clubs and help him come up with an act. Getting TV recognition he then shot to fame as a film star in pieces such as Dumb and Dumber, Man On The Moon and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

4. Halle Berry

In 2002, Halle Berry won an Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Monster's Ball, which made her the only woman of color to win a Best Actress Academy Award to date, as of 2016. A massive movie star known for films in the X-Men franchise, the James Bond film Die Another Day and the thriller Swordfish.


Although critically acclaimed and with fame and riches to her name, Berry spent a period in a homeless shelter as a young 21-year-old, she had just moved to New York and run out of money and had to spend a stint in the shelter.

5. Dr. Phil

Phil McGaw is best known as TV psychologist Dr. Phil but when aged 12, he lived out of a car with his father who had little money to support the pair as he interned as a Psychologist. Eventually, his father got full-time paying work and Phil followed him into the same line of work and joined his father's firm after acquiring his own bachelor's degree and Ph.D.


It was during this time that he was invited onto Oprah's daytime TV show due to his expertise, friendly demeanor and charming Texan drawl. Eventually, he got his own syndicated show and became the star he is today.

6. Suze Orman

An Emmy-award winning financial advisor who has had several best selling books published leading to her becoming a multi-millionaire, Suze Orman once had to spend a few months living out the back of her van in 1973 as she took jobs clearing trees alongside a friend who also shared the van with her.

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Now she tells people how to spend their money wisely and avoid getting into tough situations that she found herself in.

7. Daniel Craig

Current James Bond and critically acclaimed actor Daniel Craig may now be one of the top-earning actors in the world and a huge name to boot but whilst living in London, he was a struggling actor who was waiting on tables and occasionally spending nights on park benches as he had nowhere else to go.

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 Now rubbing shoulders with the Queen of England herself in a skit for the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, Daniel certainly has come a long way since those early days and cold nights.

8. Ella Fitzgerald

Arguably the finest Jazz singer of her time, Ella Fitzgerald lived a life that involved her winning 13 Grammy awards and receiving medals from presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush having sung for Ronald Reagan in 1981. However, she ran away from home in early life and spent a period homeless until she debuted at the Apollo Theater in 1934.

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So lauded was she that 9 years after her death she received a US postal stamp with her face on.

9. Chris Gardner

Millionaire Chris Gardner spent years pursuing a career in finance despite having no experience in the field or even a college degree. He received a spot in the Dean Witter Reynolds training program but the salary was not enough to support himself, his wife or his young son and so his wife left him.


Now he as two New York Times bestselling books under his belt: his autobiography "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be." A film of his life was made, starring Will Smith, called The Pursuit of Happyness and now he is a motivational speaker and CEO of Gardner Rich LLC.

10. Jewel

The American singer-songwriter who is now a multi-platinum and award-winning singer was fired from her job by her boss because she refused to sleep with him and so she couldn't afford to pay rent. Continuing to write songs, she would perform at coffee shops and gained a loyal following until she ended up securing a record label deal.

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Her first album Pieces of You went on to become one of the biggest-selling albums of all time shifting 12 million copies.

11. Michael Oher

NFL football player Michael Oher spent time living on the streets whilst his mother fell into crack addiction and lived in public housing. Eventually adopted by a wealthy family, Oher was encouraged to pursue his football dreams by his foster parents and went on to play college football at the University of Mississippi, and drafted into the NFL in 2009 for the Baltimore Ravens.

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His story was made into a book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game before going on to become a movie called The Blind Side which won Sandra Bullock an Oscar for the portrayal of his foster mother.

12. Jennifer Lopez

Jenny from the block was living with her mother who wanted her to go to college but when she refused, saying she wanted to become an actor and dancer, she moved out at 18 and slept on the sofa of the dance studio where she practiced. A few months later she managed to land a job dancing in Europe.


Later she would perform in several stage shows singing, dancing and acting and eventually landed film roles as well as launching a hugely successful music career.

13. 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.


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.

14. Steve Harvey

The comedian and television personality is all over the place nowadays with his own talk show, presenting gigs on Family Fortunes and even a slot hosting The Miss Universe Pageant. However, when starting out in stand-up comedy, the work did not come as thick and fast as it does now and Harvey spent three years living out of his car.

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Getting his big break on Showtime At The Apollo Harvey ever looked back.

15. Hilary Swank

Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank grew up in a trailer park in California and was eventually left homeless after her mother couldn't afford to pay rent and she was pursuing and acting career so they stayed in their car or in an empty house a friend was trying to sell at night but having to be gone during the day.

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Winning two best actress Oscars before she was 30, Swank is now a highly lauded and in-demand actress.

16. Charlie Chaplin

The silent film star was put out onto the streets with his elder brother after the death of his father and his mother was institutionalized. Learning his trade on the streets of London, Charlie moved into entertainment after following his parent's footsteps and managed to land roles in several smash-hit films of the era.

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Now, Chaplin is widely regarded as one of the greatest stars of the silent film age.

17. Drew Carey

Living on the streets of Las Vegas for some time, Drew Carey would sell plasma for $40 a time so he could buy food. Eventually, his comedy career took off and he used that as a launch pad to get into television and writing and now he is a multimillionaire and philanthropist with his own sitcom and a share in a Major League Soccer Team.

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He also has a best-selling book about his early life and career.

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