Famous People Who Were Once Homeless

Updated on June 19, 2018
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Rev. Margaret Minnicks writes for HubPages and Blasting News. She loves sharing interesting information with people all over the world.

Many celebrities were homeless such as Halle Berry and Daniel Craig.
Many celebrities were homeless such as Halle Berry and Daniel Craig.

Some of your favorite celebrities were homeless

Some of your favorite television personalities were once homeless. When we see them today, we admire them for their success. However, they haven't already been successful and living in mansions. In fact, everyone on the list below had no home at all for a period of time.

You might be shocked to know that while many celebrities have high paying jobs today, they didn't get there overnight. Many celebrities have experienced homelessness while they were trying to find a job.

Many of them used their struggles to inspire them to set goals for themselves and follow their dreams to become successful. Their stories should motivate others to do the same thing.

Below is a list of celebrities who were homeless, according to the Huffington Post and other research references. The names are in alphabetical order.

Halle Berry was once homeless.
Halle Berry was once homeless.

Halle Berry

Did you know that the beautiful and talented Halle Berry once stayed in a homeless shelter while pursuing a modeling career? According to the Current Biography Yearbook, while in New York she had no place to live. She slept in a homeless shelter and then in a YMCA until she could afford another place to live.

Berry asked her mother for help, but because her own mother refused to assist her, Berry learned a very important lesson that motivated her to launch her career.

The 51-year-old actress won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the romantic drama Monster's Ball that was released in 2001. As of 2018, Berry is the only black woman to have won that award.

Daniel Craig

When you see the English actor Daniel Craig playing the role of James Bond, you wouldn't think he was once homeless and slept on park benches in London until he got acting jobs.

The 50-year-old actor has been famous for his role as the British agent James Bond 007 since 2005. Now he doesn't have to sleep on park benches unless he just wants to do so.

Drew Carey

One of our favorite television game show hosts is Drew Carey of the long-running show The Price Is Right. According to background information about his life, he once couldn't afford a place to live or food to eat.

At a young age, while living in Las Vegas, Carey was homeless and searched for spare change to get food. He sold plasma for $40 and scraped together money to buy boxed macaroni and cheese. He eventually got back on his feet and today the 59-year-old television host is seen and loved by millions.

Jim Carrey

When Jim Carrey was a teenager living in Canada with his parents, they fell on hard times and the family slept in a VW van. When Carrey was older, he camped out in a tent the lawn of one of his older sisters.

Today, the 56-year-old actor and comedian doesn't have money problems because of his successful career.

Jim Cramer

Jim Cramer is a familiar face on CNBC. When he was younger, someone broke into his apartment and stole everything he had. Cramer had nothing left and no place else to go. So he began living out of his car.

After he saved up enough money, he got a new place to live. The 63-year-old determined man launched his career. Today, the television personality is a successful hedge fund manager and a television host.

Carmen Electra

Carmen Electra was born Tara Leigh Patrick. The 46-year-old television personality is better known by her stage name. She was once Prince's girlfriend and the wife of Dennis Rodman for a short time. Rodman had the marriage annulled after nine days because he claimed he was not in his right mind when they got married in a little chapel in Las Vegas. She was engaged to and married several other men, but none of the relationships lasted including a two-month relationship with Simon Cowell.

At one time. Carmen lost all her money and ended up living on the streets of Hollywood.

Tiffany Haddish

Tiffany Haddish once lived out of her car.
Tiffany Haddish once lived out of her car.

Tiffany Haddish is a 38-year-old comedian and actress who used to live out of her car in Beverly Hills while she was trying to make it in Hollywood. She was rather an unknown before her breakthrough role in Girls Trip in 2017.

When comedian Kevin Hart found out that Haddish was living out of her car, he gave her $300 so she could get a hotel room for a week. That was all the cash he had on hand at the time. He also gave her some advice on how to get out of her situation.

Steve Harvey lived out of his car for three years.
Steve Harvey lived out of his car for three years.

Steve Harvey

Today, Steve Harvey is very successful with several television shows including the daytime talk show bearing his name and his radio show. He hosts Family Feud and Little Big Shots. He has had other prestigious hosting jobs such as hosting the Miss Universe pageant two consecutive years. Those are a lot of jobs now, but Harvey has not kept it a secret that he was homeless and lived out of his 1976 Ford for three years and lived on bologna sandwiches back in the late 80s.

During that time, Harvey would shower at gas stations and swimming pools to go to small standup comedian gigs until he made enough money to get a room. Today, at 61, Steve Harvey is worth millions and lives in a mansion.

Djimon Hounsou

Djimon Hounsou is a 53-year-old Beninese model and actor who began his career by appearing in music videos. When he was 12 years old, he moved to France and dropped out of school. He became homeless and for two years, he slept in subways, on the streets, and camped near the Eiffel Tower.

When living on the streets, he had a chance meeting with a photographer who put him in touch with a fashion designer. He was encouraged to pursue modeling and he did become a well-established model in Paris in 1987 before moving to America in 1990.

Jewel was homeless before she became successful.
Jewel was homeless before she became successful.

Jewel

She was born Jewel Kilcher, but today she is so famous people know her by only her first name. Before that happened, back in the early 90s, she lived out of her car while making a name for herself in music. She got better living conditions after she signed her first record deal.

The 43-year-old singer is also an actress, songwriter, musician, producer, actress, author, and poet.

Steve Jobs

Most people would never associate Steve Jobs with homelessness. He had a dormitory room until he dropped out of Reed College. When he became homeless, he slept on the floor of his friend's dorm room. He collected soda bottles to earn money for food and at other times, he ate some meals at a temple.

When he died in 2011 at age 53, he was one of the richest men in the United States. That's because he was the co-founder and CEO of Apple.

'Lil Kim

'Lil Kim was born Kimberly Denise Jones. As an adolescent, she spent most of her time living on the streets in Brooklyn, New York after she dropped out of high school and her father expelled her from home.

Earlier than that, 'Lil Kim lived in a car with her mother. In other words, the petite rapper was homeless twice.

Today, the rapper has a successful career and is a philanthropist. She donates money to her favorites charities.

David Letterman was once homeless and live out of his car.
David Letterman was once homeless and live out of his car.

David Letterman

Like so many other celebrities before they got their first break, David Letterman lived out of his car when he first started out. The 71-year-old became a successful late night talk show host.

Letterman hosted the Late Night with David Letterman for 33 years that included 6,028 episodes surpassing friend and mentor Johnny Carson. Letterman was the longest-serving late night talk show host in American television history.

Jennifer Lopez was once homeless
Jennifer Lopez was once homeless

Jennifer Lopez

The two most shocking homeless people on the list are Halle Berry and Jennifer Lopez. It is almost hard to phantom that Jennifer was ever homeless, but she was. Her mother wanted her to go to college. Instead, Jennifer chose a career as a dancer.

Lopez's mother put her out of the home when she was 18 years old. Since she had no place else to go, Jennifer slept on a cot in a dance studio until she got her first major gig.

Today, the 48-year-old singer, actress, dancer, and producer is worth millions. Instead of sleeping in a dance studio, the superstar had beds in her mansion to sleep in.

Dr. Phil was once homeless.
Dr. Phil was once homeless.

Dr. Phil McGraw

Phillip Calvin McGraw, known to viewers as Dr. Phil was homeless as a child. Who would have thought that he was ever homeless? The 67-year-old popular talk show host came from a poor background. Reports indicate that he spent part of his childhood living with his father in their car and sometimes staying at the YMCA whenever they could find space there.

Today, the television personality, author, psychologist, and host of the 16-year-old Dr. Phil show has earnings over $70 million and ranked among the15 highest earning celebrities in the world. Dr. Phil doesn't have to sleep in a car or stay at a YMCA these days.

Heather Mills

Heather Mills is a familiar model and activist, but when she was a teenager she was homeless. She ran away from home and was known to live in the arches at London Waterloo. After the 50-year-old English media personality became successful, she has never been homeless again.

Mills' younger sister, Fiona, admitted their family was always short of money and their father demanded that the children find food and clothes on their own so they turned to shoplifting.

The ex-wife of Sir Paul McCartney lost her left leg due to a collision with a police motorcycle in London in 1993; however, that did not keep her from performing on "Dancing with the Stars" with a prosthetic limb even though it did come off during one of her dance routines.

Tyler Perry was homeless not once but twice.
Tyler Perry was homeless not once but twice.

Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry, who was born Emmitt Perry, Jr., is the writer, producer, and director of several television shows and movies that are being aired at the same time. He has an estimated net worth of $400 million, but that has not always been the case.

The 48-year-old playwright struggled when he was getting started with his career. In fact, he was homeless and lived out of his car on and off from 1992 through 1998. He became homeless first when he dropped out of high school and again when he was 22 years old. Perry never went back to high school, but he did eventually receive his GED.

When people watch his movies, they have no idea what Perry went through when he was younger. He attempted suicide to avoid his father's beatings. Instead of killing himself, at age 16 he legally had his name changed to distance himself from the father who beat him a lot.

Before her Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling was homeless.
Before her Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling was homeless.

J.K. Rowling

Joanne Rowling, who writes under the pen name J.K. Rowling, was so depressed after her mother died and while going through a divorce that she ended up homeless. It was not until she wrote the first book in the Harry Potter series that things began to get better.

Today the 52-year-old British novelist, screenwriter, and producer is worth millions and she can live anywhere she wants.

Sylvester Stallone

When people think of Sylvester Stallone, they can't help but think of the Rocky series. The life of the 71-year-old writer and actor is truly a rag to riches story.

His Rocky series was rejected dozens of times, and when they were accepted Stallone was asked not to have a starring role in them. When he was trying to get his career off the ground, he became homeless and slept at the Port Authority bus station in New York City for three weeks. To get money to survive, he sold his dog for $50. One week later, his stript was sold and he bought his dog back for $3,000.

Hilary Swank

Hilary Swank turned out to have a successful acting career, but it was a struggle for her to get to that point. When she was 15, her parents separated, and her mother moved with her to Los Angeles. They lived out of the mother's car until a friend helped them friend a place to stay.

The 43-year-old actress explained that she grew up feeling like an outsider. She felt like she belonged only when she pretended to be someone else like the characters in books she read or in movies she saw. So she became an actress to be one of them.

Shania Twain

When 52-year-old Shania Twain perform on stage, she is far from the homeless shelter in Toronto, Canada where she lived with her mother and siblings when she was 13 years old. Her real name is Eileen Regina Edwards who came from humble beginnings. Often there was not enough food in the house for the family.

Having sold over 100 million records Twain is one of the best-selling female artists in the country music business.

Many more

There are many more celebrities who struggled and were homeless before they launched their careers. Some of them don't mind talking about it because it motivated them to get to where they are today. Others don't feel comfortable mentioning their homelessness because it is a reminder of bad memories.

Hopefully, people who are struggling today will be inspired by knowing that some of their favorite celebrities were once in the same position but through hard work and determination, they are living in mansions today instead of living out of their cars or on the streets.

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    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      3 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Eric and Dora, thanks for reading and commenting on my article about famous people who were once homeless. My aim for writing the article was to show that some of the celebrities we love and admire struggled to succeed. That should inspire others to follow their dreams and not give up.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 months ago from The Caribbean

      Wow! Seems that there is no excuse for the able-bodied not getting ahead. Thanks for the information.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very interesting and inspiring

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