Hollywood stars seem like they've been rich and successful their entire lives, so it's always a shock to learn about celebrities who grew up poor. Often times, the famous people who light up movie and television screens are the products of real-life rags-to-riches stories. Some are celebs who grew up in trailer parks; others were homeless or lived in their cars. No matter what their origins, these famous figures are linked together by themes of hard work and perseverance.
The list of celebrities who have lived in mobile homes includes some surprising faces (Joanie from Happy Days) and some not-so-surprising faces (rapper Eminem). Their childhoods might have been marked by personal tragedy, or maybe their families simply fell on hard times. Whatever you think of these famous people who grew up in trailer parks, there's no denying that their pasts are fascinating.
Before becoming a Mickey Mouse Club member and a pop icon, Britney Spears was just regular Britney Jean. During her turbulent early years, Spears spent a lot of time hiding from her feuding parents in her aunt's trailer.
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Ryan Gosling landed a high-profile role on the Mickey Mouse Club as a kid, but his parents' divorce forced him to be a wage earner for both him and his mom.
"Most of the other Mickey Mouse Club members went to this apartment complex [in Florida], but it was too expensive for my mother and me, so we lived in this trailer park," he said.
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After being raised in a New Mexico trailer park with an alcoholic mother and abusive stepfather, Demi Moore vowed to turn her life around. At the age of 16, she dropped out of school to pursue modeling, which led her to acting jobs and eventual starring roles in box office successes like St. Elmo's Fire and About Last Night.
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After Star Trek went off the air in 1969, William Shatner divorced his wife Gloria Rand and lost most of his money due to a lack of available work. He lived out of his truck for some time before he began booking roles on TV and in movies again.
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Oscar award winner Hilary Swank was once very poor. After growing up in a trailer park, she lived in her car for a while as she looked for acting jobs to support herself and her mother.
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It's hard to imagine a time when Tyler Perry wasn't Tyler Perry, but the prolific director/producer was once an unknown playwright in Atlanta who lived out of his car. After spending his savings in the early '90s, Perry became homeless off and on for years. Then, in 1998, his play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” became a major hit.
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Musical star Debbie Reynolds faced bankruptcy in the early 1970s when her second husband, Harry Karl, lost all of her money gambling. Reynolds was forced to live out of her Cadillac for a brief period of time.
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Rap artist Eminem came from humble beginnings. His family struggled with poverty for years, and he and his mother and brother lived in a Detroit trailer park before he got his big break at age 23.
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