13 Successful People Who Overcame Homelessness

Written by Peter Jones

People so often make assumptions about what homelessness is and means and who falls victim to it. Similarly, they make opposite assumptions about success. Before you decide you know what either means in life, consider this list of rich and famous people who formerly struggled with homelessness.

1. J Lo

When Jennifer Lopez left her mother’s house when she was 18 to become a dancer and lived on her own, some nights sleeping on a cot in a dance studio until she caught her big break.

2. Steve Jobs

You might not realize that Steve Jobs was a college dropout. He was also homeless for a brief period, having relinquished his dorm room. Leaving college was ultimately the right call for him, but he did have to spend a while collecting soda bottles to be able to afford to buy food for himself.

3. Jewel

Jewel lived out of her car as a teenager, and only pulled herself out of that situation when she got her first record deal.

4. Sylvester Stallone

Before Rocky, the film star found himself homeless and had to sell his dog for $50. After he sold the script, he bought his best friend back for $3,000.

5. Halle Berry

When struggling to make it as an actress, Halle Berry spent time in a homeless shelter. She went on to win an Academy Award.

6. Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt reportedly spent time living out of a van in Hawaii until he launched his career with Cursed Part 3.

7. Jim Carrey

Maybe his great sense of humor comes from the fact that he and his family lived in a VW bus they parked all throughout Canada when he dropped out of high school. They even spent a while living in a tent on his sister’s lawn with their van parked in her driveway.

8. Dr. Phil

Mr. Self Help himself was once homeless, and living in a car with his father in Kansas City as his father completed an internship in psychology.

9. Suze Orman

Would you believe the financial self help star was homeless for four months in 1973 and lived out of her car? She’s worth about $35 million now.

10. Daniel Craig

Bond, James Bond used to have to sleep on park benches when he was a struggling actor in London. He’s now 46 and worth over $65 million.

11. Ella Fitzgerald

Ella had some very hard times as a young woman. And indeed was homeless for a period of time just before she headlined at the Apollo theatre in Harlem and debuting her career in 1934.

12. Hillary Swank

When she moved to LA to start her acting career, she and her mother slept in their car.

13. Kelly Clarkson

The American Idol star lost her first LA apartment to a fire and had to live out of her car or in shelters before her big audition.

About the author

Peter Jones