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12 Famous People Who Grew Up Rich, And 12 Who Are Actually Self-Made


I was today years old when I learned Sigourney Weaver’s dad was the president of NBC.

1.

Self-Made: Hilary Swank


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The actor grew up in a trailer park in Washington State. She told Together magazine, “I had a roof over my head and I had food, and so it wasn’t that being poor and having those experiences was a negative. The negative part of it was learning about class at such a young age, not from my friends, but from my friend’s parents, who would say, ‘You aren’t to hang out with her.’ At 6 years old, to have a parent say, ‘You’re not welcome in our home, you need to go.'”


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2.

Grew Up Rich: Cara Delevingne


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The English model’s family is full of titles, powerful connections, and even ties to the royal family. On her mom’s side, her grandmother was a lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret, and her grandfather was a knighted publishing mogul. On her dad’s side, her grandmother was an aristocrat, and her grandfather was a stockbroker and a friend of the then–Prince of Wales. Her father was a property developer, and her godmother is English actor Dame Joan Collins.


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3.

Self-Made: Nicki Minaj


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The rapper’s family moved from Trinidad to New York when she was 5 years old. During an interview with Rolling Stone, Nicki said, “I would go in my room and kneel down at the foot of my bed and pray that God would make me rich so that I could take care of my mother.” In an MTV documentary, she recalled that her mother would sometimes rent out their home to make ends meet, so she and her family would live in the basement.


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4.

Grew Up Rich: Bradley Cooper


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The A Star Is Born actor’s father was a stockbroker for Merrill Lynch, and his mother worked for NBC. Bradley attended Germantown Academy, an elite school that prepares students for Ivy League colleges.


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5.

Self-Made: Leighton Meester


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The Gossip Girl actor was born while her mother was serving federal time for drug trafficking, and lived with her grandmother until her mom was released. When Leighton began taking acting classes as a teen, she preferred the ones with adults because she couldn’t relate to her peers. “‘Jimmy doesn’t like me!’ Who cares? I was worried we didn’t have gas money or food. Those were my concerns,” she told Marie Claire during an interview.


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6.

Grew Up Rich: Emma Stone


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The La La Land actor’s father was the president and CEO of a commercial construction company. He’s led companies that bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue annually, and he still works in the construction industry to this day.


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7.

Self-Made: Sarah Jessica Parker


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The Sex and the City actor was one of eight children, and her family could only get by on welfare. During an interview with the New York Times, she said, “I remember being poor. There was no great way to hide it. We didn’t have electricity sometimes. We didn’t have Christmases sometimes, or we didn’t have birthdays sometimes, or the bill collectors came, or the phone company would call and say, ‘We’re shutting your phones off.'”


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8.

Grew Up Rich: Jonah Hill and Beanie Feldstein


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The siblings’ mother was a fashion stylist and costume designer, and their father was an accountant for the iconic rock band Guns N’ Roses. Though they lived in LA, the family would vacation in the Catskills.


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9.

Self-Made: Selena Gomez


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The “Lose You to Love Me” singer’s mother had her at 16 years old. Selena’s parents divorced five years later, and she was raised by her mother in Texas. In a 2011 E! special, the actor said, “I remember my mom would run out of gas all of the time, and we’d sit there and have to go through the car and get quarters and help her get gas.”


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10.

Grew Up Rich: Anderson Cooper


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The broadcast journalist is the great-great-great-grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, who made a fortune in shipping and railroads and was one of the richest Americans in history. His mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, was a fashion designer, actor, and writer.


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11.

Self-Made: Oprah Winfrey


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In rural Mississippi, the talk show house grew up in abject poverty. Her home had no running water, and she sometimes wore overalls made from potato sacks.


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12.

Grew Up Rich: Ariana Grande


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The “Thank U, Next” singer’s mother was the CEO of a communications company, and her father founded a graphic design firm. Her parents’ wealth gave her early exposure; she sang the national anthem at a Florida Panthers home game where her parents were reportedly seasonal ticket holders.


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13.

Self-Made: Kelly Clarkson


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“We lived prepay check to prepay check,” she told the Dallas Morning News. “I was like, whatever I’m gonna do, I just don’t wanna have to worry [like] that. I always used to hate when people would be like, ‘Money doesn’t buy everything,’ when you are little and poor. Rich people say that, not poor people. I don’t know one poor person that’s going, ‘Money doesn’t buy happiness.’ It pays you to get out of eviction notices.”


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14.

Grew Up Rich: Sigourney Weaver


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The Alien actor’s father was a TV executive who created NBC’s Today show and worked as the president of NBC for several years. Her mother was an English actor.


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15.

Self-Made: Justin Bieber


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The “Peaches” singer was raised by a single mother. During an interview with Clique TV, he recalled, “My mom would always make me order water at restaurants. I could never get a soft drink. Those are, like, little things that, when you’re a kid, they matter. You get disappointed, like, ‘I just wanted a soda, Mom.'”


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16.

Grew Up Rich: Gwyneth Paltrow


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The Shakespeare in Love actor’s father was a TV and movie director and producer, and her mother is actor Blythe Danner. Growing up, Gwyneth attended Crossroads School in Santa Monica — known for its celebrity alumni — and the Spence School, an all-girls private school in Manhattan. Her godfather is director Steven Spielberg.


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17.

Self-Made: Tyler Perry


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In New Orleans, the actor grew up in a poverty-stricken and abusive home. He poured all the money he made into his first play and lived in his car for months while he worked on the production.


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18.

Grew Up Rich: Salma Hayek


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The Frida actor’s father was an oil company executive in Mexico, while her mother was an opera singer and talent scout. Her parents reportedly gave her three tigers while she was growing up.


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19.

Self-Made: Dolly Parton


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As one of 12 children, the “Jolene” singer grew up in a tin-roofed shack with no electricity and no running water in the mountains of Tennessee. Her parents paid the doctor who delivered her with a sack of cornmeal.


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20.

Grew Up Rich: Rashida Jones


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The Parks and Recreation actor’s father, Quincy Jones, is a music producer and composer. He has received a whopping 80 Grammy Award nominations and been called one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century.


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21.

Self-Made: Céline Dion


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As the youngest of 14 siblings, the singer grew up in a working-class home in Quebec. “We were three, four in the same bed,” she told CBS News. “I did not have a bedroom. Up the stairs, before going in the bedrooms, there was a little ramp. And my bed was there. So everybody went up, they saw me, and I could wave goodbye and good night.”


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22.

Grew Up Rich: Darren Criss


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The Glee actor’s father was an investment banker who worked at big banks like HSBC, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Deutsche. He even started EastWest Bank, where he was chair and CEO. He was also a supporter of the arts and served as director of the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Performances, the Stern Grove Festival, and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.


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23.

Self-Made: Sean “Diddy” Combs


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The music mogul was born in Harlem. When he was 3 years old, his father was shot to death. In an interview with CNN Business, Diddy recalled, “One day, I asked my mother for a pair of sneakers, and she almost started to cry. My hustle was born. I never wanted to see her face like that again.”


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24.

Self-Made: the Kardashian-Jenner Clan


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Just kidding! Despite Kim’s recent advice that women in business should work harder, and the infamous Forbes article claiming Kylie was the youngest self-made billionaire, the Kardashian-Jenner siblings obviously grew up rich.


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Robert Kardashian gained worldwide recognition as O.J. Simpson’s lawyer and later found success in business. Kris Jenner runs the show behind the scenes for the Kardashian-Jenner siblings and actually trademarked the word “momager.” After Caitlyn Jenner’s wins at the Olympics, she became the spokesperson for multiple brands, enjoyed a career in TV and movies, and became a businessperson. As a result, the Kardashian-Jenner brood were raised in affluent neighborhoods of LA and made early connections with celebrities and their children.


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Any other celebs who grew up wealthy or were actually self-made? Let us know in the comments below!



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