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The Top 10 Rich People Who Were Once Poor

Updated on 19 August, 2019 at 12:06 pm By

“Success is ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm”, Winston Churchill said. Yet, it is hard to imagine that the rich and famous of today had at one time gone through an endless struggle and lived in rags. The list of such personalities is endless; however we have compiled a list of the top 10 rich people who were once poor. They grew from being homeless to now owning billions.


10. Jim Carrey:


The star, who has won millions of hearts and even “God” in Bruce Almighty, once actually lived in a VW camper van and tents for years. According to him those tough times made him what he is today. Carrey, known for his matchless sense of humor, developed it as a trait while growing up in those difficult conditions.

Jim Carrey - Rich People Who Were Once Poor

9. Mariah Carey:

Mariah Carey grew up in the poorest locality in Long Island. Not knowing of the normal childhood treats like toys and games, she found amusement in setting her parent’s car on fire or killing her dog by poisoning. Lessons learnt in living a childhood in poverty is what turned Carey into the person she is today. Undoubtedly she is one of those many rich people from the entertainment circuit who grew-up in poorer circumstances.

Mariah Carey - Rich People Who Were Once Poor

8. Frank O’Dea:

The ‘Coffee King’, Frank O’Dea is well known as the co-founder of Canada’s largest coffee shop chain. You would be surprised to know that he spent his 20s living on the streets, where he could barely earn to afford a cup of coffee. Who could foretell that one day the same Frank O’Dea would be running the most popular coffee shops across 360 locations in Canada? Of course, he had to figure in this list of rich people who were once poor.

Frank O'Dea - Rich People Who Were Once Poor

7. Suze Orman:

The popular face of CNBC, Suze Orman, deserves a place in this list. Her poignant story is no less inspiring. She had to spend months living out of her van in the 70s because of dreadful financial conditions. She took it as a great lesson of life growing up to becoming a renowned personal finance guru. Today, Orman is one of the rich people who rose from not-so-favorable circumstances and whose worth now stands at $25 million.

Suze Orman - Rich People Who Were Once Poor

6. Leonardo DiCaprio:

The eye-candy and Hollywood heart-throb DiCaprio also makes it to the list of rich people who overcame severe adversity to come out winners. He grew up from a neighborhood of prostitutes and drug dealers to become an ace actor. Surely going by his screen image, one would not know of the past that made the man.

Leonardo DiCaprio - Rich People Who Were Once Poor

5. Roman Abramovich:

This oil and aluminium tycoon lived the life of a poor orphan when he was just four. He once made his living by selling plastic ducts from his apartment. Roman Abramovich’s story from an abandoned orphan to a billionaire is a well documented one. Today, he’s worth $11.2 billion.

Roman Abramovich - Rich People Who Were Once Poor

4. Steve Jobs:


Who has not read about the marvels of this tech giant? He is, and will remain, the most renowned personality in the world along with Bill Gates. He was the adopted child of a working-class couple, who could barely afford his college. And look what the man has done! Even after Steve Jobs is gone, his innovated technological devices continue to engage and fascinate.

Steve Jobs - Rich People Who Were Once Poor

3. J.K. Rowling:

The queen of the fantasy novels and author of the Harry Potter series, Rowling is currently worth $1 billion. The writer has grown out of a humble background, where her single mother lived on welfare in Edinburgh. Rowling reveals that she even tried committing suicide at a time when she was broke and depressed. The celebrated author is a known name in most households today

J.K. Rowling - Rich People Who Were Once Poor

2. Oprah Winfrey:

She presents the most inspiring stories on TV ever, but her own life is no less moving. Winfrey has lived a childhood, which included sexual abuse, utter poverty with barely hand-to-mouth earnings from a farmland. She is now worth $2.4 billion, and will soon launch her own Oprah Winfrey Network cable channel. Yet, she stays grounded by putting in most of her recourses into social welfare and exposing the evils of the society.

Oprah Winfrey - Rich People Who Were Once Poor

1. Charlie Chaplin:


Charlie Chaplin had seen a distressful and traumatic childhood, before he became the greatest actor of the silent era. He grew father-less, and his mother being in a mental hospital. He raised his brother and himself, making petty living. The way he lived out the most unimaginable hardships, his life story became the most heart wrenching rags to riches stories ever.

Charlie Chaplin - Rich People Who Were Once Poor

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