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10+ Amazing Celebrity Underdog Stories

Sarah Kester 16 Oct 2020

There is nothing like a good underdog story.

We see it play out on screen all of the time: in Rocky, A Star is Born, Million Dollar Baby.

Everyone loves rooting for an underdog, and it's even cooler when we learn that some of our favorite celebs persevered through several obstacles on their way through the top.

Here are 10+ amazing celebrity underdog stories.

Things weren't easy for the singer growing up.

She had a father who was addicted to drugs and would sell their possessions for drug money.

Soon, she dreamt of earning enough money to help her mom.

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“When I first came to America. I would go in my room and 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," she told Rolling Stone.

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She has done that and more as one of the world's most successful female rappers.

She's now worth over $100 million!

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She's one of the richest (and most-respected!) people in the world, but getting there wasn't easy.

She had to overcome a lot of traumatic things as a young kid and teen, such as dealing with sexual abuse.

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The rapper has always been open about the fact that she used to work as a stripper.

During this time, she continued to stay with her bad ex-boyfriend, just to have a place to live.

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“There was two pitbulls in that house, and I had asthma,” Cardi recalled to Vice in 2016.

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“There was bedbugs too. On top of that, I felt like my ex-boyfriend was cheating on me, but it was like even if he was cheating on me, I still can’t leave because — where was I gonna go?” she said.

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Thankfully, the rapper started making a name for herself on social media.

Instagram | @iamcardib

Soon after, she joined season 6 of the VH1 reality series Love & Hip Hop: New York.

But it was her debut single “Bodak Yellow” in 2018 that really launched her career.

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5. Jim Carrey

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The actor's early life wasn't so funny.

"My father lost his job when he was 51 and that was the real 'wow,' the kick in the guts," he said on The Actors Studio. "We lived in a van for a while."

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"And we worked all together as security guards and janitors," he added.

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Thankfully, his big break came in the '90s with movies such as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Dumb & Dumber, The Mask and The Truman Show.

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6. Adam Driver

Netflix

If you can believe it, the Star Wars actor was actually rejected from the acting program at Julliard.

He joined the Marines after this and even faced a brush with death during a training exercise.

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This close call changed the actor's life.

Giphy | SAG Awards

After getting medically discharged, he applied for Juilliard again (and got in!)

It was there that he met his wife, Joanne Tucker, and got prepared for his first role as Lena Dunham's boyfriend on Girls.

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7. Justin Bieber

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Having been raised by a single mother, the singer comes from humble beginnings.

"I remember being poor and being teased by other kids," he said during an interview with Clique TV. He now takes care of his mom with his millions.

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8. Leighton Meester

Instagram | @itsmeleighton

The actress had a very different upbringing than her Gossip Girl character, Blair Waldorf.

She was born in a prison! She's come a long way since then with a successful career and her family with her husband.

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9. Leonardo DiCaprio

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He may be rolling in the dough now, but the movie star experienced poverty when he was growing up.

After his parents divorced, his single mother worked several jobs just to make ends meet. These days, Leo is worth a cool $260 million...

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10. Céline Dion

Instagram | @celinedion

As the youngest of 14 children, the singer had a lot to prove growing up.

"We were three, four in the same bed," Dion 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."

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11. Chris Pratt

YouTube | ScreenSlam

He may be a mega-star now, but back before he was famous, the actor was living in his van in Hawaii.

He was also working at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., which is where he was discovered.

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It was by actress and director, Rae Dawn Chong.

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She ended up casting him in a short horror flick called Cursed Part 3. Pratt used his earnings to get himself an apartment.

And the rest, as we know it, is history

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Like Chris Pratt, the singer had to live in her car.

This happened after her L.A. apartment complex burned down. She ended up driving back home to her hometown of Burleson, Texas. This move ended up changing her life, as she soon auditioned for American Idol in Dallas.

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