12 Stars With Painful Secrets From Their Pasts

Ericka Sóuter | May 20, 2014 Celebrities

christina aguileraCelebrities seem to live such charmed lives. The lavish mansions, amazing wardrobes, and adoring fans make them the envy of millions. However, their lives aren't always as perfect as they appear. Many are grappling with terrible tragedies, from abuse to parents in prison. Take a look at the 12 stars with painful secrets from their past.



Image via PCN

  • Charlize Theron


    Image via Getty

    The star of tragic films like Monster and North Country has a haunting backstory of her own. Raised in South Africa, Theron had an alcoholic father who was verbally abusive. One night, he came home in a drunken stupor threatening to kill her and her mother. He began shooting at the both of them, and Theron's mother grabbed the gun and shot and killed her husband during the struggle.

  • Tom Cruise


    Image via Getty

    There isn't a star with a bigger smile than Cruise, though he wasn't always so gleeful. As a child, his father "was a bully and a coward -- the person where, if something goes wrong, they kick you," he has said. "It was a great lesson in my life, how he'd lull you in, make you feel safe, and then, bang!" However, things took a turn for the better once his mother left his father when the Mission: Impossible actor was 12.

  • Pamela Anderson


    Image via PCN

    The Baywatch star dropped a big bombshell when she revealed that she suffered sexual abuse throughout her childhood. Starting from age 6, she says she was molested by a female babysitter until age 10. Then at 12, she was raped by the 25-year-old brother of a friend's boyfriend. That is why the diehard PETA supporter loves animals so much: "I had a hard time trusting humans."

  • Tyler Perry


    Image via PCN

    During the lean years, there were times Perry called his car home. But that wasn't the greatest hardship the writer, director, producer, and actor faced. He says his father was physically and emotionally abusive. Perry is also the survivor of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of four other adults. "It was a living hell," he has said of growing up.

  • Halle Berry


    Image via Getty

    The Oscar-winner revealed that she grew up with a violent father. “Before I’m ‘Halle Berry,’ I’m little Halle ... a little girl growing in an environment that damaged me," she has said of seeing her mother beaten by him. "I’ve spent my adult life trying to really heal from that.”

  • Kelsey Grammer


    Image via Getty

    Before he was out of his teens, Grammer had experienced more loss than most people do in a lifetime. Growing up, he lived with his mother and grandfather, who he lost at age 11. Two years later, his dad was shot and set on fire. The killer was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to a psychiatric hospital instead of prison. When he was just 20, his sister was brutally raped and murdered and the actor had to identify the body. Then, in 1980, his two half-brothers died in a scuba diving accident in St. Thomas.

  • Christina Aguilera


    Image via PCN

    The singer says that both she and her mother suffered abuse from her father. As a result, she spent part of her childhood in and out of domestic violence shelters. Fortunately, music has helped her heal. In fact, the song "I'm Okay" is about what she went through.

  • Woody Harrelson


    Image via PCN

    This next one sounds more like a plot from a movie than reality. Harrelson's father was reportedly a contract killer. He was convicted of killing a U.S. District Judge and another man for money.

  • Jack Nicholson


    Image via PCN

    When 19-year-old aspiring actress June Nicholson gave birth to baby Jack, she was unsure who the father was. So her parents agreed to raise him as their own and he knew his mother as his sister. The secret was uncovered in a 1974 Time magazine cover story on the actor.

  • Leighton Meester


    Image via PCN

    Her role as the pampered, rich Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl couldn't have been further from her reality. When she was a baby, her mother went to prison after being arrested for smuggling 1,200 pounds of marijuana from Jamaica along with her boyfriend (Meester's dad) and sister. Her aunt actually broke out of prison and became the first woman in the United States to get on the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted List.

  • Tobey Maguire


    Image via Getty

    Desperate to make more money, Maguire's dad decided to rob a bank. The major issues with the plan: It was across the street from his house, he was on foot, and he did it in broad daylight without a mask. He was caught and served two years in prison.

  • Keanu Reeves


    Image via Getty

    There is a very unsettling story behind those perpetually sad eyes of his. In 1993, he was devastated by the loss of his best friend River Phoenix. In 2000, his pregnant girlfriend Jennifer Syme delivered a stillborn daughter they named Ava. A year later, Syme herself died in a car accident. More recently, Reeves' sister Kim battled leukemia and the star reportedly took a break from acting to care for her.


More Slideshows