17 Celebrities Who You Won't Believe Used to Live In Their Cars (PHOTOS)

17 Celebrities Who You Won't Believe Used to Live In Their Cars (PHOTOS)

For most people, living in a car is inconceivable. It's uncomfortable, humiliating, and dangerous. But for some celebrities, it was the only option, whether it was because they grew up poor, or because they were chasing their dream of breaking into showbiz. A few others ended up there because of stalled careers and financial ruin.   

Whatever the reason, these 17 celebs braved the elements and lived in their cars, and became successful enough to tell the tale. Check out these celebrities who you won't believe once lived in their cars.


Image © Fred Prouser/Reuters/Corbis

  • Chris Pratt


    Image © BrauerPhotos © J.Reetz/Sabine Brauer Photos/Corbis

    Before he became a box office heavyweight in movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World, Chris Pratt was living in a van in Maui. When he got an acting gig for $700, he claims the money lasted him a year. His reported salary for co-starring with Jennifer Lawrence in Passengers: $15 million. That's a lot of vans. 

  • Hilary Swank


    Image © Mario Anzuoni/Reuters/Corbis

    This Million Dollar Baby actually endured a rough childhood. After her father walked out on her and her mother, the pair lived in trailer parks before moving to Los Angeles, living in their car while Swank pursued an acting career. The move paid off, big time. Swank's talent has earned her two Oscars. That's just one behind Meryl Streep.

  • Danny Bonaduce


    Image ©Scott Weiner /Retna Ltd./Corbis

    This former child star was once a homeless man. Long after the Patridge Family, he spiraled into drug addiction, his money vanished, and he ended up secretly living in his car behind a dumpster. After making a TV comeback on reality shows and getting clean, Bonaduce is now a morning radio show host in Seattle.

  • Lil Kim


    Image © Rance Elgin for Reach Media/Retna Digital/Retna Ltd./Corbis

    Tumultuous is an apt word to describe Lil Kim's beginnings. Her parents separated when she was a kid. She lived with her dad but when he kicked her out of the house as a teen, she lived on the streets, in cars and on friends' couches. She met Biggie Smalls (aka the Notorious B.I.G.) and the rest is hip hop history -- she became one of the most influential women in the genre.  

    More from The Stir: 16 Singers Whose Solo Careers Crashed After Leaving the Group (PHOTOS)

  • Suze Orman


    Image © Fred Prouser/Reuters/Corbis

    As a college dropout who was struggling to find her way professionally, Orman set out on a cross-country trip with a friend, ending up in Berkeley, California, where she worked clearing trees and lived out of her van. Little did she know she was just years away from becoming one of the country's best known (and Oprah-sanctioned) financial advisors with her own TV show, the Suze Orman Show.  

  • Sam Worthington


    Image © Mario Anzuoni/Reuters/Corbis

    Avatar may be the highest-grossing movie of all time, but it did more than make Worthington an overnight sensation. It made him some much needed money. Worthington had sold all of his possessions and was living in his car in his native Australia when he auditioned for a role in an unnamed movie with an unnamed director. Director James Cameron, the man behind the mysterious casting call, was sold on him and brought him to Los Angeles. Thus began Worthington's Hollywood journey.  

  • Jewel


    Image PictureLux / Splash News

    The Alaskan singer comes from a musical family but none have garnered the success that Jewel has, and she's certainly earned it. As a young and broke singer, she and her mom lived in a car, then a van, before nearly dying of a kidney infection she had no money to treat. Paying her dues -- and beyond -- led to a career that has been both critically and commercially successful.

  • Tyler Perry


    Image ©Splash News

    Talk about perseverance. Perry lived out of his Ford Tempo off and on for six years (when not living in crackhead-infested motels) while he tried to get his breakthrough play "I Know I've Been Changed" produced and staged. His tenacity paid off. He now has his own studio in addition to a string of very successful films and television shows, including the "Haves and the Have Nots."

    More from The Stir: 7 Hollywood Celebrities Who Were Once Drug Addicts (PHOTOS)


  • Kelly Clarkson


    Image © Debby Wong/Corbis

    The story of Clarkson's singing career really starts in Los Angeles, where she moved to try to break into the showbiz. But when her apartment caught fire, she was forced to live in her car, and eventually return home to Texas, where she auditioned for American Idol. She was, of course, the show's first winner.

  • David Letterman


    Image © Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/Corbis

    When the former late night show host first moved from Indiana to Los Angeles in search of comedic fame, he drove his 1973 Chevy pickup truck there -- then lived in it. It wasn't long before he was writing jokes for bigger comedians on his way to a storied career hosting the Late Show. 

  • Drew Carey


    Image ©Demis Maryannakis/Splash News

    As an up-and-coming comedian, Carey rented out his Cleveland house and headed to Los Angeles, determined to take his career to the next level. But he didn't rent an apartment. Instead, he lived in his car for 18 months as he waited for his big break. It came when he performed stand-up on the Tonight Show and Johnny Carson interviewed him afterward. The Drew Carey Show and The Price is Right followed.


  • Jim Carrey


    Image © Splash News


    Image ©Splash News


    The Canadian star was exposed to homelessness early, when his father lost his job and the family had to move into a Volkswagen camper van. The traumatizing experience made him more driven to succeed when he moved to Los Angeles to try to make it in comedy. When he broke through as a cast member on In Living Color, he did just that.  

    More from The Stir: 10 Famous Actors Who Look So Much Hotter in Real Life (PHOTOS)

  • Dr. Phil


    Image © Ciao Hollywood/Splash News

    He may have his own TV show now as one of the most prominent psychologists in the country, but Dr. Phil's childhood seemed anything but promising. He and his father lived in their car for a while his dad interned as a pyschologist. They eventually moved into a $5 room at the YMCA. After starting his own career, Dr. Phil used the lessons learned during that time -- of perseverance, hard work and dealing with adversity -- to help others.

  • William Shatner


    Image © Frank Rumpenhorst/epa/Corbis

    Come again? Shatner lived in his truck after his Star Trek success? Yup. Though the series proved to be a popular one, it didn't pay very well, Shatner has said. Add a nasty divorce and support for three kids to the mix, and you have a TV star who went through a serious rough patch. Finding work in summer stock while he struggled, he lived in a truck outfitted with a stove and a toilet, and drove from theater to theater. Star Trek flms and other work soon landed him back in a mansion.

  • John Paul DeJoria


    Image © AdMedia / Splash News

    His hair products are salon favorites worldwide but once upon a time, John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of the Paul Mitchell line of hair products, couldn't even afford rent. Fresh off a divorce where he'd lost most of his money, DeJoria lived in his car in Los Angeles while he and his hairdresser friend, Mitchell, started the now-famous company with just $700 in the 1970s. He is now a billionaire several times over.

  • Steve Harvey


    Image © PG / Splash News

    The comedian and Family Feud host lived in his car for three years as he went from city to city working comedy gigs, sending the bulk of his paychecks to his ex-wife to support their children. "It was so disheartening," Harvey has said. "A week is really the maximum you can do. It was rock bottom. But even in my darkest days I had faith that it would turn around." Has it ever. Harvey now owns not one, but two, homes.

    More from The Stir: 19 Celebrities Who Died Of Alcohol & Drug Overdoses (PHOTOS)

  • Debbie Reynolds


    Image © Mke Blake/Reuters/Corbis

    Her career has been full of highs -- she starred in an enduring classic, Singin' in the Rain -- and lows: She lost her husband, Eddie Fisher, to Elizabeth Taylor and later ended up living in her Cadillac after another husband stole both her money and property. She's had more ups and downs since then, but none grave enough to see her living in her car again.

More Slideshows