Jared Leto's Dirt Poor Home Life Revealed in Shocking Detail

Jared LetoWhen Jared Leto won his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, the first person he thanked was his mother, Constance. She was also his date to the event. Clearly, the two are close. But as Jared's speech hinted at, his childhood was a tough one. I'm not sure anyone knew how tough though. Now details about Jared's upbringing are being reported in the media. It's fairly heartbreaking -- but also uplifting. It shows you how a strong familial foundation -- and a loving mom -- can help a child overcome incredible odds.

Jared and his older brother, Shannon, grew up in Bossier City, Louisiana. They were so poor they needed food stamps to eat, and they didn't own a television. But Constance just encouraged her kids to be creative on their own. That paid off!

Jared's mom was a "hippy, vagabond," and a 19-year-old single mother and high school dropout when she found out she was pregnant with Jared. The family moved from state to state, and school to school. At one point, they lived in a truck.

Jared never knew his dad, who split with his mother shortly after she gave birth. Constance ended up turning to her parents for help.

It wasn't until Jared was eight that his life settled into stability when his mother met Dr. Carl Leto, who ended up adopting Jared and Shannon. They also had a girl, Jamie. But within a few years, they divorced.

Soon the family moved to Colorado and lived in a commune. A few years later, it was off to Haiti, where Constance worked for a medical charity. Reportedly, Jared had a screaming fit and didn't want to move there. But eventually he grew to enjoy it.

After 18 months, the family came back to the States and settled in Virginia. At 21, Jared moved to Los Angeles to become an actor. He shot to fame as the dreamy Jordan Catalano on My So-Called Life.

He followed that with some successful movies, but then quit acting to devote himself to the band he founded with his brother, 30 Seconds to Mars.

More From The Stir: Jared Leto's Touching Oscar Speech Proves He's a Total Mama's Boy (VIDEO)

Dallas Buyers Club, the movie which brought him an Oscar, was his first in six years.

This kind of vagabond upbringing can either destroy you -- or make you. Obviously, it made Jared. It's the kind of hard-knock life that can either knock you out, or perfectly preps you for the soul-sucking Hollywood audition circuit. Many actors have a background similar to Jared's.

I also think Jared's story shows that food stamps can't be de-funded. I'm a child of food stamps myself, and we can't let kids starve. Those who grow up to make good give back a million-fold in taxes what they got from the system.

Jared's home life might have been tough -- but clearly it just brought him closer to his family. And it gives him the sensitivity he needs to be a great actor.

Are you surprised to hear about his home life?


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nonmember avatar meghan

"Dirt Poor Home Life". Wow, that doesn't sound condescending at all.

nonmember avatar meghan

"Dirt Poor Home Life". Wow, that doesn't sound condescending at all.

RMT1995 RMT1995

Yeah, I think the fact that the writer states that he was "so poor he needed food stamps" ... no offense to him, but a LOT of families in America need food stamps! I grew up needing them, but I wouldn't say that our need for them defined us as poor (there were MANY more issues that did, and a whole lot worse than being food stamps). Are you so sheltered that you don't know how common it is to need them in this country?

nonmember avatar Amber

I also did not appreciate the statement "he was so poor, he even needed foodstamps to eat" you don't have to be poor to have foodstamps, there are people that abuse the system yes but the majority of the people just need a little help. that's what it's there for. I was on food stamps for three months after I had my son, that doesn't mean I was poor..I just needed a little help.

jspla... jsplash23

Why is poor an insult? If you are poor, you need and deserve assistance. She then went on to mention that she is in favor of, and had benefited, from public assistance. If you're not at a certain point on the poverty scale you don't qualify for PA. I thought this was a great piece about how he had benefited from food stamps, and minus the bizarre attacks on the author I found your comments to be inspirational. When you needed assistance you got it, now you don't so you aren't getting it. Isn't that a good thing? Were you not poorer when you needed the help? Sorry if this sounded rude I just truly don't understand why poor is a dirty word.

Vanessa Fasanella

His mom sounds a lot like Liev Schrieber's mom, making bad decisions and not focusing on her kids.

ninag... ninag1980

lol, sounds like my childhood (although, I never slept in a van)

Not THAT shocking,lots of people need food stamps and a TV is not a necessity

either way, I still love me some Jordan Catalano!!!

nonmember avatar Jeff

Yeah...I'm not so sure we should be making policy decisions based on Jared Leto's participation in the food stamp program.

Mary McCloskey

Nothing Wrong with respecting your mother,sounds like she did a great job to me!

nonmember avatar ninagreenhalghx

It's no-one's business about how he grew up, especially not the media's business to add. I feel sorry for him having his life exploited that he clearly doesn't want to people to know about as he doesn't say anything about it except very brief comments or statements. And not to mention, this "story" keeps changing on every different site...

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