Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before.
“Never give up.”
“Don’t stop believing.”
“Follow your dreams.”
The cliches are superfluous. But following the wisdom of those cliches is what these people literally did. From near homelessness, living in a van, and divorce to where they are today — success and stardom.
Here are three famous people who’ve overcome adversity to be who we know them to be today. It seems like they should have just given up — but it’s a good thing they didn’t
The “Queen of Country Pop” put family first, dreams second. Her parents divorced when she was just two years old, and she almost never saw her father. After her mother remarried, things were still tough; the family couldn’t always make ends meet, so Twain started singing in bars to make a couple extra bucks; she was just eight years old. She remembers her mom waking her up at night to sing or perform.
Then, when Twain was 21, her mom and stepdad died in a head-on car accident with a logging truck. In light of this, Twain stopped her performing to take care of her teenage siblings. She continued singing again, but her main focus was her family. Once her youngest brother graduated high school, she gave herself the green light to pursue a music career. She moved to Nashville and, well, you know the rest.
Fourteen-year-old Jim and his family were living in a VW van in a relative’s lawn. That’s how tough things were for them. But back when he was just 10, he mailed his resume to The Carroll Burnett show. That’s how determined he was to make it in the comedy world.
Reality hit, and that teenage Carrey had to get a full-time factory job, which he worked after school, just to help out his family. Then, when he was 15, he performed standup comedy for the very first time (wearing a suit his mom made) and completely failed. Bombed, as they say.
But that didn’t stop him.
The following year, at age 16, he dropped out of school, moved to LA, and got serious about his comedy career. He even wrote himself a $10,000,000 check for “Acting Services Rendered” and dated it for Thanksgiving of 1995. Right before that date, he hit it big with Dumb And Dumber. He took that check, which was wrinkled, deteriorating, and sitting in his wallet, and put it in his father’s casket.
A lot of people know the story of how Rowling started out. She was on the verge of not having enough to feed her baby, on government assistance, and had recently went through a divorce. This was in 1994, three years before the first Harry Potter book was published.
When she was pitching it to different publishers, she was so dirt poor that she couldn’t afford a computer and couldn’t afford to photocopy the 90,000-word book.
But she wasn’t deterred.
She manually typed up each copy for each publisher she was going to send the book to. After being turned down dozens of times, Bloomsbury, a somewhat small London publisher, decided to pick it up after the CEO’s 8-year-old daughter could not put the book down.