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Celebrity stories to inspire: overcoming adversity

Celebrity stories to inspire: overcoming adversity

Published April 19, 2020
Author: Francesca Romana Bozza Aureli, special to

We tend to forget that famous people have their own inspirational stories. Many, if not all, did not succeed on their first try. These people have a normal life, like us. And having a normal life means facing adversity, discovering who we are, how we can make a change in the world, and what we are best at doing. Throughout this discovery, we face obstacles that test whether or not we should continue along the same path. The famous individuals listed below overcame such obstacles and refused to give up, becoming  powerful and awe inspiring human beings.

1. Jim Carrey

The comedy actor Jim Carrey, widely known for his very energetic and eager personality, was not always so bubbly and successful. It took him a lot of tough climbing to get to the top of the ladder and become one of the most successful actors and comedians. He did not have many friends growing up. He was a shy and quiet kid. That might be hard to believe when you see him on interviews today or watch him in his most famous films. Well, he found out that his way of making friends was making them laugh! However, it wasn’t always fun and positive feedback. His professors found him disruptive. He had learning disabilities and dyslexia. Also, Carrey was very poor during his teenage years. He lived in a van with his family and had to drop out of school in order to help support them. Before dropping out, he struggled trying to balance eight-hour night shifts at a factory and attending school. Rather than letting this baggage weigh him down, Carrey managed to use these experiences as motivation, gaining the strength to work harder and ultimately succeed in accomplishing his dreams. He decided to make something special of himself.

Check out this video from Oprah’s OWN network where Carrey discusses visualization and–incredibly–the $10 million check that he wrote to himself, before becoming famous, which manifested into a real $10 million payment.

2. Stephen King

Stephen King is a famous writer that tends to create twisted horror stories. He has sold over 350 million copies of his novels, many of which have been adapted into successful films. When King was younger, he lost a friend in a train accident. In fact, some believe this is why his writing style is so dark. He faced many other obstacles growing up. His mother took care of him and his brother alone. His father left them when he was just two years old. King was aware of this fact and impressed by all the hardship his mother dealt with. During the 1970s, King fell into alcohol addiction. Although his stories were gaining in readership, his personal life and health were suffering. After a decade with that lifestyle, King decided to concentrate on his writing career and let go of drinking! Besides battling  obstacles which might have derailed another career, King has also faced professional rejection. He actually threw away his working manuscript for the now-famous story “Carrie.” It was his wife that pulled it out from the trash and made him continue work. The story got rejected 30 times before eventually a publisher accepted it. Then it went on to sell over a million copies and even became a popular film. King continued his career publishing over 50 novels and 200 short stories. In addition, he has won numerous awards.

Photo by Roland Lösslein on Unsplash

3. J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter novels. Yeah, that franchise that is currently valued at $15 billion. I’m not JKing… get it? However, Rowling herself underwent many hard battles. When she began writing Harry Potter, she lost her mother to Multiple Sclerosis. She stopped working on the book and feel into depression. That’s when she eventually tried something new. She moved abroad and became an English teacher in Portugal. She used this time away to focus on her book. However, something stopped her again. She got married and had a daughter. A year after, her and her husband got divorced and she had to raise her daughter alone. She was back to no job and no book done. She was struggling with both depression and trying to raise a child. She lived off unemployment benefits. She tried again to work on her book. She finally finished the product. BUT yes but again), many major British publishers rejected the first Harry Potter book. This still didn’t stop her from trying. Eventually, a publisher accepted it. Now, here she is, with a franchise that values at $15 billion.

4. Oprah Winfrey

President Barack Obama awards the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Oprah Winfrey during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 20, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson.) CC license

One of the most influential women in the world today, Oprah Winfrey, was once in search for inspiration herself. She grew up in extreme poverty after her parents separated. She then moved back with her mom that didn’t spend much time with her because she was constantly working. Winfrey has said that she has been raped by her uncle, a family friend, and her cousin when she was just 9-years-old. She couldn’t take it anymore and ran away from home when she was just 13. She became a mother at 14. 14-years-old. Her son died shortly after birth. Eventually, she moved back with her father and dedicated to becoming an honors student. It paid off. She won awards from her speech competitions and continued studied communication at Tennessee State University. She got a job at her local radio station and then, started hosting AM Chicago, a morning talk show. This talk show became one of the most watched in America. You may know it now as, “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” It has had over 30 million American viewers and aired over 140 countries worldwide, becoming the most popular show in the history of TV. Today, she is one of the most successful individuals with her shows, autobiographies, speeches, and so on.

It’s not very easy to believe these famous and successful people have faced such horrific battles. But they did and they took those battles to make them stronger. They succeeded because they had the passion to. This people found what they are best at doing and how they could make a change in the world. It’s not easy, but it takes courage. You’ve heard it before, life is hard, but power and strength will help you.

Thanks to the following resources for info:

By: Francesca Romana Bozza Aureli

Francesca is a trilingual journalism graduate. She knows how to speak and write English, Spanish and Italian. She is currently pursuing a law degree. Francesca has a strong background in writing. She has written for newspapers and currently is working as a freelance writer, motivated most by her customers and making them satisfied. Reach Francesca.