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It’s a long, hard road to hoe when you seek fame. While most of your favorite pop stars live large, with several mansions, expensive cars, designer clothes and fat bank accounts (not to mention the love, adoration and respect of the public), it wasn’t always that way.
Sure, many of ‘em struggle while scratching and clawing their way to the top, resorting to eating Ramen noodles, waitressing and doing whatever it takes to get by, all the while spending nights writing and recording. But some, like Jennifer Lopez and Kelly Clarkson, among others, once found themselves homeless.
That’s right. Homeless.
Whether their plights were temporary or more serious in nature, their situations were no joke. We revisit the tales of five formerly homeless artists.
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Jennifer Lopez In her August 2013 W cover story, J. Lo revealed she was homeless for a brief time. "My mom and I butted heads," she said. "I didn’t want to go to college -- I wanted to try dance full-time. So she and I had a break. I started sleeping on the sofa in the dance studio. I was homeless, but I told her, ‘This is what I have to do.'" A few months later, Lopez landed a dancing gig in Europe, moved to L.A. and the rest is history. To be fair, she was couch surfing and/or staying in seedy digs, but she also could have gone home, since clearly she was still in contact with her disapproving family. La Lopez eventually became a Fly Girl, a singer, actress, fashion designer and an 'American Idol' judge.
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Mr. Worldwide wasn't always quite so cosmopolitan. He would fight with his mother as a Miami teen. But because the rapper was running with the wrong crowd and broke her rules, Mama Pit exercised her right to tough love and that made all the difference. “She said, 'Grab what you can in 20 minutes and get out!'" he confessed. “I said, 'Alright.' I respect my mom, my mom is my father and my mother and she’s the one that has made me a man...She spoke very clearly with me and I broke the deal. She goes, 'I understand that you’re gonna be out here, due to the neighborhood that we live in and you’re gonna be dibbling and dabbling, whatever, but there’s one thing that I don’t want you to do and that’s be involved with this type of substance or product,' and I did." He cleaned up his act and came home. Now look at him! He's Mr. 305 and more.
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The singer's professional rags-to-riches story is the stuff of legends. She moved to Los Angeles and auditioned for 'American Idol,' becoming the first-ever winner. It's a true Cinderella story. But getting there wasn't quite so easy. Wanna talk about bad luck? The day she and her roommate moved into an apartment complex in Hollywood, the building caught fire. The twosome were then forced to live in a car and then eventually had to take up residence homeless shelter. Thankfully, things turned around for her.
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The singer famously lived in her car while traveling the country, playing small gigs and performing on the street. She also worked at a computer warehouse but says she was fired when she refused her boss' advances. For a year, she was without a home but kept writing songs and appearing at coffeehouses. "I developed a loyal following. No one knew I was homeless," she said. Jewel did, however, freely discuss her formerly homeless status as her star began to rise.
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The controversial rapper and Nicki Minaj's nemesis dealt with homelessness not once but twice in her life. At the tender age of 8, Kim's mother bounced, bailing on her abusive father, forcing the two to live in their car. "There was a time when my mother and I were living out of the trunk of her car," the rapper said. "We slept in the back seat." Sounds like her mom was doing what she needed to do. But that wasn't Kim's first and only homeless stint. She later moved in with her father. He kicked her out when she was in her teens. That's rough but she prevailed in her career, becoming one of the most successful female rappers... ever.