We often think of actors, musicians, and other celebs as if they’re the luckiest people on the planet. They have devoted fans, bags of money, and private jets, and most of the time, they just seem happy. But that’s all on the surface. In reality, many stars are just as damaged on the inside as the rest of us, if not more. But they pushed through and overcame their past traumas.
Here are some of the most recognizable names in the whole world who conquered their personal demons on their bumpy road to fame.
1. Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron’s childhood was far from ideal. She grew up with an alcoholic father who often abused her and her mother. After living with such a despot for years, Gerda finally snapped and shot her husband during one of his drunken rampages. Thankfully, the court proclaimed it self-defense, and Gerda was not charged with murder, which would mean losing her daughter. After years of therapy, Theron was able to work things out and now invites her mother to red-carpet events.
2. Keanu Reeves
You’ve probably seen a lot of Keanu memes from a few years ago, where he’s all sad, sitting on the bench, and pondering about life’s vicissitudes. Well, he had more than enough reasons for that kind of behavior. First, his drug dealer dad abandoned him, then his best friend OD’d, then his girlfriend lost their baby, and two years later died in a car crash. If you’ve ever wondered why Reeves looks like he’s been carrying a whole world on his shoulders, now you know why.
3. Teri Hatcher
After the huge success of 1993’s TV show Lois & Clark, Teri Hatcher had a stellar rise to the top. But something was still gnawing at her from the inside. Years later, the actress revealed that her uncle abused her sexually when she was little. This confession was sent as an open letter to Donald Trump during his presidency, but unfortunately, he mocked the whole thing.
4. Trevor Noah
As you probably know, the famous stand-up comedian Trevor Noah was born in South Africa. Due to the complex political situation, his black mother, Patricia, had to pretend to be Noah’s nanny in public when he was little. She remarried years later, but Noah’s new stepdad abused both him and his mother to the point that one day he shot Patricia in the head. Somehow the woman survived this incident, and in 2011, the guy was sent to prison.
5. Lady Gaga
Stefani Germanotta, better known as Lady Gaga, is one of the most talented artists of the 21st century. But even someone as strong and fearless as her had gone through hell when she was younger. When Germanotta was 19, she was a victim of a sexual assault, which left her with horrible mental trauma for years until she decided she’s had enough of feeding this “monster” and squashed it with therapy.
6. Robert Downey Jr
RDJ’s problems with drug addiction are not a secret to anyone even remotely familiar with his acting career. But not many fans know that it all started when Downey Jr.’s father introduced his 6-year-old son to weed. Yes, Robert was only six. Can you imagine that? In just two years, the boy got hooked and moved on to other drugs. The rest is history, as they say. Thankfully, he managed to stay clean for decades now and became a household Marvel name.
7. Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi’s early career was quite bumpy due to the simple fact that she did not have enough money to become a singer right away. Lauper had to work in a strip club to make a living and buy the necessary equipment. That’s not so bad, you say? It gets worse. After she got into a band, one of the members raped her while his girlfriend was holding Lauper down. Years later the assault, Lauper saw that guy working a crappy job in a deli, and she was already earning millions. I guess karma is a bitch, huh.
Nowadays, Madonna is one of the highest-selling music artists out there, but this wasn’t always the case. Back when she had just moved to New York, she met a nice guy who brought her into his home to let her use the phone. But the scumbag had something entirely different in mind. Years later, Madonna admitted that she didn’t report the sexual assault because, in her mind, it had already happened, and there was no reason to humiliate herself further. That was not the right call, but what’s done is done.