Hollywood stars may seem to have magical lives. But for some it has not always been so. Some have had to fight through serious hardships and traumatic events in their lives. From truly inspiring to outright shocking, we found 10 celebrities whose stories are incredible, yet shocking.

Charlize Theron

Charlize had a nightmare of a childhood growing up in a South African farming community where her bipolar father physically and mentally abused both her and her mother. One year after watching her mother shoot her dad in an act of self-defense, 15 year-old Charlize left for Milan and began to model. At the age of 18 and with only $400 in her pocket, Charlize finally made it to Hollywood hoping to make it to the big screen.

Jack Nicholson

It wasn’t until Jack was 37 years old that he found out his sister June was actually his mother. It was Jack’s grandparents who raised Jack like their own as June didn’t want being a single mother to harm her chances in Hollywood. June died of cancer in 1963; more than ten years later, a TIME reporter doing a story on Jack uncovered the truth. The legendary actor has stated he was shocked and yet also relieved.


It’s horribly sad to grow up without knowing everything about your parents. And there were a few things the Barbados singer did not know about her father, Ronald. But at the age of 15, Rihanna found out that he had been involved with a number of women other than Rihanna’s own mother. Her long lost siblings started showing up starting with 32-year-old Kandy, followed by another sister, Samantha, aged 30, and finally a brother Jamie, 27.

Woody Harrelson

How would you feel growing up with a hitman as a dad. Well, Woody Harrelson’s father, Charles Voyde Harrelson, was just that. After serving five years of a 15-year sentence for killing a grain dealer, he was then back behind bars for allegedly murdering U.S. District Judge John H. Wood. Though out of contact between 1968 and 1981, Woody then began visiting his father in prison after his second arrest; he also attempted to get him a retrial but did not succeed.

Oprah Winfrey

Growing up in Kosciusko, Mississippi, in 1954 was no laughing matter for Winfrey, especially with a single, teenage mom. Her maternal grandma, Hattie Mae, raised her for the first few years. Winfrey was so poor that she had to wear clothing made from potato sacks and was often ridiculed by other children. Looking for better opportunities, her mom moved them north to a ghetto just outside of Milwaukee where Winfrey would spend most of her childhood with her mom and half-siblings.

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