ByAllanah Faherty, writer at
Senior staff writer | Twitter: @allanahfaherty | Email: [email protected]
Allanah Faherty

Sometimes among all the glitz and glamor of show business it's easy to forget that celebrities are human too. Unfortunately part of being human means inevitably dealing with tragedy but for some of our favorite stars, it seems like they were dealt more than their fair share of hardships and tragic events in their lives.

Check out these celebrities who faced tragedy only to persevere and achieve success:


1. Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves may well have some sort of god-like properties to maintain his youthful looks despite being 50 years old but behind those good looks comes a lifetime of tragedy.

After being abandoned by his father when he was young, he started acting in the 80s. In 1993 his good friend and fellow actor River Phoenix died of an overdose and in 2000 after finding happiness with girlfriend, Jennifer Symes, the couple had a child who was sadly delivered stillborn. Just 18 months later Symes was killed in a car crash. Currently Keanu's sister, Kim is also battling leukemia.

Sad Keanu
Sad Keanu

Despite all his hardships, Reeves has persevered and starred in some of the most iconic films of the last 20 years, including Speed, and The Matrix series. He is also regarded as a true good guy of Hollywood, donating millions of dollars to lower paid cast members as well as taking pay cuts to help films stay within budget.


2. Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix may be a wildly popular actor but much of his younger life was marred by tragedy and hardships. He was born into the religious cult The Children of God whose practices included 'free love'. After his family left the cult and got into show business, hardships would follow with the death of his older brother River Phoenix. Joaquin was the one to make the 911 call and after his brother's death the call was continually replayed on radio and television forcing him to retreat from the public eye for a year.

After these tough beginnings Phoenix went on to star in major films like Gladiator, Walk the Line and The Master. Aside from a rehab stint in 2005 he has risen above his past hardships and is a dedicated vegan and PETA supporter.


3. Charlize Theron

Despite being an Oscar Award winner Charlize Theron had a tough past growing up in South Africa. One night Theron's alcoholic and verbally abusive father came home threatening to kill her and her mother who shut themselves in a bedroom. When her father started shooting through the door to get to them her mother fired a handgun killing him.

Theron obviously hasn't let this tough period in her life hold her back from success as an actor. She will star in the upcoming [Mad Max: Fury Road](movie:41445) but aside from this also started her own charity to support African youths in the fight against HIV/AIDS.


4. Demi Moore

Demi Moore rose to fame in the 80s but had a rough start as the child of a teenage alcoholic and bipolar mother. Her biological father left before she was born and she was raised by her step father who was also an abusive alcoholic. Her stepfather committed suicide in 1980, but Moore was able to rise above her tumultuous upbringing and earn her role on General Hospital which launched her career.

Alongside her film work Moore launched a foundation in 2009 with ex-husband Ashton Kutcher, directed at the fight against child sex slavery.


5. Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson may be famous for possessing a "particular set of skills" but this is one movie star who has suffered significantly in his personal life. In 2000 he was involved in a near fatal motorbike accident but it was in 2009 that real tragedy struck. While on a ski holiday his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, fell and struck her head, and died the following day from head trauma.

After his wife's death and becoming a solo parent to their two children, he has continued to work on films such as the successful Taken series and The Grey. He is also a long time UNICEF supporter, even acting as an ambassador for the charity.


6. Kelsey Grammer

Though you might not have pegged this comedic actor for one with a painful back story, Kelsey Grammer has dealt with more tragedy than one person should have to. Many of Grammer's family and friends died in horrific ways: In 1968 his estranged father was shot dead, followed by the abduction, rape and murder of his younger sister just seven years later. In 1980 his twin half brothers died in a scuba diving accident. His close friend and producer of Frasier, David Angell died in the 9/11 attacks and eight years later his friend, hotel heir Ben Novack Jr was murdered.

Somehow despite all of this Grammer has had a long and successful TV and movie career and even started his own charity which gives assistance to many worth causes.

Source: Viral Nova, Fame 10, Celeb Answers


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