1 of 10
UK’s Sir Mo Farah has been receiving praise ever since he made a trafficking disclosure during a BBC programme. The Olympic star, who won gold medals in the 5,000m and 10,000m at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, revealed that he was brought to the UK illegally as a child and forced to work as a domestic servant. Many successful people, who achieved greatness in their careers later through hard work and dedication, admitted that they too faced a traumatic childhood. Let’s take a look at the bitter life experiences of some celebrities.
Image Credit: Agencies
2 of 10
WORKING AS CHILD SERVANT: Olympic great Mo Farah was illegally trafficked to Britain at the age of nine from Djibouti and forced to work as a child servant, he has revealed, saying his real name is Hussein Abdi Kahin. The 39-year-old Briton, who was born in Somalia, added his name had been changed in the fake travel documents used to fly him to Britain by a woman he had never met before. Once he arrived in the UK, the woman took him to her home in west London, and tore apart a paper with the contact details of his relatives. Her family did not allow him to go to school until the age of 12. Farah has previously said he came to the UK as a refugee from Somalia with his parents. But in stunning revelations, the 39-year-old now says his father was killed in civil unrest in Somalia when Farah was four years old and his mother and two brothers live in the breakaway state of Somaliland. His physical education teacher Alan Watkinson contacted social services and helped him find a foster family in the Somali community after Farah told him what he was going through.
Image Credit: Reuters
3 of 10
PAINFUL CHILDHOOD: Hollywood actress Ashley Judd says in a new memoir that she had a lonely, painful childhood that included sexual abuse and thoughts of suicide while her mother Naomi Judd and sister Wynonna sought to build a career as country music stars. Judd wrote that she was molested by a family friend as a teenager, witnessed inappropriate sexual behavior between her mother and her new boyfriends, and said drugs were regularly available in her home. Many of the memories, including times when she played with her mother’s gun after school and thought about shooting herself, were repressed and were recovered when Judd underwent therapy in 2006.
Image Credit: Reuters
4 of 10
FACING SEXUAL ABUSE: Oprah Winfrey, considered the most influential woman on US television, has suffered from a traumatic childhood. She revealed she was sexually abused and raped by a relative at age 9. Winfrey was born to a poor, single mother in rural Kosciusko, Mississippi, where she grew up without a television at home, but at age 19 became the first female African-American news anchor.
Image Credit: AP
5 of 10
VALIANT CAMPAIGN: The Oscar winner Charlize Theron has a long history of campaigning against domestic abuse, serving as a United Nations Messenger of Peace with a special focus on ending violence on women since 2008. The 44-year-old won an Academy Award for her role in the 2003 movie “Monster”, in which she played serial killer Aileen Wuornos, who came from a background of violence and abuse. Theron has also had personal experience with domestic violence: at age 15, her mother fatally shot her alcoholic father as he threatened the family in a drunken rage.
Image Credit: AFP
6 of 10
AVENGING THE ABUSE: Hollywood star Will Smith revealed that he once contemplated killing his father to avenge the abuse his mother suffered during his childhood. "When I was nine years old, I watched my father punch my mother in the side of the head so hard that she collapsed. I saw her spit blood," he wrote in Will, which will be released on Nov 9, 2021. Smith added that he felt he had failed his mother for not standing up to his father at that time. Despite his parents separating when he was a teenager, the anger never left him. Smith's father passed away in 2016.
Image Credit: REUTERS
7 of 10
TROUBLED UPBRINGING: Hollywood actress Demi Moore reveals that she was raped at the age of 15. The actress has in the past acknowledged a troubled upbringing and difficult relationship with her alcoholic mother, Virginia King, who died from a brain tumor in 1998. Moore was once one the highest paid actresses in Hollywood and in 1991 controversially appeared naked and pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine.
Image Credit: NYT
8 of 10
LIFE AS DRUG DEALER: Billionaire hip-hop mogul, entrepreneur and investor Jay-Z was a drug dealer before becoming a musician. After his father abandoned the family, Jay-Z and his three siblings were raised by their mother. Jay-Z claims in his lyrics that in 1982, at age 12, he shot his drug-addicted older brother in the shoulder for stealing a piece of jewellry. Jay-Z has won 23 Grammys overall, including a best rap album award in 1999 and honors for songs "Crazy in Love" with his wife, Beyonce, in 2004 and "Empire State of Mind" with Alicia Keys in 2011. Jay-Z is ranked at 2,076, with an estimated net worth of $1.4bn.
Image Credit: AFP
9 of 10
FACING SEXUAL ABUSE: Grammy Award winner Shania Twain was sexually abused by her stepfather from the age of 10. Jerry Twain legally adopted Shania when she was 4. She recalled his abusing her and her mother consistently throughout her childhood, including one terrifying incident in which she watched her stepfather plunge her mother's head into the toilet. Twain's challenges continued when her parents were later killed in a car accident in 1987, leaving her to care for her three younger siblings. Although this complicated her music career, she refused to give up.
Image Credit: Christopher Smith/Invision/AP
10 of 10
TAINTED BY DRUGS: American rapper and entrepreneur Curtis 50 Cent Jackson was raised by his grandmother after his mother's death when he was 8 years old. According to reports, his childhood was "tainted by drugs and gangs." At the age of 19, he was arrested for trying to sell cocaine. A raid on his house found more drugs and weapons. Jackson pled guilty to the charges and went to boot camp to avoid jail time. 50 Cent, whose album and film “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” was based on his past as a crack dealer who was shot nine times, now runs a multimedia empire. He banked about $100 million after taxes when his stake in Glaceau, creator of Vitaminwater, was sold to Coca-Cola, Forbes reported.
Image Credit: Photo by Matt Sayles for STARZ