8 Celebs Who Were Once On Welfare

Many of our favorite stars had humble beginnings but they've turned their struggles into the most inspiring success stories.

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Viola Davis has been very outspoken about her childhood growing up in poverty. But she went from to searching in dumpsters for food to teaching us How To Get Away With Murder on Thursday nights.

Today, she's helping to make sure no other child will have to go hungry through her charitable endeavors. 

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These days, you can find Dr. Ben Carson sharing his conservative ideals about government subsidies but there was once a time when even he needed some help.

“By the time I reached ninth grade, mother had made such strides that she received nothing but food stamps," Carson wrote in his book. "She couldn’t have provided for us and kept up the house without that subsidy.”

Those subsidies didn't kill his spirit. Dr. Carson went from welfare to one of the most famous surgeons in history, encouraging generations for Black intellectuals.

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After the tragic death of her husband, Taraji P. Henson only had $900 to her name and relied on welfare to support her son.

These days, her illustrious acting career supports her and her son as she inspires the dreams of Black women worldwide.

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Success stories don't get better than Oprah. She grew up in the rural South, then moved to Milwaukee where her mother worked as a maid and needed welfare to support the family. 

Today we know Oprah is one of the most wealthy and influential women in the world who's constantly working to improve the lives of people all over the globe.

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Whoopi shared on The View that she is a former welfare mother but that doesn't make her a feel a bit of shame.

"I don’t feel bad about being a welfare mother because I contribute as an American,"she said.

Since her welfare days, Whoopi has been living something like the American Dream: staying true to herself, making generations laugh with her comedy and even being nominated for an Oscar. 

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The ultimate life-fixer has lived a tough life of her own. She grew up in a home of poverty, welfare and sexual abuse

But Iyanla didn't let that hold her back. She channeled an inner strength to rise above her circumstances. Now, she's sharing that motivation with the world and redefining the life coaching industry. Keep going, girl!

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Barack Obama's mother battled poverty in her early life and cancer in her later life. But Stanley Ann Dunham's resilience helped inspire her son to work hard, dream big and become the 44th President of the United States. 

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Rep. Barbara Lee wants to make sure no one else has to live a life of poverty like she did. Drawing on her own experiences living on welfare and food stamps, the congresswoman now serves on the government's task force to end poverty and create jobs in America.