According to DoSomething.org every year over 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States. That’s a student every 26 seconds – or 7,000 a day. Statistically, a high school dropout will earn $200,000 less than a high school graduate over his or her lifetime, and commit about 75% of crimes, however these Hollywood moms defied the odds and turned their lives into a success story.
1. Demi Moore – Demi Moore had a difficult childhood. Her parents split up before she was born, and she was raised by her mother and stepfather, both of whom drank heavily. While living in LA she eventually dropped out of Fairfax High School at 16. She went on to work as a debt collector and took up acting after reading scripts with a young German neighbor and aspiring actress named Nastassja Kinski.
2. Whoopi Goldberg – She’s probably one of the most opinionated and smartest women on The View but Whoopi Goldberg dropped out of high school during the 1960’s. She later became addicted to drugs, but eventually got clean and married her drug counselor. A year later, still a teen, she gave birth to a daughter. The TV personality was divorced less than a year later.
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3. Rene Russo – To help support her single mother, Rene Russo dropped out of high school in the tenth grade and took several part-time jobs including a cashier at a movie theater and line inspector at an eye glass factory.
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4. Christina Applegate – Christina Applegate’s mother was an actress and her father was a record producer, so Applegate pursued acting at a young age. She appeared in several movies while still in elementary. The star attended Excelsior High School in Hollywood, but dropped out during her junior year, at the age of 15, after landing the role of Kelly Bundy on Married with Children.
5. Drew Barrymore – At just 3-years-old, Drew Barrymore was already a successful actress, and by the age of 7, she was cast as Gertie in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Unfortunately, due to a series of drug and alcohol problems she had to check into rehab at the age of 13 and never finished her education.
6. Fantasia Barrino – American Idol alum Fantasia Barrino attended Andrews High School in High Point, North Carolina and was raped by a classmate in the auditorium. Feeling embarrassed and harassed she dropped out of school. Barrino later became pregnant at the age of 16.
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7. Catherine Zeta-Jones – Catherine Zeta-Jones attended Dumbarton House School in the UK. By the time she was 15, Zeta-Jones had dropped out of high school to join a touring production of the musical The Pajama Game. She soon moved on to London’s West End, where she appeared in a production of 42nd Street at the age of 17.
8. Gisele Bündchen – At the age of 13, Brazilian supermodel, Gisele Bündchen was discovered by an Elite modeling agent at a shopping mall in São Paulo while on a school excursion. At the time she was eating a burger at a shopping mall. The rising model found success at an early age and eventually dropped out of high school at age 14 to pursue her career full time.
9. Jessica Simpson – Jessica Simpson was born and raised in Dallas, TX, where she began her performing career as a member of her church choir. While attending church camp the following summer, the singer was discovered by the head of a tiny contemporary Christian music label and spent the next three years recording her debut album, Jessica, however she was let go when the label went bankrupt. When Simpson was 16, Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola heard Jessica and he was so impressed that she was immediately signed to the label. She later dropped out of high school to pursue her music.
10. Kate Winslet – Kate Winslet once said she was shy and vulnerable while in school and was bullied and teased about her weight admitting that the other kids called her “blubber.” By 16, the actress had dropped out of high school and was working in a deli when she landed her first film role: the lead in the 1994 Peter Jackson-directed film Heavenly Creatures.