Halle Berry’s Once Lived in a Homeless Shelter Early in Her Career — ‘That Was Rough’

It’s easy to get caught up in the red carpet-worthy looks and the fancy cars and see celebrities as out-of-touch. While there are plenty among the rich and famous who started out with a silver spoon in their mouths, that’s certainly not the case for everyone.

Plenty of stars had to scrape their way to the top from lives of poverty, and that climb often gives them a perspective that no one else can have. Those who have seen the extreme ends of the wealth spectrum have an insight that can’t be achieved any other way. 

Halle Berry is among these celebrities who have been part of a huge swing in wealth. In fact, the celebrated actor was once living in a homeless shelter before her career took off. 

Halle Berry is an award-winning actor 

Halle Berry attends the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.
Halle Berry | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Berry broke barriers and made history when she won an Oscar in 2002 for her role in the heartbreaking film Monster’s Ball. She received the award in the Best Actress category and was the first Black woman to win the honor.

While other Black actors including Gabourey Sidibe and Cynthia Erivo have received nominations in the category since then, Halle is still the only one who has taken home the trophy. 

The path to that historic win was a bumpy one for Berry, who has performed in a mixed bag of films and television shows that have run the gamut of critical acclaim. Her early work included television roles in the early 1990s, and it was Spike Lee’s 1991 film Jungle Fever that offered her a break onto the big screen.

Since then, her filmography has included dramas like 1995’s Losing Isaiah and 1998’s Why Do Fools Fall in Love as well as horror movies like Gothika (2003) and comedies like Movie 43 (2013). 

Action has been Halle Berry’s place to shine

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While many of the films Berry has been in have been box office flops, many critics agree that her acting isn’t the cause of the low marks. One place where Berry has had a little more room to shine is in action.

She has reprised the role of Storm for the X-Men films on several occasions, first tackling the part in 2000 for X-Men and most recently in 2014 for X-Men: Days of Future Past. Her work in the third installment of the John Wick franchise (2019) and in Kingsmen: The Golden Circle (2017) has given her further opportunities to show off her action-based talents. 

While the star has made some headlines for her somewhat tumultuous — and often very secretive — love life, her impressive acting abilities have remained a focal point that has kept her name coming up for decades. Along the way, the star’s steady stream of work — even in films that didn’t make much of a splash at the box office — has helped her amass a substantial net worth of around $80 million. 

Halle Berry’s rise to fame was ‘rough’

It’s easy to look at Berry’s steady rise to success and think that it was a clear path, but the truth is the actor struggled mightily in her early days. Trying to make it into show business, Berry arrived in New York City young and hopeful. She had some cash from a modeling gig, but it didn’t go very far in the big city.

As People reports, the actor soon called home to ask for help, but she didn’t get any. “I called my mother and asked her to send me some money, and she said no, and that subsequently led to a year of not speaking to her because I was so upset that she wouldn’t help me,” Berry explained. 

It was, as Berry put it, “rough” to not be able to make ends meet. Ultimately, though, Berry appreciates her mom’s tough love approach that forced her to figure it out and make it work: “shelter life was part of figuring it out for a minute until I could get a waitressing job. Then I got a bartending job, and until I could figure that out, that’s what I did.”