4 Stars Who Were Brought Up by Grandparents

Including one who didn't realize they were his grandparents
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2014 12:11 PM CDT
4 Stars Who Were Brought Up by Grandparents
Actor Jack Nicholson watches the Los Angeles Lakers play the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Sunday, April 28, 2013, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The Huffington Post rounds up eight celebrities who were raised by their grandparents—and many of them credit their success to that upbringing. A sampling:

  • Oprah Winfrey: After her mother moved to the Midwest for a job, Winfrey was raised by her grandmother on a Mississippi farm before eventually moving to be with her mother. "It actually probably saved my life," Winfrey has said; her grandmother was the one who taught her how to read. "It is the reason why I am where I am today because my grandmother gave me the foundation for success that I was allowed to continue to build upon."

  • Carol Burnett: Burnett was brought up by her grandmother after her parents divorced when she was young, and "Nanny" helped her to discover a passion for entertainment by taking her to the movies each week. When Burnett became famous, she would tug at her ear at the end of every show as a secret "I love you" message to her grandmother.
  • Willie Nelson: His grandparents stepped up after his parents divorced when he was still a baby. They encouraged him to sing and play instruments, and he learned the guitar by age 6. "I feel like that the education that I received in Abbott, Texas, was as good and as general as one that I could have found anywhere in the world," Nelson has said.
  • Jack Nicholson: When Nicholson was an adult, he found out that his "sister" was actually his mother, and his "parents" were actually his grandparents. They'd agreed to raise him as their own after his mother got pregnant as a teenager. Nicholson said he was not traumatized by the revelation: "As a matter of fact, it made quite a few things clearer to me. If anything, I felt grateful."
Click for the complete list. (More Oprah Winfrey stories.)

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