According to the US Census Bureau, about half of the children who are living only with their mother in a single family household live in poverty. When you are going through a divorce, you are convinced that you are on your way to becoming part of that statistic.
Yet, some women have beaten all the odds. Some women have not only survived after their divorce, but they have gone on to become rich and famous afterwards.
Here are five single moms who found massive financial success after they were divorced. (Bet their ex-husbands are kicking themselves now!)
Joanne Rowling, author of the world-renowned “Harry Potter” series, was a single mom struggling to survive when she wrote the first Harry Potter book. She was living on state benefits while trying to support herself and her young daughter.
Rowling had a difficult time finding a publisher who would publish her first book. Bloomsbury Children’s Books finally published Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1997. They reportedly asked her to publish the book under the name “J.K. Rowling” rather than under her real name, “Joanne” because they thought that a female author would not appeal to their target audience of young boys.
Rowling has now published seven Harry Potter books, as well as multiple other books. The Harry Potter books alone have sold millions of copies all over the world. They set records for the fastest selling books in history.
The Harry Potter books have now been made into a series of films. Having grossed approximately $7.7 billion, the Harry Potter film series is reportedly the highest grossing film series of all time.
J.K. Rowling has a net worth of approximately $1 billion. She is now remarried, and has three children. She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Mary Kay Ash
Mary Kay Ash, founder of the Mary Kay Cosmetics Company, got married at 17 and had three children. During WWII, while her husband was serving in the military, she worked selling books door-to-door. When her husband returned from the war, he revealed that he had been having an affair, and the couple divorced.
Mary Kay started working for Stanley Home Products selling products door-to-door. After being passed over for promotions, she quit and started working for the World Gift Company. She is credited with having increased sales company-wide by 50% in one year. But, just like Stanley Home Products, World Gift would not promote her. So Mary Kay “retired.”
At the age of 45 Mary Kay invested her life savings of $5,000 into her own business. She and her son opened a small store in Dallas and started selling cosmetics. By 2013 the Mary Kay Cosmetics Company was the third largest direct seller of cosmetics and skin care products.
During her life, Mary Kay won numerous awards for business and entrepreneurship. Mary Kay died in 2001. She left behind a personal fortune estimated at $98 million.
Before she was the stuff of Hollywood movies, Erin Brokovich was a twice-divorced mother of three living in California. A former beauty queen with only a few years of college, she worked as a secretary to support herself and her kids.
Brokovich got injured in a car accident, and hired the law firm of Masry and Vitito to represent her. She received a small settlement from her claim. Despite her lack of legal training, and her provocative style of dressing, she eventually went to work answering phones for the law firm.
While working on a pro-bono real estate case, Brokovich discovered that the residents of Hinkley, California had elevated levels of chromium in their blood. Through her dogged investigation she discovered that Pacific Gas & Electric had been poisoning the residents of Hinkley for about 30 years.
The residents filed suit, and, after years of litigation and arbitration, the case finally settled behind closed doors for $333 million dollars. She reportedly received $2.5 million from the settlement. Her story was made into the movie “Erin Brokovich,” starring Julia Roberts.
The popular country singer Naomi Judd got pregnant at age 17, but the father of her child ran off almost immediately. She then quickly married her new sweetheart, Mike Ciminella, and gave birth to her daughter, Christina Ciminella, who later became Wynonna Judd. She also gave birth to her second child, Ashley, who went on to become a famous actress. Naomi and Mike Ciminella divorced in 1972.
As a single mother, Naomi Judd bounced between jobs. She and her children were often on welfare. After a few years, Naomi moved herself and the kids back to Kentucky, put herself through nursing school, and got a job as nurse.
Naomi started singing with her oldest daughter Wynonna in the 1970s. In 1983 they caught their first big break and recorded Had a Dream (For the Heart), which made it to the Country Top 20 List.
Naomi and Wynonna have won multiple Grammy Awards and ultimately sold more than 20 million albums. They became the most successful mother-daughter duo in country music history. Sadly, in the early 1990’s, Naomi Judd was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. She retired from the music business to focus on her health.
Naomi has now recovered from her illness. She authored the New York Times best-selling autobiography, “Love Can Build a Bridge.” She has since authored several self-help books, and has been on film and television.
Columbian actress Sofia Vergara started her career when she was discovered by a photographer on a beach when she was 17. She dropped out of school, where she was studying dentistry, to pursue a career as a model and actress.
At 18, Sofia married her high school sweetheart, Joe Gonzalez, and gave birth to her son Manolo in 1992. The couple divorced in 1993.
After her divorce, Vergara went on to become a popular Univision television personality in Columbia. When her contract with Univision expired, she accepted a role with ABC in the United States. She has appeared in a variety of TV sitcoms, and is currently starring as Gloria Delgado Pritchett in the show, Modern Family.
Sofia Vergara is now an accomplished actress, who has earned Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG Award nominations. She has made the Forbes list of Highest Paid TV Actresses. She reportedly earned $37 million in 2014.
Inspirational? You, too, have the power to change your life.
For more divorce advice and information from Karen Covy, go to http://karencovy.com
How will you find success after your divorce?
- How To Get Through Those First Financial Bumpy Months After Divorce
- 5 Very Important Reasons You Will Need To Work After Divorce
- Single Moms’ Financial Challenges & Ideas For Coping
- Back to Work After Divorce: 10 Skills You Have But Never Realized
- Going Back To Work? You’ve Got This!