The Truth About Steve Harvey's Homelessness Before Making It Big

Photo credit: Getty
Photo credit: Getty

From Good Housekeeping

There's really no one like Steve Harvey.

He's a talkshow and gameshow host, comedian, radio star, best-selling author, husband, father, and grandfather. The 62-year-old icon's wise cracks and hard work over the years have afforded him a lavish lifestyle and a good chunk of change. As of 2019, Steve Harvey has an estimated net worth of $160 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

But it wasn't always smooth sailing for Steve. In fact, when Steve was still figuring out what he wanted to do with his life in the 1880s, he actually wound up homeless for a few years.

Struggling to get by

Well before Steve made it big, he struggled to pick a path in life. Steve - who was born Broderick Stephen Harvey in Welch, West Virginia on January 17, 1957 – worked several jobs after attending West Virginia University. He tried his hand as an insurance salesman, postman, and even as a professional boxer. But none of it really stuck.

Finally, he landed on stand-up comedy for a career, which he reportedly started out doing in the '80s. During the decade, he married his first wife, Marcia, and had two children - Karli, 37, and Brandi, 37. His son Brock was born nearly a decade later in 1991.

However, it became increasingly difficult to make ends meet on a comedian's paycheck. As a result, Steve told People that he wound up living out of his 1976 Ford Tempo. He used an Igloo cooler in the backseat as a refrigerator and would wash up in hotel bathrooms, swimming pool showers, or gas stations. Things were this way for a solid three years.

“It was so disheartening,” Steve recalled to the publication. “A week is really the maximum you can do. This was three years! It was rock bottom. But even in my darkest days I had faith it would turn around.”

As we all know now, it most certainly did.

Steve's big break at Showtime at the Apollo

After honing his stand-up skills throughout the '80s, Steve was inching closer and closer to getting noticed. When he made it to the finals of the Second Annual Johnnie Walker National Comedy Search in 1989, he finally started to catch a break.

Photo credit: Getty
Photo credit: Getty

In 1993, he finally got his shot on Showtime at the Apollo, where he eventually became the host of the syndicated variety show. From there, Steve landed his very own sitcom called The Steve Harvey Show on the WB network. The show was a success and ran between 1996 until 2002.

In 1997, Steve went back to his stand-up roots and joined Cedric the Entertainer, Bernie Mac, and D.L. Hughley on a Kings of Comedy tour. The tour was such a success that famed director Spike Lee made a movie out it (called The Original Kings of Comedy). All in all, the tour grossed a whopping $37 million in 1997 and 1998, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Trying his hand at radio and book writing

By this time, Steve was seen as a star and was married to his second wife, Mary Lee (together, they have one child, Wynton, 21). After establishing a name for himself, Steve began to experiment with radio and launched his own show called The Steve Harvey Morning Show. The show's instant success led to Steve winning Radio & Record's Syndicated Personality/Show of the Year award in 2007. Apart from that, he scored parts in several films in the early 2000s, including Fighting Temptations, You Got Served, Johnson Family Vacation, and Racing Stripes.

Photo credit: Getty
Photo credit: Getty

Steve also has written several self-help books, four of which have landed him on the best-seller list. These include Jump: Take the Leap of Faith to Achieve Your Life of Abundance, Straight Talk, No Chaser: How to Find, Keep, and Understand a Man, Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success: Discovering Your Gift and the Way to Life's Riches Steve Harvey, and Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man - the latter was later made into a movie in 2012.

Family Feud, Miss Universe, and beyond

All in all, the list of Steve's accomplishments and projects could seemingly go on forever. Since 2010, Steve has become the face of Family Feud, launched his own talk show and rebranded it in 2017, and hosted several Miss Universe pageants (despite his giant gaffe where he read off the wrong contestant as the winner).

Today, he is still hosting his talk show Steve and is married to his third wife, Marjorie, with who he has a daughter with, Lori.

As far as the eye can tell, he is beyond happy with where his life has gone, which he credits to having the courage to take a risk on himself all those years ago.

“We become our own opposition when we accept the following: procrastinating, lying to ourselves, comparing ourselves to others, and having self doubts," he writes in Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success.

In another passage he notes, "When we utilize our gift, the universe thanks us by giving us an abundance of riches - from abundant opportunities to good health to financial wealth.”

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