Demi Moore

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Tinseltown loves a rags-to-riches story, and stars who rise above poor backgrounds often take a certain pride in their humble beginnings. Despite growing up in poverty and going on to conquer Hollywood, Demi Moore has never sought to capitalise on her troubled start in life, however.

Originally named Demetria Guynes, she was born in Roswell, New Mexico, on November 11, 1962.

Her family life was troubled from the outset, as her biological father walked out before she was born.

Although her mother later remarried, Demi's stepfather had trouble securing steady work and the family moved repeatedly, struggling to make ends meet.

And there were other challenges for the youngster to face, including an eye condition which required two operations to correct.

The surgery marked a dramatic turnaround in Demi's fortunes, however, as her looks began to open doors to professional opportunities. Having dropped out of school early, she briefly made a living as a debt collection agent before modelling opportunities took her to Europe.

The star admits to a sometimes troubled relationship with her appearance. Asked about her enviable and much talked-about physique, Demi says her fitness regime has more to do with low self-esteem than anything else.

"The perception was that I was so in love with my body, when in reality I was trying to overcome my insecurity," she once revealed.

The year she turned 18 was a bitter-sweet for the blossoming beauty. Her life was hit by tragedy when her stepfather committed suicide, but she also found happiness, tying the knot with 34-year-old rock musician Freddy Moore, whose surname she took.

Though the marriage itself was short lived, it proved a pivotal experience for the young performer. Having moved into Freddy's home, Demi found herself living next door to Nastassja Kinski, who inspired her to pursue a career in acting.

Her first break came in the soap General Hospital, which led to her big screen debut opposite Michael Caine in 1984's Blame It On Rio. The following year St Elmo's Fire launched her into the big time and also gave her a first taste of tabloid attention.

Later she would admit: "I got involved with drugs because I was young and not sure how to deal with my sudden burst of fame."

Having overcome a cocaine habit, Demi had some mixed fortunes in movie ventures before the 1990 mega-blockbuster Ghost brought global stardom. The film, in which she appeared opposite Patrick Swayze, made her one of Hollywood's hottest properties - and something of a public obsession.

The actress' brief engagement to Emilio Estevez, followed by her marriage to hunky action hero Bruce Willis, only served to fuel the media's appetite for Demi stories.

The actress appeared to revel in her new-found role, appearing naked at seven months pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair and, when the ensuing frenzy began to dissipate, graciously obliging hungry journalists by doing it again. Her second Vanity Fair cover portrayed her in the buff, sporting a painted-on man's business suit.

Demi's flirtation with risqu¨¦ roles gathered momentum through sexually charged films such as The Scarlet Letter, Disclosure and Indecent Proposal, before culminating in the critically-panned Striptease.

While garnering her few fans in the newspapers' art pages, the films made her the first woman to earn over $10 million a movie.

"You look at her body and her soul and all that she's done, and it makes her seem enviably accomplished," says her Charlie's Angels co-star Drew Barrymore. "She changed the business for women as far as saying women can get paid the same as men."

And when critics alleged that a body double had performed her more revealing scenes in Striptease, the characteristically forthright star disproved them by performing the much talked-about sequence live on The Late Show With David Letterman.

"When people came after me for doing Indecent Proposal or Disclosure I thought, 'ridiculous'," she declared. "These people are trying to limit me as an actor. Are they saying I can't play these roles? Well, I've proved I can...

"There's this idea that if you take your clothes off, somehow you must have loose morals. There's still a negative attitude in our society towards women who use a strength that's inherent - their femininity - in any way that might be considered seductive."

Despite her frequent brushes with controversy, Demi also has a reputation as a devoted mother - she has three daughters with Bruce - as well as for her professionalism.

She also found success on the other side of the camera as a producer, with her credits including GI Jane and the hugely-successful Austin Powers series.

Her long-awaited return to the silver screen came in the form of Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, in which the 5ft 5in actress proves she's still a force to be reckoned with.

While some will term her return to acting "a comeback", those who have followed her career know she never really went away.

While her marriage to Bruce Willis ended after 11 years, the two remain on good terms. They own estates across the street from each other in Hailey, Idaho and share custody of their children, Rumer, Scout and Tallulah.

Indeed the Die Hard star even gave his seal of approval to her new romance, with former Calvin Klein model Ashton Kutcher, by appearing at several showbiz parties along with the couple.

Bruce was also among the intimate group of 100 guests who went along to congratulate the pair when they made their vows in a traditional Kabbalah ceremony in September 2005.

The marriage was thought to be one of Hollywood's happiest until the couple were rocked by allegations that Ashton, 15 years her junior, had been unfaithful. In 2011, the husky-voiced star announced their divorce.

As to the future, there can be little doubt Demi will continue to seek out new challenges. As she once said: "I want things to be the best they can be, I want greatness."

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