The lives of the rich and famous have long sold magazines and newspapers. It’s no surprise that celebrity memoirs are popular reads as well.
I loved learning about how actors, comedians, politicans, and other celebrities overcome all odd to be successful… even if that success unleases dark demons.
Below, you’ll find a number of our favorite celeb memoirs divided by the type of celebrity they are. If you need even more celeb gossip, check out our list of books about fictional celebrities. There are lots of goodies on that list too!
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Celebrity Memoirs About Musicians
Like every Millenial, I rushed to read Britney’s memoir when it came out. Oh boy was it a doozy! It’s filled with explosive information about her life as the princess of pop.
And we finally get to hear about what happened with her and Justin, the conservatorship, the shaved head umbrella incident, and more of her life. She boldly reclaims her narrative even if the writing on this one leaves something to be desired. It was almost juvenile in its simplicity.
I have not read a memoir so fascinating and compelling since Educated by Tara Westover. As non-fiction books go, this is one of the best.
Jollett’s story about leaving a cult he was born into and the emotional scars his early childhood trauma left on him was so compelling. I was so impressed by his insight into himself and those around him, and his willingness to be so frank about his journey to adulthood. I can’t recommend this book about cults enough.
This audiobook is performed by Dolly Parton as she weaves the story of her life with her music. She tells the stories behind her most famous songs and also gives insight into her history.
Dolly Parton is an amazing woman who is a huge advocate for literacy. She talks a little bit about her Imagination Library which is a book gifting program that mails free books to children from birth through age 5. To date, this library, which started in 1995, has mailed more than one million books!
The life Patti Smith has led is truly astounding. I was in awe of her gumption and ability to make it as an artist. Her book depicts her time at the beginning of her career, how she slept on the streets, met her long-time lover and friend, and how her career really began.
Her life as an artist is so different than the life I crave that I felt almost voyeuristic in her shoes. She’s a gifted writer, among other talents, so the words were almost a long poem or song. A must-read for fans of the 70s. This book won the National Book Award in 2010.
Celebrity Memoirs About Actors
I tackled this memoir back in 2020. Dick Van Dyke is an American icon that I’ve loved since Mary Poppins. I knew I had to read this non-fiction Old Hollywood book.
Dick Van Dyke’s narration of his own memoir brought it to life. I had no idea about so many of the darker parts of his life, including his struggle with alcohol. He’s such a mainstay in the glamourous age of Hollywood and his story is inspiring. It is a perfect pick from feel-good nonfiction books.
I love Lauren Graham because, in my mind, she’s Lorelai Gilmore. So the fact that this book was billed as a memoir that revolved a great deal around my beloved show had me signing up to listen.
I found Graham’s rise to stardom to be an interesting one, but it was the behind-the-scenes look at Gilmore Girls that had me truly enthralled. I loved that she went back and binged it all, filling in her memories and sharing little anecdotes.
We don’t learn much about her private life, but it satisfied the fangirl in me regardless.
Clanlands by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish (forward by Diana Gabaldon)
This hysterical book is part history and part comedy. Stars of the Outlander TV series, Sam Heughan (who plays Jamie Fraser) and Graham McTavish (AKA Dougal MacKenzie) go on a road trip with each other.
Along the way, they tell funny stories and experience Scotland’s rich heritage. I laughed out loud multiple times at their antics, and then promptly watched their show Men in Kilts on Starz.
If you are a fan of the Outlander series (television series), you must read this pick in books like Outlander. This is a feel-good nonfiction pick from books about Scotland. It is a perfect place to start if you are looking for nonfiction books for beginners.
Best Celebrity Memoirs: Comedians
I bought this book because Kevin Hart is my favorite comedian. Yet, I had no idea what he needed to overcome to get where he is today.
In true Kevin fashion, he jokes his way through the struggles of his youth and early career, but his grit and perseverance were impressively sprinkled throughout.
This very short memoir by Gary Janetti was more a collection of short stories than anything else. I read it at the car dealership in one sitting and had to stop myself from being that crazy person a few times while reading it.
I knew nothing of Janetti before I got this book, but I felt like I instantly knew him as a friend. His humor is self-deprecating with a side of diva and I was utterly charmed.
I always thought that Mindy Kaling was hilarious. I am not a huge memoir enthusiast but I was excited to listen to this one. Mindy’s personal voice in her quest to find happiness and be secure with who she is was a really refreshing voice to listen to. She is honest, funny and relatable. And like any good comedian, self-deprecating but not in a “poor- me” kind of way.
I enjoyed this memoir and if you get a chance to listen, it makes it that much more enjoyable.
I’m not usually one for memoirs but a friend told me that this one was amazing. It was so nice to hear the lines and words delivered by the author herself.
I laughed out loud more than once and cried a few times as well. Personal, but not overly private, I found the balance of humor and sincerity spot on.
Celebrity Memoirs: Chefs
My first celebrity chef memoir was not at all what I was expecting and I loved it! I found myself thinking of Erin as a friend while reading this story. I rooted for her, cried with her, and had so many food cravings it bordered on ridiculous. How can you not want to eat the delicious concoctions described on the page.
I was not anticipating that this would be a story about redemption, finding inner strength, and perseverance, but that’s what it was. Erin clawed her way to the top of the restaurant game only to find herself at rock bottom. Then, she did it again. It’s a story of a mother’s love, a woman overcoming addiction, and a damn good cook who finds herself planting roots where she least expected it.
I hope someday that I will be able to eat in her famed kitchen if just to have wine recommended by her mom and see her surrounded by the love of her kitchen family.
Political Celebrity Memoirs
I am so happy that I finally read this book. Michelle Obama is a brilliant woman who is so well-spoken with such a wonderful story to tell.
I listened to this and was so happy to hear the story read by Obama herself. She got choked up at certain times, which was deeply moving.
While I’m always interested in the justice system, I often find non-fiction books about the topic to be dry, too technical, or just plain confusing.
But not Judge Cordell’s book which has a perfect balance of example-based stories and explanations of legal issues without the legalese that can be confusing to those outside the justice system.
Her detailed antidotes about her life on the bench were compelling and troubling, drawing me in, and forcing me to see that our legal system needs work across ALL divisions.
I spent most of my time listening to this book, which is narrated by Judge Cordell, and I couldn’t pause it. I finished it in one day while ignoring life around me.
Judge Cordell is the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court of northern California and is the definition of female innovator. We could not leave this pick off of our list of books similar to Lessons in Chemistry.