Chrissy Metz: I Had Less Than A Dollar Left Before This Is Us

Nowadays, actress Chrissy Metz of the hit show This is Us can be spotted talking spoilers on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, posing for press on the Golden Globes' red carpet—where she was nominated for best supporting actress in a series, limited series or TV movie—and parading around town with boyfriend Josh Stancil, a cameraman on the show.

But life hasn't always been so rosy for the 36-year-old actress, who confided to Glamour for its March 2017 issue that prior to playing Kate Pearson on the hit NBC show, she had a mere 81 cents left in her bank account. "I could cry right now just thinking about it...You may think, 'Ooh, you're on TV, you're a millionaire!' No. It's definitely a lot more than I was making, but I still live with my roommate—though I pay my proper share of the rent now. Meeting my car payment on time? That's new."

Metz's childhood in Homestead, Fla. was financially unstable. Her parents divorced when she was 8, leaving her mom to raise three children on her own. "There were times I'd be nervous walking home from elementary school, thinking, If that red tag from the power company saying our lights are turned off is on the door handle, I don't know what I'll do. And there were nights my mom wouldn't eat dinner. She'd be like, 'Oh, I'm not hungry.' I knew she was giving up food to make sure we could eat, but when you're 9 or 10 years old, you can't help. It was devastating. In retrospect I think that's why food equals love in my family."

After leaving Florida for California to live with five roommates in a two-bedroom apartment, Metz eventually landed a role on American Horror Story in 2014. When that gig wrapped, she had a difficult time landing work and filed for unemployment. This is Us changed everything.

"I've had women—average women, older women, teenagers—who say to me, 'Your role and this show has changed my life.' That makes all the struggle, all the ramen noodles, all the times when I couldn't pay my bills, all the times where I was like, 'I can't do this,' worth it," she told Glamour. "Sometimes I cry on the way to the set still. There is something that happens when you are grateful: You continue to keep receiving blessings. So I will always be grateful."