One of the greatest gifts reading gives us is the ability to experience worlds, cultures, and experiences outside our own. Nothing immerses you in those worlds like the stories and experiences told by the person who lived them.
As actors, comedians, and musicians, many celebrities already have a flair for the dramatic. When done well, the result can be celebrity memoirs that make for some of the most memorable and highly-rated audiobooks.
Whether you’re looking for a juicy behind-the-scenes celebrity tell-all or to get to know the real person behind the celebrity, memoirs open the door to a world we otherwise don’t get to see.
In no particular order, below are 13 celebrity memoirs that are worth a listen, as read by the celebrities themselves.
- Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
- Open Book by Jessica Simpson
- Troublemaker by Leah Remini
- I’m Glad my Mom Died by Jeannette McCurdy
- Finding Me by Viola Davis
- Bossypants by Tina Fey
- Act Like You Got Some Sense by Jamie Foxx
- The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey
- A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost
- Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
- The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
- The Storyteller by Dave Grohl
Best Celebrity Memoir Audiobooks
Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
Greenlights has been one of the most buzzed-about celebrity memoirs of the last several years, and with good reason. The audiobook comes alive in McConaughey’s voice, reinforcing his acclaim as a gifted storyteller and performer. His memoir examines transformative events throughout McConaughey’s 50 years, emphasizing lessons that become “greenlights” along the way. With humor and humility, McConaughey shares a wide range of experiences, from wrestling in a dirt pit in South Africa to traveling the U.S. in his airstream trailer. While his life as a celebrity in Hollywood is a backdrop to some of the stories, it’s the experiences far off the beaten path that bring this book to life.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Born a Crime is not only a memoir but also a crucial history lesson. Noah was born biracial, literally a crime, in apartheid South Africa. He and his mother, a force in her own right, see the end of apartheid and the election of Nelson Mandela. Noah masterfully narrates the audio with various impressions, particularly of his mother, bringing this story to life. Told in a series of individual essays rather than chronologically, Noah shares the unique perspective of his life in this touching, humorous, and necessary historical memoir.
Read our full Born a Crime review.
Listen with a free trial at: Audible (this title is an Audible exclusive)
Open Book by Jessica Simpson
For fans looking for the inside story on Simpson’s celebrity relationships, Open Book delivers. Simpson dishes on everything from her marriage to Nick Lachey to her dysfunctional relationship with John Mayer. However, like Simpson, there’s much more to this book than her relationships. Simpson delves into her body image issues and the conflict of becoming a sexualized teen idol in a Christian community. Chronicling her struggles with sobriety and the intervention staged by her friends and family, Simpson bravely details some extremely intimate struggles. The audio also contains six new songs performed by Simpson, available only on the audiobook.
Troublemaker by Leah Remini
Remini, an actress and former member of the church of Scientology, gives an inside look into her experiences in the controversial world of Scientology. Known for her outspoken honesty, Remini chronicles her rise both as an actress in Hollywood and into the church’s highest ranks. Indoctrinated into Scientology as a teenager, Remini gives a raw and honest picture of her experiences spanning over 30 years. After she began questioning the church and its leadership, she found herself a target, subject to interrogations and outrageous financial penalties. If you’re looking for details on her interactions with certain other famous Scientology members, Troublemaker doesn’t disappoint.
I’m Glad my Mom Died by Jeannette McCurdy
Starting with the title, this memoir by Jeannette McCurdy pulls no punches. McCurdy, an actress, and singer, details her acting career from her very first audition through her eventual rise to fame, all while revealing the disturbing depths to which her mother controlled her career and her life. While technically a celebrity memoir, the crux of the book underscores the deeply dysfunctional and abusive relationship between McCurdy and her mother. It’s a cautionary tale for any parent pushing their children to fulfill their unrealized dreams. Most heartbreaking is McCurdy recognizing and coming to terms with the abuse she suffered after her mother passed away. McCurdy bravely tells her story with a dose of dark humor, bringing levity to her incredible story of personal growth and triumph.
Finding Me by Viola Davis
In this brutal and beautiful memoir, Davis offers honest insight into her upbringing, a world of abuse and abject poverty – which most of us have never experienced at this level. From a derelict apartment in Rhode Island to the theaters of New York City and the soundstages of Hollywood, she details eye-opening insight into the sexism and racism she’s experienced throughout her life. Her inspiring story is one of resilience and determination that everyone would benefit from listening to and learning from.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
If you’ve ever chuckled at an episode of 30 Rock or laughed at one of Fey’s jokes on Saturday Night Live, you’ll find Bossypants is an audiobook gem. With her characteristic wit, Fey humorously recounts details from her childhood to her beginnings in comedy, up to being an executive producer on 30 Rock. She deftly weaves her social and political opinions throughout and doesn’t apologize for it. While most of us can’t relate to juggling an interview with Oprah while simultaneously rehearsing for SNL and planning our child’s birthday party, we can relate to the balancing act that comes with trying to do it all.
Read our full Bossypants review.
Act Like You Got Some Sense by Jamie Foxx
Foxx’s highly-rated first foray into writing is both a memoir and a book on parenting advice. Chronicling his success as an actor and the pleasures and pitfalls of stardom, Foxx brings his humor and charm to his journey as a parent. Foxx shares lessons he’s learned from the women in his life, mainly his no-nonsense grandmother and his two daughters. Foxx’s natural gift as a performer lends itself to the audio, bringing his sense of humor to the anecdotes and stories.
The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey
For anyone who sees Mariah Carey as the characterized pop diva she’s made out to be, The Meaning of Mariah Carey is an eye-opener. Carey gives an honest and intimate look into her life, including struggles with her identity growing up as a biracial girl and her unstable home life, all the way to the peak of her music career and everything in between. From her strained relationship with her mother to her disastrous marriage to music mogul Tommy Mottola, Carey chronicles all of the ups and downs of a truly remarkable music career. With an emphasis on her lyrics and songwriting weaved throughout, the audiobook is the way to go to hear her sing these particular pieces.
Listen with a free trial at: Audible (this title is an Audible exclusive)
A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost
Jost, an SNL writer, star, and stand-up comedian, brings his unique sense of humor to this comedic memoir. From attending Harvard during the creation of Facebook to having his life saved by Jimmy Buffet, Jost shares some truly bizarre tales. The humor is offset with some poignant and serious notes, including his mother’s experience at the Twin Towers on September 11th. For those wanting more of Jost’s humor, a look into his relationship with Scarlet Johannsen, or behind-the-scenes stories of SNL, this memoir delivers.
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
Written nearly 20 years before his death at age 62, Bourdain’s memoir is an ode to his love of food, an inside look at his work and life, and a no holds barred behind-the-scenes look into restaurant kitchens. Kitchen Confidential is not for the faint of heart or anyone averse to vulgar language. Witty and well-written, Bourdain’s memoir brings a punk rock sensibility to the culinary world. If you’re ready to pull back the curtain and learn what really goes on in restaurant kitchens, this memoir does not disappoint. You just might never order fish on a Monday again.
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
While The Princess Diarist was the last book published before Fisher’s death, one could argue it was also one of her first. Based on the diaries she kept at the age of 19 while filming the first Star Wars movie, Fisher muses on her own celebrity and being born the daughter of celebrities. For the first time, she details her on-set affair with Harrison Ford and includes excerpts from her actual diary entries as a 19-year-old. While Wishful Drinking, one of her prior memoirs, focuses on her struggle with mental health and bipolar disorder, The Princess Diarist is the pop culture memoir that celebrity and Star Wars fans alike can revel in.
The Storyteller by Dave Grohl
Compellingly written and performed, Grohl’s memoir is both the story of his life so far and an ode to his love affair with music. Grohl recounts his earliest experiences with music as a child and how it shaped his life growing up. He chronicles joining and forming various bands, including Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. Grohl tenderly recalls his relationship with Kurt Cobain and other singular experiences, like having Paul McCartney spontaneously give Grohl’s daughter her first piano lesson. Grounded in humility and an endearing love for his family, Storyteller is a poignant and fascinating listen from a rock legend.
Want even more suggestions for the best celebrity memoir audiobooks? This Scribd list has some great suggestions: Entertainers and the Rich & Famous Audiobooks