Audiobooks, Author Spotlights, B&N Reads, Celebrities

35 Celebrity Memoirs Narrated by the Stars Themselves 

Going behind the scenes of any life to understand it better is the lure of any memoir, but it is human nature to gravitate especially toward the stories of people we think we already know so well. The genre of “celebrity memoir” is particularly popular in the audiobook format because we hear a familiar voice telling us personally about their past, present, and, often, their plans for the future. Some famous subjects narrate with serious earnestness about what they overcame, others with stark honesty about their regrets and foibles, many with humor about successes and failures, and all with an authenticity that cannot be denied nor surpassed since it is their words, their voice, their story. Here are some celebrity memoirs we find most compelling. 

Young Stars’ Journeys

I'm Glad My Mom Died

I'm Glad My Mom Died

By Jennette McCurdy
Narrated by Jennette McCurdy

Audiobook $17.99 $19.99

Paris: The Memoir

Paris: The Memoir

By Paris Hilton
Narrated by Paris Hilton

Audiobook $6.99 $24.99

Pageboy: A Memoir

Pageboy: A Memoir

By Elliot Page
Narrated by Elliot Page

Audiobook $15.99 $19.99

All these stars grew up in the limelight, which molded them into the adults they are today. Jennette McCurdy, a former child actor, recounts in a flat and relatively emotionless voice the stark and unflinching details of her childhood abuse at the hands of her self-absorbed mother. Regardless of your interest level in Paris Hilton, her memoir proves she is an intelligent businessperson and relentless activist beneath the ditzy baby voice persona. While parts of her life are well documented in the tabloids, there was more happening behind closed doors, causing shame, guilt, and emotional wounds she will forever be healing from. Tom Felton dedicated his childhood to the filming of one of the most beloved book and movie franchises in history, Harry Potter. Beyond the Wand is an illuminating peek behind all that fake magic from an iconic star, as well as the ups and downs of his personal and professional life post Harry. Listening to Elliot Page’s non-linear story told with a raw honesty and combination of vulnerability and empowerment as he reveals his authentic self is powerful. In an era of increasing anti-trans hate, it is also necessary. 

Reminiscences of Resilience  

Finding Me

Finding Me

By Viola Davis
Narrated by Viola Davis

Audiobook $22.95 $27.99

Not My Father's Son: A Memoir

Not My Father's Son: A Memoir

By Alan Cumming
Narrated by Alan Cumming

Audiobook $21.99

We suggest you keep tissues nearby for these stories, which will tug at your heartstrings while also leaving you inspired by the perseverance of these revered performers. Viola Davis had us at “Chapter One.” That voice! This multi-award-winning actor’s narration of her life story in Finding Me details a traumatic childhood, her many experiences (personal and professional) with racism, and her hard- and well-earned success. Alan Cumming definitely did not write your typical celebrity memoir. Emotional and raw, Cumming details how he survived a childhood at the hands of his abusive father. Preparing to appear on a celebrity genealogy show to solve a family mystery, he had no idea it would lead to his estranged father revealing a shocking secret that would change his life forever.   

Hello, Molly!: A Memoir

Hello, Molly!: A Memoir

By Molly Shannon , Sean Wilsey
Narrated by Molly Shannon

Audiobook $19.79 $21.99

Unprotected: A Memoir

Unprotected: A Memoir

By Billy Porter
Narrated by Billy Porter

Audiobook $22.49 $24.99

Both heartbreaking and hilarious, Molly Shannon made us laugh and cry in Hello, Molly! Shannon utilizes her acting talents to great effect here, immersing us in her tragic beginnings, surprising and not-so-surprising shenanigans, multi-layered relationship with her father, and ever-growing professional successes by using a full range of emotions. Before his iconic roles on stage and screen, Billy Porter came of age during a time when being himself led to him being bullied and beaten. But he pushed past the obstacles in his way and declared at an early age, “I’ll never stop doing what I’m doing. I’ll never stop being who I am.” And that is exactly what this icon continues to do today, and the world is a better place because of that.

Favorite TV Personalities On and Off the Screen 

Television stars are some of our culture’s most beloved celebrities simply because we spend so much time with them. It’s sometimes hard to remember that they have vastly different real lives beyond what we see on the screen. Matthew Perry’s memoir, released a year before his death, brings this fact home in 11 gripping chapters that are unflinching in recounting his years of suffering with addiction—the “big terrible thing” of the title—even while being one of the most adored and wealthiest actors on the planet. Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain’s early death also points to an inner reality that detoured from the self-confident persona we saw on television. Many of the tales he pridefully tells in Kitchen Confidential are at least as gritty and unflattering as Perry’s but are imbued with more self-satisfaction and self-congratulation than Perry’s self-reflection. It’s a wild ride, and it leaves us wondering if Bourdain would have written a very different kind of memoir now. 

Bossypants

Bossypants

By Tina Fey
Narrated by Tina Fey

Audiobook $17.28 $18.99

Being Henry: The Fonz . . . and Beyond

Being Henry: The Fonz . . . and Beyond

By Henry Winkler
Narrated by Henry Winkler

Audiobook $24.29 $26.99

Tina Fey, Ron Howard, and Henry Winkler wrote lighter but no less engrossing memoirs. Fey’s Bossypants is funny from the opening credits, where she promises “maximum audio performance.” She absolutely delivers in a series of essays that sound like smart and sassy sketch comedy bits. An extra bonus is two PDFs of photos with LOL captions. With his brother, Clint, the former child star-turned-director Howard delights with what is much more of a family story than a Hollywood story. The brothers’ shared narration adds perspective, intimacy, and a welcome conversational tone to a theme we don’t read about often enough—two happy kids in show business who turned into grounded adults, thanks to loving parents who taught them foundational values by being simultaneously ambitious and selfless. Howard’s on-screen and off-screen friend, Winkler, warmly entertains with an honest look at his professional trials and triumphs, while taking pains to convey a message about the incomparable value of developing an immutable sense of self-worth. This is a very satisfying listen, filled with industry details, personal insights, fun dog stories, and lots of gratitude. Deservedly, all three of these books are award winners. 

Faith-Filled Lives  

Counting the Cost

Counting the Cost

By Jill Duggar , Derick Dillard , Craig Borlase
Narrated by Jill Duggar

Audiobook $21.59 $23.99

All My Knotted-Up Life: A Memoir

All My Knotted-Up Life: A Memoir

By Beth Moore
Narrated by Beth Moore

Audiobook $17.95 $19.95

Jill Duggar, a member of one of the best-known television reality show families, and Beth Moore, a prominent evangelist author and public speaker, both speak with tenderness, vulnerability, and compassion about the manipulation (and worse) they experienced growing up in church-going families that were dysfunctional in different ways. Duggar’s parents allowed no deviation of thought or behavior from their “norm,” and she couldn’t see her “life from the outside” while enmeshed in that tight family circle. The same inability or fear to see beyond was also true for Moore during her traumatic childhood as well as much later in her chosen religious community. Duggar’s Counting the Cost and Moore’s All My Knotted-Up Life are vastly different—Duggar is slow, methodical, and still young, while Moore is quick, animated, and has many more chapters of her life to unravel. Neither author is looking for sympathy or approval. Instead, they wrote these books for themselves—both needed to hear their own voice as steady, self-assured, and still hopeful. 

Icons

My Name Is Barbra

My Name Is Barbra

By Barbra Streisand
Narrated by Barbra Streisand

Audiobook $45.00 $50.00

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

By Steve Martin
Narrated by Steve Martin

Audiobook $17.09 $17.99

The House of Hidden Meanings: A Memoir

The House of Hidden Meanings: A Memoir

By RuPaul
Narrated by RuPaul

Audiobook $21.99

No one in this group is a stranger to wowing audiences, whether on stage or the screen—all these icons deliver outstanding audiobooks worth every second of your time. Get the full story of the girl from Brooklyn and her extraordinary career in My Name Is Barbra. This is no quick listen, so grab a drink or snack and get ready to spend a lot of time with this living legend, EGOT winner, and funny girl, who gifts us with additional anecdotes and music exclusive to the audiobook. Another icon with numerous enviable talents is actor/musician/comedian/storyteller Steve Martin. He recounts his childhood, early jobs, and stand-up routines in this acclaimed memoir. It’s not all laughs, though, so prepare for some serious moments alongside some banjo licks. And prepare to be gooped and gagged as international drag superstar RuPaul takes you through his unputdownable The House of Hidden Meanings. The time has come for Ru to reveal more about his past than he ever has before, and we were engrossed from the moment we started listening. 

Musicians Bono and Paul Simon both use their body of work to explore the driving currents in their lives. In Surrender, Bono takes you through the genesis and meaning of 40 songs from the U2 catalog, which illustrate a life filled equally with private introspection and public display and advocacy. The treat here is the supporting soundtrack, including reimagined versions of U2 classics. For something completely different, if you’ve wanted to listen in as a bestselling author (Malcolm Gladwell) and journalist and podcast host (Bruce Headlam) chat with one of the greatest songwriters in music (Simon), then it’s your lucky day. Over 30 hours of conversations were edited down for Miracle & Wonder, an enjoyable deep dive into the legendary songs, as well as some never-before-heard recordings by the boy from Queens. 

On the World Stage  

Often, the lives of world leaders and global influencers are told by others with distance from the subject’s time in the spotlight and an objective perspective. We’ve chosen this group of memoirs by internationally known personalities for exactly the opposite reason—they are written and narrated with a distinctly personal point of view. No matter what your prior opinions of these newsmakers may be, we urge you to give these sincere and enlightening first-hand accounts of noteworthy lives a chance. 

Becoming

Becoming

By Michelle Obama
Narrated by Michelle Obama

Audiobook $20.00 $25.00

Decision Points (Abridged)

Decision Points (Abridged)

By George W. Bush
Narrated by George W. Bush

Audiobook $17.50

Spare

Spare

By Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex
Narrated by Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex

Audiobook $29.88 $36.00

Michelle Obama’s thorough, vivid, and determined account of her unpredictable journey to the White House won her Grammy and Audie Awards. She touches on politics, but the more revealing chapters focus on her family roots, her beliefs, and her awareness of her unique role in history. Former U.S. president George W. Bush more tightly weaves the personal and the professional together in Decision Points, where he describes many critical decisions he faced—from giving up alcohol to protecting the country from terrorism. On the other end of the spectrum is Jimmy Carter, the oldest surviving of all U.S. presidents, who avoids serious politics in An Hour Before Daylight, a beautifully written and lovingly delivered homage to his rural boyhood in Depression-era Georgia. Prince Harry’s painful personal memoir of a very public life became one of the bestselling books of all time, resulting in further frayed edges between him and his family. Was it worth it? Only he can answer that, but listen to him narrate his own story with a combination of stoicism and emotion before making your own judgment call. 

Listen and Learn

Greenlights

Greenlights

By Matthew McConaughey
Narrated by Matthew McConaughey

Audiobook $19.00 $20.00

Alright alright alright alright . . . whether you’re in a funk and need a pick-me-up, or maybe you could use a little advice and motivation from a friend (in this case a famous friend), these audiobooks offer helping hands that will encourage you and give you some feels along the way. Matthew McConaughey’s New York Times Bestseller has been called life-changing, and that’s true, as the renowned actor’s charming narration makes this an entertaining listen that will help anyone out of a rut and move forward. If you’re looking for something a little less serious with more laughs, then leave it to Ali Wong. Written as a series of letters to her daughters, Dear Girls feels like sitting down to catch up with a friend, who is completely unfiltered (hooray!) and kept us laughing the whole time.  

He said he’d be back, and he wasn’t lying. From bodybuilder to Terminator to governor and back to author again (this isn’t his first book), Arnold Schwarzenegger has lived an extraordinary life. In Be Useful, he shares his tool kit for a meaningful life, with stories of highs and lows, all with that instantly recognizable and powerful voice. A legend on the field who needs no introduction, Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders is currently head football coach for the University of Colorado, and he is also ready to be your coach to help you win at life in Elevate and Dominate. This is not a book just for sports fans. Known for being a motivator extraordinaire, Sanders delivers the ultimate playbook of inspiring personal stories and winning strategies. 

Sports Stories

All the Way: My Life in Four Quarters

All the Way: My Life in Four Quarters

By Joe Namath , Sean Mortimer , Don Yaeger
Narrated by Joe Namath

Audiobook $22.74 $24.99

A competitive nature is needed to turn those neighborhood games into a fully realized career, and these superstar athletes proved they have what it takes to become one of the all-time best. A groundbreaking tennis great, Bille Jean King came of age when being competitive as a young girl wasn’t a ladylike thing to do. Her persistence amid sexism, competing at the highest level, body image issues, her own sexual identity, and subsequent activism in the LGBTQ+ community is inspiring for all ages. Sixty-One: Life Lessons from Papa, On and Off the Court is a tribute to Chris Paul’s grandfather and the invaluable life lessons “Papa Chili” instilled in him before his untimely death. Paul speaks passionately about his focus on faith, family, and being a role model to future generations on and off the basketball court. Becky Lynch, a.k.a. The Man, writes and narrates her memoir exactly as she wrestles on the largest stage in the world—no fear, no compromises, with little flash and lots of in-your-face grit. Joe Namath’s happy-go-lucky attitude is infectious as he narrates All the Way: My Life in Four Quarters, sharing his story from childhood to winning the 1969 Super Bowl. 

More Memorable Memories 

Crying in H Mart

Crying in H Mart

By Michelle Zauner
Narrated by Michelle Zauner

Audiobook $18.00 $20.00

Just Kids

Just Kids

By Patti Smith
Narrated by Patti Smith

Audiobook $27.99

Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder

Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder

By Salman Rushdie
Narrated by Salman Rushdie

Audiobook $22.50

And now, a final miscellaneous three, which we think are must-reads/must-listens. Why?  

Just Kids won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2010. There is much poignancy layered into Patti Smith’s voice as she conjures a place (New York City), a moment (late 1960s/early 1970s), and a relationship (Robert Mapplethorpe) as clearly as if they were photographs. 

Crying in H Mart puts songwriter and singer Michelle Zauner’s cascading voice to perfect use as she navigates the grief of her mother’s loss and her contemplation of her own identity as an Asian American. 

Knife is available for preorder, and we’re in that queue ourselves because how can celebrated author Salman Rushdie not be the best and only narrator of this shocking, dark, and ultimately victorious passage of his life?