In a new interview with People, the Oscar winner said she's actually grateful for the experience because it shaped the woman she is today.
Berry arrived in New York City with some money in her bank account from a modeling gig, but her savings didn't last long in one of the world's most expensive cities.
"I mean three months later, I was out of my cash," Berry recalled. "I called my mother and asked her to send me some money, and she said no, and that subsequently led to a year of not speaking to her because I was so upset that she wouldn’t help me."
Today Berry has a slightly different outlook and she's incredibly grateful for her mom's tough love. "That’s probably one of the best things she did for me…She said, 'If you want to be there, then you work it out.' And I had to work it out."
As we all know, Berry did far more than simply "make it work," but it wasn't all smooth sailing. Despite setbacks, she says that "Giving up was never an option."
"It was to prove to [my mom] and everybody else. It took me right back to my high school years. 'You say I can’t, watch me. I’m going to figure this out.' And shelter life was part of figuring it out for a minute until I could get a waitressing job," the actress explained. "Then I got a bartending job, and until I could figure that out, that’s what I did."