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Some will say it's all one big publicity stunt, but we're firm believers that strong statements from celebrities on important issues can go a long way towards changing society. For better or worse, Americans look up to people like Angelina Jolie and Jason Collins — and their recent statements about breast-cancer prevention and being gay in the world of sports, while deeply personal, have riveted millions of people and opened up dialogue on two pressing and challenging topics.
To that end, we took a look back at celebrities who, through personal admission, have changed the national conversation for the better, and become inspirational figures for regular Joes and Janes struggling with the same problems. While some of these revelations — all of which were shocking at the time — might make you cry, others will make you smile, and most of all, we think they're proof that our favorite stars do have the ability to harness their ubiquity for the better.
Written by Hayden Manders