Steve Harvey has been a television staple for decades. He’s done it all. From acting, to hosting, and even producing, it seems like Harvey knows every corner of the television industry. But it wasn’t an easy rise to the top for this Family Feud host. Harvey struggled as a young comedian in the 80s. He pushed through it, and ended up being one of the most well known television personalities. Now, his voice is instantly recognizable. That’s extra impressive, because according to, Harvey actually had a stutter as a child. 

Steve Harvey had a childhood stutter 

Harvey came from humble beginnings. But what his family lacked in funds, they made up for with moral support. Harvey wanted to be an entertainer from a young age, and his father encouraged him. Others didn’t take his goals seriously, because Harvey had a debilitating stutter as a child. Despite this, Harvey had a knack for entertaining. He loved making people laugh, and he knew it was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. 

According to The Stuttering Foundation, a local deli man actually helped Harvey get over his stutter. He gave the future star tips on how to slow down, and speak carefully. He would give a young Harvey candy when he spoke clearly. But not everyone was so supportive. Even one of Harvey’s teachers seriously doubted he could ever be on TV. 

One teacher doubted Harvey 

In sixth grade, Steve Harvey’s teacher asked the class to write down what they wanted to be when they grew up. When Harvey wrote down that he wanted to be on TV, she shamed him in front of the whole class. The teacher thought Harvey was joking, and believed that no one with a stutter would ever be on TV. She even called his house to complain to his mother. 

Harvey didn’t let her get to him, although being a star wouldn’t be easy. With some help from the deli man, Harvey got over his stutter and his fear of public speaking. He started a standup career in the 1980s, but it crashed and burned. Harvey was left penniless, living in his car. Most people would have quit and gotten a day job, but not Harvey. He kept pushing, and eventually got his big break in 1990, when he won second place in the Johnny Walker National Comedy Search. 

Harvey never forgot the people who helped him along the way. He also never forgot the people who hurt him. Harvey sent a TV to his former teacher every year, to make sure she would be able to see what he’d accomplished.  

How much did Steve Harvey spend on spite gifts for his former teacher?

Harvey told Oprah that “Every year when the teacher was living, I used to send her a TV for Christmas, ’cause I wanted her to see me.” Basically, Harvey sent the teacher a spite TV. He wanted to brag about what he’d become, and shame her year after year for doubting him. Of course, we don’t know how the teacher felt. Getting a new TV every year actually sounds like a sweet deal, so she probably didn’t mind. 

It is impossible to determine how much Harvey actually spent on sending the televisions to his teacher without knowing what kind of TVs he was getting, and how long his teacher lived. Plus, Harvey wasn’t clear about when he started sending the TVs. Was it in 1990 when he got his first break? Or did he wait to have a few roles under his belt first? If it can be assumed Harvey started in 1990 and that his teacher lived until 2000, it is likely Harvey spent around $3,400 on televisions. That is assuming he bought the middle of the line, which according to AudioDen would have gone for around $340 in 1990. 

If Harvey sent his teacher a top of the line TV, he could have been out as much as $2,300 a year. 

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