There are plenty of stars in show business who have a lot of money — and by a lot, we mean millions and even billions of dollars. And despite the fact that, as Insider points out, there have been far too many “alarming examples of Hollywood’s gender pay gap” over the years, there are still a fair share of women in the entertainment industry who have managed to make staggering amounts of dough.
For instance, actor and writer Mindy Kaling has around $24 million, while Marvel’s own Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson, has $165 million. Meanwhile, singer-songwriter and occasional actress Taylor Swift can enjoy life with a whopping $400 million. While those amounts are undeniably impressive — and are more than the average person will ever make in their lifetime — they can’t match the kind of fortunes that other celebrities have earned in various lucrative ways.
From actors and musicians to super prosperous moguls and beyond, here are the richest female celebrities in the world right now. Fun fact: To get on this elite list, you need to have at least $500 million to your name. However, many of these wildly wealthy ladies have much more than that!
Beyoncé says money gives you 'the power to run the show'
Beyoncé may have found fame as a singer, but these days, she also makes money from her acting (and voice work), endorsement deals, businesses such as the star’s Ivy Park sportswear line, and her various fragrances. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the latter alone has “generated more than $500 million in revenue since 2010,” helping to make “her brand … the most successful celebrity fragrance of all time.” That’s not to mention Queen Bey’s $60 million Netflix deal, per Variety, which gave the streaming service the rights to show Homecoming, “the behind-the-scenes documentary chronicling her 2018 Coachella performance.”
Thanks to Beyoncé’s various endeavors, she has a fortune that Celebrity Net Worth reports is around $500 million. Add that to her husband’s riches — Jay-Z apparently has $1 billion — and this pair sits at $1.5 billion, which earns them the second spot on the 2020 list of the richest celebrity couples.
Despite the famous duo’s combined financial situation, Beyoncé explained in her 2013 HBO documentary, Life Is But a Dream (via Money), “For some reason, everyone accepts the fact that women don’t make as much money as men do. I don’t understand that. Why do we have to take a backseat?” She continued by saying that she “truly believe[s] that women should be financially independent from their men,” adding, “and let’s face it, money gives men the power to run the show. It gives men the power to define value. … It’s ridiculous.”
Rihanna 'never thought' she'd 'make this much money'
When Rihanna sings “b**ch better have my money,” she apparently means it. That’s surely why “in a given year, Rihanna earns $40-$80 million from her expanding empire,” according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Another star who obviously makes money with her music, that may be how Rihanna first became wealthy, but there’s something else responsible for the fact that she’s super rich. Celebrity Net Worth notes that a “large portion of her net worth is attributable to the value of her Fenty Beauty Line,” which “generates north of $100 million in revenue. She owns 15 [percent] of the partnership.” So how much is that net worth? Around $550 million, which puts her at No. 6 when it comes to the Top 50 Richest Singers. However, Forbes reported in 2019 that it may be as high as $600 million, deeming RiRi to be “The World’s Richest Female Musician” (although, that’s arguable if you check out the remaining women on this list).
While Rihanna certainly enjoys spending her massive fortune, she told The New York Times Style Magazine in 2019, “I never thought I’d make this much money, so a number is not going to stop me from working.” She added that money allows her to take care of her family and do what she wants to do, but isn’t what motivates her.
Dolly Parton knows her worth
On top of being a legend, Dolly Parton is also very rich. “Much of Parton’s wealth has come from both her own record sales as well as money made from other artists using her songs,” Celebrity Net Worth explains, while pointing out that “the most famous of these [as] being Whitney Houston’s version of ‘I Will Always Love You’ for the film The Bodyguard.” Forbes also notes that she earns big bucks from her “Dollywood theme park and dinner theater establishments.”
However, it wasn’t necessarily easy for the “9 to 5” singer to make the kind of money that she has. Back in the ’70s, “the most a country star could make was $500,000 or $600,000 a year,” the Dolly Parton: Here She Comes Again! documentary noted in 2019 (via CNBC). When Patron spoke to Barbara Walters in 1977 (which can be seen in the doc), she admitted: ″[I’d] like to think there’s more money to be made than the money I’ve been making. … I’ve been working too hard, for too long for too little.”
Of course, the country music icon now makes a lot more money, which is why she has $600 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. “I always felt that I was worth something, and I still do,” she said in the doc. Granted, Parton also explained, “It’s not all about the money. … I count my blessings more than I count my money, but I need to count my money, too.”
Yoko Ono sold her rights to The Beatles' music
Yoko Ono is an artist in her own right, however, much of her fortune — which Celebrity Net Worth reports is $700 million — likely comes from the fact that she was married to John Lennon. When Lennon died in 1980, he left the bulk of his money to his and Ono’s son, Sean. “Given John’s net worth was expected to be in the region of £220 million back in 1998, and is now closer to £612.3 million (around $800 million), the amount left for Sean and Ono is pretty massive,” per the Express.
Lennon’s other son, Julian, “was to receive £2,400 a year in maintenance from the divorce settlement between John and Julian’s mother, Cynthia,” as well as “a £50,000 trust fund which was inherited by Julian when he was 25 years old.” While it’s not clear if Ono got any money at that time, she apparently “holds the purse strings” when it comes to Sean’s funds, per The Irish Times. A large chunk of Ono’s own formidable funds may instead come from the fact that she sold the rights that she held to The Beatles’ music to Sony/ATV Music in 2009, according to the Independent.
As for her view of money, in May 2019, Ono tweeted: “The prospect of making big money always dulls the senses of some people, even if it is very bad for the health of all living things on the planet. We have to keep communicating the reality until these people wake up.”
Kylie Jenner is super rich — but isn't a billionaire
Forbes deemed Kylie Jenner “the youngest self-made billionaire” at 21 years old in 2019, largely thanks to the reality TV star’s super successful cosmetics company. “I didn’t expect anything. I did not foresee the future,” she said, adding that, at the same time, “[the recognition] feels really good,” calling it “a nice pat on the back.” However, Forbes then took that title away from her not long after in a sticky situation that erupted in 2020, when they claimed that she hadn’t been honest about her finances. Frankly, they called her supposed deception a “web of lies,” which is … well, ouch!
Granted, the relatively young television personality and makeup mogul still has a massive amount of money and lives a lavish life because of it. Just take a look at her $36.5 million 15,350-square-foot Holmby Hills house, her car collection, which includes a “$3 million Bugatti Chiron and a custom-made Rolls Royce,” and the luxury vacations she takes. That’s not to mention Jenner’s $1 million handbag closet, which holds “more than 60 rare Chanel, Fendi, and Hermès pieces,” including “about 20 Hermès Kelly and Birkin bags, some of the most expensive and exclusive styles from the fashion house,” according to Glamour.
Jenner can easily afford all of this and more thanks to a fortune that Celebrity Net Worth puts at $700 million. However, it turns out that one of her famous siblings has even more than she does (more coming up on that).
Las Vegas was a jackpot for Céline Dion
Céline Dion has made a fortune with her music, including her “international smash hit, ‘My Heart Will Go On,’ from the Titanic soundtrack,” per Celebrity Net Worth. However, she also made serious money thanks to her Las Vegas residencies. In the decade that started in 2000 and ended in 2010, “Dion was the highest-grossing entertainer in the world,” which is easy to believe when you find out that “when you add up ticket sales, record sales, merchandise, and every other source of income, [her] empire grossed over $720 million! Of that amount, $500 million came from worldwide ticket sales … [and] of that $500 million, $350 million came from her Las Vegas show alone.”
Dion also has various business ventures, like her handbag and accessories line, and Les Productions Feeling Inc., an artist management company she co-owned with her late husband, René Angélil, according to Hello!. She also “opened popular night club Pure at Caesars Palace with tennis stars Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, and basketball player Shaquille O’Neal,” and was behind the Nickels Restaurant food chain. Beyond that, the songstress “release[d] Celine Dion Parfums, which has grossed over [$845 million] in retail sales,” and “lent her voice to You and I, Air Canada’s promotional campaign tune.”
That’s why Dion now has $800 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. When it comes to success, Dion told Chatelaine in 2011: “It takes discipline, work, having the right people around you and, of course, lots of luck.”
Madonna didn't have a prenup with Guy Ritchie
While some might argue that Madonna is no longer at the peak of her career, she “continues to release music and is still a top-earning live act,” according to Celebrity Net Worth. She also made decent money via her films over the years, reportedly “earn[ing] $80,000 for 1985’s Desperately Seeking Susan,” before taking home “$1 million to star opposite her husband at the time, Sean Penn” in Shanghai Surprise. This also includes her earnings of $35,000 for 1990’s Dick Tracy, $2.5 million plus a percentage of gross and her wardrobe for Body of Evidence, and $1 million for Evita.
The “Material Girl” also makes money from her fashion brands, has an impressive real estate portfolio, and “owns a collection of various artworks that is worth a minimum of $100 million, and could be worth several times that amount in the right art market,” Celebrity Net Worth reports, while estimating it could go for as much as $300 million. Meanwhile, W magazine even noted “her influence on the art world,” while explaining that Madge’s “impact has been made almost entirely behind the scenes.”
However, as wealthy as Madonna may be, she lost a chunk of her fortune when she split from her second husband, Guy Ritchie. The New York Times reported that he walked away with “$75 million of her money — immortalized in her song ‘I Don’t Give A’ with the lines ‘lawyers, suck it up/didn’t have a prenup.'” Despite this, she still has $850 million, per Celebrity Net Worth.
Kim Kardashian is part of the richest celebrity couple
A fuss may have been made over Kylie Jenner’s fortune, but it looks like her big sister, Kim Kardashian, is actually worth more thanks to her jaw-dropping $900 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Mashable noted that Kardashian is “undoubtedly the most valuable member” of the KarJenner clan, which also includes siblings Rob ($10 million), Kendall ($45 million), Kourtney ($45 million), Khloé ($50 million), and their momager Kris ($140 million).
While each member of the family is doing well for themselves, Kardashian is apparently bringing in between $50-$80 million a year. “For example, between June 2018 and June 2019, Kardashian earned $72 million,” Celebrity Net Worth notes, adding that the next year saw her earning an additional $50 million. The famous figure can thank her popular product lines like KKW Beauty and Skims, Keeping Up With the Kardashians salary, and various endorsement deals for her ever-expanding fortune. And then there’s the fact that she’s married to Kanye West, who has $3.2 billion to his name. When you combine Kardashian and West’s funds, they come out at the top of the list of the richest celebrity couples in 2020.
Despite the fact that making that kind of cash is no laughing matter, Kardashian is pretty cheeky when it comes to opening up about her money, once tweeting: “sorry I’m late to the party guys I was busy cashing my 80 million video game check & transferring 53 million into our joint account.”
J.K. Rowling went from being 'poor' to being a (problematic) billionaire
J.K. Rowling may be super problematic, but that hasn’t stopped her from becoming super rich. Making a significant amount of money thanks to her record-breaking Harry Potter books and the accompanying movies, Forbes noted in 2020 that “Rowling’s biggest cash cow is Universal Studios’ Wizarding World attractions.” However, she’s also “donated at least $150 million to date.” That may seem like a staggering amount, however, it’s only a relatively small fraction of the $1 billion that the author has earned, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Although Rowling has been open about the financial struggles she faced in the past — according to Inc., she says she was as “poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless” — nowadays, she’s “done her best to keep the details of her wealth under the invisibility cloak,” per Business Insider. Granted, while Rowling denies that she’s a billionaire (and was, indeed, “booted” off the list in 2012), she’s likely boosted herself back up to that level of seemingly surreal finances.
That may be part of the reason why, as B.I. notes, she’s “happy to stay in the UK and pay Britain’s top tax rate of 45 [percent], explaining: ‘I’m indebted to the welfare state. When my life hit rock bottom, that safety net was there to break the fall.'” Not only did it break the fall, but it kept her afloat and helped her onto the road to “amass[ing] one of the greatest literary fortunes in history.”
Jami Gertz's journey to becoming a billionaire was unusual
You might not recognize Jami Gertz’s name at first, but you may recognize her as the actress who played Star in 1987’s The Lost Boys and Dr. Melissa Reeves, Bill Paxton’s fiancée, in 1996’s Twister. She’s also popped up on shows like Seinfeld, ER, Ally McBeal, Entourage, Modern Family, This Is Us, and Difficult People, among many other comedies, dramas, and top series. While that’s certainly an impressive resumé, that’s not quite the kind of career that results in a fortune of $3 billion (yes, billion), which is the stunning amount of money that Gertz has, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
“The bulk of Gertz’s worth came about due to her marriage to billionaire Tony Ressler, the co-founder of Ares Management,” the outlet notes. However, it wasn’t just matrimony that led to Gertz’s dramatic change in financial status. Together, “Gertz and Ressler have ownership stakes in the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Brewers” sports teams. Gertz’s formidable financial status is not only impressive, but it’s also what allows her to be incredibly giving, and she “often top[s] lists of top celebrity donors.” Along with her husband, the two “are consistently ranked among the most generous celebrities in the world.”
When talking to The Hollywood Reporter in 2018 about what the publication called “the weirdness of her journey from screen ingenue to billionaire’s wife and basketball team owner,” Gertz admitted: “I get it. It’s not your everyday Hollywood actress tale.”
Oprah Winfrey 'literally rose from rags to riches'
It shouldn’t be surprising to find out that Oprah Winfrey takes the top spot when it comes to the richest female celebrities right now (and the third spot overall, with only Steven Spielberg and George Lucas having more), according to Forbes. In order to earn her No. 1 position, the media mogul — who’s also an actress, producer, and the leader of what CNN has deemed a “business empire” — had to come in swinging hard with an undeniably remarkable $3.5 billion.
“Oprah Winfrey rose from poverty, abuse, and prejudice to become one of the most influential people on the planet,” Celebrity Net Worth explains, before noting that the now-powerful star “and her mother moved in with her grandmother when Oprah was a baby. The family lived in abject poverty, with Oprah famously being forced to wear potato sacks as school dresses.” That’s why it’s accurate to say that “she literally rose from rags to riches.”
Winfrey opened up about money in the March 2008 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine (via Oprah.com), writing: “I’ve always had a great relationship with money, even when I barely had any to relate to. I never feared not having it and never obsessed about what I had.” After years of rising in both success and financial status, Winfrey explained, “I still know I am not my income. … I let money serve its purpose. But I don’t live to serve money. I think that’s why we have such a beautiful relationship.”
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