The world’s richest celebrities

Written by:
August 20, 2019
Scott Gries // Getty Images

The world’s richest celebrities

While acclaim doesn't guarantee a large bank account, fame and fortune often do go hand in hand. Recognizable names like Madonna and Paul McCartney often appear on any list of the world's richest celebrities, while other others among the uber-famous fall slightly under the bar of the mega-rich (think: Cher and Brad Pitt). Still more celebrities who consistently rank among the wealthiest, like Petra Ecclestone and Jacqueline Gold, are decidedly less famous than their more popular counterparts.

The most recognizable faces don’t necessarily make their money with the movies and music that made them famous in the first place, either. Some of the most famous celebrities can afford to live off their creative works alone, but there’s a reason J. K. Rowling became the first person to make a $1 billion through writing: Creative fields might offer name recognition, but they don’t always pay well.

Some of the most successful celebrities supplement their incomes by selling their brands and name recognition to companies for endorsements and advertising. Others may build on their family’s existing wealth by making smart investments or starting their own businesses. Some of the most successful celebrities don’t even know how much money they make, relying on business managers to keep track of their financial planning.

Stacker has compiled a list of the world’s richest celebrities (including quite a few ties) using data collected from Celebrity Net Worth's rankings of the wealthiest celebrities by current net worth. The net worth figures in this list were calculated using a proprietary formula that factored in all publicly available data about each person including salaries, real estate holdings, divorces, record sales, royalties, and endorsements—minus estimated taxes, manager’s fees, agent fees, and lifestyle expenses.

Read on to see how each celebrity rose to fame, and what they are up to now.

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Dimitrios Kambouris // Getty Images for NARAS

#45. Ryan Seacrest (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $430 million

Ryan Seacrest has been called the hardest-working man in Hollywood and has a substantial financial portfolio. In addition to hosting television shows like “American Idol” and the syndicated radio show “American Top 40,” he co-hosts the morning show, “Live with Kelly and Ryan” with Kelly Ripa. Seacrest has produced reality shows such as “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and “Denise Richards: It’s Complicated,” and continues to host major red carpet events for E!, the television channel.

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Jerome Favre // Getty Images for Paramount

#45. Michael Bay (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $430 million

An American filmmaker behind big-budget blockbusters like “Pearl Harbor,” “Armageddon,” and “The Rock,” Michael Bay is ranked the second most commercially successful directors of all time by Business Insider. Bay also directed the first five films in the “Transformers” series; and produced the sixth installment, “Bumblebee,” which was released in 2018.

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#44. Dr. Phil

- Estimated net worth: $440 million

Dr. Phil McGraw got his start as an occasional guest on Oprah Winfrey’s long-running talk show, which eventually led to his own program in 2002. Since then, the “Dr. Phil” show has maintained a strong following and is syndicated across the U.S. He earns between $80–95 million a year from his show, according to Celebrity Net Worth, and has also written several popular books.

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LGEPR // Wikimedia Commons

#43. Victoria Beckham

- Estimated net worth: $450 million

Victoria Beckham came to fame as Posh Spice with 1990s British pop group Spice Girls. In 1999 she married professional soccer player David Beckham, with whom she starred in several reality television shows. Today, she’s known as a fashion icon and designer behind her Victoria Beckham label.

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Frazer Harrison // Getty Images for The People's Choice Awards

#42. Ellen DeGeneres

- Estimated net worth: $490 million

Comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres gained popularity while working at New Orleans comedy clubs, eventually touring nationally and appearing on late-night shows such as “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” From 1994 to 1998, DeGeneres had her own sitcom, on which she came out as gay around the same time she did so in her actual life: That episode (“The Puppy Episode”) brought DeGeneres a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has been on the air since 2003 and “Ellen’s Game of Games” began in 2017.

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Gage Skidmore // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Trey Parker (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $500 million

"South Park," the brainchild of co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, has been on the air since 1997. The animated TV show has picked up five Emmys, among other accolades. Parker also co-directed the Broadway hit “The Book of Mormon,” voiced the villain in “Despicable Me 3,” and established a production studio dubbed Important Studios.

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Andrew H. Walker // Getty Images for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival

#29. Robert De Niro (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $500 million

An icon of the stage and screen, Robert De Niro has appeared in a wide range of successful films. While his acting career brought plenty of big paydays, much of his financial success has come from his involvement with Nobu restaurant chain (and now also hotel chain), which he co-owns with chef Nobu Matsuhisa. There are more than 40 Nobu restaurants around the globe, generating a revenue of several hundred million dollars a year. De Niro also co-owns New York’s Greenwich Hotel, and has invested heavily in the Tribeca area, supporting the Tribeca Film Festival and other ventures.

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#29. Peter Jackson (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $500 million

The man behind “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Peter Jackson is a New Zealand filmmaker who has won three Oscars. In addition to LOTR, he wrote, directed, and produced “The Hobbit” trilogy, which included “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” and “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.”

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Das Blaue Sofa // Club Bertelsmann

#29. Paulo Coelho (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $500 million

Millions of soul-searchers around the world have found their way by reading “The Alchemist,” the author of which is Paulo Coelho, a writer, blogger, and social media aficionado. A sample tweet from Coelho: “Maybe the journey isn't so much about becoming someone. Maybe it's about getting rid of everything that isn't really you.”

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Gage Skidmore // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Matt Stone (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $500 million

Matt Stone is the other half of the “South Park” creator duo. Like his partner Trey Parker, Stone is a renaissance man who can do just about anything: He writes, directs, sings, is a voice over actor, and he creates musicals. Stone continues to work on “South Park” and projects with his production company Important Studios.

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Gage Skidmore // Flickr

#29. Matt Groening (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $500 million

Matt Groening is the creator of “The Simpsons,” the longest-running prime-time television series ever, as well as “Futurama.” His newest animated sitcom, “Disenchanted,” was released on Netflix in 2018.

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Slaven Vlasic // Getty Images

#29. Kathy Ireland (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $500 million

Sports Illustrated supermodel Kathy Ireland is a savvy businesswoman with a gigantic lifestyle company, Kathy Ireland Worldwide. KIW boasts annual merchandise sales of more than $2 billion, according to Forbes.

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State Department // Flickr

#29. Gloria Estefan (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $500 million

Gloria Estefan rose to fame in the 1980s and 1990s with upbeat pop hits like, “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” and “Get on Your Feet.” The Cuban American singer is still staying busy; Estefan guest starred on Netflix's rebooted sitcom “One Day at a Time” in 2019.

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Michael Vlasaty // Wikimedia Commons

#29. George Clooney (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $500 million

George Clooney charmed television audiences as the handsome Dr. Doug Ross on the medical drama “ER” before stealing moviegoers’ hearts in “Ocean’s Eleven” and other hit films. Known today also as Amal Clooney’s husband, Clooney continues to act and direct; he received the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award in 2018.

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Ernst Vikne // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Elton John (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $500 million

From “Rocket Man” to "The Lion King" theme song, Sir Elton John’s musical career spans five decades and many genres. For those who would like to see him in concert, make plans to do so soon; in 2018, he announced a three-year farewell tour.

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Ethan Miller // Getty Images

#29. Dolly Parton (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $500 million

Country music singer and songwriter Dolly Parton has composed more than 3,000 songs, including “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You.” At 73, she’s still making music; Parton collaborated with her goddaughter Miley Cyrus on Cyrus’ 2017 album “Younger Now.”

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EJ Hersom // Flickr

#29. Bruce Springsteen (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $500 million

“Born in the U.S.A.” singer Bruce Springsteen has won 20 Grammys and is one of the most successful musical artists in history, with 20 Grammy wins and 50 nominations. In 2018, The Boss picked up a special Tony award for his Broadway show “Springsteen on Broadway.”

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Kevork Djansezian // Getty Images for NARAS

#29. Beyonce Knowles (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $500 million

Best known for her supe-pop star status, Queen Bey is also a sharp businesswoman who has built her financial holdings into an empire. Endorsement deals with big names such as Pepsi, L’Oreal, and American Express have generated huge amounts of revenue, as have several fragrance lines that she’s launched over the years. Knowles also had a successful fashion line from 2006 to 2012, the House of Deréon, which she started with her mother, Tina.


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#28. Tom Cruise

- Estimated net worth: $570 million

Tom Cruise is the face of blockbuster hits from the “Mission: Impossible” series to feel-good movies like “Jerry Maguire.” Cruise has also drawn attention for his ties to Scientology and his odd marriage-and-divorce patterns. His latest film is a reboot of one of his most well-known roles, that of Maverick in “Top Gun.” “Top Gun: Maverick” is set for release in the U.S. in 2020.

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Eva Rinaldi // Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

#20. Yoko Ono (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $600 million

Though still best known as the widow of The Beatles’ John Lennon, Yoko Ono is a musician and artist in her own right. Today, Ono is still making art and music at the age of 86. She’s active on Twitter and Instagram, often posting messages of peace.

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Sgt. Michael Connors //

#20. Tyler Perry (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $600 million

An actor, writer, director, and producer, Tyler Perry is another person on this list who seems to be able to do it all. He has made popular, high-grossing films like “Madea Goes to Jail” and has also developed popular television series, including “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns.”

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#20. Simon Cowell (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $600 million

America knows Simon Cowell best as the acerbic judge on “American Idol, “The X Factor,” and “America’s Got Talent,” but he also signed boy band One Direction, bringing them under the limelight. Cowell still judges on the U.K.’s version of “Britain’s Got Talent”—and is involved with other reality TV shows to boot.

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Lisa Maree Williams // Getty Images

#20. Shah Rukh Khan (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $600 million

Born in New Delhi, actor Shah Rukh Khan has starred in many Bollywood films and won several awards, including the Padma Shri award for his work in the Indian film industry. Shah Rukh Khan expanded his acting career to include producing and has since made a host of successful movies for the Indian market. He also hosts several television shows, including the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”

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Jim Watson/AFP // Getty Images

#20. Rush Limbaugh (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $600 million

The conservative radio pundit Rush Limbaugh is hated by many, but beloved by his coterie of fierce fans. “The Rush Limbaugh Show” has been going strong since 1988—and will continue at least until 2020, when his current contract runs out.

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#20. Julio Iglesias (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $600 million

Famed singer Julio Iglesias has released over 80 albums, selling his music to a wide international audience. He was named the best-selling Latin music artist of all time by Sony Music, and has maintained a loyal following in both his home country of Spain and around the world. In addition to his success as a musician, Iglesias owns a large real estate portfolio, which includes lots on Miami’s Indian Creek island and co-owner ship of the main airport in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

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Seaman Justin Losack // Navy Visual News Service

#20. Jimmy Buffett (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $600 million

With over 30 albums to his name, Jimmy Buffett is best known as a musician. But the “Margaritaville” singer has also authored three best-sellers and owns two restaurant chains—including Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville casual eateries.

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Candy Spelling // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Candy Spelling (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $600 million

Candy Spelling wrote a memoir that became a New York Times best-seller, but she’s still better known as television mogul Aaron Spelling’s widow. Today she mostly makes entertainment news about her finicky relationship with her daughter, former “Beverly Hills, 90210” star Tori Spelling.

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#19. Howard Stern

- Estimated net worth: $650 million

The controversial radio talk show personality Howard Stern has been hosting “The Howard Stern Show” (or a version of it) since 1979, with the show gaining syndication in 1985. Despite fines from the Federal Communications Commission for indecency over the years, Stern’s show, now on SiriusXM, is still going strong.

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Gage Skidmore // Flickr

#17. James Cameron (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $700 million

James Cameron’s name is synonymous with blockbuster films; “Terminator,” “Avatar,” and “Titanic” are all his directorial works. Cameron branched out into television after AMC aired the six-part series, "James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction," in 2018.

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#17. Bono (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $700 million

U2 frontman Bono (born Paul David Hewson) is still known for his music, but has also made a name for himself as a philanthropist, advocating for human rights, third-world debt relief, and other causes. He has often tried to merge business ventures with ethical ones, although not all of those efforts have been successful. For example, his ethical clothing brand Edun announced in June 2018 that it was shutting down U.S. operations.

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#15. Jim Davis (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $800 million

"Garfield” creator Jim Davis not only drew and wrote the syndicated comic strips but also wrote, co-wrote, and produced many of the television programs inspired by his feline character. He runs a licensing business called Paws, Inc., which brings in $800 million to $1 billion a year.

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Blaues Sofa // Flickr: James Patterson im Gespräch mit Christhard Läpple

#15. James Patterson (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $800 million

The best-selling writer of many thrillers, James Patterson placed first on Forbes’ annual list of highest-paid authors in 2018—the 10th time in 20 years. His latest novel, “The President Is Missing,” was co-written with former President Bill Clinton. Patterson’s success did not come easy: His first book was reportedly turned down by 31 publishers.

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Rob Miermet (ANEFO) // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Herb Alpert (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $850 million

Jazz musician Herb Alpert is best known as the leader and trumpet player of Tijuana Brass, but his other claim to fame is for co-founding A&M Records, which was acquired by PolyGram in 1989. His foundation gives out $75,000 to artists each year.

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Pascal Mannaerts // Wikimedia Commons

14. Madonna (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $850 million

“Material Girl” Madonna has been an iconic but controversial name and face in pop music since the 1980s. Madonna released her 14th studio album, “Madame X,” in 2019. She also co-starred in 1992’s “A League of Their Own,” alongside Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Rosie O’Donnell. 

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Scott Gries // Getty Images

#13. P Diddy

- Estimated net worth: $855 million

Rap mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs maintains a diverse financial portfolio that not only includes his company Bad Boy Records, but men’s clothing lines Sean John and Sean by Sean Combs, a movie production company, and two restaurants.

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Egghead06 // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Jacqueline Gold

- Estimated net worth: $860 million

Jacqueline Gold started working for her father at his lingerie and sex toy company Ann Summers when she was just 21 years old. Today, she’s the chief executive and the 16th richest woman in the U.K. She has appeared on reality tv shows such as “The Apprentice.”

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Dia Dipasupil // Getty Images for Good Plus Foundation

#11. Jerry Seinfeld

- Estimated net worth: $950 million

Jerry Seinfeld’s eponymous sitcom “Seinfeld” aired its last episode in 1998, but his wildly successful and memorable television show lives on in reruns, catchphrases, and the public consciousness. Today Seinfeld hosts “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” which is available to stream on Netflix.

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Jamie McCarthy // Getty Images for Yeezy Season 3

#7. Kardashian family (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $1 billion

E! Television stars since 2007, the Kardashian clan is a brand unto themselves, with a net worth of more than $1 billion. In addition to their show, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” which is estimated to bring in $30 million per season for the clan, all the family members are involved in various endorsements, as well as cosmetics companies, real estate, and a few television spin-offs from the series.

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Daniel Ogren // Flickr

#7. J.K. Rowling (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $1 billion

J. K. Rowling was once an impoverished single mom writing fiction on the fly—then she wrote the “Harry Potter” series and became the world’s first billionaire author. She continues to write: One of her latest books released in 2018, “Lethal White,” is a crime fiction book written under a pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. In June 2019, she released four ebooks inspired by the British Library's “Harry Potter: A History of Magic,” exhibition.

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Joella Marano // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Jay-Z (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $1 billion

Rapper and record producer Jay-Z came to fame in the 1990s with his debut album “Reasonable Doubt,” and he continues to make hits as evidenced by his latest collaborative album with his wife Beyonce. Jay-Z’s business ventures include the Rocawear clothing line and the 40/40 Club sports bar.

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Homer Liwag // Wikimedia Commons

#7. David Copperfield (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $1 billion

David Copperfield is the world’s most successful magician, having sold more tickets than any solo entertainer in history, according to Forbes. The holder of 11 Guinness World Records, Copperfield continues to perform his illusions for rapt audiences.

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Clive Rose // Getty Images

#5. Slavica Ecclestone (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $1.2 billion

Former model Slavica Ecclestone is better known as the former wife of Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone. The two divorced in 2009, resulting in one of the highest divorce settlements in history. Slavica Ecclestone owns numerous properties, including Circuit Paul Ricard.

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Jimmy Baikovicius // Flickr

#5. Paul McCartney (tie)

- Estimated net worth: $1.2 billion

The former Beatle Paul McCartney is one of the richest musicians in the world today. The 77-year-old continues to make music; he released a new studio album called “Egypt Station” in 2018. He wrapped up the 37-concert, 299-day “Freshen Up Tour” in August 2019, bringing in $129.2 million and selling 928,252 tickets.

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Jason Merritt // Getty Images

#4. Jami Gertz

- Estimated net worth: $2 billion

“The Lost Boys” actress Jami Gertz has had a long career in television and film, most recently starring in the NBC sitcom “The Neighbors.” Her husband Tony Ressler, founder of several private equity firms, is the principal owner of the Atlanta Hawks.

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Bill Ebbesen // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Oprah Winfrey

- Estimated net worth: $3.5 billion

“The Oprah Winfrey Show” ran from 1986 to 2011, making Oprah one of the most famous women in America—and one of the wealthiest, too. She launched her own channel, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, in 2011, and keeps busy running her media empire, and producing and starring in major films and TV shows, including 2018’s “A Wrinkle in Time.”

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Gage Skidmore // Flickr

#2. Steven Spielberg

- Estimated net worth: $3.7 billion

Famed filmmaker Steven Spielberg has wowed young and adult audiences alike with hits like “E.T.,” “Jurassic Park,” and “Schindler’s List.” Spielberg has reportedly committed to making a fifth "Indiana Jones" film, expected to hit theaters July 9, 2021.

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David Livingston // Getty Images for AFI

#1. George Lucas

- Estimated net worth: $6.4 billion

The creative force behind the “Star Wars” series, George Lucas has created many films through his production company Lucasfilm, which he sold to Disney in 2012. Though he announced his retirement from creating blockbusters in 2012, he still acts as a creative consultant on the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy and continues to work on personal film projects.

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