20 Celebrities Who Were Born Wealthy
These stars went from riches to more riches.
Everyone’s well aware of the simple fact that celebrities are, generally speaking, incredibly wealthy. Indeed, some A-listers—namely, Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, per Forbes estimates—took in nearly $70 million dollar salaries in 2017 alone. But whereas Wahlberg and Johnson are known by-the-bootstraps types, not all red carpet walkers are. In fact, some celebrities grew up amidst veritable fortunes.
For your entertainment, we’ve gathered 20 celebrities who grew up in lavish digs—offspring of CEOs and commodities traders, heirs to Vanderbilt riches and early-Internet treasure—below. Read on, and see if your favorite A-lister has outlandishly lavish origins or not. And if you want to (hopefully) set your kids up like these celeb’s parents did, start by boning up on the 52 Ways to Be Better With Money in 2018.
The Voice judge and Maroon 5 rockstar grew up in Los Angeles while attending Brentwood, a prestigious private school. Adam lived a cushy lifestyle thanks to his father, Fred Levine, who found great success as the founder of retail chain M. Frederic.
Brentwood is even where he met fellow Maroon 5 band members; in fact, their first band name, Kara’s Flowers, was named in honor of the girl the band all had a collective crush on. They eventually gave on up on Kara, but the band has amassed a substantial following since their debut album in 2002. Levine himself moved on to marry Behati Prinsloo, and the two now are among the 20 Celebrity Couples With Huge Age Gaps.
This pop princess doesn’t need a day job—but it turns out that she can crank out hits like the best of ’em. Ariana’s father is Edward Butera, the CEO of Ibi Designs Edward Butera, a hugely successful graphic design company that boasts tons of A-list celebrities as clients. And for more fun facts about money—literally—here are 20 Crazy Things You Never Knew about One Dollar Bills.
If you should be jealous of any famous person’s childhood, it would be fair to be at least a little envious of Taylor Swift’s idyllic, very, very wealthy one. Not only did the singer-songwriter grow up on a Christmas tree farm, her parents made enough money to afford every luxury the young star had in mind. Swift’s father was a financial advisor at Merrill-Lynch, and her mother worked as a mutual fund marketing executive. And for more on the secret lives of stars, here are 20 Celebrities Who Shunned Hollywood for Small Town Life.
Lady Gaga has always been very public about her close relationship with her father and lavish upbringing on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. Turns out, Gaga’s dad made bank while working as an Internet entrepreneur, starting and ultimately owning a company that installs WiFi in hotel chains. And for more on Gaga—and other major A-listers—don’t miss the 50 Crazy Celebrity Facts You Won’t Believe Are True.
The comedian and star of Comedy Central’s Kroll Show had far from humble beginnings as the son of Jules B. Kroll, who launched J. Kroll Associates, which eventually turned into Kroll, Inc.—the business involved in rooting out corruption in companies in the printing business. A deal with Marvel Comics made the millionaire so wealthy that he was able to cash in his millions for billions. It’s a good bet he’s got one of these baller designers on his speed dial.
Lohan can thank the career of her father, Michael Lohan—who worked as a Wall Street trader—for a comfortable childhood. While the fame rollercoaster hasn’t been kind to the actress, she always has her father’s yacht to hide out—or even, on one occasion, attend rehab in. These days, keep an eye out, because you may run into the actress on Tinder.
Rooney and Kate Mara
These poised actresses and sisters were raised with class. Their fortune is all thanks to America’s favorite past time, as their paternal and maternal grandfathers founded two very successful (and lucrative) football franchises. Their paternal grandfather, Wellington Mara, founded the New York Giants franchise, while their maternal grandfather, Timothy James Rooney, founded the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both franchises are estimated to be worth about $1 billion each.
This Seinfeld star came from a family with a net worth in the billions, thanks to her father, Gerard Louis-Dreyfus, who was the chairman of Louis Dreyfus Energy Services, a subsidiary of the multinational, multibillion Louis Dreyfus Company.
Even though her childhood was certainly a cushy one, neither Louis-Dreyfus nor the rest of her family like to comment on their wealth. “Money and finances are so private, and I was raised not to talk about them. The whole thing is just bizarre,” Dreyfus told Rolling Stone. And for more great celebs coverage, here are the 20 Funniest Celebrity Mugshots.
This Oscar-nominated actor grew up in an academic household in Connecticut. His father, A. Bartlett Giamatti, was an exalted professor at Yale before becoming the president of the Ivy. In the 1980s, Giamatti became the commissioner of Major League Baseball.
Edward Norton took it easy as a kid thanks to the great success of his grandfather, James Rouse, a Presidential Medal of Freedom winner who made a fortune as a real estate developer and urban planner. Rouse also founded the Rouse Foundation, a not-for-profit focused on providing affordable housing all across the country. And for more on your favorite celebrities, Meet the Most Famous Celebrity of Every Decade Since 1900.
Michelle Williams’ dad, Larry, was a high-profile commodities trader who pioneered several technical market indicators—or the matrices that help traders predict where the numbers will go. Larry was also a two-time Senatorial candidate. (He lost both bids.)
Armie is named after his paternal great-grandfather, Armand Hammer, the oil tycoon and philanthropist—and not the Arm & Hammer brand, though the senior Armand did own shares in the company.
Along with his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, Anderson Cooper is among the more famous heirs to the Vanderbilt fortune. The family began its foray into substantial wealth with the success of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt. However, though the family may have had outlandish financial success in the past, due to the lavish spending of his ancestors, Cooper didn’t have the ability to profit excessively off any of his lost family’s fortune. His success has all been through hard work and talent.
The “Gangnam Style” guy’s dad, Park Won-Ho, is the executive chairman of the DI Corporation, which manufactures equipment for semiconductors. His mother also runs a high-end restaurant in Seoul: Petits Seasons.
The director wasn’t actually born with this awesome name. His real name is Adam Spiegel—a name that can be traced back to his billionaire family. Spiegel’s father, Arthur, is a direct descendent of the founder of the Spiegel mail-order catalogue. While they had to eventually sell the business when mail-order became an antique form of shopping, the transaction resulted in a fortune for the family.
Bella and Gigi Hadid
Bella and Gigi Hadid don’t just have ridiculously great genes—they also come from one of the wealthiest families in the world. Their father, Mohamed Hadid, is a billionaire real estate developer and former Olympian. (He represented Jordan in the ’92 Albertville Olympics and, to this day, remains the only athlete to ever compete from Jordan in the winter games.)
Bates Motel star Nicola Peltz didn’t have to do much acting in her role as the affluent and beautiful enigma Bradley Martin. Peltz is the daughter of Nelson Peltz, a hedge fund manager and investor based in New York.
The singer-songwriter and hopeless romantic grew up in a family of successful, inspiring artists. His father, John, is an art curator and lecturer, while his mother, Imogen, makes jewelry. The pair even ran their own (very successful) art consultancy, Sheeran Lock, for 20 years.
The quintessential sci-fi star is the daughter of former NBC president Sylvester “Pat” Weaver. Her father’s success granted her the ability to attend an elite private school in Connecticut, and then later Stanford University, where she finally realized her dream of becoming an actress.
Chevy Chase’s family stretches back through more than a dozen generations of venerable New Yorkers, including mayors, admirals, artists, and Carnegie Hall performers. And to get some serious personal finance inspiration of your own, meet the man who made $16.5 million on YouTube just last year.
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