The 50 Top-Earning Celebs of 2018
You'll never guess who number one is.
Money doesn’t buy happiness, we all know that. But even so, who among us isn’t at least a little fascinated by the ridiculous bank accounts of the rich and famous? Imagine having so much money that you run out of things to buy. It’s not that we’re jealous—okay, fine, maybe we’re a tiny bit jealous—but it’s mostly fun to live vicariously through them, to read about their lavish lifestyles and endless cash flow like it’s something any of us could have too if we just tried hard enough (or were very, very lucky.)
Are you curious about which celebrities earned more this year than most of us will ever see in a lifetime? Here are 50 of the richest famous people, with careers spanning from sports to music to movies, ranked in order of absurd annual salaries for the calendar year of 2018. Let the teeth-clenching envy begin! To see who else made headlines this year, check out the 50 Biggest Pop Culture Moments from 2018.
Earned: $40.5 million
It took a black leather bodysuit—and her Black Widow costume in Marvel’s Avengers movies—for Johansson to become the top-earning female lead in Hollywood. And she wasn’t entirely thrilled about the outfit. “You just think, ‘Oh god, really? Couldn’t it have, like I don’t know, some sort of a peplum skirt or something?’” she said in an interview. Hopefully the huge paychecks helped her feel better about squeezing into the costume.
Earned: $42 million
The 50-year-old actor reportedly requested $20 million to star in Tim Burton’s upcoming live-action reboot of Dumbo, but Disney balked. So instead, he took $20 million from Netflix to star in Bright, which was critically panned. The moral of this story is: When you’re Will Smith, you’re getting $20 million from somebody. To round out his impressive salary, he also nabbed the plum role as “Genie” in Guy Ritchie’s live-action Aladdin, which hits theaters next year.
Earned: $42.5 million
The Modern Family star is TV’s highest paid actress, and that includes endorsement deals with brands like Head & Shoulders, Pepsi and CoverGirl. Oh, and she’s also helped produce three different perfumes, a line of furniture at Rooms To Go, and designed a coffee machine for SharkNinja. Add onto her earnings pile starring roles in movies like The Female Brain and Bent, and a voiceover in The Emoji Movie, and she’s practically a one-woman ATM.
Earned: $43.3 million
He’s been slowed down by injuries and back surgeries, but Tiger Woods is still a force to be reckoned with. Despite barely playing in 2017, he remains the 16th highest-paid athlete in the world. And that’s despite not having won a major golf championship since 2008. But Woods has always made the bulk of his income off the golf course. In fact, of the $1.5 billion he’s earned since turning pro in 1996, less than 10% of that has come from prize money. The reason he’s on this list at all is thanks mostly to endorsement deals from big spenders like Nike, TaylorMade, Bridgestone, Monster Energy, Hero MotoCorp, and Kowa.
Earned: $43.5 million
The Piano Man signed on for a monthly residency at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 2014, and claimed he’d stick around for as long as audiences kept buying tickets. Well, demand went through the roof this year, and in November he celebrated 50 consecutive shows at the historic arena. Not only is it the longest run of concerts in the Garden’s history, but Joel has performed at his favorite venue more than any other artist in history. Keep in mind that MSG has a capacity of 20,789 seats, and Joel’s shows regularly sell out.
Earned: $44 million
This six-time Daytime Emmy Award winner isn’t just the host of Family Feud. He also hosts Miss Universe, Little Big Shots, Showtime at the Apollo, and Steve. When he’s not hosting a game or reality show, he’s ostensibly counting his money somewhere, because the dude never stops working.
Earned: $44.5 million
Since Floyd Mayweather’s retirement, Saul “Canelo” Álvarez has become the biggest star in the pay-per-view boxing universe, with more than a million purchasing customers for each of his 2017 bouts. Those kinds of numbers haven’t been seen since Lennox Lewis introduced Mike Tyson’s face to the floor in 2002. His earning potential goes well beyond the ring, thanks to sponsors like Under Armour, Tecate, Hennessy and Everlast, who’ve stuck by him despite the occasional pre-fight drug testing failure. (He maaaaaay have illegally used the steroid clenbuterol.)
Earned: $45.5 million
Did you realize that Jackie Chan had starred in six movies that were released in 2017? Neither did we! But apparently, that’s a thing that happened, and his starring roles in movies like Bleeding Steel and The Foreigner helped him bring home an impressive payday. It’s a good thing too, as we just finished reading his new memoir, Never Grow Up, and apparently, he has a fondness for crashing expensive cars for the heck of it. “In the morning, I’d crash my Porsche,” he wrote. “Then in the evening, I’d total a Mercedes-Benz.”
Earned: $45.5 million
Garth Brooks recently wrapped a three year North American tour with his wife Trisha Yearwood, which sold an estimated six million tickets. That’s a lot of people singing along to “Friends in Low Places” and buying t-shirts. He’s released a few albums (including a Christmas album with Trisha), launched his own streaming channel on Sirius, and began yet another stadium tour, beginning with a huge show at Notre Dame that was broadcast live on CBS, with a staggering 8.9 million total viewers—which is more people than ever watch TV on a Sunday for anything that isn’t football.
Earned: $46 million
John has spent more time on stage than off this year, playing 243 shows during his Las Vegas residency and then jumping directly into his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, an exhaustive road trip that’ll take him across five continents and involve at least 300 shows. The Rocket Man, who’s now in his 70s, hasn’t been this busy since he was churning out hits in the 70s. And for some less financially-savvy stars, read up on these 30 Celebrities Who Lost Millions Practically Overnight.
Earned: $46.4 million
He signed a four-year extension with the Houston Rockets, which bumps his salary to $228 million through the 2022-23 season. It’s the most lucrative contract in the NBA, and he may very well be worth every cent. In 2017, he became the first player ever to both score 2,000 points and assist on 2,000 points. We’re guessing every time he sinks a basket, he can hear a ka-ching!
Earned: $47 million
If you thought her prime was behind her, you severely underestimated Jenny From the Block. From a Las Vegas residency to a new hit single, “Dinero” with DJ Khaled and Cardi B, to a seemingly never-ending string of endorsements, including commercials for cars, beer, razors ,and speakers, if there’s a money-making opportunity she’s passed up this year, we haven’t seen it yet.
Earned: $47 million
He’s Spotify’s most popular artist, with a record-setting 8.2 billion streams globally. So yeah, he probably deserves every cent he makes. The fourth-richest rapper in the world, according to Forbes, Drake has a hit album dominating the charts, a massive country-wide tour, and investments in businesses like his own clothing line and whiskey company. He has so much money, sometimes he just gives it away, like he did earlier this year when he randomly forked over around $200,000 to housekeepers, college students, and homeless kids in Miami.
Earned: $47.5 million
It’s not just Beatles nostalgia that keeps the profits rolling in for McCartney. He released a new album, Egypt Station, which peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, his biggest hit in 36 years. Thanks to the new tunes and his wildly popular appearance on James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” last summer, he’s been selling out arenas and baseball stadiums around the country, with ticket prices averaging about $241.
Earned: $48 million
It took a mere ten years for Harris to go from a grocery store clerk who lived with his parents to becoming the highest-earning DJ in the world. He’s humble about his success, claiming in interviews that “I happened to be in the right place at the right time.” It doesn’t hurt that he has millions of fans, who come out in droves to see him in Las Vegas and Miami—two of his favorite cities—or at EDM festivals, where he’s paid well into the seven figures for just showing up. For perspective, Harris’ annual take is equal to what two other EDM stars, Marshmello and The Chainsmokers, made last year combined.
Earned: $50 million
Gaga proved a double threat this year, with both a new movie, A Star Is Born, and album, the Star Is Born soundtrack, becoming huge hits both commercially and critically. She ended the year with a new residency in Las Vegas, which will run for two years with tickets in the $600 to $2000 range. That’s a lot of moolah, but according to some reports, she gives 50% of her earnings to her dad, Joe Germanotta. Not that she doesn’t have fun with her money. She once spent $60,000 for a few dozen fish imported from Japan. Ooookay.
Earned: $51 million
The British race car driver, a Formula 1 champion and one of the best (and richest) of his generation, signed a three-year extension deal with Mercedes, which keeps him gainfully employed until at least the end of 2020. If his regular salary for driving at terrifying speeds wasn’t enough, he’s also got some hefty endorsement deals, with companies like Sony, Puma, Mercedes-Benz, Tommy Hilfiger, Monster Energy, Bombardier, MV Agusta Motorcycles and Bell Helmets. Oh, and if you need another reason to be green with envy, he’s also rumored to be dating Nicki Minaj.
Earned: $51 million
Buffett’s attempt at a Broadway musical, Escape to Margaritaville, didn’t fare so well, closing after just four months. It may have hurt his ego, but it didn’t hurt his wallet. He’s still one of the most profitable touring acts out there, and his many Margaritaville restaurants, hotels, and casinos keep him more than occupied. The guy who famously sings about it being “five o’clock somewhere is less day drunk than a ‘well-preserved businessman,’” according to the New York Times.
Earned: $52 million
Apparently, a lot of people really want to see the pop singer hanging from a trapeze. The first leg of her Beautiful Trauma Tour, which brought her to 46 cities (so far), was seen by almost 700,000 fans and grossed just over $95 million. She also landed on the cover of People magazine’s annual “Beautiful” issue (formerly “People’s Most Beautiful”). As she jokingly said in an interview about the cover, “I have decided that for the whole week that the magazine is out, no one is allowed to look me directly in the eyes.” And for more wild things celebs have been doing this year, check out these 20 Crazy Things Celebrities Have Already Done in 2018.
Earned: $52 million
In between sitting at the judges table on American Idol and shilling for endorsement benefactors like Chevrolet, the country superstar spends most of his time on the road, touring the world and reportedly making up to seven figures every night. He’s come a long way from his humble beginnings as a struggling musician, “when I was making about $10,000 a year,” he revealed in a recent interview. His wife Caroline “was the one bringing in the dough,” he says.
Earned: $53.7 million
He took a $10 million pay cut to play with the Golden State Warriors, a sacrifice to help bring some key players to the team. But don’t shed any tears for the basketball superstar; he still made a healthy $25 million. And if that wasn’t enough to pay the bills, there were more than enough endorsement deals to keep him busy, with over $30 million in his pocket just for lending his star credibility to brands like Nike, Beats, American Family Insurance, Alaska Airlines, and Panini.
Earned: $54 million
If anybody is expecting sales of Rowling’s wildly popular Harry Potter series to die down anytime soon, they probably shouldn’t hold their breath. And the endless interest in the boy with the lightning bolt scar doesn’t end with the books and movies. There’s also the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park in Florida—Rowling gets a cut of every ticket, merchandise, and food sale—and the “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” stage play, with consistently-sold-out productions on both Broadway and London’s West End.
Earned: $57 million
The R&B wunderkind’s newest release, My Dear Melancholy, set a record as the biggest EP streaming debut in history, with 26 million streams on Apple and 29 million on Spotify. It’s also his third consecutive No. 1 chart topper on the Billboard 200. And all that hit-making led to headlining gigs at festivals like Coachella, Panorama NYC, and Outside Land, as well as endorsement deals with H&M, Puma, and Bacardi.
Earned: $57 million
How funny is Kevin Hart? So funny that he sold one million tickets to his Irresponsible Tour, which earned him just north of $30 million. That’s all for just standing at a microphone and making jokes. He’s also had a fruitful year at the box office, with the Jumanji remake’s global box office in the billion dollar range. He’s also launched his own comedy streaming service, Laugh Out Loud, which already has just shy of three million subscribers.
Earned: $57.5 million
Although he could probably survive more than comfortably on syndication profits from his legendary 90s sitcom, Seinfeld isn’t done making boatloads full of cash. He signed a deal with Netflix, worth an estimated $100 million, for exclusive rights to his series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee—which attracted more than 100 million streams while at Hulu—and whatever stand-up specials he ends up making. Speaking of stand-up, he’s still on the road touring, clocking in more than 70 shows last year. Let’s just say he doesn’t get on stage for less than what a high school teacher makes in a year.
Earned: $58 million
When a rapper wins a Pulitzer—Lamar is the first to win one for a non-classical and non-jazz album—it’s probably going to have an effect on his earning potential. From massive worldwide tours as both a solo artist and headlining TDE: The Championship Tour—he regularly plays to packed arenas and makes a cool million a night—to providing hit songs for the Black Panther soundtrack—can we skip the pleasantries and just go ahead and give him the Oscar?—Lamar’s trajectory, both artistically and commercially, keeps going up.
Earned: $60 million
On The Run II, her first co-headlining stadium tour with husband Jay Z since 2014, grossed over 254 million, or roughly $6.5 million every night. Even before taxes and paying off all the exorbitant expenses of a Jay Z and Beyoncé tour, that’s still a looooot of money. She also has a big stake in the “artist-owned” music streaming service Tidal, whose stock went through the roof when Sprint invested $200 million in the venture. She and Jay Z may be linked romantically and artistically, but as she’d said in a recent interview, “I truly believe that women should be financially independent from their men.”
Earned: $62 million
He’s not just one of the most well-known celebrity chefs, he’s also the richest. I mean seriously, he made as much this year as Beyoncé. It probably has something to do with all his hit TV shows, like Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, and MasterChef, Jr., or his 25 restaurants from London to New York, Tuscany to Singapore. “I’ve never been really turned on about the money,” he’s claimed in an interview. Well sure, it’s easy to be blasé when you have so much of it!
Earned: $62 million
He’s the wealthiest magician on the planet, which either has something to do with the hundreds of shows he does every year at the MGM Grand or the fact that he owns eleven private Bahamian islands, which guests can rent for the low cost of $57,000 per night. Are we really surprised that a man who made the Statue of Liberty disappear is making this much money? He’s probably using his magic to make your wallet levitate out of your pocket even as you’re reading this.
Earned: $64 million
Puff Daddy—or P-Diddy or Brother Love or whatever he’s calling himself these days—hasn’t made new music in almost two decades, but he’s got plenty of other businesses that are raking in the cash. Most prominent is his beverage empire, which sells everything from vodka to tequila to alkaline water. It may sound like a vanity project, but his company ships around 2 million cases of Cîroc vodka a year, which makes it the second largest high-end vodka in the entire US market.
Earned: $64.5 million
Playing a superhero with a huge hammer in a bunch of comic book movies—his fourth Avengers movie, where he returns as Thor, will be released next year—definitely seems to be a good way to get rich quick. But Hemsworth has mixed feelings about having so much cash at his disposal. “I feel gross about it,” he’s said in an interview. “I remember saving up for a surfboard when I was younger. The surfboard was 600 bucks and I saved up for a whole year with Dad’s help.” Today Hemsworth could probably buy a warehouse filled with surfboards with whatever he’s carrying in his wallet.
Earned: $67.3 million
Thanks to an unprecedented five-year, $150 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons, Ryan became the first $30-million-per-year quarterback and the highest paid player in NFL history. “I’ve always felt like that your job as a player is to go earn every dollar,” he’s said in an interview. Well, if that’s the case, Ryan has a LOT of earning to do this season. Not that he needs more money—where is he going to put it, just bury it in the backyard?—he’s also got some high-paying endorsement deals with Nike, Gatorade, Delta Airlines, IBM, Mercedes Benz and Banana Republic.
Earned: $68 million
The 75-year-old former Pink Floyd frontman and co-founder has been touring nonstop since May of 2017, playing the hits of the band he hasn’t been part of since the mid-80s. And yet despite some serious controversy—he’s been accused of everything from anti-Zionism to anti-Trumpism, and his disgust with Trump criticism has kind of been integral to the show—he’s attracted bigger audiences than, well, since the last time Pink Floyd had a hit. As Waters himself wrote in “Money,” the 1973 Pink Floyd hit single—it peaked at #13 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart —“Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash!”
Earned: $74 million
Despite a rough year—there have been (as yet unsubstantiated) accusations of sexual misconduct—Seacrest remains one of the most dependable presenters in Hollywood, from his Oscar red carpeting duties, where he’s made innocuous small-talk with celebrities since 2006, to his never-ending gigs as host or co-host of shows like New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, American Idol, and Live with Kelly and Ryan. Not bad for a guy who started as a radio DJ in Atlanta when he was still in high school.
Earned: $76.5 million
Jay Z may have 99 problems, but having enough money ain’t one. Do we need to count all the ways that Shawn Carter (a.k.a Jay Z) makes a profit every year? Well, there are his 14 No. 1 records, which continue to bring in a steady income. There’s his deal with Live Nation Entertainment, where he’s guaranteed about $1.5 million per show. There’s the sports management he founded called Roc Nation Sports, which reps superstars like Kevin Durant, Dez Bryant, and Leonard Fournette. There’s Tidal, the streaming service that he co-owns (with his wife Beyoncé) that’s valued at around $600 million. He also has a clothing line, high-end restaurants in New York and Atlanta, and a luxury French champagne brand. Talk about big pimpin’!
Earned: $77.5 million
Your eyes are not deceiving you. Dr. Phil is indeed on this list. You don’t host one of the most-watched syndicated shows on TV without making a ridiculous profit from it. He also produces shows like The Bull, The Doctors, and Daily Mail TV, and launched an app called “Doctors on Demand,” which connects people in need with psychologists and physicians. And despite his insane income, he’s still sticking with the mustache, which seems like a bold choice. It’s not really a “I make more money than Jay-Z” look, but okay.
Earned: $80 million
Honestly, just releasing her new record Reputation was enough to put her on this list. According to Billboard, it sold 2 million copies its opening week, which made it one of the biggest records of 2017 before she even had to leave the house. This year alone, she’s earned around $5 million in record sales, $2.4 million in streaming, and $2 million in publishing royalties. And that’s not even where she makes her real money. Swift’s tours are like an excuse to print her own money, and endorsement deals with Keds, Diet Coke, and Apple earn her enough to own a pair of private jets. That’s not a joke, by the way—she does own two jets. Who else do you know who owns two private jets? Nobody!
Earned: $81 million
We’re not going to make any “I… am… Iron… Man” jokes about Mr. Downey Jr. Other than to say he must have an iron resolve to get $15 million for a brief cameo appearance in the Spider-Man: Homecoming movie. Seriously, that’s how you become one of the richest dudes in Hollywood, by saying, “Sure, I’ll do your movie. My rate is a million dollars per minute.” How does a high school dropout who got canned from Saturday Night Live and, circa 1999, and seemed like he’d be famous mostly for doing a bunch of drugs and going to prison turn his life around this spectacularly?
Earned: $83 million
From being a judge on American Idol, where she was reportedly paid a staggering $20 million, to touring several continents and 80-plus cities in support of her Witness album, where she performed in front of an estimated 266,000 people (all of whom paid an average of around $191 to see her), Katy Perry has been raking in cash hand-over-fist this year. That kind of payday means Perry can buy pretty much anything her heart desires, including her own boyfriend. Yes, thanks to her deep pockets, she was able to outbid a fan in a charity auction to spend time with her boyfriend, actor Orlando Bloom. “I don’t know who you are, but stan for my man,” she announced to the stunned crowd, before pledging $50,000 to be with the man she sees every day for free.
Earned: $85.5 million
He’s a four-time MVP for the NBA and the youngest player to reach 30,000 career points. But his greatness on the court—and he really is one of the best to ever play the game (sorry, Jordan)—almost pales in comparison to how he sells himself off the court. Between the endorsement deals with Nike, Coca-Cola, and Samsung and his investment in crazy schemes like pizza restaurants and Brentwood real estate, King James’ financial habits may seem to follow no rhyme or reason. But James says there’s a method to his madness. “I want to maximize my business,” he once explained to GQ. “And if I happen to get it, if I happen to be a billion-dollar athlete, ho. Hip hip hooray! Oh, my God, I’m gonna be excited.” And if that doesn’t happen, well, he’s not playing too fast and loose with his money. In fact, teammate Dwyane Wade once called him “the cheapest guy in the NBA.”
Earned: $86 million
The author of the 2016 bestseller Filthy Rich is, in fact, filthy rich himself. He’s been the world’s best-selling author for almost two decades, selling more than 350 million books across the globe. But why was 2018 such a big year for him? Well, it helps that he co-wrote a novel with former president Bill Clinton, called The President Is Missing. It’s only been out since this summer, but according to the publisher, Knopf, it’s already sold well over a million copies in North America alone.
Earned: $87.5 million
It would’ve been newsworthy enough that DeGeneres agreed to a stand-up special, her first in fifteen years. But that’s not what made Relatable—which premieres on Netflix this month—so groundbreaking. It’s because DeGeneres is the first woman to ever make $20 million for a Netflix stand-up special. Combined with the eight-figures she gets from hosting her regular talk show, and producing shows like Little Big Shots and Splitting Up Together, she’s had an even more bankable year than usual.
Earned: $90 million
It’s been years—decades, really—since Stern was legitimately the “king of all media.” The last time he was starring as himself in movies and his radio show was required listening, the Internet was barely a thing yet. But somehow, here we are in 2018, and the shock jock who was once the biggest name in entertainment, thanks to an insane contract with SiriusXM, is still making more money than celebrities half his age.
Earned: $99 million
The former plumber’s apprentice has come a long way from his humble beginnings. He was one of the most feared Mixed Martial Arts fighters in the world, taking an estimated $85 million for his 2017 match with Floyd Mayweather. And thanks to promotional deals with Burger King, Anheuser-Busch, and many others, he more than earned headlines like “Conor McGregor Is Rich and Out of Control!”
Earned: $100 million
His 24K Magic World Tour, which wraps up this New Year’s Eve in Vegas, has been a musical juggernaut, hitting 193 cities and bringing in a quarter of a billion dollars in profits. As if that wasn’t enough, Mars also recently won six Grammys—three of them in major categories—and he keeps releasing songs that dominate the charts, like “Finesse” and “Wake Up the Sky.” In his spare time, which is rare, we assume he just counts all his money. That’s what we’d do, anyway.
Earned: $110 million
The English redhead has sold millions of albums and singles, and might very well be the world’s best-selling recording artist alive today. But if you think he’s all about the art and doesn’t really care about the bottom line, think again. As the 27-year-old pop wizard said in an interview recently, “All the biggest people in the world know about this and if they deny it they are lying. If they’re massive, at Beyoncé’s level or Jay Z’s or Taylor’s—someone who’s massive—every one of us cares about sales and figures.”
Earned: $124 million
The former wrestler’s salary more than doubled from 2017, when he was making a mere $65 million a year. Sheesh, who can survive on that pittance, am I right? But it’s not just the up-front cash and cut-of-the-profits deals that make him one of the richest actors in recent history. He also gets paid for tweeting. “Social media has become the most critical element of marketing a movie for me,” he’s said in an interview. “I have established a social media equity with an audience around the world that there’s a value in what I’m delivering to them.” And that value translates into dollar signs. Studios have paid Johnson up to seven figures just to plug his own movies on social media.
Earned: $166.5 million
She’s probably not the person most of us would expect to be the richest member of the Kardashian-Jenner family. But yes, believe it or not, Kylie has outpaced her sisters, parents, and even that rapping brother-in-law named Kanye for business savvy. Part of it is due to her makeup brand, Kylie Cosmetics, which has sold more than $630 million worth of beauty products since she founded the company a few years ago. Oh, and she owns 100% of the company. And for more on Kylie’s earnings, Here’s the Eye-Popping Amount of Money Kylie Jenner’s Instagram Posts Are Worth.
Earned: $239 million
He still makes movies—his last directorial effort, Suburbicon, was a critical and box office flop—but his biggest financial windfall lately has been Casamigos, the tequila company he co-founded with pals Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman. They sold the business to British liquor company Diageo for a reported $700 million. That’s more scratch than even a Hollywood leading man is used to netting with one very lucrative deal.
Earned: $285 million
When a boxer gets a nickname like “Money,” you know where his priorities are. He got the lion’s share of the profits from his 2017 bout with Conor McGregor in Las Vegas, a reported $275 million, which makes it the biggest payday in the history of sports. He also took in millions from endorsements, appearances, and memorabilia. If anyone deserves to spend $6,000 a year on underwear—he purportedly never wears a pair more than once—it’s him. And for more celerity stories from the past year, check out these 20 Major Pop Culture Moments From This Year You’ve Already Forgotten About.
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