Who are the richest celebrities in the world? Madonna, Paul McCartney, Oprah… now maybe Kanye West???!!! You'll definitely recognize every name on this list of incredibly wealthy celebrities, but their actual net worth fortunes will raise some eyebrows.
The minimum net worth required to be one of the richest celebrities on the planet this year was $600 million. Believe it or not, there are TWELVE celebrity billionaires in the world today.
Before we dive into this list of the top 30-richest celebs, a quick clarification/point of consideration –
We very recently published a list of the richest athletes in the world. With a net worth of $2.2 billion, Michael Jordan took the crown. Should Michael Jordan ALSO be considered a "celebrity?" We ended up deciding YES. He and one other athlete is included on this list for two reasons: 1) They both earned the vast, vast, vast majority of their fortunes outside of their respective sports, and 2) They are both arguably both more famous over the last decade for their non-athletic accomplishments.
So let's get down to business. Show business. Below is our list of…
The 30 Richest Celebrities In The World 2020:
#30: Simon Cowell Net Worth: $600 million
First gaining fame in the US, thanks to American Idol (which debuted in 2002), Simon Cowell has gone on to create a television empire that includes The X Factor, America's Got Talent and Britain's Got Talent. The problem with American Idol was that he didn't own the show. He was just a very highly-paid judge and producer. Today he sits atop a television empire and a $600 million dollar fortune.
#29: Matt Groening Net Worth: $600 million
Matt Groening is a writer, cartoonist, and producer with a net worth around $600 million dollars. He is primarily known as the creator of the animated television comedies "The Simpsons" and "Futurama." Both shows were critical and commercial hits while "The Simpsons" continues to enjoy a huge fan base as one of the longest-running shows in television history. More recently, Groening created a show for Netflix called Disenchantment.
#28: Julio Iglesias Net Worth: $600 million
Julio Iglesias is a Spanish singer and songwriter whose net worth is estimated at around $600 million. With record sales of over 300 million, Iglesias has been named the biggest-selling Latin artist of all time by Sony Music Entertainment. First popular in his native Spain, he grew an audience in Europe and Latin America before finally becoming a household name in the United States in the early 1980s. On top of his immense popularity as a singer, Iglesias also has a vast real estate portfolio worth upwards of $300 million.
#27: Jimmy Buffett Net Worth: $600 million
Jimmy Buffett is a musician, author, and entrepreneur worth an estimated $600 million. Though he hasn't spent much time at the top of the music charts, Buffett has managed to cultivate a devoted fan base – known as "Parrotheads" – who flock to his shows and purchase his many Margaritaville-related products. It's this expansion into so many other income streams, including restaurants, hotels, and frozen meals, that has led to his wealth.
#26: Dolly Parton Net Worth: $600 million
Dolly Parton is a singer, actress, and entrepreneur with a net worth of around $600 million. She is one of the most recognizable voices in country music. Along with numerous hits and successful albums, Parton was also successful as a television presenter, even gaining her own show in the late 1970s. Parton's acting career took off not long after. Much of Parton's wealth has come from both her own record sales as well as money made from other artists using her songs, the most famous of these being Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You" for the film "The Bodyguard."
#25: Howard Stern Net Worth: $650 million
Howard Stern is a writer, actor, and radio and television personality with an estimated fortune of $650 million. Though most of his wealth comes from his talk radio shows, Stern has also had great success in a number of other media outlets. His autobiography, "Private Parts" was Simon & Schuster's fastest-selling book upon its release and was later made into a film starring Stern himself. Stern also served as a judge on America's Got Talent for four seasons. He is currently the highest-paid radio personality in America.
#24: Matt Stone Net Worth: $700 million
Matt Stone is a writer, voice actor, and producer with a net worth of $700 million. Known primarily as the co-creator of "South Park" alongside Trey Parker, the duo has also dabbled in film and musical theater. Their smash hit musical Book of Morman continues to bring in huge amounts of revenue through ticket sales around the world. Most of Stone's wealth, however, is due to a very smart contract negotiation in his early days at Comedy Central, which allowed Stone and Parker to keep 50% of the revenue from digital streaming rights. The reason you're not seeing his co-creator, Trey Parker, on this list is because he and his long-term wife separated in 2019 and are likely on track for a VERY expensive divorce.
#23: James Cameron Net Worth: $700 million
James Cameron is a filmmaker whose net worth is roughly $700 million. As a director, he's for known his innovative style and strong storytelling skills. His film credits include Aliens, Terminator, and True Lies. Two of his films have also topped the list of highest-grossing films of all time, Titanic and Avatar. Due to some wise business choices around backend profits from the film Titanic, Cameron has netted hundreds of millions from the film alone.
#22: Bono Net Worth: $700 million
Bono is an Irish singer, songwriter, and philanthropist with a net worth of around $700 million. As the lead singer of the band U2, Bono helped build the group into one of the most successful rock bands of all time. The group has released music steadily since the late 1970s and continue to be a big box office draw worldwide. Bono's Elevation Partners investment group made headlines with a large, pre-IPO investment into Facebook that netted the group over $1.5 billion. However, Bono's take-home share was only likely to be between $40 or $50 million.
#21: Kylie Jenner Net Worth: $700 million
Kylie Jenner is known as a TV personality, entrepreneur, and reality TV personality. Though she had early success as a model and secured endorsement deals with a number of companies, much of her fortune comes from her own cosmetics line, Kylie Cosmetics. The company had been incredibly popular from the start, buoyed no doubt by her social media presence. However, it wasn't until the 2019 sale of a 51% stake in the company to Coty Inc. that her personal wealth hit the stratosphere.
#20: Tiger Woods Net Worth: $800 million
Like Michael Jordan, listed later in this article, we debated whether or not to include Tiger Woods on a list of the world's richest celebrities. In the end, we decided they both deserve inclusion because: A) they are celebrities, and B) even though they are athletes, they both earned 90% of their fortune outside of their respective sports. Tiger has earned well over a billion dollars during his career from endorsements. And even though he has had some injury and personal life setbacks in recent years, he's still swinging on the golf course.
As of this writing, Tiger Woods' net worth is $800 million.
#19: Jim Davis Net Worth: $800 million
Creator of one of the most beloved comic strips of all time, "Garfield," Jim Davis is a cartoonist with a net worth of around $800 million. Davis's "Garfield" comics have been published since 1978 and became the most widely syndicated comic strip in the world. This led to a number of spin-offs, including a Garfield television series and multiple films. On top of creating cartoons, Davis's charitable efforts include supporting children's literacy.
#18: James Patterson Net Worth: $800 million
James Patterson is an American novelist worth an estimated $800 million. Few other authors have had as many successful books as Patterson, owed primarily to their fast-moving plots and a publishing schedule that sees multiple books released every year. Since the release of his first book in 1976, he has released 95 novels, many of which have topped a number of bestseller lists. In recent years, Patterson has taken to co-writing with a number of other authors, allowing him to produce more novels and further expand his publishing fortune.
#17: Celine Dion Net Worth: $800 million
Celine Dion is a Canadian singer whose net worth stands at roughly $800 million. Dion garnered attention at an early age in her native Quebec, releasing nine French-language albums before the age of 18. International success followed throughout the 90s, culminating in the international smash hit, "My Heart Will Go On," from the Titanic soundtrack. Residencies in Las Vegas followed, which became some of the most sought-after tickets in town and continued to earn her millions of dollars from ticket sales.
#16: Dr. Dre Net Worth: $820 million
Dr. Dre is an American rapper, entrepreneur, and producer who has amassed a net worth of around $820 million. Rising to prominence during the early days of the West Coast hip-hop scene, Dr. Dre was an integral part of the influential rap group N.W.A. After splitting with the group, he began his own successful solo career and co-founded Death Row Records and later Aftermath Entertainment. However, the bulk of his wealth came from the sale of headphones and music subscription service Beats to Apple, earning roughly $500 million from the deal.
#15: Madonna Net Worth: $850 million
Madonna is a singer and actress with a net worth of around $850 million. Rising to prominence in the early 80s, Madonna's boundary-pushing personality kept her at the top of the charts through the 90s and 2000s. Along with her music, she has made an impact at the box office as well. Her film roles include "Desperately Seeking Susan," "A League of Their Own," and "Evita," the latter winning her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. Madonna continues to release music and is still a top-earning live act.
#14: Herb Alpert Net Worth: $850 million
Herb Alpert is an American musician and entrepreneur with an estimated net worth of $850 million. He is primarily known for his incredibly successful recording career with Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, a group that has sold more than 75 million records worldwide. However, much of Alpert's fortune came from the creation and eventual sale of the record label A&M Records. The label sported a roster of wildly popular artists and spawned many top records. The sale generated hundreds of millions of dollars for Alpert and his business partner, Jerry Moss.
#13: P Diddy Net Worth: $885 million
Born Sean Combs, P Diddy is a rapper, entrepreneur, and designer whose net worth stands around $885 million. After getting fired from an internship at a New York record label, Combs set up his own label, Bad Boy Entertainment. One of the label's first successful artists was The Notorious B.I.G., though they would go on to work with a number of top artists of the era. Along with his label, Combs has been a popular recording artist himself, earning a number of hits and selling millions of albums. His business interests have also furthered his wealth, including the creation of clothing label "Sean Jean" and vodka brand Ciroc.
#12: Jerry Seinfeld Net Worth: $950 million
Jerry Seinfeld is an actor, writer, and comedian known for creating one of the most popular sitcoms of all time, Seinfeld. Jerry Seinfeld began his career in comedy soon after college, working relentlessly to build up a fan base and further his career. In 1981, a successful appearance on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show bolstered his image and led to a number of other late night performances. However, it was the creation of Seinfeld alongside co-creator Larry David that led to Seinfeld's biggest success. Even after the show's heyday, it continues to yield healthy returns for both Seinfeld and David.
#11: JK Rowling Net Worth: $1 billion
JK Rowling is an author, screenwriter, and philanthropist known primarily for creating the Harry Potter franchise. Rising up from poverty as a single mother, JK Rowling has since amassed one of the greatest literary fortunes in history. The series of Harry Potter books she created was nothing short of a worldwide phenomenon that sparked theme park attractions, films, and a spin-off franchise. She is renowned for her charitable giving, known to have donated at least $150 million to date.
#10: Jay-Z Net Worth: $1 billion
Jay-Z is an American rapper, entrepreneur, and music mogul with an estimated net worth of $1 billion. Born Shawn Carter in Brooklyn, New York, Jay-Z rose from his drug-dealing past to establish himself as one of the biggest rappers of the era, selling more than 100 million records. Jay-Z also co-founded the record label Roc-A-Fella Records, a successful company that was eventually nested under Def Jam Records. Through a series of smart business decisions, Jay-Z has managed to retain rights to his music, a major factor in his continually growing net worth. In 2008, he married singer Beyonce. The couple has a combined estimated net worth of $1.4 billion.
#9: David Copperfield Net Worth: $1 billion
Born David Seth Kotkin, David Copperfield gained prominence as America's foremost illusionist. Garnering fame for such tricks as making the Statue of Liberty disappear and walking through the Great Wall of China, Copperfield's televised illusions and stage performances have enthralled millions and gained him a number of awards. Copperfield also owns a collection of rare magic memorabilia estimated by some to be worth as much as $500 million.
#8: Paul McCartney Net Worth: $1.2 billion
Writer of some of the world's most famous songs, Paul McCartney has enjoyed success as a founding member of The Beatles and successful solo artist. One half of the songwriting duo of Lennon and McCartney, his contributions to The Beatles success spawned many of their most popular songs. Even after The Beatles broke up in 1970, McCartney continued to top the music charts with hit albums and worldwide tours.
#7: Michael Jordan Net Worth: $2.2 billion
Michael Jordan's $2.2 billion net worth makes him the richest athlete in the world. Despite being the greatest basketball player ever, he did not actually earn that much money from NBA salaries. In total he earned around $94 million in NBA salaries. So how did he earn his fortune? Two ways: 1) To date, Michael has earned more than $1.6 billion from endorsements, most notably from Nike and Gatorade. The remainder of his net worth came thanks to a savvy investment in the NBA's Charlotte Hornets. He is the majority owner, buying in for the first time in 2006 at a rock bottom price. In 2019 he sold a 20% stake in the team to a group of investors at a valuation of $1.5 billion.
As of this writing, Michael Jordan's net worth is $2.2 billion.
#6: Jami Gertz Net Worth: $3 billion
Jami Gertz is an actress, philanthropist, and sports team owner who is worth around $3 billion. The bulk of Gertz's worth came about due to her marriage to billionaire Tony Ressler, the co-founder of Ares Management. Gertz and Ressler have ownership stakes in the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Brewers. While still an actor, Gertz is also an avid donor to a number of charitable causes, often topping lists of top celebrity donors.
#5: Donald Trump Net Worth: $3.1 billion
We debated whether or not Donald Trump belonged on a list of the richest celebrities. Before becoming President, he was both a businessman and a celebrity. The two identities were intertwined. He was famous for being a businessman and he made a very successful business thanks largely to his fame. Then he became a politician. It was a conundrum. But I would still argue that even after becoming President, Donald is more associated as a celebrity than anything else.
#4: Kanye West Net Worth: $3.2 billion
During his career to date Kanye West has earned "only" around $400 million during his career from his music career (touring, record sales, merchandise). He became a billionaire officially in 2020 thanks to the explosive success if the Yeezy clothing brand. In 2019 Yeezy generated $1.5 billion in revenue, earning Kanye a $154 million royalty payment. In 2020, even with the Covid crisis, the brand is on pace to generate $1.7 billion. Between 2020 and 2026, Kanye is projected to personally earn $2.2 billion in royalties alone off Yeezy. Here's the major difference between Yeezy and the Jordan shoe brand – Imagine if in 2026 Michael Jordan PERSONALLY owned 100% of his shoe brand? That's the deal Kanye could potentially pursue in the future. He owns 100% of Yeezy.
As of April 2020, Kanye West's net worth is $3.2 billion.
#3: Oprah Winfrey Net Worth: $3.5 billion
Oprah Winfrey is a media mogul, entrepreneur, and philanthropist whose net worth is around $3.5 million. Coming from humble beginnings, Oprah rose to prominence with The Oprah Winfrey Show, building it up into one of the most successful talk shows in the country and making her one of the most influential women in the world. Through her Harpo production company, Oprah managed to build her wealth and branch out into a number of other areas, including film, publishing, and the creation of a television network.
#2: Steven Spielberg Net Worth: $3.7 billion
Steven Spielberg is a director, screenwriter, and producer known for essentially creating the concept of the Hollywood blockbuster. An avid fan of film from a young age, Spielberg shot to fame with the release of the film Jaws in 1975. More hits followed, including the Indiana Jones franchise, E.T., and Jurassic Park. His wealth is a direct product of this success, as well as his roles as a producer on a number of other massively popular films, including The Goonies, Gremlins, and the Back to the Future franchise.
#1: George Lucas Net Worth: $6.5 billion
Creator of some of the most successful film franchises in history, George Lucas is a director, film producer, and writer with a net worth of around $6.5 billion. He is known as the creator of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises and has produced a number of other hit movies over the years, including Body Heat, Labyrinth, and Willow. Though already worth a great amount due to his previous franchises and some smart business decisions early in his career, Lucas earned a whopping $4.1 billion from the sale of Star Wars to Disney in 2012, easily cementing his legacy as one of the most successful filmmakers of all time.
As of this writing George Lucas' net worth is $6.5 billion.
So what's the lesson here? I think the biggest takeaway is we all should have gone to film school to be a director! Congrats to George Lucas. It's fairly stunning to think just how much money he made off this one film franchise. And I bet he doesn't even like Star Wars that much anymore. Do you think he's seen the new movies and shows? Probably not.
Another major takeaway after looking at the top 12 richest celebrities (all of whom happen to be billionaires) – Clearly it pays to own something. To earn an enormous fortune you can't just be a highly paid employee. You need to build something that you yourself own, so someday you can sell that thing for billions of dollars.
What are you gonna build to earn your billion dollar fortune???
With a net worth of $6.5 billion, George Lucas is the richest celebrity in the world 2020. His good buddy Steven Spielberg clocks in at #2 with a net worth of $3.7 billion. Oprah rounds out the top three with $3.5 billion.
Kanye West rockets to #4 with a net worth of $3.2 billion, having not previously cracked the top 30. That's the power of Yeezy!
Here is a quick-hit list of the top 10 richest celebrities in the world right now:
- #1) George Lucas net worth $6.5 billion
- #2) Steven Spielberg net worth $3.7 billion
- #3) Oprah Winfrey net worth $3.5 billion
- #4) Kanye West net worth $3.2 billion
- #5) Donald Trump net worth $3.1 billion
- #6) Jami Gertz net worth $3 billion
- #7) Michael Jordan net worth $2.2 billion
- #8) Paul McCartney net worth $1.2 billion
- #9) David Copperfield net worth $1 billion
- #10) Jay-Z net worth $1 billion