Last Updated: May 20, 2024
Richest CelebritiesSingers
Net Worth:
$5 Million
Feb 6, 1950 - Dec 31, 2015 (65 years old)
Los Angeles
5 ft 9 in (1.753 m)
Singer, Singer-songwriter, Actor, Pianist, Performer, Songwriter
United States of America
💰 Compare Natalie Cole's Net Worth

What Was Natalie Cole's Net Worth?

Natalie Cole was an American singer, songwriter, and performer who had a net worth of $5 million at the time of her death in 2015. Natalie Cole is probably best known as an R&B artist with hits like "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)," "Inseparable," and "Our Love."


Natalie is one of the more high-profile celebrities who declared bankruptcy at what many people assumed was the peak of her career. Cole filed for bankruptcy in 1997, citing her out-of-control spending habits and the fact that she owed millions in royalties to her father's estate for their duet album.

Early Life

Natalie Cole was born on February 6, 1950, in Los Angeles, California, at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital. She is the daughter of the late jazz legend Nat King Cole. Her mother, Maria Cole, was a former Duke Ellington Orchestra singer. Natalie sang on her father's Christmas album at the age of six and started performing solo at age 11. She attended Northfield School for Girls in New England before her father died of lung cancer in February 1965. She was 15 years old when her father died.

She then began experiencing a strained relationship with her mother and enrolled in the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she graduated in 1972 with a major in Child Psychology and a minor in German.

Nat King Cole Estate

Nat King Cole left behind an estate valued at $3.5 million in 1965. That's the same as around $30 million in today's dollars. Unfortunately, due to poor estate planning, after estate taxes and various other costs, his family ended up receiving just $1 million. That's equal to $7 million in today's dollars.

Music Career

After she graduated, Cole began singing at small clubs with her band, Black Magic. Clubs initially welcomed her with open arms because of her relation to Nat King Cole, but club owners were often disappointed when she sang cover versions of R&B and rock songs. She got together with Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy, a songwriting and producing duo, and recorded some songs in a Chicago studio owned by Curtis Mayfield. Her demo tapes led to a recording contract with Capitol Records and resulted in the release of her first album, "Inseparable," which included the hit songs "This Will Be" and "I Can't Say No." The album was an instant success and "This Will Be" became a top ten hit and won Cole a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Natalie also picked up Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards, making her the first African-American artist to obtain the honor. The media instantly took to calling Cole the "new Aretha Franklin," which provoked a rivalry between the two singers. The feud boiled over when Natalie beat Franklin at the Grammys in the same category Aretha had won eight times before losing to Cole.

Cole's second album, "Natalie," became another instant gold success thanks to the singles "Sophisticated Lady" and "Mr. Melody." She released her first platinum record with her third release, "Unpredictable," thanks to the number one hit single "I've Got Love on My Mind." Her fourth album, "Thankful," also went platinum and included another signature hit, "Our Love." Her first live album, "Natalie Live!," came out in 1979. That same year, she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and released two more albums, "I Love You So" and "We're the Best of Friends." Both albums reached gold status in the United States, further cementing Cole's success and continuing popularity. With the release of her eighth album, "Don't Look Back," her career began to slide.

Natalie Cole

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Cole suffered from a drug addiction problem in the 1980s that nearly ruined her career. Following the release of "I'm Ready" in 1983, she entered a rehab facility for six months. She made a comeback as a pop artist with the 1987 album "Everlasting." Cole's biggest success came in the 1990s after she re-recorded and released some of her father's greatest and most iconic hits. "Unforgettable…with Love" sold over seven million copies. She then released an interactive duet between her and her father on the title song "Unforgettable."

Natalie released several jazz CDs, including "Take A Look," which won the 1993 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance. Her CD Stardust featured a second duet with a Nat King Cole recording on "When I Fall in Love." It was a huge success and won the 1996 Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. Later in 1997, Natalie appeared on the pop singles charts with "A Smile Like Yours." She recorded and released her first holiday album, titled "Holly and Ivy," in 1994, which was certified gold in 1996. She performed at the 1998 Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute, and in 1990, she performed alongside Al Jarreau on HBO's "Comic Relief" special. In 2002, Natalie switched to Verve Records and released two albums, "Ask a Woman Who Knows" (2002) and "Leavin'" (2006).

Film and TV Career

As an actress, Natalie portrayed herself in "Livin' for Love: the Natalie Cole Story" in 2001. Her outstanding performance won her the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special. Cole appeared on the reality television series, "Real Housewives of New York City" on July 22, 2011.

Personal Life

Natalie was married three times, first to Marvin Yancy, a former member of the '70s R&B group The Independents. They had a son, Robert Adam Robbie Yancy, who was born in 1977 and died of a heart attack at age 39 in August 2017. He was a musician who toured with Cole. In 1989, Natalie married producer Andre Fischer and they were divorced in 1995. In 2001, Cole married Bishop Kenneth Dupree. They split in 2004.

Cole had ongoing health problems during her life attributed to hepatitis C, which she contracted through intravenous drug use. Four months after she began treatment for hepatitis C, she experienced kidney failure and required dialysis several times a month. She canceled several events in December 2015 due to illness. Natalie Cole died on December 31, 2015, at the age of 65. The cause of death, according to her publicist Maureen O'Connor, was congestive heart failure. Her funeral was held on January 11, 2016, at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles. Among the mourners at the funeral were Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Lionel Richie, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Jesse Jackson, Angela Bassett, and many more big names from the entertainment industry. Cole was buried at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
Did we make a mistake?
Submit a correction suggestion and help us fix it!
Submit a Correction