Richest Politicians
Net Worth:
$5 Billion
Jul 2, 1929 (94 years old)
Politician, Model, Supermodel
💰 Compare Imelda Marcos' Net Worth

What is Imelda Marcos' Net Worth?

Imelda Marcos is a Filipino politician and ambassador who had a peak net worth of $5 billion. Imelda Marcos is the widow of former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. She served as the First Lady of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. She started off as a singer and model before meeting her husband. She held positions in the government that let her travel around the world accumulating real estate and artwork. She served as Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary, Minister of Human Settlements, Governor of Metropolitan Manila, Mambabatas Pambansa from Region IV-A, and was a Member of the Philippine House of Representatives. President Marcos was accused of assassinating Benigno Aquino, Jr., which led to the People Power Revolution that forced the couple out of office and into exile in Hawaii. They were later given amnesty and returned to the Philippines.

Imelda Marcos is infamous for her unimaginable wealth and corruption during her husband's 21-year presidency. Her extravagant lifestyle, which included owning thousands of pairs of designer shoes, jewelry, artwork, and luxury properties around the world, was in stark contrast to the poverty that many Filipinos endured under the Marcos regime. The source of her wealth was believed to come from embezzling public funds, and she was accused of looting billions of dollars from the Philippine government during her husband's presidency. Her corruption was so severe that it contributed to the country's economic decline, with the Philippines becoming one of the most indebted nations in the world under the Marcos dictatorship. Despite numerous corruption charges against her and her family, Imelda Marcos has managed to evade serious punishment and continues to live a life of luxury to this day.

Here are 5 incredible facts about Imelda Marcos:

  1. Imelda Marcos was known for her extravagant collection of shoes. At its peak, her shoe collection was estimated to include more than 3,000 pairs of designer shoes.
  2. Imelda Marcos was the First Lady of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986, during the presidency of her husband, Ferdinand Marcos. She was also a powerful political figure in her own right, holding several government positions during her husband's presidency.
  3. Imelda Marcos was accused of corruption and embezzlement of public funds during her husband's presidency. It is estimated that she and her husband looted billions of dollars from the Philippine government during their time in power.
  4. Imelda Marcos was known for her lavish spending and extravagant lifestyle. She owned multiple properties around the world, including homes in New York, London, and Rome, and she was a frequent traveler on private jets.
  5. Imelda Marcos has been involved in a number of legal disputes and controversies over the years. In addition to the accusations of corruption and embezzlement, she has been accused of human rights abuses, and she has faced numerous civil and criminal lawsuits both in the Philippines and abroad.

Early Life

Imelda was born on July 2, 1929 in San Miguel, Manila. and given the name Imelda Remedios Visitacion Trinidad Romualdez. She was born to parents Vicente Orestes Romualdez, a lawyer, and his second wife, Remedios Trinidad. She is the sixth of her father's eleven children and the firstborn of her mother. She initially grew up in a wealthy family, as her father was part of the Romualdez political dynasty. However, during the financial conditions of her family began to decline in Imelda's early childhood. The family eventually moved from Manila to move to Tacloban, where her father could support the family better with a simpler lifestyle.

Imelda attended Holy Infant Academy but when the family moved to Tacloban, her father would not allow her to return to school. However, when the Americans returned to the Philippines in 1944, she was allowed to resume her studies at Leyte Progressive High School. She then returned to Holy Infant Academy and graduated in 1948. She then attended St. Paul' College and later enrolled at the College of Music and Fine Arts at Philippine Women's University when she moved back to Manila in 1952.

Marriage and Political Career

In 1954, Imelda met Ferdinand Marcos during a budget hearing at the Philippine Congress. Marcos was part of the opposition team who was fighting against the budget while Imelda was there visiting her cousin, who was Speaker of the House. Imelda caught Marcos' eye and he decided to pursue her in marriage. In the weeks that followed, he showered her with flowers and gifts and visited her daily in order to persuade her to marry him. In April of 1954, she agreed to sign a marriage license. The two were married in secret before a church wedding followed in Manila on May 1, 1954. One consequence of the marriage was that Marcos' common-law wife, with whom he already had three children, had to be removed from the public eye.

Imelda remained largely out of the spotlight until her husband's 1965 presidential campaign. Her beauty helped draw large crowds to Marcos' political campaign events and her presence next to Marcos became a big part of their image strategy. Imelda assumed a managerial position in her husband's campaign early on. She also was especially popular when working with the poorer populations of the Philippines and during the election itself, she delivered votes from some of the less economically developed provinces.

Marcos won the election and Imelda began her first term as First Lady in 1965. In addition to performing the typical duties of a First Lady, like making public appearances and attending social events, Imelda because something of a power broker within the administration. Meetings with her in her offices were highly sought after by cabinet members, business leaders, and heads of financial institutions, all of whom were aware of the influence Imelda had on Marcos.

Imelda held on to her position of First Lady when Marcos was elected to a second term in 1969. Marcos hardly ever left the presidential palace during this time and Imelda was increasingly sent on official visits as a de facto vice president. She also began focusing much of her attention on grandiose construction projects throughout the country. While some of the projects were in the name of public works, over time Imelda's use of public funds for these projects was criticized, and she was dubbed to have an "edifice complex."

More problematic was the fact that Imelda and Marcos began to steal billions of pesos from the Filipino people to amass a personal fortune. They became known for living a lavish lifestyle while the people of the country suffered under the weight of a financial crisis. In the later years in her role as First Lady, Imelda spent much of her time abroad on state visits and attending extravagant parties. She spent huge amounts of misappropriated public funds on a personal art collection, jewelry, and shoes, at one point developing a collection of 3,000 pairs of shoes.

Eventually fed up with the corruption, the people of the Philippines successfully ousted Marcos and Imelda in 1986 during the People Power Revolution. The family was forced into exile in Hawaii. They were allowed to return to the Philippines in 1991 after Ferdinand died in order to face various charges. Imelda subsequently ran for president in the 1992 election and again in the 1998 election, but lost both times. She was officially convicted on seven counts of corruption charges in 2018. She was released on bail and has appealed her charges. Her lawyers have appealed to the court on the basis of her old age and deteriorating health.

The amount that the Marcoses are thought to have plundered from the Philippines is said to have been so large as to break records. The couple was jointly credited in the 1989 "Guiness Word Records" for largest-ever theft from a government.

Missing Picasso

In 2014, a $150 million painting by Pablo Picasso, titled "Le Bassin aux Nymphéas," was reported missing from the collection of a wealthy Saudi Arabian businessman. In February 2022, a photograph emerged on social media of a woman resembling Imelda Marcos sitting on a couch next to a painting that appears to be the missing Picasso.

(ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images)

Marcos and President Ferdinand Marcos were known to have amassed a vast collection of artwork during their time in power, much of which was believed to have been obtained through corrupt means. While the authenticity of the photograph has yet to be confirmed, it has reignited interest in the case of the missing Picasso painting and raised questions about the Marcoses' involvement in the art world and their possible connections to international art theft. The painting's whereabouts remain a mystery, and the investigation into its disappearance continues.

Personal Life

While married to Marcos, Imelda had four children – Imee, Bongbong, Irene, and Aimee. Her son, Bongbong, announced his candidacy in the 2022 presidential race and won the election by a landslide.

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