Hollywood may be filled with some of the biggest stars in the world but there are surprisingly few who are actually billionaires. Despite their massive salaries from movies, music and other ventures, only a small number of celebs have earned 10 figures over the course of their career.
Even though the celebrity billionaire's club is small, there have been several additions as of late. Both Tiger Woods and LeBron James have crossed the threshold to the new tax bracket thanks to numerous investments and partnerships outside of their professions. And while making a billion dollars may seem unimaginable for most people, it’s clear that these stars put in a lot of work to get where they are.
Tiger Woods is the most recent celeb to achieve billionaire status, thanks to a lucrative 27-year career as a professional athlete. Over the course of his time as a golfer, Forbes estimates that he's brought in $1.7 billion -- although less than 10% of his earnings and net worth have come from golf winnings. Instead, the bulk of his fortune comes from sponsorship and endorsement deals with companies like Gatorade, Monster Energy, and Nike, who has been his biggest backer since 1996.
He's also used his earnings to expand into an array of other ventures, including a golf design business, TGR Design, a live events production company, TGR Live, and a restaurant called The Woods.
In 2021, Forbes deemed musician and entrepreneur Rihanna a billionaire, making her the second richest female entertainer in the world. The bulk of her fortune, which is estimated at $1.4 billion, mostly comes from her 50% ownership stake in Fenty Beauty while the rest stems from her lingerie company, Savage x Fenty, and her earnings from her career as a musician and actress. She also has a vast real estate portfolio, which includes homes in Beverly Hills, Hollywood and Barbados.
Kim Kardashian earned the title of billionaire in 2021 after a lucrative year of sales for her business ventures KKW Beauty and Skims. According to Forbes, she brought in $200 million when she sold a 20% stake in the beauty company, which has recently been rebranded to SKKN BY KIM. Kim has also accumulated her fortune through endorsement deals, reality show paychecks, and smaller investments in things like real estate. As of 2022, she is reportedly worth $1.8 billion.
LeBron James is one of only three athletes to be considered a billionaire and after a 19-year career as a professional basketball player, he recently reached that milestone. During his time in the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers star has earned more than $385 million for his skills on the court and, thanks to an upcoming two-year contract, he's set to make $44.5 million more. LeBron has also made over $900 million from endorsements and other business ventures.
Kanye West has been a billionaire since 2020 and as of March 2021, the rapper is reportedly worth a whopping $6.6 billion. His immense fortune doesn’t actually come from his music career though and, instead, stems from Yeezy, his sneaker and apparel business which is estimated to be worth between $3.2 billion and $4.7 billion. He has full ownership and creative control of the brand and recently signed a 10-year agreement to design and sell clothes under the Yeezy Gap label. Kanye allegedly also has $122 million in cash and $1.7 billion in other assets which includes a stake in ex Kim Kardashian's SKIMS business.
Actor and entertainment industry executive Tyler Perry has been on Hollywood’s list of billionaires for several years now. According to Forbes, Tyler has earned more than $1.4 billion since 2005 and brought in $97 million in 2020 alone. In addition to both creating and starring in the massively popular "Madea" films, he also launched Tyler Perry Studios to create content for streaming services like BET+. In fact, he made a deal with Viacom which gives him 25% of streaming service. Additionally, his massive studio lot in Atlanta where he films his TV shows and movies is valued at $280 million. On top of that, Tyler has $300 million in cash and investments and $40 million in homes and various possessions.
Entertainment personality Oprah Winfrey has reportedly brought in over $2.6 billion over the course of her career, becoming the first Black female billionaire in 2003. After spending 25 years hosting her own talk show, she began her own media empire, starting with her television network, OWN. She additionally has a content creation deal with Apple TV+, a 7% stake in Weight Watchers, and multiple other investments including real estate across the US.
While Jay-Z became the first hip hop artist to become a billionaire, he’s made some of his biggest moves as a businessman since retiring from the music industry. The rapper, whose catalog is worth $75 million, transitioned his music career into other entrepreneurial efforts, starting with his media company Roc Nation and his clothing line Rocawear.
Since retiring, he's expanded his empire by building an art collection worth $70 million, a real estate portfolio worth $50 million and created his own cognac brand, D’Ussé. He also launched music-streaming service Tidal, which is now reportedly worth $100 million. And with a reported $220 million in cash and investments, Jay-Z is worth well over a billion dollars.
Michael Jordan spent his career making massive earnings on the basketball court but it was after he retired that he became a billionaire thanks to endorsements and his investment in the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. According to Forbes, Michael has also earned an estimated $1.8 billion from corporate partners over the course of his career which includes partnerships with Hanes, Gatorade, Upper Deck and an apparel line with Nike.