The Hollywood billionaires club! From Rihanna to Oprah Winfrey to Kim Kardashian
While the Hollywood rich and famous seem to have it all, it appears that few have managed the elusive billionaire status.
Despite their lavish lifestyles and incredible annual earnings, the latest report from Forbes has only eight celebrity billionaires.
These range from musicians and film directors to a talk show host and a reality star, with each making a serious of clever businesses moves to boost their fortunes.
Coming up the ranks however, is Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, whose extraordinary wealth accumulation has astonished observers.
The actor, 46, and actress, 35, look set to become Hollywood’s next billionaire ‘power couple’.
Power couple: Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively could become Hollywood’s next billionaire couple
While his darkly comic portrayal of the flawed superhero Deadpool in the eponymous 2016 and 2018 films made him one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors, it is his off-screen ventures — not least his £2 million purchase of non-league Welsh football team Wrexham in 2021 — that have attracted increasing attention.
Earlier this month, the investment that Reynolds had made in Mint Mobile, a budget phone business, earned him £245 million when communications giant T-Mobile announced it was buying the company for more than £1 billion.
Given the couple — who have four young children — were previously estimated to be worth £147 million, this means they almost doubled their fortune overnight from a single investment.
In 2020, he made millions when Aviation American Gin, an artisanal spirits company he co-owned and for which he was the public face, was snapped up by British drinks giant Diageo in a deal that involved an upfront payment of £272 million but could ultimately be worth £495 million.
Reynolds, who was believed to have owned 20 to 25 per cent of the company, remains involved in the business.
He’s found a suitable partner in Blake, who has also shown an entrepreneurial side, launching Betty Buzz, a range of non-alcoholic sparkling drinks (Lively is teetotal).
The actress is also a ‘brand ambassador’ for luxury names including Chanel, L’Oreal and Stella McCartney.
MailOnline has taken a look at each of the members of the exclusive Hollywood billionaires club and how they accumulated their incredible wealth.
Good deal: In 2020, Reynolds made millions when Aviation American Gin, an artisanal spirits company he co-owned and for which he was the public face, was snapped up by British drinks giant Diageo in a deal that involved an upfront payment of £272 million but could ultimately be worth £495 million
Rihanna officially became a billionaire August 2021 – making her the richest female musician in the world and the second richest female entertainer after Oprah Winfrey.
The Umbrella songstress has racked up $1.4 billion throughout her decade-long career – the majority of which has come from her fashion brands and her skincare and cosmetics company Fenty Beauty, Forbes reported at the time.
It was claimed that the bulk of the popstar’s money comes not from her singing career, but from her 50 per cent stake in her acclaimed cosmetics line Fenty Beauty – a joint venture with French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH – which is now worth $2.8 billion in total.
Between that and her $270 million stake in her wildly successful Savage X Fenty lingerie line, combined with the profit she has made from her 16-year recording career as a chart-topping singer and actress, all make up the hitmaker’s massive wealth.
Barbados-born Rihanna was discovered in 2003 in her home country by American record producer Evan Rogers, who sent her demo to Def Jam Recordings.
Amazing: Rihanna officially became a billionaire August 2021 – making her the richest female musician in the world and the second richest female entertainer after Oprah Winfrey
Incredible: Throughout her career, she has received many awards, including nine Grammys, 12 Billboard Music Awards, and 13 American Music Awards. She is pictured in 2018 (left) and 2019 (right)
It eventually fell into the hands of Def Jam’s president Jay-Z, who invited her to come in and perform and instantly fell in love with Rihanna – and the rest is history.
She went on to become one of the best-selling music artists of all time – having currently sold more than 250 million records worldwide for her hits like Pon de Replay, Umbrella, SOS, Unfaithful, Good Girl Gone Bad, and Don’t Stop the Music, to name a few
In addition to singing, she is also an actress and has graced the screen in a few big movies like Bring It On: All or Nothing in 2006, the war movie Battleship, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (alongside Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne), and the heist comedy Ocean’s 8.
She also starred in the fifth season of Bates Motel and voiced the main character in the DreamWorks animated flick Home (which also starred Jim Parsons and Jennifer Lopez).
In 2015, she signed a $25 million contract with Samsung to promote their Galaxy products. She also teamed up with Tidal in 2016, becoming a co-owner of the music streaming service.
While Rihanna’s focus was mainly on her music throughout the first part of her career, she always had a love for fashion.
Rihanna landed her first fashion venture in 2011, when she became the face of Emporio Armani Underwear and Armani Jeans.
In addition to singing, she is also an actress and has graced the screen in a few big movies like Bring It On: All or Nothing in 2006 and the war movie Battleship in 2012 (pictured)
She also acted in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (alongside Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne), and the heist comedy Ocean’s 8 (pictured)
MAKE-UP, LINGERIE AND MUSIC: How Rihanna amassed $1.7bn fortune
FENTY BEAUTY – $1.4BILLION
Rihanna founded the acclaimed beauty brand back in 2017 with a desire to ‘make women everywhere (feel) included.’
She said ‘Make-up is there for you to have fun with. It should never feel like pressure. It should never feel like a uniform. Feel free to take chances, and take risks, and dare to do something new or different.’
The beauty brand is a 50-50 joint venture with French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH.
The You Da One singer first put out her makeup line at Sephora, racking up sales eclipsing $100 million over the course of its first few weeks
The high-end brand turned into a billion dollar business (now valued at $2.8 billion) in less than four years with the bulk of the star’s fortune coming from this.
Fenty Skin also launched last year – with the company set to grow even further.
SAVAGE X FENTY – $270million
Rihanna launched her wildly popular lingerie line back in May 2018 – and it is now worth an estimated $1billion – with Rihanna maintaining a 30% stake in the business.
A second round of funding for the brand back in February secured a whopping $115 million for Savage X Fenty, with L Catterton, a private equity firm that fashion house LVMH has a stake in, taking a percentage of the line.
The line was launched in 2018 and is anticipated to be the market’s leader by 2025.
Last year, Savage X Fenty saw revenue growth of more than 200% and ‘increased its active VIP member base by more than 150%.’
MUSIC/ACTING – $30million
Although the star hasn’t released new music since 2016’s ANTI, she has amassed a fortune from her recording career which kicked off back in 2005 with debut single Pon De Replay.
The star has sold more than 250million records worldwide and is one of the most successful recording artists of all time.
She then released a fragrance called Reb’l Fleur in 2011, which reportedly grossed $80million that year. She also dropped three more perfumes over the years.
In 2013, she teamed up with British brand River Island to release four different clothing collections, and became the creative director of the fashion sportswear Puma in 2014.
She was the face of Dior in 2015, and in November of that year, she launched her own beauty and stylist agency with Benoit Demouy called Fr8me.
It was designed to helped aspiring artists book commercials, photoshoots, red-carpet appearances, and ad campaigns.
In 2016, she collaborated with Puma again to release her own clothing line. Then, in 2017, Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty under LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton with a desire to ‘make women everywhere (feel) included.’
LVMH is a French holding multinational corporation and conglomerate specializing in luxury goods, headquartered in Paris.
In 2021, it became the most valuable company in Europe, controlling around 60 subsidiaries and 75 different brands, including Christian Dior, Fendi, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, and Bulgari.
They also own Sephora, which helped Fenty Beauty first step into the scene, launching in Sephora stores in more than 150 countries and reportedly making $100million in sales over its first few weeks.
Fenty Beauty went on to become a leader in providing diversity in the makeup industry – with more than 40 shades for its foundation – and was named by Time Magazine as one of the 25 best inventions of 2017.
Rihanna previously said while discussing her brand, ‘Makeup is there for you to have fun with. It should never feel like pressure.
‘It should never feel like a uniform. Feel free to take chances, and take risks, and dare to do something new or different.’
By the end of its first full calendar year in 2018, LVMH said the brand took home $550million in annual revenues.
The brand turned into a billion dollar business in less than four years.
While Rihanna’s focus was mainly on her music throughout the first part of her career, she always had a love for fashion, and released her own cosmetics line called Fenty Beauty in 2017
In 2018, the fashion icon expanded with her lingerie brand Savage X Fenty as a joint venture with TechStyle Fashion Group – which also owns JustFab and Fabletics.
The underwear line which sells affordable lingerie for men and women in sizes ranging from extra small to 4XL.
Rihanna said that she hope to help people ‘feel represented’ in her Savage X Fenty stores.
The Love On The Brain hitmaker explained that she wants customers to step out of her boutiques, which just opened five locations in places like Los Angeles and Las Vegas, ‘feeling confident’ and like they ‘belong.’
She told Refinery29: ‘The whole idea of the retail space is that I wanted women and men to come in and feel represented, to walk away from the experience feeling confident and that they belong.
‘I’ve experienced being a customer and shopping in the lingerie space and have felt as if I didn’t fit the mold of the product.
‘But Savage X Fenty is very inclusive, and I want to continue to expand on that so that our consumers can feel our commitment within the retail space.’
Savage x Fenty is now worth an estimated $1billion – with Rihanna maintaining a 30 per cent stake in the business – and is anticipated to be the market’s leader by 2025.
Last year, Savage X Fenty saw revenue growth of more than 200 per cent and ‘increased its active VIP member base by more than 150 per cent.’
While LVMH wasn’t part of the initial launch of Savage X Fenty, a second round of funding for the brand back in February 2021 secured a whopping $115million for Savage X Fenty, with L Catterton, a private equity firm that fashion house LVMH has a stake in, taking a percentage of the line.
In September, Savage X Fenty held its third fashion show in New York City, featuring celebrities like Vanessa Hudgens and 1990s supermodel Cindy Crawford on the catwalk.
In 2018, the fashion icon expanded with her lingerie brand Savage X Fenty – which sells affordable lingerie in sizes ranging from extra small to 4XL. She is pictured at its launch
Current supermodels like Gigi Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski also stomped the runway alongside Erykah Badu, Jeremy Pope, Alek Wek, and others.
In 2019, she released clothes, accessories, and footwear under her fashion brand Fenty, which she also teamed up with LVMH for.
The Fenty clothing label was tailored to the high-end market, whereas Fenty Beauty and Savage X Fenty are said to be more affordable.
Rihanna used several stars as ‘ambassadors’ of her brand including Nicole Williams of WAGS and Kylie Jenner’s best friend Stassie Baby. Tale Of Tails actress Blanca Blanco modeled the line for Valentine’s Day.
‘I’m not the face of my brand, but I am the muse, and my DNA has to run all the way through it,’ she said upon the launch of Fenty clothing. ‘I don’t want anyone to pull up my website and think, Rihanna would never wear that.’
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rihanna announced that she was putting the brand ‘on hold’ in February 2021 to focus on her ‘cosmetics, skincare, and lingerie’ instead.
In July 2020, she launched Fenty Skin, which offers makeup-removing cleanser, pore-refining serums, and moisturizing sunscreens, and it had sales of $30million in under four months
‘On Fenty fashion, we are obviously still in a launching phase and we have to figure out exactly what is the right offer. It’s not something that is easy. We were starting entirely from scratch,’ LVMH chief financial officer Jean-Jacques Guiony also said at the time, according to The New York Times.
‘Obviously, we have the great help from Rihanna on this, but I would say it’s still a work in progress when it comes to really defining what the offer will be.’
In July 2020, she launched Fenty Skin, which offers makeup-removing cleanser, pore-refining serums, and moisturizing sunscreens, and it had sales of $30million in under four months on its e-store, WWD reported.
In March, the superstar also filed a trademark for a line of haircare products and tools, ranging from shampoo to hair glitter, under the name of Fenty Hair.
Rich list: Kim Kardashian has been named a billionaire by Forbes, following in the footsteps of her estranged husband Kanye West
Kim is shown promoting Skims, left, which she owns a $225million stake of, and her beauty brand KKW Beauty, right, which she owns a $500million stake of
Kim’s net worth is now $1billion after growing her business empire over the last few years with her shapewear line Skims.
She has a $225million stake in Skims and in January 2021, sold 20 percent of KKW Beauty to Coty for $200million while retaining 72 percent of the company – a stake worth $500million.
The reality TV star also earned at least $10million a year through her old TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, current show The Kardashians, ad campaigns, social media posts and through her game app, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.
She also holds an impressive stock portfolio that includes shares in Amazon and Disney.
Kanye gave her the portfolio as a Christmas gift in 2017. At the time, it was worth $100,000.
Keeping Up with the Kardashians launched in 2007. At the time, Kim was known as a socialite and had appeared in a sex tape
Kim capitalized on reality TV fame to cash in through appearances, endorsement deals, magazine covers and ad campaigns. She is shown on the cover of Playboy, left, in 2007 and right, in a Carl’s Jr. campaign from 2010
KIM’S $1BN FORTUNE
SKIMS – $225million
Kim owns a majority stake in Skims.
The company is private and has not disclosed financials but sources tell Forbes it is worth $500million.
Her majority stake is worth an estimated $225m conservatively, which puts it at around 45%
KKW BEAUTY – $500million
KKW Beauty is Kim’s biggest earner. She owns 72% of the company which puts her stake at around $500million.
KKW Beauty owns KKW Fragrance, her perfume line.
COTY SALE – $200million
Last year, Kim sold a 20% stake in KKW Beauty to beauty giant Coty for $200million.
Coty also owns a chunk of Kylie Cosmetics
TV, ENDORSEMENTS AND VIDEO GAME – $10million a year
Forbes reports that every year since 2012, Kim has earned at least $10million through reality TV, ad campaigns and endorsements, including social media.
Keeping Up With The Kardashians, the show that made her family their millions, is wrapping after its current season.
STOCKS FROM KANYE – $100k in 2017, could now be worth $600k
In 2017, Kanye gave Kim $100k in Disney, Amazon and Apple stocks. It’s unclear how many she owns in each company but it’s estimated that they have grown to $600,000 in total value since then, based on how each has performed over the last four years.
Kim owns three Calabasas homes independently. It’s unclear how much they are worth.
She also owns a home with West in the Hidden Hills that they bought for $20million and spent $40million renovating.
Separately, he owns two ranches in Wyoming and an apartment in Miami.
It’s impossible to know its exact worth now because she has not disclosed how many shares she owns in each company and if she’s sold any of them, but based on how the companies have performed, it could now be worth $600,000.
Kim’s career began as a socialite and celebrity stylist before she and her family became reality TV stars thanks in part to a sex tape she made with the rapper Ray J.
She and the rest of the family have since capitalized on the fame to build a behemoth brand.
Since 2012, she has earned $10million a year through the reality TV show and endorsements every year, according to Forbes.
Her real estate empire sits on top of it.
She owns three homes in Calabasas and one with West worth $60million (they bought the Hidden Hills property for $20m in 2014 and have spent $40m renovating it).
Her business portfolio includes KKW Beauty, KKW Fragrance, Skims, personalized emojis called Kimojis and a virtual reality game based on her life.
She also earns enormous sums through social media endorsements and has profited from ad campaigns in the past.
Kim launched Skims in 2019 with $5million in funding from VC firm Imaginary Ventures.
In April 2020, Kanye West was named a billionaire by Forbes – largely the most trustworthy media authority on who gets the name – after pleading with them for months to look at his financials.
He said they’d snubbed him repeatedly for years, leaving him off of the annual April list, because of his race.
He showed them financial records from his enormously successful sneaker and clothes line, Yeezy, which backed up his status.
The article revealed how the rapper provided documents to the publication, giving them an ‘authentic numeric look into Kanye, Inc.’ to prove the feat.
However, the article notes that West was left unhappy with their research and findings – stating that he believes his net worth to be around $3.3 billion, rather than the $1.26 billion they have estimated.
Very rich! In April 2020, Kanye West was named a billionaire by Forbes – largely the most trustworthy media authority on who gets the name – after pleading with them for months to look at his financials
‘It’s not a billion,’ West allegedly texted the publication. ‘It’s $3.3 billion since no one at Forbes knows how to count.’
Per the 2020 report, West’s team provided statements that showed the rapper has $17 million in cash, $35 million in stocks, $81 million in ‘buildings and improvements’ and $21 million in land.
Adidas Yeezy, the fashion collaboration between the rapper and the German sportswear brand, has a revenue worth of around $1.3 billion – making West around $140 million from sales just last year.
The article suggests West has been eager to prove his financial status for some time, noting that he had previously claimed to be a billionaire during an appearance at the 2019 Fast Company Innovation Festival.
‘When I did Forbes, I showed them a $890 million receipt and they still didn’t say ‘billionaire,” dad-of-four Kanye told the audience.
Forbes’ Zack O’Malley Greenburg reveals in the article how West himself admitted that he ‘was not a numbers guy’ but texted him to say the August issue of Forbes last year was a ‘disrespectful article’.
Furious: Kanye has reportedly disputed his valuing by Forbes at $2 billion, claiming it’s actually $7 billion
Adidas Yeezy, the fashion collaboration between the rapper and the sportswear brand, has a revenue worth of around $1.3 billion – making West around $140 million from sales last year
Cashing in: Kanye also owns a small stake in his ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s shapewear brand Skims
It was ‘purposely snubbing me’ after failing to name him as a billionaire, West is said to have written.
And so, after being provided with the appropriate documents from West the publication has now valued his assets at just over a billion, claiming that he is worth around $1.26 billion.
Kanye has reportedly disputed this valuing of Forbes, claiming it’s actually $7 billion, according to The Blast.
On top of his wildly successful music career, West has a multi-year deal with Adidas with his wildly successful Yeezy range, in addition to a major one with Gap which sees him produce and design apparel for the company.
The Yeezy Gap clothing collaboration garnered $1 billion in sales in its first year and now a new range, Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga, will be released later this year.
Kanye also owns a small stake in his ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s shapewear brand Skims, according to The Blast.
According to The Blast, West thinks the publication is trying to ‘control and diminish him even at the cost of their own integrity.’
Jay-Z has found himself richer than ever as he cements his status as the world’s wealthiest rapper.
The 53-year-old music mogul is now worth an eye-popping $2.5 billion after Forbes updated its estimation of his net worth on Friday.
The music icon’s worth includes the sale of his Tidal streaming service and Armand de Brignac champagne to LVMH, as well as his Roc Nation empire.
A combination of successful companies, a lucrative catalog of music, smart investments and real estate holdings all contribute to the mogul’s considerable wealth.
He has invested wisely in companies like Uber, started his own record label and clothing line and also diversified his wealth with an art collection and real estate.
Contributing to his massive wealth, which recently crossed the $2 billion mark, was his recent sale of a majority of his 50-percent stake in the luxury cognac brand D’Ussé back to its parent brand Bacardi, which earned him a reported $750 million, according to TMZ.
Top of the world: Jay-Z increased his net worth to $2.5 billion, according to Forbes, after selling a majority of his 50-percent stake in D’Ussé Cognac to Bacardi in February. He has cemented his title as the richest rapper in the world
Despite the sale, Jay (real name: Shawn Carter) will still retain a significant ownership of the liquor brand going forward, so he’s poised to reap the rewards if its sales are strong.
His family wealth is even greater, as his wife Beyoncé, 41, is worth an impressive $426 million as of 2022.
At the time of of publication, Forbes had declared Jay-Z the 1,210th richest person in the world, though that ranking fluctuates often.
Last month, he was able to sell off a slim majority of his 50-percent stake in D’Ussé Cognac back to Bacardi.
‘Growing D’Ussé over the past decade from an idea to one of the fastest-selling spirits in history has been a blessing,’ Jay said in a statement once the deal was announced.
‘The next phase of this journey will further cement D’Ussé’s legacy as one of the world’s most respected brands. I am excited to renew this partnership with Bacardi.’
Jay, through his liquor company SCLiquor, had previously sought an outside buyer for his half of D’Ussé after raising concerns that the Bacardi subsidiary Empire Investments — which runs the liquor brand — was mismanaging it.
In response, Bacardi offered to buy out the rapper and to cement its ownership of the luxury liquor brand, but Jay thought the offer was lowballing him.
Two bread earners: His family wealth is even greater, as his wife Beyoncé, 41, is worth an impressive $426 million as of 2022; seen in 2019 in London
HOW DID JAY Z MAKE HIS MONEY?
Forbes has named Jay Z the first billionaire hip-hop star after the savvy musician launched his own fashion label, invested in liquor, art and even Uber and some smart investments in real estate h in LA, the Hamptons and NYC.
But how exactly did the musician become a billionaire?
Liquor – $410 million
Jay Z owns 100% of luxury champagne brand Armand de Brignac and also has a stake in D’Ussé cognac.
The $300 gold bottles of Armand de Brignac featured in his 2006 music video ‘Show Me What You Got’.
He also teamed up with Bacardi for D’Ussé cognac which sells around 200,000 cases and has grown nearly 80 per cent annually.
Art – $70 million
Forbes estimate Jay Z has amassed a $70 million art collection featuring masterpieces like Basquiat’s Mecca.
He raps about his pieces, mentioning the ‘Basquiat in my kitchen corner’ in song Picasso Baby.
Real estate – $50 million
Along with superstar wife Beyonce Jay Z has a $26 million home in the Hamptons, a $88 million Bel Air mansion and a $6.85 million Tribeca penthouse.
Music – $250 million
Jay Z has his own record label, Roc Nation representing some of the biggest stars on the planet, including Rihanna, and worth a reported $75 million.
He also relaunched Tidal with other celebrity investors and that’s though to be worth $100 million.
With around 1 billion streams of his music each year the star’s back catalog of hits is thought to have netted him $75 million.
Uber and other investments – $220 million
After snapping up a stake of ride sharing app Uber now thought to be worth $70 million Jay Z is said to have cash and investments totaling $220 million.
According to TMZ, he estimated the value of his D’Ussé stake at $2.5 billion, but Bacardi claimed it was only worth around $460 million.
After seeing Bacardi’s valuation of its own half of the brand, Jay-Z changed course and tried to buy the other half of D’Ussé for $1.5 billion, yet Bacardi rejected the offer despite it being more than three times the value it had previously claimed.
After the impasse, Jay sued Bacardi to force it to buy him out, and he accused the brand of unfairly influencing a third party that appraised the value of the liquor brand.
Now that Bacardi owns at least 75.01 percent of D’Ussé, it appears that the rapper’s previous sale bid was closer to the agreed-upon value of the company.
Jay-Z has also been riding high after Billboard ranked him as the greatest rapper of all time last month on a list of the top 50 emcees ever.
He also has the distinction of having the most Grammys ever for a rapper at 24.
However, his wife Beyoncé surpassed him — and everyone else — as the most awarded artist at the Grammys at the most recent ceremony when she reached a total of 32 lifetime wins, surpassing the record previously held by the legendary classic conductor Georg Solti.
Resolved: Jay reportedly earned around $750M for selling a majority of his D’Ussé stake back to Bacardi. He had previously sued the company, accusing it of lowballing him with its valuations; seen in October 2021 in Cleveland
Beyoncé is still worth an impressive $426 million, thanks in part to her sterling record sales, massively popular tours and her high-priced brand partnerships.
She and Jay have even put on multiple tours as a duo, and in 2018 they released the hit collaborative album Everything Is Love.
Yesterday, it was reported that Beyoncé and Adidas had mutually agreed to part ways on her Ivy Park line of activewear, which she will regain complete control of.
The arrangement had earned her a cool $20 million per year.
Oprah Winfrey came from very humble beginnings to becoming one of the richest women in the world.
Forbes’ list of The World’s Billionaires has listed Oprah as the world’s only black billionaire from 2004 to 2006 and as the first black woman billionaire in the world that was achieved in 2003.
Oprah spent her early years living in poverty with her grandmother Hattie Mae Lee before moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her mother who went on to have three more children, two of whom died at a young age.
After suffering a childhood of sexual abuse, at the age of 13, Oprah ran away from home and soon became pregnant with her son Canaan, who died prematurely in 1968.
Oprah then went to live with her father in Nashville, Tennessee who was strict but ensured that she considered her education a priority.
Success story: Oprah Winfrey came from very humble beginnings to becoming one of the richest women in the world
After winning an oratory contest, she secured a scholarship to Tennessee State University where she studied communication and went on to work at a local radio station.
She then became the first black female news anchor at Nashville’s WLAC-TV and co-anchored the six o’clock news at Baltimore’s WJZ-TV. In 1978, Oprah was a co-host of WJZ’s talk show People Are Talking and a local version of Dialing for Dollars.
Oprah relocated to Chicago to host WLS-TV’s morning talk show AM Chicago which was later transformed to become The Oprah Winfrey Show after booming ratings success.
TIME Magazine said: ‘Few people would have bet on Oprah Winfrey’s swift rise to host the most popular talk show on TV. In a field dominated by white males, she is a black female of ample bulk.’
In the 1990s, The Oprah Winfrey Show saw celebrities being interviewed about the social issues they cared about as well as giveaways that saw every audience member getting a new car.
In addition to her talk show, she produced and appeared in The Women of Brewster Place and co-founded the women’s cable television network Oxygen. She is also the president of Harpo Productions.
Achievement: Forbes’ list of The World’s Billionaires has listed Oprah as the world’s only black billionaire from 2004 to 2006 and as the first black woman billionaire in the world that was achieved in 2003
In 2011, the renamed Discovery Health Channel, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, was launched and the series finale of The Oprah Winfrey Show aired in the same year.
Six years later, CBS revealed that Oprah would be joining 60 Minutes as a special contributor and in February 2018, led to Donald Trump’s criticism of her interview with voters amid speculation she would run for US President.
Oprah’s most recent acting foray was in the $100 million (£71.4m) project A Wrinkle in Time alongside Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling.
Oprah Winfrey’s net worth has accumulated to approximately $3.2 billion (£2.3bn) and her salary is thought to be $300 million (£214m) a year, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Not your typical rags to riches tale, Oprah has evolved into a media titan having been involved in a number of films, television shows and plays.
Her role in the 1985 film The Color Purple got her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress and she later produced a Broadway musical based on the film.
She joined The Forbes 400 list in 1995 with a net worth of $340 million (£243m) and that figure has multiplied exponentially.
Oprah’s founding of Harpo Productions, which includes Harpo Films, Harpo Radio and Harpo Studios, allowed the actress to take the majority of profits gained from The Oprah Winfrey Show which would result in an annual salary of $300 million (£214m) in some years.
Iconic: Not your typical rags to riches tale, Oprah has evolved into a media titan having been involved in a number of films, television shows and plays
Profits from The Color Purple, Beloved and Selma that were co-produced by Harpo, add up to just under $2 billion (£1.4bn) when taxes and other costs have been eliminated, according to Forbes. Harpo is thought to be worth $150 million (£107m).
Through Harpo, Oprah also made money from shows like Rachel Ray, Dr. Phil and Nate Berkus in addition to all the series on her own network, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Forbes predicts that Oprah’s share of OWN is worth $75 million (£54m).
In partnership with Hearst Magazines, she also publishes O, The Oprah Magazine, which has been called the most successful startup ever in the industry by Fortune.
Oprah also signed a $55 million (£39m) three-year deal with XM Satellite Radio to start her own radio channel called Oprah Radio.
Oprah’s net worth is supported by her 10 percent stake in the weight loss company Weight Watchers, which earned her $70 million (£50m) in a single day in 2015.
She became a spokesperson for the company and the ‘Oprah bump’ that was seen after her 2018 Golden Globes speech made Weight Watchers stock spike by 13 percent.
Oprah also owns a 42-acre estate in Montecito, south of Santa Barbara in California which is worth $95 million (£68m). Her other properties in Santa Barbara, Maui, Colorado and Nashville are worth a combined $117 million (£84m).
Her customised jet is thought to be worth $42 million (£30m), according to the Wall Street Journal.
Steven Spielberg is a three-time Academy Award-winning director, famed for movies such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan.
According to Bloomberg, he made most of his wealth from project fees, amassing over $2.5 billion in fees and profit participation in films and television deals.
Forbes says most of his fortune comes from his films which have grossed more than $25 billion.
Acclaimed: Steven Spielberg is a three-time Academy Award-winning director, famed for movies such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan
He has also profited from his role as a consultant for Universal theme parks and the sale of DreamWorks Animation to NBCUniversal for $3.8 billion in 2016.
Steven co-founded DreamWorks Pictures alongside Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.
He also has many luxury assets, some of which he has sold for staggering sums over the years.
Woah! According to Bloomberg, he made most of his wealth from project fees, amassing over $2.5 billion in fees and profit participation in films and television deals
He owned a superyacht named Seven Seas, which he sold for $150 million in November 2021, according to Forbes.
He sold his beachfront Malibu compound for $26 million in 2015, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing property records.
He also owns a 20,000-square-foot estate in Los Angeles and reportedly owns a $70 million Gulfstream G650 private jet.
Media mogul Tyler Perry became a newly minted billionaire, according to calculations from Forbes in 2020.
Perry, 53, who states he was once ‘poor as hell’ and homeless, dropped out of high school and struggled as a playwright before his career catapulted him to stardom, becoming the first African American to independently own a studio.
He credits much of his wealth to the importance of ownership and Perry has invested in several properties, as well his 330-acre studio location.
‘Ownership changes everything,’ he said an interview with Forbes.
The publication estimates that Perry has earned ‘more than $1.4 billion in pretax income since 2005′, as it placed him in the billionaires’ club and predicted that he could be added to The Forbes 400 in the future.
Made it: Media mogul Tyler Perry became a newly minted billionaire, according to calculations from Forbes in 2020
He has used some of this wealth to buy homes in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, as well as two planes.
Among his investments was the establishment of Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, now the most prolific production location for black audiences. The company was first started in 2006 before settling in its current location five years ago.
Perry paid $30million for the studio property in Atlanta in 2015 and spent $250 million building the studio operation there.
It is located on a former confederate stronghold and has expanded so much that it is now more than twice the size of the Warner Bros. Studio in Burbank, California.
Tyler Perry’s $1billion:
- $320million for the content he’s created
- $300million in cash and investments
- $280million for Tyler Perry Studios
- $60million stake in the BET+ streaming service
- $40million in homes and toys
Holding ownership of the studio is also set to make Perry even richer as it increases the money he gets back from a production.
‘I own the lights. I own the sets,’ he told Forbes. ‘So that’s where the difference is. Because I own everything, my returns are higher.’
Perry owns 100 percent of the content he makes, meaning he’s created himself a back catalog of movies, TV shows, and plays that are worth $320million.
The New Orleans-born producer owns the rights to 1,200 episodes of TV shows, 22 movies and at least 24 plays, Forbes states.
He used that powerful back-catalog to establish a deal with Viacom that sees them spend $150 million a year until 2025 to produce at least 90 TV episodes annually.
Perry also has $300million in cash and investments, a $60million equity stake in BET+ and $40million in homes and toys.
The actor’s story is a classic rags to riches tale, being born into poverty in New Orleans.
‘I love when people say you come from ‘humble beginnings’,’ he joke to Forbes. ‘[It] means you were poor as hell.’
Perry said that he ‘had no mentors’ on his way to the top, and has learned on the fly, suffering an upbringing with an abusive man who he later learned was not his father.
Wow! Perry paid $30 million for his studio property in Atlanta in 2015 and spent $250 million building the studio operation there. It is now twice the size of Warner Bros. in California
‘You got to understand, I had no mentors,’ Perry told Forbes. ‘My father doesn’t know anything about business, and my uncles and mother, they know nothing about this. I didn’t go to business school. Everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned in progress.’
After dropping out of school, he first worked at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, where he would sneak into the annual National Association of Television Program Executives conference.
He later began to write scripts as he sold cars and worked as a bill collector.
His first steps onto the stage came when he saved $12,000 to rent a community theater space and produce the play ‘Know I’ve Been Changed’, a story of child-abuse survivors.
It was at this point Perry was forced to live in his car for three months, as he worked on everything from the lights to selling snacks in intermission to begin generating enough cash again to be able to afford rent.
He struck gold with his iconic character Madea, which drew the attention of Oprah Winfrey.
Before he even made a film or TV show, Perry wracked up $100 million from theater ticket sales, moved $20 million worth of merchandise and collected another $30 million selling videos of the performances, Forbes reports.
Beginnings: Perry first gained national attention through his Madea plays, Perry made 11 films about the character over 14 years before retiring the franchise in 2019
‘I couldn’t walk down the street without people screaming, ‘Madea, Tyler, Madea!’ ‘ Perry said. ‘And then I got to Hollywood, and they had no clue. No clue to what I’d done, who I was or the following I had.’
Yet he would go on to make 11 Madea movies over 14 years with Lionsgate before retiring the franchise in 2019. It grossed more than $670million at the box office and the movies are now reverting to his control.
Perry also doesn’t keep all of his cash to himself. According the People, the Medea creator is highly generous in giving back to the Atlanta community.
In April, he paid for the groceries of elderly shoppers in at 44 Kroger stores in Atlanta and 29 Winn Dixie stores in his native New Orleans and in August donated a van to an Atlanta Women’s Organization that provides hygiene products to people experiencing homelessness.
Filmmaker Peter Jackson is officially a billionaire.
The 62-year-old director and producer, known for helming the wildly successful Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie franchises, has an estimated net worth of $1.97billion (US$1.5billion).
This has earned him a ranking of 1,929th on Forbes‘ list of the world’s wealthiest people, reports Variety Australia.
Billionaire’s club: Filmmaker Peter Jackson is officially a billionaire. The 62-year-old director and producer, known for helming the wildly successful Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie franchises, has an estimated net worth of $1.97billion (US$1.5billion)
Key to Jackson’s surge to billionaire status was the sale of the Oscar winner’s Wellington-based WETA studios in 2021 for $1.28billion (US$975million).
Jackson and his partner Fran Walsh, 64, owned a 60 per cent stake in the company, a special effects empire, before selling it to 3D gaming giant Unity Software.
WETA’s creators contributed to some of the world’s most successful films and TV shows of the past 20 years, including the Planet of the Apes reboot, HBO’s Game of Thrones and James Cameron’s Avatar.
Beginning his career in the 1980s on low-budget films made on weekends, Jackson has collaborated closely with Walsh, who has written most of his projects.
Jackson’s own box-office career is spectacular, and he ranks as the third most-successful director of all time, with his films having grossed more than AU$8.6billion worldwide (US$6.5billion).
Success story: This has earned him a ranking of 1,929th on Forbes’ list of the world’s wealthiest people, reports Variety Australia. Key to Jackson’s surge to billionaire status was the sale of the Oscar winner’s Wellington-based WETA studios last year for $1.28billion (US$975million)
Hollywood factory: WETA’s creators contributed to some of the world’s most successful films and TV shows of the past 20 years, including the Planet of the Apes reboot, HBO’s Game of Thrones and James Cameron’s Avatar. (Pictured: WETA headquarters in Wellington, NZ)
The New Zealander, who has always based his operations in Wellington, collected three Oscars in 2004, including best film and best director, for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
His best-known films include the 2005 remake of the 1933 classic King Kong, the Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003) and The Hobbit trilogy (2012-2014).
Jackson, who received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2014, helped boost the career of an 18-year-old Kate Winslet when he cast her in 1994’s Heavenly Creatures, her first major role.
Known for taking on ambitious projects, Jackson recently spent fours years searching through 60 hours of behind-the-scenes film material in order to complete the hit Disney+ documentary The Beatles: Get Back.