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15 Stars Who Were Rich Before They Were Famous

Celebrity Money
15 Stars Who Were Rich Before They Were Famous

When it comes to becoming famous in Hollywood, it definitely helps to have some strong financial backing. Most prospective stars, or anyone hoping to make a living as an artist, must struggle for years to get a head up. Typically, the job comes first and – if a performer gets a very lucky break – the money comes second.

That wasn’t the case for the following successful stars. Before anyone knew their names, they were already very financially secure thanks to their notably wealthy families.

Of course, it’s not just money that helps in Hollywood. Family connections to the business and high-powered contacts gave many of the following fifteen stars a serious competitive advantage, along with boundless opportunities. A trust fund, a family in the biz or both definitely contributed to these actors and singers attaining the elusive status of Star. That’s not to say they weren’t talented, but it’s safe to say that if these stars hadn’t made it in the industry, they’d still be living enviable lives today.

15. Jake Gyllenhaal

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Jake Gyllenhaal is a veritable Hollywood darling. His nice-guy persona has earned him fans around the world. That, and his superb acting skills. Early roles in indie favourites like Donnie Darko but Jake and his sister Maggie on the radar, and his blockbuster role in Brokeback Mountain later earned him an Oscar nomination.

Before he made his way on his own merit, though, Jake came from a very wealthy family. His father, Stephan Gyllenhaal, is a movie director himself, which led to many opportunities in terms of connections and financial resources for the prospective Hollywood teen star. His mother is also an Oscar nominated screenwriter. With parents like these, it was perhaps inevitable that Jake would make his mark in Tinseltown.

14. Tori Spelling

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Tori Spelling was born into untold wealth.  Her estranged father, Aaron Spelling, is a multi-millionaire. The Founder of Spelling Television, he was able to accumulate a mass fortune, and pass it onto his daughter. Some of the shows produced by her father include Charlie’s Angels and Starsky and Hutch. 

On her own, Tori has also made millions of dollars. She was the star of 90210 and had her own television series. Now, however, she may not be doing so well financially. In her book Spelling It Like It is, she admits to making a lot of mistakes when it comes to keeping her money safe.

13. Jordin Sparks

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via jordinsparks/instagram

Jordin Sparks became a household name after winning the sixth season of American Idol. She was just 17 at the time, and captivated the world with her breathtaking voice and humble attitude. For Jordin though, winning top spot on the show might have made her artistic dreams come true, but it wasn’t a particular coup financially – because she came from a very rich background.

Her father made sure Jordin was well taken care of in that respect. Phillippi Sparks is a former NFL athlete, playing for the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys before his retirement. Of course, Jordin has done extremely well on her own, netting millions of dollars from her wildly successful music career.

12. Nicole Richie

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The adopted daughter of singer Lionel Richie, Nicole Richie grew up incredibly rich – and, as her first foray into reality TV proved with the Simple Life, she was spoilt too.

Her father’s first album went platinum 4 times after she was born, and she was able to benefit from this money thanks to dad Lionel taking her in early in life. She was officially adopted at nine years old. Nicole has always moved in musical and celebrity circles, as her father would take her to his shows and the studios where he did his recording.

Her birth name, Nicole Camille Escovedo, was changed when she was adopted. Since then, Nicole has been in show business herself, although her father’s musical talents don’t seem to have rubbed off on her. Nicole has been known as an active socialite for years, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down despite being a mother herself.

11. Rashida Jones

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Rashida Jones has become an influential actress and writer in Hollywood, and a leading voice for women in comedy. Her role in the hit TV show Parks and Recreation boosted her fame and star appeal, and she’s now slated to write the script for the next installment in the Toy Story franchise. But before she was a well-known celebrity, Rashida was just a wealthy girl. Incredibly wealthy.

Her mother, Peggy Lipton, was an actress from The Mod Squad, while her father is a record producer and media tycoon. His net worth alone is close to $300 million. Rashida was able to attend Harvard University, first choosing to pursue a degree in law, then changing her mind and becoming involved in the performing arts.

10. Robin Thicke

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The hit song “Blurred Lines” elevated singer Robin Thicke to previously unknown levels of wealth and infamy. The son of Gloria Loring, who starred in Days of Our Lives, is now both rich and famous. His mother’s acting, as well as his father’s, guaranteed that Robin would be well provided for in life.

His father, Growing Pains actor Alan Thicke, also made sure that his son was around show business his whole life. With a taste for stardom, Robin Thicke was able to become a successful singer – largely through his parents’ connections and influence. They brought him around studios for years, and helped him sign his first music industry contract.

9. Miley Cyrus

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Miley Cyrus has risen to tremendous stardom over the years, first as an actor, then as a singer. She has been in the media’s eye since she was Hannah Montana, and has recently been the focus of huge controversy over her fashion and lifestyle choices. Whether or not she’s a good role model is up for debate, but she’s probably not going anywhere for a long time.

Her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, is a famous country singer, so Miley came from huge familial wealth. In 1992, the year Billy Ray’s hit song “Achy Breaky Heart” was released, Miley was born. Miley was born into these riches, and caught the stardom bug at a young age. She also had a leg-up from multi-millionaire godmother, Dolly Parton.

8. Psy

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“Gangnam Style” made this Korean rap artist world famous and became an unprecedented viral hit. Blasted all over the radio in different countries, it didn’t seem to matter that the song was in a different language. But before the hit song was released, Psy was doing very well for himself. Now, he is doing even better.

The son of the executive chairman of DI corporation, Psy was born into a lot of money. He is from the Gangnam District in South Korea, the place to be for wealthy individuals that’s featured in “Gangnam Style”.  Psy has recently collaborated with Snoop Lion, and continues to make waves in North America and South Korea.

7. Taylor Swift

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Taylor Swift is a household name and one of the most powerful women in the music industry. She has become tremendously famous over the years, with her songs appearing on the radio year round. Her songs feature both a country and pop aspect, and a combination of her music and endearing public person have made her one of this generation’s biggest superstars.

Now worth millions of dollars and one of the richest people in her age group, Taylor’s career is going from strength to strength.

The fortune that she has gained on her own has combined with the money her family already had, which was not insubstantial in the first place. Taylor’s father, Scott Swift, is a financial adviser for Merrill Lynch, and the family wealth helped Taylor to pursue her music career unfettered by financial concerns early in life.

6. Brooke Shields

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Brooke Shields is actually descended from nobility. Her family line is connected to several noble Italian families, which led to some of her wealth. Her father was an executive at Revlon, which only added to the family’s vast fortune. Brooke is worth over $20 million, and has grown her wealth considerably over the years.

Starting when she was just 11 months old, Brooke has always been in the spotlight. First, she appeared in an Ivory Snow advertisement, then, when was older, she appeared in controversial movies like Pretty Baby and The Blue Lagoon. She has gone on to become part of the Hollywood elite, and still acts consistently at 49.

5. Julia Louis-Dreyfus

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the daughter of Gérard Louis-Dreyfus, a French billionaire. Of course, she’s also an accomplished actress in her own right. Seinfeld certainly added money to this star’s net worth, but before this, she was incredibly wealthy through her father. In total, Julia is worth over $3 billion.

Her father was not the first successful person in her family either. Her ancestors include many businessmen who made vast fortunes, including her great-grand father, whose business is still running. Through the years, the family amassed incredible wealth, paving the way for Julia to pursue her own ventures, and add to the family fund.

4. Ariana Grande

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In the past year Ariana Grande has become a hit-maker and is establishing herself as one of the most popular singers in North America. Previously known for her acting career, Ariana has recently exploded onto the singing scene.

She is the daughter of a financial adviser, who also happens to be the CEO of Ibi Designs, Inc. Her mother is a former marketing executive, which means they both made more than enough to keep Ariana provided for. Now, she is adding to her previous wealth by millions of dollars. But it’s not all about the money for the star. The founder of Kids Who Care, Ariana raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for children with special needs, when she was only 10 years old.

3. Rooney & Kate Mara

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Kate and Rooney Mara had their fortunes set before they became famous. Football was the key to this family’s success, with the sisters’ great grandfather being the founder of the New York Giants, Tim Mara. The family still owns the team, and continues to cash in on it. In addition to this, Art Rooney, their other great grandfather, founded the Pittsburgh Steelers.

These teams are worth billions of dollars. The sisters did not take after their grandparents however, and instead decided to go into the acting business. Kate Mara is best known for her role as Zoe Barnes on House Of Cards, as well as her role on 24. Rooney Mara is known for her role on A Nightmare of Elm Street.

2. Adam Levine

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The lead singer of Maroon 5 and regular judge on The Voice, Adam Levine has become one of the wealthiest musicians in the world. But before he was even in the popular band, he already had more than enough money to scrape by on. Fred Levine, Adam’s father, is the founder of M.Fredric, a clothing company. It’s still in business today, and is going strong, with other member’s of the singer’s family helping with the business.

Adam was able to go to a prestigious private school growing up, and this was where he met two members to join the band Maroon 5. Today, Adam’s net worth is over $50 million, and only continues to grow.

1. Lana Del Rey

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Lana Del Rey rose to fame largely thanks to an Instagram-filtery video campaign on YouTube. The singer is now extremely famous and is valued for her unique songs and haunting voice. While she was growing up, she was afforded many luxuries by her wealthy family, which also led to her first record deal. Her parents have a large fortune – her father is an entrepreneur – and they sent Lana to an expensive boarding school for years.

Not everything was great in the singer’s life though, and she suffered through alcoholism (which led to her being sent to boarding school in the first place). This experience, as well as others like it, inspired the singer to produce her music. Lana Del Rey continues to sing and has made name for herself distinct from the family name in the music industry.

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