Celebrities make a crazy amount of money for doing what they do. Some of the people on this list, like the celebrated businessmen and authors, have certainly worked very hard all their lives and have earned their fortunes. Others, like some of the child actors and singers on the list, haven’t necessarily worked as hard for the vast fortunes they have accrued. Nonetheless, they’ve made a ton of money over the course of their careers and they continue making money through more hard work, residual earnings, and sometimes by just their name alone. Must be rough to be a celebrity.
But when it gets down to it, it doesn’t matter how much money you make over the course of your life; it matters what you do with that money. What good is fame and fortune if you don’t use it for a good purpose? They don’t all need to be saving the world with their fortunes or donating it all to charities, but it’d be nice to know that all the money they’re earning is at least going towards something more lasting than a new pair of shoes or massages for their dogs.
In the end, money can’t buy happiness, but money is just a tool: you can use it to procure the things you want, when you want them. The more money you have, the stronger that tool is. The celebrities on this list have every ability to buy things (like luxurious homes, lavish furnishings, privacy, and entertaining hobbies) that can facilitate all the happiness in the world.
15. Miley Cyrus And The Happy Hippie Foundation
Let’s be real: Miley is a modern day hippie. She is definitely more open about her body and sexuality, certainly enjoys partaking in her share of illicit substances, and will pull almost any stunt if it means that she’s “sticking it to the man.” It seems fitting, therefore, that she’d start her “HH” foundation that advocates for hippies worldwide! When she promoted her foundation, the general reaction was, “Oh, Miley, what shenanigans are you getting yourself into now?” In reality, the foundation is intended to support wayward young travelers, homeless teens, and abandoned youngsters. She started it as a nod to vagrant youngsters she admires, like Chris McCandless, but it persists as a charitable haven for teens in search of refuge.
14. Rupert Grint And Free Ice Cream
Rupert Grint played our beloved, goofy, clumsy, favorite wizard bestie of Harry Potter’s, Ron Weasley. He had steady acting gigs in the Harry Potter movies from his pre-teen years and was wealthier than most professional actors by the time he was eighteen. Now that the Harry Potter film series is over, Rupert has changed up his routine a good bit. He doesn’t take as many acting roles anymore, and the ones that he does are primarily in British comedies like Moonwalkers and Postman Pat as well as dramas like Into the White and Charlie Countryman.
But the best part about Rupert is what he has done with his fortune. Rupert decided to share the love. He bought an old ice cream truck, stocks it with his own money, and doles out free ice cream in the warmer months of England. If that’s not a good way to spend a fortune, we don’t know what is.
13. Lady Gaga And Her Paranormal Activity
Like every other celebrity, Lady Gaga has some weird requests for hotels and performance spaces when she’s on tour. Her most peculiar demand was that her rooms be swept by trusted staff for ghosts and supernatural beings with professional equipment. Why is Lady Gaga so worried about ghosts? Who knows? it could have something to do with the fact that she believes her body plays host to her aunt’s ghost (just another weird aspect of Lady Gaga’s crazy persona).
In any case, this actually isn’t a demand that she makes of her staff anymore; no one has to inspect her rooms for supernatural activity for her anymore because she does it herself! Lady Gaga spent $50,000 on professional ghost hunting/detecting equipment so that she could make sure the job was getting done right. She has spent her fortune becoming a real life “Ghostbuster,” or at least she thinks she has!
12. Demi Lovato’s Scholarship For People With Mental Health Issues/Addiction Problems
Demi Lovato got her start on various children’s shows, but she’s done a lot of growing up since her years on Barney and Friends and Disney channel movies Camp Rock and Princess Protection Program. She’s suddenly making a living off of her music career, with such successful and sexy releases as “Heart Attack,” “Confident,” “Cool for the Summer,” and “Really Don’t Care.” Her sex appeal is off the charts, but there’s a beautiful brain and full heart behind that body.
Demi has a special penchant and love for people fighting mental health problems as well as those fighting drug and alcohol addiction. The affection isn’t unfounded; it comes from the tragic death of her father, who suffered from undiagnosed depression and struggled with addiction. She funds a scholarship foundation in his memory entirely from her personal accounts to support young students struggling with either addiction recovery or mental health struggles. She uses her fortune to help those like her father find a safe harbor in the troubled waters of personal health struggles.
11. Enya And Her Castle Full Of Cats
You may not realize it, but you’ve certainly heard Enya’s music before. She’s released several albums filled with ambient, trance, calming music that can be found in the CD collections of most massage parlors, yoga studios, nap time rooms of day cares and schools, and spas. Her music has also been featured in several movies, from kid friendly movies such as Tuck Everlasting and Shrek Forever After to weirdly non-relaxing movies, such as Knocked Up, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
She’s certainly made a fortune making peaceful, relaxing music, no matter what context it’s used in; she’s actually more wealthy than Adele! With that fortune, she has bought herself the most peaceful life possible: she bought an Irish castle and estate and lives alone with her cats just south of Dublin. What could be more relaxing than that?
10. Paris Hilton And Her Lavish Dog House
Paris Hilton is certainly not known for her wits or talent; the celebrity is truthfully famous just because of her fortune, as she is an heiress to the Hilton hotels fortune. She spends the majority of her money shopping and blowing money on material goods, but perhaps the best use of her money thus far was a $325,000 dog house that she keeps poolside. The dog house has two stories, a balcony, electricity, lighting, heating, air conditioning, a closet, and even some landscaping. Plus, it of course is large enough that she can fit in it; it just would not be a suitable house if her dogs couldn’t have her over as a guest!
Her dogs adore the doghouse; Paris Hilton now has eight little dogs that romp around her property. As easy as it is to loathe Paris for having everything and never having to work for it, it’s absolutely adorable that she chooses to take care of her puppies with her fortune. Her affection for her dogs actually makes her feel more human!
9. Mike Tyson And Bengal Tigers
If you’ve ever seen The Hangover, you know Mike Tyson played himself and had a ridiculously lavish life with amenities and treats he did not need, including a pet tiger. Well, the tiger in the movie was an actor, but it was actually Mike’s tiger; in fact, Mike actually has had three different tigers in his life: Kenya, Storm, and Boris. He paid the expenses that accompany purchasing three white Bengal tigers (which cost about $4,000 a month), a trainer, and all of the food and resources that they required for healthy living.
When it was discovered that he actually didn’t possess the required licenses needed to own these tigers, he had to send his tigers to a refuge in Colorado. It seems odd that his two animal obsessions would be so grand (tigers) and so boring (pigeons), but at least he’s been able to find a soft side since he stopped his professional boxing career!
8. Christina Aguilera And A Full Service Salon In Her Closet
Once Christina Aguilera amassed a large enough fortune, she moved into the mansion that the Osbourne family used to live in (as in, Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath) and made famous in their MTV reality show. However, Ozzy’s house just wasn’t good enough for her! Christina made a lot of renovations to the Osbourne mansion, so much so that it was practically unrecognizable to realtors a decade later.
Of the many renovations, perhaps the most exciting was the master closet, which she lovingly and appropriately named The Pink Closet and where she installed a full service salon. At the back of this closet, she had a full lounge-style shampooing sink, two Hollywood style makeup stations, and a full hair styling station. It’s not been made public how much she paid to renovate the room to make room for her beauty station, but she resold the home in 2012 for a whopping $13.5 million. Needless to say, she spent (and then remade) a fortune on her beauty!
7. Sia And The Animal Lover On Survivor
Sia doesn’t like to be publicly lauded for her music; that’s why, in all of her performances, she chooses to face either away from the audience or sing off stage while other people dance onstage. It’s also why all of her music videos feature dancers like Maddie Ziegler and Shia LeBeouf instead of herself. But her shyness and desire to oppose idolization couldn’t keep her from supporting a finalist, Tai Trang, on the 2015 season of Survivor- a guy who was so passionate about animal rights and humane treatment that he kept a pet chicken safe the entire run of the show, despite his castmates starving and wanting to slaughter the chicken for dinner.
Though Sia still kept her face hidden from the cameras, she generously gave the finalist $50,000 for his strong moral values and then offered to donate $50,000 to the anti-animal cruelty foundation of his choice. Though Tai Trang did not win the television show, it seemed like he came out with better winnings. It was certainly an awesome use of this quirky singer’s fortune.
6. Mindy Kaling And Charitable Birthday Parties
Mindy Kaling is a fantastic female comedian that has her own show now, The Mindy Project, but has also had prominent roles on shows like The Office and movies like No Strings Attached, Inside Out, and The Night Before. Though it’s taken her awhile to establish herself, she’s made a great name for herself in the comedy industry and, now that she’s made it, she’s certainly using her powers of popularity for good.
At her most recent birthday party, she asked that guests bring both monetary and tangible donations to charity instead of gifts. She threw a rager that all of Hollywood came out for and ended up raising wild amounts for good causes. She also tweeted to all of her followers and said she wanted to “go shopping; what are your favorite charities? Tell me why and I’ll donate!” Spending a fortune to party and make fortunes for those who need it most? That’s a good use of money. Props to you, Mindy!
5. Shakira And World Baby Showers
When popular Latin-American singer Shakira and her husband, Gerard Pique, realized they were going to be having a baby, of course one of the thoughts that occurred to them was that of their baby shower. Shakira is wonderfully wealthy, of course, as one of the starters of the Zumba dance exercise and with such hits as “Waka Waka,” “Loca,” and “Hips Don’t Lie,” and she doesn’t need people to give her gifts before she has a baby!
Instead, she decided to team up with UNICEF and donate all of her gifts, pressure people to give more, and donate some of her own money to the World Baby Shower, in which life-saving gifts are given to newborn babies born into poverty and ill circumstance all over the world. They had their baby (a little boy named Sasha), but they still continue to donate to World Baby Showers and promote UNICEF’s noble cause.
4. Jackie Chan And Saving China
Though some of Jackie Chan’s movies are ridiculous and over the top, the actor is skilled, smart, and has a pointed mission. Though it is not commonly known, Jackie Chan was raised in a lower class home in Hong Kong. He’s always admired his home country and wanted to give back to his community, no matter what it took. Through hard work and determination, he became a skilled master of martial arts and was able to make a killing working in the American entertainment industry as both a stunt man and an actor.
While he’s immensely proud of his acting career, he’s more proud (and rightfully so) of the great work he’s done for his home country. He’s donated over $35 million to Chinese charities, from building schools and creating accessible education to rebuilding infrastructure after natural disasters. His love for his home country is certainly a great use of his fortune, and he has already publicly announced that he’s willed over half of his estate to Chinese philanthropies upon his death.
3. Celine Dion And Her Backyard Water Park
Most times you hear Celine Dion’s music, it’s regrettably at a karaoke club with poor, drunken singers belting out “My Heart Will Go On.” However, Celine Dion is a household name for a reason. She’s a wonderful singer with plenty of hits outside of the Titanic theme, such as “Power of Love,” “All By Myself,” and “Because You Loved Me.”
So what has she done with the vast fortune she’s accrued over the years? She built… a water park in her backyard. She has several pools of varying depths, of course, but also a man-made river, water gun stations, a couple of water slides, and the Atlantic Ocean only steps away. She calls the luxury mansion and water park Jupiter Island. Perhaps her music is of more mature themes, but this chick is definitely still feeding her inner child. How better to spend a fortune than to build your own water park and wet and wild resort?
2. JK Rowling And Lumos
J.K. Rowling made herself a wild fortune writing the Harry Potter book series, and then advising on the Harry Potter movie series, and then advising on the Harry Potter theme parks, and so on and so forth. Long story short: she’s rolling in cash, mostly due to Harry Potter. With all the money she’s earned from this four-eyed teenage wizard, she’s wanted to find a way to support the children that have loved her novels so much- yet no nonprofit organizations spoke to her in the way she’d hoped.
So, with her vast fortune, she founded her own nonprofit, Lumos, which fights for the housing rights of children stuck in institutions like social services. They are fighting on behalf of these children to regain their right to a family. Just like Harry Potter, Rowling is fighting to find homes for youngsters everywhere! It’s an adorable and admirable use of a massive fortune.
1. Bill And Melinda Gates And Having Everything Ever
In case you don’t know who Bill Gates is (in which case, it might be time to move out from the rock you’ve been living under), he co-founded Microsoft and made billions from all the technology he’s helped to create and all the change he’s helped to inspire. The work he has done has impacted, influenced, and inspired and even has changed and saved lives. He and his wife Melinda have everything they could ever need, ask for, or think of. His net worth exceeds $81 billion!
Some of his most prized possessions include a seven bedroom/18 bathroom house, a 60-foot swimming pool, a 23-car garage, a Bombardier BD-700 private jet (seen above), a Porsche, a Mercedes, a BMW, and a Corvette. He also runs with his wife the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private foundation in the world. While its primary goals are to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, the couple also utilize the foundation to aid wherever they deem appropriate and whenever they deem necessary.