When it comes to privileged rich kids, the illusion of the good life is not far behind. Fast cars, lavish vacations, traveling nannies and the whole world, are all at their finger tips. Do we really have to wonder why we are all so awe struck, jealous and questioning why we weren’t born into the lavish life of the rich and famous?
With TV shows like Rich Kids of Beverly Hills that are based solely on kids living off of the wealth of their successful parents, society sees the glamorous side of what really comes along with an abundance of money. Of course, you get the power and the respect, but no one tells you about the dark side of growing up with money and fame.
Behind the glamour is the dark side of wealth. Drugs, abandonment, death, captivity and theft are just some of the negatives that some of the rich kids on this list endured.We have compiled a list of the top 10 rich kids with some of the most dysfunctional upbringings. Read on to take a look into the stories of the rich that you don’t hear every day.
10. Tatum O’Neal – Actress
Starting out our list is one of the youngest Oscar winners in history. Partying with the best of them at the tender age of 10-years old, fresh off her Academy Award win for the film Paper Moon, Tatum O’Neal was at the top of her game. With a successful parentage that included Ryan O’Neal and Joanna Moore; and Hollywood knocking at her door, O’Neal was basking in the fruits of her labor – but behind the wide eyes of this Oscar winner, held a deeply disturbed child who was exposed to too much, too fast. Her life turned into allegations of sexual molestation against her father’s drug dealer, physical abuse and drug abuse, all under her father’s roof. Admitting that she had been using drugs since the age of 14, growing up with Hollywood royalty wasn’t all it was said to be. In addition to vying for her father’s attention, she had to battle it out with the army of girlfriends he kept around, including a young Melanie Griffith (the then fresh face of Hollywood). O’Neal now claims to be on a straight path, after a recent arrest for drug possession in 2008, where she tried to score crack cocaine.
9. Mackenzie Phillips
Although not known for her music like her father, John Phillips, of the popular band The Mamas & the Papas, Mackenzie Phillips (a notable actress in her own right) was so disturbed by her childhood, that she could not keep it in anymore. In her 2009 book High on Arrival, Philips stated that she had a past that included drug and alcohol abuse, that severely affected her acting career. She was kicked off of her popular television series, One Day at a Time, due to her abuse of prescription pills. Phillips most recently added sexual incest claims against her father, stating that she was so high on drugs that she did not realize that she was having sex with her father (but her relationship with him became consensual, carrying on for 10-years). Participating in a tabloid war with her siblings, Mackenzie’s accusations came as a complete shock to a majority of her friends and family. Some have even chosen to distance themselves from her, due to the claims.
8. Ariel Winter – Actress
Successful actress on a hit TV show, SAG winner and rich teenager, are just some of the pluses associated with Ariel Winter. One would never guess that someone so successful could be so tortured. Since 2012, Winter has been living with her older sister as her legal guardian, due to accusations that range from sexual abuse to physical violence that she made against her mother (claiming that her mother would regularly call her names and elude to her being fat and needing to lose weight). Ariel is quoted in Teen Vogue, “I want to be the kind of actress where, if I’m in the press, I’m in for the right reasons—for my work. To be in the press about family drama is kind of embarrassing.” Winter, who claims that her mother’s abuse lead her to have severe body image issues, is using the situation to strengthen herself. She now prides herself on living a normal life that includes attending a real school for the first time in her life, and spending her time learning how to drive.
7. Christina Crawford – Hollywood Royalty
With a well documented life about her abusive childhood, alcoholic mother and numerous step fathers, Christina Crawford (adopted daughter of Hollywood actress, Joan Crawford) endured years of cruelty, at the hands and hangers of her mother. Crawford wrote the book Mommie Dearest in 1978, that highlighted the highs and lows of her relationship with her mother. In addition to claims including physical and mental abuse, Christina also claimed unjust cruelty and harsh living situations at the hands of her famous mother. These claims are said to be one of the main reasons why Crawford was written out of her mother’s will before she died. Crawford went on to make a movie based from her book released in 1981.
6. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers – L’Oreal Heiress
Daughter of Liliane Bettencourt, one of the principal shareholders of L’Oreal, and one of the wealthiest women in the world (with a fortune estimating over $34 Billion); Francoise, heiress to the L’Oreal brand, was in a legal battle with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend (photographer and writer, Francois-Marie Banier), beginning in 2007. After Liliane was hospitalized on two separate occasions (in 2003 and 2006), it is said that during this time, Banier had Liliane sign two life insurance policies that were valued at over $600 million and eleven works of art valued at $20 million. Bettencourt, disturbed by her mother’s recent actions, made claims that Banier took advantage of her mother’s mental state in order to get himself written into her Billion dollar will. It was revealed through court proceedings that Banier was slated to be Liliane’s sole heir, cutting out Bettencourt and her two grandsons. The high profile case that was dubbed L’affaire Bettencourt, ended in 2010, after Francois accused Banier of abus de faiblesse (exploitation of a physical or psychological weakness for personal gain), she immediately had her mother’s guardianship turned over to her through a lengthy court battle. The two have since reunited and Banier has been written out of the will.
5. Leigh Horowitz – Hilfiger Dynasty
Leigh Horowitz was only 16-years old when she went into rehab for drug and alcohol abuse. Her father, Joel Horowitz, Chief Executive of Fashion Company Tommy Hilfiger, did not see the downward spiral that his privileged daughter was on until it was too late. Growing up in the suburbs of New Jersey, Horowitz had everything from ski trips to Lake Tahoe, to attending the top prep schools. She also had easy access to designer drugs, such as LSD and opiates. According to one of Horowitz’s interviews with Forbes, her world fell apart after Thanksgiving in 1996, when her father caught her stumbling drunk in a hallway of their Jersey mansion. Upon searching her room, they found high profile drugs like heroin, cocaine and hashish. Leigh was sent to rehab, and she ended up spending two years there, where she cleaned up her act through self healing exercises. She now majors in arts, at a mid-west University. When asked what had lead her to drug use, Leigh claimed that three incidents of sexual abuse lead her to the tumultuous lifestyle of drugs and alcohol. These incidents included a lack of relationship with her parents, who she kept the abuse from for several years.
4. Nathaniel Philip Rothschild – Banking Heir
With a taste for hard partying and a knack for picking horrible life partners, Nathaniel Rothschild (who prefers to go by Nat) is no stranger to controversy. Known for his excessive lifestyle, Rothschild is a member of the prominent Rothschild family, known for their international banking fortune. Even more important, he was a member of the Bullingdon Club, an all male drinking club associated with drug use. As a young College kid, Rothschild would often take girls he met back to his parent’s house; in order to get them to sleep with him. Reportedly, he would slash their car tires to keep them around long enough to complete his conquest. In 1994, Rothschild married model Annabelle Neilson, for three short years, equally as provocative and wild as him (known for dancing on tables at lavish society parties), she encouraged Nat’s provocative lifestyle until their marriage came to an end, much to the delight of his highbrow parents. Supposedly, this marriage shook Rothschild to his core and made him clean up his act. He got a job investing and never looked back.
3. Casey Johnson – Johnson and Johnson Heiress
Ever wonder who is pocketing all the money you spend on baby powder? Meet heiress Casey Johnson, first daughter of New York Jets owner, and Johnson and Johnson heir, Woody Johnson. At ten years-old, when most of us were getting dolls, Casey was indulging in her first Chanel Purse. She was living a jet-setters lifestyle, with trips all over world and the finest that life has to offer at her finger tips. The heiress was quoted stating that she got whatever she wanted, including a breast augmentation at the age of 18. At age 8, she was diagnosed with diabetes and in her adolescence, she showed signs of borderline personality disorder. In her early adult life, she began experimenting with recreational drugs and engaged in a tabloid blowout with her aunt, accusing her of stealing her boyfriend at the time. The public fight brought shame and embarrassment to her tabloid-shy family, but Casey, however, tried to mend things with her family and straighten her life out. She adopted a baby, who she reportedly would abandon for days in a row, to indulge in drug and alcohol binges (she also got engaged to reality TV star, Tila Tequila). Unfortunately, due to Casey’s partying lifestyle, neglect in taking care of her diabetes and habitual drug use, she was found unconscious on January 4th 2010, and pronounced dead, due to a diabetic Ketoacidosis.
2. Liesel Pritzker Simmons – Hyatt Hotel Heiress
Heir to the Hyatt Hotel chain, her father is Robert Pritzker, member of one of the wealthiest families in America. After her parents’ nasty divorce, her mother, Irene Pritzker was awarded full custody. Liesel and her brother did not keep much contact with their father, and the Pritzker side of the family. A former child actress making her debut at the age of 9-years old, with films like A Little Princess and Air Force One, Simmons left her promising acting career behind to focus on school. She later graduated from Columbia University with Bachelors in African Studies. Fast forward to 2002, while still in University, Pritzker filed a $6 Billion lawsuit against her father and 11 cousins, with the allegations that they misappropriated money from her and her brother’s trust funds. Her father accessed the funds, a measly $2 Billion at the time, and invested it back into his company, The Mormon Group, where he then got those 11 handy cousins to bid on shares that would oust his children from their inheritance. According to the New York Times, in 2005, Liesel was given $280 Million in cash as a settlement. Liesel turned around and used her money for good, and co-founded the IDP Foundation, a non-profit grant-making institution.
1. Georgia and Patterson Inman – Duke Tobacco Heirs
Probably the most shocking story on this list; Descendant from what is commonly known as old money, this story has it all; deceit, drugs, addiction, guns and murder. Heir to one of the biggest tobacco companies in the world, and dubbed “the poorest rich kids in the world” by Rolling Stone Magazine, twins Georgia and Patterson Inman could have had the world at their finger tips. Instead, they ended up with an alcohol, drug addicted father, Walker Patterson Inman Jr. who aligned himself with shady, murderous business men. The twins dogged death twice (once including an out-of-control car slamming into a tree, driven by a drunk and high step mother, and once hiding behind closed doors of one of their dad’s notorious unsavory business deals, while having to watch a man be murdered who could have easily been their father). The Inman twins have endured, if not all, most of it. In an interview with Dr. Phil, the twins confessed to watching their dad overdose several times, watching him open fire in an unsecured situation, being burned with scolding hot water, forced to eat their own feces and being made into a game of Russian roulette by their father’s friends. Not only are these twins traumatized, but with as much money as they had, they were deprived the bare necessities of life; an education and a hygienic living situation. Now 16-years old and living with their mom, former model Daisha Inman (Walker’s third wife), the twins who have admitted to severe mental instability and suffering from anorexia, have a new lease on life. They stand to inherit just over $1 Billion of the entire Duke fortune.