I’m sure you can all recall back to your younger days, when you were in school, figuring out where you wanted to go in life and why. Most people would probably say something they enjoyed doing for a career choice, but at that age, money’s also a massive motivator and can determine the path you go on. This feeling, having money on the mind, despite what a lot of people say, doesn’t really die down with age. As the years progress, you may be engrossed in a career that you love, but those dollar signs are always going to be somewhere in your mind. You can bet that was the case for these celebs too.
Some celebs, say actors for example, have actually come out and said that not every movie they’ve done have been passion projects, which is not a common thing to do in today’s day and age, because they’ll end up facing the wrath of their millions of adoring fans. That’s not to say that making movies and wowing onscreen isn’t what they love to do, just that money’s a major factor as to why they’re doing it – money’s a major motivator. Good for them for being upfront about it – they’d be lying if they said travelling around the world filming a movie and earning millions of bucks wasn’t in any way motivation for what they’re doing! Of course, money factors into it, and these celebs are open about it, some of the few who have actually come out and said it. Money matters and, boy do these men and women know it, hence why they’re doing what they’re doing – they’re in it for the cash.
15. Jackie Chan – Just Wanted To Do Martial Arts
Jackie Chan has been around since the 70s and is one of the most-loved stars across the world. He mesmerizes audiences with his martial arts, but over the years he’s grown as an actor and has become known as a versatile actor, someone who’s far more than just a fighting machine. Today he’s also known for his comedic prowess, and for being one of the greatest actors of all time.
During his younger days, Jackie wasn’t really into movies, that wasn’t his goal. He was a student of martial arts, and it just so happened that this took him into the movie industry, and after working as a cook and then as a stuntman, the paychecks that were coming his way were too lucrative for him to turn down.
It might also surprise a lot of you, that Jackie only starred in the Rush Hour movies for money. Those movies have been some of his greatest successes, but Jackie didn’t actually like them and was pretty surprised when they did so well. “There was no reason for me in making Rush Hour – you just give me the money and I’m fine.” There could yet be more of those movies in the pipeline, and therefore a whole lot more cash for Jackie.
14. Michael Caine – Jaws Was Panned, But It Built A Beautiful House
Michael Caine’s an acting superstar, undoubtedly one of the greatest actors to have ever graced our screens. He’s been around for ages, and through the ages he’s had a ton of accolades and notable successes. But the movie Jaws, the fourth film in the iconic but less than epic movie franchise, was certainly not one of them. The movie was just terrible, a stain on the movie industry, and plenty of people, including Michael Caine who starred in the movie, agree. It received dreadful reviews, film critics ripped it apart, and Michael didn’t escape the heat either. Incidentally, one of the best things for Michael about that movie was the heat, literally, because it was filmed in the tropical paradise of the Bahamas. But the best thing about that movie for Michael, the only noteworthy thing in his eyes, was the paycheck he earned. When he was filming it, he knew it was terrible, that it was going to be an epic flop, but he didn’t pull out because he was motivated by the cash. He famously said that the movie was terrible, but “I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”
13. Jay Z – Businessman First, Rapper Second
Jay Z has always wanted to be the biggest star in the music industry, and today sitting proudly on his pedestal, you can say that he’s certainly achieved his goal. Although it’s led some people to believe that he’s inauthentic, he wouldn’t care, as he knows he’s the richest guy in the music business today.
Jay Z has his hands in many different pies and isn’t just about rapping. He may be one of the best-selling musicians of all time, but he prefers to think of himself as a businessman, a guy who’s all about the money, all about making the next deal. Sure, if he can put a smile on people’s faces that’s a bonus, but being the biggest and the best star in the business has always been his primary objective. He’s achieved that, and is one half of one of the world’s most influential couples. Together, with Beyoncé, their estimated net worth is over $1 billion – they’re just money-hungry and money-making machines.
12. Stephen Dillane – Huge Show, Big Pay Check
English actor Stephen Dillane has been around for quite some time, since the 1980s in fact. After spending some time settling into the industry, the star roles began to come with increasing regularity, although he stuck mostly to TV. He’s probably best known for being a main character in Game of Thrones, where he portrayed Stannis Baratheon. That fantasy drama TV series ended up being a super-success, and it’s still ongoing, but Stephen’s character is long gone. It’s not much of a surprise he left in 2015, because although the series has achieved rave reviews worldwide, funnily enough, an integral character of the series really wasn’t that into it. Despite being in it, Stephen hasn’t even seen it because he just finds it too painful to watch. When asked why he got involved in the first place, Stephen was pretty frank with his answer: “money” he said, and he probably earned a great load of it too over his 24 episodes.
11. Brock Lesnar – Doesn’t Care About Trophies And Titles, Only Money
Wrestling and MMA superstar Brock Lesnar has always been very open about wanting to be one of the wealthiest guys in the industry. He’s achieved that now; he’s back with WWE where he belongs, only wrestles on selective dates so he isn’t on the same gruelling schedule he was on in the past, and he’s earning megabucks – he’s got a contract that lets him get on with other things and that makes him one of the highest paid members of the roster!
Brock once did an interview where he said he didn’t really have a clue where all of his trophies, belts, and awards are. He doesn’t display them proudly on his mantelpiece, and he’s said they’re probably stuffed away at the back of a cabinet somewhere. But what he does know is how much money he’s got in the bank, and that, you’ve got to say, has got to be a pretty sizeable sum.
10. Eddie Murphy – Starred In A Movie He Knew Would Flop
These names will probably surprise a lot of you, because they’re superstars and are world-renowned figures. It just goes to show that it doesn’t really matter what your motivation might be for reaching the top, as long as you get there, stay there, and achieve your goals – something Eddie Murphy has certainly done.
Eddie began acting in the 1980s and during that first decade in the movie business he had already become a stellar name and was cranking out the hits. But his third film, Best Defence, was not one of those hits. The movie flopped epically at the box office, and in terms of its success, has to be a movie that Eddie would like to eradicate from his filmography. But he wouldn’t want to forget about the hefty paycheck he earned for that movie.
Eddie knew when the casting directors came to him with the script, that it wasn’t going to do well. That’s why he turned it down, several times in fact. But they were so eager to get him on board and kept coming back with offers, one of which was too good to turn down. Eddie gave an interview about that role: “Yeah, I turned down the lead role, but Paramount was determined to get me in the movie. They finally came back with an offer of a million dollars for something like a couple weeks’ work. Now, I want you to tell me a 22-year-old is going to turn down a million dollars for two weeks’ work?”
9. Morgan Freeman – Wants To Be Comfortable When He Retires
Morgan Freeman is remarkably 80 years old and is still going strong. He’s been around for over half a century in the industry, and you’d think he’d be retired by now, given his age, but Morgan’s still fighting fit and is showing no signs of slowing down.
In 2013, Morgan starred in the movie Olympus Has Fallen. It did pretty well at the box office and exceeded all expectations, but even so, when Morgan and the other cast members were called upon to reprise their roles for London has Fallen, Morgan’s heart wasn’t really in it. His main reason for returning for that movie was the cash he’d get out of it; you’ve got to assume his career’s slowly winding down, so he wants as much cash as he can to make it as comfortable a retirement as possible. Money’s his motivation, and it’s also because “that studio … they’ll be right back out there making another movie. And you never know when they’re going to call you back.”
8. Assou-Ekotto – Wanted To Go Home, But Stayed For The Money
Benoît Assou-Ekotto is a soccer player who currently plays in France. He’s most famous for his long spell in the English Premier League where he played for Tottenham Hotspur for nine years. But while he was still at the club, he created some level of controversy when he admitted that he didn’t want to be there, that he’d rather be back playing in his own country where he knows the language, knows plenty of people, and feels comfortable. He’s got his wish now, but why on earth did he stick it out for such a long time in a place he didn’t like? Money. The ridiculous salaries top-level soccer player earn is of course going to be the main source of motivation for a lot of people wanting to play in the Premier League, but to say so is still considered to be a taboo. Assou-Ekotto is one of only a few people, few athletes full stop, that has come out and said that the sport he plays professionally isn’t his passion, it’s just a job, and his reason for pursuing it as a career and moving all over the place has always been money. It’s kind of refreshing for someone to come out and say that, because there’s got to be more like him, but they choose to keep quiet about it. At the end of the day, you might say you love the team you play for, love their shirt, love everything about the club, but if another club comes in and makes a massive offer, you’re going to be on your way.
7. Alec Guinness – Pleaded For Character To Be Killed Off
Ok, so here’s a blast from the past. Alec Guinness started acting before a lot of you and probably even your parents were born. He first appeared in a movie in the 1930s, and went on to continue acting over the next seven decades. He’s had many successful roles, but his most recognizable role by far was his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi, the wise sage in George Lucas’ Star Wars movies. After they became such a success, Alec must have looked back on those days with at least some level of fondness. But at the time, he just couldn’t stand them, so much so that he actually pleaded with George Lucas to get rid of his character and kill him off. He regretted that he even starred in the iconic films in the first place, and said the language used, the type of acting, was just so foreign to him and he found it incredibly hard to cope. One good thing though – the only good thing in his eyes – that came out of those movies, was the money he earned, which was a pretty hefty salary in those days.
6. Glenn Close – Does Blockbusters To Fund Indie Projects
Glenn Close has gained plenty of plaudits over the years from people who have praised her for her versatility. She’s appeared in tons of great films since she started way back in the 1970s, including iconic films such as 101 Dalmatians and most recently Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s been plenty of stuff in between too, but Glenn’s shifted her focus to independent cinema as of late. She’s made a conscious effort to shun working in mainstream movies, trading up wowing audiences on the big-screen, in favor of smaller films. It’s what makes her happy, is what she enjoys, and is what gets her passion for cinema flowing. So, it would have taken a lot to entice Glenn back onto the big-screen, and a lot is certainly what she got. She couldn’t turn down the paycheck that was being offered to her for starring in Guardians of the Galaxy, and she took to that role and used it as an opportunity to get some extra funds so she could then go back to doing what she loves to do, star in independent films.
5. S Club 7 – Reunited For The Money
S Club 7 were a major pop group in the late 90s and early 2000s. They spent five years together, and during that time they sold 10 million albums worldwide, and starred in their own TV series which enhanced their popularity and fanbase even further. The group were teens and young adults themselves when they formed S Club, and so the cash they earned must have seemed like a hell of a lot, which it was. After the group disbanded, a couple of its members went on to have decent solo careers, but most of them just vanished and were no longer in the limelight. That’s why most jumped at the opportunity for a reunion tour in 2015, not because they wanted to be back on stage or anything like that, but because their bank balances needed a boost. They admitted that them getting together again was motivated by money, because they all have their own projects going on, and for some band members, these haven’t been that successful.
4. Richard Dreyfuss – Came Out Of Retirement To Make More Money
Actor Richard Dreyfuss has been around since the 1960s and has starred in some memorable films, including American Graffiti, Jaws, and Stand by Me. But after four decades of acting, he’d had enough and decided to call it a day. He announced that he would be taking it easy in 2004 and retired from acting. But he was soon at it again, back on the big screen, really soon. Less than a year after announcing his retirement he starred in the movie The Poseidon Adventure. What happened, was that acting bug still inside him? Nope, but his bank balance was looking seriously deficient and funds were running low, so he decided to get back on the horse and make money the only way he knew how. He’s sure made a lot of cash too after reversing his retirement decision, and has starred in a number films and TV shows over the years.
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Did Movies For Extra Money
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had plenty of strings to his bow: legendary basketball player, writer, activist, cultural ambassador, and film and TV actor – this guy’s certainly packed a lot into his career.
A few decades ago, basketball salaries weren’t anywhere close to what they are nowadays. Kareem still had a long way to go before retiring from the game, but it seemed as if he was already making preparations – either that or his spending habits had left him broke, or he was just tight. The guy took on a role as Roger Murdock in Airplane, and he did so purely for the money. When trying to get him on board, they were negotiating what his earnings would be for that movie. The films’ co-director Jerry Zucker, said they offered him $30,000, but his agent insisted on $35,000, because Kareem wanted to buy an oriental rug – yes, you read that correctly! – and that’s how much the rug cost. Jerry thought that Kareem’s agent was just getting creative, making that up in order to get more cash, but then a few weeks later an article appeared with a picture of Kareem and his rug, so they hadn’t actually been taken for a ride.
2. Paul Bettany – Acting Was Just A Way To Pay Bills
English actor Paul Bettany has starred in some hit films since making his acting debut back in the 90s. Some of his notable appearances have been his roles in The Da Vinci Code, The Avengers, and in the Iron Man movies.
Most actors would tell you – actually it’s common logic – that the big roles will come, but first you’ve got to get yourself out there, and build up a fan following and reputation before you hit the bigtime. But Paul Bettany wasn’t interested in that, wasn’t up for playing the long game. He wanted things to happen immediately, and wanted to start earning megabucks in the first few movies he did. When he was still a baby in the industry, he chased the big movie roles, motivated by flashing dollar signs in front of his eyes. He wanted to make as much dough as he could, for himself and his family, because he knew it could be over at any moment. This meant that for a large part of his career, he didn’t really love acting – it was just his job, his money-maker. It wasn’t until 2011 that he fell in love with acting after re-evaluating his priorities and taking stock of the situation. He had an epiphany, and getting older had also meant he’d gotten wiser, and he’s no long a crazed, young, money-hungry actor always after the cash.
1. Kim Zolciak – Crawling Back To Reality TV For The Dough
American TV personality Kim Zolciak was propelled into the limelight after being one of the original housewives in the reality series, The Real Housewives of Atlanta. It was such a success, and she achieved such a fan following because of it, that she managed to land her own show, Don’t Be Tardy for the Wedding, which too proved to be a pretty big deal.
Kim left The Real Housewives during the show’s fifth season, and since then she’s tried her hand at many different things, including singing and songwriting, which has to be said, haven’t been the almighty success she would have hoped. Over the last few years, her career’s stagnated, and Kim wants to get that reality TV bandwagon rolling again. She had taken time off to be with her kids, but the money’s slowly drying up and she wants back in The Real Housewives. She’s said: “I’m very motivated by money. Everything has a price. I’m just giving it to you straight. Given the right amount of money for anything? Yeah, count me in. I like to work. I have six children to support, so for sure!”