We all love a rags to riches story, about how someone was born with not very much, worked hard, fought to better themselves, to have a better existence, and then eventually achieved the fame and fortune and made all their wishes come true. Such individuals act as an inspiration to many and are living proof that if you want something badly enough, there’s nothing stopping you from going out and grabbing it.
The majority of the celebs out there do what they do because they love it. Not many will openly come out and say that money’s a big motivation, that they’re doing what they’re doing just to make their bank balance swell. But money’s got to be a major factor, perhaps not initially when they were starting out in their respective careers, but certainly as they began tasting more fame. Cash is a major incentive behind people doing a lot of things – like it or hate, you can’t deny it – everyone wants and needs cash, and more of it.
But for some celebs, money hasn’t really been an issue. They haven’t had to deal with money concerns at any point of their lives. That’s because they were born into wealthy families; they had that taste of money from a young age, and just wanted more of it.
It must have been great growing up with such a privileged lifestyle, and it must have enabled these celebs to express themselves in any way they wanted to, to have the freedom to pursue their own passions.
Here are 15 celebs for whom money’s never been a problem – celebs who were born wealthy:
15 Ariana Grande
Not taking anything away from what this singing sensation has achieved during the course of her still relatively young career, but Ariana Grande is one woman who some might say was born with a silver spoon in her mouth.
She was born and raised in quite an affluent area in Boca Raton, Florida, and certainly had a privileged childhood. That’s because her parents are both very successful business people. Her mom, Joan Grande, is the chief executive officer of Hose-McCann Communications, a company that deals in telephone and alarm systems. But it’s her dad who’s been raking in the cash and is a prominent name in the world of graphic design. He’s also at the helm of his company, and owns Ibi Designs Inc. which he runs out of Ariana’s hometown. The company can claim to have several high-profile clients, including the likes of Eddie Murphy and the toy company, FAO Schwarz. With parents as successful as hers, it’s understandable that money’s never really been an issue in the Grande household.
14 Maggie Gyllenhaal
Maggie Gyllenhaal, and you can add her brother, Jake, onto this list too, were born into a film family. Their mom, Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal, is a screenwriter and director. Even she was born wealthy, being the child of two of New York’s most prominent doctors.
Maggie’s dad, Stephen, is also a film director and he dabbles in a bit of poetry too. Looking at her parents' occupations, it’s not really surprising the Gyllenhaal kids chose to pursue a career in the film industry. It wouldn’t exactly have been hard for them to get a foot in the door and start getting roles.
Maggie and Jake, with parents who were doing quite well in the film industry at the time, grew up with quite – what many people would deem to be – a privileged lifestyle. They grew up in a fancy part of L.A., she went to Harvard–Westlake prep school and then moved back to her place of birth, New York, to get her degree, having the support of her parents and their bank accounts to enable her to study and act simultaneously.
13 Miley Cyrus
Good sweet girl gone bad, we’ve seen Miley Cyrus transform into a sultry and raunchy performer, from the cute Hannah Montana to the Wrecking Ball singer that had people in shock. She may have blossomed into this somewhat risqué and controversial figure on our TV screens over the years, but one thing that’s come about as a result of this surge in popularity has been her bank balance.
She was a child star, so was doing quite well for herself, but ever since she turned into a woman and began wowing audiences with her performances on stage, she’s been raking in the cash. But she has capitalized on good beginnings, because it’s not like money’s ever been a problem in the Cyrus household. Her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, is a huge name in the country music scene and was killing it before Cyrus was born. He’s a multi-platinum selling recording artist, has his own record company, and has dabbled in a bit of acting too. Pretty much all his kids have followed suit, with Miley being the one to rise and become a worldwide sensation.
12 Taylor Swift
The voice behind the hit single "Shake It Off" and so many more is going through a bit of a dry spell at the moment. Her career seems to have stalled, but Taylor Swift can afford to take it easy for a bit, to spend some time figuring out what she wants to do for her next step, rather than just release music for the sake of it, which is what a lot of people would do in her situation. But she has the luxury of spending some time developing music she think’s will be right up there.
She can afford to do so, because, well, she’s perhaps the best when it comes to singing and songwriting, and because taking some time off won’t really be denting her bank balance. She’s earned a sizable amount of cash since she’s been in the industry, but even before then, growing up, her family weren’t exactly struggling to get by. Her parents are, and always have been, in finance, with mom, Andrea Swift, earning megabucks as a mutual fund marketing executive, and her dad, Scott Kingsley Swift, a Merrill Lynch financial adviser. Taylor was born rich and certainly grew up knowing about the importance of money.
Cassie Ventura is undoubtedly one of the hottest singers and models in the industry. It’s not like she’s the new kid on the block either – she’s been killing it ever since she got that first record deal in 2002, and since then her career as a singer, dancer, actress, and model has just gone from strength to strength.
Cassie’s never exactly had it tough from a financial standpoint. She’s used to money, having been born and grown up with plenty of it. She was born and raised in the affluent area of New London, Connecticut, an area renowned for its wealth, arts, culture, and music scene.
Her parents supported her during her music, and initially, her modelling endeavors. She went to a prep school, but also did modelling on the side; her parents funded her modelling school – yes, there is such a thing! – and she began getting modelling gigs by the time she was 14. Her parents' bank balance had a big part to play in her early success, and once she had her foot in the door, there was no stopping Cassie.
10 Mike Posner
Mike Posner achieved stardom with his 2010 single, “Cooler Than Me,” but was quiet until he released last summer's smash hit "I Took A Pill In Ibiza." He’s released other singles here and there, but his recent focus has been on his literary endeavors; he’s been working on a book, Teardrops and Balloons, which is a book of poetry and was actually just released this week (March 17).
He’s one guy who can certainly take the time to pursue other things, because his finances are in no danger of suffering. Mike’s done incredibly well for himself, there’s no denying that, but he also had a seriously good start in life. At times, he has acted as though he’s had a humble background which stems from Detroit, but he’s not from the same place people where Eminem grew up, that's for sure. He was raised in the affluent northern suburb of Detroit, Southfield, and is the son of a lawyer and a pharmacist, so a lack of money has certainly never been an issue.
Psy’s song, Gangnam Style, gave Psy a worldwide cult following. The song became – and still is – a craze, with all sorts of people singing along and emulating those unique moves that Psy brought to our screens. That song propelled him to world superstardom, but he had already been making waves in South Korea long before he became a global success. He has his own unique, humorous style when it comes to performing, and people just lap it up and love him for it.
What a lot of people probably don’t know is that Gangnam isn’t just a random word, or a catchy saying. It’s actually a place - Gangnam District of Seoul, South Korea – and it’s where Psy was born and raised. It’s basically South Korea’s equivalent of Beverly Hills, and it’s where his mom owns her restaurant business, and his dad works as an executive chairman of DI Corporation. So, Psy’s never been in financial difficulty – he's used to the finer things in life.
8 Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart, the star of The Twilight films, is another actress from a film family. Certainly not taking anything away from her achievements, but she had plenty of connections, and so it was relatively easy for her to get involved in films.
She was born and raised in L.A. to parents who were both actively involved in the entertainment industry. They were high-profile names when it came to work behind the camera; her dad is a stage manager and TV producer, and her mom is a script supervisor and director. So, she grew up in that whole industry and with quite a bit of money too – some may say living the Hollywood lifestyle, even at a young age.
Being around the lights and the cameras, Kristen always wanted to be famous, but she wanted to follow in her parents' footsteps and work behind the camera. But her acting ability was spotted from a young age and was just too good to waste, so acting became her focus and we’re all mightily glad it did.
7 Paris Hilton
What do most people think of when they think of Paris Hilton? The bratty, spoiled rich kid (although she’s now no longer a kid) who rose to fame essentially by splurging with her family’s cash. No one, least of all her, is going to argue with that fact – it’s how she got famous, and she knew what she was doing when she was doing it. But in a way, props to her, because she knew what she wanted and how to get it, got there, and used her fame and substantial fortune to go about pursuing other ventures.
Today, Paris is famous for a whole lot of things, but when she first came into the limelight, she was essentially just famous for being famous and rich. She exemplifies the so-called "celebutante" lifestyle, and is an heiress to the Hilton Hotel fortune, being the great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, founder of the prestigious hotel chain.
6 Lindsay Lohan
The controversial figure that is Lindsay Lohan has led a... let’s say eventful life. She has endured a lot, has had a very publicized strained family dynamic, has succumbed to the pressures of the industry, has fallen prey to alcohol and drug addictions, and then there’s everything else that comes with achieving fame and fortune at such a young age. She remarkably began her career at the age of three, as a child model, but as she grew up and started tasting more success and fame, she found it difficult to cope.
Most people think that stars who end up going to rehab must have had a really tough upbringing. In a way, Lindsay did, because of her parental issues, but money certainly didn’t contribute to her problems. Her mom used to sing and dance, and her dad was a Wall Street trader. It just goes to show that money can buy you a lot of things, but it can’t buy you everything.
5 Robin Thicke
Robin Thicke is another celeb who grew up basically with a head start in the entertainment industry, although, having said that, Robin rose to fame due to his own hard work, perseverance, and money. His dad was very supportive of Robin’s musical aspirations when he was growing up, and even helped him put together his first few songs, but one thing he didn’t do was pay for Robin, meaning he had to fund his first set of songs himself, pay for time in the recording studios, and for any other expenses that came up. That’s because Robin’s dad wanted him to go to university and get an education before concentrating on music.
But Robin’s mind was made up, and despite his parent’s objections, he left home at 17 and earned his way as a music producer and songwriter. His parents eventually came around to the idea because they soon realized that their son was on the road to stardom.
Who are these parents that I speak of? His mom is Gloria Loring, a TV actress who rose to fame as a star on Days of our Lives, and his dad is the late Alan Thicke, an actor and the star of Growing Pains. It’s safe to say that money’s never been tight for the Thickes.
4 Edward Norton
Edward Norton is probably best known for his role as the detective who brought down Hannibal the cannibal in the 2002 movie, Red Dragon. But he’s also tried his hand at plenty of other things, including filmmaking, environmental and social activism, and he obviously has many more acting credits to his name.
His interest in the environment stems from his dad, who was a prominent environmental lawyer and conservation advocate. He also served as a federal prosecutor in the Carter administration. So, his dad had a lot to do with Ed being born wealthy. He had a lot to do with it, but it’s his maternal grandad who’s the seriously rich one in the family. James Rouse is the man who is basically responsible for shopping malls; his company, The Rouse Company, developed the city of Columbia, and then went on to play a part in developing most of the shopping malls throughout the rest of the country. This makes Ed the heir to his grandad’s substantial wealth and meant he grew up in good times.
3 Kim Kardashian
When Kim Kardashian first rose to fame, some may say that like Paris Hilton, she was famous for being famous. She and all her Kardashian siblings – and in a way, her Jenner siblings too – can thank Robert Kardashian for the fact that they were born rich. Kim’s dad was an American attorney who rose to fame due to his friendship with O.J. Simpson, and his association with him during the ex-footballer’s 1995 murder trial. But what a lot of people don’t know, is that he was also a pretty big businessman, that’s where he acquired the majority of his fortune. Robert set up a number of businesses after a decade of practicing law out of university, and made a success out of most of them. Perhaps that’s where Kim and the Kardashians got their business minds from. Sure, they were born wealthy, but they knew how to add to that wealth and have become very successful business people in their own right, on their way to becoming perhaps the biggest and most popular celebrity family on the planet.
2 Adam Levine
Lead vocalist and frontman of the band Maroon 5, Adam Levine began his career in the music industry way back in 1994. He co-founded a rock band, which then split and later reformed to become the band we all know and love today, Maroon 5. Due to his success with the band, Adam has also branched out and pursued other stuff: acting, he’s tried his hand at producing records, and he’s become a bit of an entrepreneur as of late too.
He attributes his musical talent and interests to his mom, who he claims helped start him out on the path to musical stardom. But he certainly got his business mind from his dad. Fred Levine is the founder of the clothing retail chain M. Fredric, and had amassed a huge fortune by the time Adam was born. This meant he enjoyed a privileged upbringing, going to the private Brentwood School in L.A., and just as well he did because it’s where he met a couple of his fellow bandmates and it’s where Maroon 5 started out.
1 Gwyneth Paltrow
Actress, singer, and lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow rose to fame in the mid-90s, and it’s been a sustained level of fame for Gwyneth ever since. She’s now in her third decade in the entertainment industry, and is still going strong.
Gwyneth’s interest in acting came from her parents. She’s the daughter of famed actress Blythe Danner and film producer and director Bruce Paltrow. Before she was born, her parents were already a pretty big deal in the industry, and had acquired a pretty decent sum of money, as you can imagine. So when Gwyneth was born and started growing up, it’s understandable that she wanted the same thing as her parents. After completing her education at the prestigious Spence School, a private girls' school in New York City, she briefly attended university, before dropping out to pursue acting. The decision certainly paid off, because a few years later she’d started getting acting roles and had begun accumulating a small fortune for herself.