Stars are constantly making major money moves — and as we've proven time and again, they're truly nothing like us when it comes to their paychecks, lavish lifestyles, outrageous spending habits and deep generosity! Wonderwall.com is rounding up the biggest celebrity money moments of 2020… starting with the news that The Rock was the top earning actor of 2020. On Aug. 11, Forbes published its list of the highest paid actors of the year, revealing that Dwayne Johnson was No. 1 for the second year in a row. The business magazine reported that he made $87.5 million — and that $23.5 million of it came from Netflix for his upcoming action movie "Red Notice." His successful Under Armour line, Project Rock, is also responsible for a big part of his 2020 earnings. Keep reading for more headline-making celebrity money stories of 2020…
Kim Kardashian West inches closer to billionaire status
In late June, Kanye West publicly congratulated wife Kim Kardashian West for reaching billionaire status after Coty paid $200 million to acquire a 20% stake in her KKW Beauty brand. However, Forbes soon clarified that though Kim was indeed very, very rich, she's not a billionaire quite yet. Though the deal puts KKW Beaty's value at $1 billion, Kim only has a 72% stake in the company while momager Kris Jenner has 8%, according to Forbes. So, once all her other earnings are taken into account, that puts Kim's worth at about $900 million — which is just a tad above sister Kylie Jenner's net worth of what Forbes estimated in May at "just under $900 million."
Kurt Cobain's "MTV Unplugged" guitar sale price breaks auction record
On June 20, the guitar that Kurt Cobain played during Nirvana's famed 1993 "MTV Unplugged" session, which was taped just a few months before his death at 27, sold for a record-breaking $6 million. The 1959 Martin D-18E was purchased by Peter Freedman, who owns Røde Microphones, at a Music Icons auction run by Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills. Deadline reported that the sale price was 50% higher than any other guitar ever sold at auction.
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Kylie Jenner is stripped of billionaire status by Forbes
Demotion! News that reality TV star and beauty mogul Kylie Jenner is no longer considered a billionaire emerged at the start of the summer. While Forbes reported in April that she was the world's youngest self-made billionaire for the second year in a row, the magazine retracted that title a month later. In May, the publication claimed that Kylie's team — including momager Kris Jenner — had falsified earnings information and tax figures that were shown to Forbes reporters. It all came to light after beauty conglomerate Coty purchased a 51% stake in Kylie Cosmetics a few months earlier for $600 million, a move that required the filing of public financial disclosures Forbes said painted a very different profitability picture that its staff had been led to believe. Kylie hit back on social media on May 29, tweeting, "all i see are a number of inaccurate statements and unproven assumptions lol. I've never asked for any title or tried to lie my way there EVER. Period." According to Forbes, Kylie is still very rich, just not a billionaire: It revised her net worth to just under $900 million.
Drake reveals his custom-built 50,000-square-foot mansion valued at $100 million
In the April issue of Architectural Digest, Drake unveiled his lavish, 50,000-square-foot mansion dubbed The Embassy. The modern Art Deco-style home — which features an NBA-regulation-sized basketball court, a 4,000-pound black marble bathtub, a 3,200-square-foot master bedroom suite and 1,100-square-feet of terraces — is valued at a whopping $100 million. The luxurious property is located in the rapper's hometown of Toronto. "Because I was building it in my hometown, I wanted the structure to stand firm for 100 years. I wanted it to have a monumental scale and feel," the rapper explained. "It will be one of the things I leave behind, so it had to be timeless and strong." Complete with a Bösendorfer grand piano designed by Takashi Murakami and a replica of Lobmeyr's chandelier that was designed for the Metropolitan Opera in 1963, the "Feel No Way" rapper's Canadian manor is, as he describes it, "overwhelming high luxury." "I think the house shows that I have true faith in myself to take on this task when I was just 27 and see it through," said the now 33-year-old superstar. "I also think the house says that I will forever remain solid in the place I was born."
Marie Osmond announces plans to donate her fortune to charity when she dies
It's never too early to plan ahead, right? In February, singer-actress and "The Talk" co-host Marie Osmond revealed on her show that she plans to donate her fortune to charity when she dies. "My husband and I decided, I think you do a great disservice to your children to just hand them a fortune because you take away the one most important gift you can give your children and that's the ability to work," she explained. "You see it a lot in rich families, where the kids, they don't know what to do and so they get in trouble. Let them be proud of what they make and I'm going to give mine to my charity." Marie's co-hosts were quick to disagree with her decision, with Sheryl Underwood asserting that a child who grows up in a wealthy family has a "healthy respect for money" and Sharon Osbourne stating that she believes her fortune with husband Ozzy Osbourne should remain within the family.
Kanye West, John Cena, BTS, Jordan Peele, Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt make huge BLM donations
In late May and early June — in the wake of African American man George Floyd's May 25 death at the hands of white police officers and nationwide protests against police brutality aimed at black Americans — celebrities were quick to show solidarity. Kanye West was among the stars who offered financial support when he donated $2 million to the loved ones and legal teams fighting for justice for George, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. Included in the "Jesus Is King" rapper's donation was a college fund set up for George's 6-year-old daughter, Gianna. (Barbra Streisand, meanwhile, gifted Gianna with an unknown number of Disney stocks, which were trading at $115 a share at the time.) Other celebrities also donated large sums to organizations in support of racial justice, among them John Cena and K-pop group BTS, who each gave $1 million to Black Lives Matter. Filmmaker and comedy star Jordan Peele donated $1 million across five organizations including Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective. Jennifer Aniston donated $1 million to Color of Change — a move that was matched by ex-husband Brad Pitt, the Mirror reported on June 13.
Harry Styles is creating a London mega-mansion valued at $37 million
Drake wasn't the only music star who shelled out an especially large sum to create an epic living space this year! In March, the Mail on Sunday reported that Harry Styles had purchased two 18th century homes next door to each other in North London — one for about $11.3 million and the other for about $5 million — with the intention of turning them into one gigantic mansion that, once renovated, will be worth around $37 million! With the help of interior designer Vicky Charles — who's reportedly designed projects for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the Beckhams and the Clooneys — the "Adore You" singer's English haven will consist of a luxuriously appointed 10 bedrooms and include a game room, movie theater and more.
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend donate $200,000 in bail-out funds for George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protesters
Chrissy Teigen was another celebrity who donated big to a racial justice organization in the wake of George Floyd's death. In May, the model and cookbook author took to Twitter to reveal her decision to give a large sum to the defense funds responsible for helping bail out protesters. First, she pledged $100K. But when a Twitter user replied and told her she was supporting "rioters and criminals," Chrissy doubled her donation. "Ooo they might need more money then. Make it $200,000," she responded. Husband John Legend tweeted in support of his wife. "Americans have the first amendment right to peacefully protest oppression and injustice," he began. "Chrissy and I will be donating to these 3 organizations which are organizing, supporting and defending those marching for justice: @Mvmnt4BlkLives @nlgnews @bailproject."
"Friends" stars negotiate deal with $2.5 million each for HBO Max reunion special
Fans were delighted when news broke revealing that our favorite group of New Yorkers would be returning to television! In February, Variety reported that the entire "Friends" cast — Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc — would appear for an "exclusive untitled unscripted special" that would be available to stream on HBO Max, which launched in May. According to the trade magazine's sources, the stars — who famously made $1 million an episode at the end of their sitcom's run — negotiated a hefty payday for their participation: at least $2.5 million each! However, fans will be waiting longer than expected to see them together again as the highly anticipated reunion special has been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Kirk Douglas leaves $50 million of his fortune to charity upon his death
According to The Mirror, Kirk Douglas left $50 million of his $61 million fortune not to his family but to his charity, the Douglas Foundation, when he passed away in February. The charity benefits Children's Hospital Los Angeles, The Kirk and Anne Douglas Childhood Center, a St. Lawrence University scholarship and other groups. Following his father's death at 103, actor Michael Douglas publicly commended him for his philanthropic work: "Kirk's life was well lived, and he leaves a legacy in film that will endure for generations to come, and a history as a renowned philanthropist who worked to aid the public."
Barbara Corcoran scammed out of almost $400,000 — then gets it back
In February, financial thieves nearly made off with $400,000 of "Shark Tank" investor Barbara Corcoran's funds, TMZ reported. The scammers were able to initiate a wire transfer for a $388,700.11 payment to a German company by sending the star's bookkeeper a funds request via an email that appeared to come from Barbara's executive assistant — but one letter in the address was changed. The bookkeeper approved it and the money was sent — but thankfully, the Berlin-based bank handling the transaction caught wind of the scam and froze the account before the funds could be distributed. Phew!
Oprah Winfrey donates $10 million to coronavirus relief efforts
While many celebrities came together this year to help fund relief efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic, Oprah Winfrey is one star who made an especially generous donation. In April, the media mogul took to Instagram to share that she was giving $10 million to worthy causes. Of that amount, $1 million (in partnership with Apple) went to America's Food Fund, which was co-created by Leonardo DiCaprio. "I am donating $10 million overall to help Americans during this pandemic in cities across the country and in areas where I grew up," Oprah said.
Kanye West feuds with Forbes about his billionaire status
2020 seems to have been a year filled with quarrels between Forbes and the Kardashian clan! In late April, the money magazine reported that Kanye West had officially become hip hop's second billionaire (JAY-Z did it first) with an estimated net worth of around $1.3 billion. An impressive number, right? Well, the "Jesus Is King" rapper thought otherwise. Kanye claimed the magazine published a number that was significantly lower than his true worth: He insisted it's really $3.3 billion. According to Forbes writer Zack O'Malley Greenburg, Kanye texted him personally to accuse the business magazine of "toying" with him. "It's 3.3 billion since no one at Forbes knows how to count," Kanye asserted. However, despite Kanye's pushback, Forbes stood firm with its calculation of his net worth. "Welcome to the 10-digit club, Kanye. You may not like our number, but in that regard, you've joined the highest company," Zack wrote in a follow-up article. Kanye made headlines for his fortune again over the summer…
Forbes releases 2020 Celebrity 100 list
In June, Forbes released the 2020 edition of its annual Celebrity 100 list, which featured Kanye West at No. 2 — just behind sister-in-law Kylie Jenner (who earned $590 million the previous year) at No. 1. However, the rapper-fashion designer came out on top on Forbes' list of rich musicians, as it declared him the world's highest paid music star for 2020 with earnings of $170 million (mostly thanks to his Yeezy sneaker deal with Adidas) for the previous year. The rest of the top 5 names on the Celebrity 100 list? Athletes Roger Federer (No. 3), Cristiano Ronaldo (No. 4) and Lionel Messi (No. 5). Three entertainment stars — Tyler Perry (No. 6), Howard Stern (No. 8) and Dwayne Johnson (No. 10) — did, however, crack the top 10.
"Teen Mom OG" stars Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra owe more than $850,000 to the IRS
"Teen Mom OG" couple Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra found themselves in the midst of a financial mess this year. In April, Us Weekly reported that the reality stars owed upwards of $850,000 in taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. Legal documents obtained by the news outlet revealed the couple was hit with a tax lien in November 2019 for $535,010 for 2016 and 2017, and that another tax lien of $321,789 was issued for the 2018 tax year.
John Cena reportedly gifted $40,000 to late wrestler Shad Gaspard's family
Following the tragic drowning death of former WWE wrestler Shad Gaspard in May at a beach in Venice, California — he died trying to save his son from a riptide — fans speculated that John Cena anonymously gave $40,000 to Shad's family. After Shad's death was confirmed, his family created a GoFundMe page to help fund funeral costs. WWE wrestlers including Chris Jericho, Cody Rhodes and Tony Khan donated to the campaign and an anonymous donor gave the family $40,000 with an accompanying message that read "CTC RIP" — which fans said was a clue that it was from John. During their WWE days, John, Shad and JTG (real name: Jayson Anthony Paul) wrestled as the group Cryme Tyme Cenation, which was also known as CTC.
Jeff Bezos sets real estate record in Los Angeles area with $165 million home purchase
Leave it to Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, to set an outrageous real estate record. In February, People magazine confirmed that the Amazon CEO, who has an estimated net worth of $145.4 billion, purchased the Beverly Hills home of studio executive David Geffen for $165 million — making it the most expensive home sale in the Los Angeles area ever. In 1992, Architectural Digest published a piece about the 9-acre state, describing its main building as a "13,600-square-foot, Georgian-style mansion." But Jeff didn't stop there: He also bought 120 acres of land on the estate belonging to late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen for $90 million. That property will be used for Amazon-related ventures.
In 2020, Kylie Jenner expanded her already impressive real estate portfolio yet again. As reported by TMZ in May, this spring, the reality TV star-turned-beauty mogul spent $15 million on a 5-acre lot in Hidden Hills, California — a record real estate deal for that area. (The vacant lot also has a celebrity history: it was previously owned by Miley Cyrus, who bought the land in 2015 as a place to house her horses.) Kylie didn't stop there, though — in April, she also purchased a 15,350-square-foot home in Holmby Hills for $36.5 million. The sprawling single-story estate includes a guardhouse, a chef's kitchen, a home theater, an outdoor projector screen a resort-style pool and not one but two guest apartments!
Ed Sheeran named Britain's richest musician under 30 for second year in a row
At just 29, Ed Sheeran was named the U.K.'s richest musician under 30 for the second year in a row! According to a May report from the Sunday Times Rich List, the singer-songwriter had an estimated net worth of about $244 million when it bestowed the honor — a figure that grew by about $50 million from the previous year. His "Divide" world tour set records that helped him get there: Between March 2017 and August 2019, Ed sold 8.9 million tickets to 255 shows, grossing $776.2 million.
"RHONJ" star Teresa Giudice reveals she paid $1 million of estranged husband's debts
In March, "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice told Bravo host Andy Cohen on the "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" season 10 reunion special that she'd spent more than $1 million paying estranged husband Joe's legal fees and back taxes resulting from his financial fraud and deportation cases. On the same reunion show, Teresa's friends and family members urged her to finalize her divorce from Joe sooner rather than later — they split in late 2019 after 20 years of marriage after he got out of prison and moved to his native Italy — so that he wouldn't try to get more money from her. Her brother, Joe Gorga, said he believed his former brother-in-law would gun for more funds, though Teresa insisted he was "not that type" and "[wouldn't] come after anything." Co-star Dolores Catania agreed with Gorga: "Say you meet the perfect guy tomorrow and things go all and you want to move on with your life. He's going to get angry. That'll trigger it," she said.
Taylor Swift donated $1 million to fund tornado relief efforts in Tennessee
After a tornado hit Nashville in March, Taylor Swift took to Instagram to offer her support for her home state. "Nashville is my home and the fact that so many people have lost their homes and so much more in Middle Tennessee is devastating to me," she wrote. "I've made a donation to the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund." What she didn't reveal is just how major that donation was: Reports confirmed it was for a whopping $1 million.
Chris Hemsworth and more celebrities donate big sums to Australian bushfire relief efforts
Over the course of 2020, celebrities have generously come together to finance relief efforts during global crises. In January, various stars announced they'd be making donations to help battle the Australian bushfires that devastated the country. Chris Hemsworth and his family, including actor Liam Hemsworth, gave $1 million, while Elton John and Kylie Jenner pledged $1 million apiece. Leonardo DiCaprio's organization, Earth Alliance, pledged $3 million and Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban pledged $500,000 while Jeff Bezos donated $690,000.
Seth MacFarlane inks $200 million overall deal with NBCUniversal
Talk about making money moves! Seth MacFarlane, the creative mind behind "Family Guy," "American Dad!" and more, started 2020 off by signing a five-year overall deal with NBCUniversal Content Studios valued at nearly $200 million. Seth and his Fuzzy Door Productions company are set to develop projects for NBCUniversal's streaming service, Peacock, along with internal and external networks.
Jeff Bezos donates $10 billion to combat climate change
In addition to shelling out hefty sums for sprawling estates, Jeff Bezos also made a large donation to combat climate change in 2020. In February, the world's richest man took to Instagram to announce the launch of his Bezos Earth Fund, which is committed to funding activists, scientists and non-government organizations. "Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet. I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share," he said. "I'm committing $10 billion to start and will begin issuing grants this summer. Earth is the one thing we all have in common — let's protect it, together."