Massive contracts… outlandish gifts… Chapter 11… divorce settlements… our favorite celebs have kept their bank accounts busy over the last 10 years. Join Wonderwall.com as we recount some of the major celebrity money moments from 2010 to 2019, starting with The Rock's biggest paydays… In July 2018, Forbes reported that wrestler-turned-movie star Dwayne Johnson had earned $124 million for the previous year and that his acting paychecks (for projects like HBO's "Ballers" and the international hit "Skyscraper"), which made up most of that figure, were "the largest ever recorded in the 20 years Forbes has tracked the Celebrity 100 and nearly double the $65 million he earned in 2017." That was still only good enough for fifth place on the Celebrity 100 list for 2018, however (Floyd Mayweather, George Clooney, Kylie Jenner and Judge Judy Sheindlin bested him). Though The Rock dropped to No. 15 on the Celebrity 100's 2019 edition, the "Jumanji: The Next Level" star was still the world's highest paid actor for the year thanks to earnings of $89.4 million between June 2018 and 2019. Now let's go back 10 years and work our way to 2019…
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At the time, it seemed like a good idea. For Russell Brand's 35th birthday in 2010, then-fiancé Katy Perry gifted him with a $200,000 ticket to outer space on Virgin Galactic's first cosmic journey. Nine years later, the spacecraft is still waiting to make its maiden voyage after notably being delayed by a 2014 crash that prompted Virgin to offer refunds to ticket holders.
Thanks to the success of his 3D blockbuster "Avatar," James Cameron raked in an estimated $257 million in 2010, easily topping Vanity Fair's list of the top creative earners in film that year. As the writer, producer and director of the smash hit, James took home a significant chunk of the fantasy flick's almost $2 billion in box office sales at the time (not to mention DVD and pay-television fees). Next on the list was Johnny Depp, who earned a mere $100 million for his work in movies including "Alice in Wonderland" and "The Tourist." Still, according to a different money list from Forbes, one woman had them both beat, though she didn't make her paychecks in the film world: The highest paid person in Hollywood overall in 2010 was Oprah Winfrey, who earned an estimated $315 million, which was generated by her multimedia deals (like her TV show's syndication contract, her eponymous magazine and her then-soon-to-be-launched TV network, OWN).
As the third most expensive wedding in history, Prince William and Duchess Kate's 2011 nuptials were truly one for the books. Of the $34 million that was reportedly spent, $32 million went toward security. The former Kate Middleton's wedding dress, which was designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, also had a hefty price tag: a reported $434,000. The most expensive wedding in history is believes to be the 1981 nuptials of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. Looks like everyone has a hard time living up to their parents.
For Celine Dion, what happens in Vegas… makes her very, very rich. In 2011, the French-Canadian diva began a concert residency for the show "Celine" at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas that, at $500,000 per show, made her Sin City's top earner. Over the show's eight-year run, which ended in the summer of 2019, she gave 427 performances that brought in almost $300 million at the box office. When combined with the $385 million she earned during her 2003 to 2007 residency, "A New Day," that makes her the top-grossing artist in Vegas history.
A $40 million jet as a Father's Day present? Sure, if you're JAY-Z. In 2012, wife Beyonce gifted him with a Bombardier Challenger 850 in honor of his new role as Blue Ivy Carter's dad. With a living room, kitchen, bedroom, and two bathrooms, the plane has space for 16 passengers.
Many of the ultra-wealthy would probably see falling off the Forbes billionaire list as a mark of shame, but for "Harry Potter" creator J.K. Rowling, it was a sign of her generosity. After becoming the first author to make the elite Forbes list, J.K. gave so much money — an estimated $160 million — to charities like the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Children's High Level Group that in 2012, she fell to (gasp!) millionaire status.
In 2013, shock jock Howard Stern dropped a cool $52 million on a Palm Beach, Florida, estate that's one of the most expensive celeb homes in the world. Set on 3.25 acres, the property boasts 39,094 square feet of living space including a 18,673-square-foot main house. The mansion has undergone numerous renovations since it was purchased, including the installation of a 1,000-square-foot closet for his lucky wife, Beth.
Sandra Bullock's 2013 turn as an astronaut in the blockbuster "Gravity" earned her at least $70 million, making it one of the most lucrative film roles in history and the top-earning ever for a woman. This was thanks to her smart (or, one might say, stellar) contract negotiations, which netted her $20 million up front as well as 15 percent of box office earnings.
'Til death do us part is nice and all, but a $3 million rare vintage Patek Philippe watch? Now that's a wedding present. Angelina Jolie gifted Brad Pitt with the jewelry in honor of their 2014 nuptials, inscribing the piece with "To Roly From Nessa" as a reference to their roles in "By The Sea," which they filmed instead of taking a honeymoon. Ultimately, the marriage was about as successful as the movie… which is to say, not very. The Brangelina era officially ended in 2016 when Angie left Brad after more than 11 years as a couple and filed for divorce.
Quick tip: If you ever snag a dinner date with Amy Poehler, make sure you don't let her walk out with your credit card by mistake. When fellow "Saturday Night Live" alum Seth Meyers made that error in 2014, it took several weeks and quite a journey for him to get it back. Amy decided to hold the card hostage, sending Seth periodic updates that included her using it to check her family into a hotel. He finally got the card back, but not before she used it to make a $5,000 donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society… in her name.
Though 50 Cent ranked fourth on the 2015 Forbes list of wealthiest hip-hop artists, he also filed for bankruptcy that same year. The move came after he was ordered to pay $7 million after losing a sex tape lawsuit. Apparently, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy is often used as a debt reorganization strategy. It seems to have worked for Fiddy, who by 2019 had a reported net worth of $30 million.
Thanks in large part to her record-breaking "1989" world tour, which ultimately grossed a quarter of a billion dollars, Taylor Swift topped Forbes's Celebrity 100 list of top earners in 2016 with earnings of $170 million for the previous year. Partnerships with Keds, Diet Coke, Apple and others also helped pad her bank account at the time. Then in 2019, the music star did it again, this time making even more money: According to Forbes, the singer-songwriter — who earned a huge chunk of money thanks to her "Reputation" stadium tour — pulled in pretax income of $185 million for the previous year.
You know what they say: If you're going to spend $52,000 on a couch, it had better be a really special couch. Kendall Jenner certainly heeded this advice in 2016 when she dropped a pretty penny on a piece designed by the Campana brothers for Edra. On her blog, she described the sofa as "all woven and a really groovy navy with purple shimmer." In other words, truly irresistible.
After starting tequila brand Casamigos in 2013 with two friends on a whim, George Clooney and his partners sold the business in a deal with up to $1 billion in 2017. The idea came about when he was drinking with pals in Mexico and decided to create the perfect recipe — one that didn't cause a hangover or have that burning aftertaste. Once buddies were ordering about 1,000 bottles a year, the drink needed to be licensed, and a brand was born. If only we could all experience such lucrative accidents.
After Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston in 2017, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt raised $41.6 million for disaster relief in the biggest crowd-sourced fundraiser ever. His foundation later released a two-year update reporting what the money has accomplished, revealing the that more than 239 million meals and 337,000 prescriptions were distributed; more than 1,183 homes were cleaned, repaired and rebuilt; and more than 971 childcare centers and afterschool programs were rebuilt.
It seems fitting that, after kicking off the wildly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe as Iron Man in 2008 for a (relatively) measly $500,000, Robert Downey Jr. would end his Marvel run with two of the biggest movie contracts ever. After upfront salary and back-end deals, which are based on box office success, Robert reportedly made about $75 million each for "Avengers: Infinity War" (2018) and "Avengers: Endgame" (2019). It certainly didn't hurt that "Endgame" was the highest grossing film in history.
Television's Judge Judy made headlines in 2017 when she scored an incredible payday that significantly contributed to her reported $400 million net worth. That year, the former Manhattan family court judge-turned TV dynamo earned $147 million, with $100 million of that coming from the sale of her TV library to CBS and the rest coming from her compensation for starring on the wildly successful "Judge Judy" and producing another popular legal show, "Hot Bench."
With career earnings totalling more than $1 billion, it's no surprise that undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather dropped $18 million on the Jacob & Co. "Billionaire" diamond tourbillon watch in 2018. The piece is set with 260 carats of diamonds.
It could certainly be the most lucrative five minutes in history: In 2018, Kim Kardashian West made $5 million in just 300 seconds after launching her Kimoji Cherry, Peach and Vibes perfumes. This came without spending any money on traditional advertising: The only promotions for the scents came via social media.
Sofia Vergara was the top-earning TV actress in 2018, according to Forbes. The Colombian-American star took home $42.5 million between June 2017 and June 2018 for her work on "Modern Family" combined with her lucrative endorsement deals. Filling out the top five in 2018? "The Big Bang Theory" star Kaley Cuoco at $24.5 million, Ellen Pompeo of "Grey's Anatomy" at $23.5 million, "Law and Order: SVU" star Mariska Hargitay with $13 million and "Modern Family" actress Julie Bowen at $12.5 million.
Mike Trout, a center fielder for the Anaheim Angels, made headlines in the spring of 2019 when he inked the largest sports contract in history: $426.5 million over 12 years, which means he'll average a little more than $35 million per year. Though he was widely considered to be the best player in baseball at the time, Mike was only the 25th pick in the 2009 MLB draft.
When the richest man in the world gets divorced, it makes sense that his ex-wife receives the largest divorce settlement in history. Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos' split from MacKenzie Bezos, an author, after 25 years of marriage was made official in 2019 after his alleged affair with former TV host Lauren Sanchez was leaked to the National Enquirer. MacKenzie wound up with 25 percent of her ex's stake in Amazon, making her worth about $35 billion. According to Forbes, at the end of 2019, Jeff — who's still worth $114 billion — remained the richest person in America.
Thanks to sales of her beauty brand, Kylie Cosmetics, in early 2019 when she was just 21, "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" star Kylie Jenner officially became what Forbes has called the youngest self-made billionaire ever… and set off an intense debate over the meaning of "self-made." On one hand, Kylie launched the brand with her own money — $250,000 she made from fashion shows, a ghostwritten novel and other ventures during her teenage years. On the other hand, she was born to one of Hollywood's most famous and wealthiest families.
Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston are making serious bank for their work on AppleTV+'s buzzy and very expensive late-2019 series "Morning Show," which marks Jen's first regular TV gig since "Friends" (for which she famously earned $1 million per episode). According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series costs $15 million per episode to make (that's $300M for its initial two-season commitment) and both actresses are earning $2 million per episode (for a total of $20 million per season — each) — plus even more undisclosed cash, as both are pulling double duty as producers. Oh yeah — they have ownership points too.