A-listers and wealth go together like peanut butter and jelly, but some have seriously outpaced their peers. While a typical celebrity-sized fortune would certainly be impressive enough, these stars have worked hard to acquire unimaginable net worths.
No doubt, they’ve made a ton of money in front of the camera, but these celebrities didn’t stop there. Motivated to succeed in more areas than one, they used their strong business acumen to branch out and create multiple streams of income.
Some started companies, while others turned hobbies into side hustles, but they all cashed in on their endeavors. In fact, you might even be a fan of some of the products and services they’ve created or invested in.
Oprah Winfrey, one of the most entrepreneurial A-listers of all time, turns 67 years old on Jan. 29. In honor of her special day, here’s a look at how she and four other major celebrities literally earned a fortune.
She grew up poor on a farm in rural Mississippi, but Oprah Winfrey was determined to make a different life for herself. Now an iconic media mogul with a net worth of $3.5 billion, she’s certainly done that.
Winfrey built her wealth by reinvesting profits from her eponymous talk show — which ran for 25 years — into a $2 billion fortune, according to Forbes. In 2011, she launched OWN, her cable channel, and currently retains a 5% ownership stake in it. She also maintains a $35 million-plus stake in Discovery, Inc., which owns the other 95% of OWN, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
A long-time Weight Watchers brand ambassador, she purchased 10% stake in the company in 2015, but currently owns 7%, according to Forbes. Winfrey also signed a multiyear content partnership with Apple in 2018, but financial details were not made public.
After rising to fame on “That ‘70s Show,” Ashton Kutcher became a household name. In 2011, he joined the cast of “Two and a Half Men,” where he earned $700,000 per episode, making him the highest-paid sitcom actor on television at the time, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Investing gets most of the credit for Kutcher’s $200 million net worth. A venture capitalist, he co-founded venture funds A-Grade Investments and Sound Ventures. Investments in companies like Uber, Skype and Airbnb grew the former fund from $30 million to $250 million in just six years, according to Forbes.
Kutcher also co-founded digital media company A-Plus, which was purchased by Chicken Soup for the Soul in 2018. He received CSS Entertainment stock valued at $2.69 million for his final stake in the business, according to Variety.
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Multitalented and hardworking, Jennifer Lopez has amassed a $400 million net worth. She’s sold more than 75 million records and grossed $54.7 million from her most recent tour in 2019, according to Pollstar.
Lopez also helmed her own Las Vegas residency “All I Have,” which grossed more than $100 million during its more than 2 1/2-year run, according to Billboard. She currently serves as a judge on “World of Dance” and will star in the upcoming film “Marry Me.”
Also a mogul, her fragrance empire is worth an estimated $2 billion, according to Women’s Wear Daily. She also signed a deal to launch a footwear and handbag line with DSW parent company Designer Brands Inc. in 2020 and launched her skin care line JLO Beauty in 2021.
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In 2018, George Clooney topped Forbes’ highest-paid actor list with $239 million in earnings for the year — but he didn’t star in any movies. His financial windfall was due to the sale of Casamigos — the tequila company he co-founded — for $700 million to British liquor company Diageo.
Clooney’s net worth is $500 million, so he certainly wasn’t hurting for cash before the Casamigos sale. The two-time Oscar winner has nearly 100 film credits to his name, including “Michael Clayton,” “Up in the Air” and “The Ides of March.”
Comedian Ellen DeGeneres rose to fame in the 1990s with her sitcom “Ellen.” In 2003, she debuted the daytime talk show “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which pays her approximately $50 million per year. She also scored $20 million to $25 million for her Netflix standup comedy special in 2019, according to Variety.
DeGeneres has a net worth of $500 million — and it’s not all from television earnings. Also a businesswoman, she currently sells her ED Ellen DeGeneres home collection at Bed Bath and Beyond and previously had a product line at PetSmart. Also a real estate flipper, DeGeneres and her wife, Portia de Rossi, have bought and sold more than 20 properties since 2003, according to Architectural Digest.
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All net worth information was sourced from Celebrity Net Worth and is accurate as of Jan. 27, 2021.