Ever hear the phrase, “started from the bottom now we’re here”? Well, when it comes to achieving celebrity-status, a good chunk of Hollywood’s most profitable stars were once struggling hopefuls just trying to get by while aiming to hit it big. We’ve all heard stories of celebs saying how they gave up everything to follow their ambitions of being a singer or actor, and they did everything in their power to make sure their dreams became a reality. From waiting tables to living out of their cars to spending their last couple of bucks traveling to tinsel town, some stars worked their way from the ground-up in order to get to where they are today. While these stars know that the struggle is real when it comes to finding fame and fortune, other famous faces took a much different path towards success. You might not know it, but there are dozens of silver spoon celebs who were accustomed to a lifestyle of riches and notoriety long before they became household names. Being born into a millionaire – or even billionaire family does have its advantages. For these people, the extra income must be nice but money definitely isn’t the only motive for staying in the spotlight. Here are 15 celebs you didn’t know were rich AF before fame.
15 Gigi Hadid
Gigi Hadid is currently one of the hottest and most highly sought-after fashion models in the entire world, but her rise to the top is nothing out of the ordinary for the exotic beauty. Gigi comes from an extremely affluent family and their wealth has never been much of a secret. While the star has traveled all over the world, her home base is in Beverly Hills. Being part of the elite 90210 zip code is something that Gigi must be accustomed to, because her father, Mohamed Hadid, is a filthy rich real estate developer with a net worth of over $400 million. Hadid has a reputation for building luxury hotels (including the Ritz Carlton) and mansions in the most upscale areas of California. Mohamed even lives in an extravagant $60 million Beverly Hills mansion. Needless to say, this guy has money to blow! Gigi’s mother, Yolanda, was also a former supermodel turned reality star, so she surely has a good chunk of change of her own as well. On top of that, Gigi’s former step-father is famed music producer David Foster who has a personal net worth of over $30 million. It’s safe to say that Gigi Hadid’s multi-million dollar fantasy lifestyle has always been a reality long before she was on the cover of every magazine.
Park Jae-sang, better known simply as his stage name, Psy, exploded on to the music scene in 2012 virtually out of nowhere. His catchy single, “Gangnam Style” became an unexpected overnight sensation and just like that - Psy was an instant international celebrity. Psy was such a success he even managed to break multiple records, including overthrowing Justin Bieber from having the title of “Most Played Video” after receiving over one billion hits. You might think that becoming so rich and famous so fast might have been a bit of an adjustment for the singer, but he had already come from money way before he became an internet star. Psy originally hails from the Gangham District of Seoul, which happens to be one of the wealthiest areas of Korea. The singer’s father, Park Won-Ho, is the executive chairman of a company called DI Corporation, a hugely profitable business that manufactures computer chips. When it comes to making money, it’s definitely a family business. Turns out, Psy, his father, uncle, and grandmother own a combined thirty percent of the company, making them all stinking rich.
13 Ariana Grande
Sure, Ariana Grande may have what it takes to be a successful actress turned singer but this pint-sized powerhouse doesn’t exactly have to perform in order to pay the bills. While her current net worth is valued at an estimated $35 million, Grande is certainly no stranger to living in the lap of luxury. The Florida-native’s parents both boast impressive careers that surely come along with generous pay checks. Ariana’s father, Edward Butera, is the owner of an established graphic design firm based out of Boca Raton. The business developed close working relationship with some pretty high-profile clientele including children’s toy retailer FAO Schwartz as well as famed actor/comedian Eddie Murphy. As if that wasn’t enough to ensure that Ariana comes from money, her mother, Joan Grande, was never lacking when it came to bringing home the bacon. Joan is the CEO of a company that provides alarm systems for the military, including the United States Navy and the Marines. On top of that, the matriarch once served as Ari’s manager and was responsible for the majority of jobs she got in the early phases of her career. Its super safe to say that the Grande family was well-off long before Ariana’s debut single even hit the airwaves.
12 Taylor Swift
With a current net worth of $280 million, it’s safe to say that Taylor Swift is the biggest earner in her family. While Swift has had tremendous success as a recording artist that has resulted in acquiring some major moola, having money is nothing new to the star. Although Taylor likes to mention her humble beginnings as an up-and-coming singer who grew up in Pennsylvania on a quaint Christmas Tree farm, her upbringing was far from typical. The family owned several horses on their large property and they also purchased a second vacation home in New Jersey to relax at during the summer. Taylor’s father, Scott, worked as a financial adviser for Merrill Lynch while her mother, Andrea, worked as a marketing executive. It has long been rumored that Taylor’s wealthy father funded her music career in its early stages, but the investment seems to have paid off astronomically. After all, where would we be without Taylor Swift’s musical catalog of sassy breakup songs?
11 Jordin Sparks
Jordin got her first real taste of personal success at the tender age of seventeen after being crowed the winner of American Idol in 2007. Of course, being on Idol was a major deal for her career as a recording artist, but if she hadn’t been victorious we’re pretty sure she would have found a way to get by. While Sparks was able to prove that she had the makings of a star all on her own, competing on a national level is something that runs through her bloodstream. Jordin’s father, Phillipi Sparks, was famous in his own right as a professional football player. The former cornerback played in the NFL for an impressive nine years and he was definitely no bench-warmer. He was drafted by the New York Giants in 1992 and played there for the majority of his career until signing with the Dallas Cowboys before finally retiring in 2001. Everyone knows pro-athletes are notorious for scoring some seriously hefty contracts when they sign on for a season, and after being in the NFL for almost a decade we’re certain that the Sparks family was rich AF long before Jordin even dreamed of stepping into the spotlight.
10 Adam Levine
Adam Levine found commercial success as the lead singer of the band Maroon 5 and he later went on to become a household name as a coach on the star-search style show, The Voice. Adam’s career seems to be on the rise, and with a net-worth of $60 million we’re sure that he’s enjoying every minute of his mounting fame and fortune. While it must be nice to have a few million in the bank, Levine never really struggled much in the finance department. Growing up, Adam was fortunate enough to be the son of Fred Levine, the founder of the popular M. Frederic clothing chain. Adam always experienced a lavish upbringing due to his family’s riches, and he also had the privilege of attending elite private schools throughout the course of his early life. Levine notoriously attended the prestigious Brentwood School in California where the tuition is upwards of $33,000 per year. While the star is certainly accustomed to the finer things in life, he did manage to meet two of his fellow band-mates during his time at Brentwood so we’d say it was money well spent.
9 Alexandra Daddario
Alexandra Daddario may have had everyone’s jaws falling on the floor when she squeezed herself into a signature skintight red swimsuit for her role in the recent Baywatch movie, but she never really needed the role to make end’s meat. The buxom beauty grew up in Manhattan’s Upper East Side which everyone knows is known for being the rich part of town. Both of her parents were established attorneys and at one point her father was in charge of the New York Police Department’s Counterterrorism unit. The actress attended the finest schools that the city had to offer, including The Professional Children’s School for child actors as well as the reputable Brearley School – both of which cost around $40,000 per year. While it’s already clear that Alexandra has always enjoyed the perks of being wealthy from birth, her current net worth is valued at $4 million so maybe all of those expensive acting schools paid off after all.
8 Darren Criss
Darren Criss first fell into everyone’s good graces while starring on the hit show Glee and has since landed several coveted roles on the stages of Broadway. While all of Darren’s success as an entertainer likely brings in a handsome pay check, the star was rich AF right from the start. Growing up, his father, Charles, was an investment banker as well as the chairman of EastWest Bank. While his position in the banking world may not sound all that exciting at first, Darren’s dad was so well-off that he was able to relocate his entire family to Hawaii when he accepted the role of CEO within the company. On top of all that, Mr. Criss served on the board of directors for the San Francisco Opera – a duty usually reserved for individuals who have been extremely generous benefactors to the organization over the years. Darren’s silver spoon way of life was bestowed upon him as far back as elementary school when he was enrolled in Stuart Hall for Boys, where the tuition rings in at almost $30,000 per year! For elementary school! Judging by the looks of things, Darren didn’t really have to become a big star in order to secure the big bucks.
7 Mike Comrie
Mike Comrie may be known to most people as the ex-husband of Hilary Duff, but the former hockey player definitely didn’t need to marry a celebrity in order to live like one. Comrie made a career for himself in the NHL playing centre for a number of professional teams including the Edmonton Oilers and the Pittsburgh Penguins. As most athletes do, Comrie earned a substantial salary during his time on the ice, including his lucrative three year contract with the Oilers for an admirable $10 million. While those numbers are certainly nothing short of rewarding, Comrie actually comes from a very wealthy background and was super rich prior to playing with the pros. Mike’s father, Bill Comrie, is a high-income businessman who founded a company called The Brick - one of Canada’s largest furniture and home appliance retailers. Mike’s father has a personal net worth estimated at $415 million, which is far from shabby if you ask us! Of course, Mike and his brother will someday inherit their father’s fortune and they will be even richer beyond their wildest dreams.
6 Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Being a struggling actor in Hollywood must be tough, but Seinfeld star Julia Louis-Dreyfus probably can’t relate. Julia, whose best known for playing Elaine Benes on the hugely popular sitcom got her big break due to her landmark role, but she was practically swimming in dough long before she hit the small screen. Not many know that Louis-Dreyfus comes from a long lineage of successful businessmen and bona-fide billionaires. The actress’s father is Gerard Louis-Dreyfus, the chairman of Louis Dreyfus Energy Services with an estimated net worth of over $3.4 billion. Julia’s great-great grandfather, Leopold, was the founder of the Louis Dreyfus Group. The company was founded way back in 1851 and it’s still going strong as the world’s largest cotton and rice trader, as well as the world’s second largest in the sugar market. Endless amounts of money has made its way through Julia’s family for decades, and the star herself has acquired a personal net worth of $200 million. With such an immense cash flow right at her fingertips we’re starting to wonder why she even bothers working at all!
5 Mike Posner
Singer Mike Posner might play-up his Detroit roots to depict a different image to the public, but don’t let his catchy song lyrics fool you. While the Grammy-nominated star does originally hail from the rougher part of Michigan, he was raised in the much more established Southfield area. Posner’s upper-middle class upbringing boasted an average $115,000 annual income in his hometown. We’re convinced that the “Cooler Than Me” crooner strives to have a more edgy story about his youth, but this guy definitely didn’t go to the school of hard-knocks as a child. Contrary to popular belief, Posner actually had it pretty easy in the years before he became a star. His mother was a pharmacist and his father was a successful lawyer, pretty much confirming the fact that Mike and his family weren’t exactly struggling financially. Mike’s father was even a graduate of the distinguished Duke University where tuition is almost $60,000 per year.
4 Paul Giamatti
Veteran actor Paul Giamatti has made a fabulous career for himself with some incredible roles to his credit, but the star was rich AF before he started scoring big roles on the big screen. While Paul has an estimated personal net worth of $25 million, his predecessors were never lacking when it came to bringing home the bacon. Giamatti actually comes from a super ambitious gene pool and his father gave him a whole lot to live up to. Paul’s dad, Angelo Bartlett Giamatti, was a professor of Italian Literature at the prestigious Yale University in Boston. In addition to that, he moved his way up the ladder and went on to become president of the university. Mr. Giamatti was even the seventh commissioner of Major League Baseball, better known as the MLB. Needless to say, Paul’s padre had acquired some serious cashflow over the course of his career, ensuring the fact that the star was treated to a very well-to-do lifestyle prior to catching the fame bug.
3 Anderson Cooper
When it comes to Anderson Cooper, what’s not to love? Not only does the CNN news anchor have a loyal fan-base, but also rakes in a staggering $11 million per year for all of his on-air duties. While Anderson’s salary is certainly something to strive for, it must seem like chump change in comparison to the rest of his family’s massive fortune. The well-known television personality is actually closely related to the infamous Vanderbilt family. Cooper’s mother is Gloria Vanderbilt, a prominent artist, writer, fashion designer, and heiress to a whole lot of cash. She is personally worth an astounding $200 million so we’re pretty confident that Anderson was exposed to a high-profile lifestyle from a very early age. The Vanderbilt empire dates back to the 1800’s when Cooper’s great-great-great grandfather, Cornelius Vanderbilt, struck gold in the shipping and railroad industry. Although Anderson’s mother is worth a pretty penny, he insists that he won’t be inheriting any of it, telling Howard Stern, “My mom's made clear to me that there's no trust fund. There's none of that.” Cooper seems to be just fine without the promise of a hefty inheritance, saying, “I'm doing fine on my own, I don't need any.” Well, we guess it must be easy to turn down a multi-million dollar endowment when you’re already one of the highest-paid news anchors in the country.
2 Armie Hammer
With his good looks, charm, and celebrity status, Armie Hammer might just be the perfect catch. But let’s not forget to add that the fact that Hammer is filthy rich to his long list of promising qualities. By the time the actor had scored some substantial roles in major movies, he had already been accustomed to living large. Armie is actually the great grandson of the late Armand Hammer, a wealthy businessman and established oil tycoon. His great grandfather had an impressive $200 million net worth leading up to his death in 1990, and we’re pretty sure that Armie and his family have enjoyed a comfortable life because of it. Because Armand only had one child, there really aren’t a whole lot of relatives to split the Hammer inheritance between – meaning that the star was almost certainly gifted a worthwhile chunk of loot. While we can bet that Armie’s acting gigs produce a decent amount of money, it’s safe to assume that most of his riches were amassed way before he found fame.
1 Nick Kroll
Nick Kroll may have started out his career as a stand-up comedian, but he has since expanded his line of work into acting, writing, and producing. The creator and star of the sketch comedy series Kroll Show must make some good money now that he’s found commercial success, but Kroll was actually fully loaded way before he hit it big. Few people may know that Nick is actually the son of high-power businessman and billionaire, Jules B. Kroll. Nick’s father built his fortune upon founding Kroll, Inc., a “corporate investigations and risk consulting firm”. After working his tail off for years, Kroll sold the company in 2004 for an astonishing $1.9 billion. We’re pretty sure that Nick Kroll could have done pretty much anything with his life since he comes from some serious dough but he was adamant about carving out a career path of his own in the entertainment industry. Nick will likely inherit his father’s fortune someday, ensuring that he too will become a billionaire in his own right.
Sources: BusinessInsider.com, Madamnoire.com, UsMagazine.com