The Highest-Paid Celebrities In The World
Some of the names on this list will surprise you!
Every year, Forbes publishes its list of the world’s highest-paid celebrities, based on their pre-tax earnings over a 12-month period (June 2018 to June 2019). Otherwise known as “The Celebrity 100,” the list features all the big names in music, movies, fashion and sport — as well as a couple of surprises.
Here are the top 30 highest-paid celebrities in the world today. Do you think they deserve their spot?
30. Metallica – $68.5 million
Heavy metal legends Metallica have raked in a not-too-shabby $68.5 million in 2019, according to Forbes — largely due to the ongoing WorldWired Tour, which kicked off in 2016 and has dates scheduled right through to April 2020. On Oct. 9, the band’s “one-night-only cinematic event, “Metallica & San Francisco Symphony: S&M²,” will be screened in over 3000 theaters worldwide. The band — currently comprised of founding members James Hetfield (vocalist/guitarist) and Lars Ulrich (drummer) as well as Kirk Hammett (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Robert Trujillo (bass, backing vocals) — donate generously to charity. They revealed on Twitter that they had pledged over $1.6 million to worthwhile causes during their 2019 European Tour via their All Within My Hands foundation, which was set up in 2017.
29. James Patterson – $70 million
With 2019 earnings of $70 million, James Patterson is the highest-paid author in the U.S. The bestselling adult fiction novel of 2018, “The President Is Missing,” which Patterson co-wrote with Bill Clinton, is being adapted for the small screen by Showtime. In 2018, Patterson ranked first on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid authors, his 10th time in the top spot in the list’s 20-year history. If you’re an aspiring writer, Patterson is an inspiration: 31 publishers turned down his first book, but he never gave up. “Don’t take ‘no’ when your gut tells you ‘yes,'” he told Forbes in 2017.
28. Sean Combs – $70 million
Sean Combs — a.k.a. Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Puffy or Puff — tied with James Patterson on the Forbes list. His 2019 earnings of $70 million came from the streaming of his back catalog and the success of his various business ventures, which include Ciroc vodka and DeLeón tequila. In 2018, Forbes estimated Combs’ net worth at $825 million, making him the second-richest hip-hop recording artist, after Jay-Z.
27. Ryan Seacrest – $71.5 million
There’s a lot more to Ryan Seacrest that his “American Idol” hosting gig. He also hosts the daily “Live!” alongside Kelly Ripa, has his own radio show, works as an executive producer on shows such as “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and Netflix’s “Insatiable” and has his own product lines. Menswear collection Ryan Seacrest Distinction launched with Macy’s in 2014; skincare line Polished for Men is the result of Seacrest’s friendship with Dr. Harold Lancer. The sum total of these income streams? A cool $71.5 million in 2019.
26. Kim Kardashian West – $72 million
Kim Kardashian West has used her platform as a reality TV star to make a fortune, taking home $72 million in 2019. Aside from her earnings from social media sponsorship, she has put her name — and body — to emojis and a mobile game. But most of her money comes from her cosmetics company KKW Beauty, which turned over more than $100 million in 2018. Kardashian West now plans to become a lawyer — but we’re guessing she’s not doing it for the money.
25. Drake – $75 million
Hip-hop star Drake took home $75 million in 2019 — a lot less than his 2017 earnings of $94 million, but more than the $47 million he saw in 2018. Money aside, he’s still the world’s most-streamed musician across all genres, with a staggering 23 billion streams in a 12-month period. In early 2019, Drake hit Europe with his Assassination Vacation tour, which surely helped pad his bottom line.
24. Chris Hemsworth – $76.4 million
Chris Hemsworth has come a long way from his role in the Australian TV show “Home and Away.” Thanks to his recurring role as Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, he’s become one of Hollywood’s biggest earners. According to Forbes, he earned $76.4 million in 2019 — up from $64.5 million in 2018.
23. Stephen Curry – $79.8 million
Basketball icon Stephen Curry signed the NBA’s first $200 million contract in 2017 and claims the league’s top salary, but he also generates a huge income off the court. His production company, Unanimous Media, has a development deal with Sony Pictures — its first movie, “Breakthrough,” was released in April 2019 to positive reviews and grossed more than $50 million worldwide. Curry also ranks ninth on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid athletes in 2019.
22. Ellen DeGeneres – $80.5 million
Everyone’s favorite talk show queen Ellen DeGeneres made $80.5 million in 2019 from hosting her show, producing other shows like “Little Big Shots,” and from her product lines at PetSmart and Bed, Bath & Beyond. In 2018, DeGeneres made history as the first woman to receive $20 million for a Netflix stand-up special, which boosted her earnings for that year to $87.5 million and earned her a spot as the 15th-highest-paid celebrity. She also ranked 63rd on Forbes’ list of America’s self-made women in 2019.
21. Beyoncé Knowles – $81 million
Thanks to her On The Run II stadium tour with husband Jay-Z, which grossed more than $250 million, the live album “Homecoming,” a partnership with Adidas to relaunch her athleticwear line Ivy Park and a voice role as Nala in the “Lion King” remake, Beyoncé Knowles earned $81 million in 2019. A Netflix special about her 2018 Coachella performance, also called “Homecoming,” was nominated for an Emmy in 2019. In August 2019, Forbes ranked Beyoncé as the second-highest-earning female musician, after Taylor Swift.
20. Jay-Z – $81 million
Coincidentally, Beyoncé’s husband Jay-Z earned the same amount as she did in 2019. Billionaire music mogul and savvy investor Jay-Z makes millions thanks to his stakes in global companies like Uber and his liquor ventures, such as Armand de Brignac champagne and D’Ussé cognac, which is a joint venture with Bacardi. It’s no wonder power couple Bey and Jay are considered one of the world’s richest celebrity couples — in June 2019, Forbes ranked them 10th on their richest self-made couples list due to their estimated combined net worth of $1.4 billion.
19. Elton John – $84 million
Music legend Elton John, who earned $84 million in 2019, is reaping the rewards from his final tour, the Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour. The tour will consist of more than 300 shows worldwide and conclude in 2021. The 72-year-old is also writing the music for the upcoming Broadway musical adaption of “The Devil Wears Prada.” In 2016, Elton told The Telegraph that he wasn’t going to leave his entire fortune to his children (sons Zachary and Elijah), saying, “you have to have some semblance of normality, some respect for money, some respect for work.”
18. Rush Limbaugh – $87 million
He may not be a worldwide icon like Beyoncé or Elton John, but conservative talk radio host and self-proclaimed “Doctor of Democracy” Rush Limbaugh has been on the air for more than 30 years, with up to 27 million listeners tuning in to “The Rush Limbaugh Show” every week. Limbaugh also earns royalties from seven books, including five in the Adventures of Rush Revere children’s series. Forbes estimates his 2019 earnings at $87 million.
17. LeBron James – $89 million
Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James signed a $153 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018. As well as boasting the league’s top endorsement portfolio, James runs his own production company, SpringHill Entertainment, and a media company, Uninterrupted. With his partners, he also owns 14 Blaze Pizza franchises in Chicago and seven in South Florida. James is a regular on “world’s richest” lists — in 2019, he claimed the top spot on Forbes’ list of the NBA’s highest-paid players and ranked eighth on its highest-paid athletes list.
16. Aaron Rodgers – $89.3 million
Aaron Rodgers, considered by many to be one of the best NFL quarterbacks of all time, has a 2019 base salary of $20 million from the Green Bay Packers, which is topped up by his earnings from business interests, including a $50 million venture and growth-stage fund he launched with Roth Capital. In April 2018, Rodgers became a limited partner in the Milwaukee Bucks ownership group, making him the first active NFL player with an ownership stake in an NBA franchise. He ranks seventh in Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid athletes.
15. Dwayne Johnson – $89.4 million
He started his career in the wrestling ring, but Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has made his riches from Hollywood. He’s the highest-paid actor in the world, commanding an upfront salary of up to $23.5 million (his highest to date) for the forthcoming “Jumanji: The Next Level.” He also stars in HBO’s “Ballers,” hosts the NBC game show “Titan Games,” and has his own Under Armor line.
14. Russell Wilson – $89.5 million
Russell Wilson became the NFL’s highest-paid player when he signed a four-year, $140-million contract extension with the Seahawks. Wilson is also the CEO of brand management firm West2East Empire and is an investor in the Portland Diamond Project, which aims to bring an MLB team to Oregon. In April 2019, Wilson and his wife Ciara announced their joint production company, Why Not You Productions. “We want to be able to impact lives,” Wilson told The Hollywood Reporter. “That’s what we want to do at the end of the day — even from the kids’ space. We just want to tell stories that connect with the world and to the emotions.”
13. J.K. Rowling – $92 million
The author of the Harry Potter book series, who famously started writing the tale of the boy wizard in an Edinburgh cafe when she was a broke single mom, is the highest-paid author of 2019. However, the bulk of J.K. Rowling’s $92 million earnings this year didn’t come from book sales but from theme parks, merchandise and theatrical productions. The two-part play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” clocked a record-breaking $2.3 million in Broadway ticket sales in a single week and is the most awarded West End play in the history of the Olivier Awards.
12. Howard Stern – $93 million
Thanks to an eight-figure contract with SiriusXM, Howard Stern is the world’s highest-paid radio host. However, his earnings may plummet in 2021 as he revealed he may retire when his radio contract expires in December 2020. In May 2019, Stern’s first book in more than 20 years, “Howard Stern Comes Again,” debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times’ nonfiction bestseller list.
11. Roger Federer – $93.4 million
Roger Federer’s prize money of $7.4 million and endorsements worth $86 million make him the top-earning tennis player of 2019. In 2018, he signed a multimillion-dollar deal with luggage brand Rimowa last year, joining the likes of Rolex and Mercedes-Benz in his already impressive endorsement portfolio. Currently ranked the No. 3 men’s tennis player in the world, Federer has also raised more than $40 million for charity through his eponymous foundation.
10. Canelo Alvarez – $94 million
In October 2018, boxer Canelo Alvarez entered into the richest contract in sports history, signing with sports streaming service DAZN for his next five years of fights. The $365 million deal should see Alvarez pocket at least $35 million per fight. It’s no surprise, therefore, that he’s ranked fourth on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid athletes.
9. Dr. Phil McGraw – $95 million
He may not be a practicing doctor, but as the world’s most famous psychologist, TV’s “Dr. Phil” has made millions from the syndicated talk show that bears his name, commanding an upfront fee as well as a share of advertising revenue and product placement income. McGraw is also an executive producer on “The Bull” and “The Doctors,” and launched the Doctor on Demand app in 2013. In 2018, McGraw signed a new deal with CBS Television Distribution to host “Dr. Phil” through 2023.
8. The Eagles – $100 million
The Eagles (Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, Vince Gill and Deacon Frey) carried on touring after the death of one of their founding members, Glenn Frey, in 2016. In 2018 and 2019, their An Evening With The Eagles Tour grossed more than $3.5 million per tour stop. This makes them the highest-earning band on the Forbes list, and they show no signs of slowing down. On Sept. 27-28, they will perform their 1976 album “Hotel California” in its entirety at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, as well as their greatest hits.
7. Neymar – $105 million
Soccer star Neymar is not only one of the highest-paid athletes in the world — he’s the seventh-highest-earning celebrity of 2019, according to Forbes. In 2017 he signed a five-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain worth $350 million in salary, following the most expensive transfer in the world from Barcelona, who received $263 million from the French club. In 2017, Neymar was listed by TIME as one of the most influential people in the world.
6. Cristiano Ronaldo – $109 million
Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo may have taken a pay cut to join Juventus in 2018 after nine years with Real Madrid, but he still earns $64 million a year from the four-year deal. Ronaldo also rakes in millions annually from endorsements. His most notable sponsorship deal is a lifetime contract with Nike, estimated to be worth around $1 billion.
5. Ed Sheeran – $110 million
British singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran has had a very profitable couple of years thanks to The Divide Tour, which he wrapped up this summer after more than two years on the road. It took in more than $600 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing tour of 2018, according to industry analyst Pollstar. One of Sheeran’s most recent projects is a compilation album titled “No. 6 Collaborations Project,” which features Bruno Mars, Eminem, Stormzy, Cardi B, Camila Cabello and Justin Bieber.
4. Lionel Messi – $127 million
Messi has played for Barcelona since 2003 and his current contract, which will see him through 2020-21, pays him more than $80 million per year. The soccer star also has a lifetime deal with Adidas, believed to make him at least $12 million per year. Other endorsement deals include Huawei, Gatorade and Pepsi. Unsurprisingly, Messi tops the Forbes list of the highest-paid athletes in the world.
3. Kanye West – $150 million
Kanye West’s 2019 earnings of $150 million make his wife Kim Kardashian West’s pale in comparison. West is an award-winning performer, producer and hip-hop artist, but it’s footwear that has propelled him to third place on the Forbes list. His Yeezy line for Adidas is a huge earner thanks to a per-shoe royalty of 15% on wholesale, plus a marketing fee. “Yeezy is the Lamborghini of shoes,” West declared. But Yeezy offers more than sneakers; there’s also an apparel line, which West owns outright.
2. Kylie Jenner – $170 million
With a real-time net worth of $1 billion (as of publication) and 2019 earnings of $170 million, Kylie Jenner has proven herself to be much more than Kim and Khloe’s little sister. At 21, she’s the youngest self-made billionaire of all time, with a beauty line, Kylie Cosmetics, that turned over around $360 million in 2018. In May 2019, Jenner announced the launch of her vegan Kylie Skin line, and she appears to have her sights set on a baby line in the near future. In other words, she’s just getting started.
1. Taylor Swift – $185 million
Singer Taylor Swift is the world’s highest-earning celebrity in 2019, partly due to her 2018 Reputation Stadium Tour, which grossed $266.1 million to become the highest-grossing tour in U.S. history. Swift recently revealed that she intends to re-record her entire back catalog after losing the rights to her songs to pop mogul Scooter Braun as part of Braun’s $300 million acquisition of Swift’s former label Big Machine Label Group. Swift’s latest album “Lover” (her seventh full-length studio recording), racked up the biggest first-week sales of the year so far — in a single day. It’s not the first time Swift has topped the Forbes list — she was No. 1 in 2016 with $170 million, thanks to The 1989 World Tour.