The most ridiculous celebrity paychecks ever
Money is the true name of the game in Hollywood. While some claim cash is the root of all evil, these celebrities are probably laughing all the way to the bank. From mobile games to sports drinks, the following paydays were shocking, even by showbiz standards.
When Perry landed a judging role on the American Idol reboot in 2017, she reportedly banked a cool $25 million to appear on the singing competition show.
“I’m really proud that, as a woman, I got paid. And you know why? I got paid like more than like pretty much any guy that’s been on that show,” the “Roar” singer told 103.5 KTU (via E! News). “And, by the way, I love men. So I’m a paid woman and I’m ready for a beautiful man.”
Perry said she’d been in negotiations with the show for several years, but the timing was never quite right until now. The program will return on ABC in 2018. “We hit the jackpot with Katy,” said ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey (via Entertainment Weekly). “She is a songwriter, and to have someone like her on the panel is fantastic. This is a business. We need to make sure we make the right decision so the show can be financially viable, so it will have a place on ABC for years to come.”
Before Perry, there was Carey—Mariah Carey. In 2012, Fox was shopping for a new judge for its American Idol series. Jennifer Lopez had left and a new diva was needed to fill her seat. According to TMZ, Idol tapped Carey to the tune of $18 million. At the time, it was the biggest paycheck any singer had ever earned in reality TV. According to Spin, that salary broke down to $450,000 per episode or a whopping $144,000 per day of filming.
Just because Carey is no longer on reality TV, don’t assume she’s not pulling in big numbers. According to the New York Post, a Russian billionaire paid Carey and legendary singer Elton John more than $4 million just to perform as his granddaughter’s wedding in 2017.
Don’t forget about Dr. Dre. The rapper and music executive Jimmy Iovine sold their headphone company Beats Electronic to Apple for a cool $3 billion in 2014, reported Forbes. The deal reportedly included $2.6 billion in cash up front and another $400 million in stock. Both Dr. Dre and Iovine assumed roles in the Apple company.
In the months and weeks that followed, Dr. Dre labeled himself “the first billionaire in hip-hop,” reported the Los Angeles Times. “I’ve been living the American Dream for over 25 years—just being able to do what I do, be creative and make money out of it, it’s incredible,” he told The Guardian. Reflecting on his rags to riches biography, Dr. Dre said, “I could never have imagined where I am now.”
Sofia Vergara is more than a pretty face. In 2017, the Colombian-born bombshell was named the highest-paid television actress for the sixth year in a row with a paycheck of $41.5 million. Although she and Modern Family co-star Julie Bowen make the same per episode, it’s Vergara’s lengthy list of endorsements that line her pockets. She’s put her face on everything from coffeemakers to Covergirl makeup to dandruff shampoo.
From 2011 to 2016, she earned a total of $157.5 million pretax, and an estimated 60 percent of that dough comes from endorsements and licensing deals, reported Forbes. “Acting was what she loved, but she knew she wasn’t going to make money on it, so her entrepreneurialism kicked in,” said longtime friend and business manager Luis Balaguer.
Vergara has appeared in ads for Rooms To Go, McDonald’s, Cerveza Aguila beer, Bally Total Fitness, Quaker Oats, and even a thyroid medication called Synthroid. “Even now, our attention is on the people watching Modern Family and how to appeal to them outside of the show, too,” Balaguer said. “Our endorsement department is a well-oiled machine.”
There is no stopping this human money machine. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a boxer best known for his ostentatious display of wealth. Mayweather walked away from his August 2017 bout against mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor with at least $100 million (final tallies could reach up to $200 million) reported ESPN. For his previous high-profile fight with Manny Pacquiao in 2015, Mayweather was paid a stunning $250 million.
It’s no secret that Mayweather likes to flaunt his money. “Cash is king,” he told Jimmy Kimmel in 2017. “I’m the human ATM.” By the way, sometimes the boxer needs more cash than an ATM can handle. “When you order millions of dollars a Brinks truck comes to your home,” he said, humbly, of course.
Kim Kardashian, whose ticket to fame and fortune was a sex tape that prompted a reality show, is swimming in money. According to Forbes, between June 2014 and July 2016, her Kim Kardashian: Hollywood mobile game generated $160 million in revenue. In other words, an avatar Kim made the real Kim about $45 million. That hefty payday landed Kardashian on the cover of Forbes magazine.
“Such a tremendous honor to be on the cover of @forbes! I never dreamed this would happen & know my Dad would be proud,” she tweeted. And for good measure she added, “#NotBadForAGirlWithNoTalent.”
Kardashian moved into makeup in the summer of 2017. Are you ready for this? She earned $14.4 million from selling 300,000 beauty kits in a matter of hours, reported Time. Not bad at all.
Rapper 50 Cent (real name Curtis Jackson III) is one smart businessman. In 2004 he turned his genuine love for Vitaminwater into a lucrative business deal that put him on the map. According to The Washington Post, 50 Cent was a health nut who did not drink alcohol and considered Vitaminwater a great way to hydrate after his intense workouts. With the help of his business partner, 50 Cent became the face of the product in exchange for a reputed 10 percent stake in the company.
Fast forward to 2007: Coca-Cola purchased Vitaminwater’s parent company, Glaceau, and that sale pushed 50 Cent’s income to the stars. The “In Da Club” star reportedly pocketed between $60 and $100 million in the sale, which pushed his net worth toward a half billion dollars, reported The Washington Post.
“I took quarter-water, sold it in bottles for two bucks. Coca-Cola came and bought it for billions. What the f**k?” he rapped in “I Get Money.”
Unfortunately, some eight years later, 50 Cent was struggling to find two quarters to rub together. In 2015, the rapper filed for bankruptcy. According to The Guardian, he claimed to have $36 million in debt with less than $20 million in assets, but by February 2017, he’d reportedly paid off his debts (ahead of schedule) using more than $8 million of his own money and more than $13 million received from a legal malpractice suit. At the time of this writing, his net worth was a hovering around $20 million.
Seriously, what the…?
The term shrewd businesswoman rightfully belongs to The Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel. According to Forbes, Frankel sold her Skinnygirl liquor company to Beam Suntory for a reported $100 million in 2011. “It turns out that low-calorie margaritas may just be the gift that keeps on giving,” Forbes said. “Rather than accept the purchase of Skinnygirl as a lump sum of easy money, Frankel decided to bet on the business and continues to get payouts if Skinnygirl alcohol products sell well.” She reportedly still owns the brand name too, and as luck would have it, that name remains one of the top-selling reduced-calorie alcohol products.
“It would be great for Beam to sell Skinnygirl shot glasses as a complement to the cocktail,” she told Forbes in 2016. “But they can’t. Only I can.” In classic Housewives style, she added: “What’s the point of being on TV if you don’t have something to sell?”
George Clooney has it all; devilishly good looks, an incredibly talented and intelligent wife, two beautiful kids, an enviable acting career…oh, and a little tequila biz on the side worth $1 billion.
According to CNN, Clooney sold his tequila brand Casamigos to Diageo for $1 billion in 2017. “If you asked us four years ago if we had a billion dollar company, I don’t think we would have said yes,” Clooney said. The actor and two partners launched the liquor company in 2013. “We’re not going anywhere. We’ll still be very much a part of Casamigos. Starting with a shot tonight. Maybe two,” Clooney said after the sale. The new owners claimed Clooney will remain involved to share his “leadership and vision.”
Could he spread a lil’ of that leadership and vision over here as well?
Matt Damon has been a bankable Hollywood star since the ’90s, so it’s no shock he gets paid the big bucks for even a small amount of work. According to People, Damon netted $3 million for a Nespresso ad that lasted just 20 seconds. That turns out to be a stunning $150,000 per second of screen time! That commercial, which co-starred George Clooney, reportedly only aired in the UK. Yup, all that money and it wasn’t even international.
To add insult to injury, someone did the math on Damon’s 2016 Jason Bourne blockbuster. According to Vanity Fair, Damon has only about 25 lines in the entire film, but he picked up a fat check of at least $25 million for his time. That turns out to be $1 million per line.
We. Can’t. Even.