These Celebs Are Beyond Greedy

Hollywood celebrities come in all different shapes and sizes — and so do their pocketbooks. While some are content to live with their hard-earned success without constantly searching for a higher payout or the next-best luxury item, others let their fame get the best of them. The top one percent seems to be getting richer and richer by the year — as shown by Forbes. In 2021, the magazine's 35th annual list of the world's wealthiest individuals skyrocketed to an unprecedented number of 2,755 — up by 660 billionaires from just the year before. 

As the wealth gap continues to grow between the richest celebrities and the average middle-class American, more criticism exists for these stars' lack of humility. Whether they're fighting for an extra million on a movie deal, evading taxes, taking 30-minute private jet trips, or hoarding their wealth — enough is never enough. As celebrities' wallets grow, so does their list of demands — and inquiring minds want to know who has taken their greed a step too far. These Hollywood stars have made headlines for not just their talents, but for their unquenchable thirst for more. Bigger isn't always better, and some stars have suffered the consequences of their selfish demands. We're taking a look at the greediest celebrities in Hollywood. 

Elon Musk is quick to defend his lifestyle

The sky's never the limit for Elon Musk — and neither is space. Though he continues to dominate the world in wealth and influence, he's no longer the richest man on the planet. As per CNN, the Tesla CEO dropped to the number two spot behind Bernard Arnault, CEO of French luxury brand LVMH. That doesn't mean he has any plans to stop investing in private companies like SpaceX and Neuralink, a company that seeks to put chips in human brains. Musk is worth a whopping $126 billion as of this writing, the bulk of which is involved in his Tesla company.

Many consider the billionaire to be greedy, but he has no problem defending his wealth. When asked in a TED interview by Chris Anderson how the Twitter CEO feels about single individuals having the same amount of money as a billion of the world's poorest individuals, Musk didn't miss a beat. "For sure, it would be very problematic if I was consuming, you know, billions of dollars a year in personal consumption. But that is not the case. In fact, I don't even own a home right now. I'm literally staying at friends' places ... I don't have a yacht, I really don't take vacations. It's not as though my personal consumption is high."

Musk has also been accused of erratic behavior on Twitter that's angered Tesla investors, but the CEO assured his critics saying he has yet to miss a major meeting at the company since buying Twitter. 

Kim Kardashian is dodging Ray J's allegations

Kim Kardashian stopped at nothing to achieve her status as a pop culture icon. Long gone are the days she was cleaning Paris Hilton's closest and vying for the day she would be a household name. Kardashian has made it — but the journey to her status as a successful billionaire has been highly criticized. No one can forget the star riding the coattails of her infamous sex tape to fame and fortune — and especially not her then-boyfriend and co-star Ray J. The singer is calling out his ex for greed and shamelessness in what he calls a sex-tape deal that Kardashian and her mother Kris Jenner had been behind all along.

Ray J, whose real name is William Ray Norwood Jr., claimed the "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" star has been lying for years about the tape's release. "'I've never leaked anything. I have never leaked a sex tape in my life. It has never been a leak. It's always been a deal and a partnership between Kris Jenner and Kim and me and we've always been partners since the beginning of this thing," he told the Daily Mail. Norwood went on to admit he feels like a victim of the tape, which he claims stunted his career and caused many to blame him for its leak. Conversely, Kardashian went on to become one of Hollywood's biggest celebrities, with a $1.4 billion net worth. As of the time of writing, The SKIMS founder has yet to address Norwood's allegations. 

Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag spent millions on luxury

They are largely considered to be the most hated couple in reality television history. But for Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, the rumor mill didn't matter so much as the paychecks continued to roll in. The couple, who is most known for their time appearing on the hit MTV show "The Hills", remember their glory days of getting six-figure paychecks for episode appearances fondly. Those days are long over, however, as greed got the best of their fortune, once valued at $10 million dollars. 

"I felt like I was someone I wasn't. We had business managers who told us to stop spending but we acted like we knew what we were doing," Montag told People. Her luxury wardrobe, a team of bodyguards, thousands of dollars in wine, and a million-dollar crystal collection are just some of the items Montag and Pratt were accustomed to spending money on during the peak of their reality TV careers. 

Their hunger for fame and their expensive taste ultimately got the best of them, as the couple had to move into Pratt's family home to live rent-free after squandering their million-dollar accounts. Having tasted the bitter consequences of their greedy endeavors, the couple has admitted to resorting to desperate measures to make money. In 2010, they revealed that they staged a media ploy faking their breakup and divorce in order to make money.

Nicolas Cage went bankrupt thanks to his spending habits

Nicolas Cage's greed got the best of him when the actor went bankrupt after his endless buying sprees. The actor once had a $150 million dollar fortune to his name, thanks to his many roles in high-profile films throughout the 90s and early 2000s. His fame and fortune were short-lived, however. His status as one of Hollywood's highest-paid actors resulted in property foreclosures and IRS debt. 

As per what the Oscar winner spent his fortune on, the list goes on. His assets once included 15 luxury properties, European castles, a deserted island in the Bahamas, a nine-foot burial tomb, a former Iranian shah's Lamborghini, a pet octopus, and more. He even outbid fellow actor Leonardo DiCaprio for a 70-million-year-old dinosaur skull. The "National Treasure" actor blamed his dire status on his money manager, saying in court documents that he sent him "down a path toward financial ruin" (via CBS News).

As of the time of writing, Cage resides in Las Vegas, citing Nevada's tax laws for his choice of residence (the state has no income tax due to the heavy tourism.) He starred in the 2022 film "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent," a parody that celebrates the actor's numerous roles over the years. As for what he would tell a younger version of himself, Cage told People, "I would say it's gonna be alright ... I would say that we're going to make some movies down the road that you're going to have that feeling again."

Hilary Duff knows her worth

Many of us remember growing up with Hilary Duff gracing our television screens in "Lizzie McGuire." But everyone's favorite fictional teen character may have gotten swept away on her wild ride to stardom. After "The Lizzie McGuire Movie" was a box-office hit, Duff's mother Susan revealed her daughter walked away from the franchise after the parties couldn't come to a financial agreement. "Disney thought they'd be able to bully us into accepting whatever offer they wanted to make, and they couldn't," Susan told Entertainment Weekly. "We walked away from a sequel. They walked away from a franchise." 

Call it greed, or knowing her worth, Duff left the network that launched her career. The nail in the coffin for the Disney star turned out to be a $500,000 bonus that was promised to Hilary once the film grossed $50 million. When Susan demanded the money immediately, the network walked away. Hilary was set to revisit her famous fictional character in a 2020 Disney Plus reboot of the series that followed Lizzie McGuire's life as an adult, but the plans were scrapped. "I think they got spooked," Hilary told Women's Health Magazine, adding, "She had to be 30 years old doing 30-year-old things. She didn't need to be doing bong rips and having one-night stands all the time, but it had to be authentic." Hilary went on to play the lead role in the 2022 Hulu Original series "How I Met Your Father," instead.

Bruce Willis backed out of projects if he wasn't paid enough

Bruce Willis is best known for starring in thriller or action films like "Die Hard" or "The Sixth Sense." He joined "The Expendables" cast as the CIA operative "Mr. Church" in his quest to defeat a Latin dictator alongside his band of mercenaries. He reprised his role again in "The Expendables 2," only to bow out of the third installment of the franchise. As per The Hollywood Reporter, the actor felt like he wasn't getting enough money for filming "Expendables 3" in Bulgaria. Allegedly, he decided to back out on the project after he was offered $3 million for four days of consecutive work after threatening to walk if he didn't receive $4 million. 

His co-star and "Expendables" frontman Sylvester Stallone didn't take too kindly to his decision. The actor took to Twitter to announce Willis would be replaced by Harrison Ford. "WILLIS OUT... HARRISON FORD IN !!!! GREAT NEWS !!!!! Been waiting years for this!!!!" Stallone tweeted at the time. He followed it up with a dig at Willis, writing, "GREEDY AND LAZY ...... A SURE FORMULA FOR CAREER FAILURE." 

In 2022 the "Die Hard" actor announced his retirement from acting after he was diagnosed with aphasia. The disorder is caused by damage in the brain that impacts language and cognitive abilities. "As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him," his family announced in an Instagram post.

Jennifer Lopez has performed for problematic and wealthy politicians

Jennifer Lopez may still be "Jenny from the Block," but that doesn't mean she hasn't been involved in Hollywood greed. Activists for The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) called the actor out for accepting money from what they call "some of the world's worst thugs." The "Wedding Planer" star reportedly made more than $10 million in performances for foreign dictators and diplomats. According to the Independent, Lopez performed for Turkmenistan dictator Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, a country that HRF says "the authorities continue to use imprisonment as a tool for political retaliation." Lopez's publicist Mark Young tried to put out the media fire by saying at the time "had there been knowledge of human rights issues of any kind, Jennifer would not have attended."

Thor Halvorssen, president of HRF, says Lopez's list of alleged shady business deals goes on and on. According to HRF, the "Hustlers" star sang in Belarus, the only dictatorship in Europe, and was booked to sing for the birthday of Russian bureaucrat Alexander Yelkin, but the event was canceled following his arrest. Halvorssen responded to Lopez's claims she was unaware of the human rights issues by saying that it "may be credible in one instance [but] beggar belief in light of a pattern of repeated behaviour. This is not about ignorance, it's about greed," adding that the singer "can hardly claim ignorance of the nature and impact of her actions as she cozies up to dictators and their enablers."

Paris Hilton's own sister has called her out for her greed

Paris Hilton is best known for being a famous heiress to the massive Hilton hotels fortune, and she's never been one to shy away from her lavish lifestyle. She got her start in modeling in her teen years, signing with Donald Trump's management agency and walking in New York Fashion Week. Her real skyrocket to fame was a leaked sex tape in 2003 that sent the media tabloids into a spiral. 

All that fame must have gotten to her head, however, after reports claimed that the star gave a long list of demands on set of the 2010 film "The Other Guys." As per Page Six, a source claimed the "Stars Are Blind" singer handed over "a three-page list of demands — including live lobsters to be prepared fresh when she's ready to eat and a bottle of Grey Goose vodka — all for just one day on the set." Despite claims of her demands, a rep for Hilton denied all the demands. 

Hilton's own sister, Nicky Hilton, called out Paris in the YouTube documentary "This is Paris," telling her "You're greedy" when the "Simple Life" star admitted she didn't want to stop working until she became a billionaire. The heiress admitted in the documentary that she hasn't taken a vacation since she was 15. 

Donald Trump's tax debacle

It's no question that President Donald Trump has been called out for his greed, especially when it comes to his tax returns — or lack thereof. As of 2023, the former President's company, the Trump Organization, has been on trial for tax evasion. According to a report by The Guardian, the prosecution team claims that Trump avoided paying taxes by giving a close executive up to $1.76 million in perks like apartments, luxury cars, and college tuition handouts.

Prosecutor Susan Hoffinger opened her case by saying, "This case is about greed and cheating — cheating on taxes," who argued that the former President was at the head of his organizations during the times of their most fraudulent activities. The defense team alleges Trump is not to blame for the actions of former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg. "So when the prosecutor said the Trump Organization did something illegal for Allen Weisselberg, what they really mean is that Allen Weisselberg did something illegal," defense attorney Susan Necheles said during the trial. "The evidence will show the prosecutors' entire theory of the case makes no sense." 

The New York Times reported that Trump paid no income tax for a decade between 2000 and 2015, and paid just $750 in income taxes in 2016 and 2017. The newspaper likened his strategy to "portray a businessman who takes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year yet racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes."

Drake's decked out private jet

Canadian-born rapper Drake is no stranger to controversy. Fans are calling out the artist for reports that revealed his private plane was used for a series of flights that lasted less than 20 minutes. Per The Guardian, the rapper's plane was used for a seven-minute flight, a 12-minute flight, and a 14-minute flight, all between Toronto and Hamilton. According to a since-deleted tweet, Drake, whose real name is Aubrey Drake Graham, is responsible for his private jet burning through 426 gallons of fuel and four tons of carbon emissions. 

Drake attempted to rewrite the narrative by responding in a since-deleted Instagram post, writing, "This is just them moving planes to whatever airport they are being stored at for anyone who was interested in the logistics ... nobody takes that flight." While some of his fans supported his claim, others responded by saying that his actions are even more wasteful, given the plane had nobody to transport. "Drake's living in his own meme if he thinks an empty private jet flight is better than a wasteful one with a celebrity on board," said Scott Hochberg, a transportation attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Drake's private plane "Air Drake" is worth $185 million, and it was originally designed to seat hundreds of passengers before being outfitted to fit the rapper's desires. As per Aviation Nepal, the jet is complete with luxury bathrooms, gold finishings, a full kitchen, entertainment rooms, and private suites. 

Kylie Jenner has been criticized for her tone-deaf antics

Fans have criticized makeup mogul and mega-celebrity Kylie Jenner for being a bit out of touch. The "KYLIE" founder came under fire for use of her private jet for trips that could have easily been made by car. According to a since-deleted tweet obtained by BuzzFeed News, the account CelebJets revealed that Jenner's jet had been making 17-minute trips. The trip in question, from Camarillo to Van Nuys, would have taken around 40 minutes by car. While it's unknown if the "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" star was on the plane at the time, fans are calling her a "climate criminal" for her greed and lavish lifestyle.

But her flight miles weren't the only thing fans were upset about. The mom-of-two was criticized in 2021 after she posted a GoFundMe campaign on her Instagram story in order to help raise money for makeup artist Samuel Rauda. As per CNN, the since-expired story caused a firestorm from fans who accused the reality star of not paying the medical bills herself. The initial goal of the campaign was $10,000, to which an account under the name of Jenner donated $5,000. "Kylie Jenner really asked us for money like we made the Forbes list," one user tweeted in response.