Celebrity Kids Who Became Richer Than Their Famous Parents

"Nepo baby" is currently the pejorative buzzword being touted across the Twitterverse and in snarky gossip forums. At the end of 2022, Vulture even did a profile on so-called nepo babies taking over Hollywood, which infamously led to an unhinged Twitter tirade from Bono's daughter, Eve Hewson. "2023 Goals: be successful enough to get recognised as a nepo baby," a salty Hewson tweeted, as social media users collectively cringed. 

Moreover, a number of celeb kids have voiced their unpopular, and rather misguided, opinions on the matter, with the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis and Kate Hudson being derided for their hot takes. With all this talk of nepotism and showbiz industries supposedly favoring the privileged as opposed to the most capable, it begs the question as to whether the kids of A-listers are easy targets and their criticism undue.

While there's no denying that social privilege plays a major role in one's access to opportunity, it's unfair to suggest that the kids of the rich and famous are all talentless hacks. For every entitled Eric Douglas (he famously ordered a stand-up audience to heed him because he's the son of Kirk Douglas), there's an esteemed acting dynasty like the Barrymores or the Fondas. And in some instances, the offspring of A-listers end up becoming more famous, and hence richer, than their vaunted parents. There's no bank of mom and dad for these super rich celebs: let's find out which celebrity kids became richer than their famous parents.

Miley Cyrus made more dough than her father ever could

Back in 1992, Billy Ray Cyrus was telling the world about his "Achy Breaky Heart," in turn becoming a breakout country music star. He earned a whopping $40 million from the song, which was responsible for a resurgence in line dancing in the States, per ABC News. Despite living the high life, Billy Ray decided to leave private jets and champagne behind to focus on caring for his family. Soon enough, however, his daughter would surpass his fame and fortune.

Miley Cyrus first rose to prominence as a teen, thanks to the Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana," which debuted in 2006. Thereafter, she rocketed to stardom, and her father's legacy was swiftly overshadowed. Speaking to GQ in 2011, Billy Ray lamented that his daughter's fame had destroyed his family. He also noted that while Miley was becoming incredibly rich at the tender age of 18, he hadn't profited off her. "You got a lot of people have made percentages off of her," he said. "I'm proud to say to this day I've never made one commissioned dollar, or dime, off of my daughter." By this point, Miley was earning an eye-watering $134 million, per Forbes.

While Billy Ray has floundered, Miley has enjoyed the longevity that her one-hit-wonder dad never did. As Stylecaster notes, she is in turn far richer than her dad ever was. While Billy Ray is worth a modest $20 million, his daughter is worth an incredible $160 million.

Angelina Jolie has double her dad's net worth

Before he became a conservative talking head, Jon Voight was a highly popular actor, starring in classic films such as "Midnight Cowboy" and "Deliverance." The latter made an impressive $46 million and Voight soon became an A-list star, per The Guardian. These days, however, his fame has been overshadowed by that of his estranged daughter, Angelina Jolie.

An infinitely bigger star than her father ever was, Jolie has a whopping net worth of $120 million according to Celebrity Net Worth, while her father is worth less than half of that. Jolie's riches are attributable to her consistent film work. For over two decades, she has been making bank at the box office; her breakout action movie, 2001's "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," grossed over $274 million, while one of her most recent films, 2019's "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil," grossed a colossal $491 million. Accordingly, Jolie's box office potential has shown little sign of waning. Meanwhile, her Louis Vuitton deal was worth $10 million, per Marie Claire.

Whereas Jolie has continued to enjoy an A-list lifestyle, her father has been reduced to appearing in videos for right-wing figurehead Ben Shapiro. In one such video, Voight blames so-called "Hollywood communism" for him being ostracized from the biz. These days, he's starring in right-wing fare such as 2020's "Roe v. Wade," a widely panned dramatization of the landmark case, seen from a pro-life perspective that many critics deemed propagandist. Suffice to say, the movie did not bring in the big bucks.

Kiefer Sutherland has surpassed Donald's riches

Although Donald Sutherland has enjoyed a steady film career spanning six decades, he didn't make a whole lot of money from his most famous roles. For instance, he lost millions when he made "Animal House," turning down an offer to make 2% profit participation, per Variety. "I told them, 'No, you need to pay me my daily rate,'" he told the outlet. "So I got $25,000 for the day, when I could have ended up with $14 million." Nevertheless, Sutherland has an impressive net worth of $60 million, per Celebrity Net Worth.

That's nothing, however, compared to his son. While Donald often eschewed big budget fare for roles in smaller, auteur-directed films such as "Don't Look Now" and "Fellini's Casanova," it took one mega hit for Kiefer to get richer than his dad. For his role as Jack Bauer in "24," he became the highest paid actor on TV, earning $550,000 per episode, per Hello! In 2016, he was cast in another successful TV show, "Designated Survivor," which reached a ratings record of 7.3 million views a week, per The Wrap. Kiefer was handsomely remunerated for the role, earning $300,000 an episode, per Variety

What's more, he's been lending his iconic voice to popular video game franchises "Call of Duty" and "Metal Gear Solid," per IGN. The former franchise is worth over $27 billion, while the latter has made almost $60 million. Accordingly Kiefer has a net worth of $100 million, almost double his father's riches.

Kim Kardashian is earning more than Kris Jenner

Born into immense privilege, Kim Kardashian has achieved the impressive feat of surpassing both her parents' riches. When he died in 2003, Kim's dad, Robert, was worth $30 million, per Celebrity Net Worth. As a high profile lawyer representing the likes of O.J. Simpson, Robert was certainly raking in more cash than the average attorney. However, his daughters would go on to earn more money than he ever saw in a lifetime. Similarly, in her role as a socialite and businesswoman, Robert's ex-wife, Kris Jenner, hasn't been able to match her kids' earnings, despite a $170 million net worth.

Of all the Kardashian sisters, Kim is the richest. In 2022, she made it onto the Forbes billionaires list when it was announced that she was worth a whopping $1.8 billion, more than both her parents' net worth combined. Kim's wealth is attributable to her shrewd business acumen, having founded the highly lucrative lingerie brand SKIMS and the beauty line KKW Beauty, which she sold for $200 million in 2020. 

Discussing the secret to her enviable bank balance with Variety, Kim (in)famously declared, "I have the best advice for women in business: get your f***ing a** up and work. It seems like nobody wants to work these days." This led to an inevitable backlash, with Glamour arguing that Kim would never have become a billionaire were it not for growing up in a rich family in the first place.

Michael Douglas has made more money than his father ever did

One of the original nepo babies, Michael Douglas is the son of acting legend Kirk Douglas. The elder Douglas had a glittering career in the golden age of Hollywood, starring in socially conscious films such as "Young Man with a Horn" (1950) and the iconic "Spartacus" (1960). At the time of the 103-year-old's death in 2020, he was worth $61 million, the majority of which he gave away to charity, per the Mirror.

Although Michael didn't inherit a dime from his late father, he needn't worry. In a career spanning six decades, he has made an eye-watering $350 million, per Celebrity Net Worth. For his role in "Basic Instinct," he made $14 million, significantly more than co-star Sharon Stone, per InStyle. And he's still bringing home the bread to this day, having entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Hank Pym in the "Ant-Man" franchise and "Avengers: Endgame." Collectively, the films have grossed several billion, per Time. Moreover, he has an enviable property portfolio, including a $21.5 million New York home, which alone is worth just shy of a quarter of his father's lifetime earnings, per the New York Post.

Despite his vast riches, Michael is no Gordon Gekko. "I said it as Gordon Gekko, but I don't believe that greed is good," he told Gentleman's Journal. "The size of fortunes in finance have increased. It's an accumulation of our political system over the past 30 years."

Gwyneth Paltrow's fame overshadows her parents

Gwyneth Paltrow is the daughter of actor Blythe Danner and the late Bruce Paltrow. The elder Paltrow found mild fame producing shows such as "St. Elsewhere" and "The White Shadow," per IMDb. Meanwhile, Danner starred in a number of films and TV shows in the '70s. She found fame later in life thanks to the "Meet the Parents" franchise, where she played Robert De Niro's long suffering albeit loyal wife. The popular film series has grossed over a billion dollars worldwide, from which Danner has undoubtedly profited handsomely. Subsequently, she has a mighty net worth of $40 million, per Celebrity Net Worth.

Although she is her mom's doppelgänger, Paltrow has had far more success than Danner ever did. In 2015, she was named the 12th highest paid actress by Forbes, having made $9 million that year. As the CEO Magazine highlights, Paltrow is now worth a whopping $250 million thanks in large part to her film roles, but significantly, due to her entrepreneurial ventures. Notably, she founded the wellness company Goop in 2008. "People initially were like, 'This is nuts,'" she said. "They thought I was insane ... Now look: it's a billions of dollars market."

Addressing claims that she has only been able to enjoy a lucrative career thanks to her parents' fame, Paltrow insists she's a self-made millionaire. "People think, 'She's just a rich kid,'" she told Glamour. "Until I was 18, I was. Then I was broke. I've never taken a dime off my parents."

Rufus Wainwright is more successful than both his parents

The son of musicians Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, it was perhaps inevitable that the precocious Rufus Wainwright would follow his parents' footsteps into the musical realm. Loudon found moderate success in the '80s, particularly in the U.K. where he became a resident singer on the BBC show "Carrott Confidential," per The Irish Times. Meanwhile, McGarrigle, who sadly died of cancer in 2010, had a modestly successful career as part of a folk duo with her sister, Anna, per NPR.

While his dad is worth $8 million, Rufus has amassed slightly more, with a net worth of $10 million. However, as The Independent points out, Rufus has proven a far more prolific musician than his dad, with a career spanning far fewer decades. In a 2007 interview with Spin, the eclectic musician admitted to being motivated by money, declaring that he was "going for the sound of cash registers" when making his album "Release the Stars." "I'm so culturally minded — and snobby, really — but that doesn't mean I don't want to make money," he explained. "It's quite the opposite. When you have expensive tastes, you need expensive money. So I'm just being honest." The album did indeed prove popular, and remains his most successful to date, having reached number 23 on the Billboard 200. His 2012 world tour, "Out of the Game," was also a success, per The Herald.

Lily Allen overtook her father's fame

Although she first rose to fame singing about London town in a Cockney accent, Lily Allen is actually a nepo baby, the daughter of British actor Keith Allen. The elder Allen has had a number of roles on British TV shows and films, but is perhaps best known for penning the song "Vindaloo," which spawned soccer chants the world over, per the Belfast Telegraph.

Although Lily's father is famous, it's perhaps for all the wrong reasons. As The Guardian notes, the singer herself lamented Keith's wasted potential, stating that he "couldn't channel his comedic gifts into a career." Surprisingly, Keith agreed. "I couldn't channel anything," he told the outlet. "You could say I wasted a lot of years." Unfortunately, he's more renowned for being a tabloid staple, having affairs with numerous celebs and getting embroiled in drug busts.

Meanwhile, Lily has enjoyed a productive career and was once richer than her father. In 2017, she made headlines when she complained that she had nowhere to stay for Christmas because the tenants living in her swanky house refused to leave, per Express. At the time, her net worth was $20 million (double her dad's reported net worth), with Lily's remarks leading to a huge backlash. When asked about her finances, the singer declared, "I earn a lot of money but I didn't used to." However, due to some money woes (she claimed to be £1 million in debt in 2018), her net worth is once again lower than her father's.

Hailey Bieber eclipsed her dad's wealth

She's a multimillionaire girlboss and the wife of Justin Bieber; her dad is the star of Christian dramas such as, ahem, "I'm in Love with a Church Girl." It should come as little surprise that Hailey Bieber is infinitely richer than her dad, Stephen Baldwin. Bieber has a stunning net worth of $20 million, which, as Harper's Bazaar notes, is the result of both her modeling career and business ventures. Notably, she owns the sustainable beauty brand Rhode Skin. As Forbes notes, the company is so successful that it has a wait list of 700,000 people, assuaging Bieber's fears that her entrepreneurial efforts would be dismissed. "The thing that was on my mind ... Does anybody even take me seriously, as a founder, as an entrepreneur?" she admitted.

As Hailey has flourished, her dad has floundered throughout life. Beset by years of money woes, Baldwin had no choice but to file for bankruptcy in 2009, per Reuters. At the time, he was in debt of over $2 million, consisting of unpaid mortgages and credit card debt. Sadly, his money woes continued, and in 2017 the Daily Mail reported that he was facing foreclosure on his New York home. Having initially bought the home for $812,500, Baldwin struggled to keep up with the mortgage repayments and it was sold for just $100. The following year, he was thankfully able to pay off a $21,434.87 tax debt in time for his daughter's wedding, per The Blast.

Billie Eilish quickly eclipsed her parents

Despite facing accusations of being a nepo baby, Billie Eilish's parents, although moderately successful, never reached her level of fame and fortune. The singer's mom, Maggie Baird, is an actor and writer. Most notably, she appeared in "Friends," playing a casting director in the Season 6 episode "The One Where Joey Loses His Insurance," per Pop Crush. She's also had small roles in "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "The X-Files," and "Charmed." Meanwhile, Eilish's father, Patrick O'Connell, is also an actor, having had minor roles in "Iron Man" and "The West Wing," per IMDb.

Although Eilish's parents' net worths are unknown, they undoubtedly don't come close to matching hers. In 2019, the then 17-year-old was paid a colossal $25 million for her Apple documentary, per Billboard. By 2020, Forbes reported that Eilish had made an incredible $53 million that year. The following year, she released her titular fragrance, which was set to see her make $60 million, per WWD.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Eilish discussed her parents' lack of success in their fields, in contrast to her epic stardom. "Acting is super weird. You can work for years and years and be the best in the world and never get a role, and you can be mediocre, do one audition, and become a huge star," she said. "For years, I saw my parents beat up over the fact that they didn't have it better. And that drove me insane — because they were really good! ... I wish they'd had more recognition."

Benedict Cumberbatch is far richer than his actor parents

Most Brits of a certain age are familiar with the bawdy "Carry On" franchise of the '60s and '70s. The lewd and crude films relied heavily on absurd double entendres, and they hardly seem befitting of a classy woman like Benedict Cumberbatch's mom. Think again. Wanda Ventham, the "Sherlock" star's mother, appeared in minor roles in a couple of the "Carry On" movies, per IMDb. She also starred in another British classic, the sitcom "Only Fools and Horses," playing the prim and proper mother-in-law of Rodney Trotter. Meanwhile, Cumberbatch's dad, Timothy Carlton, has appeared in countless British TV shows since the early '60s. Despite both being prolific actors, Ventham and Carlton were soon surpassed in success — and hence riches — by their superstar son.

With his Emmy-winning turn as "Sherlock" and starring roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Cumberbatch has a stunning net worth of $40 million dollars. Indeed, that's infinitely more dough than even the biggest "Carry On" stars took home (as the Daily Mail notes, the franchise's lead actors could expect to make a few grand a flick). Chatting to The Scotsman, Cumberbatch revealed that his dad always knew he would make more money than him as an actor. "I did Glengarry Glen Ross when I was 19," he recalled, "and afterwards my dad did this extraordinary thing. He said, 'You are better than I ever was or will be and you can make a living at this.' It knocked me sideways."

Jake Gyllenhaal is more renowned than his parents

Starting out as a child actor, Jake Gyllenhaal overtook his parents' fame at a young age. His father, Stephen, has directed a number of high profile films, including adoption drama "Losing Isaiah," which features a veritable cast of A-listers including Halle Berry, Jessica Lange, and Samuel L. Jackson, per IMDb. The film was penned by Jake's mom, Naomi. She also wrote the screenplay for the acclaimed 1988 Sidney Lumet film "Running on Empty," for which she received an Oscar nomination. Stephen is worth an impressive $10 million, while Naomi's personal wealth is unknown. However, considering her sparse filmography, it's unlikely to be particularly high.

Due to his Hollywood upbringing, Jake has faced accusations of being granted unfair advantages in the biz. His ex, Taylor Swift, seemingly lambasted him on her track "I Bet You Think About Me," which features the lyrics, "You grew up in a silver-spoon gated community/ Glamorous, shiny, bright Beverly Hills," per Elle

Despite his privilege, and undoubtedly being given a head start in the industry, Jake has evidently eclipsed the success and wealth of his parents through his various acclaimed roles, and, of course, stint in the MCU as Mysterio. Accordingly, he has a colossal net worth of $80 million. Chatting to The Guardian Jake revealed that he was raised to be generous with his riches: "My mother would say that there are people who have so much money who don't give any of it away ... It should all be about giving something back."