What Happened To Jerry Springer's Staggering Fortune?

The talk show world was left grieving in April 2023 following the news that Jerry Springer was dead at 79. Initially, the veteran entertainment titan's family announced that he had died peacefully at his home in suburban Chicago. However, CNN later reported that he'd passed away from pancreatic cancer. Springer left a nearly three-decade trash TV legacy behind him. Given the popularity of "The Jerry Springer Show," it's no surprise that he also left a fortune estimated at $60 million.

There were plenty of moments that should have gotten Springer off TV, including the man who wanted to marry a horse he had fallen in love with and numerous appearances by the KKK. Yet somehow, he managed to rule the airwaves for 27 years before going off air in July 2018.

At the peak of its popularity, Springer's syndicated scream fest was pulling in 12 million viewers a day, all eager to watch guests humiliate themselves for the cameras. It also pulled in the big bucks for its host. Springer was once the highest-earning TV host, with an annual salary of $8 million. His fortune wasn't just down to delivering trainwrecks, though. Springer was once the Mayor of Cincinnati before he was caught paying for a sex worker — with a check. He was also a successful radio host, TV news anchor, and actor. Oh, and of course, "Judge Jerry." So, where did all his money go?

Love triangle and cheating scandal (or hoax?)

When he died in April 2023, Jerry Springer left behind a wife, Micki Velton, and their daughter, Katie. However, he divided his staggering fortune between his secret bi-racial love children and two other children nobody had heard of — or did he?

"John and Mischa, I know you don't know me, but by the end of this, I hope you will know why I did what I did... why I've done what I've done," he announced shortly before his death in a mea culpa interview with Hoodzone Productions. Springer said he hadn't been part of their lives because his wife, "Joan," had forbidden him from seeing them and threatened to expose his infidelity and illegitimate children.

He announced that he'd told "Joan" he would cut her out of his will and divide his staggering fortune between their two kids, Jordan and Meghan, and John and Mischa. Springer bequeathed his New York and New Orleans to Jordan and Meghan. Meanwhile, he left his Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina mansions and the rest of his estate to John and Mischa. Springer ended with some fitting "final thoughts" about how he hoped the US would be more tolerant of bi-racial relationships in the future. "Hopefully, one day, America will do what's right as well," he mused. But not so fast! It transpires it was all just a hoax — orchestrated by Springer himself. An elaborate, convoluted love triangle and cheating scandal truly fitting of "The Jerry Springer Show."

Final thoughts

Jerry Springer's mea culpa was the perfect way to bow out of the world. The video quickly went viral. "That time Jerry Springer was my dad, died, and left me and my sister everything," said a fan in a May 2023 TikTok. "I can't believe I'll always have this. I feel privileged and blessed!" Still, not everybody got the hoax memo. "This, by far, is the best 'Jerry Springer' episode I've ever seen. Truly amazing and admirable, and shows he's a great man after all," a fan commented on the mea culpa video."This hit home so hard; everyone looked at Jerry as that cool uncle, but this really shows [what] money doesn't buy happiness really means," another wrote.

In reality, Jerry's admission was ripped from the pages of the 2020 play "Blood Money," in which he had a cameo role. Although no details have been released, he likely left his fortune to his wife, Micki Velton, and daughter, Katie Springer.

Jerry's daily dish of trash TV made him a multi-millionaire, but he always remained self-effacing. When asked if he was the "granddad of reality TV," Jerry shrugged his achievements off. "No, I just apologize. I'm so sorry. What have I done? I've ruined the culture," he said on David Yontef's "Behind the Velvet Rope" podcast. "I just hope hell isn't that hot because I burn real easy. I'm very light-complected, and that kind of worries me ... I'm just a schlub who got lucky." $60 million lucky.