Celebs Who Make Way More Money Than The Competition

Famous people tend to accumulate the kind of fortunes that regular folks only ever get to dream about. But that fact is that while some stars are simply well-off, others are super-rich — and a few are even eye-poppingly wealthy. And when you compare what some celebrities bring in compared to their peers, you might be shocked to find out who's seeing staggeringly high numbers on their paychecks and who's making a mere fraction of those amounts.

From singers and rappers, to actors and actresses, as well as models, media personalities, athletes, and even a reality star, all of the notable names on this list can boast about the fact that they no longer need a day job — or any job, for that matter. Naturally, we're talking about the top-earning figures in their specific industry, and yet, when we take a closer look at what they're bringing in via salaries, sponsorships, endorsements, and prize money, it becomes clear that there are some stars who truly dominate the scene when it comes to their worth.

You've seen these stars jockey for chart position, championship titles, and box office receipts, but we're here to see how their balance sheets add up. So, quietly slide your overdraft statements into a drawer and forget about them for a while as you check out which celebs make way more money than the competition.

Ellen DeGeneres can't compare to Judge Judy

Ellen DeGeneres is one of the most popular personalities on television, but it's Judge Judy, whose full name is Judy Sheindlin, who is the highest-paid TV host in the world. DeGeneres took in $87.5 million in 2019, according to Fobes, thanks to her daytime talk show, Netflix special, and other income streams. However, that pales in comparison to the $147 million that Sheindlin earned. The considerable amount reportedly came about due to the fact the famous court figure "sold the rights to her Judge Judy reruns for an estimated $100 million," which "more than tripled her usual yearly earnings."

In 2018, Sheindlin talked about women negotiating their pay, telling Megyn Kelly on Today, "Men and women treat salary differently. Women are afraid to ask for a raise. They don't recognize their worth. ... [They don't] know how to negotiate [their] own worth." While that may be an unfortunate reality for some women who are trying to make the most out of their careers, Sheindlin added, "In order to negotiate your worth, you have to make yourself indispensable. ... Once you're indispensable, you set your own rules."

Sheindlin proved that fact while negotiating — or rather, refusing to negotiate — her own contract. She told The Hollywood Reporter that she sits down every three years to sign a new deal and brings a card that states what she wants. And what does this get her? "They gave me what I wanted," she said.

Taylor Swift out-earns fellow chart-topper Ed Sheeran

Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran are two singer-songwriters who not only top the charts, they also ranked highly on Forbes' list of the world's top-earning musicians of 2019. However, one happened to make significantly more than the other. Swift turned up at the #1 spot with a whopping $185 million — thanks in part to a record-breaking stadium tour as well as lucrative endorsement deals — while Sheeran brought in $110 million. That's a difference of $75 million... in one year! To put the difference in their individual earning power into an overall perspective, Celebrity Net Worth estimates that the "Shake It Off" singer is worth $400 million, while the "Shape of You" crooner has around $160 million.

Sheeran may have a substantially smaller fortune than Swift, but it doesn't sound like he has an issue with not having more money than she does. In 2017, he told OK Magazine (via Clash Music), "It's like, earn a penny, spend a penny with me. As soon as it comes in, it goes out. I don't have that much value on it. I have more value on my friends and family being OK."

While that may make it sound like Sheeran is frivolous with his finances, he instead explained that he puts his funds to good use. "A lot of my money goes to charity or to children's hospitals near where I live," he said. "I have enough to be comfortable and the rest goes to help people."

Kylie Jenner outshines Jeffree Star when it comes to money

Kylie Jenner may have found fame on reality TV thanks to Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and Jeffree Star lit up the music scene before hitting it big on YouTube, but they both now make a heck of a lot of their money via their makeup lines. And while both are doing extremely well, Jenner is the one coming out on top. Celebrity Net Worth estimates that Star — who makes money via YouTube, a cosmetics line, and various other business endeavors — is worth $200 million, while Jenner is a billionaire.

While there's no denying that Jenner has a staggering amount of money, some people have a problem with her "self-made" status due to the fact that the mogul already had valuable connections and millions of fans when she launched her business. In response, Jenner told Interview Germany, "There's really no other word to use other than self-made because that is the truth. Although, I am a special case because before I started Kylie Cosmetics, I had a huge platform and lots of fans. I did not get money from my parents past the age of 15. I used 100% of my own money to start the company, not a dime in my bank account is inherited... and I am very proud of that."

Less than two weeks later, Jenner admitted to The New York Times, "[I] can't say I've done it by myself," adding that she's "had a lot of help."

Gigi Hadid has a fraction of Kendall Jenner's fortune

Kylie Jenner isn't the only sibling in the famous family who's out-earning her competition. Her older sister, Kendall Jenner, decided to pursue a career as a model, which was obviously the right choice. According to Forbes, Kendall was the highest-paid model in 2019, earning an impressive $22.5 million. That's significantly more than her friend and fellow runway star Gigi Hadid, who still managed to score her fair share of campaigns (and stirs up just as many headlines as Kendall, if not more) yet only managed to bring in $9.5 million.

And Kendall certainly isn't shy about showing off the kind of lavish lifestyle that her earnings afford her. The star often posts shots of herself enjoying the opulent opportunities around her such as trying on jewelry at Tiffany's (in a sponsored post, no less), visiting luxurious locations, drifting in high-priced cars, and hanging out on a boat with her friends (including Gigi's younger sister and fellow model Bella Hadid).

Gigi, on the other hand, has a complicated relationship with her semi-charmed life. In 2018, she told Vogue Australia, "I know I come from privilege, so when I started there was this big guilt of privilege, obviously." Despite that, she added, "I've always had this big work ethic, because my parents [real estate developer Mohamed Hadid and former model and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum Yolanda Hadid] came from nothing and I worked hard to honor them."

Gwen Stefani's TV contract can't compare to Katy Perry's deal

Katy Perry and Gwen Stefani are both industry-savvy singers who have accepted gigs judging TV competition shows. But while Gwen Stefani joined The Voice for $10 million (which is, in fact, more than most other judges start at) and eventually worked her way up to an estimated paycheck of over $13 million, Katy Perry was offered a spot on the American Idol reboot for an alleged $25 million right off the bat.

While a $25 million contract may seem like an extreme amount to some people, Perry "deserves every penny of her insane American Idol salary," according to TV Guide. They lay out the reasoning behind their stance, explaining that "whether ABC's gamble on the mother of all singing competitions proves to be a ratings hit or not, one thing is for certain: Katy Perry gives the reboot both the dazzle factor and gravitas it needed to work."

As for Perry, she's definitely not squeamish about her headline-making salary. "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," she told 103.5 KTU radio host Carolina Bermudez (via E! News). "And, by the way, I love men. So I'm a paid woman and I'm ready for a beautiful man." Now that Perry is engaged to actor Orlando Bloom, it seems like she has both money and a beautiful man.

Serena Williams scores much more than her sister Venus Williams

Serena Williams and Venus Williams may be siblings who compete together on the tennis court at times and compete against each other on different occasions, but when it comes to their individual earnings, Serena is the winner by a lot. 

On Forbes' list of highest-paid female athletes of 2019, Venus tied Spanish-Venezuelan tennis player Garbiñe Muguruza for 10th place with $5.9 million (making $900,000 in prize money and $5 million from endorsements). Forbes explains that Venus "invested in wellness brand Astura and was appointed chief brand officer of the company in May. A 23-time Grand Slam champion, including doubles, she launched her own YouTube channel last month focused on 'fitness, tennis, wellness, design and more.'" She can also "bank six figures a pop on the speaking circuit." 

Serena, on the other hand, took the top spot on Forbes list with $29.2 million ($4.2 million in prize money and $25 million from endorsements). In total, Serena is sitting on an overall fortune of $200 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Venus has just under half of that, with an estimated $95 million to her name.

While Serena could aim to bring in millions more with her moves on the court, she told CNBC in 2017, "I just played for the love of the sport. I've never played for money. Not once did I think about a check." Spoken like a true champion.

Michael Phelps has 10 times more than his Olympic teammate Ryan Lochte

Although they sometimes compete together and sometimes compete against each other, Olympic medal-winning swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte have very different track records and vastly different fortunes. Phelps, who is a record-breaking competitor, has brought in $60 million. Lochte, who found himself caught up in controversy during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, has a fraction of that with $6 million. According to Celebrity Net Worth, "Even in non-Olympics years [Phelps] earns tens of millions of dollars."

Signing deals in the past with companies such as Aqua Sphere, Omega, Under Armour, and Beats by Dre, Phelps talked to CNBC about his money-making potential and entrepreneurial endeavors in 2016, saying, "You never know what can happen. I love to get involved in small things on the side and have fun with stuff. I guess only time will tell." While he's open to possibilities, he does have one goal in mind, saying, "But I would love to ring the bell [at the New York Stock Exchange]." That seems like a rather simple and surely attainable goal for someone who has 28 Olympic medals.

Chris Hemsworth and Liam Hemsworth are competitors in various ways

Brothers Chris Hemsworth and Liam Hemsworth may compete for roles (and during their workouts), but Chris is currently coming out on top. Not only did Chris score the career-changing gig as Marvel's Thor over his brother, according to Deadline — yes, they were both up for the highly-coveted Hollywood gig — but Chris has also earned a formidable fortune in part because of the role that spanned multiple movies in the superhero-packed franchise.

In 2019, Chris made his way to the #2 spot on Forbes' list of highest-paid actors with $76.4 million in earnings. This provides a considerable boost to his overall fortune, which Celebrity Net Worth estimated to be around $130 million while Liam has just $26 million.

This is certainly a change in fortune for the Hemsworths, who didn't grow up in a wealthy home. In fact, Chris admitted to Variety in 2019 that he was "running out of money" before becoming Thor and was under a lot of pressure because he had "taken it upon [him]self to take care of [his] family." And while that might lead you to believe that being rich would now offer a sense of security and comfort for the star — which it surely does to some extent — Chris admitted to GQ Australia in October 2018 that when it comes to the vast amount of money he now has, frankly, he "feel[s] gross about it."

Scarlett Johansson and Margot Robbie are banking on Marvel and DC

Nabbing a gig as Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe paid off for Scarlett Johansson who was #1 on Forbes' list of the highest-earning actresses in 2019 with $56 million. And the earnings won't stop any time soon. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Johansson has inked a $15 million deal for her stand-alone film, an impressive payday, especially since "Marvel typically doesn't open up its wallet for first outings." For instance, "Robert Downey Jr. ... took home only $500,000 for the first Iron Man."

Margot Robbie also scored a role in the world of superheroes (and villains), playing DC's Harley Quinn in 2016's Suicide Squad (which she'll reprise in 2020's Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). However, the job hasn't been as much of a money-maker as Johansson's Marvel work — and the same goes for 2019's Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood — which is why Robbie was only ranked #8 on Forbes' list with $23.5 million, which is less than half of Johansson's earnings.

In 2015, Robbie talked to The Guardian about showbiz finances, saying, "Someone put it to me interestingly a few years ago: every actor has a price tag. To make a film is just a math equation. And if you can make the actor's numbers add up, then the movie can get made, and if you can't, then you're going to have to reevaluate who you're hiring."

Bankruptcy hasn't kept Kanye West from earning more than Travis Scott

Kanye West and Travis Scott — who each share children with Kardashian-Jenner ladies — are both rappers at the top of the game. Scott had an epic year in 2019, thanks to his record-setting Astro World Tour, which helped him take in $58 million. So, he can definitely live a luxurious lifestyle with his fortune that Celebrity Net Worth puts at around $40 million. But West still makes much more money than the younger star. In fact, West made almost $100 million more than Scott in 2019, $150 million to be exact, making the "Gold Digger" performer the highest-paid hip-hop act of 2019, according to Forbes.

This is perhaps even more impressive when you consider the fact that West was supposedly in debt just a few years ago. "In 2016, rapper Kanye West made headlines when he begged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg via Twitter to invest $1 billion into his 'ideas,' because he was personally $53 million in debt," according to CNBC. "West never got that billion from Zuckerberg (though they apparently became friends and did karaoke together), but it appears West has now healed his own financial woes."

In August 2019, Forbes examined how West made his comeback from financial ruin — now apparently worth an estimated $250 million — explaining that through "unrelenting" determination, a keen eye for profitable style, and an ability to create envy-sparking must-have trends, he's now the head of the "billion-dollar Yeezy empire."

Beyoncé brings in twice as much as Lady Gaga

When it comes to Beyoncé and Lady Gaga's place in the entertainment industry, they've followed similar paths and experienced comparable milestones. They're both singers, they're both award winners, they've both performed at the Super Bowl, and they've both crossed over into acting. But as of 2019, Beyoncé was earning more than twice as much as Gaga.

According to Forbes, who included both stars on their list of the world's highest-paid celebrities in 2019, Beyoncé brought in $81 million in just one year, while Gaga took in $39.5 million. This adds a nice chunk of money to Queen B's overall fortune, which Celebrity Net Worth figures is around $500 million. And while Gaga has acquired $320 million, that's still obviously $180 million less than Beyoncé's bulging bank account balance.

When Beyoncé was asked during a 2011 interview with CNN if money brings you happiness, she first answered by saying no, but then added, "It brings some happiness. It brings comfort." As for Gaga, she is another celeb who faced bankruptcy, telling the Financial Times in 2011 (the same year as Beyoncé's interview), "I actually went bankrupt after the first extension of The Monster Ball. And it was funny because I didn't know!" While she probably doesn't mean the "haha" kind of funny, at least she can see the absurd nature of the sticky situation. And it certainly didn't prevent her from earning her way back to her current fortunate and flourishing status.