Child stars who are super rich today

Who among us didn't dream of skipping middle school for a chance at fame and fortune? Or perhaps you just now looked at your dwindling savings account and said to yourself, "If only I had become a child star!" Well, you wouldn't be far off.

Many famous faces have been able to turn an auspicious Hollywood beginning into a legitimate and long-lasting cash flow. Granted, many child actors have also gone the route of tragedy, but for those who've made it work, they've really, really, really made it work. From hit sitcoms to major movie franchises, and hit music to breakout fashion lines, some of these child stars have amassed billions! We repeat: billions! And what's even more impressive is they managed to stay super rich into adulthood.

Who's going to make you rethink your life choices, or possibly look into signing your own kids up for acting classes? See for yourself.

Magic makes mad moola

According to Forbes, from June 1, 2016 to June 1, 2017, Emma Watson made a staggering $14 million thanks to paychecks from the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast (2017) and fees from The Circle (2017). That's a lot of scratch, although it pales in comparison to what she raked in playing a child wizard in the Harry Potter series.

Even if the British beauty never wanted to step foot in front of a camera again, she wouldn't have to, thanks to the reported $60 million (per The Hollywood Reporter) she collected from her time at Hogwarts. However, it wasn't the easiest road to riches.

Speaking with Porter magazine (via Cosmopolitan) in 2016, Watson said that the strain of growing up in the spotlight caused her to endlessly question herself, and that she become envious of her "friends who had a clear sense of self." She added, "While my contemporaries were dying their hair and figuring out who they were, I was figuring out who Hermione was and how best to portray her." 

We're no math scholars, but $60 million buys more than a few bottles of Sun-In, right?

Bazinga! Kaley Cuoco makes how much?

Kaley Cuoco has been with the CBS juggernaut The Big Bang Theory since 2007 — and now we know why. According to Forbes, Cuoco was the fourth-highest paid actress in Hollywood from June 1, 2016 to June 1, 2017, earning a staggering $26 million. In fact, she and her principal castmates have been raking in jaw-dropping dough since the show's eighth season — $1 million per episode, in fact. (That figure has reportedly since changed, but more on that one in a second.)

Outside of The Big Bang Theory, the former 8 Simple Rules (2002-05) star's resume has been pretty, you know, basic, but with that kind of cash coming in every year, who needs a side project? To wit, Cuoco even mentioned on Jimmy Kimmel Live that her return to the show after the tenth season was dependent on "a very expensive question," which her eventual two-year renewal apparently answered.

The Biebs makes bank

Even though he's been a bit of a pain in the you-know-what for much of the last decade, the world apparently can't get enough of singer Justin Bieber. By age 22, reports circulated that his net worth was upwards of $200 million. Not too shabby, right?

From June 1, 2016 to June 1, 2017 alone, Forbes estimated that Bieber raked in a staggering $83.5 million, making him the 13th highest-paid celebrity in the world. In other words, by age 23, he was making more than "The Boss" Bruce Springsteen, who's pushing 70. Perhaps that's the real reason the Biebs ended up cancelling the last 14 dates of his tour that summer, you know, to really bask in what it feels like to get paid that well for infecting a huge chunk of the world with an earworm like "Despacito."

"Me taking this time right now is me saying I want to be SUSTAINABLE… so that I can be the man I want to be, the husband I eventually want to be, and the father I want to be," Bieber actually wrote on Instagram of his cancelled tour dates. Right, isn't that what we said?

No longer at the bottom

Canadian child actor-turned-rapper Drake has come quite a long way from his days playing Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi: The Next Generation (2001-05). Indeed, with hits ranging from "Hotline Bling" to "One Dance," it's no surprise he's racked up millions of fans — and millions of dollars.

In June 2017, Forbes ranked him fourth on its list of the world's highest-paid celebrities, noting that he earned a stunning $94 million in a single year. It was a huge achievement for a kid from Toronto who lived with his mom and "rented the first floor and basement of a house" before his big TV break, according to GQ.

As for the rarified air in which Drake exists now? The only celebs to top his earnings in 2017 were Diddy, Beyoncé, and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who earned $130 million, $105 million and $95 million, respectively.

"Started from the bottom now we're here." Indeed.

Blossom banks the big bucks now

Remember when we mentioned that Cuoco's $1 million salary might have changed? Well, if Variety is to be believed, that was due to salary negotiations between Warner Bros. Television and co-stars Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch. According to Variety, both Bialik and Rauch negotiated a two-season deal in May 2017 to earn an impressive $500,000 per episode over 48 episodes. That marks an increase from their previous salaries of $175,000 – $200,000 per-episode, according to the report.

Where does Cuoco come in? Well, per Variety, Bialik and Rauch were able to get a raise after Cuoco, Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kunal Nayyar, and Simon Helberg agreed to drop their salaries from $1 million per episode to $900,000 per episode. Whoa! It's nice to have super rich former child star friends in high places, huh?

Although, come on. Anyone who grew up on Blossom (1990-95) would do the same.

Twerking all the way to the bank

Thanks to Disney's uber-successful Hannah Montana franchise, Miley Cyrus was making more money as a teenager than most of us will see in our lifetimes. Even today, thanks to subsequent acclaimed music and television ventures, Cyrus is still living on Easy Street.

In fact, it's estimated that the "Wrecking Ball" singer has a net worth of $160 million, which is remarkable considering her 2013 MTV VMAs performance with Robin Thicke is widely considered to be the spark that sent his career up in flames.

But Cyrus kept on twerking trucking. The next year, Forbes reported that Cyrus had made — wait for it — $36 million in a single year, while Variety reported in 2016 that her salary for The Voice was between $13 and $15 million. Mind you, she accomplished all of this by the age of 24. (For the first time ever, that actually makes us wish that Billy Ray Cyrus was our dad.)

Cheer up, K-Stew, you're loaded

Kristen Stewart has been hustling for almost two decades, but it was the Twilight Saga that made her one of the richest young actresses in Hollywood. Case in point: with earnings of $34.5 million in a single year, Forbes named the then-22 year old the highest-paid actress in 2012. In fact, K-Stew continued to collect the chips in the three years that followed, earning $22 million, $12 million and an additional $12 million, respectively.

While she hasn't had a hit on par with the Twilight Saga since she stopped portraying the gloomy human crush of the world's moodiest teenage vampire, Stewart doesn't really have to worry about box office returns thanks to the $70 million chilling in her bank account, according to Celebrity Net Worth. The star salary tracker also mentions that at her peak, Stewart, as well as Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, her Twilight co stars, commanded $25 million salaries by the time they were on the fourth of the five films.

With that kind of cash, it's no wonder she opted to ditch Hollywood franchises to work with critically-acclaimed directors such as Woody Allen, Ang Lee, and Olivier Assayas.

Family dysfunction that pays

Since 2009, we've watched the kids from Modern Family — Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould, and Rico Rodriguez — grow up before our eyes. We've also watched them grow richer by the season. Take July 2017, for example, when Deadline reported that the talented foursome had negotiated a pretty sweet payday over the next two seasons. How much, you ask? Well, according to the report, they now stand to make "over $100,000 an episode." At 22 episodes per season, that means those kids will be raking in more than $2 million per year from the show alone.

Granted, the renegotiation also brought the adult actors' salaries up to $500,000 per episode, but the youngsters still got one heck of a deal, especially considering the fact that three of them — Winter, Gould, and Rodriguez, were still teens at the time. Sure beats a part-time job at McDonald's, no?

The King of the World (Well, maybe just Hollywood)

About 25 years ago, Leonardo DiCaprio was just a kid actor making his way through sitcoms such as Roseanne and Growing Pains. Nowadays, he's one of the highest-paid actors in the world.

In 2015, DiCaprio made "$25 million up front for The Wolf of Wall Street," according to The Hollywood Reporter, although he did have to "defer some of his salary" for "budget overruns," because he collect a fee as a producer on the film as well. Aw, poor guy! (Not really, he's loaded.)

In 2016, the year he finally won the Academy Award for best actor, Forbes reported that he took home $27 million, having just starred in director Alejandro G. Iñárritu's harrowing survival tale, The Revenant. Of course, to get to that point, DiCaprio pulled off the impossible — transforming his career from teenage heartthrob to being the most sought-after lead actor for Hollywood's most prestigious directors. When you put it that way, we think he's definitely earned every penny of that $27 million.

Born to bring home the bacon

Of all the child actors out there, few have found more success than Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, the former stars of Full House who founded a billion-dollar company when they were 6 years old. Though they started out as actors, the Olsen twins have made waves in recent years with multiple fashion lines, including the acclaimed haute couture line The Row and the contemporary Elizabeth and James.

So where did this rabid work ethic come from? According to an extremely rare interview with the notoriously press-shy twins in Porter magazine, Ashley said, "I've always been a worker. It has taken me a lot to figure out how to take a vacation." Mary-Kate added, "I think we're lucky [working hard] comes quite naturally for us. We don't need so much time to sit and think and ponder." 

Of course, becoming world famous celebrities before they could walk was possibly also a factor, but nah, it was probably the not vacationing and not pondering thing.

Dakota Fanning's a serious artist, who happens to be rich

With a relatively paltry $16 million to her name, Dakota Fanning easily has the lowest lifetime earnings compared to her Hollywood peers on this list. And if you're thinking, "Wait, did you just scoff at $16 million?" You're right to be incredulous — that's a ton of dough, and more than enough to live comfortably for the rest of one's life.

It's just that $16 million over the length of her nearly 20 year acting career — which started when she was 6-years-old, by the way — seems surprisingly low, considering her films have grossed more than $1.4 billion at the box office. Perhaps it's because her biggest hits, Sweet Home Alabama (2002), The Cat in the Hat (2003), and War of the Worlds (2005) all happened when she was so young and commanding a lesser salary?

But there's also the fact that for Fanning, acting has never been about the money. In a 2018 interview with Vogue Australia, the starlet said she approaches roles purely from a point of interest, not profit or prestige. "There was just something about the project or about the character that I was like: 'Oh, that's cool' or: 'Oh, I want to do that. I want to be the one who gets to say that!" Fanning said. If she keeps her bankroll steady, she should have no problem with that plan.

Suddenly swimming in cash

Brooke Shields was already a successful model by the age of 12 when her acting career took off thanks to her controversial starring role as a child prostitute in director Louis Malle's Pretty Baby (1978). From there it was Blue Lagoon (1980) and Endless Love (1981), which made her a bonafide superstar before she could even drive a car.

According to People, Shields earned $300,000 for Blue Lagoon, which was so successful she was able to raise her asking price to $500,000 thereafter. That may sound low, but keep in mind this was the early '80s, when even megastar Cher only earned $250,000 for her Oscar-nominated performance in Silkwood (1983).

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Shields continued modeling through her teen years, landing a wildly popular campaign for Calvin Klein and becoming "the youngest fashion model ever to appear on the cover of Vogue." She eventually found success on TV with the hit sitcom, Suddenly Susan, which ran for four years from 1996 to 2000.

Though we haven't heard a ton from Shields over the past few years, which is likely due to her stepping away from acting to focus on motherhood and other pursuits, she's managed to retain an estimated $25 million of her career earnings. That's nothing to sneeze at.

Keep it secret, keep it safe-ly diversified in a well-managed portfolio

Elijah Wood got his start at just 8-years-old with his brief cameo as a tiny frustrated executive in Paula Abdul's video for "Forever Your Girl." Nearly 30 years later, the diminutive actor has amassed lifetime earnings of around $30 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth, who also pointed out that Wood has "about 100 acting credits to his name."

Of course, Wood's most notable gig was when he snagged the lead as Frodo Baggins, the hero hobbit of the epic fantasy series, The Lord of the Rings (2001 – 2003). There was never any specific reporting on exactly how much Wood made from his adventures in Middle Earth, although he did tell The Guardian that director Peter Jackson gave him "the Ring" as a keepsake. One thing, however is clear: He made out better than his fellow hobbits.

According to The Telegraph, Sean Astin, who played Frodo's loyal companion Samwise Gamgee, earned just $250,000 for all three films, whereas Wood "is said to have made $1 million just for a two-minute appearance in [the prequel film] The Hobbit." Poor Billy Boyd, who played Pippin Took, told The Sun (via Yahoo) in 2010 that he was "broke," having made very little for the films. "We were unknown actors. We did it for peanuts and for food," he said. Perhaps Wood could hook him up with a small loan? (See what we did there?)

More like 'Malcolm on Top'

In 2010, Malcolm in the Middle (2000 – 2006) star Frankie Muniz replied to a random Twitter user's dig at his "awful acting" with the following sick burn: "Yeah, but being retired with $40,000,000.00 at 19 has not been awful. Good luck moving out of your moms house before youre [sic] 35." Perhaps that's where Celebrity Net Worth derived their figure for the former child star turned race car driver.

That's right, Muniz transferred his passion for acting into a need for speed in 2006 when he took the leap into professional race car driving, according to People. "From the time I was 8 years old, I never stopped working," Muniz told the tab of his decision to transition away from acting. "It was good in the sense that I could literally do whatever I wanted to. But bad in the sense that I don't know how to operate when I don't have to be somewhere."

In addition to the nice sum of cash he's racked up, Muniz has also accumulated a staggering list of bodily injuries since his career change: 38 broken bones, including his "back, ankle, four ribs, and hand." Oof. Sounds like he may have shared a healthy chunk of that $40 mil with the ER.

Portman's plentiful paydays

Oscar-winner Natalie Portman earned her stripes at a young age with her critically-acclaimed role in director Luc Besson's Léon: The Professional (1994). Portman was 11-years-old when she allegedly "turned down a child modeling gig with Revlon to focus on her acting," according to IndieWire, which led to her controversial turn as Mathilda, the pre-pubescent object of affection for a much older contract killer.

From there, it was basically nothing but prestige projects for Portman, who also made big bank on blockbusters like the Star Wars prequels as well as the Marvel superhero flicks Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013). In 2015, Portman landed the No. 18 spot on Forbes' World's Highest Paid Actresses list with the claim that she made $6 million from June 1, 2014 to June 1, 2015.

Years of continuous earnings like that have apparently resulted in Portman having an estimated $60 million on her balance sheet, according to Celebrity Net Worth, who also pointed out her lucrative endorsement deal with Dior perfume. Talk about the sweet smell of success!

Checkbook Engorgio!

Finally, we arrive at Harry Potter— er, Daniel Radcliffe, we meant to say, although the talented British actor will likely never fully step out of the boy wizard's shadow. But he probably doesn't mind one bit since the role is essentially solely responsible for Radcliffe's estimated net worth of $110 million

This comfortable pad has allowed Radcliffe to spread his creative wings, albeit perhaps less lucratively. For example, one of the first non-Potter projects Radcliffe took on was the celebrated play Equus, in a role he described to Playboy that required him to be "naked for 10 minutes in a scene that's about sexual failure and horse blinding." (There's probably never going to be a Universal Studios theme park tie-in for that one.) 

Then there was Swiss Army Man (2016), the film where Radcliffe portrays a farting corpse who returns to life in aid of a man stranded on a deserted island, in part when his aroused zombie manhood was discovered to be useful as a compass. Any chance they're building a multi-million dollar toy line around that flick? Probably not.

Anyway, it doesn't matter, because even if Radcliffe poorly invests his $110 million or spends 90 percent of it on a cache of Viagra to leave himself in his will, he's still set for life.