Kandi Burruss' Net Worth Is More Than You Think

Reality TV star Kandi Burruss definitely knows a thing or two about how to make money, especially since she's reportedly the highest-paid star of Bravo's super popular "Real Housewives" franchise, according to "The Housewives: The Real Story Behind the Real Housewives" (via Us Weekly). The Georgia native may be best known for her role in "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," but she was successful long before the reality show. Fans may not know that Kandi wasn't only a member of the '90s R&B group Xscape, but she's also a well-respected songwriter for major stars.

Yet, it was Kandi's popularity on the "RHOA" that led to her bringing in even more cash, since she parlayed her fame into several other TV appearances, as well as business ventures, creating an entire brand based on her persona. For Kandi, it was important that she wouldn't just become another fleeting reality TV star. She explained to Money.com, "You know how you joke about a lot of reality stars — they're always talking about something and you never see the product? I won't be that girl. ... That doesn't do me any good."

As Kandi pointed out, "What's the point of having this huge platform if you are not benefiting off of it?" And benefitting she is. So much so that as of 2021, Celebrity Net Worth reports that Kandi is worth a whopping $30 million. So how did Kandi get so rich, and what does she spend her money on? We break it all down.

Kandi Burruss is the highest paid housewife

When it comes to reality TV, Kandi Burruss wasn't sure at first if joining "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" in 2009 was the right career move. She explained to Money.com that with newer reality stars, "[networks are] not really trying to pay you much. I was like, 'It's not like I need them to be popular. I've already been on TV and in music before.' I didn't think it was going to do anything for my career." Yet it appears it was a good decision, since the show has made her millions.

Radar reports that after getting a raise to do Season 12, Kandi earns $2.3 million per season. That's a far cry from what most housewives start at, which is $60,000, according to "The Housewives: The Real Story Behind the Real Housewives" (via Us Weekly). Because of her big pay day, Kandi is reportedly the highest-paid housewife in the franchise. It helped that her time on "RHOA" led to multiple spin-off shows, including "The Kandi Factory" and "Kandi's Wedding."

Kandi branched out from Bravo and made money from other reality TV endeavors, notably, her 2019 stint on "Celebrity Big Brother." While she didn't win the competition, TMZ reports that celebrities earn about $200,000 just to sign on. She did win 2021's "The Masked Singer," which doesn't come with a cash prize, but contestants are said to make between $10,000 and $200,000 for participating in Australia's version, per Newsweek. It's clear that reality TV has been good to Kandi, despite her initial hesitations.

Kandi Burruss has multiple businesses

Kandi Burruss may be making bank from "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," but she also used her fame to earn even more money outside of TV. She dished to Money.com, "My thoughts were [that] the money has to match my popularity. I had to make it bigger than the show." She continued, "I was like, 'Okay, every year when they see me on the show, they will see me accomplish something.'"

And Kandi managed to accomplish a lot, like launching her Kandi Koated cosmetics line in 2019. While it's unclear what the mogul earns from the beauty line, other reality stars have found major success from cosmetics, especially Kylie Jenner, who is reportedly worth an estimated $700 million, mostly thanks to Kylie Cosmetics. But Kandi isn't just relying on the beauty industry; she also has her own line of sex toys, Bedroom Kandi. The entrepreneur has big goals for that business, telling Essence, "My ultimate dream would be to have Bedroom Kandi be as big as Victoria's Secret."

If that's not enough, Kandi is also part owner of Tags Boutique. She recalled to Money.com, "I had a friend who had clothing stores that were successful, so I kept bugging her about partnering up to do TAGS." Additionally, Kandi owns two Atlanta-based restaurants, Old Lady Gang and Blaze Steak and Seafood. For the reality star, having an empire was always part of the plan. She told Money.com, "It was intentional. I wanted to have businesses outside of music that were still poppin'."

Her paychecks from acting

Kandi Burruss has somehow found time in her busy schedule to do some acting. Kandi has been on-screen in various parts since 2008, but she landed her first big role in the 2020 Showtime series "The Chi." She revealed that being on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" was an obstacle, telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "A lot of people didn't take me seriously." She added that many even thought "The Chi" creator Lena Waithe was "putting a TV personality on the show for publicity." Yet it appears that Kandi's performance impressed enough people — she has earned work on other projects. The star captioned a November 2021 Instagram photo, "This week I'm running around like crazy hopping on multiple flights because I've had to film for 3 different TV shows." 

Kandi has also taken on a behind-the-scenes role, producing the Broadway play "Thoughts of a Colored Man." She made her stage debut in 2017 with "Chicago" but decided to try her hand as a producer in 2021. She explained to Broadway.com, "When you are the producer, you're able to help other people live out their dreams... That's something that I find to be very special."

With Kandi's acting and producing career taking off, there have been rumors that she'll ditch "RHOA" to focus on that. A source told MTO News that Kandi had considered quitting to move to New York, but she wants to see if Bravo will double her salary to $4 million before she walks. 

Kandi Burruss still profits from her music career

Kandi Burruss is obviously a TV star these days, but she actually got her start in the music business. In fact, it was joining the R&B group Xscape that launched her into fame when she was still in high school. Kandi recalled to Forbes, "Our first single dropped the summer before my 12th-grade year and we immediately had a hit." Despite the quartet's success, they eventually disbanded, but Kandi discovered she could still make money as a songwriter. She told EW, "The push of going hard and writing these songs really came out of necessity to survive because of my group falling apart."

"The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star went on to co-write major hits such as TLC's "No Scrubs" and Destiny's Child's "Bills, Bills, Bills." It's a gig that keeps paying off to this day. Kandi dished to Money.com, "I constantly get royalties off my old songs...people still play them a lot in movies, television, and I get license fees. It's a good check every year." 

Current artists still sample Kandi's songs. She gave the example of Ed Sheeran, who "used 'No Scrubs' in his song ['Shape of You']," explaining that, "basically, he uses our song, we got a percentage of his." Kandi remains interested in making music but admitted to Variety, "I got used to putting so much of my energy into the show and my other businesses, I did not focus on myself as a music artist." 

Kandi Burruss has always saved money

Kandi Burruss wasn't always a millionaire but says it was her humble beginning that inspired her to work toward her goals. She recalled to Money.com, "My mom used to drive me to the neighborhoods with big fancy houses and stuff. We'd ride around all the time and dream." Growing up, Kandi knew the importance of managing her money, admitting, "I was a saver as a kid. ... I always wanted to make sure I had something [stashed away]."

When Kandi found success with the music group Xscape as a teen, she kept that mentality. She explained in an Instagram video that when their record label would give the group $25-30 a day for food when they were promoting an album, "I would not eat the entire day. I would save my little $30 a day." She added, "Every time I would come back home from the trip, I'd have me a whole little stack." Kandi emphasized in the caption, "I've been tight with my coins since back in the day!"

For Kandi, it was important for her to establish herself before she spent her money. She dished to Money.com that her group mates "went and bought Benzes... I remember I was like, 'I will not spend a dollar until I can see $100,000 in my account.'" She did make some investments, though, revealing that she spent her first big paycheck on a house with her mom and then later a car to "establish credit."

You can learn from Kandi Burruss' success

Kandi Burruss clearly knows how to make money, and thankfully, she doesn't keep that knowledge to herself. She opened up to Forbes about how she made her companies a success, saying, "Before moving on to the next thing, make sure you continue to nurture the first thing. Get a good team around you because it's difficult to do multiple things on your own." She also pointed out that when it comes to running a business, you should always "finish what you start," adding, "If you say you're going to do something, be consistent with it."

While Kandi may be dishing the advice these days, she's learned a thing or two from others in show business. She told Money.com that rapper LL Cool J once said, "Always have at least one house and one car that you own." As for something she'd tell her younger self, Kandi explained to Refinery 29, "People focus too much on who's on top, you also need to keep those relationships with people on the bottom."

Kandi's financial success is so impressive that Georgia State University created a law course focusing on her business empire, per ET Canada. Professor Mo Ivory explained, "I chose Kandi because she has an amazing career, which spans every aspect of the entertainment industry..." Ivory said that the class "gives students a real-world look into client representation, writing and interpreting contracts, negotiating deals, and the personal touch it takes to be successful in this practice area."

How Kandi Burruss spends her money

When it comes to spending her money, Kandi Burruss doesn't necessarily do it like her "Real Housewives" co-stars. For example, when some of the other ladies were participating in the #BirkinChallenge on Instagram, Kandi made it clear that luxury purses weren't her thing. She wrote in her Instagram Story (via The Daily Dish), "I don't own a Birkin...Sorry." In an interaction with her friend, she later storied, "Now @kimblackwellpmm is talking about a property challenge. Now you talking my language friend!"

It seems that Kandi really does prefer to spend her money on her homes. Per The Sun, Kandi owns a $1.7 million mansion in Atlanta that boasts 7 bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms, not to mention a large music room with a red, crocodile-print grand piano. It's safe to say that Kandi's made a pretty penny from real estate, too. According to Radar, in 2021, she sold a 4-bedroom home for $555K after reportedly purchasing it in 1996 for $252K. Additionally, Celebrity Net Worth claims that a home she bought in 2012 for $512K is now worth $1 million, at least.

But it's not just property Kandi is interested in; she's also into cars. The star told Us Weekly in 2019, "I have a ridiculous amount of cars right now — eight cars." She revealed that one of those purchases was extra special for her, dishing, "My favorite splurge was a hardtop Lexus convertible. I remember driving and being like, 'Oh, this is it.'"

Her husband feels the pressure

Kandi Burruss' success is motivating for many, but it seems to put a strain on Kandi's relationship with husband Todd Tucker. The two met when Todd was working as a line producer on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" before he quit so he could date Kandi. They married in 2014, but his intentions were seemingly questioned even before that. Kandi's own mother, Mama Joyce, has insinuated that Todd was out for Kandi's money. Mama Joyce had some words for "RHOA" matchmaker Phaedra Parks: "Why in the hell did you introduce them? Now, I'm going to be honest with you. With all these lawyers and everything else that you know, you gonna introduce her to one of the workers" (via Rolling Out).

Kandi acknowledged the issues in a "RHOA" episode, saying (via The Daily Dish), "Todd has felt the pressure of him needing to make more money ever since we got together. Like, people have always questioned him being with me and whether he was with me for money." Kandi clarified in a 2019 tweet, "FYI. Todd is not spending my personal money. ... He & I have made a lot of money together which is what we use to invest in new business ideas. He helped make it so he can help decide how it's spent."

Todd is doing just fine in terms of his own finances, too, with an estimated $400,000 net worth. Outside of the businesses he's started with Kandi, like their restaurants, Todd's been producing since 2008, even serving as a production manager or executive producer on some TV shows.

Kandi Burruss' restaurant is costly

Kandi Burruss has hit a few obstacles when it comes to making money off her restaurants. In particular, her Atlanta-based eatery, Blaze Steak and Seafood, shut down for a period in May 2021 after failing its health inspection (per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). Not only did Kandi lose business during the time they were closed; one can assume that having multiple health violations would turn off future diners.

Then there are the tax issues. Radar reports that Kandi and her husband's company, Burruss Tucker Restaurant Group LLC, allegedly owes $5,156.50 in back taxes after not paying their 2021 bill. This is the second federal tax lien they're facing, since they reportedly owe $15,812.52 on their 2020 bill, as well. As of October 2021, neither lien was settled, meaning they have a $20,969.02 tax debt.

If those aren't enough problems, it appears that Blaze's customers aren't happy with how Kandi may be trying to make back some of that money. According to Radar, one patron took to social media to share with his followers that he was overcharged, writing, "The first time I was overcharged for cheese and margarita ice. I am very upset that I had to pay $4 for ice for my mixed henn and coke drink and another $8 for a Red Bull." Kandi's team apparently tried to make it right, since he wrote in another now-deleted post (via Radar), "I was told there will no longer be an upcharge for those [line] items..."

Kandi Burruss gives back

Kandi Burruss makes sure she gives back to those in need. "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star has her own charity called Kandi Cares. According to their website, their mission is "providing Education, Empowerment & Enrichment to the lives of single parents, and children who are the product of single parent homes." Not only do her causes focus on those three things; she also runs the Kandi Cares School Assistance Scholarship Program, Kandi's Kids Camp, and Kandi Cares College Care Package.

Kandi has highlighted some of her charity work on her Instagram, including her 2017 Christmas donations. She explained in a post, "My team of Kandi Cares Elves delivered over 300 gifts...to families that would have otherwise not had a Christmas this year." She also helped people eat during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Kandi posted a photo of her "grocery give back," writing, "Thanks for the support! I can't wait to meet all the families today that this food is going to."

While Kandi's "Real Housewives" co-stars often come out to support Kandi Cares events and even donate to her causes, it appears that the singer isn't always impressed by what others give. She revealed on a 2021 "RHOA" episode (via The Daily Dish) "I'm really not supposed to put people on blast about their giving, but I will say some people aren't as giving as I thought they would be."

This housewife doesn't talk earnings

While Kandi Burruss may not have a problem discussing her success, she'd rather keep her actual earnings under wraps. Yet, Kandi's finances became the subject of conversation when her "Real Housewives of Atlanta" co-star Kenya Moore appeared on "The Wendy Williams Show." Williams asked Kenya, "Who makes the most in Atlanta?" The Bravo star replied that it was Kandi. Kenya elaborated, "If I was coming for anybody's purse and bag it would be Kandi's," adding that "Kandi is the real HBIC on that show."

Kenya's comments seem like a compliment. However, Kandi told ET, "I don't think it's appropriate for you to talk about what you're getting paid." She didn't want to confirm Kenya's statements, but she did note that online reports on her salary are incorrect: "I know I'm not telling anybody how much I make!" It appears that Kandi is happy with her earnings from the reality show, admitting, "Bravo has treated me well... I'm happy with what they pay me and I'm leaving it at that. I do not care about what everybody else gets paid, so then I don't want them to care what I get paid."

Whether or not Kandi likes to discuss her money, several outlets have reported that she earns the most on the show, even more than Nene Leakes, whose estimated net worth is $14 million compared to Kandi's estimated $30 million

Kandi Burruss spoils her kids

It's obvious that "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Kandi Burruss likes to spend her money on her three kids. Kandi is mom to Ace and Blaze Tucker with husband Todd Tucker, and teen daughter Riley Burruss from a previous relationship. While Ace and Blaze are still very young, Riley has enjoyed the benefits of her mom's success, like getting a Porsche for her 16th birthday. Riley seems to realize how lucky she is, dishing on Kandi's YouTube channel, "Clearly, we're very fortunate, and I'm definitely very privileged, so certain things... to other people might sound so abnormal, such as my car."

Kandi told Money.com that she needed "to do a better job" teaching Riley about saving her dollars, "because my daughter is spending way too much money right now. ... I put a little bit of money in her account, and one day she was down to a dollar. I was like, 'Girl, you can't do that,'" Kandi said.

But Kandi stands with Riley, who was reportedly owed back money from her father, Russell "Block" Spencer, for child support. Riley expressed a need for the money as she prepared for college, and Kandi spoke out about it on "RHOA." The mom confessed on YouTube: "I do feel like maybe this was oversharing. ...  At the end of the day, I did not feel bad about going through the process of the back child support ... He's done very well for himself, as well, and he has just chosen not to handle his responsibility." Whether or not fans agree with Kandi, it's obvious that the reality star knows how to make her own money and has done so for a long time.