20 Celebrities Who Were Born Into Wealth

Nicole Pomarico | Jul 10, 2020 Celebrities
20 Celebrities Who Were Born Into Wealth
Image: A.M.P.A.S./AdMedia/Splash News

Lady Gaga
A.M.P.A.S./AdMedia/Splash News

As much as we love a good rags-to-riches story, not everyone who grows up to be a famous actor, musician, or public figure built their career from the ground up. For as many times as we've heard stories about our favorite celebrities rising from the ashes and creating a better life for themselves out of nothing, there are also those who came from wealth from the time they were children, thanks to their parents' fortunes and successful careers that came before them. It's not their fault they were born rich, but it's definitely interesting to see who came from money. 

It's not even just that these celebs have wealthy backgrounds; it's that some of them have parents who are even more famous than their children, and we had no idea. There's a Game of Thrones star who grew up in a literal castle, and a whole lot of children of stockbrokers (this is some pretty wild stuff) -- not to mention the celebs who were born to parents who were in Hollywood long before they ever had children ... or the one whose family actually invented shopping malls.

Read on for celebrities who were born into wealth. It's obvious that the kind of privilege this afforded them likely had something to do with their eventual success in the entertainment industry, especially if they had supportive parents who wanted to see them succeed. 

If anyone needs us, we'll be over here feeling jealous. Anyone have any idea that Lady Gaga's dad invented the WiFi we all use in hotels? 

Just sayin'. 

  • Olivia Wilde

    Olivia Wilde
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    As it turns out, Olivia Wilde isn't the only famous one in her family. Her father, Andrew Cockburn, is a journalist who also happens to be the editor of Harper's Magazine, and her mother, Leslie Cockburn, is a journalist herself as well as a documentary producer. It's no wonder she grew up to have an impressive career herself.

  • Bradley Cooper

    Bradley Cooper
    Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency/Splash News

    The son of a stockbroker, it sounds like Bradley Cooper had a sweet life growing up. In fact, as a kid, he attended a fancy private school called Germantown Academy, where tuition starts at just under $25,000 a year for the school's youngest students. He was close to his parents -- particularly his father, who died in 2011 from lung cancer.

  • Rose Leslie 

    Rose Leslie
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    Before Rose Leslie was known for her roles in Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey, she literally grew up in a castle -- Wardhill Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, to be exact. She was practically born into royalty, too, because her father, Sebastian Leslie, is the Chieftain of Clan Leslie, and her mother is a descendant of King Charles II. 

  • Adam Levine

    Adam Levine
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    We know Adam from being the frontman of Maroon 5, and his time as a judge on The Voice, but his dad has had a successful career for much longer. Fred Levine created his own retail clothing chain M. Fredric, with multiple locations in the Los Angeles area. This afforded him a cushy upbringing, including a private school education at the Brentwood School. 

  • Lindsay Lohan 

    Lindsay Lohan
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    Lindsay Lohan has been in the spotlight since she was a child (who hasn't seen The Parent Trap?), and pursuing an acting career so young was probably made easier by the fact that her parents already had some money in the bank. Her father, Michael Lohan, was a Wall Street trader, though they've always seemed to have a strained relationship.  

  • Michelle Williams

    Michelle Williams
    Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency/Splash News

    Here's another celebrity who came from a family who worked in finance. Not only is Michelle's father, Larry R. Williams, an author and a politician, but he's also worked in stocks and trading himself. And now, he runs his own business, where he offers courses to teach other people to do the same. Not too shabby for the fam of the former Dawson's Creek star! 

  • Edward Norton

    Edward Norton
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    Edward Norton's family wealth goes way back to his grandfather, James Rouse, who was a real estate developer. Oh -- and no big deal -- his company was actually the one that invented shopping malls. (It's easy to see how that made them plenty of cash!) Back in 2004, The Rouse Company was sold for $7.2 billion, which means the Norton family will be well off for years to come.

  • Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga
    A.M.P.A.S./Ad Media/Splash News

    Most fans already know that Lady Gaga's real name is Stefanie Germanotta, and as far as money goes, the Germanotta family is pretty well set. Her dad, Joe Germanotta, created Guest WiFi, a company that brings WiFi to hotel guests -- something we've probably all used at some point -- while her mom, Cynthia, was an executive at Verizon

  • Jonah Hill 

    Jonah Hill
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    Jonah Hill, his sister, actress Beanie Feldstein, and brother Jordan Feldstein, had a pretty sweet upbringing. His father, Richard Feldstein, worked as a tour accountant with Guns N Roses, while his mother, Sharon Lyn, was a stylist and costume designer. It seems like they likely inspired their kids creatively, since two of them went on to be in the entertainment industry. 

  • Sigourney Weaver 

    Sigourney Weaver
    Splash News

    Add Sigourney Weaver to the list of celebrities who had successful parents. Before she shot to stardom with her role in Alien, she was the daughter of actress Elizabeth Inglis and NBC executive Pat Weaver. Thanks to her family's money, Sigourney attended a prep school called Ethel Walker School before going on to study acting at Yale.

  • Jake Gyllenhaal 

    Jake Gyllenhaal
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    Jake Gyllenhaal and sister Maggie are well known for their successful acting careers, and they were practically born into Hollywood royalty. Both of their parents are filmmakers, and their mother, Naomi Foner, was nominated for an Oscar (best original screenplay) for her work on the 1989 movie Running on Empty. Seems like she inspired her kids to join the family business! 

  • Kristen Stewart

    Kristen Stewart
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    Kristen kicked off her career in a major way by playing Bella Swan in the Twilight saga, but what about her life before that? She's another celebrity who was born into a family who was already in show business. Her father, John Stewart, is a stage manager, and her mom, Jules Mann-Stewart, is a screenwriter and a director. 

  • Carly Simon 

    Carly Simon
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    Carly Simon will forever be a music legend, but before that, her father made his money by creating an empire that will also continue to live on for years to come. Her dad, Richard L. Simon, co-founded Simon & Schuster, a prominent publishing company, so it goes without saying that the "You're So Vain" singer had a head start in life. 

  • Darren Criss 

    Darren Criss
    Splash News

    Darren practically became a household name when he starred in Glee, and before that, he grew up in Hawaii in an influential family. His father, Charles William Criss, was an investment banker and CEO of his own bank, Eastwest Bank, in Honolulu -- while also sharing a real estate business with his wife, Darren's mom, Cerina. 

  • Armie Hammer

    Armie Hammer
    Splash News

    Armie is an actor, but he's also an oil heir. (Yep, pretty impressive.) But despite his family's money, it sounds like his mother did what she could to make sure that he appreciated everything he had. "My mother's parents grew up in the Depression in Oklahoma, so it was very different. She didn't allow us to be raised like we were wealthy," he said in an interview with GQ

  • Taylor Swift 

    Taylor Swift
    imageSPACE/Splash News

    These days, there's no doubt Taylor Swift needs anyone's money but her own, but she definitely came from a privileged upbringing. Her father, Scott Swift, worked as a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch, and later started his own business as a stockbroker called The Swift Group, which he uses to manage his clients' wealth -- including those with high net worth.

  • Ariana Grande 

    Ariana Grande
    Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency/Splash News

    Ariana Grande -- and even her brother, Frankie Grande -- has had no trouble making a name for herself, but she may have had a little help from her family's wealth. Her mother, Joan Grande, is the president and CEO of Hose-McCann Communications, while her father, Edward Butera, runs his own graphic design company, IBI Designs.

  • Jordin Sparks  

    Jordin Sparks
    Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency/Splash News

    This American Idol singer has an accomplished dad. Jordin Sparks' father is former football player Phillippi Sparks, who has played in the NFL -- both for the Dallas Cowboys and for the New York Giants. Being born into a family like that, it's really no wonder that Jordin went on to have a successful career in music.

  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus

    Julia Louis-Dreyfus
    Lisa O'Connor/ZUMA Wire/Splash News

    Anyone else surprised to learn that the Veep star is the heir to a fortune that goes back centuries? Her great-great-grandfather founded a company that later became Louis-Dreyfus Energy Services, making the family literal billionaires -- and this is something that Julia will inherit herself someday. 

    Not too shabby. 

  • Lana Del Rey

    Lana Del Rey
    Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency/Splash News

    Born Elizabeth Grant, Lana Del Rey was loaded before she even released her first album. Her father, Rob Grant, is a real estate broker and a CEO, heading up Web Media Properties. There's no doubt that Lana had a bit of help from her family while she was launching her music career -- something fans have speculated for years.


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