HOLLYWOOD—Celebrities do work, they just don’t rest on their laurels. They go out and make a living. Taylor Swift is the world’s top-earning celebrity. Forbes estimated the 29-year-old singer made $185 million in pre-tax earnings in the year beginning June 2018.
The bulk of her earnings is likely derived from her Reputation stadium tour, which Forbes adjudged to be the highest-grossing tour in US history. These days, stars have to go out on tour to keep the money flowing in. Swift has in the past accused music mogul Scooter Braun of “stripping her of her life’s work” by acquiring her former record label Big Machine. Swift’s new album “Lover” is her first release with her new record label Republic Records, comes out in August.
Second on the list is social media and reality TV star Kylie Jenner with an estimated pre-tax pay packet of $170 million. Earlier this year, Jenner earned a place on Forbes list of the world’s richest self-made women thanks to an estimated net worth of around $1 billion. Her inclusion on the list proved controversial, with many claiming her “billionaire” status derived in part from her famous family.
However, most of her fortune derives from her best-selling beauty business. Kylie who turns 22 next month, was ranked third in last year’s Celebrity 100 countdown, below boxer Floyd Mayweather and actor George Clooney. Rapper Kanye West earns third place in this year’s rundown, having made an estimated $150 million in 2018. The 42-year-old’s top three ranking, derived in part from his Yeezy sneaker empire, comes three years after he claimed on Twitter he was $53 million in debt. Ed Sheeran, comes in at fifth place, with an estimated pre-tax earnings of $110 million.
In first place is Floyd Mayweather – $285 million. Money Mayweather earned $285 million in pre-tax annual earnings last year, and in doing so captured the top spot on Forbes’ 20th annual ranking of the world’s 100 highest-paid celebrities. The boxer’s August 2017 fight versus Connor McGregor generated more than $550 million in revenue, with the fighter pocketing $275 million of that.
In second place is George Clooney – $239 million. Clooney’s mammoth payday comes from the sale of his Casamigos tequila company to drinks giant Diageo in a deal worth $1 billion. The star, who was recently injured in a motorbike accident in Sardinia, founded the company in 2013 with friends Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman.
In third place is Kylie Jenner – $166.5 million. The youngest of the Kardashian sisters, Kylie Jenner earned her place at number three after founding a cosmetics empire. A family reality show and 110 million followers on social media has done its bit to help. Forbes magazine says Kylie is now worth almost three times as much as her sister, Kim, at an estimated $900 million and is on her way to becoming the youngest self-made US billionaire.
In fourth place is Judy Sheindlin – $147 million. Sheindlin, AKA Judge Judy, comes in fourth. Judge Judy’s been on the air for 22 years and is watched by an average of more than 10 million viewers a day. She sold the rights to her extensive library for an estimated $100 million in 2017, which accounts for this year’s high listing.
In fifth place, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson – $124 million. Johnson, the wrestler turned actor also known as ‘The Rock’ is ranked fifth with an estimated pre-tax tally of $124 million. The 46-year-old’s acting-related earnings – the vast majority is the largest ever recorded in the 20 years Forbes has tracked the Celebrity 100.
In sixth place is U2 – $118 million. U2’s Joshua Tree world tour in 2017 – followed closely by a second current world tour – has seen the Irish band’s earnings jump up considerably. Over 2.7 million fans turned out to mark the band’s 30th anniversary of their seminal album – making it the most lucrative outing for any artist last year.
In seventh place is Coldplay – $115.5 million. Coldplay are the first British act on the list. Putting them there was their A Head Full Of Dreams Tour, which grossed more than half a billion dollars in its two-year, five-continent run. That total means Coldplay trails only U2’s 360 Tour and The Rolling Stones’ A Bigger Bang Tour on the list of all-time highest grossing tours. In eighth place is Lionel Messi – $111 million.
In November 2017, Messi agreed a contract extension with his club Barcelona that will pay him an annual salary and bonus in excess of $80 million, making him the highest-paid footballer. Add to that a lifelong deal with Adidas and other sponsorship contracts, including Gatorade, Pepsi, Ooredoo, Huawei and Hawkers, and things are looking pretty tidy for Leo.
A theme park based on the Argentinian, the Messi Experience Park, is set to open in 2020 in the Chinese city of Nanjing. In ninth place is Ed Sheeran – $110 million. Sheeran is the world’s highest-earning solo musician on the list. The 27-year old was the world’s most streamed artist of 2017. His album ÷ was the biggest album of the year, racking up 3.1 billion streams around the world, while the “Shape of You” became Spotify’s biggest track of all time.
In tenth place is none other than Cristiano Ronaldo – $108 million. He was one of the World Cup’s top scorers, and this year also received his fifth Ballon d’Or. Having spent a lucrative nine years at Real Madrid, the football star made a £99.2m move to Italian side Juventus earlier this month.
His lifetime contract with Nike is worth upward of $1 billion. Many of this year’s best-paid celebrities have monetized their strong social media presence, and in doing so, have shot up the rankings of the top 100.
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