Celebrity Net Worth: Who ended 2022 as the world's richest entertainer?

Movie director Steven Spielberg leads the top 10 list, followed by George Lucas, Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan

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Billionaires lost a lot of money in 2022. Whether it was people who count their wealth in the billions or those with significantly fewer dollars to their name, fortunes were hit by a perfect storm of wealth-correcting factors this year.

High inflation and recessionary tendencies were made worse by a rough year for stock markets and trade and energy market contractions on the back of the war in Ukraine.

Overall, the global population of ultra-high net worth (UHNW) individuals — defined as those with a net worth of $30 million and above — dropped 6 per cent in 2022.

At 392,410 individuals, that is a sharp reversal from 2021’s record highs and the first decline since 2018, according to the World Ultra Wealth Report 2022 from information tracker Altrata.

After historic highs in recent years, the combined fortunes of the UHNW population fell by 11 per cent to $41.8 trillion.

Wealth erosion was most visible at the top of the tree, affecting the likes of Bernard Arnault, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. But as our year-end look at the famous and their fortunes shows, celebrities were not immune to the downturn either.

Whether the trend continues into 2023 will bear watching. For now, here is a look at the richest celebrities at the end of 2022.

US film director Steven Spielberg ends the year as the richest person in entertainment, taking the top spot from friend and former rival George Lucas. AFP

1. Steven Spielberg

Kanye West

Ye — the rapper formerly known as Kanye West — has seen his net worth fall to $400 million in recent weeks. That’s a precipitous drop from Bloomberg’s estimates of $6.8 billion at the end of 2021.
Ye’s wealth plunged after business partners, including Adidas, severed ties with him on the back of anti-Semitic remarks earlier this year.
West’s present net worth derives from cash, his music, real estate and a stake in former wife Kim Kardashian’s shapewear firm, Skims.

Although Steven Spielberg lost $850 million in 2022, he ends the year as the richest person in entertainment, taking the top spot from friend and former rival George Lucas.

The Schindler’s List director, 75, now has a net worth of $7.25 billion, according to Bloomberg’s real-time Billionaires Index. That is 10.5 per cent down from last year.

He is the principal partner of the movie production company DreamWorks Studios. His films, including Jaws, Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan, have grossed more than $25 billion at the box office.

Last year, his Amblin Partners production company agreed on a multi-year film production deal with Netflix.

Spielberg’s annual income is $150 million, according to wealth tracking website Celebrity Net Worth.

With his wife, actress Kate Capshaw, he has more than $200 million invested in property.

George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, saw his net worth decline by a nearly a quarter to $6.47 billion at the end of 2022. AP

2. George Lucas

As in 2021, Lucas is on the list of billionaire celebrities this year. The creator of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises saw his net worth decline by nearly a quarter to $6.47 billion at the end of 2022, Bloomberg data shows. That is down from $8.32 billion last year.

The filmmaker’s fortune stems principally from the $4.1 billion he received in stock and cash for the sale of his Lucasfilm production company to Disney in 2012.

Now largely retired, Lucas, 78, focuses on philanthropy and his family’s charitable foundation has more than $1 billion in assets.

Oprah Winfrey ends the year with a net worth of $2.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine. AFP

3. Oprah Winfrey

Also seeing a 10 per cent drop in her total net worth is Oprah Winfrey, one of the world’s richest self-made women.

The media mogul, 68, ends the year with a net worth of $2.5 billion, according to Forbes. Her net worth last year was $2.7 billion.

Her wealth is derived from her media empire, including Harpo Productions and O, The Oprah Magazine.

While she ended her Oprah Winfrey Show in 2011, she continues to do TV interviews, including for Apple TV+.

Michael Jordan is one of the few celebrities to grow his wealth to $1.7 billion, from $1.6 billion at the end of 2021, according to Forbes. AFP

4. Michael Jordan

With a net worth of $1.7 billion, Michael Jordan is the richest athlete on our list this year. He is one of the few celebrities to grow his wealth from $1.6 billion at the end of 2021, according to Forbes.

Often called the greatest basketball player in history, Jordan’s salary during his career totalled $90 million.

He has also earned $1.8 billion in pre-tax income from endorsements and partnerships.

Jordan, 59, also owns the Charlotte Hornets basketball team, baseball team Miami Marlins and Nascar team 23XI.

As an investor, he has put money into technology companies, including headphone brand Muzik, projects builder Gigster and eSports company aXiomatic.

Film director Peter Jackson became a billionaire after last year’s sale of his visual effects studio Weta Digital to US video game company Unity Software for $1.62 billion. AFP

5. Peter Jackson

Rounding out this year’s triumvirate of billionaire filmmakers is Peter Jackson.

The Lord of the Rings director became a billionaire after last year’s sale of his visual effects studio Weta Digital to US video game company Unity Software. The deal was worth $1.62 billion.

Jackson’s net worth is estimated at $1.5 billion by Forbes.

The New Zealand national, 61, made $10 million upfront for each of the three Lord of the Rings films, as well as at least another 10 per cent in box office profits, the magazine reports.

The series grossed nearly $3 billion in box office takings.

The Hobbit trio of prequels took in a similar amount at the box office, with Jackson earning an estimated $20 million per film, with 20 per cent of the backend takings, according to media reports.

Rihanna is the richest musician at the end of 2022, with a net worth of $1.4 billion, according to Forbes. EPA

6. Rihanna

Rihanna ends 2022 as the world's the richest musician with a net worth of $1.4 billion, according to Forbes. That is down from $1.7 billion at the end of 2021.

The Barbados native, 34, made her name in music but her wealth stems principally from her make-up and fashion empires.

She co-owns Fenty Beauty with French luxury retailer LVMH. The cosmetics company is worth $2.8 billion, Forbes estimates.

Rihanna also owns 30 per cent of the Savage x Fenty lingerie line, which was valued at $1 billion during a fundraising round in 2021.

Although Jay-Z hasn’t had a major release or tour in 2022, sales of his beverage brands have kept his income levels high, according to Forbes. AFP

7. Jay-Z

American rapper Jay-Z’s net worth remained largely steady at $1.3 billion over the past year.

Although he hasn’t had a major release or tour in 2022, sales of his beverage brands have kept his income levels high, according to Forbes.

The world’s first hip-hop billionaire, Jay-Z is also an active investor. His assets include entertainment company Roc Nation, stakes in Uber, rent-to-own start-up Landis Technologies and wellness device company Therabody, as well as a fine art collection and a property portfolio.

A significant portion of his wealth stems from his music career, responsible for an estimated 1 billion streams annually.

8. Cristiano Ronaldo

With a net worth estimated at $1.24 billion, Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo will be one of the world’s richest footballers at the end of 2022.

He is slightly ahead of his Argentinian counterpart Lionel Messi, whose net worth is estimated at $1.15 billion.

Although Ronaldo, 37, parted ways with Manchester United before the Fifa World Cup 2022, he could soon sign a deal reportedly worth €200 million ($210.5 million) a season with Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr football club.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner earned $115 million in 2022, according to Forbes.

9. Tiger Woods

Golfer Tiger Woods, 46, teed his way to billionaire status earlier this year, after returning to competitive golf at the Masters in April 2022.

With a net worth of $1.1 billion, he is one of a handful of athletes in the exclusive club.

Forbes magazine puts his career earnings — in salary, endorsements and other income — over a 27-year career at $1.7 billion.

He has a line of golf irons with TaylorMade. The first golf course he designed, Payne’s Valley, opened in 2020.

American actor, director and writer Tyler Perry is estimated to have a net worth of $1 billion, according to Forbes. AFP

10. Tyler Perry

American actor, director and writer Tyler Perry, 53, is estimated to have a net worth of $1 billion, thanks to the success of his Madea plays and films, according to Forbes.

The franchise has grossed more than $660 million, Hollywood trade paper Variety estimates.

Perry’s wealth stems principally from his income as a producer. He owns 100 per cent of the content he has created.

Updated: December 19, 2022, 12:19 PM
Kanye West

Ye — the rapper formerly known as Kanye West — has seen his net worth fall to $400 million in recent weeks. That’s a precipitous drop from Bloomberg’s estimates of $6.8 billion at the end of 2021.
Ye’s wealth plunged after business partners, including Adidas, severed ties with him on the back of anti-Semitic remarks earlier this year.
West’s present net worth derives from cash, his music, real estate and a stake in former wife Kim Kardashian’s shapewear firm, Skims.

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