Family Money: 15 Celebs Who Were Wealthy Before Ever Reaching Hollywood

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It’s no secret that celebrities are paid very, very well for what they do — at least, once they reach a certain level of fame. At first, they may be waiting tables and struggling to make ends meet. It could take years of working in the service industry or working odd jobs before their careers take off. However, once they make it, they can expect to be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, for doing what they do.

Many celebrities who make it in Hollywood come from very humble beginnings. One of the first things they do when they became financially comfortable is helping out the people who helped them while they were struggling. After all, it’s all about paying it forward, right?

However, there are also many celebrities who never really had to do the struggling aspiring actor or aspiring musician thing. It’s not to say that their path to stardom was easy. They still had to impress all the right people and bring their talent to their auditions and performances. There’s no denying that it’s a lot easier to work on your craft when you’re not as worried about where your rent money is coming from that month, though.

Most celebrities become financially fairly equal once they reach a certain level of stardom — but they certainly don’t start out that way. There are some celebs who were born with a silver spoon in their mouths and had an entirely different experience than many others in Hollywood.

Here are 15 celebrities who were wealthy before they ever set foot in Hollywood.


Kristen Stewart

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Whether you love or hate the Twilight franchise, it’s clear that it kind of made actress Kristen Stewart’s career — on a commercial level, at least. Though she had been in the industry for years at that point, it made her a household name, and a person that everyone wanted to work with.

However, she didn’t get started in Hollywood because she needed to make money for her family. In fact, her family was already involved in the entertainment industry! Her father is a producer and stage manager, and her mother is a director and script supervisor. They already knew the ins and outs of the movie industry.

When she was growing up in Hollywood, Stewart lived with her parents in a Hollywood Hills mansion valued at $1.75 million. Not too shabby.


Nick Kroll

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Comedian and actor Nick Kroll looks, well, kind of average. If you had to guess what his upbringing was like, you likely would assume he grew up in a mid-size city somewhere in the Midwest, with parents who worked average 9 to 5 jobs.

However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. His father is Jules Kroll, who founded a company called Kroll, Inc., a firm that specialized in risk consulting and corporate investigations. It may not be a company people around the world are super familiar with, but get this — in 2004, Nick’s father sold the company and earned himself a cool $1.9 billion.

That’s right — billion. Who knew that Kroll’s dad was a billionaire?


Armie Hammer

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Armie Hammer has a certain look that led to him playing a lot of ritzy, elite characters early in his career. And, it turns out, he had a lot of experience with that type of person growing up, because he comes from a wealthy family.

First of all, his great-grandfather was an oil tycoon. Then, further down the family line, his father was a businessman who owned companies including Armand Hammer Productions and Knoedler Publishing.

Hammer has been able to forge a successful career in the entertainment industry, but it was never really a requirement for him. He would have been able to live just fine on his family money.


Michelle Williams

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Fans fell in love with Michelle Williams as the bad girl with a heart of gold, Jen, on the teen drama Dawson’s Creek. Through the years, she’s managed to build a career playing tons of fascinating indie roles, in addition to a few mainstream successes.

Part of the reason she had the flexibility to take on quirkier projects was likely her success in television early in her career. However, part of it could also have been the fact that she knew she had family money to fall back on if she needed it. Her father, Larry Williams, is a politician, commodity trader, and author — and he’s absolutely loaded.

Just to give you an idea of how much income he has at his disposal, know that he funds a six-figure scholarship at the University of Oregon.


Rose Leslie

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You likely recognize Rose Leslie from Game of Thrones, and it turns out her real-life experience was a lot posher than her character on the show. Leslie isn’t actually from Britain, she was born in Scotland — into a noble family.

Before she was in the entertainment industry pursuing a career as an actress, Leslie was raised in a literal castle in Aberdeenshire. Now, if she’s ever taking a break from her long days on set and wants to hang out with family, she can head to Warthill Castle, the 12th-century manor where her family now lives.

We can’t even imagine what growing up in such historic surroundings must have been like!


Kate Mara

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Kate Mara has managed to build a successful career in Hollywood taking on all kinds of interesting roles. You can often spot her on the red carpet looking absolutely gorgeous in a designer gown. However, there’s another place you might frequently spot her — in the VIP box at a football game.

Mara isn’t who you might think of when you think of a celebrity football fan, but it’s sort of a family business. Her mother, Kathleen McNulty’s family, actually founded the Pittsburgh Steelers. Her father’s family founded the New York Giants. And, their uncle is actually the CEO and co-owner of the New York Giants — he took over the family business.

So, we’re pretty sure Mara can get the best seats in the house whenever the Steelers or Giants are playing — crazy!


Allison Williams

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Allison Williams shot to stardom when she got a leading role in the hit HBO show Girls. Suddenly, everyone knew who she was, and she was able to transition into taking on meatier film roles, like her role in Get Out.

However, she’s no stranger to what life is like in front of the camera. Her father, Brian Williams, is actually a famous nightly news anchor who allegedly made a cool $15 million a year at his prime.

And, her mother Jane Stoddard Williams is involved in the entertainment industry as well — she works as a television producer. So, Williams was raised in luxury and got an inside scoop at what life in the industry was like.


Miley Cyrus

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USA Today

Miley Cyrus had a bit of a unique experience. While many celebrities only start chasing their Hollywood dreams once they’re adults, Cyrus was already the star of her own Disney show when she was just a teenager. She transitioned from that into a music career, and a handful of acting roles, and shows no signs of slowing down.

However, she got into the industry because she wanted to, not because she was worried about making money. You see, her father is country music star Billy Ray Cyrus, the guy who wrote hits like “Achy Breaky Heart.”

However, in a funny twist, Miley is now worth more than her father is. It can’t have hurt to grow up on a vast 500-acre farm in Tennessee, not having to worry about money, though.


Rashida Jones

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Rashida Jones is an intriguing combination of hilarious and super brainy. She’s obviously very intelligent and has a lot of informed opinions on complex subjects. However, she’s also an amazing comedian and has shown off her skills on sitcoms like The Office and Parks and Recreation.

She always seems so humble, so you may have assumed that she just grew up in a regular middle-class family — but that’s not the case. Her mother is actress Peggy Lipton, and her father is the incomparable Quincy Jones, a media mogul, and musician who is worth hundreds of millions.

Both of them support their daughter’s acting career and are likely so proud that she’s managed to build it up to where it is now.


Bryce Dallas Howard

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Bryce Dallas Howard has been in a ton of great projects over the years and has fans around the world. And, she’s actually been in the industry for longer than you might think — at least, in some way.

You see, her father is actor and director Ron Howard. Her father’s ties to the entertainment industry meant that Bryce Dallas Howard was able to be an extra in her dad’s movies when she was just 7. She developed a love for life on set and eventually decided to become an actress herself. Although she wasn’t raised in Hollywood — she was raised in upstate New York, on an estate that went for $27.5 million when it was put on the market.

Bryce Dallas Howard is definitely doing well for herself, but she hasn’t quite reached her father’s status.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus

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At this point, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is television royalty. Sure, she’s had several film roles over the years, but television is where she truly shines. She made her name starring on Seinfeld and then found a whole new legion of fans with her show Veep.

When she was first starting out in the industry, her family money was likely a source of comfort. Even if things didn’t work out, she knew she’d probably be able to work in the family business. You see, her great-great-grandfather founded a company, the Louis Dreyfus Group, and it was passed down through the generations. Her father is at the helm of it today and is worth somewhere around $3.4 billion. Insane!

Rather than going into the family business, she’s created a successful career where she gets to make people around the world laugh.


Tony Goldwyn

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Though he’s been in the industry for a while, most people got to know actor Tony Goldwyn when he snagged the role of POTUS on Shonda Rhimes’ show Scandal.  However, it turns out that Goldwyn’s roots in the entertainment industry stretch pretty far back.

You may have paused when you first saw his last name, thinking it seemed familiar for some reason. That’s because you’re thinking of Metro Goldwyn Mayer studios. That’s right — he’s one of those Goldwyns. His great-great-grandfather, Samuel Goldwyn, was a founding member of quite a few Hollywood studios that are still successful today.

Obviously, the family’s roots in the industry had a significant impact — Goldwyn is an actor, his sister is a writer and filmmaker, and his brother is a producer.


Ariana Grande

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Ariana Grande’s latest hit song, “7 Rings,” has sparked a lot of conversation. Some people absolutely love the empowering anthem about making your own money and taking care of yourself, while others feel it’s a bit tone deaf because of how over the top it is.

In Grande’s case, she may just not really understand the reality of not having a ton of money to spend, because she always has. She became a superstar at a young age, first starring on a Disney show and then transitioning to craft a successful career in the music industry. However, before that, she was just the daughter of a major business mogul. Her father, Edward Butera, is the CEO of a super successful graphic design company with plenty of celebrity clients.


Ansel Elgort

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Los Angeles Times

Ansel Elgort has slowly but steadily been building a name for himself in Hollywood taking on all kinds of interesting roles. Sure, he’s played the typical heartthrob in a few projects, but he’s also played more interesting roles over the years that allow him to grow as an actor.

And, he’s no stranger to being in front of the camera — he was being photographed by his father far before he was photographed for being a celebrity. You see, Elgort’s father is Arthur Elgort, who was a hugely successful fashion photographer who worked with Vogue through the years.

His siblings got bitten by the visual arts bug, and work as a cinematographer and photographer. Ansel, on the other hand, was more interested in life in front of the camera.


Jordin Sparks

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Jordin Sparks got her big break when she appeared on the singing competition reality show, American Idol. However, once you hear about her family, you may wonder why she didn’t just ask her father for money to create her first album and try to spark some interest in the industry that way.

Sparks grew up in relative luxury because her father was actually a professional football player in the NFL. Now, professional sports is always a risky career — you never know when you might get cut from the team, or get a career-ending injury. However, her father Phillippi Sparks managed to stay in the league for quite a few years and build up a nice nest egg for his family.

Now, Sparks is making her own money — and we have to admit, we sort of admire that she wanted to make a name for herself in the beginning rather than relying on family money.

References: Wonderwall, Popsugar, Buzzfeed

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