Top 10 Celebrities Who Started Out Rich

Script written by Nick Spake People love to hear the rags to riches stories of certain celebrities. But today, we’re looking at the stories of celebrities who came from riches, and stayed among the riches! Did you know that Paul Giamatti’s father was the president of Yale? Or that Rooney Mara’s family has owned two NFL franchises? Other celebrities that started from the top and stayed there include Miley Cyrus, Adam Levine, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ariana Grand and Chevy Chase!
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Top 10 Celebrities Who Started Out Rich


There are rags to riches stories… and then there are riches to even more riches stories. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 celebrities who started out rich.

For this list, we’re taking a look at celebrities that were loaded even before they made a name for themselves.

#10: Paul Giamatti

This acclaimed character actor was pretty well-off even before achieving his A-list status. Paul Giamatti got a first-rate education, growing up attending private schools and eventually getting accepted into Yale University. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering Paul’s father was Angelo Bartlett Giamatti, the president of Yale. His dad also served as the seventh Commissioner of Major League Baseball for five months until his untimely death in 1989. The year following his father’s death, Paul made his screen debut in “She'll Take Romance.” Despite being a bit part, it was the beginning of a highly successful acting career.

#9: Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is one of the biggest names in music in the early 21st century, but relatively few people are familiar with her origin story and upbringing. Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta in 1986 to parents Cindy Bissett () and Joseph Germanotta, Gaga didn’t come from old money. According to the singer, her mom and dad both “came from lower-class families”, but they worked hard to provide their children with a comfortable lifestyle in Manhattan's Upper West Side. Her father, who’s been called the “Godfather of Hotel Wi-Fi”, made his money when he founded Guest WiFi, a company that installs wireless networking technology for hotels. Joseph now works closely with his superstar daughter, managing House of Gaga Publishing.

#8: Psy

This South Korean K-Pop sensation broke the internet in 2012 with his hit single, “Gangnam Style.” The song derived inspiration from the Gangnam District, which is one of the wealthiest parts of Seoul, South Korea. Psy, born Park Jae-sang, grew up in the District with his parents, Kim Young-hee and Park Won-Ho. His mother owns various restaurants in the area, while his father is the DI Corporation’s executive chairman. Jae-sang initially intended to study business administration in order to take over his father’s company. However, he ultimately decided to pursue his passion for music. Now he has the most watched video on YouTube and an estimated net worth of between $25-$45 million.

#7: Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus is so iconic that she’s largely eclipsed her father’s fame. But long before Miley was climbing the charts, Billy Ray Cyrus cemented his place in country music history with the massive single, “Achy Breaky Heart.” Billy Ray’s musical and financial success provided a launchpad for his daughter, who, from 2006-2011, starred with him in the hit television series “Hannah Montana.” With her Disney days long gone, she now maintains a hugely successful singing career. While she likely wouldn’t be the household name she is today without her father, her net worth is estimated at $200 million, roughly ten times that of her dear old dad’s.

#6: Anderson Cooper

This journalist comes from a long line of highly successful individuals. His mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, made a name for herself as an artist, writer, and fashion designer. As the daughter of millionaires Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt and Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, she’s also an incredibly wealthy heiress. This family initially rose to prominence with Anderson’s great-great-great-grandfather, Cornelius Vanderbilt, who made a killing in the railroad and shipping industries in the 1800s. When adjusted for inflation, Cornelius’ net worth equals as high as $215 billion according to some sources, making him one of the wealthiest public figures ever. Cooper reportedly won’t inherit any of his family’s money, but seeing as his net worth is estimated at $100 million, it’s not like he needs it.

#5: Chevy Chase

On the comedy series “Community,” Chevy Chase played Pierce Hawthorne, an insensitive old man who’s difficult to work with and comes from a rich family. Turns out that Chevy and Pierce have more in common than we realized. Since Chase is a 14th-generation New Yorker, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his ancestry has no shortage of success stories. His father was Edward Tinsley Chase, a wealthy magazine writer and book editor. His mother was Cathalene Parker, who worked as a concert pianist and librettist. Even more significantly, her adoptive stepfather was Cornelius Vanderbilt Crane, who inherited the Crane Company. As for himself, Chevy went on to become one of the biggest names in comedy throughout the 1980s.

#4: Ariana Grande

Before becoming a pop diva, Ariana Grande was best known as Cat Valentine from Nickelodeon’s “Victorious” and the spinoff series, “Sam & Cat.” But even before her rise to fame, Grande was already living the high life. Her father, Edward Butera (byew-TARE-uh), is the owner and founder of IBI Designs, Inc. This Florida-based graphic design company has created logos for numerous high-profile clients, including Eddie Murphy. Grande reportedly gets her strong work ethic from her mother, Joan Grande, who is the CEO of telephone company, Hose-McCann Communications. Suffice to say, even if Ariana had never hit it big, one can assume that money wouldn’t have been much of an issue.

#3: Rooney Mara

This Oscar-nominated actress has earned widespread acclaim for her performances in films like “Carol” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Given her success as a movie star, it’s easy to overlook the fact that Rooney Mara stems from an illustrious family. Along with her big sister, Kate, she’s the great-granddaughter of Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney Sr and New York Giants founder Tim Mara. Today, Rooney’s uncle, John Mara, is president and co-owner of the Giants, while, her great-uncle, Dan Rooney, acts as the Steelers’ CEO. With great fortune on both her parents’ sides, Rooney believes that football is “the glue that holds [her] family together.”

#2: Adam Levine

As a singer, actor, and multi-instrumentalist, Adam Levine is one of the most versatile guys in showbiz. Levine owes much of his success to his natural talents. With that said, coming from a rich family certainly couldn’t have hurt him on the road to superstardom. Adam’s father, Fred Levine, is the co-founder of M. Fredric, a popular retail clothing chain. Through his family, Adam got into the prestigious Brentwood School. While attending this private institution, Levine and some of his classmates formed a band called Kara's Flowers. This band would evolve into Maroon 5, bringing Levine fame and fortune of his very own.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Taylor Swift
- Robin Thicke
- Rashida Jones

#1: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Between “Seinfeld,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” and “Veep,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been steadily working in television for well over two decades. In the process, she’s not only won nine Emmys, but also accumulated a net worth of $200 million. However, Julia’s personal fortune is nothing compared to her family fortune. Her father was Gérard Louis-Dreyfus, the chairman of Louis Dreyfus Energy Services. Her great-great-grandfather was Léopold Louis-Dreyfus, the founder of Louis Dreyfus Group. Taking the family fortune into account, which has been estimated at $3.4 billion, should the actress behind Selina Meyer ever decide to run for president in real life, she wouldn’t have trouble funding her campaign.
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