Ariana Grande's jaw-dropping 'The Voice' paycheck, plus more of the biggest money moments of 2021

2021 proved that even a global pandemic couldn’t get in the way of stars making major money moves. Join as we round up the biggest celebrity money moments of 2021, starting with this… Ariana Grande pursued a very profitable venture in 2021: a slot on “The Voice” team. For her work alongside Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton and John Legend, the singer became the highest paid coach in the history of the hit reality competition series. According to Rob Shuter’s “Naughty But Nice” podcast (via JustJared), Ariana signed on to NBC’s Monday night staple for a deal worth $20 to $25 million a season. Rob said that puts her on par with Katy Perry over at rival ABC series “American Idol.” Katy reportedly earns $25 million per season — which she more or less confirmed in a chat last year with radio host Howard Stern, though she did say listeners should take the number with a “Himalayan”-sized “grain of salt.” The other “The Voice” coaches reportedly make substantially less. “Kelly Clarkson got about $15 million when she joined ‘The Voice,'” Rob said on “Naughty But Nice.” “John Legend and Blake Shelton get around $13 million a season, which means the women on the show are making the most,” he added. Not a bad haul for a job that that doesn’t require you to leave the comfort of a spinning chair.

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In August, Reese Witherspoon sold her production and media company, Hello Sunshine, to a media company backed by the private equity firm Blackstone Group for a jaw-dropping figure — north of $900 million — as part of a larger plan to build an independent entertainment firm, industry press confirmed. Hello Sunshine was founded by the Oscar-winning actress five years ago and will be the company’s first acquisition. Reese and Hello Sunshine Chief Executive Sarah Harden will continue to operate the brand and serve on the new media company’s board. While it’s unclear exactly how much the pair will make from the deal, they will be significant equity holders in the new venture.

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In 2021, Rihanna joining the billionaires club — without the help of new music. Forbes announced in August that she’s now worth $1.7 billion, making her the wealthiest female musician in the world and the second wealthiest female entertainer behind only Oprah Winfrey. Most of that money stems from the success of her Fenty Beauty line, which she launched in 2017. The singer and entrepreneur owns 50% of the company, which accounts for about $1.4 billion of her total net worth. Her lingerie company, Savage X Fenty — worth about $270 million, per Forbes — and her work as a musician and actress account for most of the rest.

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When superstars like Beyonce and JAY-Z go on vacation, they certainly know how to make it memorable. In September, the power couple toured the beautiful Mediterranean waters as any A-lister would: on a yacht. But the two Grammy winners didn’t rent just any boat, Forbes reported: They traveled aboard the 450-foot-long, 67-foot-wide superyacht Flying Fox, which costs roughly $4 million per week to charter. The ship is longer than a football field and features numerous terraces and platforms that open out over the water as well as two helicopter landing pads.

Scarlett Johansson had a box office hit in 2021 with “Black Widow,” but the film’s simultaneous release in theaters and on streaming platform Disney+ had her seeing red. The actress sued Disney in July, claiming in her lawsuit that the release plan violated the terms of her contract and resulted in her losing upwards of $50 million. The disagreement got nasty in the public eye, as Scarlett’s lawyers and Disney’s representatives shared multiple strongly worded statements knocking the other party’s claims. In September, the arguments came to a close as a settlement between the star and the studio was reached. Details have not been disclosed, but sources told Deadline the deal runs to more than $40 million for the “Avengers” headliner. “I am happy to have resolved our differences with Disney,” Scarlett told the outlet in a statement. “I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done together over the years and have greatly enjoyed my creative relationship with the team. I look forward to continuing our collaboration in years to come.”

Oprah Winfrey is known for her incredible giveaways, and the former talk show host made that count amid the financial devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an April interview on talkshoplive, Oprah revealed that she’d been mailing $15,000 checks to people in need throughout the pandemic. “I literally have been, people don’t know this, going through the newspaper finding stories of people who weren’t doing well in their life, sending them money, trying to help because I know I have been blessed,” the billionaire explained. “I sent the maximum amount that the government allows you to give a person, which is $15,000 dollars per person, and saying I know it’s going to be awhile before you’re working let me help you out.” She she also made a list of people who she knew would not be working during the pandemic and sent them money too. “I called it my personal pandemic relief package for friends,” Oprah added, without sharing how many have been lucky enough to receive the surprise funds. “I think it has made me more thoughtful, the more blessed I become the more I think about people who are not and what can I do to help them.”

The Met Gala is the one event that requires celebs to pull out all the stops, and Kim Kardashian West did just that at the 2021 event in September. While her face-obscuring Balenciaga ensemble stole the show, it’s the long ponytail that hung outside all the fabric that proved just how over the top the look really was. Page Six reported that according to an Instagram Story posted by Kim’s go-to hairstylist, Chris Appleton, the 75 inches of hair extensions cost a whopping $10,000. Considering her pricey glam was hidden underneath her designer face covering, it came as no surprise that the hair became a major priority. That said, makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic confirmed to the outlet that Kim still had on a full face of makeup underneath all that material and even reposted memes including one that read, “If you’re feeling useless today remember someone had to do Kim’s makeup for the Met Gala.”

Kim Kardashian West didn’t only spend money on her appearance this year. She and the rest of the Kardashian-Jenner clan blew a major wad of cash on the crew of their hit E! reality series, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” which came to an end this year after 20 seasons. The family paid thanks to their crew by gifting them with one of the most luxurious watches on the market — a Rolex! As reported by TMZ, when their E! show wrapped in early January, 30 members of the show’s production crew were presented with Rolex watches as a sign of appreciation for their work. The cost? About $300,000, which equates to roughly $10,000 per timepiece! Not too shabby of a parting gift, if you ask us.

Angelina Jolie may be one of the world’s biggest movie stars, but this year she also made history as an art collector. In 2011, now-ex Brad Pitt gifted her with a $2.95 million painting by Winston Churchill titled “Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque.” In March, the “Maleficent” actress sold the piece for nearly $12 million through auction house Christie’s of London. According to the Associated Press, the exact bid came in at $11,590,715 — a massive boost from the previous record for an original by Churchill, which was about $2.5 million. The piece shows a 12th century mosque against the backdrop of a mountain sunset in Marrakech and is believed to be the only wartime painting created by the late British prime minister, who painted it in the wake of the 1943 Casablanca Conference, where he and President Franklin D. Roosevelt came up with their plan to defeat Nazi Germany. The PM later gifted the painting to F.D.R. Sources told Page Six that Brad’s role in Quentin Tarantino’s World War II drama “Inglourious Basterds” helped inspire his interest in the Churchill work. The exes also reportedly once visited the Churchill War Rooms together in the UK for a private tour. The official seller of the painting was listed as the Jolie Family Collection, but Christie’s did not release the name of the buyer.

Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly have gotten serious since they started dating in 2020, routinely packing on the PDA whenever the cameras are around. They also started living together in a Los Angeles Airbnb rental property that cost, according to Page Six, an estimated $30,000 a month! Located in the upscale Sherman Oaks neighborhood, the five-bedroom, five-bathroom abode spans over 5,300 square feet. It was built in April and the pair moved in the following month. Amenities include a pool, spa, basketball court, an open deck and a terrace. 

“Sex and the City” was a massive TV hit when it ran from 1998 to 2004, winning countless awards and earning its four lead stars a reported six figures per episode. In December, HBO Max debuted a reboot — the limited series “And Just Like That.” Sarah Jessica Parker and co-stars Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis agreed to return for a major payday: Variety reported the three actresses earned upwards of $1 million per episode for a grand total of at least $10 million each for the single season. The trio also acted as executive producers on the program.

The Weeknd decided to splurge on a new home this year and ended up making one of the biggest real estate deals closed in Los Angeles in 2021: He threw down a whopping $70 million on a Bel Air mansion, according to The Wall Street Journal. Media mogul Reinout Oerlemans and wife Danielle didn’t plan to sell the stunning nine-bedroom home until the singer’s agents approached them. The 33,000-square-foot property boasts 13 bathrooms, an indoor pool, spa, outdoor infinity pool and waterfall, gym, sports court, music studio and cinema. It’s also surrounded by 1.6 acres of gardens.

Speaking of major real estate deals… Bette Midler sold her Fifth Avenue Manhattan penthouse for $50 million after it sat on the market for two years. What makes that hefty price tag an even bigger deal is the massive profit the legendary actress and singer made on her three-floor home of nearly two decades.According to the New York Post, she initially purchased the Upper East Side apartment for $3.5 million in 1996 — which means she made $46.5 million! The luxurious 14-room New York City apartment, which spans 7,000 square feet, includes six bedrooms, seven bathrooms and a private elevator. To top it off, the property has a 3,100-square-foot rooftop garden and terrace. In an interview with The New York Times, Bette— who often referred to the home as a “country house in the city” — said she and her husband decided to unload their longtime abode so they could downsize since their now-adult daughter had moved out, explaining, “It’s time for another family to enjoy it.”

It’s no surprise that that highest paid actor in Hollywood is making millions of dollars. However, in 2021, that number jumped to hundreds of millions thanks to Daniel Craig. Variety reported that the James Bond actor will be walking off with north of $100 million thanks to the eye-popping sale of two sequels to the 2019 hit “Knives Out” to streaming platform Netflix. The outlet reports that sum is so high because Netflix accounts for the projected back-end amounts stars would receive if their movies were to premiere exclusively in theaters. It also factors in the salary bumps Daniel would have received for second and third films in the murder-mystery series. The nearest competition? Dwayne Johnson, who’s set to make a paltry — in comparison — $50 million for Amazon Studios’ upcoming holiday adventure “Red One.”

In September, Elon Musk became the richest person in the world — again. The Tesla founder became the third person ever to amass a fortune worth $200 billion, according to Forbes, surpassing Amazon founder and rival space billionaire Jeff Bezos in the process. The two tech giants have gone back and forth for the title, with Elon surpassing Jeff for the first time in January after a remarkable rally in shares of his electric vehicle company. Jeff reclaimed his throne the following month when Tesla shares slid, but a surge in the fall pushed Elon back to the top. The outlet reported that at the time, Elon was worth an estimated $200.7 billion, while Jeff was worth an estimated $192.5 billion. The South African entrepreneur made a celebratory crack at his rival, writing in an email to Forbes that he would be “sending a giant statue of the digit ‘2’ to Jeffrey B., along with a silver medal.”

In 2021, James Franco paid a large sum out of pocket in an effort to repair his reputation. Variety reported that in June, the actor settled a sexual misconduct lawsuit against him for $2.235 million. The figure was revealed in court filings obtained by the outlet following a 2019 lawsuit alleging he and his associate coerced students into performing explicit sex scenes on camera. It was claimed the star and his business partner dangled the opportunity for roles in their projects at the acting school they once operated. He also faced allegations that students at the $300-per-month acting school who were willing to strip for him and his pals were given preferential treatment. The actor’s attorneys previously shot down the claims as “false and inflammatory, legally baseless and brought as a class action with the obvious goal of grabbing as much publicity as possible for attention-hungry Plaintiffs.” The settlement also includes a provision for a joint statement by all parties that allows the star to continue to deny the allegations while “[acknowledging] that Plaintiffs have raised important issues.” James has not worked since the lawsuit was first made public, but he may now be anxious to refill that hole in his wallet.

Floyd Mayweather is one of the biggest names in boxing history, but his more recent fights against amateur competitors have been more lucrative than anyone imagined. Boxing purists condemned the athlete’s controversial exhibition bout against YouTube sensation Logan Paul in June. The eight-round fight saw Floyd unable to knock out his novice opponent, but he clearly wasn’t bothered by the outcome. During a press conference later that month, MailOnline reported that he bragged that he made $100 million for the highly criticized event. “I’m the only person that can do a fake fight and get 100 millions,” he boasted. “I could do legalized sparring and get 100 millions.” The star then likened himself to a bank robber in his ability to fleece those substantial figures for a non-event. “Am I the best bank robber?” he asked. “Because I don’t know nobody in sports that’s my age and can still stick ’em up like that.” Floyd retired from boxing in 2017.

“The Bachelor” franchise underwent a major renovation in 2021 when host and executive producer Chris Harrison stepped down from his position of nearly two decades. The decision came after he faced major backlash in February for defending a former contestant’s past racist actions, something for which he later apologized. That said, Chris didn’t leave empty-handed: Variety reported he was paid was paid roughly $10 million in his exit from the long-running dating competition show as well as it its hit spinoffs — a combination of a $9 million exit settlement and remaining contractual fees. The outlet wrote that part of the agreement he signed included a public statement about an “amicable parting-of-ways,” while Page Six reported that the TV personality was ready to spill the dirt if the network didn’t shell out the cash. A source told the outlet that “Chris Harrison’s whole life was ‘The Bachelor,’ and he didn’t want to let go. He still is really sad to leave.”

Good dental work doesn’t come cheap, but Post Malone really put that to the test in 2021. In June, self-professed “Father of Diamond Dentistry” Thomas Connelly announced on Instagram that he’d completed a $1.6 million “smile reconstruction” on the musician. Post’s pearly whites now include a pair of 12-carat diamond vampire fangs plus some porcelain veneers. “Post Malone completed his $1,600,000 smile reconstruction last weekend!!” Thomas captioned a photo of the star’s new mouth. He also credited cosmetic dentist Naoki Hayashi and Angel City Jewelers’ Isaac Bokhoor, who collaborated on the project. The diamonds are actually embedded as teeth in Post’s mouth, according to Rolling Stone, which reported that this was Thomas’s first actual diamond tooth implant. “It’s very difficult to cut holes in diamonds without destroying them,” he explained. “If you get a 6-carat canine tooth, you need a 12-carat raw cube. So there’s a lot of waste.”

With the pandemic shutting down business ventures for many celebrities, OnlyFans became the place to go for notable names to make a quick buck. But as Danielle “Bhad Bhabie” Bregoli proved, the internet content subscription service could actually be a major money-making enterprise. The viral sensation-turned-rapper revealed she made more than $1 million after starting up an OnlyFans account days after her 18th birthday in March. In an Instagram post, she claimed she made six figures in her first six hours on the platform, which allowed her to share photos, videos and audio clips with subscribing fans for $23.99 per month. “We broke the f*** out of that onlyfans record,” she captioned the screengrab of her profits. A spokesman for OnlyFans confirmed the number to Variety, which wrote that the previous record holder was Bella Thorne, who made more than $1 million in her first 24 hours on the platform in 2020.

Hip-hop stars are nothing without their bling, but Lil Uzi Vert took his commitment to diamonds to a new level. In a series of Instagram Stories in February, the rapper announced that he’d implanted a $24 million natural pink diamond in his forehead. Yes, instead of having the massive diamond incorporated into a ring or necklace, he opted to have it put in his face. When asked if it cost more than his car, he said, “Yes my Bugatti can’t even pay for it… all my cars together, plus home.” He said the shining jewel is between 10 and 11 carats and comes from his favorite jewelry designer, Elliot Eliantte. Unfortunately for Lil Uzi, he told TMZ in September that he was doing some crowd-surfing at a music festival when someone yanked out the jewel embedded in his forehead. “I had a show at Rolling Loud and I jumped into the crowd and they kind of ripped it out,” he explained, adding that he’s “feeling good” and still possesses the diamond should he ever want to put the decoration back in place.

Jada Pinkett Smith wanted to celebrate her 50th birthday in style, so naturally, she had an entire roller rink built at her Los Angeles home. Page Six reported that the September event was ’70s-themed and that guests were required to provide shoe and sock sizes, bring light jackets and no gifts. Trainers were also in attendance to assist those with poor skating skills. Jada and her mom reportedly skated the entire night but husband Will Smith passed because he was in the middle of filming a movie. The night’s expansive menu included soul food, sushi, wood-oven pizza, candy, ice cream and every type of doughnut you can imagine. “There was no product placement. It was in Smith family style. They paid for everything,” an insider told the outlet. “It was probably the best time anyone has ever had.”

Ariana Grande, The Voice

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