GWR presents the celebrities with the greatest annual income from 1 Jun 2015 to 1 Jun 2016, according to Forbes. The lowest earner listed here has an annual income some 500 times greater than the average personal income in the USA. But for overall wealth, one man still leads the pack…

TV actor $22.5 m

Jim Parsons (USA), star of CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory (in which he plays Sheldon Cooper), earned an estimated $22.5 m (£15.4 m), making him the year’s top-earning TV actor for the second year in succession.

Model $30 m

Gisele Bündchen (BRA) made $30.5 m (£20.8 m) in the year to Jun 2016. Alongside deals with the likes of Chanel, Bündchen owns skincare and lingerie ranges. These continue to boost her income, despite the fact that she retired from modelling in 2015.

Track athlete $32.5 m

With a string of records to his name, including the fastest 100 m and 200 m, Usain Bolt (JAM) has also seen his income escalate. Around $30 m (£20.5 m) of his $32.5-m (£22.2-m) earnings came from endorsements. His biggest sponsor is Puma, from whom he earned more than $10 m (£6.8 m).

Bollywood actor $33 m

India’s Shah Rukh Khan – aka SRK – earned $33 m (£22.5 m) in 2015–16. Since debuting in Deewana (IND, 1992), he has appeared in more than 80 films and continues to enjoy lead roles in hit movies such as Dilwale (IND, 2015).

TV actress $43 m

For the fifth year in a row, Modern Family star Sofía Vergara (COL) is the top-earning TV actress, with an estimated income of $43 m (£29.4 m).

Film actress $46 m

Best known for starring roles in lucrative franchises The Hunger Games and X-Men, US actress Jennifer Lawrence took home around $46 m (£31.4 m) in 2015–16.

Formula One driver $46 m

British F1 star Lewis Hamilton earned $46 m (£31.4 m), of which $42 m (£28.7 m) came from race winnings. Hamilton secured his third F1 championship in 2015.

Reality TV star $51 m

Kim Kardashian West (USA) earned $51 m (£34.9 m). Much of this income came from her mobile game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, which made $71.8 m (£58.3 m) in 2015 alone.

American football player – $53 m

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (USA) earned $53 m (£36.2 m) in the 12 months to Jun 2016. Unusually for a sports star, most of Newton’s earnings ($41.1 m; £28.1 m) came from his salary and game winnings. “Just” $12 m (£8.2 m) came from endorsements.

Chef $54 m

Best known for his culinary TV shows such as Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef USA and Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon Ramsay (UK) earned approximately $54 m (£36.9 m).

Disc Jockey $63 m

DJ Calvin Harris (b. Adam Wiles, UK) earned $63 m (£43.1 m). Harris had topped the highestearning DJ list for the previous two years as well.

Magician $64 m

David Copperfield (USA) earned an estimated $64 m (£43.8 m) in 2015–16. Most of his income comes from his longrunning show in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

Actor $64.5 m

Wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson (USA, aka “The Rock”) earned an estimated $64.5 m (£44.1 m). San Andreas (USA, 2015) and Disney’s Moana (USA, 2016) are two of the movies to which he lent his talents in that period.

Musician (male) $70 m

Country music star Garth Brooks (USA) earned $70 m (£47.9 m) from Jun 2015 to Jun 2016. His income was boosted considerably by profits from his comeback tour, which entered its third year in Sep 2016.

TV personality (female) – $75 m

Ellen DeGeneres (USA) – TV star, actress and host of her own self-titled chat show since 2003 – earned an estimated $75 m (£51.3 m).

Basketball player $77 m

Currently with the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James (USA) earned an estimated $77 m (£52.7 m). Around $54 m (£36.9 m) of this came from a range of high-end endorsements with brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola and Samsung.

Radio host $85 m

“Shock jock” Howard Stern (USA) enjoyed an income of $85 m (£58.1 m). In Dec 2015, Stern announced that he had signed a new five-year deal with radio station Sirius XM.

Comedian $87.5 m

Kevin Hart (USA) played more than 100 live shows, each with an average gross of more than $1 m (£684,453), helping him to annual earnings of $87.5 m (£59.8 m).

Athlete $88 m

Tied with Dr Phil in Forbes’ list of the highest earners is Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo (PRT). Some $32 m (£21.9 m) of his earnings came from endorsement deals – notably with Nike.

TV personality $88 m

American television star Dr Phil McGraw – best known for his CBS talk show Dr. Phil – earned an estimated $88 m (£60.2 m) in 2015–16.

Author $95 m

The top-earning author in 2016 was crime-thriller writer James Patterson (USA), with estimated annual earnings of $95 m (£65 m). This also makes him the highestearning living celebrity (male, current).

Band $110 m

One Direction (UK/IRL) earned an estimated $110 m (£75.2 m). Most of their income came from the 2015 On the Road Again Tour. The boy band are currently on hiatus.

CEO $131.2 m

In 2015–16, John Hammergren (USA) earned $131.19 m (£89.79 m). He is president, chairman and CEO of McKesson Corporation, which specializes in health care, medical technology and pharmaceuticals.

Celebrity $170 m

Taylor Swift (USA) hasn’t released an album since 2014, but the pop icon’s The 1989 World Tour grossed $250 m (£164.8 m), boosting her earnings to $170 m (£116.3 m). That’s more than double her 2015 income.

Dead celebrity $825 m

The “King of Pop” lives on – financially, at least. Michael Jackson (USA, 1958–2009) earned $825 m (£636 m) and has topped Forbes’ Top- Earning Dead Celebrities list since 2012–13.


No one has greater accumulated wealth than Bill Gates (aka William H Gates III, USA). A co-founder of Microsoft, Gates was the wealthiest man alive in 1995–2007, again in 2009, and has been since 2014. As of 3 Apr 2017, his fortune stood at $86.9 bn (£69.1 bn). Since 1999, he and his wife have helmed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which aims to lift millions of people out of poverty, with a focus on eliminating HIV, malaria and other infectious diseases.

Previous Next