Whenever a very, very rich person gets together with someone even slightly poorer, it doesn’t take long for the rumors to start flying. Did they strike up a relationship because of love, or because of money? Will it all come to a messy end when the less well-off person decides to cash in their metaphorical chips? Such couplings provide no end of fodder for gossip websites. And these 20 celebrities were absolutely on the receiving end of it.
20. Elle Macpherson
The supermodel known as “The Body” has dated a string of fabulously rich men. In 2013 she married billionaire Jeffrey Soffer, but by 2017 she’d filed for divorce. People were quick to point out that the split could well add a few more millions to her already vast fortune.
19. Kevin Federline
Usually it’s women who get called “gold-digger”, but sometimes men are labelled with the tag too. And many people certainly think Kevin Federline deserves it. He left his pregnant girlfriend to romance Britney Spears, then saddled her with the $40,000 bill for an engagement ring. After getting wed and divorced, he now receives a tidy $250,000 a year from her.
18. Lauren Silverman
Before she had a baby with Simon Cowell – a man with a net worth of $43 million – Lauren Silverman was already married. In fact, she was hitched to none other than the music mogul’s closest buddy, millionaire Andrew. Ouch. But according to an interview Cowell granted Ellen Degeneres in 2013, Silverman is far from being just after his cash. Their union was rather “awkward” though.
17. Holly Madison
Holly Madison dated the much-older Hugh Hefner for a while, but once they were done she published a book about it. Hefner’s son Cooper was furious. “How does a person who is famous for being a gold digger paint themselves as a victim?” he wrote on Twitter in 2015.
16. Crystal Harris
Crystal Harris was the last in Hugh Hefner’s long line of blonde beauties. They had a rocky relationship – first time around, she called off their wedding with just five days until the big event – and no end of people calling her a gold-digger. That being said, she saw out his days with him right up to his passing this year.
15. Amber Rose
The model might have buried the hatchet with her ex Wiz Khalifa now, but back in 2015 it was a different story. On the track “For Everybody,” Khalifa sang a few unflattering verses about Amber Rose, with one of the few repeatable lines being: “Sorry you ain’t in control/You all about that money.”
14. Heather Mills
After Heather Mills divorced Beatle Paul McCartney, the comments about her motivations just kept coming. Her one-time PR Michele Elyzabeth had some particularly damning things to say. “She’s a gold digger. I’m certain her marriage to Paul was all about the money,” she revealed to News of the World in 2008.
13. Larry Fortensky
Larry Fortensky was a humble laborer before he became the seventh spouse of Elizabeth Taylor. After they divorced he got $1m, and after Taylor died he got an extra $800,000. But before his own death in 2016, he was adamant that he loved her and never wanted her money.
12. Blac Chyna
When the relationship between reality stars Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian imploded, it was messy. He unleashed some controversial social media rants and accused her of taking his money. But to be fair, he was the one buying her things like purple Lamborghinis and $35,000 diamond-dust portraits of herself.
11. Gabriel Aubry
Poor Halle Berry had a pretty rough time with her divorce from Gabriel Aubry. As the richer of the two, she soon found herself picking up the tab for her ex’s gym sessions, clothes and car bills. Aubry claimed he needed the money to raise their daughter, but that was widely seen as a flimsy excuse.
10. Rachel Hunter
The media has long theorized that Rachel Hunter, the one-time much-younger wife to craggy singer Rod Stewart, took him for $65 million to get her own back when he got hitched to Penny Lancaster. Whatever the truth is, one thing is certain: she walked away from the divorce a very rich woman.
9. Pilar Sanders
The Sanders split was a very nasty one indeed. Deion Sanders called his ex-wife Pilar “the ultimate gold-digger” in a 2012 interview with Rumorfix, but in the end he could be said to have been the most successful party in the divorce. A few years later he won $2.2m after filing a defamation lawsuit against her.
8. Shanna Moakler
Beauty queen Shanna Moakler has been involved with quite a few rich and famous men – Billy Idol, Dennis Quaid, Oscar De La Hoya and Travis Barker. Due to her often coming out of the relationships a little richer, she (fairly or unfairly) frequently makes “Hollywood’s biggest gold diggers” lists.
7. Tameka Foster
A few years after her divorce from wealthy singer Usher, Tameka Foster decided to “clear a few things up”. She was interviewed by Entertainment Tonight in 2012. “The woman is always the gold digger. It’s kind of an insult to the men because it implies they’re not lovable,” she said.
6. Catherine Zeta Jones
When Catherine Zeta Jones married Michael Douglas, a man who was 25 years her senior, the media was quick to insinuate that she was only after his cash. Especially since, it was said, she angled for more money in the pre-nup. But to this day they’re still happily married.
5. Nick Lachey
In 2015, multi-millionaire singer and businesswoman Jessica Simpson shocked everyone by suggesting to CNBC that she considered her “biggest money mistake” to be her first marriage to Nick Lachey. Reportedly, during the actual divorce Lachey might in fact have accepted less than he could have fought for… but perhaps Simpson doesn’t think so.
4. Bryan Tanaka
Mariah Carey and Bryan Tanaka spent only a few months as girlfriend and boyfriend. And one of the reasons they split up, TMZ claimed, was because the backup dancer couldn’t resist using his lover’s money to splurge on the finer things in life. Even Carey’s ex Nick Cannon hinted that the relationship with Tanaka wasn’t the real deal.
3. Anna Nicole Smith
When 26-year-old Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith married 89-year-old billionaire J. Howard Marshall, many people presumed she was obviously only after the money. Then he died 13 months after the wedding. Yet, as court cases regarding her inheritance dragged on, she maintained that she and Marshall had loved each other, until her own death in 2007.
2. Melania Trump
Back when Slovenia native Melanija Knauss married then-tycoon Donald Trump in 2005, she defended herself against gold-digging claims. But now that she’s First Lady, memes such as “when u only married him for the inheritance but he just won’t die” won’t go away… and she can’t do a thing about it.
1. Scott Disick
Who wouldn’t want to latch on to a Kardashian’s fame and fortune? That’s essentially what some might say Scott Disick did with Kourtney, and he’s faced gossip about his motivations ever since. Reportedly, she made him sign a detailed pre-nupital agreement before marriage, but in the end they never married anyway.