Whenever people talk about celebrity riches, the conversation usually goes the way of how much the said star might be worth. But there are also famous folks out there who remember what life was like before they became rich. And they are much more conservative with their millions than you might think. Indeed, a few of these modest celebs might surprise you.
20. Keanu Reeves
As of 2020 Keanu Reeves has amassed an eye-watering personal net worth of around $400 million, according to the Wealthy Persons website. And he is an icon all over the world, beloved for his roles in the John Wick, The Matrix and Bill & Ted franchises. However, Reeves has always been one of the humble celebrities out there, and he regularly gives away vast portions of his wealth.
He told Hello! magazine in 2003, “Money is the last thing I think about. I could live on what I have already made for the next few centuries.” In fact, Reeves donates to PETA and has started a cancer foundation. What’s more, he reportedly worked out a deal for The Matrix sequels so the costume design and special effects teams would get some of his money.
19. Kristen Bell
These days Kristen Bell is best known for playing Eleanor Shellstrop on the wildly acclaimed NBC series The Good Place. She also voices Princess Anna in the hugely successful Frozen franchise and has appeared in films such as Bad Moms and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It has all led to a net worth of $25 million.
In a 2012 appearance on Conan, Bell excitedly extolled the virtues of clipping coupons. “I use a lot of coupons,” she revealed. “The best coupon you can get, possibly in the world, is the Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon.” The host joked that Bell was a walking, talking Bed, Bath & Beyond advertisement, but she promised she was just genuinely enamoured with their savings.
18. Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker is, and always will be, Carrie Bradshaw in the eyes of fans. The actress became a household name while playing the character across six seasons of HBO’s Sex and the City. She later reprised the role in two big screen films. According to Wealthy Persons, Parker’s personal net worth is more than $110 million.
Despite her wealth, Parker told Parade in 2008 that she never buys her son new clothes. Instead, he wears her nephew’s old clothes. And in 2018 she reiterated this statement to The Hollywood Reporter, but this time it was regarding her daughters. “My mother saved everything I wore as a child,” said the actress, “so my daughters wear my hand-me-downs.”
17. Mick Jagger
In a 2003 The Observer interview, The Rolling Stones’ frontman amusingly outlined his attitude to money. He said, “Those of us brought up in the 50s were taught to be frugal.” He then added, “We’re not brought up like Puff Daddy to be taking 30 free-loading friends to the south of France and spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on crystal [drugs].”
Jagger continued, “The truth is, most English people, whether they’re rich or not so rich, just don’t behave like that.” It’s clear that Jagger, who is worth around $400 million in 2020, is not someone who enjoys spending his cash frivolously. In fact, one of his many ex-partners, Marianne Faithfull, accused him of being “pretty tight” in her autobiography.
16. Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence’s ascent to fame was so meteoric that by 2015 she was the highest paid actress in the world. Now, that was incredible considering she only broke through five years earlier with the low budget Winter’s Bone. But The Hunger Games and X-Men franchises cemented her as a star. As of 2020, she has a personal estimated net worth of $150 million.
Lawrence’s down-to-earth personality has endeared her to the public, and this applied even after she hit it big. In 2014 she told Fabulous magazine, “I was raised to have value for money, to have respect for money, even though you have a lot of it.” She admitted, “I still drive my same car I’ve been driving for a long time and I haven’t bought a house yet.”
15. Sarah Michelle Gellar
Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress Sarah Michelle Gellar had an estimated net worth of $25 million in 2020. She is married to actor Freddie Prinze Jr., and the couple have two children together. Gellar’s acting roles have been few and far between in the last few years, as she has given her attention to Foodstirs, the baking brand she co-founded in 2015.
Gellar and her family make a point to shop frugally in the grocery store, in spite of their wealth. She told Self magazine in 2011 that, “We shop at Whole Foods, but we ask which fish is on sale. On sale doesn’t mean it’s bad!” She added, “I clip coupons all the time. Why should you pay more for something that someone else is paying less for?”
14. Tyra Banks
In 2020 America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) creator and presenter Tyra Banks has amassed an estimated net worth of $110 million. However, over the course of her career, she has always been careful with money. After ANTM had been on the air for three years in 2006, she still worried about it all going away. “I have a poverty demon,” Banks told Forbes.
Banks continued, “I’ll ask my accountant if I can afford something, and he’ll say, ‘What are you talking about?.’” Growing up with a single mother in a one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles made Banks all too aware of the value of money. For instance, in 2008 she told The New York Times Magazine that she repainted her office walls, rather than replace the cream carpet she hated. Why? Because it was cheaper.
13. Vincent Kartheiser
After seven seasons playing the odious Pete Campbell on AMC’s Mad Men, Vincent Kartheiser has amassed a net worth of $6 million, which he shares with his wife Alexis Bledel. Since the show ended in 2015, he has had other TV roles in The OA and Das Boot. However, he most definitely didn’t live like a millionaire.
You see, in 2010 he told The Observer, “My house is just a wooden box.” He was referring to the one-bedroom bungalow he lived in for the entire show’s run, which at one point didn’t even have a toilet. He added that he disliked being sent or gifted free swag, so he gave most of it away to charity stores or friends.
12. Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is the fifth richest person in the world, with an unimaginable net worth of $75 billion. He could afford to live a lifestyle that few could even comprehend but chooses a low-key manner instead. And he’s well known for his trademark casual dress sense, which rarely extends to more than a t-shirt, hoodie, and jeans.
Zuckerberg has also said he will donate 99 percent of his Facebook shares to good causes over the course of his life. He didn’t even stage an elaborate wedding day. Instead, he chose to have a small ceremony in the back garden of his Palo Alto home in 2012. He and wife Priscilla Chan then had McDonald’s for their first meal as a married couple.
11. Hilary Swank
Hilary Swank has won two Best Actress Academy Awards in her career, for 1999’s Boys Don’t Cry and 2004’s Million Dollar Baby. Her personal fortune is estimated to be around $50 million. But given she grew up in a trailer park, she isn’t someone who is known to throw her money around with wild abandon.
Indeed, in 2010 she told InStyle magazine, “I would use a coupon – just because I have some money now, I wouldn’t? That doesn’t make sense to me. I see it as a dollar in my pocket. People around me laugh, because I have a deep understanding of what a dollar gets you and how far to make that dollar go.”
10. Shailene Woodley
Big Little Lies star Shailene Woodley is worth an estimated $12 million. She rose to fame as the lead in the Divergent franchise, which was based on the hugely successful YA book series. However, Woodley is known to live very frugally. In fact, in 2015 she told The Telegraph, “I live a vagabond lifestyle.”
At that point in her career, Woodley had no permanent address and would simply stay at friends’ houses or in hotels when working in LA. She believed that, if she wasn’t an actress, she’d, “do something with food. Finding seeds, planting seeds, watching them grow, harvesting the fruits, cooking the fruits, eating them.” Also, she made her own beauty products, including toothpaste, eyeshadow and lip stain.
9. Tobey Maguire
Although Tobey Maguire’s fame has waned somewhat since his heyday in Spider-Man, he still has a net worth of $90 million. These days he mainly makes movies as a producer, having founded his own company in 2012. This move is very much in-line with what he told Parade magazine in 2007 about how he viewed his career.
“When I first started being successful at this, financially speaking, I was very conservative with my money,” Maguire said. “You know those Lotto winners who win big and then blow through all the money? That would never happen to me.” He then explained how he never wanted to be in a position where he was forced to take on projects he didn’t care about, simply to pay for a lavish lifestyle.
8. Carrie Underwood
Country singer-songwriter Carrie Underwood is worth a staggering $250 million. She first shot to fame after winning the fourth season of American Idol in 2005, before her debut album became the highest-selling solo female debut in country music history. She married NHL player Mike Fisher in 2010, after they met at one of her gigs a few years earlier.
Despite their joint wealth, Underwood told the Rachel Ray Magazine in 2012 that her favorite place to eat with Fisher is Subway. “I should have a VIP card,” she laughed, “when we were dating, Mike and I went there so often that we joked it was ‘our place.’” She also revealed that she does their weekly grocery shop herself and uses coupons to get the best deals.
7. Tiffany Haddish
Comedian Tiffany Haddish is a star on the rise in Hollywood, thanks to popular roles in movies like Girls Trip and Keanu. She has a net worth of $8 million, but her past has taught her to be careful with money. In fact, it wasn’t so long ago that she was a struggling comic living in her car.
Haddish told People in 2017, “I’m probably going to be cheap with my money for a long time. You know I’ve been homeless, so it’s like, ‘Yeah, it’s here now but will it be here in five years?’” She also makes sure to get her money’s worth out of expensive clothes. For you see, she wore the same Alexander McQueen to several ritzy events.
6. Ed Sheeran
British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is a global music superstar and has a net worth of $200 million. And his records have sold more than 150 million copies worldwide, making him one of the biggest selling artists of all time. Yet, part of Sheeran’s brand is his scruffy dress sense and relatable, regular-guy persona. He’s one of us; just much wealthier.
In a 2014 interview with the Irish Examiner, Sheeran explained that he has an allowance that he lives on, but doesn’t dip into the rest of his riches. For day-to-day use, he still has his old student account. He’s also a thrifty movie buff, telling tales of a 200 DVD spending spree on Amazon. After all, “they’re pretty much giving away DVDs for free these days.”
5. Matthew McConaughey
The 2010s were a great decade for Matthew McConaughey, seeing the actor successfully move back into dramatic roles, instead of rom coms. He won the Best Actor Academy Award for Dallas Buyers Club in 2014 and also took on dark, interesting projects like HBO’s True Detective and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. His net worth, as of 2020, is $110 million.
McConaughey’s persona has always been that of a down-to-earth hippie, and he approaches his work nowadays with no airs or graces. When shooting a film, “It’s as stripped down as it gets. I live in my trailer. I wake up and I’ve got a pair of pyjamas and one pair of pants. I have a singular focus.” He also eschews the Hollywood lifestyle, choosing a family home close to his mother in Texas.
4. Julia Roberts
These days Julia Roberts chooses her film and television roles very carefully. With an estimated net worth of $220 million, she isn’t in a position where she needs to work to pay the bills. Mostly, she prefers living a quiet family life in Malibu with her husband and three children.
Anyway, Roberts shops for her own groceries and refuses to employ an in-house butler, nanny or chef. In fact, she loves cooking for her family. “I think people confuse the idea of having this fantastical job with somehow being a fantastic individual,” Roberts told Harper’s Bazaar in 2017. “Like, ‘How could you possibly make breakfast?’ Well, hunger is a good motivator!”
3. Lady Gaga
In 2019 Stefani Germanotta, aka Lady Gaga, won an Oscar, a BAFTA award, a Golden Globe, and a Grammy. This made her the first woman in history to win all four trophies in one year. The awards all stemmed from her performance in A Star Is Born, and the song “Shallow.” As of 2020, Gaga is worth $350 million, but isn’t someone who flaunts her wealth.
You see, four years after hitting it big, Gaga still lived in the same New York apartment. In 2016 she publicly condemned fame and money at a surprise London gig. “I have travelled the world and seen the happiest people in the poorest parts of the world. Their values are intact. In the richest homes I meet the saddest and most depressed people.”
2. Nicole Scherzinger
Singer, dancer, and television personality Nicole Scherzinger knows the value of a dollar. She told Female First in 2011, “I grew up with no money so I still get the best bargains at the grocery store but at the same time, if there’s an Yves Saint Laurent purse that I want, I’ve got to have it right now.”
The former Pussycat Doll had a net worth of $15 million in 2020. She could be forgiven for being much more carefree with her money. But she also spoke in 2011 about how she and Lewis Hamilton, her boyfriend at the time, would craft each other gifts, instead of always splashing out for extravagant items.
1. Renee Zellweger
In 2009 Renee Zellweger told Glamour, “I have immigrant parents who came to this country with nothing, and my dad worked his ass off to support our family. He made so many sacrifices, but we always had enough. I’ve never been the sort of person who takes things for granted, and I’m not an acquisitions girl.”
This is a keen insight into the outlook of Zellweger, who had a net worth of around $65 million in 2020. In 2016 Bridget Jones’s Baby co-star Debra Gillett told Vogue, “There were no grand trailers or alternative arrangements made for ‘the leading lady.’ She sat around on boxes eating her lunch out of a disposable carton like the rest of us.”