• Many famous celebrities are choosing to not leave their wealth to their families.
• Examples include Jackie Chan, Bill Gates, Gordon Ramsey, Daniel Craig, Simon Cowell, Elton John, Sting, Mark Zuckerberg, MacKenzie Scott, and Bernard Marcus.
• These celebrities are choosing to donate their wealth to charities, or give their children minimal amounts in order to not spoil them.
• They are motivated by the idea that their children should work for their own money, or have a moral responsibility to donate to charity.
• Despite this decision, their children are still pursuing successful careers in the entertainment and creative industry.
Although famous clans such as the Kardashians and the Beckhams are some good examples of whole families becoming stars by association, other celebrities take a more low-key approach when it comes to sharing their spotlight – and riches. Here are ten celebrities who won’t be leaving their nearest and dearest any cash or other tangible assets.
As one of the highest-paid actors in the world, with a $350 million fortune and just two children, you’d think that the “The Karate Kid” star would be slightly more generous with his money. However, Jackie has stood firm on his decision to donate his wealth to charity, declaring in 2011: “If he [his son, Jaycee] is capable, he can make his own money. If he isn’t, then he will just be wasting my money.”
The action superstar’s colorful love life became a media scandal in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, somewhat tarnishing his stellar career. After almost two decades of union with the stunning Taiwanese actress Joan Lin – mother of Jaycee, the actor’s only son – news outlets had a field day upon discovering that Jackie had a secret daughter born of an extra-marital affair with Elaine Ng Yi-Lei.
Despite claiming to have paid Elaine 70,000 HK dollars a month for her living expenses, as well as a lump sum of 600,000 HK dollars when she moved to Shanghai, her lawyers said that the transactions were “non-existent”. Fans hoping for a salacious love triangle were also left disappointed when Jackie’s wife stayed by his side, and Elaine stated that she would raise her daughter, Etta Ng Chok Lam, without help from her famous father.
Jaycee was arrested in Beijing and jailed for possession and distribution of marijuana in 2014, and served six months in state prison, whereas Etta and Jackie are believed to have no relationship.
Can you imagine your father being one of the four richest people in the world, and leaving you less than 1% of his $130.5 billion fortune? That’s the reality for Jennifer, Rory and Phoebe, the Microsoft mogul and Melinda Gates’s three children, who are set to inherit just $10 million each after Bill announced in a TED Conference that the family’s foundation would receive most of his wealth.
In 2017, Bill doubled down on his controversial statements, adding: “I definitely think leaving kids massive amounts of money is not a favor to them.” The philanthropist was apparently inspired by a 1986 article in which Warren Buffet spoke of the perils of leaving children huge inheritances.
With that said, the Gates offspring aren’t doing too badly. Jennifer graduated from Stanford University in 2018 with a degree in human biology, and is currently a medical student in New York City. The attractive brunette is also engaged to the professional equestrian rider and fellow Stanford alumni Nayel Nassar, although no wedding date has been set just yet.
Her younger sister Phoebe has studied at the prestigious School of American Ballet and is also a keen horse rider, whereas Rory was described by Melinda as compassionate, a feminist, and a great son and brother.
TV’s most entertaining chef is also a doting family man, and hands-on father of five – but that’s not to say that his kids Tilly, Oscar, Megan, Holly Ann and Jack Scott will be benefiting from the fruits of his hard work. In an interview with The Telegraph, Gordon confirmed that he’s hopped on the wave of rich and famous parents donating their fortune, saying: “It’s [the inheritance] definitely not going to them [his children], and that’s not in a mean way; it’s to not spoil them.”
Gordon and his wife Tana have agreed that their brood of kids will get a generous 25% deposit on a flat, which some might consider measly given that the chef is a household name worth over $65 million. It’s not the first time the Scotsman has been criticized for his financial decisions either, as he received an internet and real-life backlash after laying-off over 500 employees at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
Inheritance or not, his kids might just be set for life off the strength of their surname, with Gordon’s eldest daughter Tilly already dabbling in the world of TV with her participation in “Strictly Come Dancing”, and a couple of presenting gigs.
Despite reportedly receiving $25 million for his final interpretation of James Bond, and inking a staggering $100 million deal with Netflix for the sequels to “Knives Out”, Daniel has no intention of his daughter Ella enjoying his $160 million net worth.
“My philosophy is to get rid of it or give it away before you go. I don’t want to leave great sums to the next generation,” the A-lister explained in an intimate magazine interview. It’s unclear if his wife, the gorgeous actress Rachel Weisz, shares the same philosophy when it comes to her son Henry.
Whatever the case, Ella is remarkably well-adjusted and is quietly making a name for herself in the theatre circuit. After being forced to drop out of college due to her crippling depression, the English rose got the necessary help to focus on her craft, and currently leads a lowkey lifestyle between New York and Los Angeles.
Known for his acid tongue and business acumen, Simon Cowell is an English record executive, entrepreneur and TV personality, who hit multi-millionaire status after creating the popular “The X Factor” and “Got Talent” franchises which air around the world. With decades of experience in the industry, the entertainment manager is feared and respected in equal measure by many.
Throughout his career, Simon has signed a boatload of successful musical acts, such as Susan Boyle, Little Mix, Labrinth, Fifth Harmony and One Direction, so it’s little surprise that he was named one of the UK’s wealthiest individuals and snagged a coveted spot on the Sunday Times Rich List.
— BANG Showbiz (@BANGShowbiz) June 27, 2022
In 2013, the talent show judge claimed that he would be leaving his vast fortune to somebody, adding: “A charity, probably — kids and dogs. I don’t believe in passing on from one generation to another.” It’s important to note that his son Eric hadn’t been born at the time, so perhaps Simon’s had a change of heart since then.
Sir Elton John
From becoming an LGBT icon and selling tens of millions to albums, to weathering unsavory sex scandals which included reports of illegal trysts with underage male prostitutes, Elton John is the definition of a multifaceted celebrity – and the “Your Song” hitmaker, who has been in an open marriage with David Furnish since 2014, was allegedly inspired by Warren Buffett to donate most of his fortune instead of passing it on to his two sons.
“Of course I want to leave my boys in a very sound financial state… but it’s terrible to give kids a silver spoon. It ruins their life,” he stated. “Anything beyond the basic, they have to go out and earn it themselves.” Obviously, Elton’s definition of “basic” may differ wildly from ours, given that the musician boasts mansions in France, Los Angeles, and other beautiful locations.
After maintaining a low profile for a few years in the wake of his 2016 marital crisis, and being criticized for slapping the British press with an injunction so they couldn’t discuss his husband’s alleged extramarital trysts – which included reports of a threesome in a kiddie pool full of olives –, Elton is back in the public’s good graces, and has recently worked on music with Dua Lipa and other pop powerhouses.
Before becoming the rock sensation he is today, Sting’s early years were full of economic hardships that shaped his outlook on life, and financial decisions. “There won’t be much money left because we’re spending it!” the singer-songwriter once quipped. “We have a lot of commitments. What comes in we spend, and there isn’t much left.”
Although that’s hard to believe, with the actor and humanitarian being worth an estimated $550 million, it appears that Sting’s six children have been good sports about the decision. “They have to work. All my kids know that, and they rarely ask me for anything, which I really respect and appreciate,” the real estate investor added.
So, what’s Sting’s numerous brood doing today? Joseph and Fuchsia, the hitmaker’s eldest two children, and the product of his first marriage to the actress Frances Tomelt, have both pursued creative careers in the musical and acting field respectively. Brigitte, Jake, Eliot and Giacomo, who all share a mother in Sting’s longtime second wife Trudie Styler, are also dabbling in modeling, producing, and other artistic ventures.
The controversial Facebook founder and self-made billionaire announced way back in 2015 that he and his wife Priscilla would be donating 99% of their fortune to charity. In a post addressed to their first child, the discreet couple said: “We want you to grow up in a world better than ours today… not only because we love you, but also because we have a moral responsibility to all children in the next generation.”
Naysayers would argue that Mark, who is currently under major scrutiny from lawmakers and the public, is only interested in bettering the world if it helps his image. From conducting psychological tests on tens of thousands of unaware Facebook users in 2012, to being accused of spreading misinformation surrounding the 2016 US Presidential election, it’s been a decade of on-and-off scandals for the Harvard and his company, now renamed Meta.
On a more positive note, Mark is reportedly worth $63 billion… meaning that his daughters Maxima and August are still set to inherit hundreds of millions in the future.
The American novelist and philanthropist known for being Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos’s ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott made headlines following her divorce, when ambitiously pledged to donate the vast majority of her wealth to charity over her lifetime. Making good on her promise so far, as of July 2020, the beautiful brunette had donated $1.7 billion to 116 non-profit organizations, with many more millions to go.
Philanthropist Mackenzie Scott has donated $140 million dollars to 6️⃣ of our CIAA schools‼️ Thank you @mackenziescott for your generous gift and support for HBCUs!
— CIAA (@CIAAForLife) December 16, 2020
With her charities of choice focusing on democracy, climate change, and racial equality, MacKenzie has also gifted over $800 million to tribal colleges and universities and HBCUs. The Amazon founder’s former spouse has also worked with charities helping support those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, her donations in the year of 2020 alone amounted to $5.8 billion, one of the biggest annual distributions to working charities by a private individual.
“By disbursing her money quickly and without much hoopla, Ms. Scott has pushed the focus away from the giver and onto the non-profits she’s trying to help,” the New York Times reported. MacKenzie and Jeff, whose divorce citing irreconcilable differences shocked the world, share four children: three sons and an adopted daughter. The elusive billionaire family doesn’t give many personal interviews, so it’s unclear what the Bezos offspring think of MacKenzie’s more than generous donations.
The co-founder of Home Depot, Bernard Marcus is worth a decent $9 billion – which he intends to leave almost entirely to his foundation. In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New Jersey native explained: “I’ve got all the houses I need… My kids are taken care of. Everything I live for now is finding the right things to put my money into… and doing good things for this world.”
Bernard, like MacKenzie, also signed the Giving Pledge – which, despite its name, isn’t legally binding. The businessman’s philanthropical pursuits go back decades: from contributing to the launch of the Georgia Aquarium in 2005, to funding a center to provide resources to children and adolescents with developmental disabilities, these charitable pursuits have sadly gone unnoticed by those who criticize his political views.
Not much is known about Bernard’s personal life, as he and his second wife Billi prefer to maintain a low profile. The Rutgers University graduate shares two children, Frederick and Susanne, with his first wife Ruth.