Celebs We Didn't Realize Were Born Into Fabulous Wealth

A selfie with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Ellen DeGeneres
instagram | @officialjld

Anyone will tell you that celebrity status confers a few pretty rare things on a person, namely wealth and fame.

We often see rich celebs and automatically assume that they owe their wealth to their career. This is often true, but some celebrities were simply rich all along. They just became a little more rich after becoming a celebrity. Let's check out some celebs who were born into wealth.

Adam Levine

Adam Levine is the frontman of Maroon 5, one of the most popular bands of the 21st century. But long before Maroon 5 made it big, Levine was already sitting pretty. That's because his father founded the retail chain M. Fredric.

Devon Aoki

If you've ever enjoyed the sights, sounds, and overall spectacle of a Benihana restaurant, you can thank Devon Aoki's dad for the honor. Rocky Aoki founded the popular chain in 1964 and it's been going strong ever since.

Taylor Swift

T-Swift doesn't have an exotic origin story for her family wealth. But she does indeed have family wealth. Her parents were able to nurture her career thanks, in part, to their wealth. Her dad's a financial advisor and her mom's a former executive.

Chevy Chase

Chevy Chase has an interesting backstory, with ties to the Folgers Coffee Empire. But he owes his family wealth to Cornelius Vanderbilt Crane, one of the heirs to the vast Vanderbilt fortune. This makes him a distant cousin to someone else who we'll tell you about later in the list.

Bryce Dallas Howard

Bryce Dallas Howard is a successful movie star in her own right, but she's got a long way to go before she eclipses the mark made on Hollywood by her father, Ron Howard. The older Howard has a long and venerable career as an actor, director, and producer.

Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields has a surprising number of connections to wealth. Her dad was a top earner at Revlon Cosmetics, and his parents were a tennis player and a straight-up princess. Shields can also trace her lineage to several noble families from Italy.

Edward Norton

Shopping malls might be a dying breed in the 21st century, but they were lucrative business not long ago. The co-founder of the Rouse Company — the company that literally invented indoor shopping malls — was James Rouse, Norton's maternal grandfather.

Nick Kroll

Nick Kroll might be the person on this list with the most familial wealth that didn't really come from old money. His father founded the appropriately-named Kroll Inc., a risk consulting company. He cashed in back in 2004, selling the company for just shy of $2 billion.

Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande's parents aren't famous in their own right like others on this list, but they're certainly rich. Her mother is the former CEO of a large communications company while her dad founded a graphic design company that's going strong to this day.

Rooney Mara

Actor Rooney Mara in an interview
youtube | Team Coco

Everyone knows that NFL owners are rich, and Rooney Mara is descended from two separate NFL team owners. Wellington Mara (on her mom's side) founded the New York (football) Giants, while Art Rooney (on her dad's side) founded the Pittsburgh Steelers. These two moguls also help explain how Rooney Mara got her name.

Jaden Smith

Here's an easy one: if Jaden Smith is famous for one thing, it's being Jaden Smith. If he's famous for another thing, it's being the son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Jaden's two parents have a net worth that's fast approaching half a billion dollars.

Michelle Williams

Actor Michelle Williams
youtube | The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Her father, Larry R. Williams, is an expert on commodity training and was able to parlay that success into great wealth and even political ambitions. He ran for senator in the Williams' home state of Montana, but lost both times.

Cara Delevingne

Delevingne is one of those English celebs who has all sorts of random connections to royalty. There are almost too many ties to count: her grandma was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth's sister, Princess Margaret, while one of her grandfathers was friends with the Prince of Wales.

Rashida Jones

Music production can be a lucrative business, and Rashida Jones' father Quincy Jones is perhaps the most well-known music producer of all time. He's won an incredible 28 Grammy Awards and been nominated for 80 throughout his career as both a musician and a producer.

Paul Giamatti

Actor Paul Giamatti
youtube | The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Sports fans in the '80s likely knew the name Giamatti before Paul Giamatti hit the scene. That's because his father, A. Bartlett Giamatti, served as the commissioner of Major League Baseball until his sudden death from a heart attack in 1989. Before he was baseball commissioner, the elder Giamatti was president of Yale University.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow's connections in Hollywood run deep — maybe that's why her Goop empire is still going strong. Her father, Bruce Paltrow, was a director and producer in Hollywood while her mother, Blythe Danner, was an actor. As if that wasn't enough, her godfather is Stephen Spielberg.

Jake Gyllenhaal

Gyllenhaal wasn't born into the kind of rarified ultra-wealth that we've seen with some other celebs on this list, but he (and his sister, Maggie) weren't the first Gyllenhaals to break into Hollywood. Their parents, Stephen Gyllenhaal and Naomi Foner, are successful as a film director and screenwriter respectively.

Anderson Cooper

Cooper is one of the most recognizable broadcasters on television thanks to a distinguished career with CNN. His great-great-great-grandfather, Cornelius Vanderbilt, was one of the most notable American industrialists of the 18th century, while his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, was a well-known fashion designer and icon.

And there's that Chevy Chase connection we promised.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

The wealth of Julia Louis-Dreyfus is assured thanks to her Seinfeld syndication money and her starring role in Veep. But she actually comes from old money — really old money. The Louis Dreyfus Company, founded by her great-great-grandfather in 1851, rakes in more than $36 billion a year.

Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey — real name Elizabeth Woolridge Grant — has been part of the musical mainstream for the past decade-plus. Her father, Rob Grant, is an entrepreneur worth millions who made his fortune in internet media and real estate investments.