It’s a common belief that when your parents are rich and successful, you are up for a privileged life. And while that may be the case for children across most rich families in the world, there are certain cases of celebrity inheritance where parents say that their wealth will not go to their kids.
Leaving behind a sound financial state for their children is most parents’ dream. And, this requires meticulous planning so that even if there are five kids, all get their due share and can carry the family legacy forward, while being a strong next generation.
However, certain wealthy parents don’t want their children to feel entitled to the silver spoon that they might have been born with. Despite an insurmountable net worth, these celebrities are mindful of the huge sums that they have made and know its impact. Hence, in today’s world, they want their children to grow up as any other kid and respect and appreciate the hard work that people put in to make ends meet.
Whether donating their wealth to trust funds or using it for various noble causes, these rich families have ditched the norms of traditional inheritance for their children. And, the list includes names such as Bill and Melinda Gates, George Lucas, Jackie Chan and Elton John.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates was once the richest person in the world and continues to be in the top order. He and his ex-wife Melinda Gates, together form one of the tech world’s heavyweights. Hence, it comes as no surprise that their three children would enjoy a really privileged life. But that is not the case. Despite a net worth of around USD 107 billion, the Gates children are not entitled to any inheritance.
Both of them are devoted to philanthropic work and run the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which focuses on the betterment of the human race, helps support educational initiatives and works toward eradicating diseases and poverty. Through The Giving Pledge programme, they also urge other billionaires to join the noble cause. As a result, they wish to give their money away to charity through the fund.
In a 2018 interview with This Morning, Bill Gates said, “It’s not a favour to kids to have them have huge sums of wealth. It distorts anything they might do, creating their own path.” However, reports suggest, each might receive a modest amount of USD 10 million.
Warren Buffett is one of those rare business tycoons and investors who leads a rather humble life. The American investor has a net worth of over USD 107 billion but plans on leaving only USD 2 billion for each of his three children, reported the Washington Post in 2014.
Like the Gateses, Buffett also intends to give away his fortune to charity. And as a co-founder of The Giving Pledge, he is committed to donating 99 per cent of his wealth to charity during his lifetime or at the time of his death. In fact, he continues to live in his Omaha (Nebraska) abode, which he purchased in 1958 for USD 31,500.
The ‘Oracle of Omaha’ wrote in his letter to The Giving Pledge, “This pledge will leave my lifestyle untouched and that of my children as well. They have already received significant sums for their personal use and will receive more in the future. They live comfortable and productive lives. And I will continue to live in a manner that gives me everything that I could possibly want in life.”
In the list of famous parents who don’t intend on leaving their kids with great sums are music legend and LGBTQ+ icon Elton John and his husband David Furnish. The music veteran, who has over 30 hit albums to his credit and has even composed the Oscar-winning song “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” from The Lion King (1994), shares two kids with Furnish and feels that they should be brought up in the most ordinary and down-to-earth environment. The boys, Zachary and Elijah, albeit have a glitzy environment due to their father’s popularity, prefer to stay away from the limelight.
And while John has a reported net worth of nearly USD 500 million, he believes leaving kids with massive amounts is not good and that they should learn to walk on their own feet. A 2016 Mirror report quotes John saying, “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 further adds, “Listen, the boys live the most incredible lives, they’re not normal kids, and I’m not pretending they are. But you have to have some semblance of normality, some respect for money, some
respect for work.”
Both John and Furnish have reportedly taken such a decision after being influenced by Buffet.
Mr Bond might be out there in his swanky cars and luxe outfits fighting dreaded villains, but when it comes to the person in real life, actor Daniel Craig wishes to get rid of his own money or give it away to charity or some trust funds before his kids inherit it. Sounds like a paradox? Well, it is reportedly true.
Craig has two children — one with his wife Rachel Weisz and the other is a daughter named Ella, with his former wife Fiona Loudon. None of them is expected to get huge amounts as celebrity inheritance. As per reports, Craig pocketed USD 100 million for his role as detective Benoit Blanc in Knives Out and The Glass Onion and USD 25 million for his final portrayal of James Bond in No Time To Die. All of these make up his USD 160 million net worth.
However, as per Insider, Craig told Saga Magazine in 2020, “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,” he added, believing his kids should build their own success paths.
Interestingly, Ella has made a mark for herself as a model and is represented by Ford Models, one of the world’s largest modelling agencies, and has also been featured on the cover of L’Officiel, a luxury French fashion magazine.
The man behind the epic Star Wars and Indiana Jones film franchises has a net worth of USD 5.2 billion. A major chunk of his earnings came from the sellout of his production house Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012, for a whopping USD 4.1 billion in stock and cash.
But the prolific filmmaker doesn’t believe in passing down his hard-earned money to the next generation as celebrity inheritance. He feels extremely passionate about supporting education and has even founded the George Lucas Educational Foundation to take his cause forward. And in this bid, Lucas donated the entire amount of the Disney deal to the foundation. He also joined The Giving Pledge in 2010 to be a part of global betterment.
Instead of leaving all his money for his four children, Lucas has pledged it for the upliftment of the human race. In his declaration to The Giving Pledge, he writes, “My pledge is to the process; as long as I have the resources at my disposal, I will seek to raise the bar for future generations of students of all ages. I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education.”
We all know the 1970s British rock sensation, Sting. Still, only a few know about the hardships and struggles he faced. Originally named Gordon Sumner, Sting is famous for his new-wave rock music and hit tracks such as “Every Breath You Take” and “Fields of Gold.” Throughout his long musical career, the Brand New Day (1999) star has amassed a hefty net worth of over USD 500 million.
Having witnessed a childhood filled with impoverishment and dire financial crises, Sting worked as a bus conductor, construction worker, tax clerk and teacher before making a name as an iconic musician. Therefore, he doesn’t believe in passing any of his bucks to his six children.
In a 2014 interview with The Daily Mail, The Police frontman said, “I told them there won’t be much money left because we are spending it! We have a lot of commitments. What comes in, we spend, and there isn’t much left.” He added, “I certainly don’t want to leave them trust funds that are albatrosses round their necks.” Sting also said, “They have to work. All my kids know that and they rarely ask me for anything, which I really respect and appreciate. Obviously, if they were in trouble I would help them, but I’ve never really had to do that. They have the work ethic that makes them want to succeed on their own merit.”
Sting’s children have indeed proven to have deciphered a path for themselves. His daughter, Mickey Sumner, is an actress who appeared in the 2012 film Frances Ha and his two sons, Eliot and Joe, have followed in their father’s footsteps.
Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is also one of those celebrity parents who say that their children won’t be inheriting their fortune. Today, Facebook is an unparalleled giant that dominates the social networking segment, making Zuckerberg one of the most successful billionaires with a net worth of over USD 62 billion.
The Silicon Valley genius with his wife Priscilla Chan runs the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative that works for several philanthropic causes. Forbes says the power couple is spending USD 3 billion to help cure, end or manage all diseases by 2100.
In 2015, the famous parents of two kids announced to give away 99 per cent of their Facebook shares over their lifetime to charity instead of passing it down to the kids. The news came right after their first daughter Max was born and Zuckerberg penned an open letter on Facebook. It read, “Like all parents, we want you to grow up in a world better than ours today.”
The letter further read, “Technological progress in every field means your life should be dramatically better than ours today. We will do our part to make this happen, not only because we love you, but also because we have a moral responsibility to all children in the next generation.”
Zuckerberg added, “As you begin the next generation of the Chan Zuckerberg family, we also begin the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to join people across the world to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation.” He also said, “We will give 99% of our Facebook shares — currently about $45 billion — during our lives to advance this mission.”
Actor and venture capitalist Ashton Kutcher met his wife actress Mila Kunis in 1998 on the set of That ‘70s Show and began formally dating in 2012. The two got hitched in 2015 and are proud parents of two kids — daughter Wyatt Isabelle and son Dimitri Portwood.
Kutcher, who has a net worth of around USD 200 million, and Kunis, who has a net worth of around USD 75 million reportedly, have made it very clear that they won’t be handing their kids a silver spoon as celebrity inheritance. Although their father would be too happy to invest in their future businesses, both he nor Mila don’t believe in passing huge amounts of cash otherwise.
In 2018, Kutcher was quoted revealing his plans in the podcast Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, where he said, “My kids are living a really privileged life, and they don’t even know it.”
He added, “I’m not setting up a trust for them. We’ll end up giving our money away to charity and to various things. If my kids want to start a business, and they have a good business plan, I’ll invest in it, but they’re not getting trusts [sic]. So, hopefully, they’ll be motivated to have what they had or some version of what they had.”
Winner of three Michelin stars, British chef Gordon Ramsay is well known for shows like Hell’s Kitchen and his fiery attitude on screen. His witty critique and use of foul language to roast fellow cooks have made him one of the internet’s most-watched chefs. But his impressive French cooking style, perfection around the kitchen and dedication to presenting nothing but the best have earned him numerous accolades and a net worth of around USD 220 million.
Ramsay might be among the best chefs in the world, but to his five children — Tilly, Megan, Holly Anna, Jack Scott and Oscar — he is just like any other loved dad. However, when it comes to handing over such great sums to the kids, both he and his wife Tana want them to make their own path. Reportedly, they hardly eat at his splendid restaurant nor travel first class with their parents during holidays.
Speaking to The Telegraph in 2017, Ramsay said, “It’s definitely not going to them, and that’s not in a mean way; it’s to not spoil them. The only thing I’ve agreed with Tana is they get a 25 per cent deposit on a flat, but not the whole flat.”
He also added, “They haven’t worked anywhere near hard enough to afford that.”
One of the world’s favourite action stars, Jackie Chan is known for bringing traditional Chinese martial arts to the global screen. He has starred in several blockbuster action films such as Karate Kid (2010), Rush Hour (1998), Crime Story (1993) and The Foreigner (2017), and has won several accolades including the Order of the British Empire in 1989 and an honorary Oscar in 2016.
The actor, producer, philanthropist and UN Goodwill Ambassador has a reported net worth of around USD 390 to 400 million. However, the father of two had long made up his mind that his children won’t get a slice of the million-dollar pie. According to reports, in 2011, Chan declared that his son won’t see any money coming his way as an inheritance. He announced, “If he is capable, he can make his own money. If he is not, then he will just be wasting my money.”
When Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs passed away in 2011, his wife Laurene Powell Jobs inherited enormous wealth in the form of Apple and Disney stocks. And since then she has been gradually reducing her wealth by handing it over to charity. She has a net worth of around USD 12 billion as of now.
Powell Jobs is a philanthropist and founder of the Emerson Collective, an organisation that strives for a better world “where every individual has access to opportunity, health, and well-being,” as per its website. In 2016, she launched the Emerson Collective, now called Waverley Street Foundation, with a gift of USD 1.2 billion. In 2021, Powell Jobs pledged to spend a sum of USD 3.5 billion over the next decade to address climate change.
However, the mother of three — Eve, Reed and Erin Siena — told The New York Times in 2020, “I inherited my wealth from my husband, who didn’t care about the accumulation of wealth. I’m not interested in legacy wealth buildings, and my children know that. If I live long enough, it ends with me.”
Revered British musician and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who has been asked to compose a new anthem for the coronation of King Charles, is also on the list of celebrities who say their children won’t be inheriting their fortune. He is known for some of the most successful musicals and operas including Phantom of The Opera, Evita, The Wizard of Oz and Cats.
Webber reportedly has a net worth of USD 1.2 billion but his five children don’t get to inherit much of it. While speaking to Mirror in 2012, he said, “I am not in favour of children suddenly finding a lot of money coming their way because then they have no incentive to work.” “So I will give them a start in life but they ain’t going to end up owning the Really Useful Group,” he added.
Wondering how the money might be used? “We could use the royalties to encourage everything from bursaries to young artists and composers. I feel I owe a debt and that is very largely due to the success not only in Britain but also the rest of the world. So I can’t neglect places like America – or even China,” said Webber.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ former wife of over 25 years, Mackenzie Scott is extremely accomplished in her own right. The novelist and philanthropist has a net worth of USD 26.2 billion. As part of the expensive divorce settlement, Scott received 25 per cent of his Amazon stake which makes up a major chunk of her wealth.
Scott has four children — three sons and an adopted daughter with Bezos — but in all likelihood, they are not going to receive much from her in inheritance. In 2019, right after her divorce, Scott signed up for The Giving Pledge and her letter reads, “In addition to whatever assets life has nurtured in me, I have a disproportionate amount of money to share. My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort and care. But I won’t wait. And I will keep at it until the safe is empty.”
In her blog, she mentions having donated nearly USD 2.74 billion in 2021 “to 286 high-impact organizations in categories and communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked.”
(Main Image: Courtesy Jackie Chan/ Instagram; Bill Gates/ @BillGates/ Twitter; Featured Image: Courtesy Mark Zuckerberg/ Facebook)
Trinetra is an ardent foodie and bibliophile who writes about films, travel, food and lifestyle. As a writer and literature student, slam poetry and storytelling are her go to jam. When not working, Trinetra is busy looking for her next place to visit or binge-watching Instagram videos for travel inspiration.
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