The fortune of the queen of pop music, Britney Spears, is tiny compared to J-Lo, Jessica Simpson and Beyonce.
Twenty years ago Britney Spears was on top of the world. She piloted a four-year run of # 1 platinum albums, a Grammy award, and a series of world tours that paid her tens of millions of dollars. In 2002, Forbes named her the world’s most powerful celebrity, with an estimated income of $ 40 million before taxes and fees.
In terms of earnings and star power she was ahead of her contemporaries Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Lopez and even today she can say that she has sold more concert tickets and albums than both. But when it comes to net worth, the fallen pop queen lags far behind: Spears, once a dominant and ascending force in pop culture, has a net worth of $ 60 million; Simpson and Lopez have each built fortunes of more than $ 100 million, according to Forbes estimates. Beyonc, who began her solo career a few years after the former Mickey Mouse Club student burst into adulthood, is worth seven times as much not counting the wealth of her billionaire husband Jay-Z.
So what is wrong? After several years of media scrutiny, Spears suffered from a public depression and was placed under court-ordered guardianship in 2008. The judge handed control of her career and finances to her father, James, who is now the villain of the #FreeBritney Movement, a social media advocacy effort to free Spears from tutelage.
The setup was not good for his career. Or his net worth. In recent years, Spears has resisted her father’s control while paying millions of dollars in legal fees related to the guardianship tasked with tightly controlling her lifestyle, as well as alimony for her ex-husband Kevin Federline. Court documents reviewed by Forbes The last year revealed that its assets are mostly held in various brokerage accounts, real estate and cash. His personal fortune did not drag on for lack of effort: in 2008, Spears had released five successful records and embarked on six major tours. In the decade that followed, she delivered four more albums and four world tours, as well as a Las Vegas that ran from 2013 to 2017 and grossed $ 137.7 million, according to Caesars Entertainment.
But things started to fall apart. Once a popular choice for Pepsi, Skechers and Samsung endorsements, she quit doing TV commercials in 2015. Spears hasn’t released new music since 2016 and she quit touring in 2018. The following year she canceled another lucrative Las Vegas residence that allegedly saw her earning at least $ 350,000 a night.
“My client informed me that she was afraid of her father,” Spears’ lawyer Samuel D. Ingham III Ingham told court in November, according to the Associated press. She will not reproduce again if her father is in charge of her career. At the hearing, Spears hoped to permanently remove his father from his post as curator. Vivian Lee Thoreen, Jamie Spears’ lawyer, defended her leadership and said Britney Spears was in debt before the guardianship: I don’t believe there is any evidence to support the suspension of my clients.
Last week, a judge appeared to agree, keeping James Spears, but also granting his daughters the request to appoint independent trustee Bessemer Trust as permanent co-curator. Thoreen and Spears did not return requests for comment.
While she struggled, several of her pop star peers thrived. Lopez continued to work steadily, produce new music, tour the world, and perform at a two-year residency in Las Vegas, while also collecting a big check as the host of American idol. Last year, with Spears on the sidelines, J-Lo made $ 47.5 million playing in Hustlers, visit the world and supporting brands like L’Oréal, Kohl’s and Guess. Simpson made a fraction of Lopezs and Spears’ profits as an artist, but converted his popularity into an equity stake in his eponymous clothing and footwear company. In 2015, she sold her 62.5% stake in the company to Sequential Brand Group for approximately $ 120 million.
Meanwhile, a new generation of pop icons including Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Taylor Swift have upped the ante. Swift has embarked on five world tours since her debut album in 2006 seven years after Spears released hers, including the 2018 Reputation stadium tour, which became the highest-grossing US tour of all time, with $ 266.1 million to 2 million in ticket sales in the United States alone. His homes, which include a Rhode Island mansion, two houses in Beverly Hills and a penthouse in Manhattan, are worth more than Spears’ entire fortune, not to mention his two private Dassault jets.
Rihanna has shown how to make big bucks off the stage, turning her success in music into a business mix. Fenty Beauty, its makeup line with French luxury giant LVMH, reported sales of over $ 600 million in 2019. Forbes estimates Rihannas’ stake in the cosmetics brand is worth $ 375 million. Her stake in her Savage x Fenty lingerie line, which last week raised $ 115 million in its second round of funding, is worth more than $ 80 million.
No one knows what Spears would have done if she had controlled her fate and her fortune. But it’s hard to imagine how she would have done worse than her estranged father.
Additional reporting by Abigail Freeman.
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