The combination of talent, beauty and keen sense of timing is what raises a moderately popular singer to one of the most successful in the business. Based on sold-out performances, studio contracts and platinum albums, here is a list of the ten richest female singers in the world.
The only billionaire on the list, Madonna enjoys an estimated net worth of US $1.1 billion. Ever since she stormed the music scene with the single, “Like a Virgin”, Madonna has continued to strike it big with one successful album after another. From a dancer and singer, she has now evolved into a fashion icon, producer and entrepreneur, further adding onto her fortunes. Till date she has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and holds the Guinness World record for the top-selling female recording artist of all time.
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Madonna was married to actor Sean Penn who she divorced after four years in 1989. After than she entered a string of relationships with club DJ Jellybean Benitez, Dennis Rodman, Warren Beatty, fitness trainer Carlos Leon who is the father of her daughter Lourdes as well as model and club owner Ingrid Casares. She next married famous British film producer Guy Ritchie at the Skibo Castle in Dornoch, Scotland and even gave birth to their son Rocco. However after eight years together, the couple called it quits in 2008 amid growing rumors of Madonna’s affair with New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez.
- Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey juggles the multiple roles of singer, songwriter, actress and record producer with consummate ease. And it is this perhaps that makes her the second richest female singer in the world with an estimated net worth $750 million. Her best-selling albums including Music Box, Merry Christmas, DayDream, Butterfly, Rainbow, The Emancipation of Mimi and more recently Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel and Merry Christmas II are responsible for making her the world’s third best-selling female artist according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
Currently Mariah Carey is married to Nick Cannon with whom she is expecting her first child. The two got married in a private ceremony in early 2008.
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- Barbra Streisand
This eight-time Grammy winner is much more than a singer and songwriter. Barbra Streisand also a critically acclaimed actress, producer, director, composer, designer, author, activist as well as one of the richest female singers with a net worth estimated at $625 million. In fact in 2009, Streisand became the only artist to achieve number one albums in five straight decades with her album "Love is the Answer."
Streisand has been married twice. Her first husband was actor Elliott Gould, to whom she was married for eight years and over the course of which they had one child, Jason Gould, who would go on to star as her on-screen son in The Prince of Tides. After her divorce from Gould, she married James Brolin in 1998. Interestingly both of her husbands appeared in the 1970s conspiracy sci-fi thriller Capricorn One.
- Celine Dion
The Canadian singer and songwriter achieved instant fame with her song, “My heart will go on” from the 1997 blockbuster Titanic. Ever since she has cemented her position as a music diva with English as well as French albums in association with Epic Records. In 2002 she signed a contract to perform in a five-star show at the Colosseum of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Dion is believed to have sold 140 million albums worldwide which is perhaps why she has a current net worth of at least $590 million.
Dion is married to Rene Angelil who is also her manager. She first met Angelil when she was only 12 and he was 38, more than thrice her age. The two became engaged in 1991 and married three years later. At the height of her popularity in 1999, Dion announced that she would be taking a break from her singing career to start a family and also be with her husband who was then diagnosed with cancer. Dion and Angelil now have three children.
- Britney Spears
Despite being in the headlines for the wrong reasons more often than her music, Britney Spears remains one of the richest female singers in the world with an estimated net worth of $500 million. Spears arrived on the music scene with her record-breaking album Baby one more Time and followed it up with the appropriately named Oops I did it again. As of now, Spears has sold over a 100 million records worldwide and was ranked sixth on the world list of Most Powerful and Influential Celebrities by Forbes this year.
Spears’ first significant relationship was with singer Justin Timberlake when as teens they were both part of the Mickey Mouse Club. The relationship was followed by a 55-hour marriage with hometown pal, Jason Allen Alexander. In 2004, Spears married rapper Kevin Federline in a secret ceremony and the marriage even saw the birth of two boys. Dogged by attacks on her weight, parenting skills and lack of music, Britney entered one of the worst lows of her life. Eventually however she regained control of the professional as well personal life, filing for divorce from Federline and releasing her moderately successful album, Circus in 2008.
Singer, songwriter, actress and director, Cher is believed to have a net worth of around $460 million. Hardly surprising when one considers a career spanning four and half decades which produced such memorable albums as Believe as well as award-winning performances in films like Silkwood and Moonstruck.
Cher has been married and divorced twice. Her first husband was actor and politician Sonny Bono whom she divorced thirteen years and one child later. The second time Cher married rock star Greg Allmann but the marriage lasted for just two years. Currently she is believed to be dating American comedy writer Ron Zimmerman.
- Ayumi Hamasaki
Called AYU by her fans, this Japanese singer, songwriter and former actress has sold over 50 million records since her debut in 1998 with the single ‘Poker Face’. As a female singer, Hamasaki holds several records in Japan including the most number-one hits overall, the most consecutive number-one hits, the highest sales as well as the most albums to exceed one million sales.
Hamasaki entered into a relationship with singer Tomoya Nagase and in 2001 even went public with it. However six years later the two split amid speculation in the media about their impending marriage.
- Beyonce Knowles
One of the most popular R&B singers at present, Beyonce is also a songwriter, actress and fashion designer. She is estimated to have a current net worth of $390 million primarily on account of the 11.2 million albums that she has sold worldwide and the nearly 25 million singles that she has sold in United States alone. Beyonce started her career as the lead singer of the band Destiny’s Child in the late 1990s and then went on to make her solo debut with the album Dangerously in Love.
Despite the success of Destiny’s Child, Beyonce was believed to struggle with depression for almost two years around 2000. Part of it was caused by attacks on her media for causing the split between LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson and partly by her own split from her boyfriend of many years. After emerging from her depression, Beyonce entered into a relationship with rapper Jay Z. After six years of dating, Beyonce and Jay Z got married in April 2008 in New York City.
- Janet Jackson
Five times Grammy winner, Janet Jackson is widely recognized as one of the best-selling artists in the history of contemporary music. While Janet made her debut in collaboration with other members of the Jackson family in 1982, four years later she went independent with the album titled Control. Two lucrative contracts with Virgin label followed firmly establishing her as one of the most successful female recording artists. Till date Janet Jackson has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide is believed to have a current net worth of $360 million.
When in her teens, Janet Jackson eloped with her childhood friend and R&B singer James DeBarge and the two even got married. However the relationship did not work out and the marriage was annulled in 1985. Her next significant relationship has been with music manager Jermaine Dupri who was believed to have joined Virgin Records for Janet.
- Tina Turner
Singer and actress Tina Turner is widely regarded as an icon of modern music who has been hailed as ‘One of the Greatest Artists of all time’ by the Rolling Stone magazine. She began singing professionally with her husband Ike Turner as part of the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. As a solo artist, Tina Turner is best known for singles like “Lets Stay Together” and “Private Dancer”. Thanks to a music career spanning five decades, Tina Turner is believed to have a net worth of $350 million.
Despite having begun her career in music with her husband Ike, Tina reportedly suffered years of physical domination and emotional abuse by him. In 1978 she was finally divorced from him and after a few years she settled into a relationship with German record producer Erwin Bach.