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11 Celebs Who Spoke About How "Secretly Expensive" Being Famous Is

Taraji P. Henson said, "I hear people go, 'You work a lot.' I have to. The math ain't mathing. And when you start working a lot, you know, you have a team. Big bills come with what we do."

Many actors, singers, and other celebrities have net worths that most of us could only dream of. While "more money, more problems" isn't necessarily accurate, "more money, different problems" seems to fit the bill. It's interesting to hear about the financial side of Hollywood behind the glitz and glamour.

Here are 11 times celebs revealed the "hidden costs" of being famous:

1. Referencing her desire to be a young mom, Sydney Sweeney told the Hollywood Reporter, "If I wanted to take a six-month break [to have a kid], I don't have income to cover that. I don't have someone supporting me; I don’t have anyone I can turn to to pay my bills or call for help. They don't pay actors like they used to, and with streamers, you no longer get residuals. The established stars still get paid, but I have to give 5% to my lawyer, 10% to my agents, 3% or something like that to my business manager. I have to pay my publicist every month, and that's more than my mortgage."

Sydney Sweeney poses at an event in a dress with lace detailing

"If I just acted, I wouldn't be able to afford my life in LA. I take deals because I have to," she said.

2. For Margot Robbie, landing the role of Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad came with an increased need for personal security. She told the Hollywood Reporter, "There's just all this stuff you learn along the way, like, when you get those death threats, it's [smart] to have a security team do a background check on whoever sent them to see if there is any past history of violence, because you'll need to know whether you need security to go to certain events. And every time you do a background check, it's going to cost $2,000, so take that into consideration when you're getting yourself into this."

Margot standing on red carpet wearing a shimmering strapless dress with a large  jacket draped over the arms

She continued, "And it's like, 'OK, that's a different kind of career.' Because then you need to always do a job that can financially support that lifestyle; you can't just do indie films for the rest of your life because that film back there changed everything, and now you have to be able to afford security. I just wish someone had explained a lot of those things to me early on. I wouldn't have resented the position I found myself in because I would've known what I was getting myself into."

3. Taraji P. Henson told Sirius XM, "I hear people go, 'You work a lot.' I have to. The math ain't mathing. And when you start working a lot, you know, you have a team. Big bills come with what we do. We don't do this alone. The fact that we're up here, it's a whole entire team behind us. They have to get paid."

Taraji in a unique dress with a large ruffled detail, posing on the NAACP Image Awards backdrop

She continued, "So when you hear someone saying, 'Oh, such and such made $10 million,' no, that...didn't make it to their account. Know that, off the top, Uncle Sam is getting 50%. Okay, so do the math. Now we have $5 million. Your team is getting 30%, or whatever your team is, off of what you grossed, not after what Uncle Sam took. Now do the math...I'm only human, and it seems every time I do something and I break another glass ceiling, when it's time to renegotiate, I'm at the bottom again, like I never did what I just did, and I'm just tired."

4. Busy Philipps told Page Six, "I have to continually hustle. It is so true. With hair, makeup, and wardrobe and what it cost, Taraji P. Henson really spoke to that, and I felt it so deeply because I look at the money I am supposedly making, and then it is not just the bills but what is expected of me when I show up at a place. The film company or this production company is only going to pay this percentage of your hair, makeup, and wardrobe, so then you have to make up the rest."

Busy in a floral patterned dress posing on event backdrop

She continued, "So then you are a thousand dollars out of pocket, and at the end of the day, it’s like, 'What am I doing?' Sometimes I think I should just show up a mess at one of these things as a protest."

She also described how sponsored content has helped her out financially. She said, "I am so grateful that in the last 10 years, I have been able to partner with so many brands, and I monetized my Instagram very early on, and that has kept me afloat in a way where a lot of my dear friends who are actresses have not been as fortunate."

5. "It's very expensive to be famous," Sharon Stone told InStyle. "You go out to dinner, and there's 15 people at the table. And who gets the check? You get the $3,000 dinner check every single time."

Sharon in elegant attire with draped sleeves and a necklace posing at an event

She also brought up the expense of personal safety. For example, when she did Basic Instinct, she'd been acting for over a decade but still couldn't afford personal security guards. Her address, which was on a publicly accessible road, got leaked, so police had to be outside constantly. 

When O.J. Simpson was being chased by police in 1994, the LAPD sent a squad to Sharon's house, told her she was being moved to a hotel for her own safety, and gave her 10 minutes to pack.

She said, "[The police] were like, 'Find a secure house behind a gate.'" So she purchased the only house she could afford — a "shell" of a home in need of renovations.

6. Tiffany Haddish has famously reworn the Alexander McQueen gown she originally bought for the Girls Trip premiere multiple times. Her initial reaction to its $4,000 price tag was, "Oh, hell no. This is my mortgage. I can't wear this dress." She was "devastated" when she learned she couldn't return it.

Tiffany standing on the red carpet in an elegant gown with a high neckline and an embellished collar necklace

She told People magazine, "I was very upset that I spent that much money on a dress, period. Then I was like, 'Well, I'm going to wear this dress everywhere I go. I'm going to get my money's worth.'"

7. From her first recording contract, Toni Braxton only earned $1,972 after paying back her label for expenses it fronted, such as music videos, travel, clothes, and time in the studio.

Toni in an elegant gown with a high slit at an event

She told ABC News, "What happens is they give you advancement on the next record and then the next record. So you kind of stay in debt, in a sense."

8. Ashley Greene told Marie Claire, per HuffPost, "Twilight has ruined me. When this is all over, flying internationally is going to be very hard for me. It is just not worth it to buy a first-class ticket, because of the cost."

Ashley in blazer posing on the event backdrop

"I’m lucky because my dad taught me to be frugal and save. And that’s important because I want to know that I don’t have to take an acting job for two or three years if I don’t want to and that I’ll still be able to make my house and car payments and buy food for my dogs," she said.

9. In a YouTube video, Christy Carlson Romano discussed how she quickly blew through the money she made as a child star. She said, "My biggest thing about child actors — you aren't told that the work is going to slow down. In fact, I was told the opposite, specifically by my mom, some of my team, even my money manager at the time. 'Oh, don't worry, the residuals come; you're going to keep making money.' It's interesting; it bred a sort of contempt in me. It's a tremendous amount of pressure, and I think I self-destructed."

Christy in a sleeveless bright dress posing at the ATX TV Festival

Christy ended up taking on certain roles for financial reasons. She said, "There was a specific movie that I actually did that I'm not proud of [Mirrors 2]. I did a nude scene. I had never thought in a million years that I would ever do something like this — I was America's sweetheart, morally sound, in my mind. I believed in the Disney magic; I still do. I felt so exploited, marked, and horrible."

10. On Spike TV's Life or Debt, Aaron Carter said in 2016, "Financially, I'm in a terrible position. When I turned 18, I got hit with all those taxes. I filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy last year; now I'm already over $100,000 in debt."

Aaron standing in front of promotional backdrop, wearing a necklace with "LOVE" pendant and casual attire

"It's been really difficult for me. I want to have a life set up. I want to have a house. I can't tell you how badly I want to have a home," said Aaron, who died in 2022.

11. And finally, in a since-deleted TikTok (per the UK's Metro), Grey's Anatomy and Reign actor Adelaide Kane said, "So I found out today the internet thinks I'm worth $4 million. My crippling debt says otherwise. WHERE?!" In a follow-up video, she broke down how much she made and how much she had to spend on taxes and her team.

Adelaide in a knotted shirt and suit on a step-and-repeat background

Adelaide said, "Generally speaking, [Screen Actors Guild] minimum for a series regular on a network show is $20,000 per episode. Say I did 78 episodes on Reign; that pares out to $1.56 million for four years of work. So, assuming that I've made $5 million in my entire career since I started working at 16, here is how that breaks down."

She said that her manager gets 10%, her lawyer gets 5%, and her business manager also gets 5%. She also noted that, as a non-American citizen working in the US, she paid 30% in taxes. 

"So I lose 60% right off the bat, which leaves me with about $2.2 million over the last 14 years," she explained. "Which, if you average it out, comes down to $178,000-ish a year, which would be fine, a good wage. Except I have to pay rent in major cities, sometimes two cities at once."

Then Adelaide described some additional costs that her job requires. She said her publicist and social media team costs about $2,000 to $3,000 monthly. Per appearance, she spends $700 to $1,500 on a stylist and $1,000 on her hair and makeup team.

"Just to be clear up, every actor I know saves as much as humanly possible because most of us go for months or sometimes years at a time between jobs. And we do get residuals, but… So, I'm fine, but my savings won't last forever, do you know what I mean?" she concluded.