Are rich celebrities really happier?

Miley Cyrus on stage
Miley Cyrus on stage
Yolanda Foster
Yolanda Foster

Rich and famous – it’s a marriage made in heaven, isn’t it – like strawberries and champagne or weddings and bells, horses and carriages…? Well, that may be what it looks like from the outside, but have you noticed how so many millionaire celebrities struggle to enjoy life?

Maybe there is something about being loaded and lauded that is more stressful than the rest of us might imagine. Here are ten cases of celebs whose ‘happy ever after’ is proving to be a bit more interesting than they might have hoped for.

A reality check

Yolanda Foster – star of the Real Housewives of Beverley Hills – may be a wow when it comes to reality TV, but her place in the public spotlight means there is no place to hide.

Like a true pro, Yolanda is making the best of what she’s got. Sadly for the 51-year-old, her affliction with the debilitating Lymes disease is not a bundle of laughs. Husband David’s fortune may be a gargantuan $30 million but – as they say – you can’t put a price on your health – not even on reality TV.

And you can’t put a price on a happy family either. Yolanda will know all about that, it seems that’s every bit as true for Vanity Fair cover star Caitlyn Jenner. Despite being happy in her own skin as a woman and a rising TV star, the former Olympian’s family are less than bowled over at the prospect of being dragged into the world of reality TV.

Jenner’s son, Brody, is no longer on speaking terms with his trans-gender parent and some of Jenner’s step daughters are said to be even more hostile. On the plus side, Kim and Khloe Kardashian are doing their bit to help the family work through its tensions – what could possibly go wrong?

A boys’ story

Sometimes dreams do come true. Former DJ and multi-millionaire presenter Chris Evans has had one enduring love that even outstrips his three marriages combined. The 48-year-old – who became a grandfather this January – has had a lifelong passion for motors. He can’t get enough of them – quite literally. He has a collection that features some of the rarest and most expensive cars on earth – including the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

But Evans’ motoring dreams have been fulfilled with the news that he is to become the next host of the iconic petrol head production par excellence, Top Gear. Evans will stand down from his spot on The One Show to take over the presentation duties from the unhappy Jeremy Clarkson – remember him? What is it they say? One man’s Porsche is another man’s pedal car? Poor old Jeremey. At least he’ll not be short of his bus fare as he heads off into the wilderness.

A broken heart

They say you can’t put a price on friendship, but that’s not how it turned out for X Factor star Rebecca Ferguson. The shy singer is reckoned to have been conned out of around £100,000 by a supposed friend and business advisor. The theft has left Ferguson not only out of pocket but also deeply traumatised.

She broke down in Liverpool Crown Court when she revealed that her ordeal had not only cost her a small fortune, but that it had also robbed her of the ability to trust anyone. With friends like that, the realities of being rich and famous can quickly start to lose their appeal. For poor little Rebecca, wealth and stardom have led to a whole load of woe.

Love in the air

Miley Cyrus – queen of the wrecking ball – is off the market. The pop princess is widely reported to be dating model Stella Maxwell – the face of Victoria’s Secret. Following her split with Patrick Schwarzenegger in April the 22-year-old pop starlet has been keeping her relationship status quiet, but all the signs are now that she and blond bombshell Maxwell are formally ‘an item’.

Miley Cyrus on stage
Miley Cyrus on stage


Having at one time celebrated the merits of being single, Miley, who told her mother she was bisexual at 14, now looks to be in a thoroughly good place. We wish her well but on the evidence of her past we reckon it’s only a matter of time before the demolition team move in again. Miley was previously engaged to Liam Hemsworth.

Money, money, money

But when it comes to unhappy or unfortunate liaisons, actress Anne Hathaway’s tale of woe is the sort of thing that if you saw it in the movies you just wouldn’t believe. The star of Les Miserables and The Dark Knight Rises – to name but two of her stellar roles – had the misfortune to fall for Italian scamster Raffaello Follieri. Follieri was a serial fraudster who even managed to scam the likes of Bill Clinton and the Vatican State as part of an elaborate property investment scheme that was nothing but a cover for Follieri’s glamourous lifestyle.

Poor Anne was publicly humiliated and even though she knew nothing of what was going on behind the scenes her good name was inevitably the stuff of tabloid tittle tattle. She was even forced to return gifts of jewels that her one-time beau had charmed her with. Maybe she was well cast for les Mis!

Unhappy Ms Hathaway is not the only Hollywood A-lister to have fallen prey to some dubious friends. There was a famous case in 2002 that saw Sylvester Stallone, Martin Scorsese, Wesley Snipes, Uma Thurman and others scammed by former accountant Kenneth Ira Starr. Starr’s speciality was sorting out the domestic arrangements of the rich and famous.

He’d organise all their cleaning, cooking, travel and domestic expenses and all they had to do was give him the keys to their bank accounts. For busy business-minded movie makers it seemed too good to be true – and that’s because it was. Starr was indicted in 2010 and ordered to pay back $30 million in restitution – cleaners, cooks and drivers are obviously quite expensive in California.

An artful dodger

Robert De Niro knows a thing or two about gangsters – unhappily he knows a bit more about art fraud than he’d like to as well. The Godfather II star was amongst a slew of celebrity investors who were persuaded to hand over tens of thousands of dollars to one Lawrence Salander, who specialised in selling paintings that weren’t his to sell. In addition to De Niro, Tennis ace John McEnroe lost out to the tune of $2 million. It seems that you have to be very careful about your friends if you’re lucky enough to move in the milieu of the rich and famous.

Back in the UK a salutary lesson about the fickle nature of fame and success has emerged with the news that former Coronation Street star Bruce Jones – more famous perhaps as Coronation Street’s Les Battersby – has been reduced to living on benefits. After being kicked out of Corrie in 2007 for his drinking problems, Jones has been on a downward spiral, losing his £1 million fortune, his lavish Cheshire home  and his good name. Jones, who featured on Celebrity Big Brother in 2013 is to appear in a Channel Five special entitled Celebs on Benefits: Claim to Fame.

Hollywood actor Ben Affleck looks like  a man who has it all. He has the looks, he has talent, he has the celebrity millionaire lifetyle and he has a back catalogue of work that ought to earn him huge amounts of kudos wherever he goes. Good Will Hunting, Batman V, Pearl Harbour – and plenty of other good work beside ought to make him an all American hero.

Ben Affleck playing poker. Credit: Titanbet Poker
Ben Affleck playing poker. Credit: Titanbet Poker

But there’s a problem. Ben likes to play poker… only thing is he’s not very good at it. Sadly for Ben – and no doubt his PR advisors, too – his name tends to appear in the gossip columns on account of his gambling. It wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t keep losing. You can have the looks, the talent, the two Academy Awards and three Golden Globes – but being famous for being losing at poker is not the way to go.

Wimbledon knock out for Sir Cliff

It’s the numbers and the money that are the be all and end all. But for those who have given their lives over to the showbiz spotlight all the money in the world is a small compensation for losing their place in the public eye. Spare a thought for poor old Sir Cliff Richard who for the first time in 20 years will not put in an appearance at Wimbledon this year.

With his reputation put through the ringer by a series of allegations – none of which has been in any way substantiated – Sir Cliff has decided to give his favourite sporting even a miss.

For a man who basked in the spotlight – and for whom a shower break on centre court was like manna from heaven – to be sitting in front of an anonymous TV for tennis’ summer spectacular will be all-too-painful. The star has enjoyed a prominent place in the public’s affection for over five decades, thanks in part to his Wimbledon sing-a-longs. A miserable situation for him, no doubt.

Bouncing back

One time it girl Danniella Westbrook has revealed how despite her fame and success she was so miserable when her relationship with cage fighter Tom Richards hit the rocks that she tried to kill herself with cocaine. The actress’ drug issues have been a talking point for several years, but it did look for a while as though she had managed to kick the habit.

But when her engagement with Tom ended she found it all too much and relapsed to the point where her drug use was so heavy it threatened to end her life. The 41-year-old has admitted that she actually hoped that would happen and that her suffering could be brought to an end. Fortunately Daniella’s life is on an upward curve once again, and she is now enjoying life again – thanks in large part to new partner model Jude Moore.

The price of success

Less seriously perhaps, but every bit as embarrassing is the public fall out when a famous couple fall out acrimoniously. For all his many millions, Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne appears powerless to prevent his name being dragged through the mire by his ex.

Bannatyne, who was in a relationship with former model Michelle Evans, was photographed enjoying a romantic squeeze with glamourous brunette Nigora Whitehorn in Paris – much to Ms Evans’ disgust. The result was a bitter flurry of all-too-public tweets back and forth between the now former couple.

Bannatyne, whose fortune is based on his string of up-market gyms and health spas, was accused at one point of being ‘cheap’  and ‘penny-pinching’ – possibly the worst insult you could throw at a man who is so fond of his luxury lifestyle.

Bannatyne’s media pals have leapt to his defence, going so far as to label his former squeeze as a gold digger. All that money and so little happiness to go round – it does make you wonder sometimes. You’d have thought that someone looking to fully capitalise on their assets would have impressed the aging multi-millionaire’s defenders.

All these tales of trouble and strife amongst the rich and famous make you wonder whether the price you have to pay for wealth and public recognition is actually worth it.

There is no shortage of unhappiness it seems, even amongst the people that we might ordinarily look up to. Fame, wealth, good looks and lively love-lives appear to be so appealing on first impression. But if the price you pay is not being able to trust anyone with your money – or even trust anyone with your heart – then maybe there is something to be said for not setting your sites quite so high. Maybe it isn’t a rich man’s world after all.

Or maybe, the answer is that you just have to get richer and more famous to make up for the worry that goes with it.



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