A Peek Inside A Celebrity’s Income And Spending Habits

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

Ever wonder about a celebrity's income and spending habits? We get to peek inside a celebrity's income and spending habits thanks to a messy divorce.

I had never heard of Amber Heard until her pending divorce with Johnny Depp went mainstream on May 27. She's accusing Johnny of physically and mentally abusing her for years. Terrible, if true. Meanwhile, Johnny's close friend believes she's blackmailing Johnny for his money. Dishonorable, if true. Whatever the truth may be, only a judge can decide the outcome.

Amber is asking Johnny to pay her attorneys' fees and for spousal support. Makes sense since Johnny makes millions a year and they did get married on Feb 13, 2015. As a personal finance writer, I'm interested in reviewing Amber's monthly income and expenses since they were made public and seeing if we can learn anything from it. I've always wondered how celebrities can afford their lifestyles on oftentimes ephemeral income streams. Let's have a look. 

A Celebrity's Income and Spending Babits: Costs A Lot To Be Famous

It costs a fortune to constantly look good in public. While you and I can wear the same jeans and t-shirt everyday without anybody giving a damn, celebrities need new outfits every time they go out. They've got to spend money on personal trainers, nutritionists, and stylists. Goodness forbid they get photographed flying in economy class or driving a Honda Fit!

Being a male celebrity with a penchant for dating lots of women might be even more expensive. Male celebrities can't just take their date out to In N' Out Burger in Pasadena for lunch. They've got to take their women to Paris and stay at a $5,000 a night boutique hotel where a French toast with juice costs $50! He needs to pay for a private car to sightsee for 800 € a day instead of riding the wonderfully efficient subway system for 1.75 € because walking in Louboutins for more than 15 minutes is painful.

Because everybody believes celebrities make a lot of money and because the mass media loves to show off their fabulous lifestyles, celebrities are stuck in a financial death trap where they have to spend elevated amounts of money they can't afford. When their short careers are over, financial ruin is not far behind if they haven't been consistently saving and investing.

Celebrity's Income And Expenses

Amber Heard Monthly Income And Expense Statement For Divorce Alimony - celebrity's income and spending habits

Income And Expense Analysis


$10,000 a month on average is the typical base salary of a 29 yo MBA grad from a top 20 school. At 30 years old, Amber makes a top 20% income in America. Not bad!


Rent: $10,000 a month in rent might seem like a lot of money, but as I wrote in the post, What Type Of People Spend More Than $100,000 A Year On Rent, there are plenty of people who pay such high prices. It's expensive living in big cities, so I'll give her a pass. She could probably save $4,000 a month and still find a decent place. If $120,000 a year in rent doesn't scare you into owning your primary residence, I don't know what will. Inflation is a killer.

Healthcare: At $3,000 a month, Amber must have some type of chronic illness that requires expensive medicines and frequent doctors visits. Treating mental health is also very expensive as well. Nothing is more important than our health, so there's not much she can cut here. It's sad that even with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, a 30 year old woman still has to pay $36,000 a year in healthcare costs. Here's a post on the subsidy amounts you can get by income for Obamacare.

Groceries and household supplies: $68 a day is reasonable, especially since she has a $10,000 a month place to maintain. I just got this really sweet two-in-one spray mop at Walgreens for $25. But the replacement pads cost just as much! I couldn't find a line item for meals, but I think it goes under Entertainment below. Maybe she's buying only the finest organic produce in order to eat healthy and look good.

Clothing: Nice clothes, bags, and shoes are expensive! I was checking out the Louis Vuitton flagship store on Champs Elysees and basic handbags regularly cost $2,000 each. Hopefully she can cut costs here if she really needs to. But again, it must be a little embarrassing for a celebrity to always be seen wearing the same outfit.

Entertainment, Gifts, and Vacation: $10,000 every month is an incredible amount to spend. Perhaps Amber is giving a lot of money away to people in need. We all know that blowing lots of money on vacation is easy. If not, this is another area where Amber can easily cut back.

Miscellaneous: Agents, publicists, and attorneys can eat into one's personal profits very quickly, especially attorney fees which are variable. One of my long time personal finance consulting clients is a Hollywood agent, and she earns 10% on everything her client gets paid for the duration of the contract. She tries to tell her clients to aggressively save when they have work because who knows when they will be killed off? Just watch Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. Hopefully with all the publicity Amber is getting now, she can lower this $10,000 – $20,000 monthly cost soon.

Learnings From A Celebrity's Income and Spending Habits

It's possible that Amber is overstating her expenses and understating her income to maximize her potential settlement. My divorce lawyer friend says this is a common move. But given Amber's income and expenses as an actress are highly volatile, it's hard to argue against her numbers.

Here are three takeaways from this unfortunate situation.

1) Be careful who you hang with. 

Anybody who starts hanging out with rich or famous people will feel pressure to spend more money to match their lifestyles. Every time I meet up with my friend who drives a Maserati and wears a $20,000 watch, I always get the urge to follow suit until my normal frugal self kicks in a day later.

It's hard to live within your financial means if you're always hanging out with people who make you feel cheap. I've found the best way to look and feel your best is to simply stay fit and healthy. Once you're fit, your self-esteem shoots through the roof, and there's no need to spend a lot of money looking good at all.

2) Have a financially independent mindset.

There must be some part of Amber who believed it was OK to spend 4X her gross income because she could always fall back on Johnny to support her. If you have a partner or spouse, enjoy their love, but also constantly be building your individual wealth and skills.

Relationships end all the time and you can't depend on a divorce settlement to go your way. It is very hard to get a reasonable paying job if you've been out of the workforce for 10 years. Stay sharp! Keep one foot in the water by at least updating your site or online profile so it looks like you're keeping up with the trends of the industry you left or are interested in.

3) Get help before it's too late.

A lot of financial disaster can be prevented if you seek advice from people who've been there. It's easy to think we know it all, but I can assure you that more serious mistakes will happen if we don't spend time listening to those with experience. Do not be too proud to ask for help either. The people closest to you will feel honored to provide guidance. It is worth seeking professional financial advice as well, especially if large amounts of money are at stake.

It's going to take a Herculean effort for Amber to cut $33,700 in monthly expenses to be able to live within her means and still not save a single dollar. But if she can focus on being more stealth and get more acting/modeling/appearance gigs, I think she will be OK. Of course, if Johnny could help her, even better.

Update 20201: Amber Heard received a $7M settlement and donated all to charity! Heard said she’s donating half of the settlement to American Civil Liberties Union, “with a particular focus to stop violence against women,” and to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, where she has worked as a volunteer for the past ten years. However, it's also come out that Amber Heard physically abused Depp as well. Who know's what really happened.

Related posts:

How To Blow Lots Of Money And Not Give A Damn!

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43 thoughts on “A Peek Inside A Celebrity’s Income And Spending Habits”

  1. I do my best to stay focused on my own financial progress instead of worry about what celebrities are doing.

    But wow… That lifestyle and expenses are insane! I cannot comprehend why their living expenses cost that much >.<

    1. At that rate in rent, my student loans would’ve been paid off in just 4months. And in another 5months, it would’ve been a 10% down payment on a house spent!

  2. If I was a rich celebrity, I’d live like Mark Wahlberg. He has an entourage of his close friends he grew up with and looks out for them and seeks guidance from them. That way, hopefully, I would continue to stay humble, not spend like crazy and have trusted people to keep me grounded!

  3. Really folks – This is not about financial responsibility and celebrities’ spending habits, this is thinly veiled Extortion by Divorce. Full stop.

    Johnny Depp very likely has a net worth north of 60MM. Amber Heard, well…doesn’t. Mr. Depp took the bait of someone who wanted to secure her financial future with no downside. I will give her credit, in that she didn’t get pregnant to extract more.

    They’ve been dating and now that they’ve been married for a bit over 16 months, Mr. Depp allegedly physically and mentally abused her?! A sad and classic maneuver in a nasty divorce, that unfortunately, the story is more believed than the truth. Think about it – JD, who was in a relationship for many years and has children with Vannessa Paradis, never accused him of physical abuse. Winnona Ryder, never accused him of physical abuse. What about Jennifer Grey, Sherilyn Fenn and Kate Moss? Not one woman that he’s dated I’m aware of has claimed physical abuse. Yet all of a sudden, JD is opening up a can of whopa** on this minx? The same was said of Paul McCartney. Heather Mills accused him of physical abuse.

    What Depp has done (to himself) and many other wealthy/famous men, is to believe they are in a genuine relationship, when in fact it is more of an *arrangement*. A quid pro quo of trading money for sex. At least Charlie Sheen didn’t have rose-colored glasses on.

    My advice for the rich is simple. There is no point in getting married unless you want children (even then, you do not need marriage to raise children). If it doesn’t work out, you will be divorce-raped. Not only will you get divorce-raped, you will have to participate in this economic thievery by having to pay for the opposing sides attorney! Most times, you are forced to pay for the rope, the hangman decides to hand you with.

    Lastly, for the women (and i’m sure a few men) will say, it can easily happen to women – This is not the case most time. Why? Women in general date/commit to their Equals or Betters. Women generally do not date *down*, financially speaking. Divorce-rape can and does happen to women, but no where on the level of men, and the family court system has a positive bias for women.

  4. Do you know how we can all help them save money? Stop giving money to them. Cancel cable TV, give up the Netflix, and stop going to the movies. Just stop. Trust me, if you do, your life will change dramatically in a postive way. I’m sure I’m preaching to choir on this site, but it doesn’t hurt to remind people, so encourage a loved one to stop doing it and help save some Hollywood knuckleheads today!

  5. She’ll be just fine. Per the tabloids at the grocery store (not that I read those, or anything), they didn’t sign a pre-nup so she’ll probably make out pretty darn well. That will allow her to keep up with her extravagant expenses, i.e. healthcare, vacation, and personal stuff.

  6. I also think she’ll find a new rich fanboi.

    Plenty of enablers out there to support this type of lifestyle.


  7. one last thing-


    “Heard claims that she earned a total of $259,876 in 2015. That includes $31,112 for her role in The Danish Girl, and $45,314. She also earned money from deals with Tiffany & Co ($120,000) and Bulgari ($50,000).

    And so far this year, she has reportedly made $27,000 thanks in part to residuals from The Cleveland Show and Magic Mike XXL. But because of agent commissions, union dues insurance, and other expenses, Heard only took home $51,461 in 2015.”

    So her actual income was much higher than 10k a month if this is accurate. More like 21k a month, and over the course of the whole year the had “profit” (savings) of 51k. and i was correct in my assumptions that she has a much higher net worth (between 4.5 – 9 MM) to back all of her spending (probably received from right after major movie releases or something like that).

    But I am confused because the paragraph under says her expenses were 44k a month, because that would be way more than 260k annualized. Whatever,even if the income is a bit higher she still spends ridiculously and at this rate you are still right that her wealth will most likely not last forever.

  8. those numbers have to be BS. Take her lowest monthly income, and highest monthly expenses, or something like that, so she has a better case in court. Or this is not showing her net worth that reflects her making millions at a time when a major movie is released. Well i guess divorce is what happens when you “love” someone for a whole year and a half. moral of the story, if you got money, watch the hell out for gold diggers. I hope johnny’s attourneys can shed some light on her and shoo her off. i am sorry Mr. depp.

  9. She’ll be just fine. She can find another rich guy. There’s nothing wrong with being blessed with good genes and using it to your advantage.

  10. All of this is quite unsurprising to me. Once people get to that level of fame, I feel the last thing they think about are their finances. It probably wasn’t even a priority to begin with! Fame just magnifies the impact. The personalities that make people famous typically don’t line up with the ones required to be fiscally responsibly, but that’s just my observation…

    As to your second question, I naturally never worried too much about looking cheap even from an early age. I figured if I had to impress my friends they weren’t really my friends…but this could explain why I have don’t have many!

  11. The sad part is, that with her own career that appears moderately successful, she is going after his money like a prostitute. A relatively short term relationship broke down. Whether he beat her or not should be a separate (Criminal) issue.

    For her to go after spousal support just look money grubbing and spiteful. It doesn’t appear on the surface she should ever need anyone to financially support her, and the income looks more like taxable than actual.

  12. The timing of this is questionable to me. Looking at the films Amber is in. This is happening right in a low point for her on film releases. Though, maybe this is exactly why it is happening now. I will admit this might of blown up because Johnny is thinking he is getting taken advantage of, not considering Ambers got a lot of future earning potential. Alternatively if it is Amber’s doing this would be her best time to do it.

    2015 She had four films come out, none of them match my tastes so I do not know how well they did. Her 2016 film (which also stars her Husband) has an $8 million budget, and based on the cast most of those actors/actresses probably donated their time for free or at almost nothing.

    2017 to 2018 is when Amber’s real earning potentially takes off. She is in two Justice League movies and one Aquaman movie. The later has a major affect on her earnings as her character is both the “love” interest to Aquaman and has a twin sister (so she could play 2 roles depending if they cast/use a twin Sister). So, if Aquaman becomes a major “franchise” series her earning potential goes through the roof. Though, it will depend on which story-line they user for Mera (Amber’s character) as a few would not be kind to her character.

      1. Sorry it is neither, I just did a few Google searches. I am a bit bias in divorces cases as I know quite a few guys who got burned by their ex-wives. So, something like this immediately peaked my interest. Normally I would lean more toward Johnny Depp (based on my past experiences), but I am a bit concerned as the media appears to be more pro-Johnny Depp which is highly unusual. Usually men get raked through the coals in this situation, especially the innocent. So, that is raising a Red Flag with me. So, against form I would consider myself neutral to pro-Amber on this one.

        1. Red flags for sure bros…take a look at her actual filing

          Gross revenue of $383K and $260K in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Net incomes of $50K each year.

          I’m no accountant but I can surmise that the girl has some solid business/accounting ppl around her. First to manage down her taxes so well (as seen by her low tax expense and low net income). Side note: she pays $15K/yr in accounting fees. And second, to have the foresight to manage down her income to $120K in the year she’s seeking a divorce.

          Still, domestic abuse is no laughing matter and if the accusations are true, hopefully the (financial/other) punishment fits the crime.


    1. agreed, I can’t imagine celebrities tend to make “steady incomes” like the rest of us normal people. It’s probably more like a bit hit every now and then, and residual streams throughout the rest. More like being a business owner than an employee. us employees are the ones living in a falsely sheltered reality TBH.

  13. What’s crazy is how much that sort of lifestyle is pushed on us as something to admire and aim for. “Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous”, “MTV’s Cribs”, anything with the Kardashians. Shows like these push people to spend money they don’t have. No matter how much one makes, they’ll always be dependent on the whims of their employer.

    ARB–Angry Retail Banker

  14. What about the real underlying topic Johnny Deep situation? Female privilage, hypocritical and disgusting I think.

  15. Here’s how I’d blow $3,000 a month on ‘Healthcare’ if I was a celebrity a la Amber Heard.

    Gym – $200/mo I figure cheapos pay $35 mo for Planet fitness, the most expensive gym in my city is East Bank Club that Obama belongs to and that’s $200 a month.

    Personal Trainer – $1,200/mo. (3x a week @ $100 an hour seems low… My trainer cost me $70/hour).

    Spa/Meditation/yoga/massage – $500/mo. (walking in Manolos is super hard work)

    Botox – $500/mo (she’s 30 after all, that’s like old in Hollywood)

    Designer RX drugs – $600. They’re all on some kind of mood alterating drugs right?

    Yes, it’s expensive to be rich…

    I say she can really cut down on either rent or entertainment/vacations. Like, you can only be in one place at a time, either you’re home or you’re on vacation. Why pay for both?

    1. LOL! My planet fitness near me in East LA cost $20 a month with free guest pass, massage chairs, hydromassages, tanning booths, AND a free personal trainer! Gotta love value, especially whenever the gym gets empty.

    2. I would bet the bulk of the healthcare expenses are derm related. Botox and plastic surgery are usually the first things that come to mind, but laser treatments are expensive and popular too. (You can read more about cost per treatment here: Keep in mind, even B-list celebs aren’t visiting your run-of-the-mill dermatologist – they’re going to the best and paying a premium for luxury medical services.

  16. I think she needs to hurry up and find her next “Johnny Depp” before her looks and career fade, or she’s in for a major lifestyle change!

  17. Jack Catchem

    It depends on how the celebrity in question is working it. (Please forgive me for I am about to do some name dropping) If an amount spent is linked to a media/social expectation of a power/wealth display, then this should not occur. I’ve taken reports from men living in trashy apartment buildings driving M3s who did not have a fraction of the presence that Russell Simmons did when I met him while he was wearing some super-comfortable looking Zen clothes.

    However, some celebrities can use these same super expensive things for branding, marketing, and merchandising. With appropriate “star power” people will give or pay the star to publicly wear and advertise an activity or product.

    One club owner / operator I met in Hollywood griped about having “Leo” (you have to love the too-casual forced name dropping that goes on in LA) visit. He said it was great for revenue and getting the name out (it was a newly renovated spot at the time), but most of the women inside would rather sit and watch Leo play with his phone instead of dancing or mixing with others. Based on the star’s reported indifference but repeated attendance, it was logical to presume someone was engineering The Man’s attendance for a profit.

    But relying on celebrities to only use super luxury items in exchange for other considerations presumes that celebrities act as “rational actors” (apologies for the pun). I’ll never forget standing on the red carpet at the Academy Awards and watching everyone arrive. All the producers, writers, and other faceless movers and shakers exited their limos and town cars without comment. Then Sandra Bullock exited a limo in a long scarlet dress. Suddenly I realized why there were 15 foot chain link fences along all the sidewalks. The crowd surged against the fence like an incoming tide of rabid faces while desperate men and women screamed SANDRA!!!!

    Since that day I have given celebrities more slack. When your mere appearance on scene sets complete strangers foaming at the mouth, I understand why it can be so difficult to remain balanced. I no longer wonder why Tom Cruise would join such an insular *ahem* club if it means access to a select group of people who behave normally around him and don’t talk to the tabloids (I have no knowledge either way). If Amber would care about a street cop’s advice I’d say two things that tie together: have honest friends and prepare for life outside of the public eye because celebrity is fickle.

  18. This is an important reminder that any one can enter an abusive relationship. It is so important to have your own financial house in order. If you have your own savings, it is much easier to get away from abusive people. If you have to worry how you will eat after leaving them, it is that much harder to leave them.

    Amber Heard is famous to a small subset of us – she’s bisexual. All of us queer ladies love her. Lesbians are intense fans and will watch even a bad movie if women we love are in it. ;)

  19. Man, life on the other side is disturbing to me on so many levels. I think, in time, we will see a mental illness classification for those who greatly overspend for the sake of appearances.

    Strangely enough, as a celebrity, I don’t think it matters how you dress; someone in the media will always be there to rip you to shreds on something, especially if you’re a female celebrity. Why even bother trying to be impressive?

  20. The Green Swan

    Wow, this is a crazy way to live. Amber is in for a wake up call now that she can no longer rely on Johnny’s income too. Just another example why backup plans are important to have. On the other hand Amber can certainly choose to save money on food and clothing. My wife finds deals all the time and never looks cheap. It can be done!

    The Green Swan

  21. Quantum Flux

    They’re putting that money back in to the economy. Would people prefer they hoard it amassing even greater fortunes abd widening the wealth gap while *not* putting money back in to the economy?

    Ok, back to the regularly scheduled pissing contest in threads like this over who is able to live on the lowest amount possible.

    I spent $200 on clothes 15 years ago. The gauntlet has been thrown down! :)

  22. I only recently saw her name on the video where she and Johnny had to apologize for bringing their dogs into Australia illegally b/c she forged documents. If she did that on her own then it’s possible she is lying about the way Johnny treated her during the marriage. Who the heck knows though.

    Anyway, I’d never heard of her before that. Fascinating to see what her income and expenses are and how much money she’s spending. I’m so glad I’m not a celebrity!

  23. Financial Slacker

    You could probably say the exact same thing about many professional athletes.

    It’s disturbing to see people pulling in multi-million dollars per year in their 20’s only to declare bankruptcy in their 40’s.

    No matter how much is coming in, if more goes out, you have a problem.

    1. Well, that’s kinda one of the main points. B-list celebrities and actors/actresses in general don’t actually make that much money, unless you are saying $120,000 is a lot?

      But they are always in the limelight, and have to spend elevated sums that cause financial ruin if their finances are not properly managed.

      1. It could also by a cyclical thing. Maybe that particular year she didn’t get paid out for whatever work she did. But chances are good that if you looked at the year before or after, there are more zeros there.

  24. I just spent $130 last month on some new clothes. That should be it for new clothing this year. It’s awesome to wear whatever you want. Jeez, Amber’s expense is nutzo. Hopefully, her lawyer can get a nice settlement for her. She probably signed some kind of prenup, though…
    What can $10k/month get you in LA? Must be a really nice place.

  25. Looking at google for California’s spousal support laws it seems the length of spousal support is half the length of the marriage for anything under 10 years. So for these two, that would only be spousal support of 8 months. I see more money going to attorneys then would be saved by either party.

  26. Apathy Ends

    I quit caring what other people thought about our spending a few years ago – my wife still doesn’t like when we are portrayed as “cheap” but she is coming around, I think we will have the last laugh

    I can see why celebrities spend, specifically ones who’s income is tied to their appearance – I bet needing to be on your A game everytime you walk out the door gets old real fast

  27. Matt @ Distilled Dollar

    Wow, that is a crazy amount of money. Our annual expenses, between two people, would be matched within the first month of Amber’s year. That’s crazy to think about.

    I’m glad you mentioned staying fit as the best way to looking and feeling good. I try and maintain a relatively healthy lifestyle and I find, at times, that I carry myself better than someone wearing a $1,000+ suit. If you have poor posture, slouch your shoulders, and sport a big beer belly, then there’s nothing a nice suit can cover up.

    Weekend reading? What is this, high school?! Haha, I’m happy to go through the new articles I haven’t seen before.

    The marriage penalty article you mentioned is one of the best articles I’ve ever seen discussing the topic.

  28. Believe Fire

    We think that most celebrities do spend way more money than they should just to keep up with expectations. Perhaps one way for them to spend less and not look cheap would be to keep a low profile. If they spend most of their time at home away from the public eye, then they can get by with re-wearing the same clothes.
    The other option would be for them to quit caring what others think about their spending habits. Warren Buffet is a great example of this, although he’s not a movie star, he’s still a public figure. He has far more money than most actors combined, but chooses to live a simple life.
    This article makes us value our anonymity even more. Once people know how much you have, they will expect different behaviors.

    1. Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes

      Yes, this!

      Coming under the scrutiny of the public eye must be horrible. I much prefer to be anonymous. I can’t imagine all the people who would suddenly start asking for handouts if they knew I had money.

      Loved the snarky humour in this post Mr. Samurai.

  29. I’m sure a fair amount of celebrities feel pressure to keep up with “The Jones”. The problem is “The Jones” live in Bel Air! It’s super interesting to see Amanda’s breakdown you shared.

    I think my advice to celebrities that need to cut expenses would be to work the freebies! Have your publicist make some deals with your favorite brands and let the paparazzi snap some pics of you, and then get even more free stuff. :)

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