8 Mega-Wealthy Gays: Who Are They, How’d They Make Bank, And Are They Single?

Last month, Forbes magazine released its list of the richest people in the world. (Mexican telecom giant Carlos Slim Helu topped the chart again with a cool $64 billion.) So, as we’re all scraping our nickels together to send to the IRS in time for Tax Day, we thought it might be interesting to take a look at a few of the wealthiest gays on the planet.

Aside from all being white dudes, the folks in our roundup are pretty diverse: There’s self-made men and children of wealthy families, flamboyant entertainers and brainy Internet whizzes (like Facebook’s Chris Hughes, above), cryptic conservatives and bleeding-heart liberals.

Of course, this list will engender debate over who was left off: There are those whose public profile and influence outstrip what’s in their wallets, like talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres and Rep. Barney Frank. Then there are those people whose net worth couldn’t be confirmed, like former Proctor & Gamble exec Susan Arnold and Hollywood super-producer Scott Rudin. And lastly, there are people who’ve never officially come out, like entertainment honcho Sandy Gallin and Apple CEO Tim Cook. We’ll be revisiting power gays in the future, but for now it’s all about the Benjamins!

Do you model yourself after one of our picks? Did we miss a well-moneyed ‘mo? Drop a dime in the comments.

Click through to meet eight of the wealthiest gay people in the world

Photo via Facebook

Elton John, 64
Estimated net worth: $200 million
How he made his money: Music
Pet cause: The Elton John AIDS Foundation

Who would have guessed that this pinball wizard would grow up to become one of the wealthiest gay entertainers of our day? A pop superstar since the 1970s, John truly struck gold with his singing and composing duties on Disney musicals like The Lion King.

Of course his love of shopping has put a dent in his net worth: At the start of the new millennium, John admitted to spending £30 million ($47 million) in just under two years. In 2001, he auctioned off 20 cars at Christie’s, admitting he never got the chance to drive them. And, more recently, he sold the entire contents of his home in Holland Park in order to turn it into a contemporary art museum. (John is believed to have one of the largest private collections of photography in the world.)

He might be a material girl, but Sir Elton has been giving back to the community for years, from “That’s What Friends Are For,” the charity song he recorded with Dionne Warwick and Gladys Knight, to his annual over-the-top White Tie & Tiara Ball, which raised more than $7.3 million in one evening.  

These days Elton spends his days with husband David Furnish and their 2-year-old son, Zachary. But his bad-boy days are hardly over, as he proved in his recent catfight with Madonna over the Golden Globes. Even though Madge nabbed the Best Original Song award, with half-a-billion in the bank, Elton is the true Queen of Pop. And with his tastes in expensive trinkets, we’re sure he has the tiara to prove it.

Photo by David Shankbone

Tim Gill, 58
Estimated net worth:
  $400 million
How he made his money:
Computer software
Pet causes:
The Gill Foundation, Gill Action Fund

Tim Gill filled his coffers in the first computer-boom era by founding Quark with a $2,000 loan from his parents. (A fact you might want to remind Mom and Dad of the next time you hit them up for cash.) As a software provider, the Colorado-based company was highly successful but it took a serious nosedive when it tried to expand into other areas. (Gill was forced to lay off half his employees.) The introduction of QuarkXPress in 1987 put the company back on track and made Gill a millionaire many times over. He sold his interest in Quark in 2000 and began focusing full time on philanthropy and gay activism.  

It was the passage of Colorado’s Amendment 2, which outlawed laws banning discrimination against gays, which sparked Gill’s interest in LGBT advocacy in the early 1990s.  Since then, he has funneled nearly $200 millions toward gay causes with the charitable Gill Foundation and the political-orientated Gill Action Fund. In 2003, Gill created as a social-media tool to connect gays and lesbians in political action. (He closed the company in 2011.)

Wealthy, active and community minded? He’s certainly a catch. But, sorry fellas, Gill is taken: He and banker Scott Miller married in Massachusetts in 2009.

Photo: The Gill Foundation


Jann Wenner, 66
Estimated net worth:
$700 million
How he made his money:
Magazine publishing
Pet cause:
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation

Unlike some on this list who inherited wealth or made their fortunes with one huge public offering, magazine magnate Jann Wenner built his media empire page by page over more than 40 years. In 1967 he started Rolling Stone magazine, helping to launch the careers of later luminaries like Hunter S. Thompson, Annie Leibovitz, Cameron Crowe and Tom Wolfe. Today, Wenner Media also includes Men’s Journal and the successful celebrity tabloid US Weekly.

Wenner has made some enemies along the way, too, including former employees who claim he runs RS by fiat, and musicians who say his involvement in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has kept numerous artists from being honored. Wenner’s ex-wife, Jane, might not be his biggest fan either: The two married in 1968 (after Jann borrowed $7,500 from her family to start Rolling Stone), but split in 1995 when he came out as bisexual. Since then he has been partnered with model/designer Matt Nye, with whom he raises son Noah and twins Jude and India Rose.

Photo: Mark Seliger


Chris Hughes, 28
Estimated net work: $700 million
How he made his money: The Internet
Pet causes:
Jumo, New Republic

Back in 2003, Chris Hughes teamed up with fellow Harvard undergrad Mark Zuckerberg to start a website they called “The Facebook.” Nearly a decade later, the company that practically is the Internet has given Hughes and fiancé Sean Eldridge a more-than-comfortable nest egg.

But Hughes didn’t just rest on his laurels: He served as president-hopeful Barack Obama‘s social-media point person in 2008 and, in 2010, founded the charity-networking site Jumo.  In March 2012, Hughes became the new publisher of The New Republic after buying a majority share in the magazine. He didn’t make the move to accrue more wealth because, well, no one’s gonna make money on a print magazine these days. “Profit per se is not my motive,” Hughes told The New York Times about the new venture.  “I believe in the type of vigorous contextual journalism that—we in general as a society—need.” You can bet this towheaded Internet wunderkind will be throwing his editorial weight into the upcoming presidential race.

Photo via USV

Michael Kors, 52
Estimated net worth:
$780 million
How he made his money: Fashion
Pet causes: Council of Fashion Designers of America, amfAR, cancer research

We all love Kors as the delicious bitchy tangerine that helps auf designers on Project Runway, but the Long Island schmatta merchant started his career in fashion at the tender age of 19. Just three years later, he launched a womenswear line at Bloomingdales, Saks, Neiman Marcus and other luxury department stores, and has put frocks on the back of Jennifer Lopez,  Michelle Obama, Runway pal Heidi Klum and Catherine Zeta-Jones.  Kors is also credited with restoring French luxury brand Celine as one of the major European couture houses.

In December 2011, Michael Kors Holdings filed with the SEC to raise $751 million in its initial public offering. But don’t put your gold-digging heels on just yet: Kors married longtime partner (and former intern) Lance LePere in August 2011.

Photo via Ed Kavishe

Jon Stryker, 54
Estimated net worth:
$1.2 billion
How we made his money:
Family wealth, investments
Pet cause:
The Arcus Foundation

The grandson of medical-supply pioneer Homer Hartmen Stryker, Jon Stryker has added to his substantial family fortune with a successful career as an architect and building rehabber. But he’s big on philanthropy, too, donating almost $250 million toward his two passions—gay rights and primate preservation. (The Myanmar snub-nosed monkey was named Rhinopithecus strykeri in his honor.) His biggest charitable effort is the Arcus Foundation, which recently endowed Kalamazoo College with more than $23 million for the creation of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership.

Stryker’s personal life is a little complicated: Though he was married and has two children, he came out as gay after his divorce. Currently, he’s tri-coastal (sort of), with homes in Kalamazoo,  Palm Beach and New York (in the ritzy Time Warner Building, no less). We haven’t dug up any reports of a significant other, so if you’re a power gay in one of those cities, feel free to look him up.

Photo: Jurek Wajdowicz


Peter Thiel, 44
Estimated net worth: $3 billion
How he made his money: The Internet
Pet causes:
Ron Paul’s presidential campaign, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, The Committee to Protect Journalists

Peter Thiel made the majority of his billions with a few very smart investments—mainly in two little start-ups called PayPal and Facebook. As the co-founder of PayPal, Thiel helped make the company the go-to source for online payment, eventually selling to eBay. After that, he famously served as Facebook’s angel investor, betting $500,000 that the social-networking site would take off. Now his stock in Mark Zuckerberg’s company is currently worth an estimated $1.7 billion. Can you say “jackpot”?

This German-born super-investor is a tough nut to crack: Openly gay, he’s also a noted conservative who identifies as a libertarian. He donated $1.7 million to Ron Paul’s presidential campaign and hosted a “HomoCon” fundraiser with gay nemesis Ann Coulter in his New York apartment. So even though Thiel is supposedly single, we’re not so sure tying the knot is one of his top priorities.

For a closer look at Peter Thiel read Queerty correspondent John Gallagher’s analysis of his connection to Ron Paul.

Photo via the Thiel Foundation



David Geffen, 69
Estimated net worth: $5.5 billion
How he made his money: Film and music
Pet causes: GMHC, UCLA School of Medicine

David Geffen has been slowly building his multi-billion-dollar fortune for more than 40 years, first as a record producer (he discovered The Eagles), then in films (he discovered Tom Cruise), and finally as a studio mogul. (Along with pals Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg he co-founded DreamWorks SKG.)

A previous Forbes Rich List honoree, Geffen (above at center) has allegedly promised to donate whatever money he makes from now on to charity. Geffen gave $200 million endowment to the UCLA School of Medicine in 2002, donated $5 million to what is now the Geffen Playhouse and has made notable contributions to New York’s Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and the fight against California’s Proposition 8

Though he didn’t publicly reveal he was gay until later in life, Geffen did date Cher back in the ’70s—which might as well count as  coming out, right?  And, having recently ended a 6-year romance with 27-year-old model/DJ Jeremy Lingvall, Geffen is easily the most eligible bachelor in all of gaydom. You hear that boys? He’s single!



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