Madonna Leads Forbes List of Highest-Paid Celebrities

Singer beats out Steven Spielberg, Simon Cowell for top spot

August 27, 2013 11:25 AM ET
Madonna performs her MDNA tour in Miami, Florida.
Madonna performs on her MDNA tour in Miami.
Larry Marano/Getty Images

Madonna's MDNA disappointed on the charts last year, but the singer's impressive MDNA tour, merchandise sales and investments in companies landed her atop Forbes list of the highest earning celebrities. The 55-year-old raked in $125 million between June 2012 and June 2013, boosted heavily by her tour, which grossed $305 million.

How Madonna Became Madonna: An Oral History

Madonna's strong showing was enough to keep Steven Spielberg out of the top spot; the director earned $100 million, with his 2012 film Lincoln pulling in $275 million on a budget of $65 million. Much of Spielberg's money comes from his catalog, with films like Jurassic Park and E.T. often airing on television.

Simon Cowell, Howard Stern and 50 Shades of Grey author E.L. James tied for third on Forbes' list with $95 million each. Cowell's The X Factor and Got Talent air in dozens of different countries in different iterations, helping his earnings, while Stern enjoys a nice contract with Sirius/XM. The radio host also receives a sizable $15 million per year as a judge on Cowell's America's Got Talent. Meanwhile, James' 50 Shades of Grey trilogy has sold 70 million copies worldwide with a movie in development at Universal Studios.

Prolific author James Patterson of the Alex Cross series followed at the fourth spot with $91 million, and conservative political commentator Glenn Beck took the fifth spot with $90 million.

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