Becoming a professional athlete is a lucrative enterprise. But becoming a superstar couple is the ultimate golden ticket to a lifetime of riding the celebrity gravy train. Whether it’s a gluttony of websites, tabloid newspapers, radio or 6 o’clock news segments, people cannot get enough of high profile men and women hooking up.
With Lewis Hamilton and Rory McIlroy’s dating status in constant limbo jumping from one model to R&B singer, the couples that make it work have the ability to build a brand together. Hamilton had that when he was seeing The Pussycat Dolls front woman Nicole Scherzinger, as was McIlroy with Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki. They dominated the gossip pages and red carpets to form a double package that the media obsess over.
The cynics often view these pairings as an opportunity to maximize their image. It opens up a whole new window for endorsement deals and combining the earnings give each individual more security and flexibility over their careers. When an athlete’s livelihood is dictated to by their ability to get on the field or court to perform that can be obliterated by a single injury. Tying the knot to an actress, singer, media personality or fellow sportswoman changes the dynamic completely.
Sports stars have dated the rich and famous before, but not like they do in 2016. It’s clear the industry has taken note from Hollywood and the example of couples like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (Brangelina). Both parties continue to explore their own endeavors and when the opportunity comes to exploit their profiles as a couple, the fame, adulation and revenue become two-fold.
A majority of rich sports couples revolve around one celebrity athlete and a single breadwinner. But this isn’t always the case with some taking note of the Brangelina model. Let’s look at those top 15 richest couples in sports.
15 Russell Wilson & Ciara - $29 million
To kick us off on the richest couples list, Seattle QB Russell Wilson and recording artist Ciara put their talents together to bring in a net worth of $29 million from their respective fields. Whilst many would expect Wilson to be the main breadwinner, Ciara’s stellar album sales and commercial dealings fronting Jay Z’s Rocawear line means she is worth more than Wilson at $15 million. As Wilson puts in a top show in Hawaii at the Pro Bowl, he can afford a few extra cocktails on $14 million after tax, agents fees and everything else that comes along with being the Seahawks leading man.
14 Tony Romo & Candice Crawford - $55 million
The limelight might have disappeared from the injured Dallas Cowboy during the NFL playoffs, but the quarterback continues to rake in the big bucks alongside partner Candice Crawford. Even with the potential inclusion of RG3 or (heaven forbid) Johnny Manziel coming into the fray in Texas, Romo’s contract guarantees him $45 million net over the next 6 years. His gorgeous 29-year old partner Candice isn’t short of a dollar either, with the former American beauty queen and news reporter worth a cool $10 million. That makes for a nice little nest egg combined.
13 Neymar Jr. & Jhenny Andrade - $75.07 million
The Brazilian was encouraged in many circles to come to Europe years earlier, but local club Santos had enough money for the talented playmaker to sit on things and wait for the huge move to come – and come it did! The FC Barcelona superstar now forms part of a deadly trio including Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi in Catalonia, putting the Samba footballer on $75 million. His latest flirtation with UFC honey Jhenny Andrade isn’t exactly based on financial grounds with the ring star on a far more modest $70,000, but if the relationship lasts the test of time she will have a lot to fall back on when that career comes to a close.
12 Carmelo & La La Anthony - $89 million
Being the biggest basketball star in the Big Apple comes with a fair share of rewards. Carmelo Anthony, the New York Knicks number 7, is sitting on a contract with 4 years remaining for $100 million as he takes home $80 million net! That in itself is more than enough to retire a happy man, but putting that cash with what his wife La La Anthony (formerly known as Vazquez) brings home makes that pot of gold a bit bigger. The New York Times best seller, actress, radio and television star is worth a reported $9 million net on her own.
11 Mike Fisher & Carrie Underwood - $100 million
In this relationship, it’s a case of the wife bringing home the sizeable chunk of the bacon. 32-year old Carrie Underwood is a triple threat as a singer, songwriter and actress who rose to fame when she won season 4 of American Idol. Now the girl that introduces us to Sunday Night Football is worth $70 million, easily surpassing her hubby Mike Fisher. The Nashville Predators center still does OK with his $30 million contract, but it’s amazing to think he doesn’t even bring in one third of the couples total income.
10 Dwyane Wade & Gabrielle Union - $107 million
The Heat’s chances of tasting NBA Finals success might have left when LeBron James went home to Cleveland, but one look at Dwyane Wade’s bank account and we don’t think he will care too much about a lack of on-court love. The Miami star is enjoying a $115 million contract, which he takes out a guaranteed $95 million, post tax across his career in basketball. His partner Gabrielle Union is far from a passive player in Hollywood too, with the actress earning $12 million net for her work in film and television.
9 Novak & Jelena Djokovic - $122 million
Being the premier number one ranked tennis star in the world has its perks, lets be honest. The ATP and Grand Slam champion amasses a huge fortune going around the circuit to dominate the field. Combined with endless endorsement deals and building the Djokovic brand, Novak’s net worth is estimated to be in the vicinity of $120 million. While his stunning 29-year old wife Jelena is far more understated on the celebrity front, through her own personal philanthropic endeavors, she has managed $2 million off her own efforts. It might seem a drop in the ocean in comparison, but how many of us can attest to earning that much at 29?
8 Jeff Gordon & Ingrid Vandebosch - $150 million
NASCAR race drivers might have a reputation for being either simple or materialistic, but Jeff Gordon could really care less given how his life has paned out. As well as getting out unharmed from his driving exploits, the veteran Sprint Cup racer is married to a brunette bombshell in the form of Ingrid Vandebosch. The Dutch actress and Model is one of the best looking 45-year olds on the planet and while she isn’t valued in the same monetary class as Gordon, the couple are sitting on an estimated worth of $150 million. Life must be pretty sweet.
7 Pete Sampras & Bridgette Wilson Sampras - $158 million
American male tennis stars haven’t lived up the hype since Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras ruled the roost in the 1990s. The serve-volley machine won Grand Slams at the drop of a hat and since those heady days, the tennis legend continues to thrive in the industry with a net worth of $150 million from a collection of media and commercial endorsement deals. Throw in a neat $8 million from wife Bridgette Wilson Sampras, an actress also best known in the 90s from her roles in films like Billy Madison and Last Action Hero, and the couple enjoys an enormous retirement package.
6 Derek Jeter & Hannah Davis - $188 million
Playing as a marquee hitter for the richest organization in baseball will provide an endless dividend when retirement comes. Derek Jeter’s astounding $185 million net worth outlines how the former New York Yankees captain withstood controversy and fierce scrutiny to amass an empire of cash. Whether he was actually worth those ridiculous sums are for Yankees fans to decide. With model and partner Hannah Davis’ $3 million from her days wearing a tiny swimsuit on the beach splashed over magazine covers worldwide, the pair have all the time and money in the world to prepare for post baseball life.
5 Wayne Gretzky & Janet Jones - $230 million
He built an empire in the NHL and is widely regarded as the best ever to play the sport of hockey. As for coaching and ownership? We’ll let those slide. Due to these achievements throughout the 80s and 90s, thrown in with huge endorsement deals including video games and all manner of commercial arrangements, investments and financial planning, Gretzky has an estimated worth of $220 million. His partner, actress Janet Jones, sits on a healthy $10 million from her own acting history in Hollywood. We don’t think she will be too stressed out over missing any upcoming roles with that to fall back on.
4 Gerard Pique & Shakira - $260 million
Never before has a female Colombian singer emerged from South America to take the pop world by storm like Shakira has over the past decade. The Latin sensation transcends the landscape with her stunning looks and unique voice to spread her image across various markets worldwide. Her $220 million net worth easily overshadows her hubby Gerard Pique who has taken home $40 million playing as a central defender for FC Barcelona and Spain respectively. Quality soccer defenders are worth their weight in gold on the field, but Shakira’s hips don’t lie when they tell you she is worth every cent of that $220 million.
3 Michael Jordan & Yvette Prieto - $501.5 million
While the upheaval was going on with the LA Clippers ownership, the shift at boardroom level altered the NBA landscape. All of a sudden that $2 billion purchase made MJ’s share of the Bobcats skyrocket and increase Michael Jordan’s overall net worth. The Bulls icon is reportedly worth a cool $500 million in 2016 while everyone knows he won’t have to every worry about paying an electricity bill ever again. His new model partner Yvette Prieto does ok herself with $1.5 million from photo shoots, but she’s got a way to go to catch up to Jordan.
2 Tom Brady & Gisele Bundchen - $544 million
For a 38-year old QB to be enjoying a net worth of $158 million shows how much the New England Patriots value Tom Brady. For all the haters who loved seeing him go down to Peyton Manning in the AFC Championship game and come undone during the Deflategate saga, Brady’s standing in the NFL is unparalleled. Joined with partner Gisele Bundchen, a drop dead gorgeous Brazilian model, producer and actress, the couple take home $544 million back to Boston! That is $386 million for Bundchen alone. Tom earns a lot from throwing a football, but the catwalk is looking pretty damn lucrative these days.
1 David and Victoria Beckham - $600 million
The Brad and Angelina of England – David and Victoria Beckham go together in the celebrity world like peanut butter and jelly. The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy dead ball specialist was the poster boy of English football throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, taking his unique brand of set piece delivery to a new level. At the peak of his powers he met a lovely young brunette who formed part of a group called The Spice Girls. Thrown in together they were an unstoppable force of nature, so much so Sir Alex Ferguson had to get rid of his ego from the Old Trafford dressing room. The couple now market academies, clothing lines, cologne, shoes, sporting apparel and anything that has space to put the word “Beckham” on it. $600 million net and counting.