Though she just filed a lawsuit against her accountants, claiming they stole millions from her since 2005, pop diva Rihanna hasn’t done too badly for herself the past year—she came in third place on the Forbes list of the highest paid stars under 30.
According to Forbes, Rihanna made $53 million between May 2011 and May 2012. She came in just behind Taylor Swift, who made $57 million, and Justin Bieber, who made $55 million. If she had had a couple more shows on her last tour, she might have had the top spot.
About Rihanna, Forbes said: “The Barbados-born diva lands on our list for the first time thanks to hits including “We Found Love” and “Talk That Talk,” as well as endorsements with the likes of Vita Coco and Nivea. Her fragrance, Reb’l Fleur, adds millions more to her coffers, as does her heavy touring schedule that included over 85 shows in the past 12 months. With over 53 million Facebook fans, she’s second only to Eminem.”
Lil Wayne, 29, also made the Forbes top 10, coming in 8th place with $27 million
One thing should be noted, however: The magazine says the money figures don’t include agents, managers and all the other fees and people who must be paid by celebrities. This is where Rihanna ran into trouble in recent years—on paper she appeared to make a lot of money, but according to her lawsuit her accountants took most of it. For instance, the lawsuit Berdon LLP alleges that between 2007 and 2010, her accountants earned 23 percent of her gross tour receipts while Rihanna got 6 percent—and the accountants told Rihanna she lost millions during her “The Last Girl on Earth” tour, but the firm still paid itself millions in fees.
The details of Rihanna’s financial arrangements as revealed in the lawsuit let us know that the gaudy earnings numbers for these stars don’t mean that they actually have the same gaudy numbers in their bank accounts. This is especially likely with stars under 30, who are more likely to have become celebrities when they were relatively young and financially inexperienced.
After Rihanna, the top 5 is rounded out by 26-year-old Lady Gaga at $52 million and 27-year-old Katy Perry at $45 million. Adele, 24, came in sixth with $35 million. Of the Forbes top 10 list, women took six of the spots.