9 of the Biggest Celebrity Life Insurance Payouts
Death is tragic and unexpected regardless of how old or young. Celebrity deaths are especially impactful because of their influence in society, which is why their financial status at the time of death is important. Here are nine celebrities who had insurance to cover unexpected expenses after their demise.
1. Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston passed away on February 11, 2012. The R&B singer was in a Beverly Hills hotel when she drowned while taking a bath. Drug paraphernalia was found near the tragic scene, which correlated with the corner’s report of death by accidental drowning. Whitney Houston left behind $312,000 in life insurance but her debt totaled $4 million. The late singer’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina, died in 2015 after drowning in the bathtub of her Atlanta home.
2. Michael Jackson
The King of Pop took his final breath at his Holmby Hills home on June 25, 2009. The controversy surrounding the singer’s death led to the insurance company paying $3 million of the $20 million policy. The Jacksons were able to receive the additional $17 million in 2014 when Lloyd’s of London settled the matter outside of court.
3. Dale Earnhardt
The veteran NASCAR driver was finishing his final lap in the Daytona 500 on February 18, 2001, when his car veered off the course and ran into the wall. A car driven by Sterling Marlin rear-ended Earnhardt’s vehicle, further sealing his fate. Dale’s widow, Teresa Earnhardt, filed a claim for $3.7 million of her late husband’s $7 million policy. Although Mutual of Omaha life insurance initially denied her request, the company decided to settle with Teresa outside of court.
4. Paul Walker
Paul Walker was involved in a horrific car accident on November 30, 2013. The actor died at the scene of the crash and left behind a daughter. Paul was in the middle of filming for FURIOUS 7 at the time of his death. The late star’s insurance company paid Universal Studios $50 million for his untimely passing.
5. Heath Ledger
The actor died on January 22, 2008, by way of accidental intoxication from prescription drugs. Heath took out a $10 million insurance policy with ReliaStar life insurance. prior to his death. Unfortunately, the company refused to pay due to the idea of Ledger’s death being ruled a suicide. ReliaStar eventually reached a middle ground with Ledger’s family and the late actor’s daughter reaped the benefits of her father’s fortune.
6. Brittany Murphy
Brittany Murphy cried out to her mother for the last time in 2009 when she collapsed at her home in Los Angeles. Reports say that Murphy told her mom that she was dying before taking her final breath but her mother did not call for help until after her daughter lost consciousness. While many defend the actions of Murphy’s mother, some say that the late star’s parent poisoned her daughter in hopes of reaping the millions in life insurance that Brittany had secured.
7. Robin Williams
The beloved comedian committed suicide on August 11, 2014, after battling with bipolar disorder for much of his life. Although the celebrity had a life insurance policy worth millions, Williams controversial death combined with confusion over his estate have prevented the family from reaping the full benefits of the policy. Robin’s children are currently working with his former wives to come to a decision that is fair for all parties involved.
8. Anna Nicole Smith
She lived her life mirroring that of Marilyn Monroe and tragically died in Hollywood, Florida on February 8, 2007. Anna Nicole Smith reportedly overdosed on drugs and left behind a daughter, Dannielynn Hope Marshall Birkhead ,who was a baby at the time. Much controversy surrounded Smith’s estate and her daughter, who is now eight years old, is just now in line to reap the benefits of her $1 billion riches. Of course, Dannielynn’s father will monitor the little one’s inheritance until she is old enough to make mature decisions. For now, Miss Birkhead is viewed as the billion dollar baby.
9. Natalie Cole
The celebrated singer died at the age of 65 on January 1, 2016. Cole endured various experiences with addiction during her lifetime but managed to have an estate worth $1.3 million. The singer’s manager is said to be the overseer of her wealth.