Why Are People So Fascinated by Celebrity Net Worth?

Have you ever noticed that when you start typing a famous actor’s, or a celebrity chef’s name into Google, one of the first suggestions is often “net worth?” Seriously, try it: pick a celebrity. Get their name mostly typed into the search engine, and nine times out of ten, Google is going to suggest looking up their net worth.

So why is that such a common thing to search for? In American society, where asking strangers—or even acquaintances—about their personal finances is taboo, why and how did it become normal to compulsively search for a total stranger’s net worth?

There’s no denying that the media is inundated with celebrity news, from where they’re living to what they’re eating to who they’re dating. Those grumps who hate the entertainment industry will complain about gossip publications and constant celebrity updates, but the fact of the matter is that celebrity news is inherently fascinating to so many people because celebs’ lives are so dramatically different from ours—most notably for their fame and their money.

Most of us can’t comprehend what it’s like to a) have hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, and b) be noteworthy enough to strangers that they follow you around with cameras. Both of these circumstances incite genuine curiosity in the average Joe.

It’s natural to compare your life to a celebrity’s. The obsession with looking up every celeb’s net worth comes from a compulsion to compare the details of a normalcy to extravagance. That initial shock of seeing how many millions of dollars someone has is almost addicting.

Plus, for those celeb-obsessed folks who plaster posters of their favorite actors or boybands on their bedroom walls, knowing intimate details—like how much money they’re worth—about a celebrity makes them feel personally closer to the beloved star. 

Ultimately, no matter how you feel about celebrity net worth stats—whether you compulsively Google them, or truly couldn’t care less—“net worth” will probably remain the top suggestion in your search engine. It’s just human nature.