What you do with your money after death is a tough question to answer. Do you want to bequeath it all to a loved one? Part it out to friends or important causes? There are endless possibilities when it comes to willing your possessions, and that means some people get creative with their wills—especially wealthy celebrities.
Most billionaires, millionaires, and megastars of the last century made allocation plans for their fortunes before their passing. But just because they had massive estates doesn’t mean they shared it all with their loved ones; in fact, what these 20 celebrities proposed for their fortunes might surprise you.
1. Oprah Winfrey: One of the richest women on the planet’s got big plans for her $3 billion fortune. With no kids of her own, the television personality and businesswoman set aside $30 million for her five pooches. Those are some very fortunate pups!
2. Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis: The Hollywood couple plans on donating their fortune to charity when they die. Their kids—Wyatt and Dimitri—won’t get much. But don’t worry, they don’t plan on leaving their kids high and dry! Kutcher expressed interest in investing in any of his kid’s passions and projects when they’re older.
3. Marilyn Monroe: This famous face stunned the world when she left her estate to her acting coach and father figure, Lee Strasberg. He spoke at her funeral, saying, “Marilyn Monroe was a legend… For the entire world, she became a symbol of the eternal feminine.”
4. Bill Gates: You’d think the Microsoft founder worth $87 billion would shower his kids in gold upon his death. Instead, he plans on leaving most of his fortune to various charities and has encouraged other wealthy folk to behave similarly.
5. Freddie Mercury: Queen’s frontman, and rock ‘n’ roll legend, left most of his estate to his ex-girlfriend Mary Austin and not his boyfriend, Jim Hulton. In addition, he had her bury his ashes in a secret location that she has never divulged.
6. Martin Luther King Jr.: After taking a bullet in the middle of his fight for civil rights, the Noble Peace Prize winner’s estate was assumed by a non-profit organization. The family then embarked on a near-endless, bitter legal battle for the rights to it, which led to the sale of most of Dr. King’s intellectual properties.
7. Simon Cowell: He played the cold judge on American Idol, but his three dogs—Squiddly, Diddly, and Freddy—warm his heart. Instead of leaving his $550 million to his son, he’s donating it to foundations that work with dogs and kids.
8. Hugh Hefner: The founder of Playboy left his giant estate to his last wife, Crystal, and his four children. But there was one caveat: If any of them abused drugs or alcohol, they lost all access to the money.
9. Warren Buffet: The businessman worth $78.9 billion, right, plans on donating 83 percent of his estate to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And for his kids? They’ll get enough to be comfortable, but not enough to stop working.
10. Sting: The rock star, right, accrued $200 million as the frontman of The Police, but it’s not going to his six kids. Sting plans on spending it all before he’s gone, maybe enjoying more nights out with Brad Pitt or Jennifer Aniston.
11. Janis Joplin: The young rock singer died at 27 because of substance abuse issues, but she made sure to leave behind $2,500 for her friends to throw a big goodbye party. Her friends had the bash at The Lion’s Share Pub in California in 1970.
12. Robert Kardashian Sr.: The father of Kourtney, Khloé, Kim, and Rob made a fortune as an attorney and businessman, but before his death, he claims that his ex-wife took all of it. So the Kardashians got nothing from him—not that they needed it!
13. Dusty Springfield: The 1960s pop star gave specific instructions on how to care for her cat, Nicholas, in her will. She requested he be fed imported baby food, be sung to sleep by her records, and be married to a friend’s cat. All requests were granted, though the marriage was not legally binding… because, you know, cats.
14. Adam Yauch: MCA of the Beastie Boys couldn’t stand the thought of his likeness or works appearing in commercials. He used his will to ban both the band’s music and his own image from ever appearing in an advertisement.
15. James Brown: The family of the soul icon ended up in court after he died suddenly in 2006. See, they expected to receive some of his $100 million estate, but he secretly willed it to underprivileged kids in Georgia and South Carolina.
16. Richard Harrison: The best deal Pawn Stars‘ “Old Man” could get for his son Christopher was… nothing. Yeah, upon his death, Harrison’s youngest son received nothing—a strange development, since the old man put such a focus on family during the show.
17. Alexander McQueen: The fashion world mourned when the brilliant designer took his own life in 2010. In the end, he donated his fortune to the bright spots in his dark-and-cloudy life: his dogs! Indeed, he was just another man who loved his pets.
18. Harry Houdini: The legendary illusionist couldn’t escape death, but his will certainly made an effort to do so. In it, he instructed his wife, Bess, right, to hold a yearly séance so they could communicate. According to Bess, Houdini never made contact.
19. Michael Bloomberg: The former New York City mayor and renowned businessman has amassed $49 billion over his lifetime, but only half’s going to his daughters, Georgina and Emma. The rest is reserved for charity.
20. Prince: One of rock ‘n’ roll’s most influential artists, far right, passed in 2016—and he never drew up a proper will! So, without any kids to turn to, authorities split his $300 million estate between his eight siblings.
Sometimes we forget that celebrities are real people offscreen, too, and they’re capable of forming never-ending friendships and fiery conflicts in the real world. And, sometimes, these conflicts and friendships are exactly what determines those wills!
1. Friends: Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams: The Stark sisters may have a history of squabbling in the world of Westeros, but offscreen, these Game of Thrones stars are inseparable. They often chronicle their real-life adventures together through lively social media posts.
"Game of Thrones" / HBO
2. Enemies: Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling: Despite their famous onscreen chemistry, this Hollywood pair was feuding big time on the set of The Notebook. Tension between them was so bad that Gosling asked the director for a new costar, but eventually, the two worked their problems out, even dating for three years afterward.
"The Notebook" / New Line Cinema
3. Friends: Amy Poehler and Tina Fey: First meeting in a Chicago improv group, these funny ladies skyrocketed into mega-stardom as hosts of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update. Even with successful individual careers, Fey and Poehler continue working together to create hit comedy films.
"Sisters" / Universal Pictures
4. Enemies: Wesley Snipes and Ryan Reynolds: Reports from the set of Blade: Trinity show Snipes wasn’t the easiest to work with. Snipes frequently insulted costar Reynolds and he refused to speak with the film’s director.
"Blade Trinity" / New Line Cinema
5. Friends: Dane Dehaan and Daniel Radcliffe: Radcliffe and Dehaan met on the set of Kill Your Darlings, a film chronicling major writers in the beat generation. Afterward, the Harry Potter star spoke highly of Dehaan, claiming he was the best friend he made since he started acting. Move over, Ron and Hermione!
"Kill Your Darlings" / Sony
6. Enemies: Josh Hartnett and Harrison Ford: These two starred in Hollywood Homicide, a film universally reamed by critics—and the touchy relationship of its stars certainly didn’t help matters. Ford and Hartnett hardly spoke through the entire production.
"Hollywood Homicide" / JWUniverse
7. Friends: James Franco and Seth Rogen: They met on the set of Freaks and Geeks, and ever since, these two have entered into a torrid bromance. While the megastars have since diverged into successful separate careers, their friendship lives on offscreen.
"The Interview" / Sony
8. Enemies: Lena Headey and Jerome Flynn: You don’t see Bronn of the Blackwater and Cersei Lannister share much screen time in the HBO series Game of Thrones, and maybe that’s for the better. These former romantic partners refuse to shoot scenes with one another—or even be on the same set, for that matter.
"Game of Thrones" / HBO
9. Friends: George Clooney and Brad Pitt: Both A-list actors and A-list heartthrobs, Clooney and Pitt’s offscreen dynamic has led to massive onscreen successes, including hit films such as Ocean’s Eleven. The two have also been ensnared in a multi-year prank war that doesn’t look like it will end any time soon.
"Ocean’s Eleven" / Warner Bros.
10. Enemies: William Shatner and George Takei: Rumor has it that Shatner’s ego on the set of Star Trek had its own gravitational pull, and that’s precisely what led to friction with costar Takei. The feud has persisted for nearly 40 years.
"Star Trek" / CBS
11. Friends: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck: This duo rocked Hollywood with their debut film, Good Will Hunting, and they continue to find creative success together years later. Though they haven’t appeared onscreen together since 1999, that hasn’t stopped the two from working behind the scenes on multiple endeavors.
"Good Will Hunting" / Miramax Films
12. Enemies (then friends): Harold Ramis and Bill Murray: Murray doesn’t seem like the type to make enemies, but on the set of Groundhog Day, after a rough divorce that made him temperamental, he and his Ghostbusters costar had a conflict that led to the end of their friendship. It wasn’t until shortly before Ramis’ death in 2014 that the two were able to make up.
"Ghostbusters" – Columbia Pictures
13. Friends: Tobey MacGuire and Leonard DiCaprio: These two share a bond that developed before either found major Hollywood success, as both of these current megastars fought to break onto the big screen without the help of a father figure.
"Great Gatsby" / Warner Bros.
14. Enemies (sort of): Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw: On the set of Jaws, the story goes that Shaw often intimidated and ridiculed Dreyfuss. Oddly, Dreyfuss noted that Shaw was perfectly amicable offset. The feud mirrored the conflict between each actor’s respective characters in the movie, leaving some to speculate that Shaw was trying to get the tension just right for the cameras.
"Jaws" / Universal Pictures
15. Friends: Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore: These actresses met in their mid-teens, but their friendship really kicked off once they started filming for Charlie’s Angels. Their friendship is so strong that each served as a bridesmaid in the other’s wedding.
"Charlie’s Angels" / Columbia Pictures
16. Enemies: Cybil Shepard and Bruce Willis: The 1980s dramedy Moonlighting featured an intense will-they/won’t-they relationship between Willis and Shepard’s characters, but the romance stopped there. The two did not get along offscreen, but hey, maybe that conflict added realism to their onscreen scenes?
"Moonlighting" / ABC
17. Friends: Artie Lange and Norm MacDonald: After meeting on the set of the feature Dirty Work, this duo became fast friends. Besides the similar sense of humor, MacDonald noted it was also the struggles they shared that brought them together.
"Dirty Work" – MGM
18. Enemies: Bill Murray and Lucy Liu: Here’s yet another enemy of Murray’s. The feud began on the set of Charlie’s Angels when Murray complained about Liu’s acting techniques. Liu fired back, and a conflict was born.
"Charlie’s Angels" – Columbia Pictures
19. Friends: Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi: Like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, this legendary duo emerged from the Chicago improv scene, finding massive success as SNL‘s Blues Brothers. Both actors were known for employing a serious approach toward the art of comedy.
"Blues Brothers" – Universal
20. Enemies: Bette Davis and Joan Crawford: These two shared a conflict of such epic proportions that an entire FX miniseries couldn’t chronicle every dispute between them. Each conspired to sabotage the other’s personal lives and careers. Somehow, they channeled their conflict into a successful psychological drama, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
"Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" / Warner Bros.