Celebrity photos often come with a high price tag. That’s why amateur and professional paparazzi are so glamoured with the idea of following celebrities everywhere they go. Some of them even drool at the thought of capturing that one, really great, revealing or scandalous photo that will rain down the possible millions. It’s a dream that few see actually fulfilled, but they can keep hoping, right?
$500K: Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt’s First Couple Pics
Angelina Jolie is an award-winning American actress, filmmaker, and prominent humanitarian. She’s claimed the title of highest paid actress in Hollywood, with an Academy Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards. Her successes are well-known, from her earliest role in Lookin’ to Get Out (1982)through Gia (1998), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Mr & Mrs. Smith (2005), where she reportedly fell in love with co-star Brad Pitt.
There was a lot of controversy and scandal surrounding the initial blossoming of romance between Jolie and Pitt, with some saying that she was a homewrecker, since Pitt had been in an infamous love match with Jennifer Aniston. With the rumor mill and the fixation on the lives of Brangelina stardom, it’s no wonder that US Weekly paid $500,000 for the first photos that confirmed the relationship in April of 2005.
$2M: Pax Thien Jolie-Pitt Is Adopted
Beyond her on-screen stardom and off-screen scandals, Angelina Jolie also became an adoptive mom to kids from countries around the world. And, you too probably wanted to see the first photos! So, Jolie sold the photos to Getty Images, and People magazine won the bidding war.
People agreed to pay a staggering $2 million for the first photos of Pax Thien (aka Pham Quang Sang), the adopted son of Angelina Jolie. The never-ending saga of Pax — including the divorce and custody battle — may have just sprung a few more twists, with the reports that Pax’s biological mom, Pham Thu Dung, is getting out of jail in Vietnam and may want him back.
$500K: Angelina Jolie’s First Visibly Pregnant
By this time, you’ve got a pretty good idea that everyone is enamored with any news or photos related to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, so it probably comes as no surprise that everyone wanted to see the photographic proof that she was pregnant, particularly as it further confirmed her relationship withBrad Pitt.
As was the case with her other photo opportunities, Angelina sold the photos to Getty Images, and then People magazine won the bidding war by forking over $500,000 in January 2006. She also donated those proceeds to an undisclosed charity, as usual.
$4.1M: Brad & Angelina’s Daughter, Shiloh
After all the money that’s been shelled out over the years for the other infamously photogenic Jolie-and-Pitt moments, it’s not really surprising that the birth of their child would also command an astronomical sum. On May 27, 2007, Angelina Jolie gave birth to Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt via cesarean section in Swakopmund, Namibia, the hospital they’d chosen for birthing.
Jolie immediately sold the photos to Getty Images, and People magazine once again won the bidding war, paying a reported $4.1 million for the right to publish the pictures of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s first biological child, Shiloh Nouvel. Jolie once again donated the money to charity.
$15M: Brad & Angelina’s Twins
So, by this time, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt had a whole bunch of kids, but they are still a hot focal point. Everyone wants a sneak peek into their lives and family. So, when Angelina Jolie gave birth to twins, Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline, they once again sold the photos to Getty Images, and they were then part of a bidding war.
People magazine (in the US) and Hello! magazine (in the UK) paid a combined $15 million (more than doubling the previous record) for the rights to publish the photos. We can understand loving Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, and being fascinated by their lives and family. But, $15 million is still a bit over the top, don’t you think?
$3M: Demi Moore & Ashton Kutcher’s Wedding
Demi Moore is famous for her roles in Ghost and GI Jane, but she’s also got a lot of scandal and intrigue in her past. With the significant age difference between Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, many fans wondered if it would last. Well, it didn’t… but in the moment, the photos sold for an astronomical sum.
OK! Magazine snapped the hot weddings photos of Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore in 2008 for “just” $3 million. Compared to some celebrity photo sales, that’s a middling sum, but it’s still quite a high! When you first heard about this union, did you think it would last? Now, both of these celebs have moved on, but we still have the very expensive photo opp to remember.
$3M: Matthew McConaughey’s Baby Levi
Actor Matthew McConaughey and his then-girlfriend (now-wife), Camila Alves, celebrated the birth of their first son, Levi, on Monday, July 7th, 2008, at 6:22 p.m., weighing in at 7 lbs, 4 oz. According to the New York Post, McConaughey hired Todd Shemarya to broker the deal, and the rights were sold to OK! for $3 million.
According to TMZ, the baby-photo deal included Levi’s first Christmas, more newborn photos of Levi, and the first rights to the couple’s wedding photos, which we now know really did happen. “Everybody thinks he looks like me because of the hair and skin tone,” Camila said. “I think he looks more like Matthew every day.”
$2M: Wedding Of Eva Longoria & Tony Parker
OK! magazine paid $2 million for the rights to publish the wedding photos of Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria and famous fiance, NBA player Tony Parker. And the shots are gorgeous. But, the scandal was even more gloriously, well, scandalous.
According to US Weekly, Longoria discovered that Parker was exchanging texts with Erin Berry, which of course left her heartbroken. “Once the trust was lost, the marriage was over,” according to one source. So, the marriage that started off with the pizzazz of multi-million-dollar wedding photos ended with less than a whimper in November 2010. They lasted three years.
$6M: Jennifer Lopez’s Twins
Jennifer Lopez (aka J.Lo) is another famous name you’ll no doubt recollect from her star-studded singing and acting career. She was married to Marc Anthony and then there was the news that she was pregnant. When she gave birth to twins, Emme Marbiel Muniz and Maximilian David Muniz, all the outlets were greedily awaiting the first authorized baby photos. Who wouldn’t? She’s famous, beautiful, and just look at her children.
People Magazine acquired the first baby photo rights for $6 million in March 2008. At the time, the sale was record-breaking, but that number has since more than doubled. She didn’t make a big announcement about her pregnancy, so the baby photos drew that much more attention. Lopez has since divorced Marc Anthony.
$650K: Anna Nicole Smith & Son Daniel
The life of Anna Nicole Smith was marked by countless scandals and endless tabloid-news spectacle (she was a Playboy Playmate after all), but somehow you might have hoped that all that was behind her when she gave birth to her daughter, Dannielynn. But, that too became a massive photo opp, when Anna Nicole’s son, Daniel, died just hours after Dannielynn’s birth.
The news of her son’s death was tragic, and might have drawn sympathy from fans and skeptics alike, if it wasn’t that Smith suddenly seemed so eager to profit from his death. She quickly sent off the photos of her son and newborn daughter off to Getty Images, who then brokered the sale toIn Touch, Entertainment Tonight, and The Insiderfor a massive $650,000. It was a massive news story, and Dan Wakeford, from In Touch Weekly, explained: “This was every mother’s worst nightmare, and through these pictures, America could empathize with what Anna Nicole was going through.”
$1M: Anna Nicole & Howard Stern’s Fake Photos
With the recent birth of Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter, and then the absolutely tragic death of her only son, it would have been justified, even expected, for her to stay out of the limelight, and allow herself time to heal and grieve, right? Defying expectations really was more her style, though. In 2006, Anna and Howard Stern took photos of their fake wedding and she promptly handed them off to Getty Images.
Even if the wedding was all for show, and the marriage wasn’t legit, Anna got 30 images out of the deal with Howard Stern. In the subsequent bidding war, People paid more than $1 million for the scandalous pseudo-wedding photos. You probably already know how that “love” story ended… with the death of Anna Nicole Smith. Howard K. Stern was later found guilty of providing her with drugs. But, do you also know what happened to her daughter, little Dannielynn?
$700K: Dannielynn Birkhead Paternity Case
So, Anna Nicole Smith gave birth to Dannielynn in 2006, and she listed Howard K. Stern as the father. Of course, four other men contested paternity, particularly after Smith died leaving an estimated $700,000 to her daughter. Larry Birkhead was the only one to take his paternity suit to court, however.
The subsequent paternity test indicated with “99.99%” certainty that Birkhead was her father. Once the case was resolved (he was granted sole custody by a Bahamian court) OK! Magazine paid $2 million for photos of Dannielynn and Larry Birkhead. He was already a celebrity photographer, and his estimated net worth is now $10 million. Birkhead famously told E! Online, “I look at her and she’s my everything… She reminds me so much of her mom and as she gets older, and her features are changing, it’s just like having a little miniature Anna Nicole running around in so many ways.”
$1.5M: Jessica Alba’s Baby
Jessica Alba is an award-winning American actress, model, and businesswoman, with a Teen Choice Award and Saturn Award for “Best Actress on Television.” Who could ever forget her? She played the lead role in the ever-popular television series Dark Angel, but she also in Honey (2003), Sin City (2005), Fantastic Four (2005), Into the Blue (2005), Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) and Good Luck Chuck (2007).
She met her husband on set when she appeared in Fantastic Four. Jessica and Cash married in 2008, the same year their daughter, Honor Marie, was born. OK! paid $1.5 million for Honor’s first baby photos in July 2008. For her part, Jessica says, “Just being a mother is making me a big, weepy mess.”
$1M: Nicole Richie’s Baby, Harlow
Nicole Richie rose to fame alongside her famous pal, Paris Hilton, on the reality-TV show, The Simple Life. The show ran for five years, and she’s been a popular focus of the tabloids. Nicole also became a bestselling novelist, when she published The Truth About Diamonds in 2006.
She gave birth to her first child, Harlow Madden, in 2008, and that too set off a flurry of curiosity. People paid $1 million for baby photos of Harlow Madden, her daughter with Joel Madden (Good Charlotte lead singer). She and Harlow appeared on the cover of People Magazine, February 2008. She gave birth to Sparrow Madden in 2009, and married Joel in 2010.
$1M: Britney Spears Marries K-Fed
Oops, they did it for real, and some guests reported it was the height of tacky. Pop-Star Britney Spears tied the knot in 2004 with Kevin Federline. You’ll forgive many of the snarky comments that surrounded her momentous day, since it was the second time she’d been married that year.
Or, maybe it was the fact that they served mini cheeseburgers at the wedding. It might have been the last minute change of the wedding date, or even the requirement that all guests sign legal documents, agreeing not to take photos. It might even have been the prenup Britney’s mom, Lynn, insisted that K-Fed sign (you really can’t be too careful about all the millions). After all, she’s a major star. At the time Britney married K-Fed, her stardom was still rising. Their marriage lasted 3 years (they divorced in 2007).
$500K: Sean Preston’s Baby Pictures
Some reports had assumed that the marriage between Britney Spears and K-Fed was expedited to account for a “secret” pregnancy. Whatever the reasons for the many curiosities surrounding their wedding, Sean Preston arrived on September 14, 2005. But, K-Fed and Britney did manage to make his arrival a spectacle.
The infamous shots of K-Fed, Britney, and newborn Sean were snapped up by People Magazine for $500,000. You’d be thrilled if someone offered you that kind of money for baby pictures, right? But just wait until you see how much money her baby sister bagged with her teen-pregnancy drama and the birth of Britney’s niece just a few years later.
$1M: Jamie Lynn Spears’ Teen Pregnancy
Jamie Lynn Spears is the little sister of the mega-star Britney Spears, but like her big sis, she’s had more than enough scandal to last multiple lifetimes. She starred in Zoey 101, for which she won the Young Artist Award and a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award.
Her pregnancy at sixteen years old abruptly put a halt to her role on the popular Nickelodeon show. She opened up about her pregnancy with her 18-year-old boyfriend, Casey Aldridge, with OK! Magazine, for the December 2007 issue. She received $1 million for the scandalous teen-pregnancy interview and photos, with options for other materials.
$1M: Baby Of Jamie Lynn Spears – Maddie
Jamie Lynn Spears announced that she was engaged to her boyfriend, Casey Aldridge, and then she gave birth to Maddie Briann Aldridge on June 19, 2008, at Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center, in McComb, Mississippi. OK! magazine paid another $1 million for the first rights to publish Maddie’s baby pictures in July 2008.
According to sources, it was her mother, Lynn, who actually made the decision to sell the exclusive story of her pregnancy, and the subsequent baby photos to OK! And, her father was reportedly “furious” that the story and photos were sold. After a hiatus from acting and singing — with a few more scandals along the way — Jamie Lynn launched a country music career, and even premiered it at the legendary Grand Ole Opry in 2016, with “When the Lights Go Out,” a song she wrote for Maddie.
$1.5M: Christina Aguilera’s Baby, Max
Christina Aguilera, nick-named the “Pop Princess,” has garnered five Grammy Awards, one Latin Grammy Award, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with her hard work. She has sold 50 million albums worldwide, as of 2015.
With fame like that, it’s no wonder People jumped at the chance to snatch up the exclusive first photos of her newborn son, Max, for $1.5 million. The new mother and her son appeared on the cover of the February 2008 issue. She told People that her son had changed her life. Jump forward two years, and she split with Jordan Bratman, her husband, and they were reportedly embroiled in a nasty custody dispute. They subsequently reached a private settlement and custody deal, and the divorce was finalized in 2011.
$500K: Clay Aiken Says He’s Gay
Sometimes, it really does seem like all anyone ever cares about is marriages and babies. Have you noticed some of those price tags? People and OK! and all the others wouldn’t be spending so much money on the photos if they weren’t absolutely certain that those beaming faces would draw attention. In 2008, American Idol mega-star Clay Aiken proved that he could defy expectation, and come out in the most public way possible, with a hefty $500,000 bonus to go with it.
Really, the decision to come out was more simple than you might have imagined. It was something he just had to do. “It was the first decision I made as a father,” Aiken told People. “I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things. I wasn’t raised that way, and I’m not going to raise a child to do that.”