By Mamta Roy Last Updated:
Are gold digger women a reality or a wisely instilled myth? It's an interesting question in a nation where families still restrict females from working towards financial independence and ask them to look for a well-to-do groom, who would fulfil all their dreams with his ‘decent’ income. From Kartik Aaryan telling his audience in Sonu Ki Titu Ki Sweety that it's always a woman who would leech money out of a man’s pocket to Honey Singh singing, “Hai Ghar Hai Gadi Hai Paisa, Aap Do Jodo Meh Ladki Bhejo Ladki Hui Hamari,” even Bollywood portrays women as the greedy gender.
Even if a female has built her career from scratch, went to big cities, made a name for herself, and doesn't need a man for money would be called a gold digger if dating a wealthier partner. Society always has a problem with women choosing their companion, and the bias would not know its limit if the partner was wealthier, older, had an ex-partner or had kids. The patriarchal norms have spread their roots so much that even Bollywood actresses are not immune to them. From former Miss Universe, Sushmita Sen to superstar, Rekha, here we bring you a list of 8 immensely successful female celebrities, who were called gold diggers for dating a rich man. Check out!
The Bengali Beauty, Sushmita Sen had made India proud when she was crowned Miss Universe on May 21, 1994. She became the first Indian woman to win the prestigious beauty pageant. Also, she inspired single mothers by adopting two daughters, Renee Sen and Alisah Sen. Though 28 years have past, Sen still serves as the beacon of power and grace. However, the model-turned-actress received immense wrath from netizens for dating IPL founder, Lalit Modi. The woman who served all her life for the social cause was called names and even a “gold digger.”
Lalit was 58 years old, whereas Sushmita was 46 years. However, their age difference is not the only factor which raised eyebrows. It was Lalit’s net worth in the millions, which convinced the netizens that Sushmita was dating him only for money. Well, known for her savage and fierce personality, Sushmita made sure to give it back to the trollers in her own style. She had taken to her IG handle on July 17, 2022, and posted a stunning picture of her enjoying herself in a pool, donning a backless monokini. An excerpt from her caption could be read as:
“I dig deeper than Gold.... and I’ve always (famously) preferred Diamonds! And yes I still buy them myself.”
Former Miss World, Priyanka Chopra found love in the arms of American singer, Nick Jonas. In the era of dinner dates and meet-cutes, the singer had slid into PeeCee’s DM on Twitter and started to woo her. Within a few months of knowing each other, they tied the knot on December 1, 2018, following Hindu and Christian rituals. However, their age gap of 10 years curled many lips in disgust. Even a famous daily, The Cut had published a derogatory article on Priyanka and Nick’s relationship in 2018, sparking a massive debate.
In the article, they expressed “sympathy” for Nick Jonas as he got a “lifetime sentence” with a “scam artist”, Priyanka Chopra. Such sexist and racist words were used for the global icon, PeeCee, and it made us pause and think about society's narrow standards. Furthermore, millennials, who call themselves modern and open-minded, were labelling Priyanka as an “aunty” and “gold digger” for marrying a younger American icon, Nick. Later, Priyanka, in an interview with a media portal, indirectly responded to the article and said:
“I don’t even want to react or comment. It’s not even in my stratosphere. I’m in a happy place at this moment. These kinds of random things can’t disturb it.”
The Cut deleted that article after facing massive criticism.
Rekha was called a cold-hearted man-eater by the nation when her businessman husband, Mukesh Aggarwal, died by suicide. He was suffering from chronic depression, which Rekha only learnt after their marriage. On October 2, 1990, Mukesh decided to take his life. He hanged himself to the room's ceiling fan, using his wife’s dupatta. After this unfortunate event, a witch-hunt was started in the nation.
Rekha, who was grieving due to her husband’s death, was called a dayan by her mother-in-law and a gold-digger by her brother-in-law, Anil Gupta. He had asked if she wanted their family money. He had said:
“My brother loved Rekha truly. For him, love was a do or die attempt. He could not tolerate what Rekha was doing to him. Now what does she want, does she want our money?”
Even the big names of Bollywood started to blame Rekha for murdering her husband. Film director, Subhash Ghai said that no family would ever make the actress their bahu. On the other hand, Anupam Kher called her the national vamp. It is heart-wrenching to imagine how Rekha would have survived the phase.
The sudden suicide of Bollywood actor, Sushant Singh Rajput had left his then-girlfriend, Rhea Chakroborty, in trouble. From going through harsh media trials to spending countless nights behind bars, she had a tough time proving her innocence. Many people still believe that Rhea was the influence behind Sushant taking his life. Allegations were made that she was controlling Sushant’s lifestyle and staff. But the actress rubbished these reports calling them “baseless” as the staffs were maintained by Sushant or his sister, Priyanka.
She was also called a gold digger by Sushant Singh’s fans, who said that she was living off his money. The inhuman media trials of Rhea Chakraborty will never be forgotten. The way she was blamed by the entire nation for Sushant’s death as if he was not a grown-up man, capable of making sound decisions for himself.
Shilpa Shetty, despite having a glorious career in Bollywood, was called a gold digger and a home breaker when she married a London-based businessman, Raj Kundra. Shilpa was one of the leading actresses in the 90s, and she also acquired fame abroad by winning the international reality show, Big Brother. But it was her link-up news with Raj, a rich and divorced man, which had interested the public eyes.
Reportedly Raj and his ex-wife, Kavita Kundra, were already going through their divorce proceedings when Shilpa met him for the first time for a business deal. During their dating phase, Raj had tried to woo Shilpa with several expensive gifts, from Versace bags to an apartment opposite Amitabh Bachchan’s Mumbai home, he left Shilpa astonished. After this, Kavita, in an interview had said that it was because of Shilpa that Raj had left her and their newborn daughter. In a conversation with The Mail, Kavita was quoted as saying:
“Shilpa is a cultural icon in the Indian community, but she’s not what she appears. She can have any man she wants- there are plenty of single men. She didn’t need to go after my husband. While I was trying to put our marriage back together, he was talking constantly about Shilpa, as if it didn't matter what happened to us because he had found someone better, cleverer and more famous than me. Now he has begun pestering me for a divorce.”
Unfortunately, Malaika Arora was also at the receiving end of hate when she divorced her husband, Arbaaz Khan. Though the actress was going through a challenging phase after her separation from Arbaaz, people showed no mercy to her. Media was quick to conclude that Malaika had married Arbaaz for money and left him once her purpose got fulfilled.
This is truly unbelievable how trolls behind a mobile screen assume to know everything about a celebrity’s personal life and pass unsolicited judgements. Malaika, being an actress, a fitness entrepreneur and a model, has a net worth of Rs. 100 crore as of 2022. Despite being trolled for her age and dating a younger actor, Arjun Kapoor, she continues to grow in her career.
Sridevi, the outsider who ruled Bollywood for ages, was an outstanding actress. With 300 films to her credit, Sridevi had become one of the most successful heroines of her time, without the help of any male co-star. However, when she tied the knot with the man of her dreams, Boney Kapoor, the actress was immediately labelled a gold digger.
Boney, a wealthy producer, was already married to Mona Kapoor, when the Hawa Hawai fame fell in love with him. There is this stereotype that an actress would only marry an actor. And if she finds love in someone else, especially a businessman or a wealthy producer, she does it for money.
Samantha Ruth Prabhu and Naga Chaitanya were a royal couple from the South Indian industry. They seemed too perfect for each other. But, their divorce news in 2021 shattered our fate in love. Soon after their separation, rumours suggested that the actress asked for huge alimony from Naga and his family.
However, in Koffee With Karan 7, Samantha had called out the baseless reports, which claimed that she asked for a whopping Rs. 250 crore alimony. Being a self-made woman, Samantha cleared the air that she never asked for a penny from her ex-husband or her in-laws. During the show, Karan Johar had asked her about the worst rumour she heard about herself. To which she had said:
“Should I start alphabetically? That I took 250 crores in alimony. Every morning I woke up waiting for income tax officials to show them there’s nothing. First, they made up the story about alimony. Then they realised it doesn’t seem like a believe story. Then they said there’s a pre-nup, so she can’t ask for alimony.”
These were the 8 immensely successful women from the film industry who were called gold diggers for dating a wealthy partner.