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Madonna tops Forbes rich list

Madonna takes out the top spot in Forbes' 2013 list of highest-paid celebrities.

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She might not be pushing boundaries like she used to, but Madonna is still very much the material girl. According to Forbes' estimates, Madonna was the world's highest-earning celebrity in 2012-13.

According to Forbes.com, Madonna made $US125 million between June 2012 and June 2013, putting her well ahead of runner-up Steven Spielberg, whose earnings were estimated at $US100 million.

Although Madonna's latest studio album MDNA had her weakest ever sales (1.8 million worldwide), she still topped the album charts in several countries including the US, UK and here, and remains easily the best-selling female recording artist of all-time, with 300 million sales.

1. Madonna (pop musician, actor) - US$125 million. Click for more photos

The world's highest-earning celebrities

1. Madonna (pop musician, actor) - US$125 million. Photo: Reuters

Madonna, who recently turned 55, made most of her money in 2012-13 on her MDNA world tour, which grossed an estimated $US305.2 million from 88 sold-out shows. She also made millions from her Material Girl and Truth or Dare clothing and fragrances, merchandise and a fitness centre franchise, Hard Candy.

Forbes says Madonna's 2012-13 income was the most she has ever made, topping the $US110 million she earned in 2009. The website celebritynetworth.com estimates Madonna's total wealth at about $650 million.

Third place in the 2012-13 rich list was a three-way tie between reality show mogul Simon Cowell, TV and shock jock Howard Stern and Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James. They made $US95 million each.

Madonna accepts the award for "Touring Artist of the Year" onstage during the 2013 Billboard Music Awards.

Madonna accepts the award for "Touring Artist of the Year" onstage during the 2013 Billboard Music Awards. Photo: Ethan Miller

Writer James Patterson (the highest selling author of all-time according to Forbes), Hollywood heavyweights Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer also made the top 10, as did the pop star most often compared to Madonna, Lady Gaga.

Oprah Winfrey topped the list for 2011-12 with earnings of $US160 million but fell to 13th place, with earnings of $US77 million.

Forbes' richest celebrities list was based on estimates gleaned from agents, managers, producers "and other folks in the know". It did not deduct "taxes, agent fees or the other expenses of being a celebrity".