A Look At Richard Branson Net Worth, Life Breakthroughs and The Truth About His Family

Net Worth:$4.4 billion
Age/Date of Birth:
‎July 18, 1950 (73 years old)
5 feet, 11 inches (1.79 m)
Wife or Girlfriend:Joan Templeman (m. 1989), Kristen Tomassi (m. 1972–1979)
Parents:Father: Edward James Branson
Mother: Eve Branson

Richard Branson is an English business tycoon. His wealth stems from his ownership of Virgin Group, a multinational conglomerate controlling over 400 companies.

Sir Richard Branson has a net worth of $4.4 billion making him one of the richest men in the United Kingdom. He is also a daredevil adventurer and philanthropist. Here is all you need to know about how Richard Branson built a fortune greater than that of the Queen of England.

How Richard Branson Began

Richard Branson
Richard Branson and his parents (Image Source)

Richard Charles Nicholas Branson was born on 18th July 1950, in Blackheath, London. His mother was a ballet dancer and flight attendant and his father, a barrister. As a kid, Branson had dyslexia which affected his academic performance negatively. Consequently, he dropped out at the age of 16 to pursue a career in business. Branson received much support from his mom who was an entrepreneur in her own right.

He began by publishing a youth-focused magazine called Student Magazine. The magazine which was a deviation from the norm appealed much to the masses, thanks to its fresh and interesting contents. By the late 1960s, Branson began interviewing stars, including Mick Jagger. The Magazine’s maiden edition published in 1966 made $8,000 from advertising.

To raise more funds for the magazine, Branson began a mail-order record store on Oxford Street, London, which he called “Virgin” a name chosen because he and his partners were new to the business. The initial store was a massive success spawning a line of successful record stores that would become Virgin Megastores. The success of the record stores led to the establishment of the Virgin Record label.

Analysis of Richard Branson’s Net Worth

Richard Branson has come a long way from his days of battling dyslexia and running a youth-focused magazine. He started small but has gone ahead to build a robust empire in the business arena with an endless list of profitable investments to his credit. As of June 2020, his net worth is an estimated US$4.1 billion and a walk through his business ventures will shed light on how he was able to achieve all that.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Records Breakthrough

Richard Branson Net Worth

Virgin Record Label enjoyed an exponential increase in success due to its involvement in the punk movement. The label’s first release was the debut album of fledgling recording artist Mike Oldfield. The album titled “Tubular Bells” (1973) became an instant hit and propelled both the label and artists to new heights.

By the end of the decade, Virgin Records was a force to reckon with. With artists like Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols, and Culture Club on their roster, it was easily the world’s largest independent record label.

Virgin Atlantic – Virgin Nigeria – Virgin America

After his jackpot with Virgin Records, Branson went ahead to develop the Virgin name into a brand launching into other fields beginning with Airline. The Virgin Atlantic airline was established in 1984. The airline, like the record label, grew rapidly to become a major competitor with British Airways. Virgin Atlantic had a higher market share value, thanks to its cutting-edge premium features and superior customer service.

A series of disputes between Virgin Atlantic and British Airways culminated in a lawsuit in the early 90s. Virgin won, receiving over £3.6 million in total settlement fee which Branson shared among his staff. The airlines then expanded its business to the US (Virgin America est 2007), Nigeria (Virgin Nigeria), and Australia.

Alaska Airline acquired Virgin America in April 2016 in a $2.6 billion merger. The entire transaction, per CNN Money, was worth $4 billion, including debt and aircraft leases. Branson opposed the sale of the company which went public in 2014 but couldn’t stop it due to insufficient votes. After the sale, the tie-loathing adventurer said he would be lying if he said he wasn’t sad over the merger. But don’t feel bad for Branson; his source of wealth is way beyond Virgin Atlantic.

Virgin Media, Virgin Money, Virgin Trains, Virgin Health Bank, Virgin Galactic

In the early 90s, Branson had to sell his struggling Virgin Records to EMI for $1 billion in order to raise capital for Virgin Atlantic. Crushed by the sale, the savvy businessman, in an effort to remain in the record business, established Virgin Radio and later launched another record label V2 in 1996 of which he owns 5%.

The man has expanded his business portfolio to include; media/telecommunications (Virgin Media), financial services (Virgin Money), railway (Virgin Trains) wine stores, health (Virgin Health Bank), space travel (Virgin Galactic) among others. As of 2013, over 500 people had purchased tickets for Galactic’s space voyage. The price of each ticket was revealed to be $200,000.

Branson’s Virgin Media emerged after a $2 billion merger between his cable operator Virgin Mobile and NTL Telewest worth £1 billion which added wireless services to its offerings. Virgin Media has operations in over 11 countries. In 2013, Virgin Media was sold to Liberty Global for $23.3 billion. After the sale, Virgin Group remained entitled to £10 million royalties from Liberty Global.

Highlights of Branson’s Investments

  • Student Magazine
  • Virgin Records
  • Virgin Megastores
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • Virgin Cargo
  • Virgin Holidays
  • Virgin Galactic
  • Virgin Express
  • Virgin Trains
  • Virgin Mobile
  • Virgin Blue
  • Virgin Nigeria
  • Virgin America
  • Virgin Fuels
  • Virgin Media
  • Virgin Comics
  • Virgin Animation
  • Virgin Health Bank
  • Virgin Money
  • Virgin Healthcare
  • Virgin Hotels
  • Virgin Racing
  • Virgin Care
  • Virgin Rail
  • Virgin Voyages

Branson’s Failed Business Ventures

Despite the success stories attached to this business magnate, Branson hasn’t been entirely successful in all his efforts. His failed businesses include Virgin Cola whose success was truncated by competition from bigger players. Others are Virgin Clothing, Virgin Bridges, and Virgin Cars. Also, the success of Virgin Megastores was marred by a decline in demand for physical CDs. As of 2015, the store still had operations in the Middle East and North Africa.

In all, Branson didn’t allow the numerous failures he encountered to discourage him from pursuing other ventures. His resilient spirit and business savviness take credit for the wins he has recorded in his career life so far. Richard Branson now lives a life of luxury, primarily in his own private Virgin retreat in Neckar Island which he purchased in 1978 for $180,000. He hosted former POTUS Barrack Obama in January 2017, shortly after he left the office. Branson lives at the luxury retreat with his second wife Joan Templeman whom he married in 1989.

Highlights Of His Net Worth Over The Last 6 Years

  • 2020: $4.1 Billion
  • 2019: $4.1 Billion
  • 2018: $5 Billion
  • 2017: $5 Billion
  • 2016: $4.9 Billion
  • 2015: $4.8 Billion

Humanitarian Endeavours

Branson teamed up with Peter Gabriel and a host of others to fund an initiative named The Elders, a group founded in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2007. The group was launched to help solve global conflicts and had African dignitaries like Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan as founding members. Another charitable initiative he brought to South Africa is the Branson School of Entrepreneurship which trains and provides funds for young entrepreneurs.

By the end of the ’90s, Branson founded the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (“ICMEC”) to help children who are either experiencing exploitation or has been missing. He also joined the crusade to find solutions for global warming and the energy crisis through the Carbon War Room.

Branson’s Virgin Startup is a program used to provide loans for fresh entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 30. In 2010, he founded Enterprise Zimbabwe with Nduna Foundation and Humanity United. He is also a signatory of the Global Zero campaign which fights for the elimination of all nuclear weapons in the world.

Other humanitarian initiatives Branson has been a part of under different capacities include the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, Global Commission on Drug Policy, African Wildlife Foundation, The Patti Grace Smith Fellowship, and many more.

Honors and Awards

  • In 1992, Branson received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.
  • In 1993, the entrepreneur was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Technology from Loughborough University.
  • He was knighted by Charles, Prince of Wales on 30 March 2000 at an investiture in Buckingham Palace.
  • Also in 2000, Branson received the Tony Jannus Award for his accomplishments in commercial air transportation.
  • In 2000, Branson was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.
  • No. 85 on the 2002 list of 100 Greatest Britons on the BBC and voted for by the public.
  • Made the 2007 Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in The World.
  • On 7 December 2007, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon presented Branson with the United Nations Correspondents Association Citizen of the World Award for his support for environmental and humanitarian causes.
  • On 24 January 2011, Branson was awarded the German Media Prize (organized by “Media Control Charts”).
  • On 14 November 2011, Branson was awarded the ISTA Prize by the International Space Transport Association in The Hague for his pioneering achievements in the development of suborbital transport systems with “Virgin Galactic”.
  • On 11 February 2012, he received the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ President’s Merit Award for his contributions to the music industry.
  • On 2 June 2013, Branson received an honorary degree of Doctor Honoris Causa from Kaunas Technology University in Kaunas, Lithuania.
  • On 15 May 2014, Branson received the 2014 Business for Peace Award, awarded annually by the Business for Peace Foundation in Oslo, Norway.
  • On 21 September 2014, he was recognized by The Sunday Times as the most admired business person over the last five decades.
  • On 9 October 2014, Branson was named No. 1 LGBT ally by the OUTstanding organization.
  • On 29 October 2015, Branson was listed by UK-based company Richtopia at number 1 in the list of 100 Most Influential British Entrepreneurs.
  • In October 2015, Branson received the International Crisis Group Chairman’s Award at the United Nations Development Programme’s in Pursuit of Peace Awards Dinner.

Meet Richard Branson’s Wife and Children

The business icon has been busy building an empire but that never stopped him from building a family. He has been married twice to two women Joan Templeman (m. 1989), Kristen Tomassi (m. 1972–1979) and has remained married to one of them to date.

Kristen Tomassi (m. 1972–1979)

  • Full name: Kristen Tomassi
  • Date of birth: NA
  • Nationality: American-Brith
  • Occupation: Designer, Architect

Richard Branson’s current wife is Joan Templeman but his marriage to her is not his first as he has been married before. His first marriage in 1972 was to Kristen Tomassi, the daughter of Joseph H. Tomassi, who was the director of international marketing and development for Libby International. Their marriage only lasted for six years and they were divorced by the year 1979 without having any kids.

There were accusations of infidelity on both sides and the union didn’t survive it. In fact, their divorce was as a result of a “wife swap” arrangement between Branson and Soft Machine star, Kevin Ayers. And while the swap went well for Ayers as Branson’s wife, Kristen went ahead to have a daughter for him, it didn’t work well for Branson and Cyrille, Ayers’ wife.

See Also: 20 Self-Made Billionaires Who Rose From Rags To Riches

Joan Templeman (m. 1989)

  • Full name: Joan Templeman
  • Date of birth: 6 July 1948
  • Nationality: English
  • Occupation: NA

Branson met his current wife, Joan Templeman in 1976 and they waited for 13 years before they were married (in 1989). She was married to Ronnie Leahy, a musician at the time they met. She also ran a London store and worked as a nude model at the time. They had their three children – two girls – Clare Sarah Branson (b. 1979) and Holly Branson (b. 1982) – and a boy – Sam Branson (b. 1985) before they were married in 1989 and the couple still live together.

Clare died just four days after she was born. Holly, now the eldest child in the family is a doctor but has abandoned her job to join her father’s business. Sam Branson, on the other hand, was a model but now works as a filmmaker and an actor. He got married in 2013 to fellow actress, Isabella Calthorpe.

Clare Branson

  • Full name: Clare Sarah Branson
  • Date of birth: 1979
  • Died: 1979

Clare was the first child the billionaire had with his second wife but couldn’t live to enjoy the fortune her father was building for the family. The baby was born three months prematurely and died in a hospital incubator just four days after her birth.

Richard Branson admits Joan has not completely healed from the wounds of losing Clare, even though they later had two more children whom they raised together.

Holly Branson

  • Full name: Holly Branson
  • Date of birth: 21 November 1981
  • Spouse: Freddie Andrewes (m. 2011)
  • Occupation: doctor, philanthropist, executive at Virgin Group and Virgin Unite

Holly put a smile on the faces of her parents a few years after they lost their first offspring. Since childhood, she dreamed of a career in medicine and went on to achieve that following her graduation from University College London with Medical and Physiology degrees. She worked as a junior doctor at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and laster joined the Virgin Group in 2008.

She is serving in many capacities in the company, including as Chair of Virgin Unite (the Virgin Group’s foundation), founder and trustee of Big Change, Co-Chair of We Day UK and a patron of Virgin Money Giving among others. Her first book “WEconomy: You Can Find Meaning, Make A Living, and Change the World” was co-authored with Marc and Craig Kielburger. The piece was published in 2018.

Holly is married to Freddie Andrewes and they are raising three kids – Artie Andrews, Lola Snow Templeman Andrewes, and Etta Andrews.

Sam Branson

  • Full name: Sam Branson
  • Date of birth: 1985
  • Occupation: Entrepreneur
  • Spouse: Isabella Calthorpe (m. 2013)

He is Richard Branson’s only son and the youngest child of the entrepreneur. Sam Branson, unlike his sister, is not directly working with the Virgin Group but supports them in any way possible. Sam launched his own production company – Sundog Pictures in 2012. The establishment aims at delivering challenging, entertaining and informative content to consumers.

Aside from the entrepreneurial spirit, another trait Richard passed on to his son is his love for adventure. The younger Branson has embarked on challenges like the 1,400 mile, three-month, dogsled expedition to the Arctic which aimed at raising awareness around climate change.

Sam is married to Isabella Calthorpe and they have two children – Bluey Rafe Richard Branson and Eva-Deia Branson.

Profile Summary
First Name:Sir Richard
Last Name: Branson
Also Known As:
Charles Nicholas, Rich
Business magnate, investor, author
Famous For:Founding Virgin Group
Colleges/Universities Attended:
Educational Qualifications:
Birthday & Zodiac
Age/Date of Birth:
‎July 18, 1950
Zodiac Sign:Cancer
Birth Place:
Blackheath, London, England
Nationality: British
Country of Residence:
United Kingdom
Physical Attributes
5 feet, 11 inches (1.79 m)
87 kg
Eye Colour:
Hair Color:
Other Body Measurements:
Marital Status:
Joan Templeman (m. 1989), Kristen Tomassi (m. 1972–1979)
Family and Relatives
Edward James Branson
Mother:Eve Branson
2 daughters: Holly Branson, Clare Sarah Branson;
Sam Branson - son
Siblings:Vanessa Branson (Sister)
Lindy Branson (Sister)
Other Relatives:
Sir George Arthur Harwin Branson (Grandfather)
Net Worth
Estimated Net Worth:
$4.4 billion
Salary:$6,450,000 per year
Source of Wealth:
Business investments


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