Rihanna performed for the son of India's richest man. Here are 8 times celebrities played pricey private concerts.

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  • Rihanna performed at a pre-wedding event for Anant Ambani, the son of Asia's richest man.

  • She's not the first celebrity to play a pricey private gig for the elite.

  • In 2013, Jennifer Lopez apologized after performing for a Turkmenistan leader described as a dictator.

Performing for the world's elite pays. Just ask Rihanna.

The "Umbrella" singer arrived in Gujarat, India, this week for pre-wedding celebrations for Anant Ambani, the son of Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani marrying Radhika Merchant.

The Ambani patriarch, who is the chair of the Fortune 500 company Reliance Industries, has an estimated net worth of $113 billion.

Rihanna took the stage during a star-studded cocktail party on Friday, which ended with her receiving a more than $5 million payday.

Although Rihanna's performance is making headlines this week, she's not the first celebrity to give an ultra-exclusive performance to the world's elite.

Keep reading to see which other celebrities performed for presidents, dictators, and the rich.

Beyoncé got a multi-million dollar paycheck for a private performance at a luxury resort in Dubai.

Beyonce performing in Dubai in January 2023.
Beyoncé in Dubai. Mason Poole/Parkwood Media/Getty Images

Beyoncé is no stranger to private concerts, but her most recent performance in Dubai excited fans across the globe. In January 2023, the "Cuff It" singer arrived in the United Arab Emirates city to commemorate the grand opening of the Atlantis The Royal resort, which is described as "the most ultra-luxury experiential resort in the world" on its website.

Although considered a private concert, videos and images of Beyoncé's performance went viral on social media. Many fans praised videos of Beyoncé singing her now-famous "Drunk in Love" riff in addition to Beyoncé singing onstage with her eldest daughter, Blue Ivy.

The private concert only lasted one hour, but outlets like Fortune reported that Beyoncé was paid $24 million.

Italian singer Andrea Bocelli performed at Kourtney and Kim Kardashians' weddings — worsening the feud between the two sisters.

andrea bocelli
Andrea Bocelli. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

The Kardashian family always appeared tight-knit, but cracks surfaced in July 2023 between Kourtney and Kim. Tensions between the pair had been brewing for several years, but one point of contention involved Andrea Bocelli.

Bocelli is a famed Italian tenor who performed at Kim's 2014 wedding to Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and Kourtney's 2022 nuptials to Travis Barker.

During season three of Hulu's "The Kardashians," Kim accused Kourtney of copying her wedding aesthetic after Kourtney accused her of doing the same thing.

"I got married in Italy. Am I saying you copied me by getting married in Italy? Who performed at my wedding? Who performed at Kourtney's wedding? Andrea Bocelli," Kim said in a confessional.

"You stole my fucking wedding country and my wedding performer," she added. "Andrea Bocelli is my favorite male singer of all time, but I am copying her Dolce Vita lifestyle?"

Bocelli later spoke out, writing in a July 2023 Instagram Stories post that he's "flattered" that they enjoyed his work.

Jennifer Lopez apologized after doing a private gig for a Turkmenistan leader described as a dictator.

Jennifer Lopez performing in Turkmenistan in June 2013.
Jennifer Lopez in Turkmenistan. AFP/Getty Images

In July 2013, Jennifer Lopez faced criticism after she traveled to Turkmenistan for a private concert. Outlets like Vanity Fair reported that the guest list included former President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, the former president of Turkmenistan whom the Wall Street Journal dubbed a "dictator."

Critics have accused Berdimuhamedow of human rights violations, prompting an outcry over Lopez's decision to serenade him with "Happy Birthday" during the performance.

Following the backlash, Lopez's publicist attempted to clarify the situation in a statement to E! News, saying China National Petroleum Corporation hosted the event and it wasn't political in nature.

"The event was vetted by her representatives, had there been knowledge of human rights issues of any kind, Jennifer would not have attended," the statement said.

Lopez was paid between $1 million and $1.5 million for the controversial three-song show, according to Vanity Fair.

Mariah Carey said she was 'embarrassed' after appearing in a private concert for family members of Muammar Gaddafi.

Mariah Carey attends 2024 Grammy Awards
Mariah Carey.VALERIE MACON/Getty Images

Carey tried to distance herself from the notorious 2008 performance. That year, she performed for members of Muammar Gaddafi's family in St. Bart's. Human rights organizations have long decried Gaddafi, the former Libyan dictator, who is accused of war crimes.

"I was naive and unaware of who I was booked to perform for. I feel horrible and embarrassed to have participated in this mess," Carey said in the statement. "Going forward, this is a lesson for all artists to learn from. We need to be more aware and take more responsibility regardless of who books our shows. Ultimately we as artists are to be held accountable."

Carey received $1 million to sing four songs, The New York Times reported.

Nelly Furtado also performed for the Gaddafi family. She donated her $1 million payment following public backlash.

Nelly Furtado attends the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards on September 12, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey.
Nelly Furtado. Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Mariah Carey wasn't the only artist to land in hot water over a private concert for the Gaddafi family. Beyoncé, Usher, and Nelly Furtado also faced criticism, and Furtado publicly apologized.

In a statement shared on Twitter in 2011, Furtado said the private concert took place in 2007 and lasted 45 minutes in a post.

"In 2007, I received 1million$ from the Qaddafi clan to perform a 45 min. Show for guests at a hotel in Italy," Furtado wrote. "I am going to donate the $."

The Rolling Stones received a hefty check after performing at a Texas investor's birthday party.

rolling stones
The Rolling Stones. AP

The Rolling Stones have also found success in the private concert industry. In November 2002, the English rock band played for a Texas billionaire named David Bonderman, who invited 400 guests to celebrate his 60th birthday party in Las Vegas, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

It's unclear how much The Rolling Stones were paid for the gig, but CNN reported that Bonderman's party cost around $7 million.

Guns N' Roses once played a private show in Russia for a chairman.

Guns N' Roses in May 2012.
Guns N' Roses.Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images

The members of Guns N' Roses once traveled to Moscow for a private concert in 2010, according to Rolling Stone. The band performed for Alexander Chistyakov, then a chairman of Federal Grid Company's management board, at a movie studio complex.

"It couldn't have felt more awkward," singer Tommy Stinson told the outlet in May 2022. "They were a bunch of drunken party people who were glad to have us play. I didn't see any fucking gold-plated toilets, but I'm sure they were there somewhere."

Guns N' Roses walked away with $1 million, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Miley Cyrus sang at a Texas law firm's Christmas party as a teenager.

Miley Cyrus attends the 2024 Grammys.
Miley Cyrus. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Cyrus was around 16 years old when she agreed to perform at Lanier Law Fims' Christmas party in Houston, Texas, in 2008.

News outlet Chron reported that the event was held at Mark Lanier's home, where Cyrus appeared onstage with a guitar-playing Santa and musically inclined elves. Lanier told the outlet that an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 guests were expected to attend.

It is unclear how much Cyrus received for the private concert, but The Hollywood Reporter estimated between $200,000 and $500,000.

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