Born Robert Matthew Van Winkle, Vanilla Ice is an American rapper, television host and actor with a net worth of $18 million.
Born on October 31, 1967, Robert Matthew Van Winkle never knew his biological father and his name was given to him by his step-father to whom his mother married and divorced when he was four. He started living with his stepfather at a car dealership in Dallas and Miami and with his interests in poetry, Van Winkle started practicing breakdancing on his own raps and was eventually named “Vanilla” by his friends.
Vanilla then started rapping at parties and got into a breakdance troupe after which he was named “Vanilla Ice” with his perfection in the “Ice” breakdance moves. He went to R.L. Turner High School before dropping out to learn riding motorbikes and dancing in streets with his group; today popular as “The Vanilla Ice Posse“.
Vanilla Ice performed in several nightclubs in Dallas together with DJ Earthquake, and he soon landed a contract with the Ichiban Records. He released his first album “Hooked” that sold 48,000 copies, which was not much of a success but Vanilla Ice’s net worth gradually started peaking with the release of the second album “Play That Funky Music” that had its hit single “Ice Ice Baby“. The single was written at the age of 16 to describe his and his friend D-Shay‘s life on a drug run. Initially, the song was sent out to be played in radios, but it gathered fanbase after DJ Darrell Jaye played it. The public interest of the song gradually rose while he also won a lawsuit over Queen and David Bowie that increased Vanilla Ice’s net worth by another $4 million.
Vanilla Ice’s good looks and perfect breakdance moves grabbed much attention from several records with Public Enemy trying to persuade the talent from Hank Shocklee, Ice’s producer. But, he signed a contract with SBK records that released remix “To the Extreme” which became the fastest selling hip hop album of all times peaking at the #1 on the Billboard for over sixteen weeks while making sales over 11 million copies.
Vanilla Ice also got into the film industry making appearance in the film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. Ice released a live album Extremely Live in March 1991 in Miami during his To The Extreme Tour with new songs like Satisfaction, Rollin’ in My 5.0 and Road To My Riches which ranked #30 on the Billboard 200 despite receiving several negative critics. He then started filming for Cool as Ice, where he was in the leading role. The movie grossed over #700,000 in US theaters for which he won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst New Star in a movie.
Vanilla Ice also got into real estate business where he sold houses to make his living apart from music and also got into the softball team The Hip Hop Stars alongside other famous personalities like Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre in the MTV Rock N’ Jock in 1999. Ice also got into Celebrity Boxing with the name ‘Bi-Polar‘. He started recording for himself despite having contracts with the Universal, and appeared on several television series to boost his earnings.
Platinum Underground, is his fifth studio album released in 2005 while he recorded a cover for his previous album with the name Vanilla Ice is Back after signing with Cleopatra Records in 2008 that featured song covers by Public Enemy, Bob Marley and more. He started hosting The Vanilla Ice Project on DIY Network in 2009 and released another album WTF- Wisdom, Tenacity & Focus in 2011.
Vanilla Ice went into relationship with Madonna in 1990 for eight months and married Laura Giaritta in 1997. A vegetarian and a Juggalo, Ice has been arrested several times for different legal issues. Influenced by old-school hip hop and rock, Ice’s musical style comes from the underground music while he also enjoys Bob Marley, Slipknot and System of Down.
Apart from his musical career, Vanilla Ice’s net worth comes from his movies, tv shows, and his involvement in several video game characters like in Championship Motocross and GTA San Andreas. Considered to be one of the best rappers in the world by another hit artist Eminem, Vanilla Ice’s net worth is $18 million as of today.
Quick Facts about Vanilla Ice
Full Name: Robert Matthew Van Winkle
Profession: Rapper, Singer, Actor, Record producer
Height: 6′ 2″ (1.88 m)
Ethnicity: German, Dutch, Irish
Date of Birth: October 31, 1967
Place of Birth: South Dallas
Education: Drop Out, R. L. Turner High School
Marital status: Married (Laura Giaritta)
Children: 2 (Dusti Rain, KeeLee Breeze)