Vanilla Ice stays rich thanks to investing in real estate – New York Post

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From pop-culture punchline to property mogul, Robert Van Winkle, better known as Vanilla Ice, has proven he’s no one-hit wonder when it comes to making money.

He has turned his initial success into a multi-million-dollar business empire — all thanks to wise investments in the real estate market.

Buy/sell, rent/lease residential &
commercials real estate properties.

Many predicted Van Winkle would join the list of bankrupt celebrities after his music career fizzled out. But, as divorce records from 2018 revealed, he was worth a cool $9 million then.

Fast forward to now, and according to, he’s sitting on a $20 million fortune.

“I made millions for doing nothing!” Van Winkle told comedian Steve-O on a recent episode of “Steve-O’s Wild Ride!” podcast.

Vanilla Ice performs during the Joyburst Summer Launch Party at Rebel Nightclub on June 23, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario. Getty Images for Joyburst
There’s a long list of celebrities who made a fortune and lost it all, but Vanilla Ice told Steve-O in his latest podcast he used the real estate business to ensure he was not one of them. YouTube / Steve-O’s Wild Ride!

Van Winkle shot to fame with his 1990 hit “Ice Ice Baby,” which quickly became the ultimate ’90s party anthem. “We were selling a million records a day, easy!” he boasted to Steve-O. But as his rap career took a nosedive, his financial savviness took flight.

Buying homes “all over the country” that he “never used,” Van Winkle found himself sitting on a gold mine when he decided to sell them off.

“They sold really quick and … I didn’t even change the carpet … and I go holy s—t let’s go buy a bunch more of them.”

His eureka moment came when Hurricane Andrew wrecked one of his properties in 1992. Taking on the renovation himself sparked a lifelong passion for real estate. After design school and years as a general contractor, he built a business strategy that would rival Wall Street’s best.

Vanilla Ice performs on stage in Boston Massachusetts in 1991. Getty Images

By 2018, Van Winkle was raking in $800,000 annually, according to divorce court documents obtained by The Post.

He’s spent the last three decades honing his real estate tactics, preferring off-market properties not listed on the MLS. Such deals are rare, with only 3% of homebuyers in 2023 managing to purchase directly from sellers.

Van Winkle also dives into distressed properties and tax liens, buying assets “for pennies on the dollar,” and flipping them for a profit.

His knack for renovations not only adds value, but also content for his hit reality TV show, “The Vanilla Ice Project.” Spanning 180 episodes across 13 seasons on the DIY Network, the show provides another lucrative income stream.

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