Here's why Larry David says he isn't really worth half a billion

In a new “60 Minutes” interview with Charlie Rose, “Seinfeld” co-creator/writer/producer Larry David revealed the one big way in which the hit NBC comedy changed his life.

“It gave me money,” David said of the sitcom that ran from 1989-1998. “It gave me something that I didn’t have, but not in the way that people think it’s a total transformation. I still, to this day, couldn’t walk up to a woman at a bar and say hello.”

Larry David Jerry SeinfeldStephen Lovekin/Getty ImagesLarry David was co-creator/writer/producer of hit show ‘Seinfeld’ for 9 seasons.

Today, “Seinfeld” is still syndicated on numerous TV channels. After the show ended in 1998, Larry David created and starred in “Curb Your Enthusiasm” on HBO in 1999. The show went on to run for eight seasons and win a Golden Globe for best comedy TV series.

Between the two hit shows and a massive “Seinfeld” syndication deal (the sitcom has reportedly netted $US3.1 billion in fees for re-runs on U.S. TV channels) it has been estimated that David’s net worth was around $US900 million.

When David and his wife of 14 years divorced in 2007, his fortune (no matter what it was exactly) was halved, thanks to California divorce laws. Today, the TV creator-comedian-actor’s net worth is reported to be around $US400 million. On Sunday’s “60 Minutes,” Charlie Rose stated David’s net worth is closer to $US500 million.

But David vehemently disputed rumours of his net worth to Rose during the “60 Minutes” segment.

In a clip only available on the CBS website, David insists, “The figures that I read about the amount of money that I’ve made are so ridiculous, and it’s absurd. It’s unseemly, I don’t have that kind of money!”

“My wife took half of it in the divorce,” David confirmed.

Larry David Laurie DavidFrazer Harrison/Getty ImagesLarry and Laurie David were married from 1993-2007. Their divorce halved his fortune.

When Rose asked if that was because he is generous, David responded, “No, that’s the law.”

Rose then asked if he would have preferred to have given her less, to which he replied: “Perhaps, who knows. No, after what I put her through I want her to be happy. It’s not an easy job to be with me. I don’t think of other people.”

Getting back to his net worth, David says he finds the reports of his finances “embarrassing.”

While he says “I honestly don’t know” how much “Seinfeld” has earned in syndication, David admits “I have a lot of money,” but still insists, “the figures out there are crazy.”

Rose tried to press David on an exact amount, telling his interview subject that he was worth “more than $US500 million.”

“Are you talking about me personally? Are you kidding me? Again, that’s just nuts,” replied David. “No, it’s not [$US500M]. And mind your own goddamn business.”

This isn’t the first time David has publicly denied his alleged net worth.

In 2011, he told Rolling Stone:

I don’t have anything near what I’m reputed to have. My wife got half of it, the whole thing is ridiculous, and yet people are obsessed with the fact that I’ve made millions of dollars [from Seinfeld’s] syndication.

It’s ok for all these other people you’ve interviewed to have it, but not me? Jerry’s not getting asked about how much money he has. Only I am. It comes down to, ‘Jerry deserves it, he starred in it, you got lucky!’…It doesn’t suit me, that’s why, it’s uncharacteristic for a person with my personality to have it, that’s what’s askew, right? Something’s off, and I agree with you. I shouldn’t! It’s an anomaly!

David also said that as he grew richer, he developed an allergy to caviar, which “was the perfect metaphor for my life.”

Celebrity Net Worth notes of David’s massive fortune:

The real windfall came when Seinfeld was sold in to syndication to Columbia Tristar. The day Seinfeld was sold into syndication Larry earned an estimated $US650 million. Add to that his prior personal fortune of $US30 million plus all the money he has earned since starring in Curb and Larry is a very happy man. Another great annuity for David has been the periodic releases of Seinfeld DVD box sets. Every few years a new season is unleashed to a frenzied public with a huge marketing blitz. DVD sales can easily add another $US40-50 million to Larry’s bottom line. 

But before he was rolling in the big bucks, David told “60 Minutes” he worked a number of odd jobs, including chauffeur, taxi driver, paralegal, and bra salesman —  which later ended up being the premise of a “Seinfeld” episode.

Watch Larry David discuss the rumours about his wealth below:

Now watch David’s full interview with Charlie Rose on “60 Minutes”

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