Here's Who Inherited Larry Flynt's Money After His Death

Larry Flynt, the self-proclaimed "King of Smut," cast as complicated a shadow as any man can in one lifetime. Part provocateur, part pornographer, and part philanthropist, Flynt left behind a fascinating and conflicting legacy. Flynt, a self-proclaimed "champion of free speech", invited controversy into his life as if it were the next-door neighbor. In addition, his legendary legal battles garnered tremendous publicity and infamy during his lifetime.

As the founder of Hustler magazine and an adult entertainment empire, Flynt was never one to back down from a fight, especially with prominent people. The business mogul relished taking on what he saw as hypocritical, holier-than-thou politicians and frequently offered monetary rewards to anyone who might assist in exposing them. For example, he famously offered a $10 million bounty to anyone who could give evidence leading to the impeachment of former U.S. President Donald J. Trump (per Deadline).

Despite his divisive and notorious reputation, Flynt had a lesser-known history of contributing his fortune to worthy causes and charitable organizations attempting to combat youth violence and child abuse. He also financed research into the treatment of spinal cord injuries (via The Washington Post). Never one to shy away from using his wealth as a tool and status symbol, Flynt regularly attended glitzy occasions in a velvet-cushioned, solid-gold wheelchair in his later years. Nonetheless, death is the great equalizer, and Flynt would meet his maker on February 10th, 2021, at the age of 78, due to heart failure (per The New York Times).

With such a vast legacy and the keys to a successful company on the line, it's only natural to wonder how much Larry Flynt was worth when he died and who inherited his money.

From Rags to Riches

When one considers Larry Flynt's colorful life, one defining feature of his narrative is that, despite his frequently obscene and satirical takes on American culture, he is an odd illustration of how the American Dream can work. Flynt, the son of a teen mother and an alcoholic tobacco farmer and bootlegger (via The Washington Post), personifies the "by the bootstraps" success tale that Uncle Sam is proud to promote.

After a brief stint in the Navy, Flynt transformed one bar into a colossal entertainment enterprise consisting of casinos, strip clubs, magazine publications, and even an online sex-toy business. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Flynt was estimated to be worth $500 million at the time of his death.

According to The Washington Post, Hustler boasted a monthly readership of three million at its peak in the mid-'70s. However, its readership plummeted in the '80s and '90s, thanks to the rise of MTV, DVDs, the internet, and digital pornography (via The New York Times). Unlike his long-term adversary, Hugh Hefner, whose original wealth was drastically depleted when he died, Flynt was able to diversify his portfolio and roll with the punches throughout his life, keeping his adult entertainment empire alive and thriving up until his death in 2021 (via Fortune).

One can only guess how much Flynt would have been worth if he hadn't had to pay heaps of legal fees and court fines over the years. Nonetheless, even the quiet grave could not bring the Flynt family's relationship with legal battles and courtrooms to an end. As we all know, the claws often come out when it comes to inheritance.

Legal Conflicts: Blood vs. Water

Throughout his life, Flynt married five times and has five surviving children from each of these marriages. Flynt famously became estranged from his eldest daughter, Tonya Flynt-Vega, eventually disowning her for becoming a Christian anti-pornography activist and critic of Hustler magazine (via Business Insider). It's unclear how much, if anything, Flynt left his children in his will. However, it appears that Flynt trusted his wife more than his own children with his enterprises. 

Elizabeth Berrios, Flynt's fifth and final wife, whom he married in 1998, appears to be just the heir he had in mind, as Flynt entrusted Berrios with the ownership of the multi-million-dollar Hustler franchise in his will (via LA Times). Unsurprisingly, this choice sparked considerable outrage among Flynt's only surviving brother, Jimmy. Roughly a year after Flynt's death, his brother, Jimmy Flynt, stated that he is suing his late brother's fifth wife for a share of the late entrepreneur's fortune (via Courier Journal).

Surprisingly, this wasn't Jimmy's first attempt to sue his brother's estate; he filed a $20 million lawsuit in 2011 after being booted from the company following a split with his brother in 2009 (via ABC News). Part of his suit claims Hustler would "never have achieved the success or growth that it did" without his loyalty and business acumen (per Courier Journal).

How this family drama will play out in the court and what it means for the future of Hustler and Larry Flynt's legacy is anyone's guess.