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This is a character who hooks up with a partner, known as a Meal Ticket, specifically to mooch off of said partner's money and status in exchange of sex and valorization. In other words, she's a stay-at-home wife who is okay with her husband being the breadwinner but she doesn't run the household, doesn't do the chores, doesn't cook, doesn't pursue education, doesn't look after the kids and usually has no intention of having any. She mostly loves socializing, throwing lavish parties and shopping.
We use "she" because the digger is usually female in modern shows, but not always, and often MUCH more attractive than her partner. Often Distracted by the Luxury quite easily. Generally stunningly beautiful, to explain her success. Often a blonde whose hair is dyed. The Gold Digger who is deluding herself about her looks is a rarity.
Many a Gold Digger would be happy to marry a man who is old or in bad health, just so long as he'd be so kind as to leave at least some of his inheritance to his spouse when he dies; if she's a Black Widow that could happen much sooner than expected.
A common subversion is to have her turn out to a Hooker with a Heart of Gold after all. Another way that works play with this is to have a rich man pretending to be poor, so as to ensure that any woman he becomes involved with loves him for himself and not his money. Yet another way to play with it is to have her genuinely fall in love with her meal ticket
In historical eras, male "fortune hunters" were much more common, owing to the bride's lack of say in the matter.
This is Older Than Steam. Compare Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor. Sometimes overlaps with Coattail-Riding Relative. For the opposite type of character, who definitely does not want the rich beau's money, see Not with Them for the Money. Contrast Marry for Love.
The idea that all women are gold diggers is the Distaff Counterpart to the idea that All Men Are Perverts.
For the comic book series, see Gold Digger.
Anime and Manga
- Itazura na Kiss: Marina Shinagawa. The only reason she went to nursing school was so that she could find a rich doctor to marry.
- Higurashi: Rina Mamiya, so very much. She and her pimp Teppei Hojou plan to scam Mr. Ryuugu (Rena's father) for a large quantity of money, apparently up to at least one million yen. It never goes well for her, since Rena is so determined to protect her father and herself that she bloodily kills Rina in near all continuities.
- Eva Heinemann of Monster before she went completely into her cups. In a subversion she's extremely wealthy and genuinely wants companionship from Tenma. The only reason she goes after rich guy is because poor people are beneath her.
- Subverted in Hana Yori Dango. One of the reasons why Tsukushi Makino attends the very elite Eitoku Academy school is her parents's wish to have her marrying a rich guy who'll pull them out of their Perpetual Poverty. Tsukushi, however, is a Tsundere Plucky Girl who will have none of it, engaging into Slap Slap Kiss dynamics with the male lead Tsukasa.
- Berserk: Griffith's courtship of princess Charlotte is solely so that he'll gain a kingdom by marrying her. It ultimately works.
- Pig Bride: Doe Doe Eun from the manhwa.
- Fruits Basket: Kimi Toudou. Possibly one of the few good-natured examples of this trope, as she uses her wiles not to get stuff for herself, but to 'earn' the Student Council needed supplies and perks.
- Fujiko Mine from Lupin III is always acting like this around her boy of the week. Often she's trying to wile out of them the same treasure that Lupin is trying to steal. She often pulls this on Lupin himself to boot, and most of the time he lets her get away with it, saying that betrayal is a privilege reserved for women. A couple of times though he's had enough of her and left her in the dust for Inspector Zenigata.
- Pokémon: Iris's Emolga. She uses Attract to make Pokemon fall in love with her, then takes their apples for herself. Ash's Oshawott already has a crush on her without Attract, so she easily manipulates him and pretty much many of the other male Pokemon. Unfortunately for her, she has to deal with Ash's Snivy to get what she wants nowadays since they're usually sent out at the same time.
- One of the Fire Emblem Seisen no Keifu mangas has Patty, the local thief in Generation 2, as this, playing it completely for the lulz. She ends up falling in love with the a poor guy, though: her cousin Lester.
- Ranma One Half: Nabiki Tendo is a very good example. She'll fleece and blackmail anyone who has a crush on her dry.
- Transformers Cybertron Thunderblast is a power-digger. She flirts first with Starscream and then with Megatron, pursuing them for their prestige and strength. Not that they notice or care beyond using her for their dirty work... Interestingly, Thunderblast is powerful enough to carve out her own path, but prefers to be a digger hanging off of someone else because that way she's not the one wearing a bulls-eye.
- Miho Azuki from Bakuman｡ downplays it when she asures Mashiro, after he plukes up the courage to ask her out, that they will marry after he establishes himself (though she does hope to establish herself too). However, she does so out of the belief that they can serve as each other's motivation to succeed, and once they do, their happiness together will be greater.
- Nadeshiko Amamiya's family accused Fujitaka Kinomoto of being this in Cardcaptor Sakura because she was a wealthy Uptown Girl, and he was a poor novice teacher (it also didn't help that this was a May-December Romance). Subverted because he did genuinely love Nadeshiko, and she genuinely loved him; money actually didn't factor in at all. They did marry, although Nadeshiko was disowned (and her cousin Sonomi still vehemently resents Fujitaka); Nadeshiko started working as a succesful model, Fujitaka continued his teacher work, and the two lived their lives happily wth their kids in a small but cozy apartment. (The Big Fancy House is much more recent.)
- Josephine from Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics's rendition of Bluebeard is a more naive version of this. She's a very sheltered Girl Next Door who's so much into her child-like fantasies of Princes and Noblemen that she doesn't seem to care about anything else, and when Bluebeard sends his courtier to look for her, she jumps at the chance to marry him no matter what.
- In Sword Art Online, Asuna Yuuki's mother Kyouko is an uni professor who originally came from the countryside, then married the very rich Shouzo Yuuki, and now wants Asuna to marry into money like she did (hence the engagement to Sugou). That being said, Kyouko used her higher social position as Shouzou's wife to build her own professional career, something not every GD does.
- In Child Ballad 62 Fair Annie, Annie's long-term lover -- and the father of her many children -- is a nobleman who goes to marry another woman for her dowry, and tells Annie to help him give her a good welcome. Naturally, Annie is unhappy. When the bride arrives, she hears Annie's lamentations over her terrible situation... and recognizes Annie as her long-lost sister, kidnapped from their family a long time ago; she makes over her own dowry to her, so she can marry him.
- In Child Ballad 73 Lord Thomas and Annet, Lord Thomas, on his family's advice, marries for money.
The nut-browne bride haes gowd and gear,
- Love and Rockets: Penny Century from the Hernandez brothers' comic.
- Fables features two male examples. One of Jack's get rich quick schemes was to become a hero of the Civil War and then marry into a wealthy Southern family. Prince Charming makes his living mooching off his conquests, and attempts to renew his relationship with Briar Rose when he learns she has a blessing that keeps her wealthy.
- Astro City: Charles Williams' wife Darnice from the "Dark Ages" story arc. She flirts with anyone who has money, spends his earnings on personal luxuries, even encourages him to take bribes as a way to supplement their income, then leaves him when he refuses to be a Dirty Cop.
- Katmandu: The furry comic had a story were a villainous fortune hunter was about to marry the daughter of a rich man with every intent to sponge off him. Fortunately, a woman he cheated before had a friend who was a tailor who is also a magician who places a magic spell in his wedding suit to make him blab at the alter that he's only marrying the girl for her father's money. While the father is about to beat up the villain, the bride runs away in tears, but cheers up immediately when she runs into a very nice boy.
- Maus: Money seems like a probable reason for Vladek leaving the poor Lucia Greenberg for the wealthy Anja Zylberberg -- although they do eventually truly fall in love.
- A Krazy Kat comic had Ignatz finding out that Krazy stands to inherit a lot of money. He immediately begins to woo Krazy with poetry, candy and mandolin music. When he finds out that Krazy isn't inheriting the money after all--and simultaneously gets billed for all the candy and poems--he returns to his usual practice of pelting Krazy with bricks, much to the Kat's relief.
- Harry Potter: Ginny Weasley is often portrayed this way by people who dislike her (particularly the Harry/Hermione shippers). The problem with this idea is that Harry has always been willing to share his money with the Weasleys, but they won't accept it.
- Harry's mother Lily has also been accused of being this, simply because she chose James Potter over Severus Snape. This misses how Snape actually lost Lily's respect because he called her racist epithets in public and later joined the Wizarding World's equivalent of the Ku Kux Klan, whereas James may have been a Jerk Jock but he never ever thought of using said word against her and actually died protecting her and baby Harry from Voldemort.
- The movie Gold Diggers of 1933 is, oddly enough, a movie-long subversion. When an actress starts dating a millionaire, his friends assume this is going on, but in fact she didn't know he was rich. Her friends are a little peeved by the suggestion, however, so they decide to play it straight, and take the men for all they're worth.
- Superman Returns: Lex Luthor did this to further his scheme. Lois eventually calls him on this.
- Casino: Ginger McKenna in although she never lies about her intentions. And Frank has no illusions. What are the chances this works out?
- Discusssed and deconstructed in Legally Blonde. Elle points out that the new wife of an septuagenarian millionaire who is used to getting divorced on a whim, has to work extremely hard to stay married to the rich old man. Said new wife is Brooke, who's being accused of killing said septuagenarian millionaire for his inheritance... but she doesn't need the money, technically speaking: she's not only beautiful, but had already her own and succesful business. And she was more interested in... uhm... other assets of his', anyway.
- Played with in Magnolia: Julianne Moore's character initially married the elderly television executive played by Jason Robards with Gold Digger intentions. The twist is that, after marrying him, she found herself genuinely falling in love with him instead, to the extent that when he's on his deathbed with cancer, she actually tries to have his will changed so that she won't inherit his millions out of guilt.
- Elvira in Scarface. Initially she is Frank's Mistress, and she seems purely concerned with the material benefits. With her coke-stoked pokerface it's hard to know for sure exactly why she becomes Tony's wife -- there's a suggestion of real romance. But gold digging is a very natural explanation for her.
- Some Like It Hot plays with it: Tony Curtis pretends to be a rich man to woo Marilyn Monroe, while Jack Lemmon pretends to be a woman to woo a rich man.
- How to Marry a Millionaire centers on not 1, not 2, but 3 women trying to be gold diggers. Lauren Bacall's character succeeds--unwittingly at first--and the remaining two fail, but all are happier for it.
- Discussed in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Lorelei Lee (played by Marilyn Monroe) is an overt one and defends it from criticism in the film. She proclaims the benefits of marrying (or dating) wealthy men to anyone who will listen, and at one point she attempts to set her friend up with a rich "man", who turns out to be a young boy.
- The Greeks Had a Word for Them, which was in part the inspiration for the above, had a similar plot and resolution.
- Heartbreakers is about a con artist played by Sigourney Weaver who marries men for money then gets her daughter Jennifer Love Hewitt to seduce them (not knowing she's her daughter) so she can divorce them and take their money
- Lynette from An Officer and a Gentleman. She fakes being pregnant to force Sid to marry her, but dumps him when he quits the aviator program to do so.
- Willie Scott in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, completely Played for Laughs. She's interested in getting to know the wealthy Majahrajah of Pankot Palace but is disappointed to find out he is no older than Short Round, Indy's eleven year old sidekick!
- Catherine Zeta Jones's character in Intolerable Cruelty.
- Dial M for Murder: A male example is Tony Wendice; he only married his wife, Margot, for her money, and coldly plans to kill her, when he thinks that she wants to leave him. For added bonus, she's young and beautiful (she's played by Grace Kelly).
- Thoroughly Modern Millie (and its stage adaptation) is about a girl from Kansas who moves to New York City with hopes of working for a rich man as a stenographer and then marrying him.
- Although laughable in contrast to the superb characters mentioned above, Olivia Honey (Maria Pitillo) played one in She Devil (the movie, not the TV series)
- Groucho Marx in most of the Marx Brothers movies. His usual rich woman was the wonderful Margaret Dumont. "You're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen, and that doesn't say much for you."
- Nick Charles is one in the "Thin Man" series of films. He marries Nora with the intention of retiring from the detective business and living off of her money.
- Ricky Bobby's wife in Talladega Nights, she was married to Ricky for over ten years but the day that he's fired from the team, she dumps him and got together with his best friend, Cal. She even makes it clear that she is married to a driver and she does not work.
- In The Gold Rush, Georgia truly likes Charlie, but she is essentially upfront that her love has a price as a reason why she's up in the Klondike in first place. After Charlie becomes a millionaire at the end of the film, he's both willing and able to pay it with his eyes open.
- 1964 B-Movie Devil Doll features evil ventriloquist/hypnotist The Great Vorelli, who plans to marry a rich young woman, kill her and inherit her fortune.
- The Parent Trap has Nick's (Mitch's in the original) young, opportunistic fiancée Meredith (Vicki), who is only interested in Nick's money.
- Clarice Kensington of It Takes Two is a socialite who is engaged to Amanda's father and only wants to marry Roger for his money.
- Tommy Boy has Tommy's father marrying a woman who only wants his money. When Tommy's father died at the wedding party, she and her son from a previous marriage actually her husband, making her marriage to Tommy's father illegal commented how it was better than her original plan of living with him for one year and then divorcing him. In the end, she sets her eyes into another target.
- The Man With Two Brains has Kathleen Turner playing a gold-digger who is introduced while trying to give her old rich husband a heart attack, only for him to reveal as he's dying that he altered his will. She changes her attention to Steve Martin's character, a famous brain surgeon, after he hits her with a car.
- There's a male fortune hunter going after a plain-looking heiress in Henry James' Washington Square.
- Mr. Elton in Jane Austen's Emma is a notable Austen Gold Digger. He first chases Emma Woodhouse, the title character, even though he's so far beneath her socially that she assumes he's actually interested in her friend Harriet. When Elton is rejected by Emma, he almost immediately marries a woman from Bristol whose 'charms' - she's loud, braying, crass, and bad-mannered - are such that it's obvious he only married her for her money.
- Deconstructed in Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth Bennet is not a typical Gold Digger, despite her comment that hints she first began to love Darcy when she saw his beautiful estate in Derbyshire. At first, Elizabeth shied away from Darcy in part because of his wealth. Her mother, however, pressures her and her sisters into chasing rich men. The eldest daughter, the perfect Jane, falls in love with a rich man geniuely, the youngest sister, who feels unworthy because she can't do the only thing her mother would approve because she isn't charming enough shies away from the world and retreats in books at first, and the third and fouth sisters are airheads who end up risking a lot to do this. As the most intelligent of them, Elizabeth realizes how self-destructive and crual it may be, so she settles for a compromise : she won't marry a poor man, but will marry a rich one if she falls in love with him. She proves her genuine intentions when she despises Mr Darcy, a rich but very snob man. However, it takes no more than a polite endeavour from Mr Darcy and the view of his beautiful estate for her to feel tempted to consider leting him court her. It's interesting to note that the turning point in their relationship is her visit to Darcy's estate and first-hand experience of his wealth, though it is not otherwise as decisive as more romantic events. Mr. Wickham, on the other hand, is a typical Austen Gold Digger; it's eventually revealed that he tricked wealthy Georgiana Darcy into running away with him (but he's thwarted before he can get at her money). It's implied that he courts Elizabeth only until he realizes she isn't an heiress, and runs away with Lydia because he thinks he can get away with debauching a girl who's too poor to marry.
- Lord Robert St. Simon in the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor is only marrying American heiress Hatty Doran for her money, and she's only marrying him because her first husband was abducted by Indians years ago and is probably long dead. He isn't.
- The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist centered around two men trying to court a young music teacher because they knew that her uncle was rich and had no will - making his niece, as next of kin, the heir to his fortune by default.
- Daisy from The Great Gatsby, in addition to being feather-brained.
- Justified/subverted in the sequel to the L-shaped Room, The Backwards Shadow. Joanne was a failed actress in her late 30's. She married her husband for his money, promising to make him a good wife and give him a baby if she could. The marriage was very happy and she was genuinely upset at his death, while recognising that everyone thought this was she had been waiting for.
- Noelle Page in The Other Side of Midnight is a poor French girl who is (in essence) sold to a disgusting-but-rich shopkeeper as a mistress by her father. She flees after bilking the shopkeeper out of some money, but then falls in love with and is abandoned by an American pilot. In order to destroy him, and having learned her lesson from the prior experience, she proceeds to woo increasingly powerful men -- culminating in becoming a Greek tycoon's mistress. Wooing the right men also helps her become an internationally beloved actress, which is all part of the plan.
- Discussed and then Averted in Jane Eyre. The title woman won't marry a rich man until she is independently wealthy, so she won't be reliant on him.
- In Buddenbrooks, Bendix Grünlich marries Tony (Antonie) Buddenbrook exclusively for the dowry. As expected, this doesn't end well.
- The eponymous heroine in Abbé Prévost's novel Manon Lescaut: she leaves her lover Des Grieux after sucking dry his wallet, then moves on to a rich old man. This eventually leads to her downfall and death. Her story is the subject of many operas and ballets.
- Discussed and ultimately averted in Little Women. The Marchs are Impoverished Patricians, and their eldest daughter Margaret/Meg is very beautiful as well as somewhat greedy. When she visits her Spoiled Sweet friend Annie Moffat and gets dolled up for a party, she's emotionally crushed when she hears some Gossipy Hens wonder out loud if her presence is a ploy from her parents to make her one of these, specially in regards to their family friend Theodore "Laurie" Lawrence. Meg's mother Marmee and middle sister Josephine/Jo are very pissed off when Meg tells them, with the Hot-Blooded Jo even saying she's willing to hit Annie in Meg's defense.
- The Movie of the Book slightly changes this scene, but the feeling is the same. Meg's other sisters, Beth and Amy, are the ones who find out about the gossip as they sneak into a Christmas ball hosted by Mr. Lawrence; Beth has an Heroic BSOD and Amy breaks into tears, so Marmee has to reassure them about her not seeing the girls in that way.
- Several minor characters in the Elenium and Tamuli could be seen as this: One side of the marriage is a minor noble with a lot of money marrying for rank, the other side is a poor higher ranked noble marrying for money. These marriages didn't work out very well.
- The Angel-Seekers in the Samaria novels by Sharon Shinn are examples of this. Since Angels are forbidden from breeding with each other (unless given special dispensation from Jovah), they have to interbreed with humans. Any woman who bears an Angel child (or man who fathers an Angel child) is taken into the Angel parent's community and lives in luxury for the rest of their days. The result is a subcommunity of young men and women living near the Angels trying to snare an Angel lover. Since the child of a human and an Angel isn't always an Angel, there is also the secondary result of a large number of human children birthed by Angel-Seeker and then discarded when their parent decides to make another try for an Angel child.
- Prince Thanel in the Heralds of Valdemar series. Then, once he finally gets it through his head that under Valdemaran law, marrying the Queen does not automatically make him King, he seeks to murder his wife so that he become de facto king as regent to their infant daughter.
- Later in the same series, Baron Melles is despised by most of the Imperial court. But within minutes of being named the Emperor's heir, he is swamped by members of the court cheerfully gold digging on behalf of themselves or their daughters/sisters/nieces/cousins. Since Melles knew exactly what the rest of the court thought of him, he recognized this for what it was immediately.
- Glinda from Wicked married for the money. It doesn't help that she didn't love her husband and was in love with for her female best friend.
- Dubliners: Ignatius Gallaher in "A Little Cloud" means to "marry money", with some rich German or Jews.
- Brother Cadfael series: An interestingly positive example: Avice of Thornbury is completely honest about becoming a rich nobleman's mistress for status and riches. However, in the end their relationship reminded that of a married couple. Also, she turned to be the only person to have any affection for him, and was genuinely sad when he got killed.
- Anthony Trollope created many of these: Burgo Fitzgerald is among the best known.
- Many, many. And of both genders.
- In The Corellian Trilogy, Lando wants to marry into money and recruits Luke to help. Luke shows his usually understated Deadpan Snarker side.
"Well, you can't just walk up to a woman and say 'Hello, I've heard about your large bank account, let's get married.'"
- Two show up in the Magic and Malice duology by Patricia C Wrede. The one in the first book is a man who is hoping to marry his sister's wealthy ward in order to pay off his debts (Unfortunately, the siblings forgot to tell the girl about this plan, and she elopes with someone else). The one in the second book is a beautiful woman from an impoverished family hoping to get a wealthy husband so she can remain a figure in Society. Her primary target (The male lead) is engaged to someone else (The female lead) by the end of the story. No mention is made of whether or not she snared the other man she was aiming for. The female lead of the duology, despite having started as a street urchin and ending about to be married to a gentleman of means, is not one (If she had been, she would have married the Marquis rather than the title-less gentleman).
- Becky Sharpe from Vanity Fair.
- Arguably, Scarlett in Gone with the Wind, with husbands 2 and 3, especially #2, Frank Kennedy, who's a generation senior to her and had been courting her younger sister for some years, before Scarlett flat-out lied to him about Suellen's alleged involvement with someone else, so she could swoop in, get married to him, and get the money to pay taxes on Tara (stated to be her reason to find him of interest). #3, Rhett Butler, was also quite wealthy, but she did have some history of attraction to him on a personal level before their marriage, so money wasn't her only motive in that case.
- Claire from PG Wodehouse's Uneasy Money.
- In Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom novel Magic to the Bone, Allie's stepmothers. Perhaps even her mother.
Live Action TV
- Jefferson D'Arcy in Married... with Children. Often referred to in-show as a "trophy husband"; never works, preferring to leech off Marcy's banker income.
- In something of a twist, for all his cockiness when she's not around, in his relationship with Marcy it's made pretty clear that he's nevertheless a spineless doormat almost completely under her thumb as a result.
- Kelly occasionally played this role. Ironically, despite Al typically being an Overprotective Dad in beating up most of Kelly's boyfriends, he actively encourages the relationship whenever she lands a rich guy, mostly so he can exploit it for his own gain.
- Kendall Casablancas in Veronica Mars. Mentioned within the show, even by her stepsons.
- In Hispanic Soap Operas, when the villain / rival isn't the already-rich Clingy Jealous Girl, then she is this trope (or she can be rich already, but wants even more money as well as the male lead). The heroines tend to be accused of this, whether it's true or not. When it is true, then they become more of an Anti Heroine or even Villain Protagonists, who more often than not end up dying in very Anvilicious manners.
- One emblematic example is Maria Fatima of Vale Tudo ("Anything Goes / Everything counts"), a poor-to-middle-class young woman who makes a mission of her life to marry into a rich clan no matter how, to the horror of her way more honest mother Helena. While Fatima does find her Meal Ticket, the "anything goes" method she used to get it caused more problems to her than if she has just worked for her money.
- And there was the titular anti-heroine of Rubi, who essentially screwed around the lives of her best friend and their respective romantic interests just because she wanted to marry into riches and her true love wasn't rich enough for her. In the original, and almost every remake save the latest, she was anviliciously killed; in the latest Mexican remake, she just leaves her former circle to be Happily Ever After and direct her charms to unsuspecting foreign millionaires...
- The Brazilian telenovela "Anjo mau" ("Evil Angel/Angel Malo"), in all of its versions (the original Brazilian soap and its remake, an iconic Chilean remake in The Eighties, and a modern Mexican version), discusses and presents this trope both in the main plot and in other minor stories:
- Berenice aka Nice, the Anti Heroine, is one. As the wholesome-looking babysitter for a very wealthy Big Screwed-Up Family and the eldest daughter of their Old Retainer chaffeur, the beautiful and greedy Nice plans from the beginning to marry either Roberto or Ricardo, the two young and handsome uncles of the baby boy she takes care of, so she can get out of poverty. In the original Brazilian version and the classic Chilean remake, she anviliciously falls victim to Death by Childbirth; in the Brazilian remake, she survives.
- The father of the baby boy Nice babysits is accused of being one - especially when it seems he's cheating on his wife, who already is a Clingy Jealous Girl. It turns out to be false: he is actually a Self-Made Man from a poor family, and the "other women" he visits are his aging mother and his Christmas Cake younger sister, whom he economically supports behind everyone's backs.
- Both of Nice's love rivals have the trope invoked on them. One of them is Lia, a sweet girl from a formerly rich family who's genuinely in love with Roberto and is about to go the Unlucky Childhood Friend route with him, but is pressured by her Rich Bitch mother into marrying him only for the family's benefit. The other is Roberto's original girlfriend Paula, who sees her parents lose a good part of their wealth, and after her Smug Snake father fails to steal the main family's riches he also pressures her into marrying one of the two guys. (The fact that she cheated on Roberto with Ricardo in the beginning, which is what drove her scorned boyfriend to Nice's arms in the first place, doesn't help).
- A significant percentage of the female characters on Mad Men, but particularly Jane Siegel (well, Jane Cooper now).
- Pete and Trudy Campbell's marriage is a slightly more complicated take on the issue -- he's from a socially prominent, very old family (back to New Amsterdam on his mother's side) that hasn't been doing too well financially; her parents are vulgar nouveau riche, and loaded in the extreme. Both clans are not-so-subtly backing them to improve the standing of everyone concerned. Needless to say, it doesn't go well.
- On the other hand, they seem to have made their marriage work by Season 3; the Campbells are probably the healthiest couple among the main cast (Harry and Jennifer Crane appear to be Happily Married, too, but Harry is a secondary character).
- Pete and Trudy Campbell's marriage is a slightly more complicated take on the issue -- he's from a socially prominent, very old family (back to New Amsterdam on his mother's side) that hasn't been doing too well financially; her parents are vulgar nouveau riche, and loaded in the extreme. Both clans are not-so-subtly backing them to improve the standing of everyone concerned. Needless to say, it doesn't go well.
- Marcus in Seacht is a male gold digger, leeching off Joanne.
- Upstairs, Downstairs features one confirmed gold digger, Frederick the cockney footman, who uses his good looks to hook a rich woman and who eventually moves to Hollywood - shortly before the advent of the talkies. On the other hand, Richard Bellamy, one of the major characters, is suspected by his father-in-law of being a gold digger to the point that he ties up Lady Marjorie's money so Richard can't get to it after she dies. It's true that Richard was a poor parson's son who aspired to the hand of an earl's daughter and that he used his marital connections to build his career in Parliament, but on the other hand he actually did love Lady Marjorie and was devastated by her death.
- Terri from Glee. Terri's husband Will and the Glee Club even sing Kanye's song while Terri goes house hunting to hammer in the point.
- She is not, however, married to a rich man but a High school teacher. Part of why the marriage is so unhappy.
- Lie to Me provides a subversion: one of their clients finds out that his fiancee was after his money at first, but then genuinely fell in love with him.
- Heavily subverted by Gloria on Modern Family. She genuinely loves her husband and they're Happily Married.
- Charity Tate, Kim Tate and Sadie King in Emmerdale all marry millionaires for their money. The characters Kelly Windsor and Chloe Aitkinson date rich men for their money.
- Tracey Barlow in Coronation Street dates her grandmothers boyfriend believing him to be a millionaire but later finds out he is lying about being rich
- Janine Butcher in Eastenders marries Barry Evans then Archie Mitchell for money
- Julie Cooper in The OC married Caleb Nichol for his money
- Its implied that Gabrielle Solis in Desperate Housewives originally married her husband Carlos for his money, though she does love him.
- Tanya Turner in Footballers Wives marries two men for their money.
- Several of these show up in Tales from the Crypt, naturally getting what they deserve.
- An early episode had a man marrying a woman who he planned to kill on their wedding night and inherit her money. Said woman turned out to be a Yandere who murdered him after they made love in order to ensure time didn't spoil their love.
- Another episode had a woman marry a man because a psychic predicted he would inherit a vast fortune and die soon after. Of course, there was a Prophecy Twist: She wins the money in a contest, breaks up with him in a cruel manner, and he kills her. He inherits her money, and gets the chair soon after.
- Joe Pesci plays a man who pretends to have a twin brother so he can marry a set of twins and inherit their whole fortune. When the girls find out there's only one, the decide to share him...by cutting him down the middle and each taking half.
- Frasier briefly becomes this for none other than Patrick Stewart, who gives him expensive watches and introduces him to celebrities. In turn, Frasier lets the guy kiss him and treat him like a boyfriend, contstantly "forgetting" to tell Stewart's character he's straight.
- In an earlier episode, Bebe became this for an old CEO with heart problems. Unfortunately for her, he died during the wedding so she didn't get any money. She did manage to steal his watch off of his corpse though.
- Cerie of 30 Rock says her goal in life is to "marry rich and then design handbags." She has since gotten married to a guy we never meet, but whom is implied to be wealthy.
- The Hannah Montana episode "When You Wish You Were the Star" is a Wonderful Life episode in which Miley/Hannah finds herself in an Alternate Timeline, wherein, among other things, her father is married to her former homeschool teacher, who admits to a friend over the phone that she only married Robbie for his wealth and status.
- This was a scenario on an episode of What Would You Do.
- It's implied on Castle that this is how Martha has lost her money and why she has to live with her son now. It's also joked that this is how Castle will lose all his money.
- Martha herself inverts this trope in her relationship with the wealthy (and unseen) Chet, who dies shortly after proposing to Martha, who was planning to break up with him; upon learning that Chet has left her a million dollars in his will, Martha initially decides to refuse the money, reasoning that he would never have bequeathed it to her had he lived and she broken up with him, and only agrees to accept it after her children insist that he would have wanted her to have it either way.
- Martha has an element of this trope in one sense; she's not exactly shy about charging vast amounts to her son's credit card, much to his exasperation. It is, however, abundantly clear that she loves him for far more than just his purchasing power.
- Discussed in The Sarah Jane Adventures: Clyde cites this as a reason to check up on Sarah Jane's new beau.
- Played with in Fox's reality show Joe Millionaire.
- A non-romantic variation shows up in an episode of Mama's Family wherein Vinton believes he is adopted. A prospective birth mother appears, but she balks upon learning that Vint is not a banker ("securities") as she had surmised but rather a locksmith ("security systems").
- Logan's mother on Gilmore Girls is said to have met her rich and unfaithful husband in a bar.
- Batman rogue Penguin once teamed up with a gold digger who married an elderly wealthy man who, instead of dying and leaving her his estate, divorced her and all she got from him was a race horse and some umbrellas she tried to pass as a valuable collection.
- Kanye West's "Gold Digger". Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Also Proyecto Uno's song "La Interesada". Quite appropriate, since the song was a cover of "Money Talks".
- The female protagonist of the Eagles song "Lyin' Eyes" is a gold digger; she's treated more sympathetically than most examples, however, being depicted as being lonely and trapped in a loveless and unhappy marriage with a cold and distant man. The song nevertheless points out that she did bring it on herself and that she is stringing along at least two guys as a result.
- Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend famously sung by Carol Channing. Also by Marilyn Monroe in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The famous dance number in which she sings it was also done by Madonna.
- Subverted in the Madonna example in the video. She plays a performer who is pursued by several rich men, but she'd rather be with the hot but poor handyman and make out with him in his pickup truck.
- Good Charlotte's "Boys and Girls", continually claiming "Girls don't like boys, girls like cars and money".
- Eartha Kitt has a couple of songs like this, most famously "Santa Baby", but also "Just an Old Fashioned Girl".
- "Material Girl" by Madonna, of course, with the twist at the end: "experience has made me rich, and now they're after me."
- "No Endz, No Skinz" by Big L. Every woman is out for a man's cash.
- EPMD's rap song "Gold Digger".
- ACDC, "What Do You Do for Money Honey." ("Money Talks" is an inverse example, with a man seducing a woman he thinks is a Gold Digger.)
- Johnathan Coulton has two songs on this topic: "Till the Money Comes" and "Millionaire Girlfriend."
- Kirsty MacColl's "I'm Going Out with an Eighty-Year-Old Millionaire" is a over-the-top parody of the phenomenon.
- "Daddy (You Oughta Get The Best For Me)" by Bob Troup; Sammy Kaye recorded the first hit version, but there are lots and lots of cover versions. The song is "'bout a gal named Daisy Mae" who sings she wants such things as "a brand new car, champagne, caviar."
- "Why don't you do right?" by Joe McCoy, performed by many many (including Jessica Rabbit). "Why don't you do right like some other men do? Get out of here and get me some money too!"
- A line from the Cee Lo Green hit "F--k You":
Oh shit, she's a gold digger - Just thought you should know, n*gga
- The entire song pretty much describes the girl as one of these; it's one of the reason the singer is a bit miffed with her.
- This is one of the methods of getting rich discussed in the ABBA song Money Money Money.
- Garth Brooks' song "Digging For Gold" from In The Life Of Chris Gaines. The subject of the song was only in the marriage until the millionaire lost his money in the stock market and she bailed out in the end, leaving him crying.
- The Pet Shop Boys song Rent seems to be either about this, prostitution, or both. The title sounds like an allusion to the term "rent boy" to mean "male prostitute", and the chorus is the words "I love you, you pay my rent" repeated over and over.
You dress me up; I'm your puppet
- The Carter USM cover of the same song tends to avoid this trope, putting more emphasis on singing about the love angle and emphasising the lyrics "Words mean so little, and money less / When you're lying next to me." It comes off as more about a poor guy in a relationship with a richer girlfriend/boyfriend rather than the relationship between a prostitute and his client or a downright GD.
- Older Than Steam: Petruchio of The Taming of the Shrew says it outright.
- In the musical based on Shrew, Kiss Me Kate Petruchio (not Fred) not only admits it outright several times, but he has an entire song about it. Just to even things out, though, Lilli Vanessi (not Kate) is planning to marry at least in part for status (in the stage show, her fiance is a retired General who is intended to be the next Vice-Presidential candidate) or money (in the movie, he's a wealthy Texas cattle baron).
- The Merchant of Venice is full of male versions. The Impoverished Patrician Bassanio wants to marry the beautiful and smart heiress Portia in part because she's wealthy, while Portia's Genre Savvy father had set up the whole "Three caskets" thing to assure that she won't be stuck with one. The Princes of Arragon and Morocco fail the test, while Bassanio passes it with flying colors.
- Like everything Shakespeare, this is up for interpretation. Some productions have Bassanio marrying Portia entirely for her money, some have him marry her because he loves her while at the same time believing her money's an obstacle, and some play around in the space between the two. With Arragon and Morocco, however, the text is... less kind.
- Subverted in the opera La Duenna by Roberto Gerhard: subverted because 1) the gold digger, the Large Ham Don Jerome, is a man and 2) he comes to love his wife and really misses her when she dies.
- Carmen: Mercédès, during the fortune-telling number, sees herself becoming the wife of a wealthy but senile man -- and then, as his widow, inheriting magnificently.
- In The Women, Crystal Allen is trying to sleep her way to the top, and replacing Mrs. Haines with herself is not the last step on her social climb.
- The Haunted Mansion: Constance, the ghostly bride that was recently added to the attraction at Disney Theme Parks, married and decapitated about five men for their wealth. If you look at the portraits in the Attic scene, her smile and the amount of necklaces around her neck steadily increases.
- And the last one was one of the Mansion's owners - the Imagineers specifically modeled his appearance after "George" from the Portrait Room.
- Tales (series)
- Ace Attorney had Alita Tiala, who was digging for the gold of her fiance Wocky, the son of a major gangster. In fact, what made it even worse was that she was the nurse who treated the gangster's son, who had taken a bullet to the chest which would kill him within a year, and was virtually inoperable. She fooled the patient into thinking the bullet was removed, and then decided to marry him, and wait for him to die to get his inheritance.
- In another game, there was a subversion when it turned out that the partner of Ron DeLite, Desiree, genuinely loved him, despite having definitely looked like a gold digger beforehand.
- There are... certain women in Final Fantasy IV that are quite clearly stereotypical gold diggers. In the... bar where they are found, there is a... club you can gain access to (for an obscene amount of cash) where you can watch a... performance by them. After the show, you can enter the dressing room and, in the DS Version, get the "Gil Farmer" augment. Hmmm....
- The Sims 3: Gold Digger is a Lifetime Aspiration. To achieve it, sims have to marry someone worth a certain amount of money, and then have their spouse die.
- In The Sims 2, Dina Caliente is implied to be this. She married Michael Bachelor and has the memory of "Married a Rich Sim", and he died before the game started. When the game starts, she's in love with Mortimer Goth, whois also very rich.
- Dragon Age Origins: A variant occurs within dwarven society. Dwarves have a very strict caste system that determines each dwarf's profession, with casteless dwarves filling the very bottom rung. Female casteless dwarves commonly engage in "noble hunting," where they seduce a male dwarf noble and have his child; if that baby is a boy, the casteless dwarf and her relatives can be accepted into the noble's house. This is even encouraged in dwarven society, as their population is dwindling from constant attacks by the darkspawn.
- Annie of Atelier Annie dreams of falling into a life of easy luxury by "marrying up" before her family sends her lazy rear end off to work as an alchemist. Once she finds out that the prize for her efforts could include the Prince's hand in marriage she becomes incredibly determined.
- Lola Tigerbelly, the main Love Interest of The Spellcasting Series. In fact, Ernie has to give her a literal pile of gold to get her attention in the second game. For bonus points, if you play the love song for her on the moodhorn, she hugs a nearby cash register.
- Fire Emblem:
- Fire Emblem Fates: Played more realistically by Charlotte, who aims to marry into money but turns out to also have severe self-worth troubles that she hides behind her "gold digger" facade. If she gets a Love Confession from a rich guy, she may hesitate to accept the proposal because she wonders if she likes him for himself or his cash.
- Towed with by Dorothea from Fire Emblem: Three Houses. She does want a partner who can support her for the rest of her life, and in fact her C support with the Byleths have her flirting with a guy from the Academy, but that's not just due to money but due to how she was a poor and lonely orphan, and is terrified to ever find herself alone and destitute again. What she actually wants is not just a partner with money (even if it's a nice bonus), but one who can love her for the person she is and not for the glamorous songtress image she projects.
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob, Princess Voluptua, heir to the throne of a vast space empire, has lamented that she's endured 270 years of power-hungry fools vying for her hand. This is one of the main reasons she's attracted to Bob, because he harbors no such ambitions.
- Issa of Least I Could Do freely admitted she was looking to marry rich, which she was so focused on she made no other life goals, to the point where she was 27, still living with her parents, working at a gas station and had no skills to help her get a better paying job. She had to beg and plead for Rayne to get her a job at IDS. Now she has a new boyfriend.
- A classic Looney Tunes cartoon has Yosemite Sam playing this role to Emma "Granny" Webster when she inherits a big fortune. Cue Bugs Bunny doing his best to stop him.
- Victor Quartermaine from Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit. He's already a rich nobleman, but he was wooing Lady Tottington solely for her money.
- Shego was this close being it in Season 4 of Kim Possible. Granted, considering how proud she is to be an evil Dragon/EvilOverlord that was more of a Out of Character moment.
- Demona and Thailog scheme to do this to Macbeth, using a human Demona as bait in Gargoyles.
- The Boondocks: Cristal (you know? like the champagne). Much like the Glee example, Kanye West's song was played over a montage of her shopping with Granddad, just to make sure we got it.
- In Spider-Man, Jason Phillip Macendale, better known as The Hobgoblin tried to marry Felicia Hardy to get access to her wealth. When she found out his alter-ego, he threatened to kill her unless she goes through it.
- In Futurama, when Bender undergoes a robot sex-change operation, Calculon becomes smitten with "Coilette" (AKA: female Bender). Bender intends to marry Calculon, then immediately divorce him for half his stuff. Unfortunately, he develops genuine feelings (or at least a desire to not screw him over) for him.
- On The Simpsons, Marge's sister Selma (Bouvier-Terwilliger-Hutz-McClure-Stu-Simpson) at one point tells Marge that she from now on will only be marrying for love..."and maybe once more for money."
- And she got the surname "Terwilliger" from Sideshow Bob, who tried to kill her for money and would have gotten away with that if not for that meddling Bart Simpson.
- Jez on Jimmy Two-Shoes, apparently. She seems largely uninterested in being romantic with Lucius, but has no qualms about using his stuff. Sure enough, the moment the Broke Episode happens, she dumps him.
- Kelly on Stoked, when she begins dating Lo's brother (and Emma's crush) Ty Ridgemount simply because he is the son of hotel owner Mr. Ridgemount.
- Thompkins' mother from Teen Girl Squad for some reason is depicted as a robotic prospector.