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Thicker Than Water: How Did Ben and Jewel Tankard Make Their Money?

You’ll meet the Ben and Jewel Tankard — and their big, blended family — on the November 10 premiere of Bravo’s newest docu-series Thicker Than Water, which comes on right after hit series Real Housewives of Atlanta. They’ll show you their mansion, their jets, their impressive cars, and all the while you’ll wonder, “How did the Tankards get so stinking rich?”

For one thing, they are super-focused on it. In the trailer for Thicker Than Water, Ben proclaims, “Being millionaires is something my family talks about a lot.” And it doesn’t hurt to have a higher power on your side, either — especially one who is “all about the bling in Heaven.” Jewel rationalizes, “We’re just doing what God called us to do. Sometimes that bothers people, but somebody’s got to have it, so why not us?”

Yes, Ben and Jewel, who’ve been married for 13 years, like living large — like 13,000 square-foot mansion large. Ben boasts, “We live in a three-level mansion, with seven vehicles to drive. Plus I love my airplanes.”

Ben, who grew up on welfare, says that his money comes from an impressive 20-year music career. The three-time Grammy-nominated gospel jazz keyboardist, who is often referred to as the “Quincy Jones of Gospel Music” explains in the show trailer, “I’ve been poor, now I’m rich. Believe me, rich is better.” Hard to argue with that! Ben also works as a motivational speaker for the NBA’s D-league.

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Ben’s also racked up an impressive number of accolades during his 20-year music career. According to his website bio, “He has won 9 Stellar Awards, 34 Stellar, 8 Dove, 3 Grammy nominations and is the best selling Gospel Jazz instrumentalist in the world.”

Ben’s wife Jewel has had her own financial successes along the way — mostly in business. On her bio on Ben’s website, she says, “I partnered up and opened a Nextel franchise in Detroit, MI. It was very successful and grew from nothing to a staff of about 15 the very first year.”

There is one thing that the Tankards want to be crystal clear: Their ministries are not the source of their wealth. He explains to, “I don’t want people to think that we are some Pastors living off the backs of the people. We don’t get paid to be Pastors, we donate our time.”

Ben is working on a new album, which is slated to be released in Spring 2014.

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Chako Suzuki is Head of Editorial Operations at Wetpaint. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+!

11.8.2013 / 12:00 AM EDT by Chako Suzuki
Related: TV, Features, Real Housewives of Atlanta, Reality Gossip, TV Stars

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