When Gwen Shamblin Lara died in a plane crash in May 2021, there was a substantial controversy around her wealth. Gwen had created a Christian diet plan that became a religion in its own right and elevated Shamblin's status to that of a cult leader.
Shamblin's diet program, Weigh Down Workshop, became a multi-million dollar corporation amassing over $20 million in revenues every year. At the time of her death in 2021, the total valuation of the company was close to $80-100 million, and Shamblin and her husband had full ownership over it.
Along with her successful workshop, Gwen also sold over a million copies of her book, making her one of the best-selling authors of her time. She also appeared in countless television programs that added to her wealth.
Considering the multiple sources of revenue at her disposal, Gwen Shamblin’s net worth was estimated to be $100 million at the time of her death.
Lifetime will be releasing a film about the controversial cult leader titled Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation on February 4, 2023, on the channel.
What happened to Gwen Shamblin and her money?
In May 2021, Gwen Shamblin died in a plane crash that also killed her husband and five leaders of her Brentwood church, the Remnant Fellowship.
Following her death, Shamblin's last will and testament, which involves an estate potentially worth millions of dollars, has struck up controversy about her practices and false claims about her wealth.
In an interview in 1998, the cult leader said that one-half of the money she receives goes to the government. She added that the other half goes to keep the organization "going so that someone else can be helped."
The same claim was also forwarded by her daughter Elizabeth in 2017, where she said that Gwen "practically" handed Elizabeth and Michael's (her brother) inheritance away.
However, investigations of Shamblin’s will showed that she had left everything to her two adult children, Elizabeth and Michael. The will was signed in 2011, and originally left everything to David Shamblin, her first husband.
However, after the couple divorced in 2018, her ex-husband was no longer eligible to be the beneficiary of the will. No money was left for the Remnant Fellowship, which she headed.
In light of the will controversy, the Remnant Fellowship provided the following statement:
"In regards to Gwen’s estate, Gwen, Michael, and Elizabeth decided almost two decades ago to give approximately $10 million of what would have been Michael and Elizabeth’s inheritance to the building and grounds of Remnant Fellowship Church."
The statement added that Gwen also donated Weigh Down Ministries and their proceeds along with all her "intellectual properties" to the church. Calling it an incredible gift of generosity from Gwen, the church said that they expect nothing more from her.
Lifetime's movie Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation will follow the cult leader's journey to fame
Lifetime has adopted the controversial story of cult leader Gwen Shamblin for its latest project. Titled Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation, the movie follows the cult leader's life and rise to fame.
The IMDb synopsis for the movie reads:
"Gwen Shamblin, a charismatic with a curated image, became known with her Christian diet program "Weigh Down Workshop", and was accused of exploitation and emotional, psychological, and physical abuse by the church's alleged cult practices."
Directed by John L'Ecuyer and written by Richard Blaney and Gregory Small, the Lifetime movie stars Jennifer Grey, Karen Cliche, and Brittany Drisdelle.
Catch the movie on February 4, 2023, on Lifetime.