Who Is Christy Walton?

Christy Walton is one of the world’s wealthiest people and one of the top philanthropists globally. She inherited her wealth from her husband, John Walton, son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, who died in a 2005 plane crash while flying an experimental plane near Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Christy Walton

Alison Czinkota / Investopedia

Key Takeaways

  • Christy Walton is an extremely private person and there isn't much available in the media about her early life.
  • Her husband John Walton died in a plane accident in 2005, leaving his five-year-old son and wife behind.
  • Walton is an active philanthropist, mainly giving to improve children's education and environmental conservation.
  • She lives in Jackson, Wyo., as does her son.
  • Walton credits an all-organic diet for shrinking her son's cancer tumor when he was a child.

Early Life and Education

Christy (Tallant) Walton is by all accounts a very private individual who grew up in and around Jackson, Wyo., where she was born on Feb. 8, 1949. Her parents' names are not listed in any record of note, and according to Forbes magazine, she graduated from high school but did not have a college degree. There has been very little written about her life before meeting John Walton. Even his obituary in The New York Times does not list the date of their marriage, nor anything about Christy, other than her name as the surviving spouse.

She had one son, Lukas, during her marriage to John Walton, who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of three. Walton claims his tumor was eradicated by eating an all-organic diet.

Notable Accomplishments

Walton produced the film adaptation of Rudolfo Anaya’s book Bless Me, Ultima in 2012. A year later, the film won four awards, from the Imagen Foundation, which promotes employment and positive images of Latinos in television and film. Walton herself took home the President's Award.

Walton was a prominent donor to The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump super-PAC.

Wealth and Philanthropy

Walton is perhaps best known for her philanthropic giving to organizations across the nation. Walton is a board member emeritus of the Children's Scholarship Fund, an organization that makes private education affordable for low-income children, her husband John co-founded in 1998.  She also gives to numerous nonprofits, including the San Diego Natural History Museum, World Mosquito Program, and Olivewood Gardens.

Forbes magazine called Walton the world's richest woman. Still, in 2015, an analysis of court documents by Bloomberg led the business news source to conclude that rather than being worth $37 billion, she was worth $5 billion. As a whole, the family wealth of the living Waltons during that time was estimated at over $100 billion, but in the case of Christy Walton, her son Lukas Walton received the largest amount of inheritance from his deceased father.

In addition to her giving, Walton is on the board of the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, which has its pet projects. As of 2020, her family's foundation donated $749.5 million in grants to create access to opportunities for people and communities. Receivers of the family's generosity must work to improve K-12 education, protect waterways and their communities, and invest in their home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta.

Who Is Lukas Walton?

Lukas Walton is the son of the late John Walton and Christy Walton. He lives in Jackson, Wyo., and studied environmentally sustainable business at Colorado College. Walton does not work for Walmart, although he owns a stake in the company, and chairs its environment program committee.

How Much is Christy Walton Worth?

According to Forbes magazine, real-time net worth column, Christy Walton is worth $8 billion as of Dec. 30, 2021.

How Did John Walton Die?

John Walton, the spouse of Christy Walton, died in a plane crash in 2005, leaving his fortune to his son Lukas and his wife.

The Bottom Line

While much has been written about Christy Walton's wealth and philanthropic endeavors, there is very little information about her early years, her marriage to John Walton, and her own family. She never remarried after the death of her husband and continues to live in Wyoming where she grew up.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. The New York Times. "Wal-Mart Heir Dies in Plane Crash." Accessed Dec. 30, 2021.

  2. Forbes. "Christy Walton." Accessed Dec. 30, 2021.

  3. The New York Times. "Obituary: John Walton." Accessed Dec. 30, 2021.

  4. Forbes. "Lukas Walton." Accessed Dec. 30, 2021.

  5. Olivewood Gardens. "About Us." Accessed Dec. 30, 2021.

  6. iAlumbra. "Christy Walton." Accessed Dec. 30, 2021.

  7. Forbes. "Walmart Heiress Christy Walton Is The Only Billionaire Still Donating To The Lincoln Project." Accessed Dec. 30, 2021.

  8. Children’s Scholarship Fund. "History." Accessed Dec. 30, 2021.

  9. Children’s Scholarship Fund. "Board." Accessed Dec. 30, 2021.

  10. The Nat. San Diego Natural History Museum. "Leadership." Accessed Dec. 30, 2021.

  11. World Mosquito Program. "Mexico and New Caledonia join the World Mosquito Program." Accessed Dec. 30, 2021.

  12. Forbes. "The Richest Women in the World in 2016." Accessed Dec. 30, 2021.

  13. Bloomberg. "A Wal-Mart Heir Is $27 Billion Poorer Than Everyone Thought." Accessed Dec. 30, 2021.

  14. Walton Family Foundation. "About Us." Accessed Dec. 30, 2021.

  15. Forbes. "Lukas Walton." Accessed Dec. 30, 2021.

  16. Forbes. "Christy Walton." Accessed Dec. 30, 2021.