Reese Witherspoon is one of Hollywood’s best known (and most bankable) stars. She started acting in her teens, starring in 1991’s The Man in the Moon. That led to further roles in films like Cruel Intentions and Election, as well as a recurring role on Friends. Cut to 2019 and Witherspoon’s net worth is estimated at a jaw-dropping $240 million (£183 million) according to Forbes. So how did she go from indie films to blockbusters? Two words: Legally Blonde.
Legally Blonde grossed $142 million (£108 million) worldwide and became the turning point in her career, spawning a sequel that gave Witherspoon her first credit as a producer, which meant she got a cut of the film’s profit and creative control of the production — a landmark moment in any actor’s career.
Since then, Witherspoon has produced films such as Four Christmases and Wild (which she also starred in), initially under the Type A Films banner, plus Gone Girl and the upcoming Legally Blonde 3 (under Hello Sunshine). She’s also behind some of the most popular and talked about TV shows, like Big Little Lies, The Morning Show, and Little Fires Everywhere.
In recent years she has expanded her portfolio beyond acting to include entrepreneur — with the Draper James clothing line — and powerful producer. And those roles and ventures have accumulated to a sizeable fortune. Witherspoon’s net worth was $240 million (£183 million) as of 2019, Forbes recently estimated.
Witherspoon’s TV salary isn’t chump change either. Not only was she paid $1 million(£764,155) per episode for Big Little Lies season 2, but she also earned $1.25 million (£955,156) per episode for Apple TV+’s The Morning Show, according to Yahoo Finance, both also developed and produced by her company.
She started the Draper James line in 2013 “to honour [her] Southern heritage” and the company now has retail stores in five cities. She’s also Avon’s global ambassador.
Witherspoon also founded the women-focused Hello Sunshine, a media company that produces podcasts and promotes books via Reese’s Book Club. An endorsement from the club can lead to thousands of sales for some overlooked titles, Vox reported last year. Since she shuttered Type A Films, she produces under the Hello Sunshine banner, which helps the books she options from her book club get made into film and television projects.
The Academy Award-winning actor started picking up awards for her TV shows in 2012, picking up a Golden Globe for Big Little Lies. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in The Morning Show. Awards can not only help actors demand a larger salary, but they have been shown to open doors to bigger opportunities.
Witherspoon – like seemingly everyone else in Hollywood – is heading to the Quibi app to narrate and appear in a forthcoming documentary series about nature’s phenomenal females called Fierce Queens.
The series will explore dramatic natural history stories from a female perspective, Deadline reports. And paycheck for work in Fierce Queens? The range of pay for voice actors can vary wildly, but many in Hollywood enjoy the work as it allows them to stretch and express emotions only through words, not through actions and expression. According to Voices.com, a resource for those doing voice-over work, rates start at $55 (£42) per hour. However, the pay scale is a bit higher for celebs, who can earn millions voicing a big-budget movie, according to Fox Business. Owen Wilson reportedly made $2.5 million (£1.9 million) to return for Cars 2, and Angelina Jolie banked a quick million for her work in Kung Fu Panda.