Here’s How Reese Witherspoon Built Her $240 Million Empire

Reese Witherspoon has been in the business since she was 15 years old. In 1991, the actress starred in her debut film, Man in the Moon. But it wasn’t until 1999 that Witherspoon rose to prominence.

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Back then, the actress was cast in Cruel Intentions as Annette Hargrove. In the same year, Witherspoon starred in the movie Election as Tracy Flick. And this portrayal earned her a Golden Globe for best actress.

Since then, Witherspoon has appeared in at least 56 movies. She has also guest-starred in several shows and has started multiple businesses. Here’s a look at how the actress built her $240 million empire since she started in the business 30 years ago.

Where it all started

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Man in the Moon is, perhaps, one of Witherspoon’s most memorable roles.

According to Parade, the actress was supposed to portray a minor role in the movie. But she ended up headlining it alongside Jeremy London.

The film was a huge hit in the early 90s, and it reportedly made $2.9 million on a mere $110,000 budget.

Two years later, Witherspoon starred in A Far Off Place, and the film proved to be another huge success. The budget for the movie was just $3.5 million, but it managed to rake in $13 million in profit.

In the same year, the actress starred in Jack the Bear, which was another hit after earning $5.1 million on a $2.2 million budget.

It is important to note that while the figures don’t seem much today, these films were released in the 90s.

TV projects and appearances

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Beyond her movie roles, Witherspoon has also had a lucrative career on television.

She has made memorable guest appearances on Friends as Rachel Green’s (Jennifer Aniston) sister, Jill. She also appeared in The Simpsons as Greta, as well as King of the Hill as Debbie.

In 2017, Witherspoon starred in The Mindy Project. But it wasn’t until she starred in HBO’s Big Little Lies that she earned megabucks.

Witherspoon reportedly earned a huge sum of money per episode of the limited series. And when it was renewed for Season 2, Witherspoon made $1 million per episode.

The actress also served as a producer on the project, which means that she earned more than the $1 million salary she got from starring in Big Little Lies.

Thanks to the success of the show, Witherspoon was tapped to star in Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere. The actress was reportedly paid $1.1 million per episode.

And when she starred in The Morning Show alongside Jennifer Aniston, Witherspoon reportedly got paid $2 million per episode.

However, not everyone was thrilled to know that Witherspoon and Aniston got such huge pay from the Apple TV+ project. So, the former was forced to respond following the backlash.

“There seemed to be a resentment as if we weren’t worth it or it was bothersome, and I thought, ‘Why is that bothersome?’ I guarantee these companies are really smart, and if they agree to pay us, they’re doing it for a reason. They probably had a lot of lawyers and a lot of business people decide on that number because they knew that they were going to make more than that back. Does it bother people when Kobe Bryant or LeBron James make their contract?” she told The Hollywood Reporter.

The business outside showbusiness

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In 2012, Witherspoon launched a production company called Pacific Standard after feeling frustrated with the roles that she and other female actors were getting.

Through her production company, Witherspoon had a hand in casting for hit movies such as Gone Girl and Wild.

Four years later, the actress and businesswoman launched Hello Sunshine, a company that focuses on female-driven stories.

Hello Sunshine operates a book club, audio programming with Audible, two podcasts, a video on demand channel with DirecTV, and it has also partnered with Apple.

Witherspoon’s company has been such a huge success that TIME included it in their 100 most influential companies of 2021.

On top of this, Forbes has also ranked Witherspoon in the 92nd spot of its Power Women 2020 list. She’s also in the 87th spot on Forbes’ America’s Self-Made Women list for 2020.

All of Witherspoon’s movies, television projects, and businesses have contributed to her whopping $240 million empire. And when combined with her husband’s $4 million net worth, the actress has an estimated $244 million fortune.

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Source: Parade, The Hollywood Reporter, Time, Forbes

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