Pursuing a career in acting sure has its benefits, from haute couture designer gowns to a team of stylists on speed dial – you name it. But it all comes with a hectic filming schedule, irregular working hours, long periods of time spent away from home, as well as countless sleepless nights.
However, if you’ve managed to make it in the industry, you’ll be paid more than your money’s worth for your time and talent.
And if you need proof, look no further than the 10 highest-paid actresses in the world!
10. Gal Gadot
Earnings: $10 million (£7.7 million)
Gal Gadot is best known for playing Wonder Woman in the 2017 eponymous DC Comics film. The Israeli actress’s big break in Hollywood, however, came eight years prior when she appeared as Gisele Yashar in Fast & Furious and its sequels, a role she says she landed thanks to her experience in the Israel Defence Forces as a combat instructor. This, in turn, helped her secure a place on the list of the highest-paid actresses in the world.
9. Melissa McCarthy
Earnings: $12 million (£9.2 million)
Melissa McCarthy has come a long way since her stand-up days in New York City. Over the years, the comedic actress has wowed audiences with her relatable and funny personality in films like Bridesmaids, The Boss, Identity Thief and Life of the Party. She makes most of her income from her on-screen performances, her production company On the Day (which she founded alongside her husband and fellow actor Ben Falcon) and her own clothing brand, Melissa McCarthy Seven7, which caters to women of all shapes and sizes.
8. Cate Blanchett
Earnings: $12.5 million (£9.6 million)
Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett has been in the limelight for some time now, having started her career is 1997 with an appearance in Paradise Road. Since then, she has made appearances in the Thor and The Lord of the Ring movie series. Her 2017–2018 fortune, however, is thanks to her leading role in Ocean’s 8, an all-female spin-off of Ocean’s Eleven and its sequels, and in The House with a Clock in its Walls.
7. Julia Roberts
Earnings: $13 million (£10 million)
Hollywood powerhouse Julia Roberts has been wowing audiences for over three decades with her iconic performances in Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, Notting Hill and Erin Brockovich, becoming America’s sweetheart. And although she’s only starred in a single film recently (the comedy-drama Wonder), she makes a lot of money from her work in previous films, as well as her Lancôme endorsement deals.
6. Mila Kunis
Earnings: $16 million (£12.3 million)
Big-eyed beauty Mila Kunis had a different background to the other actresses on this list. When she moved to the US from Ukraine at just seven years old, she couldn’t speak a word of English, but eight years later managed to bag a leading role as Jackie Burkhart on the hit TV sitcom That ‘70s Show. She then went on to lend her voice to Meg Griffin, the self-conscious teenager on the animated series Family Guy, now in its 17th season. She’s also starred in an array of blockbuster movies, including Black Swan, Ted, Friends with Benefits and, more recently, A Bad Moms Christmas and The Spy that Dumped Me.
5. Reese Witherspoon
Earnings: $16.5 million (£12.7 million)
Reese Witherspoon has grown heaps and bounds since her Legally Blonde days. Following her huge success as sorority girl Elle Woods, she went on to bag other top spots in movies like Sweet Home Alabama and as June Carter in the award-winning Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line. She also started her own production company, Pacific Standard, in 2012 and, most recently, produced and starred in the hit mini-series Big Little Lies, which was recently renewed for a second season, set to premiere in 2019. Witherspoon is also planning for an Elle Woods comeback as Legally Blonde 3 is set to open on Valentine’s Day 2020.
4. Jennifer Lawrence
Earnings: $18 million (£13.8 million)
Ever since her acting debut in The Hunger Games in 2012, Jennifer Lawrence has gone from strength to strength, becoming the youngest actress to receive four Academy Award nominations (including one win) and three Golden Globe wins. Since then she’s appeared in a number of box office hits, including X-Men: First Class, Silver Linings Playbooks and the Joy Mangano biopic Joy.
3. Jennifer Aniston
Earnings: $19.5 million (£15 million)
Our favourite fashionista from Friends is still making it to the heights of the richest actresses list – and rightfully so! Her income over the past year comes mainly from her endorsement deals with Emirates, SmartWater and Aveeno. And with her new small-screen collaboration with Reese Weatherspoon in the pipeline, Aniston might just be on her way to bagging top spot in 2019!
2. Angelina Jolie
Earnings: $28 million (£21.5 million)
Angelina Jolie hasn’t been on the acting scene as much as she used to lately, but with an upfront payment of a reported $28 million for her role in Maleficent II (due for a 2020 release), it’s not hard to see why. The UN ambassador also receives income from some of her most famous movies, including Tomb Raider, Mr & Mrs Smith and Girl, Interrupted.
1. Scarlett Johansson
Earnings: $40.5 million (£31.1 million)
The leading woman in Hollywood for 2018 is none other than Scarlett Johansson. Her success is mainly due to her role as the Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, who isn’t going anywhere soon, with a planned fourth instalment in the Avengers series for 2019.
Who is your favourite actress on the list? Are you surprised to see someone here, or something missing? Let us know in the comments section below!
And since you’re here, why not check out who the highest-paid actors are in 2018 and how their salaries compare to the ladies. You can also see if any of the females made the cut on the highest-paid celebrities list.
This list was adapted from Forbes’s list of the world’s highest-paid actresses, based on pre-tax earnings between 1 June 2017 and 1 June 2018. Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by XE.com on 9 November 2018.
This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published in March 2015.