Top 10 Highest-Paid Actresses in the World

Illustration of a celebrity next to a bodyguard standing in the middle of a crowd of paparazzi on the rep carpet

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. Ellen Pompeo 

Earnings: $22 million (£17.3 million)

Ellen Pompeo’s leading role as attending general surgeon Dr Meredith Grey on ABC’s hit drama series Grey’s Anatomy for the past 14 years (and her recent dispute demanding a higher salary) helped her cement her place on the list of the world’s highest-paid TV actresses.

According to a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Pompeo hinted her days on Grey’s and in front of the camera may be coming to an end, saying that her next project will be behind the scenes.

9. Charlize Theron

Earnings: $23 million (£18.1 million)

South African actress, Charlize Theron, made it back onto the highest-paid list after starring in The Huntsman, which reportedly paid her a whopping $10 million. The actress supplements her income with high-paid endorsements from Dior. Adding new skills to her CV, Charlize has also moved behind-the-scenes as the founder of Denver and Delilah Productions.  

8. Margot Robbie

Earnings: $23.5 million (£18.5 million)

Margot Robbie has come a long way since her debut role in the hit drama series Neighbours. In a short space of time, she’s proved her talent and has already been nominated for two Academy Awards, confirming that she deserves a spot on this list. Since her role as Harley Quinn in 2016, she’s shown just how versatile she is. Her most recent earnings come from the Suicide Squad follow up in Birds of Prey.

 7. Elisabeth Moss

 Earnings: $24 million (£18.9 million)

Emmy award-winner, Elisabeth Moss, has been making major moves in the movie sphere over the last decade. But in 2020, she inked a major deal with TV giant Fox and Hulu, starring in a new show called Black Match. The new show will also be produced and developed by Elisabeth, giving her creative reign over the entire show!

6. Kaley Cuoco

 Earnings: $25 million (£19.7 million)

Kaley Cuoco started her career on the family sitcom 8 Simple Rules, but her role as Penny in The Big Bang Theory took her success to new heights. Being the only highly-paid female on the cast, Kaley took a pay cut of about $100,000 (£77,750) per episode, along with her male co-stars, to boost Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik’s income.

 5. Jennifer Aniston

 Earnings: $28 million (£22 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 2020!

4. Nicole Kidman

 Earnings: $34 million (£26.8 million)

After starring alongside Reese Witherspoon in the hit series Big Little Lies, it comes as no surprise that Nicole is one of the highest-paid actresses for 2019! Besides making a fortune off the big screen, she is also the face of Neutrogena and spent years working on Chanel No.5 advertisements.

 3. Reese Witherspoon

Earnings: $35 million (£27.6 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 is successfully in its second season. Witherspoon is also planning for an Elle Woods comeback as Legally Blonde 3, which was set to start filming in early 2020.

2. Sofia Vergara

Earnings: $44.1 million (£34.8 million)

 The Colombian actress has been reigning top spot on the highest-paid TV actresses list for six years in a row, and it’s not hard to see why! Following her portrayal of Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on the hit series Modern Family, Vergara managed to score a number of box office gigs, including Hot Pursuit with Reese Weatherspoon and The Emoji Movie.

The actress-turned-businesswoman also receives a large sum from her licensing deals with SharkNinja and Rooms to Go, as well as her personal line of perfumes.

1. Scarlett Johansson

 Earnings: $56 million (£44.1 million)

The leading woman in Hollywood is none other than Scarlett Johansson. Her most recent successes include her role as the Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which released its final sequel in 2019), but also Jojo Rabbit and the Marriage Story, for which she received Academy nominations for best supporting actress and best actress, respectively.

 

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 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 2018 and 1 June 2019. Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by XE.com on 11 August 2020.

This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published in March 2015.