Reese Witherspoon’s $240 Million Net Worth Shatters Sexist Projection of Her Career

Reese Witherspoon is one of the most powerful women in Hollywood. And yet, she was once told that her income would plummet when she reached a certain age. Here’s how the dynamic and adaptable actor proved them wrong. 

Witherspoon’s current net worth is reported to hover around 240 million

Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones in Beverly Hills, California. | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Witherspoon’s financial adviser once told her she would make “drastically” less money once she hit the age of 40. According to a 2020 piece in The LA Times, Witherspoon was 37 years old at the time–and already wildly successful. It was a comment she found “unforgettable.” 

“I’ll never forget, I had a financial adviser tell me, ‘You need to start saving,’ I was like 37, and he said, ‘You need to start saving right now because you’re going to be making drastically less money in your 40s,” Witherspoon told The LA Times. “‘Basically, you’re not going to have much of a career.’” 

Fumbling, the adviser then offered a half-apology. “And he’s apologizing, but not really,” she said. “‘I’m sorry to tell you, but somebody has to be honest with you.’ I’ll never forget it. I’ll never forget! It put me in a panic state.”

It wasn’t the kind of toxicity she wanted to be around. So how to handle it? “Oh, I fired him,” she told the LA Times with a laugh. 

She starred in a string of major hits 

Witherspoon’s career could be described as the stuff of Hollywood fairy tales. But she worked hard to build up an undeniably admirable collection of roles and awards. Her breakout performance as the peppy Elle Woods in Legally Blonde (2001) put her on the map; but she’d already earned credibility with dark comedies and cult favorites like Election (1999), Pleasantville (1998), American Psycho (2000), and Cruel Intentions (1999), the set on which she met her first husband, Ryan Phillipe

In 2002, Witherspoon secured her role as America’s sweetheart with an endearing role as Melanie Smooter in Sweet Home Alabama. A sequel to Legally Blonde followed in 2003. But in retrospect, it all seemed like a dress rehearsal leading up to the main event–her Oscar-winning turn in 2005’s Walk the Line. Playing June Carter Cash opposite Joaquin Phoenix’s tormented Johnny Cash was her ticket to the next level. 

Witherspoon hasn’t slowed down her career

She’s still advancing, and it’s something she told the LA Times that she works at every day–keeping the creativity flowing. “I believe in abundance,” she said. “I believe creativity is endless. I mean, I can get on the phone with Diane Ladd and she can talk for two hours about creativity, and everything she says is spot-on. There’s something inside artists and actors and filmmakers that’s insatiable. And if you are one of the lucky ones, as I am now, you get to put things up on their feet and see them be made. I feel really lucky every day.”

The cast of Big Little Lies
The cast of Big Little Lies attends the season 2 premiere in New York City. | Nicholas Hunt/WireImage/Getty Images

Witherspoon, now married to agent Jim Toth, is a producer on Big Little Lies, HBO’s salacious women-led mystery series about the chaotic lives of upscale moms living in Monterey, California. She also stars alongside a bevy of powerhouses: Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, and Meryl Streep, among them. Show me who your friends are, and I’ll show you who you are, the saying goes. The fact that the two-season series is still up in the air doesn’t seem to have slowed down Witherspoon. She also executive produced and starred in the Hulu miniseries Little Fires Everywhere. Beyond that, she’s involved as a producer in too many future streaming and network projects to mention. 

But that dig about her age and earning potential certainly appears to not to have carried much weight. 

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