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Reese Witherspoon has been in the entertainment industry since she was just 14 years old. As a young teen, she snagged her first film role in The Man in the Moon. Witherspoon then went on to star in teen hits like Election and Cruel Intentions. However, it was her breakout role as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde that helped set her on a path as an adult actress in the movie business.

In the 2001 film, Witherspoon’s Elle is determined to become, Mrs. Warner Huntington III. However, when Warner unexpectedly breaks up with her because she’s “too blonde’ she sets out on a quest to prove him wrong. Her journey leads her to Harvard Law School where she surprises everyone that she encounters, including herself.

With Legally Blonde, Witherspoon began commanding the big bucks in Hollywood. She also became a master negotiator. Her Legally Blonde contract allowed the Walk the Line actress to keep Elle’s entire wardrobe.

Inside Reese Witherspoon’s ‘Legally Blonde’ salary

Just two years before starring in Legally Blonde, Witherspoon earned $250,000 for her role a the naive and unexpecting Annette in the cult classic teen flick, Cruel Intentions. However, two years later at age 25, Witherspoon decided it was time for her to begin commanding the big bucks.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, the Big Little Lies actress earned her first multi-million dollar salary with Legally Blonde. The massive paycheck set her on a course to command millions for her future projects, eventually becoming one of the highest-paid actresses in the world.

For her 2002 film, Sweet Home Alabama which she filmed shortly after Legally Blonde, she earned a $12.5 million salary.

Reese Witherspoon earned $15 million for ‘Legally Blonde: Red, White & Blonde’

By the time Witherspoon decided to do the Legally Blonde sequel in 2003, she was able to snag a producer’s credit and a salary of $15 million, quite a deal more than she’d earned in the original movie.

This would motivate the actress to transform her career with 2005’s Walk the Line and eventually begin her own production company, Hello Sunshine where she has produced films like Wild, two upcoming romantic comedies for Netflix as well as the hit series, Big Little Lies and Little Fires Everywhere.

“I do think women need to talk about money more often,” she told Buzzfeed News. “And our successes, not just our devastations.”


Reese Witherspoon Didn’t Make as Much as You Thought for ‘Legally Blonde’

Reese Witherspoon got to keep Elle Woods’ wardrobe

One of Witherspoon’s major successes with her Legally Blonde 2 contract. Not only was The Morning Show actress able to command a $15 million pay day, she also snagged the entirety of Elle Woods’ wardrobe from the film, including a massive shoe collection that included 77 pairs of Jimmy Choo shoes.

“Well, I got all my wardrobe,” Witherspoon revealed on The Graham Norton Show in 2019. “I had it written in my contract. I’ve never touched them and on the 15th anniversary, I took them all out of storage and tried them all on, some of them fit, some of them didn’t, and then, yeah, it was really cool. And then I showed them all to my daughter and it was really cool.”