Have you ever wondered if you could command a million-dollar salary as an actor? The secret to becoming rich and famous is landing a sitcom that makes you a household name. That’s certainly what happened to American actress and singer Kaley Cuoco.
Although she has been acting since she was a child, the actress is best known for her role in “The Big Bang Theory,” which shot her to stardom virtually overnight. So, let’s find out how she did it by taking a look at Kaley Cuoco net worth and her salary for various projects.
Early Acting Career
Born in 1985, Kaley Cuoco’s career began when she was just five years old. She started acting in high-profile Barbie and Oscar Mayer commercials. These commercials were very popular in the early 90s, and she graced the small screen in millions of homes.
She starred in her first movie, Quicksand: No Escape, when she was just six years old. Just three years later, she starred alongside Denzel Washington in the movie, Virtuosity. She played the role of Karin Carter, a kid who is kidnapped by a virtual reality entity. Despite being just nine years old, she received a lot of acclaim for the role.
She later landed roles in several popular TV shows, including “Northern Exposure”, “7th Heaven”, “My So-Called Life”, and “Charmed”. However, Kaley Cuoco’s first major TV role was in the TV mini-series “8 Simple Rules”. She also gained a lot of attention for her role as Marsha Brady in the TV movie, Growing Up Brady.
Other early acting roles for Kaley Cuoco include:
- Cougar Club.
- Complete Savages.
- The Penthouse.
- Debating Robert Lee.
- Crimes of Fashion.
Kaley Cuoco had already been acting for more than fifteen years when she landed the role of Penny. At the time, she was the only lead female character and was mainly intended to provide comic relief. Her role proved to be so popular that she quickly became a central character.
“The Big Bang Theory” ran for a total of twelve seasons and became one of the most popular TV shows in the world. As the popularity of the show grew, the core cast was able to negotiate higher salaries. Let’s take a look at how much Kaley Cuoco earned for each season of TBBT.
Seasons 1 to 3
During the full run of the show, the actress received the same salary as her co-stars, Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki. During the first three seasons, each of the stars received a reported $60,000 per episode. There was a total of 63 episodes in the first three seasons, meaning that she made an impressive $3,780,000.
The three main actors renegotiated their contracts at the end of the third season. By this time, the show was a confirmed hit, and they were able to score $200,000 per episode. There were 24 episodes in season 4, meaning that the actress made a total of $4,800,000 for season 4.
Seasons 5 to 7
The core cast renegotiated their contracts again at the end of season 4. It was agreed that their salaries would increase by an additional $50,000 per episode over the next three seasons. This means that the actress made $250,000 per episode in season 5. A total of $6 million for the season.
She made $300,000 per episode for season 6 at a total of $7,200,000 per season. Her total earnings for season 7 amounted to $8,400,000.
Seasons 8 to 10
Before season 8 started, the core cast renegotiated their salaries to $1 million per episode. This same deal remained in place for the following two seasons. There were a total of 72 episodes in these seasons, marking earnings of $72 million.
Seasons 11 and 12
By the time season 10 came to a close, the three core cast members shared scenes with other actors. While Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik largely did the same amount of work, they were getting paid much less. The three core cast members decided to take a pay cut so that their co-stars received equal pay.
As a result, all the stars received $900,000 per episode for seasons 11 and 12. Even though she received a pay cut, Kaley Cuoco’s salary was still significant. She received a total of $43,200,000 for her work in those two seasons. This makes her total salary for her work on The Big Bang Theory $163,380,000. While this covers her career from 2007 to 2019, it’s not bad for twelve years of work.
Royalties and residuals
However, Kaley Cuoco’s earnings from her work on the hit TV show don’t stop there. She negotiated a deal along with Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki to own 1% of the show’s backend equity. “The Big Bang Theory” generated $1 billion during the first year of syndication. This means that each of the three stars received an extra $10 million during the first year.
Although syndication sales slowly dwindle over time, they still come rolling in. In theory, each of the three stars should earn around $10 million per year for the next decade. This is a substantial amount of money for work that has already been completed.
Because “The Big Bang Theory” is a Screen Actors Guild show, the stars also receive substantial residuals. This equals 80% of their paychecks during the first year of reruns. That basically adds up to a cool $19 million in residuals over time.
This is Kaley Cuoco’s current role, and it has allowed fans to see a very different side of her. Instead of simply playing a comedic supporting role, “The Flight Attendant” allows her to show much more range. This could indicate that Kaley Cuoco’s future in acting lies in more dramatic roles that require more skill.
Most celebrities command higher and higher salaries as their careers progress. However, it has been indicated in interviews that this is not the case with “The Flight Attendant.” Although the salary hasn’t been revealed, it seems to be much less than the amount she earned on The Big Bang Theory.
Since “The Big Bang Theory” came to a close, the actress has been focusing on her television production company. She launched Yes, Norman Productions in 2017 and has been a major figure in numerous projects. This includes the DC Universe’s “Harley Quinn” animated series, for which she voiced the main character.
“The Flight Attendant” was also produced by Yes, Norman Productions, and she plays a producing role. Another major role is the movie Meet Cute, which was directed by Alex Lehmann.
Upcoming Kaley Cuoco projects include:
- Role Play.
- A Season with Mom.
- America’s Sweetheart.
This is another area where Kaley Cuoco made a lot of money. Many companies are willing to pay huge amounts for celebrity endorsements. And, due to her work on “The Big Bang Theory,” Kaley quickly became one of the most famous actresses in America.
Kaley began working with Priceline in 2013 and starred in a series of advertisements. She negotiated a contract for a reported $2 million with the company and still stars in their advertising. Although the current figure has not been reported, it has certainly increased over time.
Kaley has a knack for turning tragedy into opportunity and gaining attention for everything she does. She was nominated at the 2021 Golden Globes, and a lot of people assumed she would win. When she lost, she posted a photo of herself eating pizza on the floor surrounded by bottles of alcohol.
The photo quickly went viral, and many people zeroed in on the bottle of Smirnoff vodka in the photo. Smirnoff was quick to capitalize on the attention and offered the actress an endorsement. The photo showed that there is always a silver lining, even when you’re not looking for it.
Other high-profile endorsements include:
Kaley and her husband at the time, Karl Cook, paid $12 million for a mansion in 2019. The mansion is located in Hidden Hills, California, and was still under construction at the time. This 11,000-square-foot property is surrounded by 1.5 acres of land and boasts a guest house and several pools.
The couple sold this property for $16 million in April of 2022. Even though they had to split the profits, they still walked away with a significant amount. Currently, Kaley owns several properties, including a 40-acre horse ranch that is located in Ventura County, California.
The actress has been romantically linked to a few celebrities over the years. While working on “The Big Bang Theory,” she dated her co-star Johnny Galecki for around two years. However, the couple decided to keep their relationship a secret. Not even their co-stars knew about it.
She was briefly engaged to addiction specialist Josh Resnik. However, the couple decided to call off their engagement in March 2012. Just a few months later, in December 2013, the actress married professional tennis player Ryan Sweeting. The couple had known each other for just three months when they tied the knot. However, they filed for divorce after being married for two years.
Many people assume that part of Kaley Cuoco’s wealth comes from her relationship with Karl Cook. This well-known figure is the son of Scott Cook, who founded Intuit, a tax software company. Scott Cook has a reported net worth of $3.6 billion.
She began dating the billionaire equestrian towards the end of 2016, and the couple got engaged a year later. The couple got married on June 30, 2018, after knowing each other for less than two years.
However, they announced their divorce in 2021 after being married for less than three years. Before tying the knot, they signed an ironclad prenup, meaning that neither partner could claim spousal support. Kaley has always made it clear that her wealth comes solely from her own hard work.
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Today, Kaley Cuoco’s net worth is a little over $100 million. The vast majority of her wealth has come from starring on “The Big Bang Theory.” She has also made money from other acting projects as well as endorsements.
Of course, her career is far from over, and she is sure to grace the screen for years to come. Rather than taking a break from acting, her wealth has allowed her to be more selective about her acting roles. The launch of her production company also allows her to get involved in passion projects.
Until next time, all the best on the search for success.