Oprah Winfrey, whose fortune is estimated at the level of billions of dollars, became super famous thanks to her own talk show, popular at the international level and of which she was the host between 1986 and 2011. The star is also an actress, philanthropist, publisher, and producer.
What is Oprah Winfrey’s net worth?
Oprah Winfrey earns almost $315 million per year from her media empire and she has a net worth of $3.5 billion at the time this article is written.
- In 1989 Oprah Winfrey became a millionaire
- Her net worth crossed $500 million by 1995
- In 2000 Oprah Winfrey became a billionaire
- She earns more than $300 million per year
- Oprah is the richest self-made woman in the United States of America
- Oprah owns $200 million in real estate
- She has donated to charity a minimum of $400 million up until this point
Oprah Winfrey’s Net Worth Highlights
- 1985: $500,000
- 1989: $1 million
- 1995: $500 million
- 2000: $1 billion
- 2007: $2 billion
- 2014: $3 billion
- 2019: $3.1 billion
- 2020: $3.5 billion
Childhood and teenage
The giant media star was born in the rural town of Kosciusko, Mississippi on January 29, 1954. She was raised by her grandmother on a farm in Mississippi because her parents had separated soon after she was born. And when her grandmother got sick, she had to go live with her mother and two half-brothers in a ghetto in Milwaukee, in a very poor and dangerous neighborhood.
Her family was so uneducated that the child’s name was wrongly entered on the birth certificate – she should have been called Orpah (a name with biblical meaning), but her relatives did not know how to spell it correctly, and that’s how she became Oprah.
She grew up and instead of playing with dolls and learning to read and count, she began to know not only poverty but also pain and humiliation. She was abused at only 9 years old by one of her cousins. At the age of 13, she managed to run away and live with her father in Nashville, Tennessee, although she was pregnant due to abuse by her uncle, giving birth to a premature son who died.
Once she arrived in Nashville, however, her life changed. She started giving speeches at church meetings. And on one occasion she earned money from it. She received $500 for such a speech, and from that moment she felt that her life could really change.
Thanks to the discipline imposed by her father, Oprah studied at East Nashville High School, and her oratorical talent secured her a full scholarship to Tennessee State University. However, at the age of 19, she dropped out of college to pursue her dream of having a media career.
At only 20 years old, she becomes the first black woman to present the news.
She made her debut in the mass media at a radio station in Nashville and soon became a co-anchor of the news bulletins on Channel WJZ-TV in Baltimore, then of the show “People are talking”.
In 1984, Oprah moved to Chicago to present the WLS-TV morning show, which, in less than a month, became the most-watched local talk show. Due to its success, the producers chose to extend its duration and name the show “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. The show would be broadcast, in 1986, at the national level, gradually becoming the most broadcast show in the history of television.
With an audience of over sixteen million viewers, the show had come to receive $1 million for every 30 seconds of advertising aired during the show’s run, with Oprah hosting it for 25 years. Before long, Winfrey was creating her own television station, OWN, which she managed in collaboration with Discovery Communications. She also created her own production house, scoring her appearances on the big screens, in the film “The Color Purple”, by Steven Spielberg, a role that also brought her an Oscar nomination.
Endorsements and other businesses
In addition to her salary, Oprah is one of the shareholders of the “Weight Watchers” system, one of the most successful diet and fitness systems in the US. According to Forbes, her stock rose from $43.5 million to $400 million in 2019.
Oprah also owns her own television network in partnership with Discovery Communications. Discovery paid Winfrey $70 million in 2017 to increase its ownership to more than 70%, and this was the first time Oprah received payment for OWN in the 10 years since the association.
Harpo Inc., also owned by Oprah, is behind the success of Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray, and Dr. Oz. Thus, the star also receives sums of money following shows that she does not present.
Starting in August 2018, Oprah launched a frozen pizza line called “O, That’s Good”, whose crust is made from cauliflower. She is a healthy lifestyle advocate and author of the bestseller “Food, Health and Happiness”, and although she has struggled with weight fluctuations, she wanted the pizza she marketed to be nutrient-dense.
Oprah Winfrey has an impressive real estate portfolio worth at least $200 million.
In 2015 she sold her house in Chicago for $4.625 million. This was her primary residence between 1985 and 2015.
In 2001 Oprah purchased a mansion in Montecito, California, close to Santa Barbara for $50 million. Nowadays this house is worth $90 million. In 2019 she also purchased the house next door for the amount of $6.85 million.
In 2018 she bought a property on Orcas Island in Washington States for $8.275 million and sold it in July 2021 for $14 million.
In 2014 Oprah paid $14 million for a house in Telluride, Colorado.
In 2002 she purchased her first property in Maui. Over time Oprah spent around $60 million for more than 160 acres in Maui, plus another $32 million for a property next door.
Philanthropy and charity
Beyond the glossy star image, Winfrey also distinguished herself by helping people in need, providing homes, building schools, and organizing charitable actions.
She is the founder of Oprah’s Angel Network (1997), which raises funds to help women and children in special situations around the world. In 2007, she inaugurated The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, which offers educational programs for young women from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Following these, Oprah was rewarded with various awards, including the Oscar Award (Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award), the Emmy-Founders Award, the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Female Television Performer, the Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the TCA Award for her entire career, and the list goes on.
Oprah lives with her partner, Stedman Graham (with whom she has shared her life since 1986, but with whom she did not unite her destiny in front of the registrar), in California, or “The Promised Land” as she likes to say. They also have five dogs.
Oprah Winfrey is today the richest African-American star, the most influential woman overseas, a model for the younger generations, a media mogul, and a philanthropist. At 68 years old, Oprah’s life proved to us that if you want to change your destiny, you can do it. That you can be the change you want – maybe we should learn something from this thinking.
Little Oprah from Mississippi managed to change her destiny. To defeat poverty. And to become the most influential woman in the world. Today she owns a television station – OWN, a glossy magazine – O, the Oprah Magazine, the website – Oprah.com, and the list goes on. She is a film producer and actress – A Wrinkle in Time, being her most recent movie.