Oprah Winfrey Net Worth

The true Oprah net worth total of $2.56 billion is $600 million less than the often reported figure of $3.2 billion. Many online publications peg Oprah’s salary at $350 million per year, but a full MoneyNation analysis found no evidence for a figure that high. That said, since Oprah doesn’t publish her income or net worth or release it to the public, there’s room for a little leeway in the data. By our analysis, Oprah has earned $3.2 billion from her own talk show and another $1.4 billion from shows produced by her company Harpo Productions like Rachael Ray, Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz. Oprah has earned another estimated $484 million from publishing O, the Oprah Magazine and other publications, plus another $23.7 million from acting in TV shows and movies since 1985. In 2015, Oprah purchased 6.4 million shares of Weight Watchers, Inc. Today, the value of the shares plus annual earnings is now worth $105 million. That’s a total lifetime earnings for Oprah of $5.28 billion. Think that should be her net worth? If so you are forgetting Uncle Sam. Between U.S. and state taxes, the queen of daytime has likely shelled out $2.79 billion in her lifetime. That’s enough to run the U.S. Department of Education for 15 days. She has also spent $790 million on expenses and operating costs and earned a probable $865 million in investment income. Do the math on all those numbers and you’ll get to the $2.56 billion Oprah net worth figure in our article. Want to check our math? Take a peek at the tables and sections below.

Oprah Winfrey Net Worth Facts

Oprah Winfrey Net Worth Facts
Oprah Winfrey Net Worth$2,558,565,330
Oprah Winfrey net worth vs Ellen DeGeneres net worth15 times bigger
Oprah Winfrey net worth vs Rosie O'Donnell net worth26 times bigger
Oprah Winfrey net worth vs Phil Donahue net worth102 times bigger
Oprah Winfrey net worth vs Mark Zuckerberg net worth1/14th as big
Oprah Winfrey net worth vs Bill Gates net worth1/31st as big
Oprah Winfrey net worth vs Donald Trump net worthHalf as big
Oprah Winfrey net worth vs Dr. Dre net worth3 times bigger
Oprah Winfrey net worth vs Hillary Clinton net worth80 times bigger
Oprah Winfrey net worth vs typical American family net worth37,626 times bigger

Oprah Winfrey net worth dataThe $2.56 billion Oprah net worth number is 15 times bigger than Ellen DeGeneres’ net worth of $167 million. It’s 26 times bigger than Rosie O’Donnell’s net worth of $100 million and 102 times bigger than predecessor Phil Donahue’s net worth of $25 million. Mark Zuckerberg has 14 times more than the Oprah Winfrey net worth figure with $35.7 billion, while Bill Gates has 31 times more with $80 billion. Oprah’s fortune is half as big as Donald Trump’s $5.13 billion and three times bigger than Dr. Dre’s $745 million. Oprah’s net worth is 80 times bigger than Hillary Clinton’s wealth of $32 million. Finally, the Oprah Winfrey net worth sum is 37,626 times bigger than the typical American family’s net worth of $68,000.

Our in-depth analysis puts the Oprah net worth figure at $2.56 billion. Forbes says it’s $3.2 billion. Forbes is probably the most trusted source for financial info on the internet and with good reason. Yet in this case, they don’t show their work. Beyond listing the final net worth figure and printing a couple paragraphs about Oprah’s life, they don’t publish their math or research or explain how they arrived at the $3.2 billion figure. Nearly every other publication on the web parrots that $3.2 billion figure as if it’s gospel, but none of them show any evidence supporting their claims. The sections below on talk shows, publishing, Weight Watchers, acting and adjustments show how we arrived at our $2.56 billion figure. If you disagree with our numbers, at least you’ll know why.

Oprah Winfrey Net Worth Timeline

Oprah Winfrey Net Worth Timeline

Oprah Winfrey Net Worth by Year
Oprah Winfrey net worth 1985$3,531,000
Oprah Winfrey net worth 1986$6,921,036
Oprah Winfrey net worth 1987$13,536,625
Oprah Winfrey net worth 1988$29,969,170
Oprah Winfrey net worth 1989$54,987,398
Oprah Winfrey net worth 1990$106,406,314
Oprah Winfrey net worth 1991$166,420,579
Oprah Winfrey net worth 2000$859,140,263
Oprah Winfrey net worth 2001$943,042,940
Oprah Winfrey net worth 2002$1,030,568,605
Oprah Winfrey net worth 2003$1,121,514,696
Oprah Winfrey net worth 2004$1,217,277,924
Oprah Winfrey net worth 2005$1,319,101,870
Oprah Winfrey net worth 2006$1,435,947,861
Oprah Winfrey net worth 2012$2,150,857,868
Oprah Winfrey net worth 2013$2,241,095,834
Oprah Winfrey net worth 2014$2,333,883,924
Oprah Winfrey net worth 2015$2,448,821,706
Oprah Winfrey net worth 2016$2,558,565,330

The chart and table above shows how the Oprah Winfrey net worth story unfolds over time. Oprah’s story is almost literally proverbial. She started life as the daughter of a single housemaid and a coal miner. Raised through a cycle of abuse and poverty, she has said she ran away from home at the age of 13. She won a full scholarship to attend Tennessee State University. After college, she was fired as co-anchor at a small local news station. In the early 80’s, Oprah took over as host of a small, local TV talk show. The show became The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986 and was picked up for national syndication. Within months it had supplanted Donahue as the #1 talk show in the country. The rise of her net worth came at first from the mega-successful talk show that bears her name. Soon, her Harpo Productions company began to spin off new hit shows, among them Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray and Dr. Oz. In recent years, she started her own mega-successful magazine called and also bought a 10% stake in weight watchers. One year later, the stock had more than doubled, adding over $100 million to her net worth.

Oprah Winfrey Net Worth Breakdown

Oprah Winfrey Net Worth Sources: Talk Shows, Publications, Weight Watchers

The biggest slice of the Oprah Winfrey net worth pie comes straight from talk shows, both starring in them and producing them. Oprah earned $3.2 billion from her own talk show from 1986 to 2011. From 2002 to the present day, her Harpo Productions company has pulled in an estimated $20 million a year from creating and maintaining other successful talk shows, among them the popular Rachael Ray cooking and lifestyle show. All together, those other shows have pumped a total of $1.4 billion into her enormous stash. That’s a total of 61.1% of Oprah’s net worth from talk shows, while another 9.2% or $484 million comes from magazine publishing. Her $105 million Weight Watcher’s stock investment makes up only 2% of the megastar’s net worth. The tiny, tiny little slice from acting is the brown sliver in the chart above. That’s just 0.4% of the full Oprah net worth amount. Yet that accounts for $23.7 million. That’s an acting career that almost any actor would be quite happy with.

Oprah Winfrey Net Worth Sources
Talk Shows$3,225,000,000
Total Oprah Winfrey Earnings$5,275,050,000
Oprah Winfrey Salary (average)$189,203,704
Oprah Winfrey Salary 2016$126,292,593
Oprah Winfrey Net Worth$2,558,565,330

Related: Ellen DeGeneres Net Worth

Oprah Winfrey Net Worth from Talk Shows

Oprah Winfrey net worth talk showsTalk shows make up 61.1% of the Oprah Winfrey net worth story, chipping in an astounding $4.66 billion. $3.2 billion of that comes from The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah not only starred in that show, but her company Harpo Productions produced it, turning out an unprecedented 715 episodes between 1986 and 2011. Between producing and starring in the #1 TV talk show in the country, Oprah started out making an estimated $10 million from the show in 1986. From there her payouts rapidly increased, hitting the $100 million a year mark by 1990 and $200 million a year by 1993. Her salary declined some in successive years, settling at $125 million a year and staying there until the show’s final episode was broadcast in 2011. When her own career in front of the camera began to wind down in the early 2000s, Harpo Inc. began to ramp things up. In 2002 the company launched the popular Dr. Phil show, followed by Rachael Ray in 2006 and Dr. Oz in 2009. Other Harpo shows include Brewster Place, The Nate Berkus Show and The Rosie Show. All these shows together add an estimated $20 million a year to the Oprah net worth figure.

Oprah Winfrey Net Worth from Talk Shows
The Oprah Winfrey Show$3,215,000,000
Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray, Dr. Oz and Others$1,420,000,000
Total Oprah Winfrey Talk Show Earnings$4,635,000,000

Oprah Winfrey Net Worth from Publishing

O, the Oprah Magazine and other publications have pumped $484 million into the Oprah net worth machine. First published in April of 2000, the magazine reached 2.7 million readers every month. Today when most print magazines are struggling, it still maintains a circulation well over 2.3 million every month. Most estimates place Oprah’s earnings from the magazine near $30 million per year. Oprah has also released a book called What I Know for Sure and a home decor magazine called O at Home. Together, these other publications have added another $39 million to the star’s net worth.

Oprah Winfrey Net Worth from Publications
YearO, The Oprah MagazineOther PublicationsEstimated Earnings
Total Oprah Winfrey Net Worth from Publications$484,000,000

Related: Hillary Clinton Net Worth

Oprah Winfrey Net Worth from Weight Watchers

In 2015, Oprah bought 6.4 million shares of Weight Watchers Inc. That represents 10% of the company. Today those shares are worth $13.31 each. That makes Oprah’s stake in the company about $85 million. The company’s net income is about $204 million per year. It’s unclear whether Oprah gets a slice of that money as a 10% owner in the company. If she does, she gets an additional $20 million a year from her investment. Oprah has since taken on the mantle of the company’s spokesperson, turning out ads like the commercial below. The former talk show star also sits on the board of directors for the firm.

Oprah Winfrey Net Worth from Weight Watchers
Shares of Stock6,400,000
Price Per Share$13.31
Total Oprah Portion of Weight Watchers$85,184,000
Income in First Year$20,000,000
Total Oprah Weight Watchers Money$105,184,000

Oprah Winfrey Net Worth from Acting

$23.7 million in acting income contributes to the Oprah net worth figures. The table below shows all Oprah acting roles and estimated payouts, including nine film roles, four TV movies and six TV Shows. Her first film role was in The Color Purple in 1985. The critically acclaimed movie was released a year before her talk show was picked up nationally. Directed by Stephen Spielberg, it was called an emotional triumph by film critic Gene Siskel. It was also a box office success, earning over $98 million, a huge take for a movie in 1985.

Oprah Winfrey Net Worth from Acting
YearTitleTypeEstimated Earnings
1985The Color PurpleMovie$1,000,000
1986Native SonMovie$250,000
1989The Women of Brewster PlaceTV Movie$250,000
1990Brewster PlaceTV Series$2,750,000
1992LincolnTV Movie$250,000
1993There are No Children HereTV Movie$250,000
1997EllenTV Series$350,000
1997Before Women Had WingsTV Movie$200,000
1999Our Friend, MartinVideo$200,000
2005Desperate Housewives: Oprah Winfrey is the New NeighborTV Short$250,000
2006Charlotte's WebMovie$1,750,000
2007Bee MovieMovie$1,500,000
200830 RockTV Series$200,000
2009The Princess and the FrogMovie$2,000,000
2010Sesame StreetTV Series$200,000
2012Jesus Henry ChristMovie$2,000,000
2013Lee Daniels' The ButlerMovie$3,000,000
2016Queen SugarTV Series$200,000
2016GreenleafTV Series$2,600,000
Total Earnings$23,700,000

Related: Barack Obama Net Worth

Oprah Winfrey Net Worth Calculations

Anyone who has paid $2.79 billion in taxes in her lifetime is doing quite well financially. By our estimates, Oprah has paid at least that much. Her average salary of $189 million easily puts her in the highest U.S. federal tax bracket of 39.6%. Her California State residence gives her another steep 13.3% in state taxes. Expenses of 15% come from the operating costs of her businesses, staffing, cost of living and other costs. Those total $791 million over the course of her career. Investments calculated at 6% of the Oprah net worth sum per year add back $865 million. The table below shows Oprah’s total earnings by year, her total adjustments and her final net worth number.

Oprah Winfrey Net Worth Calculations
YearOprah Winfrey Total EarningsAdjustments (Tax, Expense, Investment)Oprah Winfrey Net Worth
Oprah Winfrey Net Worth Totals$5,275,050,000-$2,716,484,670$2,558,565,330

If you liked reading about Oprah Winfrey’ net worth, try this post about Hillary Clinton’s net worth or this one about Ellen DeGeneres’ net worth. All Oprah Winfrey net worth data in this article are based on our analysis of income streams, tax, expense and investment calculations, estimates and media reports and are provided here for entertainment purposes only.