1. How much money does Oprah Winfrey have? Billions

Winfrey is the world's first black woman who ever achieved billionaire status. As of mid-January 2018, Forbes put her net worth at $2.9 billion.

She amassed her fortune through hard work on The Oprah Winfrey Show (which ran for 25 seasons) and some very smart investing.

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2. Oprah vs. Trump

WASHINGTON - MAY 27, 2014 - Real estate mogul Donald Trump speaks to a luncheon at the National Press Club.
Albert H. Teich / Shutterstock
President Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey are close in terms of net worth.

Oprah Winfrey is head-to-head with Donald Trump in the wealth department. Forbes put the president slightly ahead in mid-January (at $3.1 billion), though the Bloomberg Billionaires Index gives her the lead.

Her wealth beats that of Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang ($2.7 billion), Facebook's first president Sean Parker ($2.6 billion) and Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling ($650 million), among other moguls, according to Forbes.

3. Her first job paid 50 cents an hour

Winfrey landed her first paying job when she was 15: "babysitting Mrs. Ashberry's rowdy kids," she writes on Oprah.com. She says she was underpaid at 50 cents an hour, because Mrs. Ashberry expected her to tidy up the house, too.

Next, she made $1.50 an hour working at a five-and-dime. When she was 17, she got her first break in broadcasting: a radio job that paid $100 a week.

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4. Her later paychecks were astonishing

A Pile of Ten Dollar Bills as a Money Background
Frank L Junior / Shutterstock
By the time she ended her talk show, Oprah Winfrey was making $10 per second.

Winfrey started her TV career as a news anchor, but she would would empathize so much with the stories she heard from people that she would cry on the air. Her move to talk-show host was a natural step.

The Oprah Winfrey Show’s massive success helped her earn $30 million dollars a year when she was in her 30s. By the time the show ended in 2011, she was making $315 million a year — or $10 a second!

5. What the 'you get a car!' stunt cost


Oprah kicked off a new season of her show in 2004 with one of the most delirious moments in TV history. She told all 276 people in her audience that “You get a car, and you get a car!”

The giveaway of new Pontiac G-6 cars cost General Motors an estimated $7.9 million, and the company covered sales taxes, too. But the winners owed income tax of up to around $7,000 each on their prizes.

6. She's a savvy investor

Lafayette - Circa April 2017: Weight Watchers Meeting Location. Oprah Winfrey is a Weight Watchers Spokesperson and Stockholder IV
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock
Oprah Winfrey's investment in Weight Watchers has grown by more than nine times.

In 2015, Winfrey purchased 10% of Weight Watchers’ for $6.79 per share, or $43 million total. By January of 2018, the shares were trading for about $63, more than nine times what she paid.

She also invested in real estate in California, Colorado, Tennessee, Illinois and Hawaii, which adds up to a real estate portfolio worth $210 million.

7. Her success rubs off

LOS ANGELES - MAY 13: Dr Phil McGraw at a ceremony where Steve Harvey is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on May 13, 2013 in Los Angeles, California
Joe Seer / Shutterstock
Dr. Phil first became a celebrity on the Oprah show.

Many of the biggest stars on daytime TV have Oprah to thank for their careers, including Rachael Ray, Dr. Phil, Nate Berkus and Dr. Oz.

All were introduced to the public on The Oprah Winfrey Show and have seen incredible success. Dr. Phil alone is worth $400 million.

8. She can sell books by the ton

Oprah Winfrey has written multiple New York TImes best-selling books, which earned her millions of dollars. But she isn't only a writer, but also the type of vivacious reader other authors love.

The book club she launched on her show in 1996 helped sell an estimated 55 million copies of the 70 titles she promoted, reports USA Today.

9. She can sell magazines, too

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - MAY 19, 2017: Lifestyle and women fashion magazine are displayed in a bookstore in an airport.
AsiaTravel / Shutterstock
Oprah Winfrey's magazine has been a huge success — like everything else she touches.

Oprah didn’t stop at books. In 2000, she introduced O, The Oprah Magazine, a monthly that you can't help noticing at the supermarket checkout because Winfrey is on every cover.

According to Women’s Wear Daily, consumers paid $1 billion for O subscriptions and newsstand copies during the magazine's first 15 years.

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About the Author

Shannon Quinn

Shannon Quinn

Freelance Contributor

Shannon Quinn was formerly a freelance contributor to MoneyWise. Quinn is an entrepreneur and writer from the Philadelphia area.

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