Here's how Ellen DeGeneres became the highest-paid comedian in the world — and what she spends her $330 million fortune on
Ellen DeGeneres has an estimated net worth of $330 million. She loves to spend and make money flipping real estate, although she's said the hobby is more enjoyment than a financial strategy. Because she grew up poor, DeGeneres has said she doesn't restrict her money habits. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Comedian Ellen DeGeneres has become a household name since performing stand-up in Louisiana. After coming out on her hit sitcom, "Ellen," and in Time magazine during the '90s, DeGeneres said she stopped receiving work for several years and began running out of money. But after voicing Dory in "Finding Nemo" and launching her talk show, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," in the early 2000s, she paved her way back to fame. Today, DeGeneres has an estimated $330 million net worth, making her one of America's richest self-made women. One of her favorite ways to make and spend money is by flipping real estate with her wife, Portia de Rossi. DeGeneres' money habits have largely been shaped by her poor upbringing. She's previously said it's why she doesn't financially restrict herself and that it sparked her zeal for real estate. DeGeneres is also known for her philanthropic efforts, giving to both animals and people in need. Here's how the comedian spends her millions.SEE ALSO: Taylor Swift's long-awaited Netflix documentary just dropped. Here's how the pop superstar makes and spends her $360 million fortune. DON'T MISS: Beyoncé just gave a rare interview with Elle about motherhood and self-care. Here's how she spends her $400 million fortune, from yachting vacations to a private jet for Jay-Z. Ellen DeGeneres has an estimated net worth of $330 million thanks to her career in television.
Source: Forbes DeGeneres began her career as a stand-up comedian in New Orleans before rising to fame as an actress.
Source: Forbes From 1994 to 1998, she starred in her first sitcom, "Ellen." She also guest-starred in multiple sitcoms during the '90s.
Source: Parade But she stopped receiving work for several years after coming out on "Ellen" and in Time magazine in 1997, DeGeneres said in an interview. She had been running out of money, she said.
Source: Hollywood.com But being asked to voice Dory in "Finding Nemo" in 2000 saved her, she said, adding that "it was like $75,000 for three years of work."
She also went on to voice Dory in the Finding Nemo sequel. Source: Hollywood.com In 2003, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" premiered. By 2017, she was earning an estimated $50 million a year from the show, making her the highest paid TV host at the time.
Source: Forbes, Forbes, Variety More than half of DeGeneres' earnings come from the daily talk show — she receives about 60% of advertising, carrying fee, and product placement profits.
Source: Forbes But DeGeneres also earns millions working behind the camera with her own production company, A Very Good Production.
Source: Forbes, Forbes, Yahoo! Finance She's also had many endorsement deals with lucrative brands such as CoverGirl, JCPenney, and American Express.
Source: The Street That's not to mention the several books DeGeneres has published over the years, from comic essays to tours of her many homes.
Source: Amazon In 2014, DeGeneres hosted the Oscars. It's unknown how much she was paid, but the union minimum was $15,000 in 2017.
Source: The Guardian In 2015, she launched lifestyle brand ED by Ellen, which features everything from home goods to clothes. She has an online shop, but the line is also featured at various retailers, from Bed Bath & Beyond to Nordstrom.
Source: Hello Giggles, Nordstrom, ED by Ellen, Bed Bath & Beyond DeGeneres has also built a strong digital presence with Ellen Digital Ventures, which encompasses platforms such as video hub Ellentube and iPhone game Heads Up!
Source: Fortune, Ellentube She expanded her digital realm in 2016 by launching Ellen Digital Network with Warner Bros., which focuses on new web and social media programming.
Source: Fortune And in 2018, she signed a $20 million deal with Netflix for an exclusive stand-up special.
Source: Forbes She earned $80.5 million in 2019, making her the 22nd highest-paid celebrity and highest-paid comedian in the world, according to Forbes.
Source: Forbes It's no wonder DeGeneres is one of America's richest self-made women. Here's how she spends her fortune.
Source: Forbes DeGeneres has spent and made millions flipping nearly 20 luxury homes since 2003, although she's said this hobby is out of enjoyment more than anything.
Source: Business Insider, Architectural Digest "The first thing I did when I made money was buy a house," she told Architectural Digest in 2011.
Source: Architectural Digest That first purchase was a $6 million Hollywood Hills home in 2003. She later sold it to Will Ferrell in 2006 for $9 million.
Source: Architectural Digest Over the next 15 years, DeGeneres continued to spend at least $145 million flipping houses, most of which were purchased with wife Portia de Rossi.
Source: Business Insider That includes the estate where Kim Kardashian married Kris Humphries, a 26-acre horse ranch, a Malibu beach house previously owned by Brad Pitt, and a 9,200-square-foot "compound."
Source: Business Insider She even bought one Hollywood Hills house twice. She first sold it in 2007 for $10 million, buying it back again for $8.75 million in 2014, and selling it again two years later for $9.9 million.
Source: Mansion Global She also happened to rent this property to Nick Jonas, as discussed during an episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."
Source: Business Insider, Mansion Global In 2019, she and de Rossi sold three properties for over $45 million while purchasing two others — mansions in Montecito and Beverly Hills for $27 million and $45 million, respectively.
Source: Architectural Digest DeGeneres told The TODAY Show in 2018 that she grew up in apartments without a lot of money, which sparked her real estate zeal. "Now, I just buy as many houses as I can."
Source: The TODAY Show When not at one of their many houses, DeGeneres and de Rossi travel. They've vacationed everywhere from Capri, Italy, to London, where they attended the Wimbledon Tennis Championships.
Source: CNN, E Online For DeGeneres' birthday, they traveled to Africa, where they visited Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania, among other countries.
Source: ET Online DeGeneres prefers a healthy lifestyle. She reportedly begins her days with yoga and has said she tries to "eat only real food."
Source: Redbook She avoids sugar and is a huge fan of vegan, often eating at vegan LA places Café Gratitude, Real Food Daily, and Sweet Lady Jane, according to her FourSquare.
Source: FourSquare, Redbook DeGeneres also sees an astrologer, who predicted she would become more famous and rich when she turned 45 — the age DeGeneres was when she started her talk show.
Source: Hollywood.com DeGeneres has quite the car collection to get to her favorite LA spots. She has a taste for speedy sports cars, seen driving everything from a Porsche to a Ferrari.
Source: Hot Cars She's also gifted de Rossi cars, like a $160,000 Land Rover Defender and, more recently, a silver Lamborghini.
Source: OK! Magazine In an interview, DeGeneres said she spoils her wife with gifts "almost daily, if not monthly," bringing her home everything from dresses to jewels.
Source: OK! Magazine DeGeneres also spoils her pets. She and de Rossi have four dogs and three cats at home.
Source: MSN But DeGeneres also spends on those outside her family. Known for her sponsored giveaways and for pushing fundraisers, she's also made personal donations with de Rossi.
Source: She Knows In 2018, they donated more than $14,500 in gift cards and appliances to Redlands Fire following devastating California wildfires.
Source: She Knows DeGeneres also sent a $125,000 gift to help rebuild a Louisiana middle school after severe flooding.
Source: She Knows That's not to mention her advocacy for animal rights. In 2016, Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Source: Insider Growing up poor, DeGeneres decided she wouldn't be a financial stickler if she found success. "I am always going to just get what I want, I'm going to do what I want," she once said on her show. "Because I know there is an abundance and I will always have enough."