Academy Award Nominee And Golden Globe Award Winner Broke Down In Tears When Discussing Her Acting Career

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It’s fair to say that movie stars get paid more than many people working 9 to 5 jobs, but it’s also fair to say that not all movie stars are paid or treated equally. Sure, some movie stars get paid more because of their role or the star power they bring to the project, but what if you’re both famous and playing a major role but not getting paid what you consider fair compared to other actors?

Taraji P. Henson is best known for roles in films including “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Hustle & Flow,” “Hidden Figures,” and the 2010 movie “Karate Kid.” Her latest project is “The Color Purple.” Sounds like her career is going well, right? Not according to Henson. She’s even considering quitting acting.

In an interview with Gayle King, Henson broke down into tears as she discussed her acting career and how she feels that she is not being paid fairly. Henson told King, “I’m so tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do, getting paid a fraction of the cost. I’m tired of hearing my sisters say the same thing repeatedly. You get tired. I hear people go, ‘You work a lot.’ I have to. The math ain’t mathin’. And when you start working a lot, you know, you have a team. Big bills come with what we do. We don’t do this alone.” She added, “They have to get paid.”

Then, Henson gave an example. Say a movie star makes $10 million for a particular role. Henson explained, “That didn’t make it to their account.” First, 50% goes to taxes. Now we’re down to $5 million, which is still a lot, but we’re not done. Then, another 30% of the $10 million goes to the movie star’s team. That’s another $3.3 million the celebrity isn’t getting. Now, we’re down to about $1.7 million. Granted, that’s still a lot, but it’s nowhere near the $10 million, and a lot of movie stars work for a lot less.

For example, when Henson was filming “Benjamin Button,” she wanted to be paid $500,000, but she was only paid $150,000. After tax, she only made $75,000. She also had to pay 30% to her team, meaning another $50,000. That means, she only made $25,000 for her role in the film. She added that at that time, she was also paying $30,000 for her son to go to school. That means she didn’t make anything. In fact, she didn’t make enough to pay for her son’s school, let alone enough to live on.

She continued, “It seems every time I do something, and I break another glass ceiling, when it’s time to renegotiate, I’m at the bottom again like I never did what I just did.”

Watch the video below to learn more about Henson’s frustration about not being paid fairly in Hollywood.