14 Times Women Were Paid Less Than Their Male Co-Stars

By Delilah Gray

The gender pay gap is still prevalent, even in the entertainment industry. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, women still earn 82 cents for every dollar a man earns. Sadly, in the film industry, it’s not uncommon for male leads to get paid exponentially more than female leads. Heck, even the main female lead can get paid less than the second-billing main character because they’re male. (We’re talking to you, The Crown!)

Just because it happens a lot doesn’t mean it’s okay — it’s downright unfair, and a bunch of actresses have been calling this out. One of the most notable times an actress called out this double standard was when Jennifer Lawrence rocked Hollywood with her essay entitled “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co‑Stars?” for Lenny Letters.

“I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable! F**k that. I don’t think I’ve ever worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard,” she penned. “It’s just heard. Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, and Bradley Cooper all fought and succeeded in negotiating powerful deals for themselves. If anything, I’m sure they were commended for being fierce and tactical while I was busy worrying about coming across as a brat and not getting my fair share.”

And Lawrence is not the only one. Bryce Dallas Howard recently spoke up about how her and Jurassic World co-star Chris Pratt’s paychecks were wildly different. We know; we’re fuming too.

See which celebrity women were paid much less than their male co-stars below.

'Rocketman' film premiere, Arrivals, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, New York, USA - 29 May 2019.
Photo: Lexie Moreland/WWD

Bryce Dallas Howard for ‘Jurassic World’

In an interview with InsiderBryce Dallas Howard revealed that she was paid “so much less” for the first Jurrasic World film. In the sequel, it’s reported Howard only received $8 million to Chris Pratt’s $10 million, but Dallas Howard says the gap is even bigger than reported. 

Zoe Saldana at the premiere of HBO Max and Sony Pictures Television's 'Gordita Chronicles' at Valentine DTLA on June 12th, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Gilbert Flores for Variety

Zoe Saldana in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

Get ready to get angry with this one. It’s reported that Zoe Saldana was the lowest-paid talent on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. While Chris Pratt got around $350,000, she only got $100,000. And her other female co-star Karen Gillan only got $140,000, per Newsweek.

AmfAR Cannes Gala 2021.
Photo: Stephane Feugere for WWD

Sharon Stone for ‘Basic Instinct’

After years, Sharon Stone finally revealed that her and co-star Michael Douglas’ paychecks were very different on Basic Instinct, despite being in the two starring roles. But Stone at least revealed to InStyle.com that she got one advantage, “I put in my contract that I could keep the clothes.” 

Natalie Portman at the world premiere of “Thor: Love and Thunder” held at El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Gilbert Flores for Variety

Natalie Portman in ‘No Strings Attached’

In an interview with Marie Claire, Natalie Portman said Ashton Kutcher was paid three times more than her in their 2011 hit film No Strings Attached. “I wasn’t as pissed as I should have been. I mean, we get paid a lot, so it’s hard to complain, but the disparity is crazy.” 

Max Mara and Amy Adams Accessories Campaign event, New York, America - 19 Oct 2015.
Photo: Lexie Moreland/WWD

Amy Adams in ‘American Hustle’

Just like her American Hustle co-star Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams got stiffed in the pay department as well. Despite being a multiple-time Oscar-nominated actress, she was paid two percent less than her male co-stars on back-end profits, per Vanity Fair. I mean, she deserved more for this sexy, iconic scene HERE. 

Dior show, Front Row, Spring Summer 2020, Paris Fashion Week, France - 24 Sep 2019.
Photo: Swan Gallet/WWD

Jennifer Lawrence in ‘American Hustle’

Get ready: Jennifer Lawrence was paid two percent less on the back-end deal than her male co-stars, and was originally only going to get five percent of back-end compensation to the male actors’ nine percent in the movie American Hustle, per Insider.

Writers Guild Awards, Show, Los Angeles, USA - 01 Feb 2020.
Photo: Michael Buckner/Variety

Diane Keaton in ‘Something’s Gotta Give’

Per Diane Keaton’s autobiography titled Then Again, she said she received no portion of the hit film Something’s Gotta Give‘s profits. But her male co-star Jack Nicholson did. Imagine shading Keaton, how could you?!

Ambiance at Chloé RTW Spring 2022.
Photo: Stephane Feugere for WWD

Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

There’s no denying that Gillian Anderson’s character in The X-Files was iconic, but despite being a fan favorite, she wasn’t paid the same as her counterpart David Duchovny until season three. And the creators didn’t learn their lesson because they tried to pay her less again for the reboot. But she ultimately negotiated her salary to match that of Duchovny’s, per CNN.

Ellen Pompeo attends the Audi x Nobu Celebration of Design Event in Malibu, California on August 11, 2021.
Photo: Michael Buckner for PMC

Ellen Pompeo in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Now, Ellen Pompeo is one of the highest-paid women in television, but it didn’t start that way. Despite being the literal face of Grey’s Anatomy, she revealed to Variety that her co-star Patrick Dempsey was paid double at first. She also revealed she nearly quit the show because of it.

Louis Vuitton Cruise 2020 show, Front Row, Trans World Airlines Flight Center, John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, USA - 08 May 2019.
Photo: Swan Gallet/WWD

Michelle Williams in ‘All the Money in the World’

Time to get even angrier! With Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World, Christopher Plummer ended up replacing Kevin Spacey, leading to a ton of reshoots. Co-star Mark Wahlberg demanded  $1.5 million for reshoots. And do you know what Michelle Williams got? Less than $1,000. In total, Williams was only paid $625,000, while Wahlberg earned $5 million, per CNN

Jessica Chastain, winner of Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role for The Eyes of Tammy Faye at the 28th Screen Actors Guild Awards held at Barker Hangar on February 27th, 2022 in Santa Monica, California.
Photo: Gilbert Flores for Variety

Jessica Chastain in ‘The Martian’

Now there’s some more drama with another Ridley Scott film: The Martian. While Jessica Chastain took home $1.75 million, Matt Damon is reported to have garnered $15-$20 million for his role, per MSNBC

7th Annual AMPAS Governors Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, America - 14 Nov 2015.
Photo: Michael Buckner/Variety

Carrie Fisher in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

The newest Star Wars trilogy was everything we wanted when bringing back the original trio. But it was a hefty price to bring them back. While Harrison Ford came back with a $23 million paycheck, Carrie Fischer only got $1 million for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, per Esquire. What?! 

74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Press Room, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017.
Photo: Michael Buckner/Variety

Claire Foy in ‘The Crown’

When you think of The Crown, you think of the lead: Claire Foy. The Crown Season 1 and 2 producers confirmed that Foy was paid less than Matt Smith, per ABC. While it was an undisclosed amount, the producers claimed that “going forward, no one gets paid more than the queen,” at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem, per Variety. Let’s hope they kept their promise. 

attend Charlize Theron's CTAOP Night Out: Fast & Furious screening of Fast 9 at Universal Studios on June 26, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Michael Buckner for PMC

Charlize Theron in ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’

It’s reported that Charlize Theron was offered significantly less than her The Huntsman: Winter’s War co-star Chris Hemsworth, despite being the actual lead. However, she held out until they offered exactly the same as Hemsworth’s paycheck, per India Business Insider. Good for her, because we adored this powerful fantasy film. 


Image: Lexie Moreland/WWD