Reese Witherspoon just became the world’s richest actress.
The Legally Blonde star, 45, is now worth more than an estimated $500million after her production company, Hello Sunshine, sold for approximately $1.28 billion.
A media company backed by the private equity firm Blackstone Group Inc purchased the company, The Wall Street Journal reported, with former Disney executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs signing on to run the new venture.
Witherspoon and Sarah Harden, Hello Sunshine’s CEO, will join the board of the new company and will remain significant equity holders.
Sharing the news, Witherspoon reminded fans why she started her company to begin with.
“Today marks a tremendous moment for Hello Sunshine,” Witherspoon said in a statement.
“I started this company to change the way all women are seen in media. Over the past few years, we have watched our mission thrive through books, TV, film and social platforms.
“Today, we’re taking a huge step forward by partnering with Blackstone, which will enable us to tell even more entertaining, impactful and illuminating stories about women’s lives globally.”
It was Witherspoon’s own frustration over the roles she was regularly offered that led her to branch out into production.
Hello Sunshine is behind some of the biggest on-screen hits in recent years, including Big Little Lies. Photo / Supplied
In 2012, she founded Pacific Standard, which produced the films Wild and Gone Girl.
In 2016, her company grew into Hello Sunshine, and went on to produce hits like Big Little Lies, The Morning Show and Little Fires Everywhere.
The company has a number of projects in development, including forthcoming Netflix series From Scratch, starring Zoe Saldana, and Apple TV+’s The Last Thing He Told Me, starring Julia Roberts.
Hello Sunshine is also adapting the best-selling novel Where the Crawdads Sing.
In addition to her success with Hello Sunshine, Witherspoon is one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars. She earns at least NZ$1.37m an episode for her television work, and millions more for film roles.
Set to retain a Hello Sunshine ownership stake of at least 18 per cent, coupled with the money she will earn from the sale, Forbes estimates Witherspoon is now worth over half a billion dollars (US$400 million), with the publication naming her “the world’s richest actress”.
According to Yahoo! Finance in August last year, Witherspoon’s wealth is now equal to Jennifer Lopez, who reportedly has the same net worth.
The publication reported Hollywood heavy hitter Jennifer Aniston is worth $577m (US$300m), Julia Roberts $356m (US$250m), and the Olsen twins with a combined net worth of $712m (US$250m each).