Richest BusinessExecutives
Net Worth:
$850 Million
Jan 25, 1949 (75 years old)
Businessperson, Film Producer, TV Program Creator
United States of America
💰 Compare Sheila Johnson's Net Worth

What is Sheila Johnson's Net Worth?

Sheila Johnson is an American entrepreneur and philanthropist who has a net worth of $850 million. Sheila Johnson earned the majority as the co-founder of television channel BET. She co-founded BET with her then-husband, Robert Johnson. Sheila and Robert were married from 1969 to 2002. Viacom acquired BET in 2001 for $3 billion. The sale made the Johnsons the first American black billionaires. Upon their divorce in 2002 Robert paid Sheila a $400 million settlement. At the time it was one of the most expensive divorces in history.

Sheila is the founder and CEO of Salamander Hospitality, which owns a number of resorts and golf clubs. Through the holding company Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Sheila owns portions of of the NHL's Washington Capitals, the NBA's Washington Wizards and the WNBA's Washington Mystics.

Sheila produced the 2013 film "The Butler," which starred Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, a former slave who became a butler at the White House. She is also the founder of the Middleburg Film Festival.

Early Life

Sheila Crump was born on January 25, 1949 in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Her father worked for the Veterans Administration and her mother was an accountant. She attended Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois then graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Black Entertainment Network

In 1979 Sheila and her husband Robert Johnson co-founded the Black Entertainment Network, which today is known as BET. BET was the first cable network aimed primarily at an African-American audience.

BET began as a two-hour-a-week programming block on the Madison Square Garden Sports Network. With an initial investment of $15,000 and a $500,000 loan, Johnson's vision was to build a platform that showcased Black culture and provided a space for Black voices that were otherwise underrepresented in mainstream media.

The network initially offered a modest slate of music videos and reruns of popular Black sitcoms but soon expanded its programming. By the end of its first decade, BET was broadcasting 24 hours a day and had become a staple in cable television, reaching millions of homes. The network's growth mirrored the rise of hip-hop in popular culture, and it capitalized on this by launching "Video Soul" and "Rap City," programs that became pivotal platforms for the genre.

BET's success filled a significant gap in television programming, but it wasn't without its critics. Some accused the network of perpetuating negative stereotypes through some of its programming choices. Despite the controversy, BET's influence was undeniable, with its annual awards show and other original programming becoming cultural touchstones.

In 2001 Sheila and Robert sold BET to Viacom for $3 billion. The sale turned the couple into the first black billionaires in American history. Upon their divorce a year later, Sheila sold her remaining shares in the company and ultimately walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars.

What is Sheila Johnson's Net Worth?

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Salamander Hospitality

In 2005 Sheila founded Salamander Hospitality a hotel management company that today owns and operates a portfolio of high-end properties. Today Salamander Hospitality owns The Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia, is perhaps their most well-known asset, an upscale resort that has received numerous accolades for its accommodations, spa, and dining. The company also owns Reunion Resort in Reunion, Florida, The Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Florida, Hotel Bennett in Charleston, South Carolina, The Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia and half of Montego Bay in Jamaica.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment

Through the holding company, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Sheila owns stakes in the NHL's Washington Capitals, the NBA's Washington Wizards and the WNBA's Washington Mystics. She is the Vice Chairman and Partner in Monumental and Managing Partner of the Washington Mystics. She is the only African American woman to be the principal shareholder in three professional sports teams.


Sheila and Robert Johnson were married for 33 years, from 1969 to 2002. They co-founded BET in 1979 and sold it in 2001. As we stated previously, she received roughly $400 million in her divorce from Robert.

In September 2005 Sheila married William T. Newman, a judge in Arlington County, Virginia. Newman was actually the judge who presided over her divorce from Johnson three years earlier.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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