Last Updated: December 20, 2023
Richest CelebritiesSingers
Net Worth:
$12 Million
Sep 11, 1970 (53 years old)
Washington, D.C.
5 ft 4 in (1.65 m)
Singer, Actor
United States of America
💰 Compare Taraji P. Henson's Net Worth

What is Taraji P. Henson's Net Worth and Salary?

Taraji P. Henson is an American actress and singer who has a net worth of $12 million.

Taraji P. Henson's career is a blend of remarkable talent, versatility, and tenacity. Henson made her film debut in "Streetwise" (1998) and gained significant recognition for her roles in "Hustle & Flow" (2005) and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (2008), the latter earning her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. In 2016, she portrayed the brilliant mathematician Katherine Johnson in "Hidden Figures," a role that contributed to the film's major box-office success and critical acclaim​.

Henson's television career is equally impressive. From 2011 to 2013, she co-starred in the CBS drama series "Person of Interest," and from 2015 to 2020, she starred in the Fox drama series "Empire." Her portrayal of Cookie Lyon in "Empire" brought her widespread recognition, a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama, and Primetime Emmy nominations in 2015 and 2016. She also received Emmy nominations for her roles in the Lifetime movie "Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story" (2011) and for a guest role in the ABC sitcom "Abbott Elementary" (2023)​.

In 2016, Time named Henson one of the 100 most influential people in the world, recognizing her significant impact both on and off-screen. That same year, she released her autobiography, "Around the Way Girl," a New York Times bestseller, further showcasing her diverse talents. Henson's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, received in 2019, is a testament to her enduring influence in the entertainment industry​.

Henson has also produced and hosted a variety of holiday specials for Fox and starred in notable films such as "Proud Mary" (2018), "Tyler Perry's Acrimony" (2018), "Ralph Breaks the Internet" (2018), and "What Men Want" (2019). Her portrayal of civil rights activist Ann Atwater in "The Best of Enemies" (2019) highlighted her ability to take on challenging and transformative roles.


Here is a list of known salaries earned by Taraji P. Henson:

  • $150,000 – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
  • $500,000 – The Family That Preys (2008)
  • $175,000 per episode – Empire (2015 -2020)

Taraji has been very vocal throughout her career about salary disparities in Hollywood. One of the most notable examples occurred ahead of filming what became the 2008 movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Taraji was the third-billed person on the cast, behind only Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, who both earned paychecks in the $5-10 million range. Henson was initially offered $100,000 for the part. She pushed back on the studio's initial offer, hoping to get $500,000. In the end the studio agreed on $150,000. Taraji would later reveal that after 50% went to taxes and another significant chunk went to her managers and agents, she netted just $40,000 for her work on the movie. During a 2021 appearance on "The Real" Taraji talked about her Benjamin Button salary:

"When you start making that kind of money Uncle Sam takes 50 percent, so let's do the math. So that leaves me with 75 [thousand], then I have to pay another thirty percent to my team who did all the work to get me that job. So, I don't pay them 30 percent of the 75 [thousand], no, no no, I pay them 30 percent of the 150 [thousand]. So what does that compute to?"

In a December 2023 interview with Gayle King, Taraji expresses further frustration about Hollywood salaries:

"When you hear someone go, 'Such and such made $10 million,' that didn't make it to their account. Off the top, Uncle Sam is getting 50%. Now have $5 million. Your team is getting 30% off what you gross, not after what Uncle Same took. Now do the math. I'm only human. Every time I do something and break another glass ceiling, when it's time to renegotiate I'm at the bottom again like I never did what I just did, and I'm tired. I'm tired. It wears on you. What does that mean? What is that telling me? If I can't fight for them coming up behind me then what the fuck am I doing?"

Taraji credits Tyler Perry for being the first person to pay her $500,000, a salary she received for 2008's "The Family That Preys."

For "Empire," Taraji earned $175,000 per episode. Assuming she earned that salary for the entire series run, 102 episodes, that works out to a gross of $17.85 million. Using her previous math, Taraji would have netted roughly $4.65 million from all work on the show.

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Early Life

Taraji Penda Henson was born on September 11th of 1970 in Washington, D.C. She was raised alongside two siblings and shared an especially deep relationship with her grandmother. Taraji means "hope" in Swahili while Penda means "love." Henson graduated from high school in 1988, and she then attended North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to study electrical engineering. She soon had a change of heart, however, and transferred to Howard University to pursue an acting education. She paid for her tuition with a number of jobs, including working at the Pentagon and on a cruise ship.


After graduating from Howard University, Henson experienced early success as an actress with a breakout role in the film Baby Boy alongside Tyrese Gibson. This 2001 role put Henson on the map, and she followed up in 2005 with a role in Hustle & Flow. She played the love interest of the lead character, and the film won multiple awards.

In 2008, Henson was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress after appearing in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. That year, she also appeared in Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys before taking a role in 2009's I Can Do Bad All By Myself. She also appeared in the 2010 remake of The Karate Kid, which was a commercial success despite poor reviews.

Next, Henson played the central role in Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story, earning an Emmy Award for her performance. In 2012, she joined the cast of Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man and its sequel in 2014. Hidden Figures is perhaps one of Henson's best-known films, and the 2016 movie was nominated for various awards. During 2018, Taraji P. Henson appeared in films such as Proud Mary and Acrimony before taking a voice acting role in Disney's Ralph Breaks The Internet. In 2019, she starred in What Men Want, a reboot of the Mel Gibson film What Women Want.

Over the years, Henson has appeared in a wide range of television series. She has taken guest-starring roles in shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and House. Henson also booked recurring roles on shows such as The Division and Boston Legal. Perhaps her best known recurring role was in the critically acclaimed show Empire. This 2015 series helped Taraji P. Henson achieve an even higher level of fame, and she gained widespread recognition for her acting talents. Thanks to her work on Empire, Henson won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in 2016.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Personal Life

Henson has one son, Marcell, who was born in 1994. His father was Henson's high school sweetheart, but he was murdered in 2003. In 2014, her son was detained by police officers, who found marijuana and Ritalin without a prescription in his car. After initially complaining that her son had been racially profiled, Henson backtracked on her statements and apologized to the police.

Taraji P. Henson announced in 2017 that she had switched to a vegan diet in an effort to avoid stomach cancer. She had previously posed nude for PETA in 2011, and later in 2013 (non-nude).

Real Estate

In May 2015, Taraji paid $1.5 million for a condo in Chicago. She sold this unit in 2018 for right around the same amount as she paid. She owns a different unit in the same building, which cost $1.9 million in 2017.

Out in LA Taraji owns two properties. The first, in Glendale, was bought in 2002 for $431,000. In 2016 she paid $6.45 million for a private mansion up in the hills above Hollywood.

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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