This Is How Much Money Oprah Says People Ask Her For


  • Oprah has experienced people consistently asking her for money throughout her career, with the amount they request increasing as her salary grew.
  • Despite her generosity in giving back to others, Oprah does not loan money to friends or family, as it can strain the relationship.
  • While Oprah’s net worth has fluctuated over the years, she has invested in real estate and has a substantial net worth of billions of dollars, which is why people continue to approach her for financial assistance.

Oprah Winfrey is the definition of success. From putting herself through college to working as a news anchor, hosting her own network talk show, and ultimately building an empire, Oprah is truly what people envision when they think of the American dream.

Like many who start with a small amount in the bank and have it grow to a number most would find unimaginable, Oprah has had people suddenly come out of the woodwork looking for a handout. Be it friends, family members, or even those who want the money for an investment opportunity, people look to those who have money for a handout if they can get one.

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When it comes to just how much money Oprah is asked to give, she revealed there is one number that folks continuously ask for. Whether or not Oprah gives up her money though, is for Oprah alone to know.

Oprah Says People Have Always Asked Her For Money

Given the massive wealth that Oprah has, it is not surprising that people come to her for money. What may be surprising to some is that people have been coming to Oprah since she first started a paycheck to ask for money. With every salary increase she got, the more money asked from Oprah.

“Oprah, what is the one dollar amount most people ask for if they ever do ask for anything?” a member of the paparazzi asked. “Is there one number amount?”

Oprah Winfrey at Los Angeles Red Carpet Premiere Event For Hulu's 'The 1619 Project' - Arrivals at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
Via: Instar

“Here’s what I find. People ask for money depending on what they think you have,” Oprah explained. “So when I was making $22,000 a year, people always needed $50. Then when I moved to $50,000 a year, everybody always needed $500. Now nobody needs anything less than $50,000.”

“That’s the number,” the paparazzi said. “Coming from me, it’s $5. For me, it’s five.”

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Despite the fact that Oprah was willing to reveal how much money people asked her for, she did not reveal just who came to her to ask for money. But given that it has been happening for decades, many have speculated that it is those who are closest to the mogul.

Oprah Didn’t Reveal Who Asks Her For Money

Oprah is known for her generosity in giving back to others. Oprah’s home was not destroyed in the Maui fires, but others’ lives were turned upside down. As such she gave $1,200 to each person affected by the fires for six months.

Oprah has donated millions to those who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. She has even given millions to the US Dream Academy and scores of other causes and charities, proving that Oprah has no problem letting go of her money to help others.

However, it appears that Oprah does not loan money to friends or family. It is because of this that she and Gayle King have remained best friends over the years and how Oprah controls how many people want a piece of her year in and year out.

“Just have it as a standard policy: Don’t loan friends money,” Oprah explained. “Give your friend the money and say, ‘Look, I’m just gonna do this for you, you don’t even have to pay me back.’ ‘Cause loaning friends money will cause you major issues in the friendship.”

Oprah Winfrey in a shiny suit
Via: Instar

This has been the stance that both Oprah and Gayle have followed throughout the years from the time that they were making small money in Chicago and as they moved up the ranks with paychecks that grew substantially throughout the years.

“I remember that once Billy and I didn’t have $10 to go to the movies,” Gayle explained about her ex-husband, William Bumpus.

“He was in law school and I was the only one working. So for her to pull out $482 was like, wow! She goes, ‘God, where’d this come from? You want it?’ And I went, ‘Oh, no. No. I’m good. I’m fine.’ But I’m thinking, ‘God, that would pay the light bill, the phone bill, the gas bill.’ And she just puts it back. It’s probably still in that d*** pocket. She was just extending a gesture, just being nice: ‘Oh, you want it?'”

Oprah replied, “You know what that’s like? That is incredible for somebody like me who lives in a world where everybody wants a piece of you. I mean, people feel they deserve a piece of you. Strangers think that.”

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“She’s never asked me for a dime,” Oprah said. “There is a level of mutual respect that comes from being with somebody you know doesn’t want anything from you but you. There will never be an ulterior motive.”

Oprah Is Worth Billions Of Dollars

Over the years, Oprah’s net worth has fluctuated. In 2022, it was estimated that Oprah was worth $3.5 billion. However, Oprah’s net worth has reportedly declined to $2.8 billion in 2023.

The exact reason why this happened has not been disclosed but between real estate purchases and losing some money with her Weight Watchers investment, many are speculating that this is where the loss of income came from.

Oprah has earned her massive net worth as a result of her popular daytime talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah then founded her own production company and studios and sold her show back to distributors. A move that made Oprah $200 to $300 million per year while she was still on the air.

Oprah Winfrey $2.8 billion net worth

Additionally, Oprah bought stock in King World, which distributed her show and many others on CBS. This resulted in Oprah owning 1% of CBS. As such, an empire was born.

In 2015, Oprah came on the Board of Directors of Weight Watchers. From her initial investment of $43.5 million in 2015, Oprah saw that investment grow to $400 million in 2018. Needless to say, this is how Oprah’s net worth skyrocketed in a short period.

However, after shares began to fall in price in 2019 after Weight Watchers released their earnings that were far less than forecasted, in conjunction with the pandemic in 2020, Oprah lost some of what she made with WW.

This led Oprah to sell some of her shares to the tune of over $100 million and give away more to a charity that was estimated to be worth over $20 million.

Additionally, Oprah has invested quite a bit of money in real estate. Those properties include:

Year Purchased: 1985

Location: Chicago, IL

Purchase Price: Unknown

Year Sold: 2015

Sale Price: $4.6265 million

Year Purchased: 2001

Location: Montecito, Ca

Purchase Price: $50 million

Year Sold: Lives there currently

Sale Price: N/A

Year Purchased: 2002

Location: Maui, Hi

Purchase Price: $60 million

Year Sold: Still owns property

Sale Price: N/A

Year Purchased: 2014

Location: Telluride, Co

Purchase Price: $14 million

Year Sold: Still owns property

Sale Price: N/A

Year Purchased: 2016

Location: Montecito, Ca

Purchase Price: $29 million

Year Sold: Still owns property

Sale Price: N/A

Year Purchased: 2018

Location: Orcas Islands, Wa

Purchase Price: $8.275 million

Year Sold: 2021

Sale Price:$14 million

Year Purchased: 2019

Location: Montecito, Ca

Purchase Price: $6.85 million

Year Sold: Still owns property

Sale Price: N/A

Needless to say, while Oprah may not have cash in hand, she has invested quite a bit in property over the years. Oprah has made some additions to the homes she has owned over the years, giving them a personal feel.

She has even turned a profit on the properties that she has sold. Oprah has no problem spending some of her money when something strikes her fancy.

As such, while Oprah may have lost a bit of her net worth, she is still doing quite well. This is why people continue to come to her for money to this day, looking for an easy handout.

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