Here's How Much Sterling K. Brown Is Really Worth

Persistence has clearly worked in Sterling K. Brown's favor. After being an under-the-radar actor for well over a decade, he became a global superstar — thanks to a little show called "This Is Us" and other major projects. 

Long before the fame, Brown was born in St. Louis on April 5, 1976. His first taste of acting came in his freshman year of high school when he was in the play "Godspell," once telling Deadline that he never received a warm response from a crowd like that outside of sports. "I was a basketball player, football player. But this high was so pure you get bit, and you just keep chasing that," he recalled.

And that chase eventually paid off — literally. As of 2021, Celebrity Net Worth lists Brown's net worth at $10 million. But despite making his money in entertainment, he isn't a stranger to holding down jobs that have nothing to do with the arts: According to TV Guide, Brown worked in a country club as a dishwasher and was a lumberyard maintenance person while growing up. But as for that reported $10 million, how did he earn it exactly? Let's dive into how award-winning actor Sterling K. Brown has cultivated his net worth.

A major change set the wheels in motion

Picture this: A young Sterling K. Brown tells his mother, Aralean Banks Brown, that he would no longer be pursuing a degree in economics at Stanford University because he wanted to major in theater. You're probably thinking that she strongly disagreed with this decision, right? Maybe even put her foot down and convinced him to change his mind, depending on how much say-so she had in their relationship then. But neither of those things happened. Instead, Sterling received his mother's blessing, which he talked about during a 2019 interview with the Los Angeles Times. "Go with God, do your thing," he said she told him. "I've never had less than 110% support from her ever since."

Obviously, the decision to switch majors completely worked out for Brown, but he certainly wasn't making big bucks after crossing that graduation stage. That's because the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that an actor can make less than $10 an hour when they're just starting out, depending on the gig and a few other factors. And those findings were revealed many years after Sterling graduated, so he presumably could've made even less. Meanwhile, just to compare, ZipRecruiter shows that an entry-level position in finance in Los Angeles, for example, pays about $43,048 a year, which equates to $20.70 an hour — a major difference.   

Sterling K. Brown hit the stage

After graduating from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 2001, Sterling K. Brown continued to hone his acting chops in a variety of ways, and being in off-Broadway plays in New York City was one of them. And although he probably wasn't making much back then, he was able to add to his income by landing guest spots on TV, as well as small film roles. In 2002, for example, he appeared in the hip-hop romantic comedy "Brown Sugar," as IMDb shows. Then a couple of years later, he was booked on shows like "ER" and "NYPD Blue," while having a recurring role on "Third Watch" as the character Officer Edward Dade.

In a 2019 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Brown talked about taking certain jobs in the past for artistic reasons and others for financial, while emphasizing it was important for him to do both. "Sometimes you have to feed your family, and sometimes you have to feed your soul," he told the outlet. "If you want health insurance, you take guest spots. Then you do a play to make sure your muscles aren't atrophying — and it may not pay all your bills." Fortunately for Brown, he doesn't have to choose between making ends meet and being creatively fulfilled, which is probably a dream for most artists.

Ryan Michelle Bathe also rakes in the dough

If you know anything about Sterling K. Brown's wife, actor Ryan Michelle Bathethen you know she's also found a great deal of success in show business. That means Sterling is fortunate enough to be with someone who understands the challenges of the acting business and can offer suggestions while running lines with him. But acting know-how is far from the only thing that Ryan possesses. According to online estimates, she also has anywhere from $1.7 million to $4 million to her name.

Whatever the actual number might be, it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that Bathe is doing more than well for herself. That's because just like her husband, her career stretches back to the early 2000s since she appeared in shows like "ER," "Medium," and "Girlfriends." She also landed a few recurring roles, like in "Boston Legal," which of course means bigger and more consistent pay. And as of 2019, Bathe began starring in BET's "First Wives Club," so her name keeps ascending in the TV world. As Bathe shared with ET at the 2018 SAG Awards, she and Sterling met each other during their freshman year at Stanford University while living in the same dorm. They got married in 2007, have two children, Andrew and Amaré Brown. 

Sterling K. Brown landed a life-altering role

Every famous actor has a role that's made him or her a household name. For Brad Pitt, that movie was "Thelma & Louise." For Margot Robbie? That would be "The Wolf of Wall Street." For Sterling K. Brown, that project was 2016's "The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story." In the FX miniseries, Brown played Los Angeles prosecutor Christopher Darden, famous for helping Marcia Clark try O.J. Simpson for murder in the mid-'90s. Brown's performance earned a lot of praise, and if he wasn't able to demand more money before the series was released, he sure was able to do so afterward.

What's more, he won a Primetime Emmy award in 2016 for Outstanding Support Actor in a Limited Series, which probably didn't hurt his earning potential (and it would be far from the last accolade he's earned). On top of that, as noted in IndieWire, Brown landed a part in the 2017 film "Marshall," starring Chadwick Boseman, as a direct result of the Darden role. "Success for me is being able to pay the bills, being able to provide for my family, being able to have a comfortable life, and I've been able to do that. It's been more than enough," Brown told The Undefeated in 2017. "So 2016 happens, and all of a sudden, the game done changed in a big way from 'The People V. O.J' — which was a phenomenal experience."

He became even more famous after This Is Us

Okay, so we went into how much "The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story" became jet fuel for Sterling K. Brown's career since he became a big, bright, shining star afterward. Well, that rise was nothing compared to the levels of fame he'd reach playing Randall Pearson on "This Is Us," a primetime drama that premiered on NBC in 2016. The big show brings in the big money: In 2017, Variety reported that he was earning $75,000 per episode. One year later, before Season 3 began, Brown, along with other cast members, renegotiated their contracts, according to The Hollywood Reporter. So, how much did the Missouri native get in his pay raise? A hefty $250,000 per episode. With Season 3 boasting 18 episodes altogether, Brown made more money in a single season than most will make in two lifetimes.

During a chat with The Undefeated in 2017, Brown said "This Is Us" presented him with opportunities that simply weren't there before, which also meant he raked in more cash. In short, the actor explained that after "This Is Us" became a hit, he didn't have to work as hard to get major roles. "To be starting with the benefit of the doubt — what I mean by that is when I go into a room now, I'm not having to prove myself from scratch," he said. "There's an enthusiasm."

Sterling K. Brown is able to earn off his name

On top of the money that Sterling K. Brown pulled in from "This Is Us," he was also able to make even more cash off his name and level of celebrity. In 2021, for example, he appeared in a comedic spot for Cascade titled "Do It Every Night," where he plays an ultra suave version of himself. Not surprisingly, nothing is known about how much Brown was paid to be in the televised advertisement, but it's a safe guess that he didn't volunteer his time or talent. But even before that commercial, Brown starred in a series of ads to promote St. Louis tourism in 2017. 

Now, if you've ever wondered about whether or not an A-lister featured in a commercial about some cleaning product actually cleans their own home — you know, instead of hiring someone else to tackle the task for them — the following detail may be of interest: Brown and his family take on the household chores themselves. "The kids are more responsible for keeping their space clean, putting their clothes in their hamper, making sure that they make their beds and picking up their toys, that sort of thing," he explained to She Knows in 2021. "And then Ryan and I are more kitchens and bathrooms and floors. Although my oldest son will vacuum and sweep." Earning responsibility? Priceless.

He owns a place in Los Angeles

In 2017, Sterling K. Brown spoke with Architectural Digest about some major renovations he did to his house in Los Angeles, a three-bedroom, two-bath home that clocks in around 1,300 square feet. He talked to the publication about redoing the garage and turning it into a man cave, office, and temporary getaway. The space looks more like an apartment than a single room, so it only added value to the home since it was built. "[I wanted] a little bit of respite, a little bit of quiet, and a little bit of solitude," Brown said about why he had the space reconfigured.

What's more, the spot has become a place where Brown can showcase the hardware he has earned throughout his career. "Until now, I didn't have a safe space to display [an Emmy]," he told the Los Angeles Times. "It wasn't false modesty; it's very sharp. I just didn't want my 2-year-old child to impale himself on the wings. But it's nice to remind myself every once in a while that, hey, man, you won!"

As for how much the pad is worth? Well, we don't have a definitive answer, but it's safe to assume it'd set a buyer back a pretty penny, as houses in Los Angeles are some of the most expensive in the United States.

Sterling K. Brown scored a huge TV deal

Having someone support your ideas with positive encouragement is undoubtedly a wonderful thing but having someone back those ideas with cold hard cash is even better. That's what Sterling K. Brown experienced in 2018 when, as Deadline reported, he snagged a production overall deal, also called a pod deal, with 20th Century Fox TV — the studio that distributes "This Is Us." For those not in the know, a pod deal is, as TV exec Ken Basin wrote in "The Business of Television," when a non-writing producer lands an overall deal with a studio and "offers a sort of semi-independent, outsourced team of creative executives and talent scouts."

One of the projects that Brown executive produced under the deal is "Everyday Insanity," a show about families helping their loved ones through mental illness, as Variety describes. The series will fall under Brown's company Indian Meadows Productions, so he's obviously making money for being in front of the camera as well as behind it. Hey, it can be fun to wear many hats — especially when those hats help pad your bank account.

He's a ground floor investor

One of the benefits of having a lot of money is being able to make more of it by investing; trying to capitalize on your earnings when you're just trying to scrape by can be an uphill battle. As for Sterling K. Brown, he used some of his income to be an early investor in Goalsetter, a platform that teaches children about saving money. As founder  Tanya Van Court said in a statement (via PR Newswire), "Despite an increasing buying power, our Black and Latino communities are trending towards negative worth. Now is the time to teach our children to become smart spenders instead of conspicuous consumers."

In January of 2021, it was reported by TechCrunch that the company raised $3.9 million, but there's no word on how much Brown invested or how much he stands to make. But being on the ground floor of the investment puts him in a position to make more than others who got in later, which is the way investments usually go. Others besides Brown who invested in Goalsetter were his wife Ryan Michelle Bathe, NBA stars Chris Paul and Kevin Durant, as well as retired Major League Baseball player CC Sabathia. So if you factor in how much Bathe invested and how much both of them can potentially make, their investment could result in a huge payout.

And hey, getting involved with Goalsetter isn't just a way for Brown to make money — he's also helping to make a difference.