Here's How Much Uzo Aduba Is Really Worth

A former Division 1 athlete, a philanthropist, an opera singer, and an actor: Uzo Aduba is all of those things, not to mention a proud Boston native. Her folks migrated from Nigeria and eventually settled in Medfield, Massachusetts, where she grew up in what she called a "sports family" in an interview with Fast Company. After graduating from high school, Aduba took her passion for running, as well as performing, to Boston University's College of Fine Arts, where she graduated from. She was also on the track team. But all of that was years before the actor became internationally famous, which happened after she was cast on this little show called "Orange Is the New Black," which you might've heard of.

Undoubtedly, "OITNB" instantly changed Aduba's life and put her on an upward financial trajectory that she's still riding on. Celebrity Net Worth shows that she's worth $1 million. But the question is, how was all of that money accumulated? Because let's face it, Aduba hasn't been a well-known actor for that long, so racking up a seven-figure amount, assuming it's accurate, is more than impressive. So, let's take a little stroll through Aduba's life and career to see how she received all of that dough. We'll also get into how she spent some of it and dig into the post-"OINTB" projects that further boosted her bank account. Let's do it!

Uzo Aduba saved her parents a lot of money

Going away to college can reward a person with a lot of positive things outside of a degree. For most, it gives that student their first taste of independence, considering mom and dad aren't around to weigh in. Plus, college is where a lot of people meet their lifelong friends and gather memories that they'll probably access when their adult life feels too hectic. But there's another thing that going to college gives a lot of folks: a mountain of debt, which often takes years to pay off. But Uzo Aduba didn't have to pay off student debt after graduating from Boston University in 2005 because she received a track scholarship, per Yahoo! Sports.

In 2000 — one year after Aduba graduated from high school — Boston University's tuition was $33,150, per the B.U. Bridge, so it certainly wasn't a financial walk in the park. It's not clear if Aduba got a full ride for running track, but regardless, she helped her parents in the money department by allowing them to save whatever dough they would've plunked down on her tuition. And even sweeter, Uduba was able to use what she learned from running after leaving college. "I had amazing coaches," she told People in 2021. "They really put into our spirits how to take the sport and apply it to becoming good, solid humans ... I was able to bring a lot of what I learned on the track into my art and my life."

She started working in theater early on

Before a person earns that first paycheck in their chosen field, he or she probably had to start in jobs that were light years away from their passion. But if you're like Uzo Aduba, landing a job in your intended field came early. As Broadway World shows, the New England native began acting in stage plays before becoming a TV star, her first being 2005's "Abyssinia." She was in a couple of other plays after that and then landed a part in "Coram Boy," her first gig on Broadway. But Aduba's theater days didn't come without some difficult times. Plus, she had to take jobs outside of acting.

"I took roles for free. I waited tables," she told the Daily Beast in 2017. "I jumped at any available opportunity to practice my craft. ... During my time in theater, there were lows. Shows closed, unexpectedly (or worse, never opened!). The magic of landing my first role on Broadway went 'poof' in a matter of a few weeks."

As for the theater money Aduba could've made, in November 2021, Zip Recruiter showed that a non-famous theater actor can earn $23.28 an hour, which equates to $48,426 a year. So even if Aduba was making half of that back in 2005, she still was earning money as a professional actor, and that was her primary goal after leaving Massachusetts for New York City. So, score!

Uzo Aduba nearly quit acting

DJ Corchin and Dan Dougherty's book "A Thousand No's!" tells a story that a lot of dream chasers can probably relate to: "There was a little girl who had a great idea. She had the most amazing, superb, best idea ever," the book's Goodreads description reads. "NO? Wait, what do you mean NO? NO again? What is she supposed to do with all these NOs?" That seemed to be what Uzo Aduba asked herself after getting constantly turned down for acting roles at the start of her career. In fact, she received so many NOs from casting agents, as well as other challenges, she briefly considered replacing acting with academia. 

"I'd auditioned for 'Blue Bloods' but I was 20 minutes late because my representation gave me the wrong directions, so the audition was in Brooklyn and I was sobbing from the minute I left the audition all the way home," Aduba told the Daily Beast. "[I] said, 'You win, God. I quit. I hear you. This is not for me. ... If you will find a way for me to go to law school, I will go.'" Things obviously got better for Aduba after receiving those messed-up directions, and it's safe to say she's making more these days than if she'd become a legal eagle. But who was that person who gave her those wrong directions? Talk about being a ball dropper. Sheesh!

She made some green on 'Orange'

There are plenty of actors who've never received a big payday despite working in their field for many years. And it's safe to assume there are far more starving artists than actors whose bellies are filled thanks to well-paying jobs. Uzo Aduba, however, is in the minority, considering she struck acting gold when landing the part of Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren on Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black" in 2013. The role catapulted her into fame and earned her Emmy Awards in 2014 and 2015. On top of that, "Orange Is the New Black" could have been called, "Orange Is the New Way for Aduba to Get Money."  

Per Celebrity Net Worth, two "OITNB" stars made $35,000 per episode, and Danielle Brooks told The Hollywood Reporter she was making $5,000 per episode at the end of Season 1. It isn't known how much Aduba made. She told Backstage that the gig got her a SAG card, and she managed to pay off her SAG initiation fee, which was $3,000 in 2021, by the start of Season 2. The role also led to more acting jobs.

"A lot of us hadn't really worked in this medium before, and the fact that we were getting other opportunities ... outside of 'Orange' was exciting for us," said Aduba told ET Canada in 2019. "I hadn't even thought about when I started the show as far as the show being able to create such space for us in other ways or launch careers."

Uzo Aduba landed a film role

Have you ever climbed a ladder to reach something high up? If so, you've probably taken slow steps to ensure your safety. Well, climbing the metaphorical ladder of success can be even slower, as one may hang out on a single rung for a while before reaching that next opportunity. For Uzo Aduba, her next rung after being cast on "Orange Is the New Black" was a film role, playing Corrie in the 2015 musical "Pearly Gates." She secured the part while still on "Orange," which means she was earning at least two paychecks simultaneously. No word on how much the gifted actor made, but the role, as well as "Orange," led her to other huge jobs, like playing late, legendary politician Shirley Chisholm in Hulu's "Mrs. America." 

"I know this woman because I know what that feels like. I know what it feels like to have a vision for your life and for someone else to look at you and try to tell you who you are or what you're capable of," said Aduba at a press conference about playing Chisholm (via Harper's Bazaar). "I can imagine what the weight of that must look like when you're now running for the highest office in the land — forget about it being held by a woman ... but also not having been held by a person of color."

The actor got hitched

What does the 1989 movie "When Harry Met Sally" have to do with Uzo Aduba adding to her household income? Well, on September 12, 2021, the actor surprised many after revealing on Instagram that she'd been married to filmmaker Robert Sweeting for a year. Sweeting runs his own production company called Creative Destruction Films, and although his net worth isn't known, his income has only contributed to the couple's household earnings. 

While revealing the marriage news, Aduba borrowed a famous line from "When Harry Met Sally" when the character Harry Burns says, "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." "For some of us, it can feel like we spend our whole lives waiting for our special someone," she added. "My heart, my love — I'm so happy my life started last year with you. You're the best thing that ever happened to me."

In November of 2021, Aduba stopped by "Live with Kelly and Ryan" and said she kept her marriage a secret because she wanted her and Sweeting to "have some quiet time together" before letting the public know anything. The Massachusetts native also said she bought a lot of stuff from "Amazon and Etsy" for her wedding, which shows she doesn't have to shop at high-end stores to create a wedding or event that she considers "Awesome."

Uzo Aduba owns a home worth millions

When Uzo Aduba comes home after filming her shows and movies, she opens the door to a six-bedroom, 5.5-bath home in Los Angeles' Studio City neighborhood. In May of 2021, Dirt reported that she purchased the 5,028-square-foot home from famed YouTuber Safiya Nygaard for $3.1 million after Nygaard and her family relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina. The house has three floors, a living room big enough to get lost in, a movie theater, a wine cellar, an outside dining area, and a pool. The report also says that Nygaard sold the house to Aduba for $200,000 more than she paid for it nearly a year earlier. So that means the "In Treatment" star will probably make a killing if and when she sells it down the road.

One day after moving to Los Angeles from Brooklyn, New York, Aduba appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and talked about trying to find Brooklyn-like pizza and bagels in her new neighborhood. Aduba was also a guest on "Live with Kelly and Ryan" after relocating and said she made the drive to Los Angeles from New York, which shows she isn't afraid to travel outside of a first-class flight. "I have never done it before," Aduba told Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest about driving cross country. "It was definitely a bucket list of mine. ... It was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had."

She scored herself a production deal

After landing your dream job, it doesn't mean that you stop dreaming. And perhaps your next goal has to do with ownership and being able to call a shot or two. For Uzo Aduba, years after landing "Orange Is the New Black," her next big major career move was securing a multi-year production deal with CBS Studios, as Deadline reported in 2021. So now Aduba can call herself a Hollywood decision-maker, which very few people can say. 

Under the deal, the former Brooklyn resident wears an executive producer hat for the series "Low Country," in which she also has a starring role. How much she got paid for the deal hasn't been shared, but in 2014, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that even a "newbie" producer could make $250,000 or more a year. Whatever the amount, it'll do nothing more than add more zeros to her bank account.

Plus, Aduba has come a long way by scoring the deal after once saying it was hard for her to feel like she belonged on television. "It felt like I had stepped into an environment that had no place for me historically," she told The Independent. "I had seen so few examples of people like myself thrive — not just survive but thrive. I did not feel like this was a party to which I might gain an invitation." Thankfully for Aduba, her invite finally arrived, but it probably should've come way sooner.

Uzo Aduba likes designer duds

It seems that Uzo Aduba likes to splurge on clothes from famous designers and brands. The HBO star didn't exactly say that, but she expressed her love for pricey duds while speaking to Essence at New York Fashion Week in 2020. "I love De la Renta," she confessed. "I love CoSTUME National. I think they're just incredible. And I love Marc Jacobs, too, they're also great, just a great brand. ... I love seeing what's next, season after season."

Aduba also spoke about fashion with Elle in 2014 and said people seemed shocked to see her not dressed as Crazy Eyes from "Orange Is the New Black." "People are now starting to understand what I look like, versus what Suzanne looks like," she explained. "And that's a really nice change, I guess, or adjustment. Before people used to expect to see the girl in the jumpsuit with the knots in her hair — they'd think I'd just come on the subway like that. But now it's like, 'Oh, wait, that's a character she plays.' ... It's funny. I get catcalled a little." The actor then said that having people confuse her for Crazy Eyes shows that she played the part convincingly, which she's happy about. But it's clear that Aduba would rather be known for rocking De la Renta or Marc Jacobs instead of that jailhouse suit, and who can blame her?

The athlete ran for cancer research

To help raise money for cancer research, Uzo Aduba returned to her athletic roots by running the New York City Marathon in 2013 and the Boston Marathon two years later. For Boston, she was part of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team to help raise $5.2 million so more research could be done at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

"Running the Boston Marathon has been a lifelong dream, and I am proud to be supporting Dana-Farber as I make this dream come true on April 20," said Aduba in a 2015 press statement (via Business Wire). "As someone who grew up outside of Boston, I've always respected Dana-Farber's groundbreaking work in cancer research. I'm honored to be a member of their team, helping to raise money to further this work so that one day we may all live in a world without cancer."

Aduba once told the AP that when she ran the New York City Marathon in 2013, she had three people in her life who were battling cancer. But by the time she participated in the Boston Marathon in 2015, only one of them was still alive. Clearly, Aduba's heart is as big as her acting talents, not to mention her athletic ability, because she finished the 26.2-mile race in 5 hours and 3 minutes, per E! News. "The hardest part, honestly, is mile 20, mile 22," she said on "Live with Kelly and Ryan." "Somewhere around mile 18, 20, nobody's there."

Uzo Aduba is an ambassador

Uzo Aduba believes that's it's crucial to give the underserved people of the world not just assistance, but a way to help themselves for life. It's a game plan the thespian discussed with Refinery29 in 2018, the same year that she was named Heifer International's very first "celebrity ambassador to Africa." Heifer International is an organization that's looking to "end hunger and poverty in a sustainable way by supporting and investing alongside local farmers and their communities," according to its website. News of Aduba landing the role came in the same year that she visited Uganda to get an up-close look at how Heifer International operates.

"It's important because, instead of giving a handout, you're giving someone a hand up," Aduba told Refinery29. Per the outlet, "Heifer gives that hand 'up' by teaching its members sustainable farming and then gives them livestock including cows — hence, the name — helping them begin their own enterprises." When a recipient's herd of cattle welcomes its first new member, that calf is given "to a new, deserving family, continuing the growth around them." Aduba also works to help end hunger in the U.S. — in 2020, she posted a photo of herself working with the Bowery Mission, an organization in New York City that's been helping the homeless since the 1800s. Now that's giving back!