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How Much Money Melissa Rauch Really Made On The Big Bang Theory

During its celebrated 12-season run on CBS, "The Big Bang Theory" developed a legitimate reputation for populating its narrative with unforgettable characters. That, of course, includes its iconic central character who — as portrayed by Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Kunnal Nayar, and Simon Helberg — were front and center for virtually every single episode of the show from its pilot to its finale. There were, however, some key players added to the cast of "The Big Bang Theory" along the way, and few proved quite as integral to the series' narrative as Bernadette Rostenkowski-Walowitz.

The character, played to utter perfection by Melissa Rauch, debuted early in the third season of "The Big Bang Theory," and promptly became the primary romantic interest of the would-be player Howard Walowitz (Helberg). She would remain so all the way through the series' finale, with the pair eventually marrying and bringing little Walowitz children into the world. Even as Bernadette would go on to become one of the more divisive characters on "The Big Bang Theory" (at least according to Comic Book Resources), Rauch still became an irreplaceable presence in the series' esteemed cast. By series end, the actor was rightfully being rewarded as such in both screen time, and salary. Here's how much money Melissa Rauch made playing Bernadette on "The Big Bang Theory." 

Rauch reportedly made a mint during her The Big Bang Theory tenure

To be clear, it's tough to tell exactly how much money Melissa Rauch made from her 209 appearances on "The Big Bang Theory." That's primarily because we don't know precisely what she was paid for each of those episodes. According to Celebrity Net Worth, however, we know that in the early days of her "The Big Bang Theory" run, Rauch was making about $75,000 per episode. As Rauch's character became more prominent, so too did the actor's pay, with Variety reporting that, ahead of the final two seasons of "Big Bang," Rauch was pulling in roughly $200,000 per episode.

Per that same Variety report, we also know she got a major pay-bump over the series final 48-episodes, reportedly netting in upwards of $500,000 per episode. That translates to Rauch earning about $11 million dollars for each of the last two seasons of "The Big Bang Theory." And with Celebrity Net Worth reporting the actor is currently worth a cool $20 million, it's clear enough that much of Rauch's fortune was earned playing Bernadette Rostenkowski-Walowitz on the set of the CBS hit.

Rauch and the rest of her "Big Bang Theory" co-stars have, naturally, all kept busy since the show ended, with the actor herself booking roles in Steven Soderbergh's film "The Laundromat," the indie rom-com "Ode to Joy," and lending her voice to several animated projects. But there's little question that "The Big Bang Theory" is the gig that made Melissa Rauch rich.  

Rauch owes some of her Big Bang fortune to the kindness of her co-stars

As "The Big Bang Theory" continued to dominate the ratings even in the latter stages of its primetime run, much was understandably made of just how well the ensemble cast always seemed to get along on screen. Seems the love extended off-screen as well, with many fans noting as much during the cast's post-series finale appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Turns out Melissa Rauch's longtime cast mates also showed both she and Mayim Bialik some serious love behind-the-scenes by helping get the pair major raises for the final two seasons of the show. As was well-documented at the time, the core cast members of "The Big Bang Theory" (including Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Kunnal Nayar, and Simon Helberg) were each earning $1 million per episode during the show's heyday. And according to CNBC, in a near unfathomable act of solidarity with their less-tenured co-stars, each of those five actors actually said they would sacrifice a whopping $100,000 of their own per episode pay under the condition that the money go to giving Rauch and Bialik well-earned raises.