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12 Richest Soap Opera Stars Of All Time Ranked

Daytime soap operas present a unique opportunity for actors — namely, the ability to pick up steady ongoing work and near-daily screen time. In a medium that includes shows that have been airing since the '60s, some of the longest-tenured actors have appeared in thousands of episodes. That's remarkable for anyone in any line of work, let alone one as notoriously fickle as the entertainment industry.

Given all that, you might be wondering just how generously soap stars are compensated. In some cases, the answer is "not as much as you might think." Side characters and small parts on a soap opera can provide great exposure for a new actor, but the pay is minimal, and the hours are often unstable. Regulars can earn a respectable salary, but they're still sometimes out-earned by professional workers such as doctors, lawyers, and software engineers.

On the other hand, it's typically a different story for the longest-serving actors on the shows that have been on the air for decades. We're talking "Days of Our Lives," "The Young and the Restless," "General Hospital," and "All My Children." These are the shows that have created the richest soap opera stars of all time, and here we're taking a look at the richest of the rich; the biggest names with the heaviest wallets. Can you guess who will steal the number one spot?

12. Alison Sweeney - $9 million

Many will recognize this face from the hit reality TV show "The Biggest Loser," but Alison Sweeney's most well-known role is Samantha "Sami" Brady on "Days of Our Lives." She joined the show in 1993 at just 16 years old; her original run ended in 2015 when she left to focus on her family and other projects, but she's since come and gone more than once as a part-time recurring cast member. (These return stints have helped push her episode count past a whopping 3500.)

Alison has put her name to a number of other projects that have contributed to her estimated $9 million net worth, such as hosting "The Biggest Loser," producing and starring in a number of Hallmark original movies, and writing books. She also has directing credits on both "Days of Our Lives" and "General Hospital."

"The Biggest Loser" is thought to have been one of her most lucrative projects, bringing in a paycheck of $45,000 per episode. However, she's not just out to make money for herself — through hosting and co-hosting six editions of the "Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon," Sweeney helped to raise over $60 million per episode for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

She's also been featured in The Los Angeles Times showing off her 4,125-square-foot home in Hollywood Hills. The cozy decor manages to pull off the "humble family home" look despite its size, and if the house's footprint doesn't make you groan with jealousy, then this probably will — her sitting room even doubles as a theater.

11. Jack Wagner - $9.8 million

For fans who follow multiple soap operas, Jack Wagner's is a face that shows up everywhere: He's amassed a total of over 1,800 episodes across "Melrose Place," "General Hospital," and "The Bold and the Beautiful" and has also appeared in a number of Hallmark TV movies and series, including the long-running "When Calls the Heart."

While definitely not a blameless character, Wagner's Nick Marone was a fan favorite on "The Bold and the Beautiful" and fans were saddened when he left the show in 2012. However, his role on "General Hospital" as Frisco Jones remains the one he's most closely identified with. As one half of the Frisco and Felicia supercouple, this character entranced audiences from 1984 to 1987, followed by a return stint in 1989-'91 and brief runs in 1994, 1995, and 2013. In a case of reality imitating art, he was married to his onscreen wife, Kristina Wagner, from 1993 to 2006.

Aside from his long and varied acting career, Wagner's estimated $9.8 million net worth has also been boosted by his work as a musician. He has released multiple albums, and his signature hit, "All I Need," reached No. 1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in 1985. In addition to acting and singing, Wagner is also a professional-level golfer. He won his first title in 1980, and took the crown in the American Century Celebrity Golf Classic in 2006. This win also earned him the spot as the "number one celebrity golfer" according to Golf Digest.

10. Charlotte Ross - $10 million

Charlotte Ross is best known for her portrayal of the character Eve Donovan in "Days of Our Lives" from 1987-1991. Since then, she has appeared in many other TV series, films, and TV movies, including long-term roles on "Beggars and Choosers" and "NYPD Blue"; more recent projects include roles and appearances on "Glee," "Nashville," and "Arrow."

Aside from her acting talent, her passion for animals has also gotten her noticed — especially when she posed nude for PETA's anti-fur campaign in 2022. (Speaking of nude shenanigans, she was also a hot topic when a partly nude shot of her "NYPD Blue" character nearly got ABC slapped with a pretty big fine.)

She was just 19 years old when she joined the cast of "Days of Our Lives," but she quickly became a fan favorite and has appeared on our screens consistently from the '80s well into the 2010s. Though she seems to have slowed down in recent years, you can follow her on Twitter to see her enjoying her estimated $10 million net worth, climbing mountains and sharing fitness tips alongside plenty of animal activism posts.

9. John Aniston - $10 million

If you think this name sounds familiar, that's for very good reason. John Aniston is Jennifer Aniston's father, and he's been in the acting business for more than 50 years. His most famous role is as Victor Kiriakis on "Days of Our Lives," which he began in 1985 and continues into the 2020s, amassing over 3,300 episodes. However, this is not his only role on "Days." Aniston actually had a year-long stint as another character, Eric Richards, 15 years prior to his career-shaping role as Kiriakis.

Aniston was born on the Greek island of Crete and moved to the U.S. at just two years old. After serving in the U.S Navy, he became an actor on both the screen and stage, eventually landing his decades-spanning role in "Days of Our Lives." Aniston's other TV appearances include "Search for Tomorrow," "Star Trek: Voyager," "Gilmore Girls," and "Mad Men."

In 2015, Aniston added to his estimated $10 million net worth by selling his 4,466-square-foot home in Bell Canyon for $1.42 million. The grounds of the 1.52-acre property included waterfalls, a swimming pool, and mountain views. In June 2022, Aniston received the Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades of work on "Days of Our Lives," which his daughter Jennifer presented.

8. Deidre Hall - $12 million

Deidre Hall began her career with "Days of Our Lives" in 1976 when she was 29 years old. Although her time with the show is split into three separate runs, having once left of her own accord and once due to budget cuts, her role as Marlena Evans has endured for more than 45 years. She is also the only soap actor on this list to top 5,000 episodes.

Before this role, she had already appeared in another big soap as the regular character Barbara Anderson on "The Young and the Restless," and also had a brief run on the medical drama "Emergency." Hall is worth a reported $12 million, and remains a beloved fixture on the set of "Days of Our Lives." In 2006, she contributed $8.5 million to this total by selling her 6,800-square-foot home in Bel Air.

The luxury home has an astonishing 11 bathrooms, an outdoor living room, swimming pool, formal dining room, and even a detached guesthouse. The building was designed and built in 1932 in the style of an English country home. It sounds like Deidre has enjoyed a much more peaceful life than her alter ego Marlene.

7. Daniel Goddard - $16.7 million

Daniel Goddard's career has taken him all around the globe on several occasions, and it shows no signs of slowing down. The actor started out in Australia with a small role on the well-known Australian soap "Home and Away." He then moved to the U.S., where he worked as a model for names such as Calvin Klein and Dolce & Gabbana

His stay in the U.S. didn't last all that long initially, because he then proceeded to snag the lead role on the fantasy show "Beastmaster" and traveled back to Australia to film it. After three years and 66 episodes, Goddard headed back to L.A. to look for more work, and he found it in the form of his most well-known role. In 2007, he became a full-time member of the "Young and the Restless" crew, playing the mysterious swapped-at-birth Cane Ashby.

While his time on "The Young and the Restless" came to an end in 2019, he has plenty to keep him busy: He has been married since 2002 and has two children, and a favorite hobby of his is go-kart racing, which he does every week. between his acting and modeling work, Goddard has racked up an estimated $16.7 million net worth.

6. Josh Duhamel - $18 million

Josh Duhamel's career encompasses not just soaps, but also huge blockbusters. He's known internationally for his role in the huge "Transformers" franchise, but many in the U.S. will know him as Leo du Pres from "All My Children," or Danny McCoy from "Las Vegas."

His original run on "All My Children" began in 1999 and ended in 2002, but he returned for two special episodes in 2011. Duhamel has starred in a range of TV shows and films, but a lot of his recent work is in voice acting for animated shows and video games. His reported $18 million net worth has been built by his extensive career, with over 60 acting credits on IMDb.

From 2009-2019, Duhamel was married to Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie, and after the breakup, he splashed a cool $2.65 million on a new home for himself. It might be referred to as a bachelor pad, but it's certainly nothing to scoff at — it has five bedrooms and four bathrooms. With plenty of space for friends, barbecues, and pool parties, there's no doubt that Duhamel enjoys himself here, but will he be looking for something new after announcing his engagement to a former Miss World America?

5. Eric Braeden - $25 million

With roughly 100 acting credits to his name, Eric Braeden has led a full career and is loved by many, most notably for his long-running role on "The Young and the Restless." It's also no wonder that he's built up an estimated net worth of $25 million. Braeden took up the role of Victor Newman in 1980 and has contributed consistently to the show for decades. Over these many years, he has appeared in over 3,700 episodes of the daytime drama.

Braeden has also appeared on the "Y&R" sister show "The Bold and the Beautiful." Another of his most famous roles of his came on the big screen: he played John Jacob Astor in the blockbuster "Titanic." Although his character's role wasn't the biggest one in the movie, he starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in their early days before they both rose to superstardom.

As an immigrated German in the U.S. during the 1960s, many of his early roles were as German soldiers in war dramas. His family had strong connections to the military, if only due to the fact that his father was once a major in the German army. According to his autobiography, "I'll Be Damned," he also survived the sinking of the MV Wilhelm Gustloff. Considering his role in "Titanic," that's certainly an interesting anecdote. Braeden also keeps up with the times — lately, he's been dedicating some of his downtime to posting TikTok videos.

4. Mark Consuelos - $40 million

One half of a soap star supercouple, Mark Consuelos reportedly shares a joint net worth of around $160 million with his wife Kelly Ripa, $40 million of which allegedly belongs only to Consuelos. The two met on the set of the show that started both of their careers, "All My Children," in 1995. They now have three adult children: sons Michael and Joaquin and daughter Lola. The couple likes to share their happiness on social media, such as on Instagram, where they commemorated their 26th anniversary.

Consuelos left the regular cast of "All My Children" in 2001, but he returned in 2010 for a special episode. His other TV appearances include "Ugly Betty," "Friends," "Law & Order," "American Horror Story," and "Riverdale." Consuelos' role as Hiram Lodge in "Riverdale" interestingly had him playing the villain, which he said he enjoyed very much.

Consuelos and Ripa, according to NY Daily News, have lived in a Soho penthouse as well as a $27 million townhouse on the Upper East Side which was apparently the second most expensive townhouse sold that year. Given that it's a recently renovated townhouse from 1882 with five bedrooms and six bathrooms, it's easy to imagine why it turned out to be so pricey.

3. Susan Lucci - $80 million

Susan Lucci is a household name in the U.S. thanks to her portrayal of Erica Kane on "All My Children." She was featured in over 1,500 episodes, and was part of the show until its ended its broadcast run in 2011. After the long-running soap came to an end, Lucci appeared on other shows, including "Hot in Cleveland" and "Devious Maids." In the early '90s, she also played a short recurring role in the popular drama "Dallas."

Her work on "All My Children "earned her an amazing 18 Daytime Emmy nominations, and she eventually won in 1999. However, her win was not without a touch of (albeit comedic) controversy. She was nominated so many times that her constant nominations without a victory were made fun of in the media. As a result, she was invited to host "Saturday Night Live," during which the cast, the crew, and even the stagehands carried around their own Emmys. She took it well and laughed it off in an interview.

In 2016, Lucci contributed to her estimated $80 million worth by selling her $20 million home in the Hamptons, a popular holiday spot for New York's elite. The 10,622-square-foot property was built in 1989 on 1.4 acres of land and has seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms, which is really just like a small hotel. Complete with its own pool and balconies looking out onto the ocean, it was definitely a house fit for "Daytime's Leading Lady."

2. Kelly Ripa - $120 million

Kelly Ripa began her 12-year run on "All My Children" in 1990, with future husband Mark Consuelos joining five years later. She has appeared in a wide range of other TV shows, including "Ugly Betty," "Hope and Faith," "Hannah Montana," "30 Rock," "Riverdale," and the film "Marvin's Room" alongside global stars Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Another role that has contributed significantly to her estimated $120 million net worth is her hosting gig on "Live with Kelly and Ryan" (formerly "Live with Kelly and Regis.") Starting in 2001 and continuing for over 20 years, she has filmed over 3,100 episodes of the American morning talk show alongside Ryan Seacrest. 

In 2010, Ripa revealed that she suffers from misphonia, a disorder that decreases a person's tolerance to certain sounds or the stimuli associated with those sounds. Despite that, she's never slowed down, and has had a busy time juggling her acting career with her family duties. This is especially impressive if you consider that as she's told it, acting isn't a passion for her, and she doesn't even like being on camera.

1. Lauralee Bell - $200 million

Taking the top spot is a true member of soap opera royalty — Lauralee Bell is a long-serving cast member of "The Young and the Restless" as well as the daughter of the couple who created it. The Bells also created "The Bold and the Beautiful," and Lauralee's father William Joseph Bell wrote on "Days of Our Lives."

In 1977, Lauralee asked for a part on her parents' show "The Young and the Restless," and was allowed to participate in filming during her summer vacations. At 13, she was given some lines, and a strong response from the fans led to her receiving a recurring role as Christine "Cricket" Blair. Although she has stepped away from the series at times to focus on other projects, she's filmed over 1,500 episodes during her tenure.

Her other projects and appearances include "The Bold and the Beautiful," "CSI: Miami," "Diagnosis Murder," and "Mistress Hunter." Bell has been married to photographer Scott Martin since 1997 and they share two children. Bell's estimated $200 million net worth was earned from her acting work and other projects, and also inherited from her parents. This inheritance is reported to include real estate in Malibu, Los Angeles, which is also where Bell and her family live.