If you grew up in the '90s, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was pretty much essential viewing. Sarah Michelle Gellar's Buffy was the hero, but as the series wore on, it was the rest of the Scooby Gang that kept us tuning in. For older millennials, the thought that the cast is now pushing 50 takes some getting used to... as does just how rich some have become. Alyson Hannigan, who played dorky teen-turned-biggest witch in the west Willow, ranks as one of the wealthiest, something that has a little to do with Buffy, and a lot to do with a little sitcom called How I Met Your Mother. Here, we take a look at just how much the actress is worth, and how she got so stinking rich.
What is Alyson Hannigan's Net Worth?
Obviously, we don't have access to Hannigan's bank accounts or financial records, but we do have access to Celebrity Net Worth, who've been nice enough to do the digging for the rest of us. According to the most recent estimate, the actress is worth the phenomenal amount of $40 million. Just to put that in perspective, her husband, Alexis Denisof, who also starred in Buffy and later in the Buffy spin-off Angel, is worth a fairly paltry $2 million. Nicholas Brendon, who played Xander in Buffy, is worth $3 million, and even Buffy herself (or Sarah Michelle Gellar, as she prefers to be called these days) is worth just $30 million. Which all begs the question of how exactly Hannigan managed to eclipse her co-stars so completely and become the richest of the lot?
Back to the Start
Taking your time to figure out what you want to do with your life can be a good thing, but there's nothing like tackling the career ladder at a young age to get the dollars flowing in. By the time she was one, Hannigan had starred in her first film (an instructional video called Active Parenting) and by the time she was a toddler, she was an old hand in front of the camera. At the age of 11, she'd already appeared in a series of national commercials for the likes of Oreos and McDonalds and was ready to take the next step toward superstardom. Her mother clearly agreed, and together, the two moved to LA. Her first big role came in the 1988 sci-fi comedy film, My Stepmother Is An Alien. Coincidently, the film also starred Seth Green, who'd later play Hannigan's on-screen boyfriend Oz in Buffy. The following year, she was cast in a lead role in the ABC sitcom, Free Spirit. When the show ended after 14 episodes, Hannigan continued to pop up on a regular basis in cameo roles on shows like Roseanne, Touched by an Angel, and Picket Fences.
The Big Breakthrough
By the mid-'90s, Hannigan was chomping at the bit for the chance to sink her teeth into a bigger role. In 1997, the chance came when she was cast as Willow Rosenberg, Buffy Summers' nerdy best friend in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After the dismal failure of the 1992 movie of the same name, no one was expecting very much from the series, but within just a few episodes, it had become compulsory viewing. The show ran for 7 seasons in total. After it ended, Hannigan continued her association with the series with occasional appearances in its spin-off, Angel. While she was still working on Buffy, Hannigan made several films aimed at the teen market, including the massively successful American Pie. After the original film became a surprise hit in 1999 (thanks in no small part to Hannigan's character Michelle Flaherty and her iconic catchphrase "This one time, at band camp…"), Hannigan returned to the franchise again in 2001 for American Pie 2, in 2003 for American Wedding, and in 2012 for American Reunion.
How I Met Your Mother
Buffy the Vampire Slayer may have been a big hit, but it was Hannigan's next major role that turned her into one of TV's wealthiest stars. Her tenure as Lili Aldrin in the massively popular sitcom How I Met Your Mother lasted from 2005 to 2014. According to Screenrant, by the time the final series aired, Hannigan was bagging a whopping $225,000 per episode. It may have fallen a little short of co-star Neil Patrick Harris' $400,000 per episode, but it still added up to a very satisfactory $5.4 million per season.
The best thing about working on two major TV shows? The syndication earnings. According to The Things, the actors of How I Met Your Mother need never work another day in their lives if they don't want to, with estimates putting the syndication earnings of the main cast at around $2 million a year. Factor in the syndication earnings from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it starts to become obvious why Hannigan is rarely pictured in public without a massive grin on her face.
Since How I Met Your Mother wrapped in 2014, Hannigan's schedule has calmed down a degree, but she's still working, still making money, and still pushing her talent in new directions. Over the last few years, some of her most notable work commitments have included hosting Penn & Teller: Fool Us, voicing the character of Claire Clancy in the Disney Junior animated series Fancy Nancy, playing Phyllis Buckman in the 2021 superhero comedy film, Flora & Ulysses, and co-hosting the comedy clip show, Adorableness.
Keeping it in the Family
Nothing dents a bank account like a divorce. Fortunately for both Hannigan's love life and fortune, she's been happily married to her Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel co-star Alexis Denisof since 2003. The couple share two daughters, Satyana Marie and Keeva Jane. Although they live primarily in Encino, CA (if you want to check out their house, watch the TV show, This Is Us, which uses their home as a set), they've spent the past couple of decades making a killing in real estate, earning several million bucks from flipping property in both LA and Hannigan's hometown of Atlanta, GA.
Unless you've got a trust fund or rich sugar daddy to fall back on, everyone has to make their money the same way - by working for it. Alison Hannigan has been grafting since she was still in diapers, steadily working her way up the career ladder to get to where she wanted to be. The end result? $40 million in the bank.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee