47-year-old actress Alyssa Milano has done a lot over the course of life - married twice, had two kids, been the subject of a USD $10-million lawsuit, helped launch the #MeToo movement, worn a dress made entirely from vegetables (yep, it was for PETA), starred in some of the most popular TV shows of the last couple of decades, and, last but certainly not least, racked up the massive fortune of $10 million. So, how did she do it? Grab a coffee, make yourself comfortable, and prepare to find out.
From Child Star to Teen Idol
What do Macaulay Culkin, Miley Cyrus, Zendaya, Jodie Foster and Alyssa Milano all have in common? You guessed it… they were all child stars. Milano broke into acting when she was just 7 years old, winning out over 1500 other young hopefuls to land the starring role of Annie in a national touring production. After spending over 18 months on the road with the company, the young actress turned to TV commercials and off-Broadway productions. By 1984, she had the experience and the ambition to turn her sights on film, landing her first-ever movie role in the award-winning coming-of-age drama, Old Enough. Despite winning praise for the role, it was landing the part of Samantha Micelli, Tony Danza's daughter on Who's the Boss?, that same year that really cemented Milano’s status as “one to watch”. She went on to star in the sitcom until 1992; by the time she left, she’d graduated from cute kid to teen idol.
During her years on Who’s the Boss, Milano cultivated a ‘nice girl’ image, an image that, by the early 1990s, she was clearly over. After leaving the sitcom that made her a household name, she spent the following few years doing everything she could do break away from her clean-cut public image, even going so far as to appear in her birthday suit in erotic thrillers like Embrace of the Vampire, Deadly Sins and Poison Ivy II: Lily. While they certainly helped her shake off her squeaky-clean appeal, the movies were hardly groundbreaking, failing at the box office and even more so with the critics. Her other choices of films, including the poorly received made for TV movies Candles in the Dark, Confessions of a Sorority Girl, The Surrogate, To Brave Alaska, and Fear, fared little better. By the mid-1990s, people were beginning to wonder what had happened to all that initial promise… until TV came back into Milano’s life with a bang, opening the doors to two roles that would cement the actress’s reputation (and finances) for good.
The Charmed Life
In 1996, Milano was offered the part of Jennifer Mancini on the Aaron Spelling drama, Melrose Place. She ended up staying for 2 seasons of the hit drama, becoming one of its most loved characters in the process. But for all its popularity, Melrose Place wasn’t the show that turned Milano into one of the biggest TV stars of the 1990s and early 2000. That honor goes to Charmed, the much-loved and (despite the re-boot) still much-missed fantasy drama that saw Milano and her costars, Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, Rose McGowan, became household names.
When Charmed premiered on The WB on October 7, 1998, it became the network's highest-rated debut episode to date, pulling in over 7.7 million viewers. For the remainder of its 8 season run, the witchy drama never lost its appeal, earning a cult following among viewers and a special place in critic’s hearts (The Huffington Post and AOL TV ranked it as "The Top 20 Magic/Supernatural Shows of All Time”, while TV Guide named it as one of "The 60 Greatest Sci-Fi Shows of All Time”).
By the time Charmed ended in 2006, Milano was a bonafide star. According to Celebrity Net Worth, she was also pulling in a massive $90,000 per episode – which, considering the show lasted a grand total of 8 seasons, goes a long way to explaining where that $10 million net worth came from.
Charmed may have ended an almost unbelievable 15 years ago, but neither Milano nor her career has gone anywhere. Unlike some child actors whose time in the spotlight is over almost before it begins, Milano is still pulling in the roles nearly 40 years since landing her first. Since her career-defining role as Phoebe Halliwell came to an end, she’s enjoyed lasting success with the likes of My Name Is Earl (2007 -2008), Romantically Challenged (2010 - 2011), Mistresses (2013 - 2014), Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later (2017), Insatiable (2019), and Grey's Anatomy (2019).
Milano may rightfully be best known as a TV star, but she’s not confined her ambitions purely to the small-screen. As well as becoming noted for her philanthropy and political activism, she’s dabbled in numerous (not to mention lucrative) side ventures over the years. In 2013, she created the comic book series Hacktivist, a book she describes on her official website as “a fast-paced cyber-thriller about friendship and freedom in a time of war". The series has proved a commercial and critical success, earning a 9.0 average user review on comicbookroundup.com.
Thanks to her status as a household name, she’s also been welcomed onto shows such as Project Runway as a host and judge and The Talk as a guest host – not to mention Cosmopolitan, Stuff, Seventeen, Cleo, Playboy, Celebrity Skin, Celebrity Sleuth, Premiere and High Society, Woman's World, Veronica, Maxim and FHM as a ‘face’. Other notable (and no doubt money-spinning) side-lines have included appearing in commercials for Wen, Candies, Veet, Hi-C and Atkins diet.
So, how exactly did Alyssa Milano achieve a net worth of $10 million? Simple - she started working at the age of 7 and, 40 years later, she’s still at it. Earning $90,000 per episode of Charmed probably didn’t hurt, either…
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee