It was not until Terry Crews became an actor that he reached financial freedom.


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Before the fame, Terry Crews was an athlete in the NFL, drafted by the Los Angeles Ram as an 11th round pick in 1991, according to ESPN.

Crews would go on to play for teams including the San Diego Chargers, Washington Redskins, and Philadelphia Eagles.

Per NPR, Crews played for just three seasons over the course of seven years. However, the achievement of playing in the league was not as “glamorous” as it may seen.

“My NFL career was not glamorous at all,” Crews said, according to NPR. “It was kind of like being a roadie in a band that was kinda never going anywhere.”

There were financial setbacks for the athlete at this time. While practicing for a limited time with the Green Bay Packers in 1993, he earned $150 a week, CNBC Make It reports.

“I would have made more money at McDonald’s,” Crews said, according to the outlet. “That’s the reality.”

As a way to stay afloat, Crews painted portraits of ex-teammates and earned $5,000 for each one.

“When I got cut [from a team, I’d] go back in the locker room and ask the players if they wanted their portraits painted,” Crews explained, per CNBC.

When he retired in 1997, Crews moved back to Los Angeles because he was interested in the entertainment space. Initially, he was relying on a loan from a former teammate to support himself and his family.

When the assistance fizzled out, Crews then began sweeping factory floors for $8 per hour. The job would lead to his breakthrough.

“I had $64 at the end of the day. I went, ‘Oh my God, I actually made this money on my own.’ I was never broke again. I never stopped working,” Crews expressed on “Money Talks” for CNBC Make It.

Afterward, Crews took a security job with a higher salary, earning $12 per hour. The position was on movie sets, which helped him break into the entertainment industry. His first gig was game show “Battle Dome,” and it opened doors to brief stints in “Training Day” and “Friday After Next,” according to NPR.

As the saying goes, the rest is history. Crews is a recognizable talent, known for roles including “White Chicks,” hit sitcom “Everybody Hates Chris,” starring as Julius Rock, and being the host of “America’s Got Talent.”


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He has remained in the entertainment space for over two decades and has amassed a net worth of $25 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

“I have more money now than I ever had in my entire life … because people understand equity and honor,” Crews explained, according to CNBC. “People make money, but if they don’t have any equity or honor, it all falls away — and that sounds real existential or spiritual, but it’s for real.”