“He got offered $10 Million, and I got…”: Despite 2 Oscars, Hilary Swank Was Paid a Humiliating 5% of Salary of Less Popular Male Co-Star Because He Was ‘Hot’

Why was the Oscar-winning actress denied an equal pay?

"He got offered $10 Million, and I got...": Despite 2 Oscars, Hilary Swank Was Paid a Humiliating 5% of Salary of Less Popular Male Co-Star Because He Was 'Hot'


  • Hilary Swank won her first Oscar in 2000 for the movie Boys Don't Cry.
  • Her meagre salary of $3000 for the film couldn't even cover her health insurance.
  • She got offered another movie where her pay amounted to a mere 5% of the sum the male actor was offered.
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Hilary Swank demonstrates that, regardless of having achieved Oscar recognition, the challenges persist for actresses in Hollywood. Swank recently participated in a women’s dinner segment on Chelsea Handler’s Netflix talk show, Chelsea, where she discussed how her Oscar wins didn’t guarantee a smooth path in the industry.

Hilary Swank
Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank

Hilary Swank, a two-time Academy Award recipient, is celebrated for her versatility and unwavering commitment to her acting career. She secured her Oscars through standout performances in Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby. Swank’s filmography is a testament to her ability to deliver captivating portrayals in diverse roles, highlighting her acting excellence.

Also read: “She blurred the gender line”: Hidden Hilary Swank Facial Feature Helped Her Nail Transgender Role in $20M Movie That Won Her an Oscar


Hilary Swank Was Paid Only 5% Of Her Co-stars Salary

There was a period when Hilary Swank was unaware that her earnings from Boys Don’t Cry, the film that propelled her to stardom and her first Oscar in 2000, fell short of providing health insurance.

Swank said (via Insider):

“When I did ‘Boys Don’t Cry,’ I was 24 years old. I made $3,000. In order to have health insurance, you have to make $5,000. So I didn’t even know that I didn’t have health insurance until I went in and tried to get a prescription filled… I had an Academy Award, no health insurance.”

Hilary Swank has been a victim of the gender pay gap norm
Hilary Swank has been a victim of the gender pay gap norm

Swank evidently became more vigilant about her compensation as her career progressed. Following her second Oscar win for “Million Dollar Baby” in 2005, she confronted the stark gender wage gap in Hollywood.


Swank added:

“Then I win my second Academy Award, and the next couple movies later, I get offered a movie. But the male hadn’t had any kind of critical success, but had been in a movie where he was ‘hot.’ And he got offered $10 million, and I got offered $500,000.”

This amounted to a mere 5% of the sum the male actor was offered. Swank, in response, declined the role, leading to her replacement by a newcomer who received a considerably lower salary of just $50,000.

Also read: “I cut her open. You could even see the teeth”: Gerard Butler’s On-Set Freak Accident Nearly Mutilated Hilary Swank


Gerard Butler Once Put Hilary Swank In Hospital

Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank featured in one of the most best comedies, P.S. I Love You. This nostalgic yet uproarious movie revolves around a terminally ill husband who leaves heartfelt letters and surprises for his wife posthumously. Both Butler and Swank delivered exceptional performances in this memorable film.

Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler
Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler

In a scene involving a striptease, one of Butler’s suspenders unexpectedly snapped and struck his co-star directly on the forehead. This unfortunate incident resulted in the actress’s forehead swelling and bleeding, necessitating her to receive stitches. Reflecting on his filming experiences, the star of 300 once recounted this incident.

Butler said (via Dailyrecord):


“The funny thing is that there are times as an actor where you think, ‘I’m really going out on a limb here’. There are times when you’re giving a lot to a film, but I felt when I was doing that striptease that I was making a fool of myself and being ridiculous. Then at the end of all that, I injured Hilary and production had shut to be down for five days.”

The moment he grasped that he had unintentionally harmed his co-star, it triggered an emotional breakdown. While Swank was being transported to the hospital, Butler remained on the set, overcome with tears.

Also read: “Female boxing movies don’t sell”: Hilary Swank Stole $30M Movie Role That Could’ve Won Sandra Bullock an Oscar


Written by Priya

Articles Published: 286

Priya’s a skilled writer who thrives on capturing the glitz, glamour, and drama of the entertainment industry. Whether it’s writing about the upcoming movies, or delving into the behind-the-scenes dramas, she always likes to be in the know. Priya intends to do the same during her time at Fandomwire.