If you didn’t already know, it likely won’t come as much of a surprise that the author of the famous Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling is the world’s richest author. Or is she? While many sources were quick to credit her writing career as the driving force behind J.K. Rowling’s net worth (which is now over $1 billion), many have argued that she can no longer claim to be a billionaire or that she never was one—including Rowling herself. So, just how rich is J.K Rowling? And with the recent release of J.K. Rowling’s new book, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, how much further will her net worth increase? Here’s some info on the world famous writer of the stories about “the boy who lived.”
J.K. Rowling Net Worth Breakdown: How Rich is J.K. Rowling?
Note: All figures are in U.S. dollars
|J.K. Rowling Net Worth||$1.0 billion (reported)|
|Estimated Value of Harry Potter Brand||$15 billion|
|Amount Grossed by Harry Potter Movies||$7.7 billion|
|Amount Made from Publication Rights to First Book||$4,000.00|
|Total Earned by First 3 Harry Potter Books by 2000||$480 million|
|Amount Donated to Charity||$160 million|
|Value of West London House||$7.0 million|
Joanne Rowling (“J.K.” is a pen name) was born in Yate, Gloucestershire, England on July 31, 1965. As a child, she was already an avid author, writing fantasy stories to read to her little sister. Many of her experiences as a youth would serve as a foundation for content in the Harry Potter series; her parents met at King’s Cross Station, her school headmaster was likely the basis for Albus Dumbledore and Hermione Granger was initially Rowling’s take on her 11-year-old self.
Her teenage years were difficult, in part because of her family situation; her mother was ill with multiple sclerosis and her relationship with her father was poor (they are currently not on speaking terms). Her mom passed away in 1990, and Rowling had never even informed her of the story she was writing about a boy wizard; Rowling’s prose was heavily effected by her mother’s passing.
The idea for what would become Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone came in 1990 during a train ride from Manchester to London. The train was delayed by four hours, during which time she came up with the idea of a boy attending a school that taught magic. The original manuscript, written on a manual typewriter, was not completed until 1995. It was actually rejected by 12 publishers over the course of a year before it was accepted by Bloomsbury Publishing at the behest of the chairman’s young daughter, who loved the first chapter.
The series would go on to be an unprecedented success, with seven novels being published. The last one, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released in July 2007. An eight-part series, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, was imagined as a stage play, with the original production beginning on July 30 and the script being released to the public as J.K. Rowling’s new book a day later, on her birthday. Films versions of the novels were also released between 2001 and 2011, with Daniel Radcliffe playing the titular young wizard. Altogether, the films have made a total of $7.7. billion worldwide, making Harry Potter the second-highest grossing film series of all time after the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A new movie based on the supplemental book, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set to be released on November 18, 2016.
Rowling is currently married to Dr. Neil Murray in 2001. She has three children; Jessica (from her previous marriage), and David and Mackenzie (who are from her current husband, Dr. Murray.) She and her family live in a house in West London valued at US$7.0 million
During the five years spent writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Rowling suffered from clinical depression (which inspired the Dementors) and contemplated suicide, as she was coming out of a failed marriage, was unemployed and had a daughter she could not provide for. As such, her writing career and success from the Harry Potter books has made for what many consider one of the best “rags to riches” stories in celebrity history!
As mentioned earlier, there has been some dispute regarding J.K. Rowling’s net worth being valued at $1.0 billion. In 2004, Forbes declared her the first person to become a billionaire (in U.S. dollars) from writing books, but Rowling was quick to respond that while she was extremely financially set , she did not have a billion dollars. She would be removed from Forbes’ list of billionaires in 2012 under the belief that her numerous acts of philanthropy and charity, combined with the high U.K. tax rate, had put her under a billion. Not bad for an author of a book series many thought would flop! Here’s to you, J.K. Rowling and happy birthday, indeed!