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7 actors who have spoken out about not earning enough for a decent living, including 2 'Euphoria' stars

Nika King and Sydney Sweeney
"Euphoria" stars Nika King and Sydney Sweeney.Evan Agostini / AP / Elyse Jankowski / Getty Images
  • 'Euphoria' star Nika King said she couldn't afford to pay her rent after the show was delayed.

  • 'Euphoria' season three won't premiere until 2025, affecting King's income.

  • Other actors have also described struggling to earn enough.

"Euphoria" star Nika King said she can't afford to pay rent because the show was delayed.

And she isn't the only actor in Hollywood who has struggled despite being in recognizable shows.

King starred as Leslie Bennett, the mother of Zendaya's Rue, in the hit HBO series. Although HBO renewed "Euphoria" in 2022 after its second season, season three won't premiere until 2025.

During a standup show at the Hollywood Improv, King said she needs "Euphoria" to return to pay her rent.

"People are like, 'We need season three,' and I'm like bitch, I need season three. I haven't paid my rent in six months," King said, according to a video she shared on TikTok. "And Zendaya's over in Paris at fashion week, and I'm like, bitch come home! I need you. Momma needs you."

Despite her lighthearted tone, King said she was serious about her money woes. King added that she hasn't been able to book another role since "Euphoria." King did have a small role in the 2023 movie "65," but it is unclear when she was cast.

"I thought my career was on the rise after 'Euphoria.' I thought I was good. It don't work that way," King said.

Here are six other actors who have spoken about not earning enough from acting.

Sydney Sweeney

Sydney Sweeney arrives at 2023 Variety Power of Young Hollywood, Thursday, Augugst 10, 2023, at NeueHouse Hollywood in Los Angeles.
Sydney Sweeney in August 2023.Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Sydney Sweeney was one of the breakout stars of "Euphoria," nominated for numerous Emmy awards, and even starred in the latest Marvel movie, "Madame Web."

However, in 2022, Sweeney told The Hollywood Reporter that she wasn't financially stable despite her success.

"If I wanted to take a six-month break, I don't have income to cover that," she said. "I don't have someone supporting me, I don't have anyone I can turn to, to pay my bills or call for help."

Sweeney said her career path required spending her own money on things like press tours, which are not always covered by networks or streaming platforms.

"They don't pay actors like they used to, and with streamers, you no longer get residuals," She said. "The established stars still get paid, but I have to give 5% to my lawyer, 10% to my agents, 3% or something like that to my business manager. I have to pay my publicist every month, and that's more than my mortgage."

Sweeney said she also had to take on brand deals to earn extra money.

"If I just acted, I wouldn't be able to afford my life in LA. I take deals because I have to," she said, explaining that she could only buy a house in LA after five years of constant work.

Sweeney also expressed her wish to start a family but was worried that she could not afford to take a break from work to have children.

"I was worried that, if I don't work, there is no money and no support for kids I would have," she said.

Sebastian Stan

Sebastian Stan
Sebastian Stan has starred in seven Marvel movies.Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

Sebastian Stan made his Marvel debut in the 2011 movie "Captain America: The First Avenger," but his financial situation didn't change immediately after the film.

"About a month later, I had a call from my business manager telling me I had a month left to figure out how I was going to pay my rent," Stan told "Entertainment Tonight" in 2021, around 10 years after the fact. "So, perception is always interesting, isn't it? Nobody ever knows what the fuck is really happening."

He said that he was doing better at the time of the interview with 10 years of Marvel credits behind him.

Dianne Wiest

Dianne Wiest in 2019.
Dianne Wiest in 2019.Roy Rochlin / Getty Images

Two-time Oscar winner Dianne Wiest told The New York Times in 2015 that she was struggling to find jobs to pay her rent.

"I have to move out of my apartment soon," Wiest said. "I think that if it's meant to happen, it will happen. Which is I guess a real sign of stupidity."

At the time, Wiest had turned to theater to book roles. But since 2015, she has starred in numerous movies and two TV series.

Mara Wilson

mara wilson
Mara Wilson starred in "Matilda" and "Mrs. Doubtfire" as a child.Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Shorty Awards

During last year's SAG-AFTRA union strike, which lasted from July to November 2023, some actors came forward about how little they were earning.

Former child star Mara Wilson said in July 2023 that she hadn't made enough "to qualify for SAG-AFTRA healthcare" despite acting in several TV series.

According to numerous actors, including Matt Damon, the minimum an actor must earn to qualify for healthcare is $26,000 annually.

"I haven't acted much as an adult, but I WAS on a recurring character on one of the most critically acclaimed animated shows of all time, as well playing an actual Disney villain," Wilson wrote on X, referring to "Bojack Horseman" and "Big Hero 6: The Series."

Billy Porter

Billy Porter attends the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards on September 12, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey.
Billy Porter attends the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards on September 12, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey.Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Billy Porter told London's Evening Standard newspaper in August 2023 that he had to sell his house during the SAG-AFTRA strikes because he wasn't sure when he would be able to work again.

"The life of an artist, until you make fuck-you money — which I haven't made yet — is still cheque-to-cheque," he said. "I was supposed to be in a new movie, and on a new television show starting in September. None of that is happening."

During the interview, Porter criticized studio executives, including Disney's CEO Bob Iger.

"To hear Bob Iger say that our demands for a living wage are unrealistic? While he makes $78,000 a day?" he said. "I don't have any words for it, but: fuck you."

Matt McGorry

matt mcgorry
Matt McGorry at Elle's 24th Annual Women in Hollywood Celebration, October 2017.Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Some "Orange Is The New Black" actors also came forward in July 2023 and said they were paid little for the Emmy-winning series.

Matt McGorry, who played prison guard John Bennett, wrote in the comments of a TikTok video that he had to get a day job while filming the show.

"I kept my day job the entire time I was on the show because it paid better than the mega-hit TV show we were on," McGorry said.

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