How This “The Big Bang Theory” Star Went From Jobless and Broke to Being Worth $20 Million

7 months ago

Melissa Rauch, renowned for her portrayal of the quirky microbiologist Bernadette Rostenkowski in the beloved TV series The Big Bang Theory, went through a tumultuous path to fame. Prior to landing the role that would define her career, Rauch had experienced a series of challenges and financial setbacks, which makes her journey all the more compelling.

Melissa’s early struggles didn’t stop her.

In the early stages of her career, Melissa Rauch faced numerous obstacles as she pursued her acting dreams in Hollywood. After moving to Los Angeles, Rauch encountered the harsh reality of the entertainment industry. Despite promising auditions and small roles in a few movies, her breakthrough role remained elusive.

Rauch attempted to get into a theater career, but quickly realized that it wasn’t exactly the L.A. crowd’s scene: “Not a lot of people showed up because not a lot of people see theater in L.A.” Overall, these initial years were marked by disappointments, casting in comedies that never saw the light of day, and even a failed attempt to become a hand model.

Landing the role of Bernadette saved her.

Rauch’s journey reached a critical point when she began to rely on unemployment checks to make ends meet. Her financial struggles had become so profound that she found herself navigating the bureaucracy of the unemployment office. The week Melissa found out she got cast in The Big Bang Theory was very dark for her. At the time, she even attended a seminar teaching her how to get a job.

Receiving the news that she got the part was extremely needed for her at the time. She recalled the moment she could share her triumph with her partner: “I stepped over the homeless man sleeping outside my building, opened the door and screamed to my husband that I got the part.”

Her rise to success came fast.

James Atoa/Everett Collection/East News

Even though Melissa were only cast for one episode at the time, it was a dream come true for her. As we now know, she made enough of a good impression to become a recurring guest star when Howard and Bernadette finally became a real couple. By the end of the season 5 of the show, the characters were married, and Bernadette became a permanent cast member.

Being an official part of The Big Bang Theory family meant that Rauch was included in award shows. In total, the actress was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award four times as part of the hit series’ ensemble. Aside from professional recognition, Melissa could also boast a sizeable salary that grew from $75,000 per episode to a whopping $500,000 by the show’s final season.

Life after The Big Bang Theory.

One of the most successful sitcoms wrapped up in 2019. It changed Melissa’s life forever and set her net worth at $20 million. While still working on the show, she’d taken up other projects, most notably voice work for Ice Age: Collision Course and Batman and Harley Quinn. In 2020 Rauch gave birth to her second child and, seemingly, decided to take a break from acting. Today, she’s returned with a bang as a lead in the revival of a popular 80s series Night Court.

Melissa’s inspiring journey and a stellar performance in The Big Bang Theory reminded us how much we loved the show. And so, in honor of one of our favorite sitcoms, we invite you to go over 14 fascinating facts about it that blew our minds the first time we learned them. You can read all about them here.


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