Sean Hannity Is Worth A Lot More Money Than You Think

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It would be hard to imagine Fox News without Sean Hannity, the controversial newscaster who has amassed an overall net worth of $250 million and has used his show to bolster the likes of Donald Trump, all while using the network to push his right-leaning beliefs.

When we ponder the awesome power that is cable news — for all its pros and cons — the landscape truly wouldn't look the way it does today without Fox News. Often pitted against the likes of CNN and MSNBC, the Roger Ailes-founded media conglomerate has arguably redefined the expectations of pundit and opinion-based broadcasting, often siding with right-wing politicians and public figures in their pursuits. With the likes of Bill O'Reilly and Tucker Carlson having called Fox News home, it's no secret that the hosts on the network have become celebrities in their own right. That list, of course, includes Hannity.

Famously, Hannity does not consider himself a journalist, but making it big on a news network has certainly boosted his public image (via The New York Times). From working with Trump as an adviser to joining political hopeful Dr. Oz "behind the scenes" to help him reach office, Hannity is in his own lane — and thriving financially as a result. Per Celebrity Net Worth, Hannity takes home $45 million annually. So how did he get there?

The controversial host had a modest childhood

Sean Hannity was born in the very liberal New York City in 1961 to his parents, Hugh Hannity and Lillian Flynn. He was the youngest of four, and his parents navigated life — and his upbringing — as first-gen Irish Americans (via Irish Central). Sean's father found employment as an officer of family courts, while Lillian worked as a stenographer. The Hannity's had a very normal, "modest" house located in Franklin Square, and by all accounts, were an ordinary family, according to Irish Central.

Sean didn't come from a wealthy upbringing, or from a family with immense influence (like he has today). Instead, he spent his youth "bored ... to tears" in school and often skipped class to bum a cigarette off a friend instead, as he told The New York Times. By the time he was 11 years old, he'd started taking shooting lessons, and he attributes the experience to fostering his "love of guns," according to the publication.

Sean Hannity had odd jobs as a teenager, all while tuning into the radio

So many of us recall working odd jobs as teenagers and collecting minimum wage while doing so, and Sean Hannity was no exception. During an extensive interview with The New York Times, Hannity revisited his Franklin Square neighborhood and divulged information about his teenage years — and the side hustles he had along the way. As he recounted, Hannity worked delivering newspapers on a bicycle, no less, and then made his way into the hospitality business. At just 17 years old, the Fox News host found employment as a bartender (yes, even at that young age), and through that job found his dedication to work.

"I think in my life, I'm just a worker bee," Hannity told The Times, recounting that in his off-hours, he turned to the likes of Barry Farber and Bob Grant — then two local radio hosts who veered to the right side of the political spectrum. "It was never, 'Turn off the television!'" Hannity said of his parents. "It was: 'Turn that blankety-blank radio off now! Turn it off!' And I'd say, 'Fine,' and then my parents would leave, and I'd put it back on."

Hannity and his sister opened a wallpaper business in the 1980s

As Sean Hannity himself has said, he is not a journalist. As noted by The New York Times, Hannity attended both New York University and Adelphi University, but by the 1980s, he had abandoned his academic pursuits and dropped out after just two years. With no degree and not a ton of professional experience, the Hannity and his sister, Teddy Grisham, put their heads together and left New York, venturing to Rhode Island to persue a new line of work.

While it may come as a surprise — given that we know Hannity for his radio and television pursuits — the host and his sister started a wallpaper and design business while in Rhode Island, paying the bills with the unique line of work. In his interview with The Times, Hannity admitted that while he was waiting for a new job, he would turn to novels and written material by the likes of Taylor Caldwell, a member of the controversial John Birch Society. The author, Hannity admitted, is still a cherished writer.

A 27-year-old Hannity took an unpaid position at a California radio station

From New York to Rhode Island to California, Sean Hannity spent his early career years trying to find his footing. While he continued working in the home decor space — he tried his hand at wallpapering, contract work, and house painting — Hannity sought after bigger and better things, eventually landing a job at the KCSB radio station in Santa Barbara, California. The catch? It was unpaid, as detailed by The Washington Post.

In his application to the station, the young Hannity detailed his professional aspirations, telling his future employer that he was "a serious intellectual," despite not having finished his undergraduate degree. "It's my hope to make radio a career at some point," Hannity then wrote. "[I have] developed a lot of discipline and good-working habits."

He must've said something right because the 27-year-old got the gig and took to the air on Tuesday mornings at 9 a.m. It was at the station in the solidly liberal town that Hannity started to garner attention, but it wasn't for the most heartwarming of reasons.

Hannity started to cast himself as a controversial figure, and lost his radio job as a result

So at this point in his career, Sean Hannity worked in the home improvement arena and had an unpaid position at a Santa Barbara radio station — not exactly bringing home the bacon, but things were looking up, right? Not exactly. As noted by The Washington Post, Hannity started to make some seriously offensive comments while on the air (not entirely surprising given his m.o.) and was soon under pressure from the station. On the air he claimed, "Contrary to what we hear in the general media, you can get AIDS from saliva, from tears. . . . They won't let you say it's a gay disease." He also engaged in a back-and-forth with a guest who made derogatory and false claims about how AIDS is spread.

During an appearance on the "Shoot This Now" podcast, Hannity reflected on those early days hitting the airwaves (via The Wrap). "Almost 30 years ago when I was starting out in radio in my 20s, I interviewed a controversial guest who made several incendiary comments. I was young and stupid with no clue how to do a show," Hannity later stated about the incidents. "I freely admit the comments in my 20s were ignorant and embarrassing."

The young radio host lost his job at the station as a result of his on-air behavior and went to the ACLU to help him in the case. Ultimately, he was offered his job back but he turned it down.

The radio host accepted a low-ball offer to be on the air in Alabama

While Sean Hannity worked an unpaid radio gig in California, he certainly caught people's attention. As a result, his name spread a bit like a brush fire and made it all the way to Alabama, where radio guru Bill Dunnavent was searching for on-air talent. It was the 1990s, the Fairness Doctrine – establishing balanced political perspectives on radio and television news — had been killed, and Dunnavent was wading into a new swamp: "highly opinionated political talk radio," as detailed by The Washington Post. More than 50 people applied for the position at Alabama's WVNN, and one stood out among the others: Hannity.

"I hired Sean because he had enough guts to stand up for his convictions and because he sounded different from everybody else in our area," Dunnavent admitted, of both Hannity's on-air style and his existing New York accent. The young pundit's new boss gave him the ground rules: "We don't talk about religion, and we don't talk about abortion," and paid him $19,000 a year. Not great, but still better than being unpaid — we can all agree on something.

Sean Hannity launched his career at Fox from the network's very beginning

It probably doesn't come as a shock to learn that Sean Hannity made a name for himself as a controversial commenter on the airwaves, and as cable news began to pick up speed, his agent — David Limbaugh — knew exactly where to turn. If the name Limbaugh rings a bell, it's because David's brother, Rush Limbaugh (you just had your ah-ha moment) was working with Roger Ailes on the newly minted Fox News. With the backing of Rupert Murdoch, the network was kicking off with a bang and was looking for fresh talent — Hannity, of course, came knocking, as detailed by The New York Times.

After being encouraged to apply to the new network by his agent, Hannity found himself in no other place than back in New York, sitting in Ailes' office. "Roger goes, 'Great, you're going to do a debate show,'" Hannity recalled to The Times. "And that's all it took. My life changed forever."

While it's unknown how much money Hannity was offered in those early days, he was offered the 9 p.m. on-air vacancy, with the intention that he and an unchosen co-host would debate the news of the day. What a gig!

The conservative host was balanced out by Alan Colmes but later took on a starring solo role

Sean Hannity is now known for making millions annually, but he had to start somewhere. While his take-home pay from those early days at Fox News remains unknown, he had quite the spot on "Hannity & Colmes," the debate-centered show that aired at 9 p.m., pitting Hannity against the much softer spoken Alan Colmes.

As explained by The New York Times, Colmes' gig almost went to Joe Conason, a talented investigative journalist who could certainly hold his own. But according to Patrick Halpin, who became a common face on the show, the network was looking for someone much weaker than the bulldozer Hannity.

"I came to the conclusion that Roger [Ailes] wanted a handsome, smart conservative on one side and a nerdy liberal on the other," Halpin said, shortly after Colmes passed away in 2017. "Alan, God rest his soul, was smart and knowledgeable, but he wasn't Joe, who would've been too strong for Hannity." "Hannity & Colmes" lasted from 1996 until January 2009, becoming just "Hannity" from there on out.

Sean Hannity's radio show makes up a good chunk of his change

Just because Sean Hannity made the transition to television doesn't mean that he gave up his radio roots. After joining Fox News in the 1990s, Hannity continued to take to the airwaves, and "The Sean Hannity Show" was born on September 10, 2001 (via CBS News). Since then, the show has become accessible via more than 500 countrywide radio stations, with the host seriously profiting from it, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In 2004, Hannity scored a $25 million deal that carried the show for an additional five years, syndicated by ABC Radio. By 2008 — just a year before his original contract came to a close — the host signed for an additional $100 million and another five years on the air.

From airing on the likes of Apple Podcasts, Los Angeles' KROQ radio station, iHeart radio, Audacy, and countless more, the show — and the host — clearly have adoring fans. As noted by Audacy, in fact, "The Sean Hannity Show" draws in about 13.5 million listeners every week, and Hannity himself has won three Radio & Records National Talk Show Host of The Year awards.

The host scored a huge book deal with Simon & Schuster in 2019

From making $19,000 a year to be on the air to signing a $100 million deal to stay on the radio waves, Sean Hannity clearly elevated his star status in a big way. But he didn't just stay confined to radio or television. By 2010, he had penned three best-sellers (via CNN). And in 2019, CNN reported that the host had collected an advance from popular publishing coempany, Simon & Schuster, for upwards of $10 million. Hannity denied any news about a book in the works at the time, with a Fox News spokesperson commenting, "For years, there has been widespread publisher interest in Sean Hannity writing another book, but only he knows what his plans are at this time. Hannity has NOT inked any book deal."

Flash forward to August 2020, and Hannity's book titled "Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink," was released. But here's the question: Was Simon and & Schuster behind the publication? As it turns out, the answer is a resounding yes. The publishing company's imprint, Threshold Editions, published Hannity's 2020 release, calling his previous claim about not pursuing a book deal into question.

Sean Hannity purchased a New York home with his then-wife in 2003

In 2003, Hannity and his then-wife, Jill Rhodes, purchased a home in Suffolk County, New York, as noted by real estate site Dirt. We use the term "home" lightly here, as we should really be saying small mansion. Dirt noted that the property in question boasted 4,824 square feet, adorned with four bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, a three-car garage, six fireplaces, and marble flooring just about everywhere. The house is tucked away among mature trees.

Suffice to say, the property was exceptional, but all good things come to an end eventually. By 2014, the home was on the market, listed for $3.6 million. Admittedly, Hannity and Rhodes had been spending much more time in their Centre Island home, described by Dirt as "a larger and much more expensive mansion." The publication referenced the Suffolk County Tax report, noting that Hannity dished out about $57,000 a year in property taxes, but that surely was only a splash in his $250 million net worth pond.

The radio host started building a real estate empire in 2013

Where does the famous Fox News host vacation? Honestly, could it be anywhere other than Florida? The Tampa Bay Times noted that Hannity was just one of a number of prominent Republicans to buy property in the Sunshine State, dropping some serious cash on a penthouse in Naples, Florida. Hannity has also invested millions into real estate properties, apartment complexes, and homes across the country.

By 2018, Hannity had a real estate portfolio worth about $90 million, as noted by Celebrity Net Worth. Not only did he buy a huge amount of property in 2013 (many of which were foreclosure properties), Hannity pursued low-income purchase opportunities and upper-class sales, rounding out his portfolio with almost 900 properties spanning seven states. If those weren't enough, the host also owns two apartment buildings in Georgia, where the going rent ranges from $700 to $1,000 a month — imagine Hannity being your landlord.

Sean Hannity and his wife divorced in 2020

Sean Hannity makes his money — and name — by sharing his unfiltered thoughts on television and over the radio waves, but the news personality is surprisingly private when it comes to his personal life. In a shocking turn of events, Hannity and his wife, Jill Rhodes, announced in 2020 that they were getting divorced after more than two decades of marriage, divulging that they had been separated for years at that point.

"Sean and Jill are committed to working together for the best interests of their children," the couple revealed in a joint statement provided to Page Six. "Amicable agreements were entered into over four years ago between Sean and Jill." While their statement didn't divulge a reason for their separation, a friend reportedly commented that Hannity's commitment to Fox News and his "workaholic" tendencies were partially to blame.

So what did the divorce do to Hannity's overall net worth? Honestly, not much, from what we can tell. TV Star Bio noted that Rhodes, a journalist, has a net worth of $5 million on her own. Cheat Sheet further detailed that given the couple's children were over the age of 18 when they divorced, no child support was to be expected.

A fellow radio host asserted that Sean Hannity could lose millions if he's not careful

Throughout the course of his life, Sean Hannity transformed from a kid born into a modest family to an unpaid (and fired) radio host, to a multi-millionaire collecting $45 million a year. To say that his financial growth is impressive is an understatement, but not everyone feels as though the host's finances are secure. Chip Franklin, a fellow radio host, crossed paths with Hannity in New York, as they were both conservative-pushing pundits. As he told The Washington Post, Franklin is now a liberal supporter and has moved the political ideology of his show accordingly, but the same honesty — in his opinion — can't be said about Hannity.

"I know Hannity knew that Obama was born in the United States. I know Hannity has the same facts we all do about the crowd size at the inauguration or the Russian connection," Franklin said of Hannity's most well-known on-air fibs. "I know that because I knew him in New York and he was always a conservative, but not like this."

In Franklin's perspective, Hannity "got in this boat" of conservative media and failed to realize how powerful "the current was." He continued, saying, "People adore him now. Nobody around him wants him to change. So he doubles down. He can't go against his audience because he'll lose millions of dollars."