What is Judge Judy’s Net Worth and Salary?

Judith Sheindlin, better known as Judge Judy, is an American family court judge and television star who has a net worth of $440 million. Though people point to “The Real World” as the beginning of reality television as we know it, there has been one form of reality television that has been around longer. Television shows that focused on (supposedly) real people, suing each other over a variety of issues, have been around since before television existed. Court “dramas” that were originally broadcast on the radio, moved to television, and have been popular since the mid-1940s. The court show that laid the groundwork for court programming today, was the semi-popular show, “The People’s Court” which aired from 1981-1993, and then returned in 1997. However, the reigning queen of court shows is the immensely popular series, “Judge Judy”, presided over by retired Manhattan judge, Judith Sheindlin. After debuting in 1996, “Judge Judy” aired 6,280 episodes over 25 seasons before ending in July 2021. The show consistently made Judy the highest paid person on television, by a mile.

In 2022, Judge Judy won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Program making her the only television arbitrator to win the award for more than one court show (three for Judge Judy and one for Judy Justice).

Judge Judy Sheindlin Salary

Judy is one of the highest-paid entertainers on the planet. At the height of her syndicated show, she earned $47 million per year. Her salary in 2005 was $15 million per year. She renegotiated that contract in 2010 and the result was her nearly $50 million annual salary.

Judy has discussed the secret to negotiating her enormous $47 million salary. Here’s how it went down:

  • First Judy wrote her desired annual salary on a piece of paper.
  • Next, she placed that piece of paper in an enveloped and sealed it.
  • Then she slid that envelope across the table over to the CBS executive in charge of talent compensation at the conclusion of a lunch meeting.
  • And, finally, she wouldn’t take no for an answer.

When the syndicated show was airing, Judy worked roughly 52 days a year. That translated into around $900,000 per workday.

Re-Run Sale

During her 2015 contract negotiations Judy slipped in what seemed like a simple demand – she wanted CBS to give her the rights to her entire library of old episodes. At the time, CBS didn’t think much of giving into that demand because the studio didn’t think there would be much of a demand for her old episodes.

Between June 2017 and June 2018, Judge Judy made $147 million. The extra $100 million came from a one-time windfall after CBS ended up buying back all of those old episodes.

Early Life

Judge Judy was born Judith Susan Blum in Brooklyn, New York. Her married name is Judy Sheindlin. She went to James Madison High School and then attended American University in Washington, DC. After completing her college degree in government at American University, Judge Judy began her law degree at Washington College of Law, where she was the only female in her class of 126 students. She subsequently completed her law degree at New York Law School.

Law Career

After passing the bar examination in 1965, she was immediately hired as a corporate lawyer for a cosmetics firm. Judy was dissatisfied with the job and left after two years to raise her two kids. Starting in 1972, she served as a family court prosecutor for 17 years. She then became a judge in the criminal court and the supervising judge in the family court system in New York. In her role, Judy prosecuted domestic violence and child abuse cases. She was known for her no-nonsense attitude and “tough” style of judging, and was featured in profiles in the Los Angeles Times and on “60 Minutes.” She released the book “Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining” in 1996, and retired soon after, having heard over 20,000 cases.

The Judge Judy Show

After the 60 Minutes special gained her national exposure, Judy was approached about starring in a reality courtroom show that would feature real cases with real rulings. She accepted the offer and on September 16, 1996, she began appearing on her own court show, “Judge Judy,” and it has remained the most popular court show on television for the last 15 years. The show finished its 24th season in September 2019. The show regularly attracts 10 million daily viewers. In 2009, “Judge Judy” became the first television series in a decade to obtain more daytime viewers than “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” A 2013 poll in “Reader’s Digest” revealed that Americans trusted Judge Judy more than the justices of the United States Supreme Court. In 2015, Judge Judy earned a spot in the Guinness World Records for being the longest-serving judge in a courtroom-themed television program. In March 2015, CBS extended Judge Judy’s contract for an additional four seasons, set to expire in the 2020-2021 season. Judge Judy revealed on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” in March 2020 that the series would conclude at that time. Her new program, “Judy Justice,” hit the airwaves in 2022. Judy is also the creator of the courtroom show, “Tribunal Justice,” on Amazon’s Freevee.

Other Media Appearances

Judge Judy has been interviewed on thousands of talk, cable, and news broadcasts during her career. She has appeared on “Entertainment Tonight”, “The Wendy Williams Show,” “The View,” “Larry King Live,” “The Tonight Show,” “20/20,” “Dateline NBC,” and more. Judy made a surprise guest appearance on “Saturday Night Live” in October 1998, cutting in during one of Cheri Oteri’s parodies of her. In 1999, Judy served as a judge for the Miss America pageant. The Biography Channel aired a documentary on February 21, 2000, about her called “Judge Judy: Sitting in Judgement.” It captured her entire life dating back to her childhood. In a two-hour interview for the Archive of American Television in 2013 conducted by Katie Couric, Judge Judy elaborated on previously unheard fun facts of her life story and career. In 2017, Judy created a game show, “IWitness,” that ran for six weeks. The show put contestants’ observational skills to the test by requiring them to view video clips and compete to see who could recall what they witnessed faster. Later that year, “The National Enquirer” issued Judge Judy a formal apology after a slandering incident where they falsely claimed Judy had cheated on her husband and was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. In November 2017 Judy appeared on an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” where she parodied her show.

After the success of her first book, Judy went on to publish six more throughout her career.

Personal Life

Judy suffered a mini-stroke in March 2011. She fainted on the set of her show while going over a case. She was released from the hospital the next day.

Judy married Ronald Levy in 1965. They had two children and divorced after 12 years of marriage. In 1977, she married Judge Jerry Sheindlin, who appeared on The People’s Court in the later ’90s. They divorced in 1990 but remarried one year later. She has three stepchildren with Jerry and 13 grandkids.

Judy is a registered independent and a supporter of same-sex marriage. In 2020, she campaigned alongside Mike Bloomberg for president.

Judge Judy filed a lawsuit in 2014 against personal injury lawyer John Haymond and his firm. She accused Haymond of using her television image without her knowledge or consent, for ads that falsely claimed she endorsed their firm. Ads continued to be produced after she told the firm to stop. The lawsuit filed sought more than $75,000 in damages. It was settled out of court in a resolution that favored Judy, it was reported.

Judge Judy Net Worth History

  • 2009 – $50 million
  • 2010 – $75 million
  • 2011 – $130 million
  • 2012 – $150 million
  • 2013 – $230 million
  • 2014 – $250 million
  • 2015 – $300 million
  • 2016 – $320 million
  • 2017 – $350 million
  • 2018 – $380 million
  • 2019 – $400 million
  • 2020 – $420 million
  • 2021 – $430 million
  • 2022 – $440 million

Real Estate

Judy Sheindlin owns an impressive portfolio of real estate that on its own is likely worth north of $100 million.

Her primary residence, for tax purposes, is a $13 million ocean-view home in Naples, Florida. She owns another mansion in Naples that is worth $11 million.

Judy and her husband Jerry also own a 9-bedroom mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut, that they bought for $13.2 million in 2007. Today this 12.5-acre property is likely worth more than $20 million.

In 2013, they paid $10.7 million for a 5-bedroom condo in Beverly Hills.

They own a $8.5 million New York City pied-a-terre.

In August 2018, Judy and Jerry spent $9 million to acquire a Newport, Rhode Island, mansion.

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Kay Adams