Chris Tucker hit it big in the 1990s as a popular standup comedian and movie star. At the peak of the career, he was one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood, earning millions of dollars thanks to the enormous success of the Rush Hour film franchise. Unfortunately, the Friday star also made some major financial mistakes, which led to a hefty tax bill that obliterated his net worth. So how is the funnyman doing today? Has he rebounded from the fall out? Here’s a look at Chris Tucker’s net worth in 2021.
Chris Tucker Was A Huge Money Maker In The 90s And Early 2000s
Chris Tucker first found success as a standup comedian in the early ‘90s, appearing frequently in clubs and on the popular HBO show Def Comedy Jam. In 1995, he starred alongside rapper Ice Cube in the hit stoner comedy Friday, which immediately raised his star power but didn’t earn him all that much money. “It was just a small movie,” Tucker recalled recently on the Club Shay Say podcast. “We filmed it in 20 days, and I didn’t get but about $10,000 for it. I didn’t care, I wanted the opportunity.”
It was a smart move, because more lucrative jobs followed, including parts in the Bruce Willis smash The Fifth Element and the Quentin Tarantino film Jackie Brown. But it was Tucker’s role in the action-comedy hit Rush Hour that really catapulted his financial status to a new level. Released in 1998, the movie also starred martial arts legend Jackie Chan. Together, the pair had amazing chemistry — one that Tucker says was unexpected and born from their real-life relationship.
“The first time we got together, it was just like you see in the first movie. Jackie didn’t speak much English, and I didn’t know Chinese at all,” Tucker explained in a 2007 interview with Flow Entertainment. “I brought that out in Rush Hour 1, like when I screamed, ‘Do you know the words that are coming out of my mouth?’ That’s basically what I wanted to say to him the first time I met him. So, no, we didn’t know, but the chemistry was perfect. I think that was because it came from a real place. What you see on film is the same friendship and relationship between us you see in real life.”
Audiences couldn’t get enough of the hilarious, mismatched duo. Reportedly, Tucker was paid $40 million to appear in the sequel, Rush Hour 2, and then negotiated another $40 million to star in Rush Hour 3 and one other New Line Cinema film. He was also given a 20 percent cut of the Rush Hour 3 box office gross, which totaled more than $258 million worldwide.
Tax Trouble Had A Tremendous Impact On Chris Tucker’s Net Worth
Unfortunately, Tucker didn’t do a very good job managing his colossal income. In 2010, the star was slapped with an $11.5 million tax bill from the IRS and an additional $2.5 million lien a few years later. All told, the Money Talks star ended up owing the government more than $14 million for seven years of unpaid taxes by 2014.
Always the comedian, Tucker was able to joke about his financial woes at the time. According to the Miami New Times, he quipped during one of his standup routines: “That’s the last time I let Wesley Snipes help me out with my taxes!” (Wesley Snipes received a three-year prison sentence in 2008 for tax evasion.)
He also joked about how bill collectors act when they call asking for cash. “They calling you acting like you owe them the money personally!” he joked. “[They say] ‘We need the money.’ I don’t owe you [expletive]! This is between me and the company!”
But despite the comedian’s ability to make light of his money issues, they were no laughing matter.
What Is Chris Tucker’s Net Worth In 2021?
Unlike Wesley Snipes, Tucker did not face any criminal charges because of his tax debt. According to his representatives, “poor accounting and business management” were to blame for the actor’s unfortunate financial oversights. Tucker dutifully settled his debt in 2014 and is no longer in the red.
But his net worth took a major hit. Celebrity Net Worth estimates the Silver Linings Playbook star is currently worth just $5 million. Relatively, that’s a small sum when you consider the fact that he made at least $50 million off the Rush Hour movies alone.
Though Tucker isn’t in as many films as he used to be, he continues to tour the country doing standup (only recently taking a break due to COVID-19) and released his first full-length standup special, Chris Tucker: Live, on Netflix in 2015. There have also been rumors of Rush Hour 4 coming to life, which would certainly help the star recoup some of his lost cash.