All My Children paid Mark Consuelos “far more” than scene partner Kelly Ripa — even though his future wife had joined the daytime soap more than four years earlier.
Ripa shared that provocative anecdote about pay inequality as part of Variety’s Power of Women 2023 cover story.
Ripa joined ABC’s AMC in November 1990, as wild child Hayley Vaughan. Prior to that, her only national TV exposure was as a dancer on Dancin’ On Air, and then Dance Party USA.
Consuelos joined AMC as Mateo Santos in February 1995, with no credits of note on his resume.
The following year, in May 1996, the on-screen lovebirds eloped to Las Vegas to be married.
Speaking on the subject of gender pay disparity — which she also experienced during her time on the daytime talker Live! — Ripa told Variety, “[Mark] was paid far more than I was paid [on AMC]. Always. And he started years after I started. It wasn’t until I got what we call my ‘fancy job’ [on Live!] that I started actually earning more money than him.”
Ripa goes on to say, “I was used to that pay inequity because that was my life for 15 years — 11 years on All My Children, and then during the Regis [Philbin] years [of Live!], certainly. I would expect a man who was at the helm of the show for many years before me to earn a substantial amount more than me.”
During her first Live! contract renegotiation years after joining Philbin on the talker, Ripa got bumped up to about $8 million a year. She has renewed her deal twice since then, all while navigating two, and soon to be three, co-host changes. (Consuelos is now on deck to success Ryan Seacrest in the second chair.)
“[T]here has been this weaponization of my salary, as though I somehow should not ask for the money that the men routinely earn,” Ripa observes. “And I’ve earned it the hard way.”
“I don’t think they wanted to pay me. I think they had to pay me,” she asserts. “I was trying to walk out the door and close it behind me [and they] figured out rapidly that they had screwed up in a major way, and it was not a good look. I think that was really the impetus behind paying me fairly. They had no choice.”
Are you at all surprised to learn that Consuelos made more than Ripa during their AMC run?