The 50-year-old actress addressed equal pay for women while participating in a Rockefeller Foundation event on Tuesday, sharing that she demanded to have the same salary as her on-screen husband, Kevin Spacey, theHuffington Post reports. "I was like, 'I want to be paid the same as Kevin,'" Wright, who is also a producer and occasional director on House of Cards, said. "It was the perfect paradigm. There are very few films or TV shows where the male, the patriarch, and the matriarch are equal -- and they are in House of Cards."
Wright also said she used her approval rating among audiences to get the paycheck she wanted. "I was looking at the statistics and Claire Underwood’s character was more popular than [Frank Underwood's] for a period of time," she explained. "So I capitalized on it. I was like, 'You better pay me or I'm going to go public.' And they did."
According to Business Insider, Spacey was making an estimated $500,000 an episode in 2014. At the time, TV Guide predicted that the 56-year-old actor would eventually be making $1 million an episode, making him one of the highest-earning TV and streaming stars. Last year, Forbes reported that Wright made $5.5 million for her work on the Netflix show, which is about $420,000 an episode.
Equal pay in Hollywood has become a widespread topic of conversation, following Jennifer Lawrence's op-ed last year where she talked about being paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle. "I didn’t want to seem 'difficult' or 'spoiled,'" she recalled feeling during her salary negotiations. "At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being 'difficult' or 'spoiled.'"
It wasn't long before Lawrence's Hustle co-star, Bradley Cooper, threw his support behind the 25-year-old actress. "There's a double standard in the whole world, yeah, for sure. This is just one aspect," Cooper told ET. "Anytime there's a place where a voice can come out and be outspoken, that's great. ... I think it is making a difference."