Robin Wright Threatened to Go Public If She Didn't Get Equal Pay on 'House of Cards'

How wonderfully Claire Underwood of her.

house of cards
(Image credit: Netflix)

House of Cards is one of the rare shows out there that feature a husband and wife who are true equals. That makes the power struggles between the two of them especially juicy on screen. And it turns out that the struggle for equality even made it behind the scenes on the Netflix show.

The Huffington Post reports that Robin Wright, who plays Claire Underwood, spoke out about her struggle for equal pay during an event at the Rockefeller Foundation, when she was asked about her barriers as a woman in Hollywood. "I was like, 'I want to be paid the same as Kevin [Spacey],'" who plays Frank Underwood, she told the crowd. "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." 

So she decided to channel Claire and go all in at the negotiating table. "I was looking at the statistics and Claire Underwood's character was more popular than [Frank's] for a period of time. So I capitalized on it," she said. "I was like, 'You better pay me or I'm going to go public.' And they did." 

It's unclear how much Spacey and Wright make on House of Cards, but various reports put the number as high as $5.5 million a season. And the pay disparity was confirmed last November by Wright's daughter, Dylan Penn. In an interview with, she weighed in on how her mom wasn't getting her fair share. "Even my mom's show, House of Cards, it's so crazy that she's not getting paid as much as Kevin Spacey and they are both frontrunners," she said. "They both equally grab the attention of the audience." Luckily, that's been resolved now, so there will be no need for creepy, Claire-like scheming. 

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Megan Friedman

Megan Friedman is the former managing editor of the Newsroom at Hearst. She's worked at NBC and Time, and is a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.