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Who Is The Highest-Grossing Rom-Com Actress Of All Time?

Despite the box-office success of recent romantic comedies like "Anyone But You," the genre has been in decline for some time — so it might be hard to remember that, back in the day, the right star could guarantee an enormous box-office haul. In the heyday of the romantic comedy, superstars like Meg Ryan, Sandra Bullock, and Cameron Diaz could catapult a movie into the stratosphere. So who are the biggest romantic comedy stars of all time, the ones whose films grossed the most money?

According to The Numbers, a lot of recognizable names have earned box office success with romantic comedies, but one name tops the list, and that's Julia Roberts. The site reports that Roberts' highest-grossing films include "Pretty Woman," "Runaway Bride," "Notting Hill," "Valentine's Day," and "America's Sweethearts," just to name a few. Roberts' numbers are quite impressive, too: "Pretty Woman" alone made over $178 million domestically when it was released in 1990, "Runaway Bride" surpassed $152 million, and "Notting Hill" made just over $116 million. 

It's not totally surprising to see that Julia Roberts, with her megawatt smile and undeniable star power, is the reigning financial queen of the romantic comedy. But who's in second place?

Jennifer Aniston came in second on the list of highest-grossing rom-com actresses

Second place, according to The Numbers, is occupied by Jennifer Aniston, who became a superstar as Rachel Green on "Friends" before conquering the big screen. Aniston has been a staple of romantic comedies for years, and the list ranks "The Break-Up" (over $118 million), "Just Go With It" ($103 million), and the sprawling ensemble rom-com "He's Just Not That Into You" (just under $10 million) as her top three highest-grossing movies.

In recent years, Aniston hasn't been working on as many feature films, likely in part because she plays the lead character on a major Apple TV+ show. The streamer's star-studded flagship "The Morning Show" stars Aniston as Alex Levy, a network news anchor who will do just about anything to hold on to her primetime news seat. She shares the spotlight with fellow rom-com queen Reese Witherspoon, who, incredibly, comes in at 51st place on The Numbers' list. Aniston has also been working with rom-com veteran Adam Sandler (12th on the list) in the "Murder Mystery" movies, which reside on Netflix.

The top three highest-earning romantic comedy actresses also includes this major star

Rounding out the top three on The Numbers' list is former child star Drew Barrymore, whose lengthy Hollywood career has watched the (now retired) actress go through plenty of major ups and downs. A part of the legendary Barrymore acting family, the young performer appeared in Stephen Spielberg's "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" (the director is her godfather) and then became a tabloid sensation at a young age thanks to her experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Barrymore has likely one of the most impressive comeback stories in Hollywood, reviving her career in the 1990s and becoming a bona-fide box office draw. Today, the star hosts "The Drew Barrymore Show," which hit the 1,000-episode mark on April 12, 2024.

So which of Barrymore's popular romantic comedies helped her score third place? Barrymore has worked with Adam Sandler several times (like Jennifer Aniston above her), and "50 First Dates," one of their collaborations, earned over $120 million at the box office. "He's Just Not That Into You," which features Aniston and Barrymore both (though they don't share any scenes), was also ranked among Barrymore's highest-grossing projects, as was her first major collaboration with Sandler, "The Wedding Singer" (roughly $80 million). Barrymore may have stepped away from acting recently, but it's clear that if she decides to return, she's got the star power to lead a major romantic comedy.