Bill O’Reilly Personal Life and Career, Net Worth, and Why He Divorced His Wife

Age/Date of Birth:
September 10, 1949
6 feet, 4 inches (1.93 m
Irish descent
Wife or Girlfriend:Maureen McPhilmy
(m. 1996; div. 2011)
Parents:Father; William James O’Reilly Sr.
Mother: Winifred Angela née Drake O’Reilly
Net Worth:$85 million

Bill O’Reilly is an American political commentator, journalist, television host, syndicated columnist, and bestselling author. He is best known for his eponymous Fox News program “The O’Reilly Factor”. His role at Fox earned him a peak salary of $20 million. O’Reilly was ousted from Fox in 2017 following a series of sexual harassment scandals.

The Beginning of Bill O’Reilly’s Journey To Becoming A Star

Bill O’Reilly was born William James O’Reilly, Jr. on September 10, 1949, in New York, City. When he was 2 years old, his family relocated to Mineola, New York, a Long Island village. He graduated from Chaminade High School, a private Catholic boys high school in 1967.

Billy then enrolled at Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York where he majored in history. He spent his junior year abroad in the UK where he attended Queen Mary College at the University of London. He graduated from Marist College with honors in 1971. While in college, O’Reilly was a writer for the school newspaper and was also active in sports, playing on the varsity baseball team.

He moved to Miami after graduation and took up a job as a high school English and History teacher for two years (1970-1972). Bill then returned to school and earned a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Boston University where he also met the now renowned radio pundit Howard Stern.

Several years after achieving a successful career in journalism, O’Reilly returned to school yet again, this time the prestigious Harvard where he earned a master’s degree in public administration in 1996.

His Early Days As A Journalist

O’Reilly started out by working for several local news stations, beginning at WNEP-TV in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He then proceeded to work for similar stations in Dallas, Denver, Portland, Oregon, Hatford, Connecticut, and Boston. During these periods, he earned many awards for his reporting, including his very first of many Emmys in Denver.

O’Reilly returned to New York in 1982 where he worked as a news anchor at WCBS-TV. Two years of outstanding reporting was enough to get him promoted to CBS where he worked as a news correspondent. After a controversy between him and CBS on an uncredited report, O’Reilly left CBS.

At the funeral of his friend, ABC news anchor Joe Spencer who died en route a report, O’Reilly’s eulogy rendition impressed ABC News president Roger Ailes who hired him as a news correspondent in 1986. O’Reilly’s outstanding report with ABC News was rewarded with two Emmys and other coveted awards. He left in 1989 after three years.

The Long-Awaited Big Break!

O’Reilly’s big break came right after he left ABC News in 1989 and joined King World syndicated infotainment “Inside Edition.” After a 5-year stint, he left for Harvard. 1996, the year O’Reilly graduated from Harvard was the same year Fox News was established.

In search of competent reporters, Fox News immediately hired O’Reilly who began anchoring his own political talk show, “The O’Reilly Report” later renamed “The O’Reilly Factor.” The show soon garnered many viewers and fast forward to 2001, became the highest-rated cable news program in the country with an average of 3 million weekly viewers.

List Of Bill’s Works And Career Achievements 

  • Bill O’Reilly has a Bachelor’s degree in history, an honorary Doctorate of Letters, a master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism, a master’s degree in Public Administration.
  • The famous journalist is most popular for being the host of Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, which began airing in 1996, and under him, the program received some awards and nominations.
  • In 2002, Bill began hosting “The Radio Factor”, a radio version of The O’Reilly Factor (1996).
  • In addition to his contributions as a talk show host and radio personality, Bill O’Reilly is also an avid columnist. He wrote a column that appears in the Boston Herald in the 1980s and is currently a columnist for the New York Post and Chicago Sun-Times.
  • He joined ABC News as a reporter for ABC World News Tonight in 1986 and in 1989, he became a senior correspondent on the syndicated tabloid television news program Inside Edition. However, within a few weeks, he was made a co-anchor of the show and worked in that position until 1995.
  • In 2010, the TV personality took the fourth spot on Newsweek’s “Power 50” list of the 50 highest-earning political figures that year.
  • He once took the 11th position on the “Heavy Hundred” list of 100 most important talk show hosts in America and was listed on the second position as the most influential host in America on NewsMax’s list of “Top 25 Talk Radio Host”.
  • O’Reilly is an author/co-author of almost 30 books, including, ‘Those Who Trespass’ (1998), ‘Who’s Looking Out For You?’, ‘The No Spin Zone’, ‘Pinheads and Patriots’ and ‘A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity: A Memoir’.
  • He is also the author of the New York Times best-selling book, ‘Killing Lincoln’, which was so successful that it was later adapted to a movie of the same title. This subsequently gave rise to his Killing book series which includes ‘Killing Jesus’, and ‘Killing Kennedy’(which was also has a film adaptation) among others.
  • Apart from his books of political commentary O’Reilly is also a co-author of a children’s book titled ‘The O’Reilly Factor for Kids: A Survival Guide for America’s Families’ and a novel named ‘Those Who Trespass: A Novel of Television and Murder’ (1998).

Awards And Nominations

  • During the early days of his career, Bill became a recipient of two local Emmy awards for doing an outstanding job in his coverage of skyjacking for KMGH-TV and investigative reporting of corruption among city marshals for the WCBS-TV.
  • During Bill’s time as host of The O’Reilly Factor, the show received a BMI Film & TV Awards in 2005 and 2008 and was also nominated for Television Critics Association Awards for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information in 2002.
  • He has received two Primetime Emmy Awards nominations, first in 2014 for Outstanding Television Movie, Killing Kennedy (2013) and later in 2015 for Outstanding Television Movie Killing Jesus (2015).
  • At the 2008 edition of the Primetime Emmy Awards show, O’Reilly received the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Governors’ Award.
  • His children’s book ‘The O’Reilly Factor for Kids: A Survival Guide for America’s Families’ was the winner of the Book Standard’s Bestseller Awards for the bestselling children’s non-fiction in 2005.

Disturbing Controversies

After 21 years on Fox News, Bill O’Reilly was ousted in 2017 following a series of sexual harassment scandals. As a matter of fact, his Fox News eponymous talk show was focused on discussing controversial topics as they unfold yet since he gained national recognition, his career, as well as his personal life, has been awash with controversies.

O’Reilly has been accused of sexual harassment more than once. The first occurred in 2004 when Andrea Mackris an associate producer on his show filled a sexual harassment lawsuit against him demanding $60 million in damages. The duo later settled out of court with O’Reilly allegedly paying her somewhere between $2 million and $10 million.

Right after Fox News chairman Roger Ailes was fired in August 2016 for sexual harassment, fresh accusations against O’Reilly surfaced. An article published by the New York Times revealed that O’Reilly and 21 Century Fox, Fox News parent company, had paid millions of dollars to settle multiple sexual harassment cases against O’Reilly. The payment was allegedly in exchange for silence from the women. The total amount reached $13 million paid to 5 different women.

This culminated in an advert boycott of about 50 companies including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, GlaxoSmithKline, Constant Contact, Hyundai, Allstate and T.Rowe Price. However, despite the boycott, The O’Reilly Factor enjoyed a 20% viewership hike. After weeks of speculations on how 21 Century Fox would handle the case, they released a statement on April 19, 2017, announcing that O’Reilly won’t be returning to the network.

A Breakdown Of Bill O’Reilly’s Net Worth 

His Fox News Career Earnings

Although Bill O’Reilly makes his money through a number of sources, most of his earnings came from his longtime former home, Fox News. For a little or twenty years, Bill was a top asset for the news channel as he built the No. 1 program in cable news for the network, generating over $446 million in advertising revenues for the company from 2014 through 2016 as reported by the research firm Kantar Media.

As the host of “The O’Reilly Factor,” Mr. O’Reilly earned a yearly salary of $10 million from 2004 to 2009. It later went up to about $18 million and eventually increased again in 2017 when just a few months before he was booted out of Fox News following the aforementioned sexual harassment scandal, he agreed to a new four-year contract worth $25 million a year. Unfortunately, he could not last long enough at Fox to enjoy the salary increase. However, according to someone with knowledge of the terms of the contract signed at the beginning of 2017 (as reported on Financial Times), “The amended contract provides for Bill to receive a maximum of one year’s salary,” as part of his exit deal with 21st Century Fox.

Meanwhile, a report by Forbes revealed that the former television host recorded $37 million in earnings within the 12 months leading up to June 1, 2017. This consequently gave him a spot on Forbes’ yearly list of top-earning television hosts and also turned out to be his biggest annual income.

O’Reilly’s Publications: Killing Book Series And Others

In addition to being a very successful pundit, O’Reilly makes a lot of money from writing. He once wrote a weekly syndicated newspaper column which appeared in the New York Post and the Chicago Sun-Times, but it was discontinued in 2013. Also a prolific author, the former TV host has churned out several bestselling books for which he earns seven-figure advances. He is particularly known for his Killing book series which have sparked controversies among critics. They include Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, Killing Jesus, and Killing Reagan among others.

In 2012, Forbes reported that O’Reilly made over $24 million from book sales and $28 million in 2014. Apparently, on average, he makes over $25 million annually from book sales. Nevertheless, this was before his disgraceful exit from Fox. After he left the network, Bill’s revenue generators began to go down slowly, though they are far from being dried out completely. For example, even though his book Killing England, which was published after his scandal, was at the top of the New York Times’ bestseller list (nonfiction hardcover category) for three weeks, it sold far less copies than the other books in the Killing series.

According to The NPD Group, Killing England sold just 212,000 copies within the first four weeks of its release and that is the lowest number of consumers any of the series ever recorded since the first was published in 2011.

He Is A Film Producer

Some of Bill’s books have been adapted by the National Geographic channel into documented TV movies. He was the executive producer of these films which includes Killing Lincoln (2013), Killing Kennedy (2013), Killing Jesus (2015), and Killing Reagan (2016), all of which drew in not less than 3 million viewers on its original airing. He also executive produced the TV series, Legends & Lies, which aired on Fox News Channel for three seasons from April 2015 to June 10, 2018, and made $1,872,994 at the domestic box office and $40,552,456 at the international box office, according to The Numbers.

In addition to producing films, Bill O’Reilly has also made cameo appearances in a handful of movies some of which include the 2008 film An American Carol, the 2010 film Iron Man 2, the science fiction action film Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) and the war thriller drama film Man Down (2015).

The Journalist Is Also Staying Afloat With The Money He Makes From His Radio Ventures

During his time at Fox, Bill capitalized on his popularity and established the radio talk-show “The Factor” which enjoyed tremendous success for 7 years from 2002 to 2009. It garnered nearly 3.26 million loyal listeners and was aired on over 400 radio stations.

In May 2017, O’Reilly started featuring on Friday editions of the Glenn Beck Radio Program as a recurring and in 2019, he came back to radio with the series, The O’Reilly Update, which airs every day for 15 minutes on most radio stations either during or close to lunch hour.

On September 11, 2020, CNBC also reported that he landed a new show on 77 WABC, a radio station based in New York City. The station which is owned by one of President Donald Trump’s allies John Catsimatidis, signed O’Reilly to a show called “Common Sense with Bill O’Reilly.” Speaking to CNBC, the owner of the station revealed that the show will air five days a week, from Monday to Friday from 10-11 p.m. O’Reilly’s eventually had his first show on the network on September 14, 2020.

Other Media and Post-Fox Ventures

Following his departure from Fox, O’Reilly moved on from his “O’Reilly Factor” and launched a subscription-only podcast show known as “No Spin News” on April 24, 2017, and four months later, he started streaming a video version of the show. “No Spin News” airs from Monday-Thursday on different platforms, including Bill’s website, on YouTube, on the streaming network called The First, and on the ViacomCBS-owned internet television service Pluto TV. Even though the writer has claimed that his podcast attracts hundreds of thousands of subscribers, the number is not anywhere close to the millions he reached through his The O’Reilly Factor.

A coveted speaker, Mr. O’Reilly has also been to different parts of the country for speaking engagements and performances. Towards the end of January 2017, he was at the Centurion Jewelry Show in Scottsdale where he was contracted to speak and in June of the same year, he co-headlined the public speaking tour, “The Spin Stops Here,” alongside Dennis Miller. 

While his Fox career may be over, O’Reilly is far from retirement with a host of other opportunities awaiting him.

A Highlight of Mr. O’Reilly’s Income Sources

  • His Fox News Career Earnings
  • Sales of His Books
  • Film Production
  • His Radio Career
  • His Podcast Show
  • Speaking Engagements

His Family and The Real Reason He Divorced

O’Reilly’s issues extend beyond the workplace down to his home. In 2010, he divorced Maureen McPhilmy, his wife of 14 years with whom he had two children, Madeline (born 1998) and Spencer (born 2003). The duo met in 1992 and got married in St. Brigid Parish of Westbury, New York, on November 2, 1996. But their union became sour years after, leading to their separation on April 2, 2011, and subsequent divorce on September 1, 2011.

Following the divorce, the ex-couple began a very ugly custody battle in the process of which McPhilmy accused O’Reilly of domestic violence, according to court transcripts that went public in May 2015. In the document, O’Reilly’s ex-wife narrated her experience during one of such incidents, alleging that she found her then-husband engaging in phone sex in the bedroom in December 2009.

On walking in on him, she claimed, the then-Fox News Channel anchor “flew into a fit of rage”, hit her against a wall and dragged her down a hallway and a flight of stairs into the kitchen not minding that he was naked waist down. It was while they were in the kitchen that a security guard saw what was going on and offered to call the police but McPhilmy said she declined the offer.

Reacting to the accusation, O’Reilly in a statement issued through his attorney, described the allegation as “100% false”. He declined saying anything further so as to “…respect the court-mandated confidentiality put in place to protect my children”

In February 2016 O’Reilly’s ex-wife won the custody battle, but O’Reilly was not done. In retaliation, he filed a $10 million lawsuit against her in Nassau County, New York, just one month after he lost the custody battle. He claimed that while they were married, she used his money to finance her relationship with Jeffrey Gross, a Nassau County Police Department detective who she married after her divorce with O’Reilly. However, McPhilmy failed to respond to the suit and this led the court to award O’Reilly $14.5 million.

Afterward, the former Fox star launched a lawsuit against Michael Klar, the attorney who represented his ex-wife during the negotiation of their separation agreement. According to the legal papers obtained by Gawker, O’Reilly alleged that Klar aided and abetted Maureen in making “false representations and material omissions of existing fact … for the sole purpose of inducing Plaintiff to agree to a consensual divorce and to obtain money and real property to finance an existing extra-marital relationship.”

McPhilmy was subsequently granted an appeal of the judgment and the judge vacated the $14.5million award. Similarly Bill’s suit against Klar was also thrown out as the court argued that the statute of limitations on fraud claims — greater than six years from the date of injury or two years upon discovery — had passed.

Profile Summary 
First Name:William
Last Name:O'Reilly Jr.
Also Known As:
Journalist, Author, former Television host
Famous For:"The O'Reilly Factor""Inside Edition"
Colleges/Universities Attended:
Marist College
Boston University
Harvard University
Educational Qualifications:
BA degree in History
MA degree in broadcast journalism
MA degree in Public Administration
Birthday & Zodiac
Age/Date of Birth:
September 10, 1949
Zodiac Sign:Virgo
Birth Place:
New York City, New York, U.S.
Irish descent
Country of Residence:
United States of America (USA)
Physical Attributes
6 feet, 4 inches (1.93 m
98kg (216 pounds
Eye Colour:
Hair Color:
Other Body Measurements:
Marital Status:
Maureen McPhilmy
(m. 1996; div. 2011)
Family and Relatives
William James O’Reilly Sr.
Mother:Winifred Angela née Drake O’Reilly
2 Children:
Madeline O'Reilly (born1998)
Spencer O'Reilly (Born 2003)
Siblings:Janet O’Reilly (Sister)
Other Relatives:
John Joseph O’Reilly (Paternal Grandfather),
Gertrude McLaughlin (Paternal Grandmother),
Edward Cornelius Drake (Maternal Grandfather),
Winifred Margaret/Marie Kennedy (Maternal Grandmother),
Net Worth
Estimated Net Worth:
$85 million
Salary: $25 million
Source of Wealth:
Radio/TV hosting
Uwa Echebiri
Reading about the luxe lives of celebrities is something many find too vain to indulge in, however, Uwa’s expert analysis on celebrity wealth would pique the curiosity of the most uninterested folk.


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