Chris Gardner: Net Worth, Son and Details About His Ex-Wife

Net Worth: $70 million
Age/Date of Birth:
86 years old (February 9, 1954)
6 feet, 2 inches (1.88 m)
Wife or Girlfriend:Sherry Dyson
(m. 1977–1986)
Parents:Father: Thomas Turner,
Mother: Bettye Jean Gardner
Chris Gardner is an American businessman and motivational speaker, entrepreneur and investor who has a net worth of $70 million

Beyond being recognized as an American entrepreneur, investor, and stockbroker, Chris Gardner is famous as a motivational speaker, author, and philanthropist. The man is admired for his inspiring rags to riches story.

In his popular book – Pursuit of Happyness, Chris depicted his struggles as a homeless father. The book received abundant positive reviews and was eventually made into a movie of the same title.

His Early Life

Born on February 9, 1954, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as Christopher Paul Gardner to Thomas Turner and Bettye Jean Gardner, Chris was raised by his mother. He had an older half-sister, Ophelia, and two other young sisters, Sharon and Kimberly, from two different unions.

He was the second child and the only boy born to his mother. Chris recalls not getting along with his stepfather, Freddie Triplett, whom he described as abusive. The violent drama between his parents took a turn for the worse when Bettye was convicted of the attempted murder of Freddie.

Chris and his younger sisters were sent to foster homes. However, he was a broken and confused child with no father figure to look up to. He was already a father before he met his biological father for the first time. Due to child abuse and abandonment, Chris had a rough experience with alcoholism. Regardless, he insisted on being a better man, a good father, and a world-class personality.

After graduating from high school, Chris enlisted in the U.S Navy and worked in labs for years as a corpsman. Later, he was given full responsibility for the laboratory, and he also co-authored several medical journals with another doctor.

Details of His Net Worth and Career Achievements

Based on the foregoing, it is clear that Chris Gardner acquired his wealth through various means. Here is a breakdown of his major income sources and what they have contributed to his fortune currently estimated at $70 million.

Wall Street Career and His Brokerage Firm Set Him on the Path to Financial Freedom

His financial services industry journey began after he met a stockbroker in a red Ferrari named Bob Bridges. Bod introduced Chris, who was working as a medical equipment salesman to the world of finance and he decided to abandon his job to pursue a career on Wall Street. This would become one of the best decisions he ever made.

With the help of Bob, Chris approached several stock brokerage firms that offered training programs. After a series of disappointments, he was able to land a place with Dean Witter Reynold’s stock brokerage training program, and it marked the beginning of his journey to financial freedom.

As a dedicated and hardworking intern in Dean Witter Reynolds, Chris passed the test to become a stockbroker in 1982, and all his hard work paid off. With mastery of the business and his wealth of experience, Chris later founded his own stock brokerage company called Gardner Rich & Co with a start-up capital of $10,000.

Sometime in 2006, he sold his stake in the brokerage firm in a multimillion-dollar deal which he used to found another company known as Christopher Gardner International Holdings. It has international footprints and offices spread across the United States of America.

The Entrepreneur Has Made Millions from His Books

Looking back on the journey so far, Chris Gardner says the decision to be the very best version of him was one of the things that made him succeed. He has told his story in a few books which have in turn become a big source of income for him.

He became known to many after his book about his struggles was made into a movie, Pursuit of Happyness, wherein Will Smith portrayed Chris. The movie became a worldwide hit, and Chris became an instant celebrity. The pursuit of Happyness, his first book became a New York Times and Washington Post #1 Bestseller. It has been translated into over 40 languages, and further translations are being done in Chinese and Arabic languages.

The movie version was a box office success. It grossed $162,586,036 domestically in the US and Canada. During its opening weekend, it recorded an earning of $27 million.

Apart from Pursuit of Happyness, he has published other books like Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (2009) and Permission to Dream (2021); all of which have contributed to his net worth in no small manner. 

Chris Gardner Is a Highly Sought Inspirational Speaker

Given his life story, how he was able to free himself from poverty and generally change his life for good, it is not difficult to see how Chris Gardner became one of the most sought inspirational speakers in the United States and indeed the world at large.

Reports have it that his speaking fees range from $30,000 to $50,000 for each appearance. This shows that being a motivational speaker is one of the major avenues through which he acquired his massive fortune.

Here Are Some Notable Quotes of the Motivational Speaker

Having conquered all of his fears, flaws, and challenges, Chris finds duty in uplifting others. Gardner determined from his early experiences that alcoholism, domestic abuse, child abuse, illiteracy, fear, and powerlessness were the things he wanted to avoid in the future. His motivational talks often revolve around these factors. Here are some of his popular quotes:

1. Others may question your credentials, your papers, your degrees. Others may look for all kinds of ways to diminish your worth. But what is inside you, no one can take from you or tarnish.

2. Without that sense of self, no amount of paper, no pedigree, and no credentials can make you legit. No matter what, you have to feel legit inside first.

3. Always, always pursue happiness.

4. The secret to success: find something you love to do so much, you can’t wait for the sun to rise to do it all over again.

5. Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something.

Major Sources of Chris Gardner’s Wealth

  • Earnings from his Wall Street career
  • Profits from his financial services and brokerage company
  • Proceeds realized from his books
  • Paychecks from speaking engagements

He Spends a Great Deal of His Wealth on Charity 

The inspirational man who never gave in to life’s hardships has been enjoying his net worth of $70 million. Nonetheless, it is imperative to point out that he would have been way richer than if he hadn’t been spending his money on philanthropic activities.

Chris is a philanthropist. He has funded a $50 million San Francisco project that creates low-income housing and employment opportunities in the area of the city where he was once homeless.

Apart from providing financial support, he has been mentoring people on how to set and actualize life goals through his Back-2-School program sponsored by The Chris Gardner Foundation.

Some of the Major Awards He Has Won

For the things he has been able to accomplish in his career, and for his humanitarian efforts, Chris Gardner has been honoured with some prestigious awards over the years. Below is a list of the major ones:

  • NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Biography / Autobiography
  • Father of the Year Award from National Fatherhood Initiative – 2002
  • Friends of Africa Award from the Continental Africa Chamber of Commerce – 2006
  • 25th Annual Humanitarian Award from the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women

Chris Gardner Has Only Been Married Once

  • Wife’s Name: Sherry Dyson
  • Occupation: Mathematician
  • Duration of Marriage: (1977 – 1986)
  • No of Kids with Gardner: Nil

Chris Gardner married Sherry Dyson from Virginia On June 18, 1977. She is an educational expert in mathematics. After 3 years, the marriage failed, and Chris left to start a new life with his new girlfriend, Jackie Medina.

It has been claimed in some quarters that Chris’ marriage to Sherry failed because he decided to abandon his pursuit of a medical career. Other sources have suggested that they were very different people, and it affected their union.

Anyway, while he was still married to Sherry, Chris met a dental student named Jackie Medina and fell in love with her. They began living together even though he hadn’t officially parted ways with Sherry. In 1986, he legally severed nuptial ties with the only woman he has been married to.

How the Multi-millionaire Struggled With Homelessness while Raising His Son

On January 28, 1981, Chris and Jackie had a son named Christopher Jarrett Gardner Jr. Chris, who always dreamt of being a doctor, gave it up for a new dream. With his position as a research lab assistant, he earned an annual salary of $8,000. This could not meet his needs and responsibilities. He could barely take care of Jackie and their son and couldn’t afford training to become a doctor.

At some point, Jackie left him and their son. At this time, Chris battled with homelessness for a year while working as an intern for a stock brokerage firm, Dean Witter Reynolds. He was living in a boarding house when Jackie, who had left him, came by and left their son with him. Chris was willing to take care of his child, but then, the boarding house didn’t allow children, so he had to look for alternatives.

There was no money to rent an apartment so Chris and his son would at times sleep under his office desk, in a locked bathroom, in the park, or some cheap hotel when they can afford it. Towards the end of his poverty days, he re-established contact with Jackie, and they had another child named Jacintha in 1985. Nonetheless, they never got married.

Key Takeaways 

  • Chris Gardner has only been married once; he was married to Sherry Dyson from 1977 – 1986.
  • He left his wife for Jackie Medina and didn’t have any child with Sherry.
  • Jackie Medina abandoned Chris with their toddler son, and they struggled with homelessness for about a year.
  • They reconnected several years later and had another child (a daughter) together.
  • Jackie is the mother of Chris’ two kids – Christopher Jarret Medina Gardner and Jacintha Darlene Gardner
Profile Summary
First Name:Christopher
Last Name:Gardner
Also Known As:
Businessman and motivational speaker
Famous For:"The Pursuit of Happyness"
Colleges/Universities Attended:
Educational Qualifications:
Birthday & Zodiac
Age/Date of Birth:
86 years old (February 9, 1954)
Zodiac Sign:Aquarius
Birth Place:
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Country of Residence:
United States of America (USA)
Physical Attributes
6 feet, 2 inches (1.88 m)
80 kg
Eye Colour:
Hair Color:
Other Body Measurements:
Marital Status:
Sherry Dyson
(m. 1977–1986)
Family and Relatives
Thomas Turner,
Mother:Bettye Jean Gardner
Christopher Jarrett Medina Gardner(28 January 1981),
Jacintha Darlene Gardner (5 October 1985)
Siblings:Kimberly Triplett
Sharon Triplett
Other Relatives:
Net Worth
Estimated Net Worth:
$70 million
Source of Wealth:
Stocks, other businesses,


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