Who Is Martha Stewart and What is Her Net Worth? Meet Her Husband And Daughter

Age/Date of Birth:
August 3, 1941
Height:
5 ft 9½ in or 176.5 cm
Ethnicity/Race:
White
Nationality:American
Net Worth:$640 million
Husband or Boyfriend:

She was formerly married to Andrew Stewart (m. 1961; div. 1990)
Parents:Edward Kostyra and Martha Ruszkowski

Martha Stewart is an American lifestyle business mogul, best-selling author, and Emmy-winning television personality. Martha Stewart is a beauty with brains, starting out as a fashion model, she became America’s first-ever female self-made billionaire thanks to her Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia which was once worth $2 billion. Stewart has seen her wealth fluctuate over the years as a result of the vagaries of the stock market relatively influenced by her own decisions, one of which landed her behind bars in 2004.

As of the time of this writing, the American retail businesswoman, writer, television personality, and former model Martha Stewart has a net worth of $640 million.

Here’s everything about the two-time self-made billionaire, how she built her empire, and her recent endeavors to re-join the billionaires club.

Martha Stewart’s Early Life

Martha Helen Stewart was born Martha Kostyra on August 3, 1941, in Jersey City, New Jersey to a middle-class family of 6 children. From the age of 3, Martha was raised in Nutley, New Jersey a community near New York City, where her parents had moved.

Martha began meddling with celebrities at the age of 10 when she began babysitting the kids of New York Yankee stars Yogi Berra and Gil McDougald. In her early teens, she began modeling, appearing in several magazines and TV commercials for companies like Unilever.

Martha Stewart

After graduating from Nutley High School, Martha proceeded to Barnard College where she studied architectural history, initially switching from Chemistry and then European History. In college, Martha continued modeling to bolster her scholarship money, which proved highly lucrative. She worked with luxury brands like Chanel, earning as much as $50 per hour.

As a college undergrad, Martha found love in the eyes of Yale Law School student Andrew Stewart and the pair got hitched in 1961. She graduated from Manhattan College with a double major in History and Architectural History in 1962.

How She Began Her Cookbook Business

Martha continued modeling, had her first kid before launching a career on Wall Street as a stockbroker for the boutique firm of Monness, Williams, and Sidel. In 1972, Stewart and her husband Andrew who was an executive at several publishing houses moved to Westport, Connecticut. In Connecticut, the family bought an 1805 farmhouse on Turkey Hill Road. During the revamping process of the rustic house, Martha discovered she had a lifestyle side.

With self-tutored knowledge of cooking, Martha decided to begin as a caterer and soon launched a catering business in her basement with one of her modeling friends who later pulled out. After working for a gourmet food store, Martha opened her own store which enjoyed rapid success.

Martha Stewart

Martha heeded Crown Publishing boss- Alan Mirken’s advice and ventured into cookbooks. Mirken, a friend of her husband had hired her to cook for a book launch party and was impressed by her superb delivery. Martha’s first cookbook “Entertaining” was released in 1982 to massive success, becoming a New York Times bestseller. She followed up with numerous equally successful cookbooks. She also began writing magazine and newspaper columns. Martha’s success was accompanied by popularity as she was featured on various hit talk shows.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Empire

Sadly, fame comes with its own issues. While Martha was a celebrated homemaker, her own home was in need of a makeover. After three years of being estranged from Andrew, the pair finally divorced in 1990. However, the business continued to bloom. Martha signed a multi-million deal with Time to publish her own lifestyle magazine called “Martha Stewart Living”.

The incredible success of the magazine opened the doors to a TV and radio business. Martha launched a half-hour TV show on CBS and there, she added TV personality to her repertoire. Martha consolidated her business ventures, which also included an e-commerce site and floral company into a single empire she called “Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia” with 96% belonging to her. As a private company, it recorded annual retail sales of over $735 million.

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia launched its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange on October 19, 1999. On opening day, its share price exponentially rose from $18 to $38 per its 72 million shares, making Martha Stewart America’s first female self-made billionaire with a market capitalization of almost $2 billion.

Insider Trading Scandal And Indictment

While running her own empire, Martha owned stocks in several companies one of which was ImClone Systems, a biopharmaceutical company founded by Samuel D. Waksal who was dating her daughter. So when one of its drugs had been disproved by the FDA prior to its sales, Waksal informed friends and family to sell their stocks as the revelation by the FDA would hurt its share price. Martha received the information from Merrill Lynch broker Peter Bacanovic and immediately sold her entire 3,928 shares, for $230,000, saving $45,673.

As a result, Martha went through a highly publicized 6-week trial and was finally found guilty of securities fraud. Martha relinquished her position on the board of NYSE as well as several positions in her own company. She was sentenced to 5 months behind bars, 5 months house arrest, and 2 years of probation.

The aftermath of the scandal was immediately evident in her own company as its share price took a sharp plunge, selling at only $7 per share. Martha was fined $137,000 and ordered to give up the profits. As a result, her billionaire status was gone with the wind!

Martha Stewart

Comeback and Recent Endeavors

While in prison, MSLO’s stock soared by 90%, making Martha a billionaire for the second time. Sadly, after her release in March 2005, stock prices fell again. However, she was soon back to winning ways as she relaunched her eponymous TV show on Hallmark Channel (it was later canceled in 2007 after 2 seasons). She also resumed publication of her several glossy magazines, authoring books and syndicated columns.

Martha has signed multiple licensing deals with the likes of Macy’s, Kmart, craft chain Michaels, PetSmart, Home Depot, and more. She has her name on almost anything you can think of from wines to cookery, and even a line of houses. She sold her MSLO to Sequential Brands in 2015 for $353 million, which was paid 50:50 in stocks and in cash. Martha remains as the Chief Creative Officer of the company.

Martha together with her longtime friend rapper Snoop Dogg launched a new reality show called Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, which premiered to high ratings on November 7, 2016, on the VH1 channel. She is definitely showing no signs of slowing.

House and Properties

Martha’s first house where her empire began is the iconic Turkey Hill Farm located in Westport, Connecticut. She bought the house in 1971 at the price of $46,750 but eventually sold off the 9-bedroom home for $6.7m in 2007 after living there for over 30 years.

Martha Stewart has a summer place on remote Maine’s Mount Desert Island called Skylands, which she purchased in 1997. The Maine estate, which sits high atop a hill with panoramic, sweeping views of Seal Harbor, was built in 1925 by former car designer and tycoon Edsel Ford and his wife Eleanor. Martha’s impressive summer home designed by architect Duncan Candler is a 35,000-square-foot stone mansion that sits on 63 acres of land. The mansion is a 12-bedroom with a floral arrangement room and a Great Hall, which was bought fully furnished.

The edifice sits in a compound that features other outbuildings such as a guest cottage, a playhouse with an indoor squash court, mechanics’ garage, greenhouse, stable, and a 200-seat Catholic church. Over the years, Martha has re-decorated her Maine Estate to suit her personal style. The mansion is one of her favorite places where she only spends part of the summer, a few weekends, and regularly entertains famous guests.

Martha also has some other stunning properties, including a horse farm in Westchester in Upstate New York, as well as a 25-room home sitting on a 1-acre plot on Lily Pond Lane in East Hampton, New York, and a stunning New York penthouse.

Her primary residence is the home on Girdle Ridge Road in Bedford, New York called Cantitoe Corners. The house, which she bought for $15.2 million in the year 2000, is a 153-acre estate with many separate outbuildings and gardens.

A Breakdown of Her Net Worth and Earnings

As already hinted, Martha Stewart has built a large fortune through her exceptional entrepreneurial mindset, and her net worth is currently placed at $640 million. In her heydays, Stewart was listed among the world’s most powerful and wealthiest business icons. After her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO) went public in 1999, she made Forbes Billionaire’s list as the first self-made female billionaire, with a net worth of about $2 billion.

In the early 2000s, she had a brush with the law and was tried for obstruction of justice, a conspiracy of lying, and use of falsified statements. Stewart was sent to jail in 2004, where she spent five months, and this led to a massive decline in her net worth. After she got out, the business mogul managed to bounce back; at the time, her net worth was pegged at $500 million.

By 2007, Forbes estimated her earnings to be $550 million. In 2015, she sold her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO), for $350 million. The company was acquired by Sequential Brands Group, which later sold MSLO assets to Marquee Brands at $175 million in 2019. Sequential Brands Group paid Martha a whopping $6.6 million for travels, utilities, and wellness services in 2017.

The business mogul has equally earned a huge sum through her TV shows. Her TV show, The Martha Stewart Show, which ran from 2005 to 2010, fetched her millions of dollars as well as fame. Similarly, her hit VH1 show with Snoop Dogg, Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, fetched her over $1 million, while her current HDTV show, Martha Knows Best, is also not doing badly.

Other businesses that have helped Stewart maintain her $640 million net worth include the following:

  • She has a line of carpet tiles she launched with FLOR, Inc.,
  • The Martha Stewart Vintage wine brand with E & J Gallo Winery,
  • An upscale line of homewares for the department store Macy’s,
  • A 24-hour satellite radio channel with Sirius,
  • Her Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, etc

Key Takeaways

  • Martha Stewart is estimated to have a net worth of $640 million as of 2020.
  • Martha Stewart became Forbes America’s first female self-made billionaire when her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, went public in 1999.
  • She was sentenced to five months in jail and two years probation after she was convicted of obstruction of justice, making false statements, and conspiracy of lying in 2004.
  • Forbes estimated her earnings to be $550 million in 2007.
  • Stewart sold her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, to Sequential Brands Group for $350 million in 2015. However, Sequential Brands Group sold Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to Marquee Brands for $175 million in 2019.
  • Martha Stewart made her wealth through her career as a stockbroker, her company,  catering business, publishing successful cookbooks, and her magazine.

Martha was Previously Married to Andy Stewart

The business mogul with her ex-husband, Andy

Martha’s success story could not have been without much support from her family, particularly her husband, Andy Stewart, who she met while studying at Barnard College in Manhattan. The couple met while they were both very young; at the time, Andy was 23 years old and a student at Yale Law School, while Martha was already a professional model, as well as a European and Architectural History student in the same school.

They were set up on a blind date, and according to her, they fell in love at first sight. However, the following year, the duo tied the knot in July 1961. Although Martha was the most popular among the two, her fame also thrust her husband into the limelight at the time.

Few years into their marriage, the couple engaged themselves in their personal business of interest. Stewart graduated from Barnard in 1963 and continued her modeling career in New York, while her husband, Andy, pushed further to establish his law career. The couple’s love blossomed for almost three decades before their separation in 1987 and divorce in 1990.

What Led to their Divorce?

Martha and Andy Stewart’s love story began to crash after the diva of domesticity, Martha, was accused of not treating her husband well. The matter worsened, leading to their separation in 1987. However, their divorce process was finalized in 1990, and they went their separate ways. Since their divorce, Martha has not given up hope in her search for true love.

The diva maintains that she is still in search of a regular male companion. Stewart has also dated a few other men after her official divorce. She had a brief relationship with Sir Anthony Hopkins – a Welsh film, stage, and television actor, after which she dated Charles Simonyi, a one-time employee of Microsoft. Charles headed the software group for Microsoft, and his relationship with Martha lasted for about 15 years before they went their separate ways.

Martha and Andy Stewart Had One Daughter

Martha and her daughter, Alexis

About four years into their marriage, Martha and Andy welcomed their first child, a daughter who they named Alexis. She was born in Manhattan, New York, on September 27, 1965. Like her mother, Alexis attended Barnard College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1987, and today she is numbered among America’s top television host and radio personalities.

While the business mogul remains prominently in the public eye, her ex-husband has gone off the radar and nothing much is known about their involvement in raising their daughter. Alexis once disclosed that her parents’ divorce affected her a lot such that they didn’t spend much time with her while she was growing, and as a result, it created a rift between them.

Although she now has a close relationship with her mother, Alexis said she found it very difficult to reconcile with her father. Alexis was married to John R. Cuti from 1997 to 2004, and they have two children namely, Truman Stewart and Jude Stewart.

Martha Stewart’s Husband Andy Worked as a Publisher

As aforementioned, Andy Stewart got a law degree from Yale School of Law, but he spent only a few years practicing law before moving on to become a publisher. He worked as a corporate lawyer at the Times-Mirror Corporation, after which he moved to the publishing arm of the company.

Years later, Andy became the president of Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (now known as Abrams Books), which specializes in illustrated children’s books. Stewart later left the company and went on to form his own publishing firm called Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Just like Harry N. Abrams, their company also publishes a similar style of books, which ultimately led to a merger with Harry N. Abrams to form what is now known as Abrams Books.

Age/Date of Birth:
August 3, 1941
Height:
5 ft 9½ in or 176.5 cm
Ethnicity/Race:
White
Nationality:American
Net Worth:$640 million
Husband or Boyfriend:

She was formerly married to Andrew Stewart (m. 1961; div. 1990)
Parents:Edward Kostyra and Martha Ruszkowski

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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