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How Hollywood's highest-paid actresses earned their millions

By Lauren Said-Moorhouse, for CNN
updated 11:25 AM EDT, Wed July 31, 2013
Angelina Jolie tops the 2013 Forbes list of highest-earning female actresses but much of her recent work has been behind the camera. Angelina Jolie tops the 2013 Forbes list of highest-earning female actresses but much of her recent work has been behind the camera.
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1. Angelina Jolie
2. Jennifer Lawrence
3. Kristen Stewart
4. Jennifer Aniston
5. Emma Stone
6. Charlize Theron
7. Sandra Bullock
8. Natalie Portman
9. Mila Kunis
10. Julia Roberts
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Angelina Jolie tops annual Forbes list despite a three-year hiatus from the big screen
  • Franchise roles prove to be the biggest box office successes
  • Compared with other entertainment industries, Hollywood pay is significantly less

Leading Women connects you to extraordinary women of our time -- remarkable professionals who have made it to the top in all areas of business, the arts, sport, culture, science and more.

(CNN) -- Angelina Jolie has beaten some of Tinseltown's best-known starlets to reclaim the top spot in Forbes' annual list of highest-paid actresses in Hollywood.

Despite her absence from the big screen since starring alongside Johnny Depp in 2010's "The Tourist", Forbes estimates Jolie earned a staggering $33 million over the last 12 months.

Since taking a break from the big screen, Jolie has turned her efforts to writing, producing and directing her first film "In the Land of Blood and Honey." along with the upcoming film "Unbroken." In 2011, she voiced the character of Tigress in "Kung Fu Panda 2," a box office hit generating $165.2 million worldwide, according to boxofficemojo.com.

Read: Why we love Angelina Jolie

Box office glory

Unsurprisingly, thanks to her Academy Award success in "Silver Linings Playbook," Hollywood's latest "It Girl" Jennifer Lawrence comes in second with $26 million. This year the 22-year-old will return to the very roles that thrust her into the spotlight as Katniss Everdeen in the second installment of the popular "Hunger Games" film adaptations and the "X-Men" prequels.

The CGI-filled blockbuster franchises continue to be a proven money maker. Kristen Stewart, who earned $22 million with the year ending June 2013, is known to teenagers across the globe as Bella Swan from the highly lucrative "Twilight Saga." But with the vampire love story now complete, Stewart has moved on to another female-led franchise and is set to reprise the titular role in "Snow White and the Huntsman 2" due for release in 2015.

Read: 10 fierce fictional heroines

Leading ladies

The "Snow White" effect also gave America's original sweetheart Julia Roberts a boost as she earned $10 million after starring in "Mirror Mirror," another adapted version of the classic German tale.

Meanwhile, new entry Emma Stone gave comic book inspired films a whirl by starring in the "Spiderman" reboot, which mostly accounted for her $16 million earnings over the last 12 months.

Other familiar stars to grace the top 10 list again include Jennifer Aniston, Sandra Bullock, Natalie Portman and Charlize Theron who were joined by the latest new addition Mila Kunis who snagged the ninth spot with $11 million thanks to her blockbuster comedy "Ted" and hit fantasy prequel "Oz the Great and Powerful."

Hollywood's gender pay gap

While Hollywood's leading ladies may earn an impressive salary at first glance, those figures are still far off from what their male counterparts take home.

Forbes recently announced "Iron Man" himself, Robert Downey Jr. earned more than double the amount of Jolie as the top-earning actor in Hollywood after raking in a whopping $75 million.

Downey was always going to have a good year after starring in Joss Whedon's comic book character compilation "The Avengers" -- the third highest-grossing film ever. Since "Iron Man 3" opened in May, the film grossed $1.2 billion globally making it one of the biggest box office hits of all-time.

Compare the highest-paid actresses of Hollywood to Forbes world's most powerful celebrities list, of which there are six women in the top 10, Jolie moves much further down to number 41. Compared with other entertainment industries, Hollywood pay packets are significantly less.

Take a look at the full Forbes list below.

Forbes' top 10 highest paid actresses of 2013

1. Angelina Jolie -- $33 million
2. Jennifer Lawrence -- $26 million
3. Kristen Stewart -- $22 million
4. Jennifer Aniston -- $20 million
5. Emma Stone -- $16 million
6. Charlize Theron -- $15 million
7. Sandra Bullock -- $14 million
8. Natalie Portman -- $14 million
9. Mila Kunis -- $11 million
10. Julia Roberts -- $10 million

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