Adam Sandler’s Real Life, Behind All the Goofy Movies

Not everyone is a fan of Adam Sandler. The goofy movies with the silly voice he tends to make don’t float everyone’s boat. But as of late, the 55-year-old actor has been making a transition to drama and he’s been turning non-fans into Adam Sandler supporters (myself included).

Chris Rock Adam Sandler / Adam Sandler / Jackie Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, and Adam Sandler / Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler

Sandler has come a long way from his Saturday Night Live and Happy Gilmore days and, apparently, he’s a great guy to work with. Despite his ability to command $20 million per picture, he’s “one of the most down-to-earth individuals in that position.” So, who is this sensible movie star who shocked Hollywood with his legit acting abilities? Let’s find out.

How Much Is Adam Sandler Worth?

Adam Sandler’s net worth is said to be around $420 million. In 2019 alone, he earned $57 million (must be nice, huh?). If you’re curious, he made $26 million on Billy Madison (1995) which cost only $10 million to make. From there, things only went up.

Adam Sandler attends the LA Premiere of Netflix's
Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Happy Gilmore (1996) made $41 million on a $12 million budget. Sandler was becoming a box office presence. Come 1998, The Wedding Singer raked in $123 million, and that was on an $18 million budget. So, you can see, the man was making the right movies at the right time.

From Movie Star to Producer to Production Company Owner

1998 was a big year for Sandler; in addition to The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy came out. The film made $190 million on a $23 million budget. Sandler both starred in and executively produced that one, meaning he got doubly paid.

Adam Sandler sings in a scene from the film 'The Wedding Singer’
Photo by New Line Cinema/Getty Images

Just so you know, the typical Hollywood movie producer earns $750,000 to $1 million per movie, and first-time producers make closer $250,000 (according to Business Insider). Around this time, Sandler founded his own production company, Happy Madison. He was going to start making movies that he starred in and producing projects for his real-life buddies, like Rob Schneider and David Spade.

He Was Booted From SNL

Adam Sandler was a SNL cast member during its golden age in the ‘90s, when Chris Farley and David Spade were also on the roster. But in 1995, both Sandler and Farley were ousted from the show. And it’s still unclear why Lorne Michaels chose to cut them out.

The cast of SNL pose on set.
Source: NBC

In 2014, Sandler opened a little bit. “Yes, we were [fired],” he confirmed. “We kind of quit at the same time as being fired. It was the end of the run for us.” He added that “It hurt a lot at the time” as they were young and didn’t know what they were doing, but “it all worked out.”

The Reason He Doesn’t Do Interviews

Sandler is known for dodging the press. He told ScreenCrush once that he “used to be misquoted all the time,” which is why he swore not to talk to print media anymore. He told The Harvard Crimson in 2000 about how two-faced he thought critics were.

A woman is interviewing Adam Sandler on the red carpet.
Photo by Victor Chavez/WireImage/Getty Images

He said, as a “guy who gets a lot of s**t from critics,” that once he was talking to someone who “kept going on and on about how much he loved the movie and he’s just going nuts and looking me in the eye. That night, I see him on TV saying, ‘This movie is useless.’ And I’m like, ‘Dude!”

The Happy Madison Gang

It’s no secret that Sandler likes to cast the same group of guys in most of his movies. Casting Rob Schneider, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Norm MacDonald, and Kevin James, one critic said it “gives the impression that he’s making the same movie over and over again.”

Chris Rock, David Spade, Adam Sandler, Kevin James, and Rob Schneider attend the premiere of
Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage/Getty Images

Sandler explained that a group of them come up with an idea and work on it. They “riff around, make jokes, try and make each other laugh.” According to YouTuber Shawn Kohne, all of Sandler’s movies are related, which is why the same characters keep reappearing.

His Netflix Movie Led to a Massive Walk-Out

Sandler signed a four-movie deal with Netflix back in 2014, and another in 2017, even after the flop of The Ridiculous 6, which got a 0 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie was also the subject of a major controversy over its (alleged) treatment of Native Americans and led to a walk-out by actors, cast, and crew.

Adam Sandler as Tommy aka White Knife in The Ridiculous 6.
Source: Netflix

Despite it all, Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said the streaming service isn’t concerned with the critics. “He is one of the most bankable, dependable stars on Netflix around the world,” Sarandos stated. Apparently, Sandler is “hugely popular and just emerging in Latin America.”

Rose McGowan Shames Sandler on Twitter

Some of the jokes in his movies don’t exactly age so well, especially today in the Me-Too movement. The whole oddball character ending up with a woman out of his league: people say it’s overdone.

Th tweet Rose posted about Adam Sandler.
Source: Twitter

Rose McGowan put Sandler on the hot seat on Twitter in 2015 when she posted a casting call note she got from Sandler’s production company along with the script for her audition. It read: “Wardrobe Note: Black (or dark) form-fitting tank that shows off cleavage (push up bras encouraged). And form-fitting leggings or jeans. Nothing white.”

Not That She Was Vilifying Sandler

A few days after her tweet, McGowan told her followers that she “just got fired by [her] wussy acting agent” for calling out “bulls**t in Hollywood.” She spoke to Entertainment Weekly, clarifying that she wasn’t “trying to vilify Adam Sandler.”

Adam Sandler / Rose McGowan
Photo by Florian Seefried, Getty Images / Imeh Akpanudosen, Getty Images

She explained that she was simply “offended by the stupidity [of the note] more than anything. … the fact that went through so many people’s hands and nobody red-flagged it.” We don’t really know how involved Sandler is with the casting notes, but McGowan made her point.

He Has Actual Anger Management Issues

Sandler tends to play the relatable character with a mean streak. When asked if there was a connection between his real-life personality and his characters’ anger problems, Sandler admitted that there was indeed a connection.

Adam Sandler at the premiere of A24's
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

“In real life, I do have a bit of that problem,” he said. “But over the years, I’ve been getting better, I think. But you’re right — I do like snapping and yelling, it’s part of my comedy. Sometimes when I’d snap in my house growing up, it would make my dad laugh. Or sometimes, he’d smack me.”

His Feud With Howard Stern

The feud between Stern and Sandler was so low-key that the two don’t even remember how it started. The pair finally started talking in 2015 and cleared the air. In 2012, Stern was talking – on air – about Sandler and why he seemed to ignore him all the time.

Adam Sandler / Howard Stern
Photo by Steven Ferdman, FilmMagic, Getty Images / Michael Loccisano, Getty Images

“I know Adam Sandler won’t come on the show because I’ve, in the past, criticized his movies,” Stern guessed out loud. He said that Sandler was making the whole thing unnecessarily difficult, but that he was also being way too sensitive about the criticism.

He Was Actually Hurt by Stern

When Sandler agreed to finally come on the show, he opened up about the feud, revealing the insult and injury that cut deeper than Stern realized. “When I was at NYU, freshman year, I loved you,” Sandler told Stern.

Adam Sandler gets serious on the Howard Stern Show.
Source: YouTube

“That’s why it was weird when you used to slam me. It would break my heart because I loved you growing up.” He continued to explain how he purposely chose not to be friendly with Stern because he knew what Stern had been saying about him. For his part, Stern apologized.

Billy Madison’s Dodgeball Scene

Remember the fist fight with Bob Barker? Well, the dodgeball game in the film was real. People watching the movie might feel bad for laughing at little kids get slammed with a rubber ball thrown by a man. But this is why Sandler’s movies were so loved.

Adam Sandler prepares to throw a dodgeball in a still from Billy Maddison
Source: YouTube

In 2017, Sandler told Conan O’Brien that not only were those real dodgeballs and real kids, he also confessed that he made at least one of them cry. “It was our first movie that we had some control of,” he explained, and one kid started crying and his parents were not happy about it.

They Wanted Ed McMahon for the Fight Scene

Seeing Bob Barker in Happy Gilmore was a surprising choice for most movie fans, especially considering he was in a fight scene with Sandler. But it turns out that Barker wasn’t Sandler’s first pick. Sandler said that Ed McMahon was initially written into the script.

Ed McMahon poses for a portrait.
Photo by Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

“I remember being so young and cocky then that we would literally say when we sent it to Ed McMahon, we thought, ‘Of course he’s going to do it. It would be good for him.” But McMahon wasn’t interested. Barker, however, was. But he had some stipulations…

Bob Barker’s Fight Scene Conditions

When Barker was asked to come on board for Billy Madison, he agreed on two conditions: that writers would re-work the scene to allow him to beat Gilmore (Sandler) in the fight, and that he could shoot his own fight scenes instead of using a body double.

Bob Barker prepares to punch Adam Sandler in a scene from the film 'Happy Gilmore'
Photo by Universal/Getty Images

Turns out Barker had an ace up his sleeve. His little secret was that he had been training for years with legendary action star Chuck Norris. “We trained every night. He helps me with my punches and my kicks, but I have to win this fight,” Barker revealed.

He Had a Fallout With Sony

In 2014, there were a bunch of leaked emails from Sony Pictures that sent the entertainment world into a frenzy, and it came a few months after Sandler signed his first deal with Netflix. Apparently, some Sony employees weren’t Sandler fans. One email chain noted, “We continue to be saddled with the mundane, formulaic Adam Sandler films. Let’s raise the bar a little.” Ouch.

Sandler talks to the director on the set of Spanglish.
Source: Sony Pictures

Hacked emails revealed complaints about instances on the set of Hotel Transylvania 2, and a confrontation between Sandler and execs of Sony over adapting the children’s board game Candyland, and then studio head Amy Pascal called Sandler an “a**hole.”

He and Drew Barrymore Have Real Chemistry

The Wedding Singer wasn’t just a box-office hit (the first of his films to break $100 million), it was also the first of his films with Drew Barrymore. The two then made 50 First Dates and Blended. Sandler and Barrymore were asked about their obvious on-screen chemistry.

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler on stage at the MTV Movie Awards.
Photo by Chris Polk/FilmMagic/Getty Images

“I would sum it up with respect,” Barrymore replied in an interview. “I’ve always respected him. I love him. He makes us laugh.” As for Sandler: “I love Drew. I’ve known her a long time. In all three movies, we’ve had the pleasure of falling in love. With the first two, I faked it. But with this one, I really did.”

His Acting Teacher Told Him Not to Act

Back in the day when Sandler was a student, his professor told him to stop acting. Good thing the born-to-be-comedian didn’t listen to his teacher. Although the actor was personally sought out by the directors of Uncut Gems, Josh and Benny Safdie, his potential for the craft hasn’t always been recognized.

Adam Sandler performs stand-up at Lafayette College
Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images

During his humble beginnings as a student at NYU, he was doing stand-up comedy at night, racking in about 10 bucks a show. Then he had to hear his acting teacher tell him that it was worth seeking another career.

He Returned the Favor Years Later

As the story goes, his teacher told Sandler that he wanted to take him “out for a beer.” There, he told his young acting student to “Think about something else. You have to choose another path.” Years later, Sandler bumped into that same professor.

A portrait of Adam Sandler.
Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage/Getty Images

He bumped into him at a bar, no less. That time, Sandler returned the favor by buying his former teacher a beer. It was still early in his career, but it was clear that he was on the right path, seeing as he was already a cast member on Saturday Night Live at the age of 23.

Who Is Adam Sandler Married To?

The comedian is the proud father of two and married to Jackie Sandler. The pair have been married since 2003, and during that time, they welcomed two daughters, Sadie and Sunny, into the world.

Adam Sandler and his family attend a basketball game.
Photo by James Devaney/Getty Images

Remember the comedy Big Daddy? Well, thanks to the movie, Sandler became a daddy of his own. He and Jackie met on the set of the 1999 film and hit it off immediately. Jackie played a waitress in the local sports bar. Four years later, the couple tied the knot (at Dick Clark’s Malibu home).

Then Comes Marriage

The two married in 2003 in a Jewish ceremony where their dog, Meatball, donned a black tuxedo jacket. Among the celebrity guests were Jennifer Aniston, Rodney Dangerfield and Sharon Osbourne. A few years after the wedding, Sandler became a daddy for real.

Adam Sandler poses with Jackie Titone at their wedding.
Photo by Nick Gossen Courtesy Images

Sadie came first, in 2006. Sandler announced her arrival on his website, writing “Kid is healthy!! Wife is healthy!!” Two years later, Sunny was born. The girls have actually appeared in some of their dad’s films, including Hubie Halloween, Hotel Transylvania and Murder Mystery.

Who Is Adam Sandler’s Wife?

As for his wife, Jackie Sandler began modeling in high school and made her acting debut in 1999, when she played the character of Sally in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. In 2020, Sandler shared a tribute to his wife on Instagram, saying, “22 years ago today we locked eyes and fell deep.”

Jackie Sandler and Adam Sandler attend the Telluride Film Festival.
Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

Jackie has been in a number of her husband’s movies, including 50 First Dates, Grown Ups, The Wrong Missy and Hubie Halloween. When Sandler won the best actor award for his role in Uncut Gems in 2020 at the National Board of Review Gala, he credited his wife.

Tag-Teaming With Jennifer Aniston

“My badass wife, she gave me the balls to take the part,” Sandler told the audience when accepting his award. “I was scared, and she said, ”Go f***ing do that” and ‘You can do that s***’ and we rehearsed together all the time.”

Jackie Sandler, Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler attend the premiere of
Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images

Through Sandler, Jackie has become good friends with Jennifer Aniston, who co-starred with Sandler in 2011’s Just Go With It and 2019’s Murder Mystery. According to Sandler, his wife and Aniston are busy “tag-teaming to try to make me a healthier human being,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2021.

Sadie Madison Sandler

Adam told Access in 2006 that once he became a dad, he was “so nervous. I didn’t know what I felt.” But as soon as he was left alone with Sadie and the nurse in the hospital, he had a “chemical reaction in my body, where I loved the kid so much, and I was so nervous for her, and that’s when I lost my mind for the kid.”

Adam Sandler and Sadie Madison Sandler attend a basketball game.
Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

“My kids give me the most joy,” he said in 2014, “but there are life adjustments. I don’t go out to meet anyone after 9:30 at night. I eat dinner at 6 or 7. If someone makes me stay out until 10:30 at night, I’m angry the entire next day because I’m exhausted.”

Sunny Madeline Sandler

In 2017, Sandler told Ellen DeGeneres that his girls don’t really like his movies. At the time, most of his movies weren’t appropriate for his kids (they were eight and ten years old). But he’ll play the movies for them because “they beg to see them.”

Adam Sandler and daughter Sunny Madeline Sandler attend a basketball game.
Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Both Sadie and Sunny have budding film careers of their own. They’ve had roles in The Wrong Missy, Murder Mystery, Blended, Jack and Jill, Hotel Transylvania, Grown Ups, Pixels, The Do-Over, Sandy Wexler, and Hubie Halloween. Sandler said, “I hide ’em out in my trailer. They hang out; they’ve got their friends anyways.”

A Fan Sold His Hair Online

Leave it to Adam Sandler to tell a good story. When he was on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to promote his film Hubie Halloween, the two got to talking about fans, specifically the topic of autographs. Sandler got sentimental over an experience he had years back.

Adam Sandler has a laugh with Jimmy Kimmel on set.
Source: YouTube

One time, when he was leaving a hair salon after a haircut, a “kid came out with a bag of my hair and asked me to sign that, and I did that.” Okay, so it’s a little weird. But the kicker is that the kid sold the hair online that night. “On the Internet that night, he was selling it saying, ‘Adam Sandler’s pubic hair,’” he told Kimmel. “It’s a true story. I bought them back for $65.”

Why He Got a Black Eye

Speaking of talk shows, when Sandler made an appearance on Good Morning America recently, he couldn’t hide the black eye that he clearly had on his face. “This is something I have to discuss, right?” he asked the hosts.

Sandler is explaining his black eye on GMA.
Source: ABC

He explained how he was in bed in a hotel, and “somebody tucked in the sheets too much and I had my phone in the middle of the bed. I kicked my feet up to untuck it, the phone went flying, hit me in the head.”

Black Eyes and Skinny Dipping

Sandler continued with his story: “I refused to acknowledge it. I felt blood. I said, ‘There’s something going on, but I gotta sleep.’ Kept sleeping and woke up and then…” He told George Stephanopoulos how there was “nothing cool about this thing.”

Adam Sandler speak during A panel discussion.
Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images

Yet he also said that he thinks he looks cool on the streets of New York, with people going, ‘Oh, okay. He likes to fight, that guy.’ On another talk show appearance, he confessed to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show that he recently went skinny-dipping at a nude beach in Spain.

Bad Reviews Don’t Scare Him

The man has seen his share of bad reviews. For example, Las Vegas Weekly said of his 2015 movie Pixels that “one of Sandler’s better movies is like calling a particular strain of Ebola somewhat less horrifically painful; either way, it’s not pleasant.”

Adam Sandler attends Nickelodeon's 2016 Kids' Choice Awards.
Photo by Frazer Harrison/KCA2016/Getty Images

“I didn’t get into movies to please the critics,” Sandler said in 2013. “I got into it to make people laugh and have fun with my friends.” He also doesn’t read the bad reviews; he shrugs them off instead. He has friends who call him up and tell him who hated his last film. It doesn’t faze him.

His Movie Locations Are His Vacations

Blended didn’t do so well. One headline read: “Adam Sandler’s Blended is a Failure for the Ages.” There was an issue with the location, Africa, and painful stereotypes that went along with it. But Sandler told Jimmy Kimmel that he picks his movie locations based on where he wants to go on vacation.

Sandler and Barrymore in a still from 50 First Dates.
Source: Columbia Pictures

50 First Dates, for instance, was written in another place. He said to himself, “’Imagine if we did it in Hawaii, how great that movie would be.” His movies have taken him on a cruise ship, to Mexico, and to Hawaii, twice.

He Supported Chris Rock After the Slap

Sandler and Chris Rock have been friends for a long time, and Rock has starred in the Grown Ups movie series, and the two also co-starred in 2018’s The Week Of. So, it comes as no surprise that Sandler would support him in the aftermath of the Will Smith slap debacle of the 2022 Oscars.

Chris Rock and Adam Sandler during The 77th Annual Academy Awards.
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

He tweeted “love you buddy!” with an image of Rock’s upcoming stand-up tour. Sandler and many other comedians have been protective of Rock and sided with him in this beef.

The IHOP TikTok Video

In 2021, a TikTok video showing an IHOP employee sending Sandler away has gone viral. The employee, Dayanna Rodas, later recognized her mistake and begged him to “pleaseee come back.” The actor was at the pancake joint with one of his daughters, never expecting to be sent away because of a long wait time.

A screengrab from the viral IHOP TikTok.
Source: TikTok

Using security footage, Rodas posted a video of her interaction with the Sandlers, captioning it with “Not realizing its Adam Sandler and telling him its a 30min wait and him ofc leaving bc hes not going to wait 30mins for IHOP.”

His Response to the Viral Video

After posting her embarrassing incident on TikTok, someone commented: “I used to serve him regularly. Never served a nicer person.” Another user pointed out that Sandler could have used his name and celebrity as a way to get a table, but chose not to, showing just how grounded the star truly is.

Sadler poses for a photo with the hostess from IHOP at a charity event.
Source: Instagram/@day.dayanna

Not long after, Sandler even spoke out about the viral video. “For the record, I only left the IHOP because the nice woman told me the all-you-can-eat deal didn’t apply to the milkshakes,” Sandler tweeted.

Uncut Gems: The Directors Approached Sandler in 2012

For the Safdie brothers, getting Sandler to sign on for the role of Howard Ratner in Uncut Gems was hardly an easy process. Josh and Benny Sadfie said that they always wanted Sandler to portray the film’s main character, but Sandler (or at least his agents) passed up on the role for years.

Sandler and the Safdie brothers talk on the set of Uncut Gems.
Source: Netflix

They first approached him in 2012. The directing brothers had only directed two features by that point in their career. After that initial rejection from Sandler, the pair started to look at different actors, including Jonah Hill to play the part.

Uncut Gems: Sandler Surrounded Himself With Addicts

For anyone who has seen Uncut Gems, it’s obvious that Sandler’s performance is unlike anything he’s done in the past. It’s partly due to the amount of research Sandler did to prepare for the role, which included numerous meetings with real gamblers and those with serious compulsive issues.

Adam Sandler as Howard Ratner in a still from Uncut Gems.
Source: Netflix

Sandler talked about it in 2019 at a Hollywood Reporter roundtable. “I spent a lot of time on 47th Street. I gamble in the movie a lot, so I spent a lot of time with a lot of gamblers who had bad problems and lost a lot of things and lost their lives because of it.”

Uncut Gems: Diamond Store Owners Wanted It to Be Real

He talked to many gamblers who “just let their lives get thrown away and their family lives get thrown away.” But he added that it’s about where they are now, “and they discussed what the highs and lows were and why they couldn’t stop and that kind of feeling.”

Sandler sells gems in a still from the film.
Source: Netflix

Sandler revealed that many of the diamond shop owners in the district welcomed him into their shops and showed him what their corner of the jewelry industry is like. They wanted to provide a more accurate portrayal.

Uncut Gems: Sandler Was Choked in One Scene

Uncut Gems gets pretty real and brutal at some parts. It seems as though the actors didn’t hold back, either. There was one specific scene in which this is especially true. In 2019, Sandler shared a story with Jimmy Fallon about how he got choked on set.

Sadler is covered in bloody makeup while walking on the set of Uncut Gems.
Source: Netflix

“These guys who were beating me up were really good guys, but they didn’t ever do a movie before,” he explained. A stunt coordinator would say, “You know, you don’t have to really choke him,” while Sandler was trying to tap out. They thought he was acting while he was actually getting choked.

Hustle: Sandler Knew NBA Players Were Good Actors

Sandler and the Hustle team had a good feeling about getting actual NBA players to play roles in the film. Of course, the main character, played by Juancho Hernangómez, received some of the highest praise. And yes, he is a real basketball player as well as an actor.

Sandler and Hernangómez between takes on the set of Hustle.
Source: Netflix

But there are other NBA players on the cast, including Anthony Edwards, Kyle Lowry, and Shaquille O’Neal. Sandler said he “just assumed” they would all be fit to play their roles. He said: “My man, Juancho, those guys were teammates. Juancho called Jeremiah [Zagar], who directed the movie, and said, ‘I think my teammate might want to play Kermit, the bad guy in the movie.’”

Sandler and Aniston Have Been Friends for Years

Aniston and Sandler have known each other for close to 20 years. “We were, like, 14,” Aniston revealed on Jimmy Kimmel Live. She met Sandler when she was dating one of his friends (who has still remained nameless). Eventually, she and Sandler sat down at Jerry’s Deli and bonded over pickles, apparently.

Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler attend the premiere of
Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images

“She crunched too loud,” Sandler quipped. “I knew I was going to be friends with her,” he added. “I didn’t know I was going to be making movies with her. We both didn’t know that; we were young and we didn’t have jobs quite then.”