OFFSTAGE: When Carrie Underwood Made $15,980 a Year

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

It was 2004 — way before Carrie Underwood was Carrie Underwood. She was, in fact, just a 20-year-old waitress in Tahlequah, Okla., making $15,980 a year. There are actually quite a few restaurants in Tahlequah, and I’m not sure which one paid that well. Now, at 28, she makes a staggering $20 million annually according to Parade magazine . That is $19,984,020 more than her waitress’ annual income. That’s an extraordinary pay raise. Then again, she’s done some very extraordinary things to deserve it. Other before-and-after salaries of celebs in the story include Oprah Winfrey ($200,000 to $290 million), Ryan Seacrest ($10,800 to $15 million), Jon Hamm ($14,350 to $2.3 million) and Johnny Depp ($13,500 to $50 million).

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.