Captain Marvel's Brie Larsen says she 'always felt scared of' money—here's why

Actor Brie Larson attends the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California.
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Highly-anticipated superhero flick "Captain Marvel," starring Brie Larson, hits screens nationwide today.

At just 29, Larson has already earned herself an Oscar for her work in the 2016 drama "Room," made her directorial debut with 2017 indie-comedy "Unicorn Store," and now will go down in history as Marvel's first female superhero.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Larson was paid $5 million for playing Captain Marvel, far surpassing what Robert Downey Jr. made for the first "Iron Man" film ($500,000) and what Chadwick Boseman made for the first "Black Panther" film ($2 million). Gal Gadot earned just $300,000 for her role as "Wonder Woman."

But despite a super hero's payday, the actress wasn't always comfortable with money. 

"I wouldn't say I had a surplus [amount] of money until about two years ago," she tells Marie Claire. "It's still a fresh experience for me and, because I never had it, I always felt scared of it."

Brie Larson attends Marvel Studios 'Captain Marvel' Premiere on March 04, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Larson was born in Sacramento and later moved to Los Angeles with her mother and her sister. Though she's been acting since childhood, Larson says her family struggled financially. In an 2016 interview with ABC News, she recalled her family of three living in one room and eating the cheapest food her single mother could find.

"We lived in just a studio apartment with just a room and a bed that came out of the wall, and my mom couldn't afford even a Happy Meal. We ate Top Ramen," Larson told ABC News. "I had no toys, and I had like two shirts, a pair of jeans and that was it. But I had my Mom to myself and I remember it being the coolest period of time. I loved it. I really loved it."

She is still surprised by how much people will spend on things like clothes.

"I grew up getting [clothes] at the thrift store. When I was finally in a position to go out and buy a t-shirt, I was like, 'How is it $100? I could buy 50 of them at the thrift store,'" Larson tells Marie Claire. "The extra money I have is like energy, it's a currency I can use. I've realized I'll go broke for the people I love, and I love a lot of people. I'm happy to pitch in and help others fulfill their dreams, get on their feet, whatever it is. I donate to GoFundMe. I don't need that much stuff."

Today, the Oscar-winner says she is grateful that she grew up without the kind of cash she is now earning as Captain Marvel.

"I know for myself that material objects don't make me feel anything really. So, it gives me pleasure to be able to help others out," she say. "I'm grateful that I grew up with so little because I know for sure that I don't need anything."

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