Monday 23 April 2018

Roma Downey (57), a native of Derry's Bogside, is an Emmy-nominated actress, but has gone on to have success on the other side of the camera. Her husband Mark Burnett, a former British soldier, developed ratings winners The Apprentice, Survivor, Shark Tank and The Voice, and the couple went on to work together on other successful formats.

In recent years, a TV adaptation of The Bible that they made won numerous awards and reached 100 million viewers. Their latest Netflix drama, Messiah, is set in the present day featuring a man who claims to be Jesus and gathers a mass following in the Middle East. Downey has also launched a new joint venture with MGM. LightWorkers is an ad-supported online network for short format videos, interviews and documentaries that are spiritual, hopeful and inspiring, aimed at female viewers.

Hearst and MGM bought Burnett's company in several chunks in 2012, 2014 and 2015, initially valuing the firm at €480m, but later more than that. The couple may have banked €120m from the 2015 transaction alone, with fees and dividends of almost €200m adding to that bank balance over the years.

Downey and Burnett, who are both devoted Christians, support a range of charitable causes, and are also patrons of Dublin's Abbey Theatre. Downey has a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, and the couple reportedly own three homes in Malibu. One is in a gated community, and two are on the beach-front, and were reportedly available to rent at $70,000 a month and $100,000 a month respectively.

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