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Meghan Markle once drove a beat-up Ford she had to climb into from the back

CNBC logo CNBC 5/15/2018 Kathleen Elkins
Meghan Markle smiling for the camera© Provided by CNBC

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's wedding on May 19 will cost an estimated £32 million ($43.4 million). And the gown Markle is wearing, and paying for, reportedly costs £100,000, or $135,593.

The American actress will be marrying into world-class wealth, but there was a time when the she was counting pennies. Before her big breakthrough playing paralegal Rachel Zane on the USA show "Suits," Markle took a job as a briefcase girl on the NBC show "Deal or No Deal" to "make ends meet." She even worked as a calligrapher while pursuing her acting career.

At one point, Markle drove a "beat-up, hand-me-down — but awesome — Ford Explorer" from audition to audition, she told Entertainment Tonight in a 2017 interview.

The car "sounded like a steamboat engine" whenever she started it, and her license plate was "hanging on with a bungee cord," Markle added. "And then this just epic day happened where the lock stopped opening with the key and the clicker wouldn't open the front doors."

Unable to afford repairs, Markle had to climb through the back of her Ford to get to the driver's seat: "So what I would start to do is literally go to these auditions, park at the back of the parking lot and I would open my trunk . . . and crawl into the back of my car to the front seat to drive off to my next audition."

Markle, whose breakthrough on "Suits" came in 2011, worked her way up to earning nearly half a million dollars a year starring in the TV drama and today has an estimated net worth of $5 million.

Going forward, though, Markle says she doesn't plan to continue acting. She made her final appearance in "Suits" during last month's season finale.

"I don't see it as giving anything up. I just see it as a change. It's a new chapter," she said during a BBC News interview alongside Prince Harry last year. "Now it's time to work as a team with you."

Related video: Meghan Markle's pain in the neck: US taxes

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