Hollywood is a fickle place. Actors can be making millions one minute and living like every day middle class Americans the next. They just never know when their 15 minutes of fame will run out. Some have chosen to take fortune into their own hands by investing, hoping to create a safety net of wealth elsewhere.
It seems some of our most beloved celebrities are also wise business people. Ahead are 15 celebrities that have made millions outside Hollywood.
1. Ashton Kutcher
Actor Ashton Kutcher is the co-founder of A-Grade Investments. The venture capital firm has a keen eye for investing in profitable start-up companies, including Spotify, Uber, and Airbnb. Before amassing a portfolio worth more than $250 million — up from $30 million in 2010 — Kutcher personally invested in Foursquare and Skype.
Next: A celebrity cashing in on an infamous brand
2. Jimmy Buffett
Singer Jimmy Buffett’s greatest move to date is monetizing the “Margaritaville” brand. According to the New York Times, the singer has come a long way from drunken shows and coconut shells. Today, he’s a businessman who earned over $50 million in 2017 alone. Most of his revenue stems from the “Margaritaville” business empire that includes restaurants, hotels, a satellite radio station, a Broadway show, and a wide assortment of merchandise donning popular phrases like “lost shaker of salt.”
Next: One-half of a billion-dollar couple
Rapper Jay-Z is probably one of the most notable celebrities that made millions outside of Hollywood. Musically, he’s had a successful career, but he’s also owner of a management company, record label, and $600 million streaming service, Tidal (though, some say it is losing money head over feet.) Jay-Z’s business empire also includes ownership of the 40/40 club restaurant chain, various real estate investments, and champagne that retails for $200,000 per bottle.
Next: Part 2 of the billion-dollar celebrity couple
Together, Jay-Z and Beyoncé are worth more than $1.4 billion. But Beyoncé Knowles makes wads of money on her own. Her fragrance line has sold more than $400 million, not counting her most recent venture in athletic brands. And let’s not forget about her millions earned for appearances in wildly successful movies like Dreamgirls and the Austin Powers franchise.
Next: The liquor business proves profitable
5. George Clooney
Winning two Academy Awards wasn’t enough for one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors. In 2017, George Clooney sold his tequila company, Casamigos, for $700 million in up-front cash to Diageo. An additional $300 million is expected if the company hits its 10-year sales goals. The actor surely toasted to the big bucks once the transaction closed — especially since the tequila company was never meant to go public. It was originally collected privately for his family and friends only.
Next: One of the richest women in Tennessee
6. Dolly Parton
Country superstar Dolly Parton is one of the richest stars in country music. But beyond her work as an actress and singer, she makes millions as an entrepreneur. Dolly Parton launched her own theme park, Dollywood, in her home state of Tennessee. It is continually ranked as the state’s biggest tourism attraction. Her venture employs 3,000 people and helps skyrockets her net worth to roughly $500 million.
Next: From N*SYNC to semi-successful business man
7. Justin Timberlake
In 2011, Justin Timberlake purchased MySpace.com for $35 million, relaunched the site into a music discovery platform, then sold his shares to a fan for $1 when it seemed doomed for failure. Luckily, his other business ventures proved more successful. 901 tequila, the William Rast clothing line, and a string of co-owned BBQ restaurants hike his net worth to $230 million.
Next: A celebrity earning millions in the restaurant industry
8. Robert DeNiro
Actor Robert DeNiro’s career spans decades and has earned him a net worth of $200 million. He was once on the hook for a $6.4 million tax bill due to the IRS when the notice got sent to the wrong address. Luckily DeNiro is part owner in an international restaurant and hotel chain Nobu valued at $500 million.
Next: Risky business for this Hollywood celebrity
9. Gwyneth Paltrow
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow used the power of persuasion to convince investors that her lifestyle brand of obscenely expensive knickknacks is a worthwhile venture. She raised $20 million in venture capital to fund Goop, even as reports suggested they were $1.6 million in debt in 2014. Gwyneth swears Goop is profitable and announced the company will be expanding into the vitamin industry and the online media business.
Next: A uber-rich celebrity cloaked in controversy
10. Jessica Alba
Thanks to The Honest Company, Jessica Alba is one of America’s richest self-made women. She lurks quietly behind Beyoncé and Judge Judy in net worth. Despite countless lawsuits claiming the company used false marketing campaigns to mislead customers about ingredients and effectiveness, her outside business venture is worth more than $1.7 billion.
Next: Another celebrity that made millions outside Hollywood
11. Ryan Reynolds
Clooney has tequila. Diddy has vodka. And Ryan Reynolds has gin. The millionaire actor is the latest celebrity to cash in on the liquor business as a new owner of Aviation Gin. He explained his purchase to Forbes, saying “I did this for one simple reason: It’s the best damn gin on the planet.” We’re not sure how profitable this investment is for Reynolds, but the company sold 25,000 cases in 2017. Ryan also earns money as a brand ambassador for the jewelry company, Piaget.
Next: Comedy sells
12. Will Ferrell
Comedian Will Ferrell’s transition from Saturday Night Live to the movie screen to founder seemed natural once he created comedy website, Funny Or Die. They’re responsible for a slew of successful products and shows, such as Drunk History, but it was sold to MTV/Viacom in 2015 for $198 million. Still, it’s clear Ferrell profited handsomely outside Hollywood with a net worth of $100 million.
Next: A sports star making history
13. Serena Williams
Over the years, Serena Williams has pocketed more than $84 million in winnings as a renowned tennis player — more than any other female athlete. But she’s another celebrity that has made millions outside of Hollywood through a Home Shopping Network fashion line, lucrative endorsements, and a set of wise investments. Sister, Venus Williams also has stakes in The Miami Dolphins and Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Next: You never would have guessed this celebrity would launch a billionaire business
14. Jessica Simpson
While Jessica Simpson’s face is long gone from the pop charts and reality television, her presence is still very much alive in the fashion industry. She co-founded the Jessica Simpson Collection with her mother in 2006. The shoe line later expanded to clothing, jewelry, sunglasses, and home goods. Bloomberg reports her brands earns about $1 billion a year. Not bad for a girl who couldn’t discern canned chicken from tuna.
Next: Record-breaking success
Although Rihanna is just a year into entrepreneurship, she’s already been deemed a success by many. She launched a line of beauty products in 2017 called Fenty Beauty, which Time named one of the 25 best inventions of 2017. In its first month, Rihanna’s company made $72 million, outplacing Kylie Jenner’s record-breaking cosmetic line, Kylie Cosmetics.
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