Is it just me, or does it seem like every celebrity is running some kind of side gig these days?
While your favorite actors, musicians, reality stars, and famous-for-being-famous socialites are already raking in the dough for their full-time jobs, more and more household names are financing their lavish lifestyles through a variety of side businesses. Some even become so entrenched in their moonlight business ventures, we forget what made them famous in the first place!
Let’s face it—this list could easily have been over a hundred names long. But we’re assuming you haven’t got that kind of time.
So we’ve combed through the masses to choose for you the 10 most iconic, surprising, or just plain fascinating celebrity entrepreneurs.
The Full-Time Funnyman
It’s hard to imagine Ron Burgundy as a successful business owner. But that hasn’t stopped actor Will Ferrell from turning his comic genius into a small empire of online absurdity.
The success of Ferrell’s Funny or Die hasn’t gone unnoticed in Silicon Valley. Last year, the company reported receiving unsolicited interest for purchase of the company. At the time, Bloomberg estimated a potential purchase price of up to $300 million.
The Bistro Babe
Celebrities owning restaurants is certainly not a new phenomenon. But we’re highlighting this particular actress-turned-restaurateur for her cool avoidance of using her name to attract a crowd.
Indeed, Sandra Bullock keeps her ownership of downtown Austin, Tex., foodie favorite Bess Bistro so quiet, you won’t even find her name on the website. But Austin locals tell us the spot’s upscale comfort food and cozy vibe earns a loyal following all on its own.
More recently, Bullock expanded her miniature foodie empire with a bakery and delicatessen across the street, Walton’s Fancy and Staple.
The Original Entrepreneur
We can’t lead off a list like this one without paying tribute to the pioneer of the celebrity business venture: Mr. Paul Newman. He first stole your grandparents’ heart in such big screen classics as The Long, Hot Summer and Cool Hand Luke. But these days, you’re most likely to catch Newman’s face in the grocery store aisle on a bottle of Newman’s Own—the salad dressing and food product company he founded in 1982.
The best part? To this day, every cent of the company’s after-tax profits—over $400 million to date—is donated to various charities through the Newman’s Own Foundation. Now that’s a legacy worth celebrating.
The Household Heroine
When she’s not saving the world on the big screen as one of the Fantastic Four, Jessica Alba devotes herself to “helping moms and giving all children a better, safer start” as founder of The Honest Company, a line of eco-friendly baby and family products distributed through both international retail and an online subscription service.
Alba co-founded the company in 2012 after her second daughter, Haven, was born. And the company has skyrocketed in success since. Just last year, the Honest Company raised $70 million in its third round of venture capital funding, bringing the company’s total venture capital investments to a whopping $122 million.