We all know celebrities get paid extravagantly to star in movies, sing our favourite summer anthems, and sometimes just be in the public eye. There is no denying that many stars are incredibly talented, and have worked hard to get where they are. But not all of them have become millionaires doing what you think. There are always opportunities for lucrative side businesses, and collaborations, you just have to know the right people, and have the right business sense.
Most celebrities aren’t satisfied to be just one thing these days. If they already act, why not release an album? If they are dancers, then moving to Broadway is expected. Who knew Hugh Jackman was such a good singer? But show business isn’t the only way to make money, and fame can be fleeting. You may know how the following celebrities got famous, but check out the unexpected ways they got rich.
Akon has made more money from Lady Gaga’s music than his own
When Lady Gaga was still Stefani Germanotta, she was working as a songwriter for Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records. Akon was working on his second album when he happened to hear her sing. He immediately set to work convincing CEO, Jimmy Iovine to let him sign Gaga to his own imprint, Kon Live. He helped develop her first album, “The Fame”, and co-wrote her first hit, “Just Dance”. He has admitted that he has made 10 times more money through her music, than he ever did with his own records.
Launching their own fragrances
Celebs adding a perfume to their extensive list of products with their name on it is not a new thing. Everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Britney Spears to Justin Beiber has a fragrance associated with their image. But the top selling celebrity perfume in recent years has been Beyonce‘s fragrance, Heat. Launched in 2011, the perfume was meant to fit in with Beyonce’s confident, strong, sexy image. And her fans were all for it. During one event at Macy’s, Beyonce appeared to sign autographs, and 72,000 bottles of Heat were sold within an hour. The fragrance has currently made over $400 million worldwide. While Beyonce’s talents as a performer make a lot of money on their own, if she ever wanted to give it all up and live on her perfume profits, she definitely could.
Ashton Kutcher’s tech start-up investments
Two and a Half Men‘s Ashton Kutcher is a lot more than a pretty face. He may currently earn $750,000 an episode as the show’s star, but he is also active in a lot of technology start-up companies. He is an investor in growing companies Skype, Foursquare, and Airbnb, and he is the co-founder of a venture capitalist firm called A-Grade Investments. He has also found time to serve as the Creative Director for voice-over internet protocol business, Ooma. And if that wasn’t enough, in October 2013, he was hired by Chinese computer technology company, Lenovo, as a product engineer. Why he still acts, is anyone’s guess.
George Foreman’s grills
Two-time World Heavyweight boxing champion, and Olympic gold medalist, George Foreman, is one of the most famous boxers of all-time, but he isn’t rich for his ability to throw a powerful punch. Around the same time he came back from retirement to chase his second title, he became the spokesman for a fat-reducing grill, that was aptly name the George Foreman Grill. Over 100 million units have been sold, and in 1999, Foreman sold the rights to the continued use of his name for $137 million. In addition to the sales profits from the grills, it is estimated he has made over $200 million from the grill endorsement, which is significantly more than he ever made as a boxer.
Sammy Hagar got rich off tequila
Sammy Hagar spent 11 years as the lead singer of Van Halen, but he actually made the bulk of his cash from his own brand of tequila. After founding a nightclub called Cabo Wabo, Hagar decided to commission a hand-made tequila from a local family-owned distillery to serve in-house. Then, when a wine importer from Napa Valley started importing the tequila to the US, it quickly rose in popularity to become the 2nd best-selling premium tequila in the country. In 2007, Hagar sold 80% of the company for $80 million, making him the richest member of Van Halen, to date.
David Beckham’s modeling career
Arguably one of the best looking (and probably the most universally well-known) soccer players of all-time, David Beckham has made millions lending his face, and chiseled abs, to numerous ad campaigns. He has been ranked as one of the highest earning players in soccer, earning over $50 million in the span of 12 months. His career as an athlete is no doubt what gave him the body to model underwear for Emporio Armani, and the fame to be the face of a huge campaign for H&M. He makes an estimated $200,000 a day just for being the face of brands like Adidas and Diet Coke (among others), and more than $37 million in commercial contracts alone.
Joe DiMaggio’s autograph
Back when pro athletes weren’t the international icons they are today, major league baseball playing legend, Joe DiMaggio found a way to make money simply from his signature. Of course, like any athlete who values his fans, he would sign most things for free. But if you wanted a signed baseball bat, you would have to pay a whopping $250,000 for it. Obviously, not many people can come up with that kind of money, which made an autographed bat rare, and even more valuable. Even if he only sold one or two bats a year, that was plenty to live on
Beats by Dr. Dre
Dr. Dre started out as a rapper, and found fame as a member of N.W.A before turning his attention to discovering and producing for other artists. He is credited with giving both Eminem and 50 Cent their start, and has produced Grammy-winning tracks for Snoop Lion (Snoop Dogg). But his real fortune has come from a pair of headphones that grew to epic popularity. Apple recently made a bid to purchase Beats by Dr. Dre for $3 billion, which will make Dr. Dre the richest individual in the hip-hop business.
50. Cent’s Vitamin Water
50 Cent is another savvy business man who started out as a rapper. His first album wasn’t called Get Rich or Die Tryin’ for nothing. He owned a stake in Glaceau’s Vitamin Water, which was sold to Coca Cola for $4.1 billion. He is also developing his own line of condoms called Magic Stick Condoms, and plans to donate some of the proceeds to HIV awareness. He has recently released his fifth studio album, entitled Animal Ambition, but it is unlikely profits from his rap career will ever surpass his success as an investor.
Aerosmith has made more money from Guitar Hero than their albums
Aerosmith is one of the most famous rock bands in the world, so they must make millions from their music, right? Well, yes. But the cash they raked in from record sales and world tours is nothing compared to the profit they made from Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. Turns out fans love to pretend they are a part of their favourite band. The game sold almost 600,000 copies its first week, and grossed $50 million in its first 3 months. According to the Activision CEO, the game has made the band more money than any of their albums. The band also saw a 40% increase in sales from their catalog of music after the game’s release.