Celebrities in the entertainment and music industry have always aligned themselves with certain products, whether it was something they truly believed in or something that organically melded with their persona. Snooki and Jwoww began endorsing a fake tanning product during the height of their fame from Jersey Shore and even Elizabeth Taylor put her name on the White Diamonds fragrance due to her infamous love of jewelry. While there have been some phenomenal choices made by celebrities, not everyone has had the fortune of picking such lucrative products as Vitamin Water like 50 Cent or The Honest Company like Jessica Alba. Sometimes the search for fame and money can tend to make celebrities desperate in finding the right product or career move to best propel their professional lives forward. While Paul Newman was able to hit it big with his dressing and Alfonso Ribeiro was able to gain new life in his career through his win on Dancing with the Stars, there are a number of celebrities that weren’t as fortunate.
This isn’t exactly a new concept in Hollywood, since many celebrities have had to make the difficult choice of having to take a subpar career move in order to gain that much-needed paycheck. This storyline was used during the hit series, Friends, when Joey endorsed a men’s lipstick in order to get a paycheck and an added role to put on his resume. This was also a constant worry for the Vincent Chase character on Entourage, since he often had to debate whether or not it was worth taking a bad role for a big paycheck rather than hold out for the role of substance that may never come. The tricky decisions in Hollywood can make or break a celebrity, and not all stars have made the right choices. Check out our list of the 15 celebrities that have proven they’ll do anything for money, and see how these poor choices have damaged their professional careers.
15. Donald Trump – Trump Steaks
While Donald Trump loves to brag about all of his successes in business, it’s interesting to delve deeper into all of the endeavors that didn’t pan out. It’s easy to forget about his failures since there are a number of towers and hotels that came out on top. In addition to his real estate and business ventures, Trump has become a hugely successful television personality through his Celebrity Apprentice and The Apprentice series. However, winning the spot as the Republican Party nominee for President of the United States has put not only his successes but also his failures in the spotlight. Although it may have seemed like everything he touched turned to gold, in truth, many of his endeavors failed miserably. From Trump University to Trump Steaks, it makes people wonder whether or not Trump truly has an eye for business or will he just put his name on anything in order to make a quick buck.
14. Randy Jackson & Paula Abdul – Starred In Voice Coach DVD
Although American Idol has come to a conclusion, the success of this reality singing competition series cannot be denied. After 15 seasons, the series came to an end, but many still hold dear the show and its cast of characters. There are those that favored the season involving the Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj feud and others that enjoyed any season that included Simon Cowell, but it’s early on in the series that many fans preferred due to the presence of Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul. While Randy Jackson quickly became a caricature of himself with his constant “Yo” and “Dog” hollering, he’s actually a renowned music artist and record producer that has worked with some of the biggest names in the business. Paula Abdul may also be thought of in a particular light since her most famous song, “Straight Up,” didn’t exactly entail Mariah Carey-like vocal abilities. In an effort to cash in on their newfound mainstream popularity from American Idol, Jackson and Abdul paired together to release a three disc professional singing lesson set entitled, “Ultimate Voice Coach – Learn To Sing Like A Star.” Coining themselves as “voice coaches to the stars,” the disc set quickly became a joke rather than a true moneymaker.
13. Paris Hilton – Hamburger Commercials
Paris Hilton was first introduced to audiences through the reality series, The Simple Life, which coincidentally was around the time of the release of her sex tape, 1 Night in Paris. This alone, shows just how far Hilton would go in pursuit of fame and money. While the sex tape was supposedly released without her consent or knowledge, the reality show was something she endeavored to do as a means to gain more of a name for herself outside of the Hilton dynasty. Living with absolute strangers, working menial jobs, and making out with unknown boys in the middle of nowhere, Hilton definitely didn’t have a bar for what she wasn’t willing to do for a paycheck. This was made evident by her commercial endorsement for Carl’s Jr. where she was rolling around with a black bikini seductively chowing down on a burger. Her career has continued on this same trajectory since she seems to endorse anything and everything that she can slap her name onto, including over 20 perfumes. This may say something in and of itself, since she’s willing to sell out her own fragrances in hopes of earning a tad more money on the next one.
12. Ozzy Osbourne – Rockstar Promotes “Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”
When it comes to rock bands and hardcore rock artists, sometimes maintaining the persona is just as important as the quality of their music. A prime example is how it took the band, KISS, practically a decade to finally remove their makeup and reveal their true faces to their fans. One rockstar that fans thought would never dare to go mainstream is Ozzy Osbourne. Yet, that is exactly what happened when Osbourne starred in a commercial endorsement for a butter company in 2006. It was difficult for fans to wrap their heads around the fact that the Prince of Darkness, The Godfather of Metal, and the man that famously bit the head off of a bat was now selling I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter on television. The curtain had already been pulled back since he allowed cameras into his house for the MTV reality series, The Osbournes. So, fans already knew that he was far from the rockstar madman he portrayed onstage in the ‘70s. However, seeing him selling imitation butter was just a little too shocking. Perhaps he needed the extra income after so many years offstage or perhaps he wanted an extra paycheck after the reality series stopped taping, but whatever the case, it definitely made fans view Ozzy in a whole new light.
11. Kim Richards – Real Housewives
Although Kim Richards had quite a successful career as a child actress, her celebrity status was all but nonexistent until she was casted on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She was introduced to a whole new audience that may or may not have remembered her from her earlier work. As a housewife, she quickly made a name for herself as one of the more erratic behaving women on the show. She publicly battled substance abuse, and ultimately was replaced on the series. Yet, she was undoubtedly hoping that her time in the series would help her to revamp her career in acting. While it didn’t ever open doors to a serious film role, it did provide her the opportunity to get onto another reality series, Stars In Danger: The High Dive. Richards said she went on the show to try and become closer to her sister, and also “to learn how to dive like an Olympian.” However, the experience supposedly left her scarred, traumatized, and fearful to get back into the water. Hopefully she was paid a pretty penny for her appearance, since she will no longer be receiving a Real Housewife check and Hollywood isn’t exactly banging down the door.
10. Kyle Richards – Stars in Danger: The High Dive
As the sister of Kim Richards, Kyle seemed to live in her sister’s shadow when they were both getting roles as child actresses. Kim had more of a successful career, even though Kyle had a number of memorable roles, including a recurring role on Little House on the Prairie. However, the clear winner in the end was Kyle Richards since Kim’s substance abuse caused massive wear-and-tear on her appearance and even hindered her from continuing on to furthered success. Kyle became a mainstay cast member on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and married the hugely successful realtor, Mauricio Umansky. Yet, Kyle has been accused of selling out everything from her storyline on the show to her real-life friendships for the goal of the almighty dollar. She appeared alongside her sister in the Fox reality series, Stars In Danger: The High Dive, where she was willing to subject herself to impossibly high platforms in order to receive a paycheck. Yet, the biggest accusation came from her good friend, Lisa Vanderpump. After the two had a falling out (again), Vanderpump accused Richards of only being a good friend if Mauricio was receiving commission as their realtor. Richards denied these claims, but it’s interesting to think that she would be willing to create and maintain friendships based on how much money they’re bringing to the table.
9. Lisa Rinna – Made $2 Million off Diaper Endorsement
Lisa Rinna is actually a pretty accomplished actress and television host, so it came as a surprise when she agreed to being a cast member on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Oftentimes, legitimate actresses tend to forego reality shows such as these since it can be damaging to their careers. However, this may not be the case for soap actors or women who have already sold themselves out to endorse incontinence products. The adult diaper company, Depends, sought to have a celebrity spokesperson for their brand of female incontinence products, and Lisa Rinna was the woman to take the bait. She reportedly was paid $2 million for her endorsement, and even rocked a pair on the red carpet for one of the commercials for the Depends brand. During an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Rinna addressed the diaper-wearing elephant in the room during a confessional interview with the camera. She stated, “I got paid more money to do that than I got paid to do anything ever in my life and I was just like winking all the way to the bank.”
8. Kendra Wilkinson – Reality TV Amid Turmoil
Kendra Wilkinson was first introduced to audiences as a cast member on The Girls Next Door, as the youngest girlfriend to Hugh Hefner (at the time). So, it became blatantly obvious that Wilkinson was willing to do absolutely anything for money, including dating a man that could have easily been the age of her grandfather. While their relationship didn’t last, that didn’t stop Wilkinson from milking her next relationship to earn a pretty penny. Wilkinson went on to marry former NFL player, Hank Baskett, and the two starred in the spin-off series, Kendra. The show followed their marriage, the birth of their first child, and all of the drama that was playing out in the tabloids. From the multiple sex tapes from former relationships that were released after their marriage to the allegations that Baskett had an intimate relationship with a transvestite, Wilkinson let it all play out in front of the cameras for a paycheck. While other people would have pulled the plug on their reality show in order to get their house in order, Wilkinson not only let the cameras role but caused a number of all-out scenes for the series to help increase ratings.
7. NeNe Leakes – From Real Housewives to Cirque du Soleil: Zumanity
NeNe Leakes was first introduced to audiences as a cast member in The Real Housewives of Atlanta, but she quickly became the lead personality and was able to transition into mainstream popularity. Oftentimes, housewives tend to be pigeonholed in their reality TV role, and don’t usually make an appearance in mainstream shows. Yet, NeNe landed a role on the hit television series, Glee, became a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, and even made it to Broadway in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. However, not all of her career choices have been as critically acclaimed. Whether it was an effort to broaden her range as an actress or just a way to earn an extra paycheck, NeNe took a job with the show, Cirque du Soleil: Zumanity. NeNe played the role of Mistress of Seduction/Sensuality, and part of her performance was even highlighted on an episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Yet, this particular show was unlike anything Cirque du Soleil is known for. Rather than flying acrobats and illuminative set décor, NeNe was center stage asking the audience to release their best moans of ecstasy while performers simulated sexual positions.
6. Phaedra Parks – Reality TV To Fitness Videos
Typically, the women that fit the mold of a housewife aren’t exactly as well-educated as Phaedra Parks from The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Usually, it’s the husband that works some high-powered job, while the wife busies herself with shopping adventures and lavish vacations with girlfriends. Yet, Phaedra Parks has broken the mold, and is highly respected as a lawyer with a substantial background involving some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. Although she has come under fire for the legal issues involving her husband, Apollo Nida, but it was their joint venture in the fitness sector that really had people shaking their heads. Whether her legal career was at a standstill or she was hoping her reality TV status would help sell products, Parks and Nida began promoting a workout routine system entitled, Phine Body. The main focus of the workout routine was to create a “Donkey Booty.” It’s difficult to say what was the craziest part of this venture; whether it was the fact that a lawyer was all of a sudden an expert in fitness or a workout routine that assumed women would be flattered to have a “Donkey Booty.”
5. Justin Bieber – Selling Female Fragrance
Justin Bieber is one of those artists that is completely polarizing when it comes to audiences. While there are some that absolutely hate him, there are still others (mostly young girls) that idolize him in a way that can’t fully be explained. Nowadays, he seems to have gotten better with what he is willing to do for a paycheck, but early on in his career, he didn’t have too high of standards. He charged a ludicrous amount of money for fans to “meet and greet” with him during concert dates, and regardless of the high price tag, there were always fans willing to dole out the cash to get close to him. He has since stopped providing these VIP experiences, citing, “I end up feeling so drained and filled with so much of other people’s spiritual energy that I end up so drained and unhappy.” Yet, perhaps the biggest example of how Bieber used to do anything for money was the fact that he actually came out with a female fragrance early on in his career. Supposedly it was for fathers to buy for their daughters since it was a “safe” crush for the girls to have, but it was extremely creepy and damaging to his persona for him to be selling a girl’s perfume product.
4. Farrah Abraham – What Won’t She Do?
Farrah Abraham became known to the world as a young mother struggling to give birth to and raise a child without the help of the baby’s father. Unlike other mothers on MTV’s reality series, 16 and Pregnant, Abraham was forced to raise the baby alone after the death of the baby’s father. Her storyline continued on the reality show, Teen Mom, but viewers stopped feeling sorry for her situation and quickly began to see the dysfunction of her personality. The narcissistic personality was evident in everything from her parenting to the relationship she had with her mother and stepfather. Things became increasingly worse when she decided to start a career in adult entertainment. She reportedly earned $1.5 million for Farrah Superstar: Backdoor Teen Mom, and then made a number of appearances on television shows looking to exploit her irrational thinking and depressed personality. Starring on everything from Botched to Couples Therapy (where she showed up alone because her significant other didn’t even bother to show up), it became blatantly clear that Abraham would appear on anything as long as it involved a paycheck.
3. David Hasselhoff – From Baywatch to Lean Pockets
David Hasselhoff started his career as an actor in roles that have become iconic. From Knight Rider to Baywatch, Hasselhoff was a major heartthrob throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. He also dabbled in the music industry and became quite successful in the European scene. Yet, as he aged, he began losing legitimacy as an actor and definitely began losing the charisma he once mastered in the eyes of fans. Perhaps it was the fact that he never seemed to alter his personal style in dress or perhaps it was the damaging video of himself stuffing his face on the Internet, but whatever the case, Hasselhoff needed something to try and boost him back into A-list status. It’s difficult to say whether or not his Lean Pockets endorsement was an effort to get back into the limelight or it was just for a paycheck. However, Hoff Pockets didn’t ever take off and his Mr. Lean portrayal was comical at best.
2. Mary J. Blige – Sang Song For Burger King
Mary J. Blige is known for her soulful and unmistakable voice, which has brought many to predict she could be thought of in the same league as iconic singers that have come before her. Comparing her to the likes of Aretha Franklin and Patti Labelle, she has long since been on the road to greatness. Yet, rumored money troubles may have forced her to take endorsement deals that she may not have wanted to take. This could be the explanation for why she chose to sing about chicken snack wraps for a Burger King commercial. Replacing lyrics to her song, “Don’t Mind,” with ingredients in the chicken menu item, the leaked commercial was met with an intense amount of criticism. Not only did fans think that she sold out, but some even accused her of feeding into the racial stereotype. The ad was quickly pulled, but the damage was already done. Perhaps she should have thought about that before taking the Burger King paycheck.
1. Khloe & Lamar – Endorsed Everything
The entire Kardashian clan isn’t exactly known for their integrity when it comes to product endorsements. In fact, many of the Kardashian sisters have been known to promote highly controversial products like waist trainers and prescription pills for pregnancy side effects. What more can you expect from a family that first came to prominence from a sex tape? While Khloe Kardashian has never been thought of as the tame sister by any means, fans had high hopes for her when she fell into the whirlwind romance with Lamar Odom. While it was definitely strange to marry a man after only a few months of dating, fans still had the dream alive for the fairytale romance. Yet, all of that went out the window once they got a glimpse of the commercial for the unisex fragrance, Unbreakable. While Calvin Klein may have been able to get away with it back when Kate Moss was at the height of her popularity, Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom definitely weren’t able to pull it off. The attempt at shoving their love down the throats of fans fell flat, and the fragrance became a huge joke.