Courtesy of The Insider
Actors, athletes, and musicians can get paid a lot of money. And while it’s easy to buy a couple of extra yachts or a crystal-studded bathtub, the smartest ones know when to invest.
Often, they’ll invest in a business they already know. Brad Pitt founded Plan B productions, which produced the Oscar-winning “12 Years a Slave” and “Moonlight.” But they can also invest in unrelated companies and use their fame to get publicity and open doors in the business.
Sometimes, the investments are a massive failure, like Ja Rule’s Fyre Festival. Other times, they can be huge successes, like the projects on this list.
Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty brand is one example of things going well. Launched just two years ago, it’s now a juggernaut in the cosmetics industry and propelled Rihanna into being the wealthiest female singer alive, according to Forbes.
Here are 21 celebrities who’ve made tons of money outside of their usual line of work.
ASHTON KUTCHER WAS AN EARLY INVESTOR IN UBER, AIRBNB, AND SPOTIFY.
Aside from his romantic comedies and stint in “Two and a Half Men,” Ashton Kutcher has made millions of dollars from his venture capital fund, A-Grade Investments. Kutcher co-founded the firm in 2010. By 2013, it was valued at over $100 million.
BEYONCÉ IS ALSO A TECH STARTUP INVESTOR.
In addition to her activewear fashion brand, Ivypark, Beyoncé’s management company has at least $150,000 invested into Sidestep, an app that offers access to concerts and merchandise, according to Techcrunch. The app raised a total of $1.7 million and had more than $2 million in sales in 2017, ten times the year prior.
JAY Z OWNS A SPRAWLING BUSINESS EMPIRE.
Jay Z’s music career already makes him one of the wealthiest musicians alive. His management company, record label, and streaming service Tidal also put him ahead in the business.
Elsewhere, he has a sprawling business empire that includes ownership in stadiums, cosmetics companies, a wine and spirits company called Sovereign Brands, cigars, and plane-booking app that are worth millions of dollars on their own.
MAGIC JOHNSON HAS A SPRAWLING PORTFOLIO OF INVESTMENTS IN DIFFERENT FRANCHISES.
The retired basketball player owns Magic Johnson Enterprises, a massive investment company. It has stakes in a bunch of different companies, but he mainly uses it to invest in franchises. At different times, Magic Johnson Enterprises owned shares in movie theaters, gyms, and hundreds of T.G.I. Friday’s, Burger King, and Starbucks locations. He also became a co-owner of the LA Dodgers, for which he paid $50 million.
GWYNETH PALTROW’S LIFESTYLE BRAND, GOOP, RAISED MILLIONS IN VENTURE CAPITAL.
Goop is frequently mocked online for selling obscenely expensive knicknacks, but Paltrow seems to have convinced investors that it’s a promising business. She’s raised $20 million in venture capital funding since she began Goop as simply a personal newsletter in 2008, according to CNBC.
It’s not clear, though, if Goop is profitable yet. In 2014, leaked documents seemed to show that the company was $1.2 million in debt. But it’s e-commerce business seems to be growing steadily, according to Racked.
ROBERT DENIRO OWNS A SET OF HIGH-END JAPANESE RESTAURANTS.
DeNiro collaborated with famed Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa to found Nobu, a restaurant that began in New York and has since expanded to several other major cities around the world.
Now, Nobu is a mainstay in the international foodie scene and it recently added a cruise and a Las Vegas hotel to its brand. And in 2015, the company was valued at $500 million.
JESSICA ALBA CO-OWNS A LIFESTYLE PRODUCTS COMPANY VALUED AT $1.7 BILLION.
By 2015, Alba’s The Honest Company was valued at more than $1 billion for selling a cosmetics line, cleaning products, and baby food, making Alba’s venture a huge success.
BONO NAMED HIS INVESTMENT COMPANY AFTER ONE OF HIS SONGS.
Elevation Partners, his private equity firm, is named after his U2 song “Elevation.” It’s made a lot of money. It’s invested $1.76 billion, with a 12% net internal rate of return, according to Bloomberg. It’s invested in major technology companies like Facebook and Yelp and made $1.4 billion from its Facebook investments alone, according to The Independent.
NAS IN INVESTING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS INTO STARTUPS INSTEAD OF MAKING MUSIC.
The last Nas album came out in 2012. In the meanwhile, his firm QueensBridge Venture Partners invests in about 20 companies per year, with funds between $100,000 to $500,000 a company. Some of those companies have grown exponentially since he invested in them, like Dropbox and Lyft.
THE DIRECTOR OF “THE GODFATHER” AND “APOCALYPSE NOW” OWNS A MAJOR WINERY.
Francis Ford Coppola took Hollywood by storm in the 1970s with two “Godfather” movies and “Apocalypse Now.” Now, he directs infrequently, and he focuses on more idiosyncratic movies like “Tetro.”
45 years ago, he bought an estate in Nappa Valley and, by the 1990s, turned it into a bustling winery. Coppola wines are sold all over the world.
“All I know,” Coppola told Wine Enthusiast magazine, “is that one year we did $9 million. Four years later, $60 million. I was making much more money in the wine business than I ever made in films.”
GEORGE CLOONEY SOLD HIS TEQUILA BRAND FOR $1 BILLION.
Clooney and Rande Gerber, Cindy Crawford’s husband, decided to make their own in-house tequila for when they spent time together in Mexico.
They worked with a distiller to come up with a tequila they loved. After going through about “1,000 bottles a year” between the two and their friends for about five years, they decided to take it public. And in 2013, Casamigos Tequila was born.
In June of 2017, Clooney and Gerber cashed in on their success, selling Casamigos Tequila for up to $1 billion to Diageo, a British liquor company.
RYAN REYNOLDS OWNS ONE OF THE BEST GIN BRANDS IN THE WORLD.
It sells well, too: The company told Business Insider it sold 25,000 cases in 2017.
It’s not clear exactly how much wealth Aviation Gin provides for Reynolds. Aviation Gin is owned by Davos Brands, a privately-held spirits company.
SAMMY HAGAR, WHO HAD A COUPLE OF STINTS IN VAN HALEN, FOUNDED A TEQUILA BRAND THAT HE SOLD FOR $91 MILLION.
Hagar was in Van Halen for a year in the 1980s and for a little longer during a reunion in the early 2000s. Otherwise, he’s been part of other rock musical acts like Montrose and Chickenfoot.
As a businessman, Hagar has a few restaurants, but his biggest success is Cabo Wabo tequila. He sold the brand for $91 million over a period of three years.
SERENA WILLIAMS OWNS SHARES IN MAJOR SPORTS THAT AREN’T TENNIS.
Serena has made over $81 million in winnings as a tennis player, more than any other tennis player in history by a mile. And as a businesswoman, she has a fashion line and set of investments that make her millions more.
Her personal fashion line at the Home Shopping Network makes her a powerhouse in the fashion world, according to Fox Business Network. Along with her sister Venus, Williams also has stakes in The Miami Dolphins and Ultimate Fighting Championship.
WILL FERRELL INVENTED A COMEDY GOLDMINE.
Ferrell founded Funny Or Die, a website that produces and distributes comedy videos and has features contributors like Judd Apatow, James Franco, and Zach Galifianakis.
Since its founding in 2007, it’s raised money from the major Silicon Valley firm Sequoia Capital and made a partnership deal with HBO. Some of its shows, like “Drunk History” and “@midnight” have made the jump to being fully-fledged television shows.
KEVIN COSTNER PAID $24 MILLION TO THE US GOVERNMENT TO BUY A COMPANY THAT SEPARATES OIL AND WATER.
In 1995, Costner bought Ocean Therapy Solutions from the US government. It develops water-purifying technology deployed during oil spills. During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, BP made a $52 million order for the machines to help clean it up.
DR. DRE FOUNDED A HEADPHONES COMPANY THAT SOLD TO APPLE FOR $3 BILLION.
Along with fellow music producer Jimmy Iovine, Dre founded Beats Electronics, a stylish headphone manufacturer, in 2006. In 2014, Apple made the biggest acquisition in its history by buying it for $3 billion.
THE BAND LINKIN PARK HAVE INVESTED IN ROBINHOOD AND LYFT.
The band has an entrepreneurial streak, investing in tech companies even as they tour. They say they have the same approach to investing as they do to music.
“Not only is the band a startup, but each album is its own startup,” Linkin Park member Mike Shinoda told CNN Money in 2015.
They have their own investing fund, Machine Shop Ventures, which has money in Robinhood, the stock-trading app recently valued at $1.3 billion, and the ride-sharing service Lyft.
Shinoda has also invested separately in Spotify, Pandora, and a few other companies, he told CNN.
JARED LETO HAS MADE MORE THAN 50 INVESTMENTS IN EARLY-STAGE TECH COMPANIES.
Leto is an aggressive investor, he told CNBC, and has an impressive stable of companies he was able to invest in early on. He invested in Nest before Google bought it in 2014 for $3.2 billion, as well as Airbnb and Uber.
He also told CNBC that he met with Instagram to discuss an investment just days before Facebook purchased them for $1 billion in 2012.
“They were looking around and giggling,” he said. “And I said, ‘What’s so funny?’”
KIM KARDASHIAN WEST HAS BUILT SEVERAL COMPANIES BASED ON HER BRAND.
Kardashian West is often mocked as being a talentless hack, but she has a knack for turning her image into a cash machine. The aspiring lawyer’s mobile app game “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” has made more than $160 million between 2014 and 2016, and her Kimoji app also topped Apple’s app charts and made plenty of money.
Products from her lucrative cosmetics company, KKW Beauty, sell out within hours of release. In addition, her 2015 coffee-table book of selfies, “Selfish,” sold more than 125,000 copies with a retail price of $20.
Other members of the Kardashian-Jenner families have followed her example. Kylie Jenner, for example, has a highly successful makeup company.
RIHANNA RAPIDLY BUILT A BEAUTY EMPIRE.
In 2017, Rihanna launched her line of beauty products under Fenty Beauty, which garnered widespread acclaim for its inclusive, wide range of colors. The company made $72 million in just its first month.
It quickly became a powerhouse. The company collaborated with the luxury giant LVMH and is now worth at least $3 billion, according to Forbes. Rihanna reportedly owns a 15% stake, worth $450 million by Forbes’s calculations. Altogether, she’s the world’s richest female musician, worth $600 million.