The mere mortals among us may think that if our job allowed us to creatively play for millions of dollars a year, we’d be all too happy to spend our nonworking time relaxing on the beach in St. Tropez after sailing there on a private yacht. But in the spirit of entrepreneurship, many celebrities take their time off from making oodles of money to start new businesses — thereby making even more money! Here are some of the celebs who, through hard work and the ability to capitalize on an already-famous name, have turned their millions into millions more.
Celebrity: Justin Timberlake
Second job: All-around mogul
The deets: At this point, it’s hard to envision an enterprise this former Mouseketeer couldn’t excel at. While successfully branching from music to acting with Emmy-nominated turns in Saturday Night Live’s digital videos and Oscar buzz for his role in “The Social Network,” Timberlake has had equal success as an entrepreneur. In 2005, he and a childhood friend founded the William Rast fashion brand, a salute to “American denim heritage and biker culture,” with retail income later estimated by Forbes at $50 million per year. He’s also launched, or put his name behind, a brand of tequila, a golf course, a New York City barbecue restaurant and a record label, before earlier this year taking on what might prove to be his greatest challenge yet: trying to bring cool back to MySpace, purchased in June by a group of investors, including Timberlake, for a paltry $35 million.
Celebrity: Gwyneth Paltrow
Second job: Lifestyle guru
The deets: If you follow any blogs that skewer celebrities, you’ve surely enjoyed a joke or two at the expense of Goop, the lifestyle website founded by Paltrow that imparts the Oscar-winner’s wisdom on how to live and what to buy. But while Goop has been reamed across the blogosphere for occasionally advocating a lifestyle beyond the reach of most — for the average mom, a $495 blazer is not a “spring basic” — the site reportedly has more than150,000 subscribers, which Paltrow has recently begun capitalizing on. Her cookbook “My Father’s Daughter,” released this past April, became a New York Times best-seller, and no less than Martha Stewart wondered on Twitter if Paltrow was about to follow in her own profitable footsteps. Paltrow says the site is but the beginning of a 10-year plan. So far, she seems right on track.
Celebrity: Bono and The Edge (from U2)
Second job: Hotelier
The deets: Record a platinum album. Save Africa. Leave a chocolate on your pillow? Seems like U2’s Bono doesn’t feel busy enough touring arenas worldwide and regularly meeting with world leaders, so he took up a second job. Along with bandmate The Edge, he bought a hotel as well. The pair own The Clarence, a “premiere boutique hotel” along Dublin’s River Liffey, which was built in 1852 and had fallen into disrepair by the 1970s. It attracted struggling artists and musicians, such as the not-yet-famous pair of Irish rockers. In 1992, they purchased the hotel and transformed it from two-star accommodations to five-star ones. But being businessmen doesn’t mean they forgot their roots, as they proved by supporting their business the best way they know how — by giving an intimate public performance of hits such as “Beautiful Day” and others on the hotel’s roof.
Celebrity: Gwen Stefani
Second job: All-around mogul
The deets: As a singer, Stefani was always known to be fashion-forward, and it was little surprise when in 2004 she launched a fashion line called L.A.M.B. (an acronym for her solo album, “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.”). But if the line’s existence was no shock, its astounding success was. The brand caught on with fans and fellow celebrities alike, hitting almost 300 stores and by 2007 was approaching sales of $90 million per year. Stefani has expanded her offerings to include fragrances, bags and shoes, and she recently paired with Target for an affordable kids’ fashion line called Harajuku Mini, which launches in November.
Celebrity: Kiefer Sutherland
Second job: Music maverick
The deets: It’s not enough to save the world from terrorists — “24” star Kiefer Sutherland wants to save the music industry as well. With good friend and veteran songwriter Jude Cole, Sutherland founded Ironworks Music, a record label and studio that records and releases records by artists the pair believe in, with an emphasis on down-home roots rock. Sutherland is such a music fan that in 2007, the venerable Gibson guitar company released the “Gibson Custom Kiefer Sutherland KS-336” guitar, custom-designed by Sutherland, a collector with more than 60 Gibsons to his name. While a longtime musician, Sutherland emphasized he had no intention of recording himself, saying the purpose of the studio and label were to “help young artists that might not be able to find their way in what is becoming a very shrinking corporate music industry.”
Celebrity: Tom Selleck
Second job: Avocado farmer
The deets: When not portraying solid, respectable policemen on TV, Selleck has a second job in tending to his 60-acre avocado farm, where working the land serves as his form of exercise. With more than 2,000 avocado trees on his property, Selleck has been a successful avocado provider — despite the fact he’s admitted distaste for eating the fruit himself. He has had setbacks, like all farmers, including having more than 600 trees killed in a 2007 frost. But in the past few years, Selleck has had another potential challenge, of sorts — a celebrity rival in Jamie Foxx, who also has a second job growing his own avocados on the other side of their shared fence.
Second job: Diamond miner
The deets: It’s a modern truism that rappers and R&B artists love diamonds, but six-time Grammy nominee Akon took this love to a new level when he bought a South African diamond mine. While he’s taken some heat for the purchase, he first deflected it as nonsense, telling the UK’s Independent in 2007, “I don’t even believe in conflict diamonds,” before later changing his tune on that score. Still, he wears his crop, and while he hasn’t disclosed his profits, there is one endeavor that has earned him even more than owning a diamond source — discovering and signing a little performer by the name of Lady Gaga.
Celebrity: Jeremy Renner
Second job: House-flipper
The deets: While the twice Oscar-nominated Renner has sailed to the top of every casting director’s list in the past several years, he still has another significant source of income from a second job that might just rival the ducats he’s made from film. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Renner and a business partner have had considerable success flipping houses, from a 2002 three-bedroom they bought for $659,000 and sold less than one year later for $900,000, to the 1924 Greek Revival estate they bought in 2008 for $1.55 million and sold a year later for more than $4 million.
The boutique owner
Celebrity: Soleil Moon Frye
Second job: Children’s boutique owner
The deets: The star of “Punky Brewster” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” turned out to be anything but punky as an adult, as the actress and now mother of two started a second job, opening “The Little Seed,” an eco-friendly children’s boutique in Los Angeles, in 2007. Carrying products such as low-impact cotton onesies and nontoxic crayons, the store has blossomed into a brand of organic baby clothes and accessories carried by Target. She’s now embarking on a third career as an author — Moon Frye’s first parenting book, “Happy Chaos,” was released on Aug. 23.