30 celebrities who have built massive businesses
Paul Newman is famously one of the first actors-turned-businessmen. In his prime, the movie star won numerous Oscars, Golden Globes, and an Emmy.
But from the 1980s until his death in 2008, the celebrity focused on Newman's Own, a food products venture that became one of the nation's largest charitable organizations. The company is known for its all-natural salad dressings, and also makes popcorn, sauces, and lemonade. It has given away more than $250 million in after-tax profits to hundreds of groups.
In recent years, many famous individuals have followed Newman’s footsteps and turned their profits into businesses. But not all these business ventures have been successful. For example, Natalie Portman created a vegan-friendly footwear company in 2008, which closed down later that year due to the shoes' high price tag.
So which celebrities succeeded in their companies? Stacker combed through news articles and other websites to find out. From a burger chain to an interior design company, read on to find out which icons are actually business savvy—it might not be who you’d expect.
Business: Beats by Dr. Dre
Rapper Dr. Dre created audio brand Beats by Dr. Dre along with music producer Jimmy Iovine in 2006. After rapidly gaining popularity, Beats Music and Beats Electronics were purchased by Apple in 2014 for $3 billion.
Business: Casamigos Tequila
George Clooney used to make tequila for friends and family during his many trips to Mexico. He and two friends created their own company after creating the perfect recipe. In 2013, Casamigos tequila hit liquor stores, and in 2017, beverage company Diageo purchased it for about $1 billion.
Business: The Honest Company
After having an allergic reaction to laundry detergent in 2012, Jessica Alba started The Honest Company to provide consumers with safe, non-toxic household and baby products. In 2016, the company reported $250 million in revenue and is valued at slightly less than $1 billion as of October 2017.
Business: Jessica Simpson Collection
The singer established her brand in 2005, designing and selling shoes, women’s and girls’ clothing, and home décor. It was valued at $1 billion in 2015.
Business: Magic Johnson Enterprises
The basketball star created his investment company in 1987 with a mission to strengthen urban and underserved communities. He’s struck deals with companies like Pepsi-Cola, T.G.I. Friday's, and Best Buy, among others. Between his sports career and business ventures, Johnson is reportedly worth $1 billion.
Business: Elevation Partners
Elevation Partners, named after the U2 song "Elevation,” is a private equity firm that invests in new media and technology. According to Bloomberg, Elevation Partners has invested $1.76 billion in companies like Facebook, Forbes, and Yelp, with a 12% net rate of return. The firm received $1.4 billion from its investment in Facebook alone.
The actress co-founded Fabletics athletic wear line from JustFab in 2013. A company spokeswoman told CNBC it had "rapidly surpassed $300 million in annual revenue." Hudson wants to spread the company’s body-positive message to women around the world. Fabletics is planning to open 75 new stores across the country as well as overseas, bringing its total locations to 100.
Business: Ocean Therapy Solutions
After learning about the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 and filming "Waterworld" in 1995, actor Kevin Costner set out to create a device that would separate water from oil. The devices can separate 200 gallons of oil from water per minute. In 2010, BP bought 32 of Costner's OTS machines for $15 million to help clean the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Business: A-Grade Investments
Ashton Kutcher co-founded the venture capital fund A-Grade Investments in 2010, and has used it to invest in Uber, Airbnb, and Spotify. By 2013, it was valued at more than $100 million.
Business: Parkwood Entertainment
Beyoncé's management company has investments of at least $150,000 in Sidestep, an app that offers access to concerts and merchandise. In 2016, The app made more than $2 million in sales: ten times more than the previous year. Beyoncé also owns activewear fashion brand Ivy Park.2018 All rights reserved.