The Coolest Second Jobs of Famous People
While many famous actors, musicians and athletes are content to focus on their careers, several just can’t be contained by one profession. They’ve channeled their creativity and drive into unusual second jobs or side hustles.
Some, like David Lee Roth, who worked as an emergency medical technician in New York City, prefer to do their secondary work anonymously. Others, like Gwen Stefani or George Clooney, use their fame to drive sales of their products.
These second gigs are often inspired by what the person trained to do originally, studied in school or developed as an outside interest. Here’s a list of 14 famous people and their intriguing side hustles.
Bono and The Edge, Hoteliers
The creative forces behind the Irish rock band U2 sideline as hoteliers.
In 1992, the pair – as part of a consortium – bought the Clarence Hotel in Dublin. Bono and The Edge invested millions in renovating the hotel and offsetting financial losses.
While the Clarence Hotel lost money during the financial downturn, it is now profitable again. In 2013, Bono and The Edge stepped down as company directors but maintained ownership until October 2023.
David Lee Roth, Emergency Medical Technician
David Lee Roth, the 1980s rock icon, is best known as the lead singer for the band Van Halen. He is also an author. In 1998, he published a memoir, “Crazy from the Heat,” which became a
"New York Times" bestseller.
But Roth’s most interesting slideline was his stint as an emergency medical technician (EMT). Before joining Van Halen, he had worked as a surgical orderly. In 2004, Roth received his certification as an EMT and worked in New York City for two years before returning full-time to hosting a radio show and playing music. He retired from the stage in 2021.
Soleil Moon Frye, Children’s Clothing/Party Decorations Entrepreneur
Soleil Moon Frye is an actress, film director and screenwriter, best known for her lead role in the series “Punky Brewster.” She’s also done some Hollywood-adjacent work, hosting a podcast and web series on women’s rights and raising kids, and she has written books on parenting and party planning.
In 2007, she went a different direction. Frye opened an eco-friendly children’s clothing shop in Los Angeles. Now a wholly online business, Little Seed produces clothing made from organic cotton and low-impact dyes for infants and children.
Frye also co-founded a second company selling party decoration kits. She also hosted “Home Made Simple,” a series on OWN, Oprah Winfrey’s network.
George Clooney, Tequila Mogul
The well-known actor, producer and director emerged on the hit-TV series “ER” and eventually played in a string of blockbuster movies, including “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Gravity.” In short, he’s one of Hollywood’s most recognized faces.
Clooney’s also a tequila mogul. He and friend Rande Gerber established Casamigos, an award-winning tequila that is one of the fastest-growing brands in the world. Clooney’s fame helped boost sales for the company. In 2017, Casamigos was bought by global retailer Diageo, for $1 billion. Despite the sale, Clooney and Gerber are still involved with the business, and taste every batch before bottling.
Tom Selleck, Avocado Farmer
The television actor, best known for his role as Thomas Magnum in the hit series, “Magnum, P.I.,” currently stars in the TV police drama “Blue Bloods.”
Selleck doubles as a commercial avocado farmer, with 2,100 trees on his 60-acre ranch in California. Selleck works the farm himself, saying that the physical activity is a good antidote to the stress of his on-screen life.
Erykah Badu, Doula
The Grammy-winning singer and songwriter, record producer, DJ and actress is known for her unique style that combines jazz, funk, R&B and hip-hop. Her second gig is a little bit different.
Badu’s also a birth doula, a person who attends natural childbirths and assists the mother and a midwife. Badu is a spokesperson for the International Center for Traditional Childbearing and has gained certification as a midwife.
Badu is also a philanthropist. She set up a charity that offers free music, dance, theatre and visual arts workshops to inner-city youth.
Chris Colfer, Writer
Chris Colfer is a talented actor and singer who starred on the hit series “Glee.” He’s won several Golden Globes for his acting, and in 2011, Colfer made the Time 100 list of most influential people in the world. Colfer has also worked the other side of the camera, writing and producing his first feature film, “Struck by Lightning,” a high school coming-of-age drama.
What you may not know about Colfer is that he’s also a New York Times best-selling author. His six-part “Land of Stories” for children will be made into a movie that Colfer himself will write and direct.
Justin Timberlake, Serial Entrepreneur
The Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, actor, dancer and record producer does it all. Did you expect anything different for his side hustles?
Timberlake owned record label Tennman Records, founded fashion label William Rast, and owns two restaurants, one in New York (T-Squared Social) and the other in LA (Chi).
An avid golfer, Timberlake also developed and owned an eco-friendly golf course, which he sold in 2014.
James Franco, Teacher/Writer
The Emmy and Golden Globe nominated-actor is best known for his roles in movies such as “127 Hours” and “Pineapple Express.” Describing himself as a “professional student,” Franco holds a MFA in writing from Columbia University and is a PhD candidate in English at Yale University.
He’s prolific on the other side of the classroom as well. He has taught film at USC and UCLA, as well as an online screenwriting class. Franco has been a lecturer in the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA. He also taught film classes at Palo Alto High School.
Additionally, Franco writes – he has published short story and poetry collections – and paints. He has held shows of his work at galleries in Los Angeles and Berlin.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Lifestyle Entrepreneur
In 2008, the Emmy, Oscar and Golden Globe-winning actress launched a weekly lifestyle newsletter that she called GOOP. That little newsletter has since grown into a massive company. GOOP sells wellness and health products, and has now launched a print magazine and podcast, as well as an annual wellness summit.
Paltrow has also written several cookbooks and co-authored “Spain...A Culinary Road Trip.” She hosted a PBS series “Spain…on the Road Again."
Gwen Stefani, Fashion Label Owner
She’s a Grammy-winning singer and songwriter, first as the lead vocalist for the band No Doubt until 2004 and since then as a successful solo musician.
Before she made it in music, though, Stefani learned all about making clothes. She comes from a family of seamstresses; her mother sewed Stefani’s clothes when she was young. Stefani makes many of the clothes she wears while performing.
In 2003, Stefani launched her own fashion line, L.A.M.B. The name came from her debut solo album, “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.” In addition to clothes, L.A.M.B. sells accessories, such as shoes, watches, bags and eyewear.
Paul Newman, Race Car Driver/Food Entrepreneur
The late, well-known actor, director and producer, most famous for classic films such as “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “The Sting,” first had a side-job as a professional race driver, winning several Indy Car races.
His other second career started when he set up Newman’s Own, a line of gourmet food products. Newman donated all profits from Newman’s Own to charity.
He also co-founded the Safe Water Network, a non-profit that works on drinking water issues worldwide. Additionally, Newman set up the SeriousFun Children’s Network, a global network of summer camps and programs for children with serious illness.
LeBron James, School Founder/Entrepreneur
The new member of the Los Angeles Lakers is considered by many to be the best basketball player of all time. He’s not just an athlete, though.
"Forbes" ranked him as both one of the world’s most influential athletes and one of the 100 most influential people. James runs a charity foundation, The James Family Foundation, in Akron, Ohio, where he grew up. His foundation, together with the Akron public school system, recently launched an experimental school for struggling kids called the I Promise School. The school is designed for elementary school children who need intervention to prevent them falling behind their peers academically.
Jessica Alba, Ethical Products Entrepreneur
Actress Jessica Alba was a rising star in Hollywood when she became a parent. Frustrated at not being able to find natural cleaning and baby products, Alba and a friend set up The Honest Company.
Their first products included a range of eco-friendly, non-toxic household cleaning and baby products. The Honest Company has grown to include beauty and body care products, vitamins and a subscription service.