While being famous can bring many rewards, it also has a shelf-life. So it’s no wonder many celebs have a side hustle to fall back on.
Many have designed clothing ranges or released their own beauty products, but some are a bit more real with their part-time jobs. Take JB Gill from boy band JLS who is not only a presenter on shows like Songs Of Praise, but also a turkey farmer.
Talking on White Wine Question Time, JB said that he’s always had a back-up plan. “It's good to have that plan B,” he told podcast host Kate Thornton. “Even when I went to university, I didn't particularly want to go. I was privately educated, so I just felt like it'd be such a waste for me not to go to university – even though I knew hands down I wanted to be involved in music in some way.”
While JB did find fame and success, he always knew he needed a contingency plan.
After buying a big house that came with land attached, JB started making plans for his life post-JLS. “We started thinking about what can we do with this space,” he said. “That was kind of around the time myself and the boys said we are not going to continue working after our last tour. I must be honest, I took a while kind of trying to just be a farmer…”
Wife Chloe explained they had 70 pigs at one point, but have now settled on being turkey farmers, supplying fellow celebs like Little Mix and Zayn Malik with their Christmas turkeys every year.
And it seems JB isn’t alone, as these celebrity side hustles show…
Alex James, cheesemaker
As the bassist in Blur, Alex experienced huge success in the music industry. In fact, their song Country House was a bit of a prediction for Alex as he does now indeed live in a house, a very big house in the country – the Cotswolds to be precise. He now produces a range of award-winning cheeses, including Farleigh Wallop, and also hosts The Big Feastival with pal Jamie Oliver, at his Oxfordshire farm each year.
Tom Selleck, Avocado farmer
All those hipsters wolfing down smashed avo on toast must have helped former Magnum PI actor Tom line his pockets with some extra cash. Tom brought his ranch in California, previously owned by Dean Martin, in the late 1980s. He and his wife decided to grow avocados on the 60-acre land and he still enjoys relaxing on his farm. Ironically, he hates avocado. His neighbour is fellow actor Jamie Foxx, who also runs an avocado farm.
Paul Rudd and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Sweet shop owners
Normally found battling super villains or zombies, these two actors own Samuel’s Sweet Shop in Rhineback, New York. The pair, who live near the neighbourhood, bought the business when they found it may have to close after the long-time owner died in 2014. If you pay the sweet shop a visit, you’ll not only find the actors behind the till, you may also spot other celebrity fans there – comedian Amy Schumer is a big fan.
George Clooney, tequila maker
The actor set up tequila company Casamigos Tequila with best mate, and Cindy Crawford’s hubby, Rande Gerber back in 2013. Their aim was to create a tequila that they could drink all day without getting a hangover; they also wanted to make it affordable. What started as a fun side project with a mate has netted George a tidy fortune. They sold Casamigos to drinks brand Diaego for $1billion in 2017.
Jennifer Garner, baby food
In 2017, Jennifer set up her own organic baby food company, Once Upon A Farm. She wanted to produce a healthy baby food that busy parents could feed their children, guilt-free. Based on her family farm in Oklahoma, all the food, which contains homegrown produce such as blueberries and kale, is cold-pressed, ensuring it’s jam-packed with nutrients.
Meg Matthews, menopause range
Meg is one of many celebrities choosing to be more open about the menopause. She spoke to Kate Thornton earlier this year on White Wine Question Time about the difficult time she had going through the change.
“All of a sudden everything that was happening to me. It was nothing I could relate to,” she said. “I didn't even know what the word perimenopausal was. I just thought that the menopause was no periods and a hot flush, which I didn't get.”
This has led the former party girl to set up a menopause support website and a range of products, which all aim to help women through the menopause.
Keanu Reeves, motorbike designer
As an avid motorcyclist, it seems only natural that Keanu’s side gig is a motorbike company. Founded with mate Gard Hollinger, who Keanu first met in 2007 when he asked him to customise a bike, Arch Motorcyle is a true passion project for the pair. Each bespoke bike is designed and tested by the pair, but they don’t come cheap. The bikes retail from £60,000 and for extra dosh, each model can be customised to suit the buyer.
Chris Brown, franchise owner
Yes, not all celebrity side hustles are glamorous. Chris Brown revealed recently that he owns 14 Burger King restaurants across the US. The R&B singer won’t be able to take advantage of any staff discount though – he doesn’t eat pork or beef!
Jodie Kidd, pub landlord
From appearing on magazine covers to pulling pints, supermodel Jodie Kidd bought The Half Moon pub in West Sussex with two mates when it was due to close. Jodie, who can be seen front of house regularly, has banned plastic in the pub and is passionate about supporting local farmers and suppliers.
Venus Williams, interior designer
Encouraged by her parents to have interests outside of tennis, tennis legend Venus started her own interior designer company V Starr in 2002, at the height of her tennis fame. Her first project was for a NBA player and her company have since gone on to design hotels, apartments and pop-up concepts.
Erykah Badu, doula
Grammy award-winning singer, Erykah, has a passion for helping deliver babies. She became a certified doula – a trained non-medical companion who supports a woman giving birth – in 2001 and has since helped deliver 40 babies. Revealing that her clients called her ‘Erykah Badoula’, she is now planning on working towards becoming a midwife.
Hear JB Gill and his wife Chloe talk about life on their farm, why the JLS boys think their new life is funny and how they stay close now they’re parents on this week’s episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen now on iTunes and Spotify.