When not smoldering from behind TV screens and magazines, celebrities are just like us. Except when they also have weird, successful side jobs and passions.
Clothing and perfume lines are par for the course these days for today’s biggest stars. But there are many big names that own or even run much more unexpected side ventures in their free time, proving that for some, becoming a star isn’t always the dream — sometimes, it’s a way to achieve the actual dream.
These endeavors range from unusual to downright strange. Here are some of our favorites.
1. Akon owns a diamond mine
The reason why, he says, is complicated, but his bling’s sparkle is story enough. Lest you scoff at the singer’s jewel affection, consider that the mine isn’t all he’s in Africa to accomplish: he’s launching a “Solar Academy” that will bring electricity to 600 million people electricity across the continent.
Shine bright like a diamond, Akon. Or even better, like a solar lamp.
2. Bono and the Edge co-own a hotel
The hospitality business is a little different from being a rockstar, but that didn’t stop U2’s Bono and the Edge from buying and restoring the historic Clarence Hotel in Dublin in 1993. Since then, the hotel has been severely renovated to the ire of Irish preservationists.
3. Venus Williams owns an interior design firm
Though tennis has an elegant chic to it, it shares little else in common with interior design. Regardless, Tennis star Venus Williams was interested in design at a young age; after attending design school and drawing inspirations from international travels, she before opened a boutique firm in Jupiter, Florida called V Starr Interiors in 2002.
4. Jamie Foxx and Tom Selleck own dueling avocado farms
Avocados, edible evidence of a superior being, are adored by many — perhaps none more than mustachioed actor Tom Selleck, who lives on an avocado farm in rural California. Beyond a common fence, however, actor Jamie Foxx is knees deep in the avocado business as well.
Selleck says this is a little bit awkward, because his avocados are better than Foxx’s. Also awkward (not to mention illegal) is the allegation that Selleck has stolen thousands of gallons of water for his ranch, California drought be damned.
5. Rush Limbaugh sells iced tea
The conservative talk show host, to the distaste of thirsty liberals and historians, launched a company called “Two If By Tea,” an America-themed sweet iced tea that allegedly represents traditional American values of capitalism and the pursuit of excellence.
Considering tea was boycotted by early Americans, who dumped it into the harbor for political reasons, the rationale here is confusing. On the bright side, some of the profits go to the Marine Corps.
6. Rupert Grint owns an ice cream truck
Fictional Ron Weasley grew up to work for the Ministry of Magic, but the actor who played him is doling out treats instead of spells.
Rupert Grint bought an ice cream truck shortly after getting his driver’s license in 2007. He drives the vehicle around and gives out softies to kids for free, making it more of a hobby than a business, but a delicious one at that.
7. Macaulay Culkin is in a band called Pizza Underground
Home Alone actor Macaulay Culkin, in a magnificent career plot twist, stopped pranking would-be burglars and started singing about pizza (also edible evidence of a superior being).
His band, called the Pizza Underground, is a New York-based comedy rock group that reimagines Velvet Underground songs with pizza-themed lyrics. The band routinely gives out free pizza to attendees.
8. Kevin Costner invented and sold an oil spill solution
As great as things like diamonds and pizzas are, Hollywood star Kevin Costner’s side job goes above and beyond when it comes to wow-factor and impact. With his company Ocean Therapy Solutions, Costner developed a machine that separates oil from water, which was sold to BP for $16 million to help clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
That’s right: the Waterworld star clearly cares about the landscape of his 1995 film.
But in case you’re not sold, he’s also the lead singer in a country band.