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9 Unexpectedly Different Ways Celebrities Make Their Fortunes

Even if it’s not unusual for celebrities to branch out in their hobbies or work in different areas of the media (from things like movies and television shows), we still anticipate that the activity that brought them to fame in the first place was the source of the majority of their money. With their other knacks plus the fame they have built, it’s easy to understand why they can have that success with ease.

For instance, 50 Cent is a savvy businessman who raps in his spare time, and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wealth came from real estate. Not to let you wait anymore, scroll down to see the list of the nine ways celebrities make their fortunes.

1. Kate Moss

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Aging people can make money. It’s how the world works. Unless you’re a model, earning huge cash takes years of hard effort. You’re paid dependent on how skinny and attractive you are. This career isn’t time-friendly. As she’s older, Kate Moss has earned more for walking the catwalk. At 39, she reportedly earns three times as much as a teen model, defying everything we know about the fashion industry and life. Moss is one of the few models still actively modeling her age, unlike Milla Jovovich and Tyra Banks.

2. 50 Cent

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Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is stupidly smart and cautious about investing money. Rapper gained over $10 million daily by getting his Twitter followers to buy stock in a firm he controlled. Vitaminwater earned Fiddy $60–80 million when Coca-Cola bought the brand. Mr. Cent is worth $500 million. A good chunk of that is from rapping, but he’s also a business genius.

3. Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Arnold Schwarzenegger is an action hero. He’s so successful he didn’t take a salary as California governor. Schwarzenegger’s initial wealth didn’t come from cinema or body-building competitions he won before convincing Hollywood that actors can speak monotone. No, all from real estate investments. Schwarzenegger became a millionaire at 22 by investing his bodybuilding earnings in exercise equipment and real estate. He later made millions more from movies, but you could claim he couldn’t have without real estate.

4. Sammy Hagar

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After replacing David Lee Roth as Van Halen’s main singer, you’d expect Sammy Hagar to retire rich. Despite fronting one of the best-known rock groups of all time and writing a few hits before that, Hagar’s riches have come mostly from tequila. Hagar founded Cabo Wabo Tequila, which originally served at his restaurants and clubs. People started buying tequila when they realized it was delicious. Hagar sold 80% of the company for $80m in 2007.

After making enough money, he sold the rest a few years later because he was too sluggish to advertise the brand. Hagar is the richest Van Halen member, previous or current, thanks to the deal, his clubs, and his tequila empire.

5. Akon

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Sorry to spoil everything, but Akon discovered Lady Gaga. Akon reportedly asked his record business to sign Gaga under his label to get more albums out of her. Gaga’s albums rapidly outsold Akon’s. Gaga’s stardom made Akon, in his own words, “enough to retire”—and not just “go live in Florida” retire, but “wealthy rapper living in a large home forever” retire. Akon got a slice of Lady Gaga’s million-dollar pie because he ran a section of Interscope Records.

6. Bob Ross

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Bob Ross never earned any money from The Joy of Painting or his rockin’ fro. Ross performed for gratis, he said. He filmed 13 episodes in two days, each painting in about 30 minutes. Ross’s income came from selling and advertising painting materials on his TV show. Even after his death, it’s impossible to get a Bob Ross artwork because most were donated or stolen. Bob Ross isn’t a sell-out even after death.

7. George Foreman

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George Foreman, a gold medalist and heavyweight boxing champion, say selling grills is financially and personally gratifying. Foreman offers shirts and cleaning goods featuring his face along with his Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine. Foreman is selling items that have little to do with the sport that made him famous, which is rare. This is partly because Foreman backed a good product, unlike other athletes.

During his grill’s prime, Foreman made $5 million a month in endorsements. He’s earned less over the years, not because people stopped buying grills, but because they’re so well-made. Taking a hit from Ali at his peak shows resilience.

8. Dr. Dre

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Though audiophiles may criticize Dr. Dre’s Beats for their price, he’s still made a killing selling them. HTC bought 51% of Dre for $300 million in 2011. The media quickly realized Dre’s net worth had risen from $125 million to $300 million overnight. Dr. Dre has made less money in 20 years breaking musical ground than in a few years selling “extraordinarily terrible” headphones.

9. Joe DiMaggio

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As one of baseball’s most famous players, you’d expect Joe DiMaggio to have a nice nest fund, but he didn’t. He found a way to make money by signing everything he could. DiMaggio would sign anything for free if asked, but he wouldn’t sign a baseball bat unless you paid $250,000.

DiMaggio’s celebrity allowed him to live off one or two bats yearly until his death. Everyone benefited. Joe made more money than he ever had in baseball, collectors got a rare piece of memorabilia, and fans received his signature—as long as they didn’t ask him to sign a bat.