Celebs who quietly work a regular job

One of the easiest ways celebs make side money is branding. After all, it doesn't take a juggernaut of a performer to be able to slap one's name on something and then be able to move product simply due to name recognition alone. Point in case: Farrah Abraham's line of adult novelty items. But other stars have gone an altogether different route to earn some extra cash — they've worked side jobs just like us normal folk. Quirky comedian Andy Kaufman provides one example of this money-hungry hustle, having famously bussed tables at Posh Bagel in Santa Monica during the height of his fame.

While some of these celebrities have put in hours at their side gig solely as part of a passion project, others have found themselves in a position where they could actually financially support themselves on their moonlighting efforts, should they ever find themselves cast out of the spotlight. Here are some celebs who quietly work a regular job.

 

Jeremy Renner

In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jeremy Renner's character has a running gag about how he's constantly doing renovations to his home. Perhaps that was a way for the filmmakers to give a nod to the actor's other passion: house flipping. Actually, to call what Renner and his real estate business partner, Kristoffer Winters, do "house flipping" is an understatement. According to an interview with Robb Report, one of Renner's most recent projects was a Holmby Hills estate that sold for $24 million dollars. So, he's not exactly spending his nights and weekends hanging drywall. In fact, Renner seems to act in more of a project manager capacity for these high-end renovations. He said, "With the houses we build, I make all the decisions about design, materials, fabrics, furniture, everything. These homes are beyond turnkey; they're fully loaded. Fresh-cut flowers, linens, towels, the whole bit. You just bring some clothes, and you're good to go."

Amazingly, Renner's success in real estate actually ran concurrent to his Hollywood stardom and not as an extension of it, like most would think. In the beginning, he and Winters would sink every penny they had into a flip, often resulting in them temporarily squatting in their project houses. Answering a question about this time period, which was also right when his career took off with his Oscar nod for The Hurt Locker, Renner said, "During that Academy Awards push, the house was almost done, but it still didn't have running water or heat. I was sleeping in a tent on hardwood floors to keep the dust off me. Then I'd throw on a tuxedo, jump in a limo, and stop at Starbucks so I could brush my teeth." So he went from homeless to Hawkeye in just a few years? Not bad.

Prince William

Barring any unfortunate accidents or terminal illness, Prince William is going to be the King of England one day. This means two things: 1. He is insanely wealthy; and 2. There is no logical reason to endanger his own life by flying around in helicopters rescuing people from disasters. But that's exactly what the Duke of Cambridge does when he's not…duking? Anyway, since 2015, William's been donning a flight suit and volunteering 20 hours a week for the East Anglican Air Ambulance, a non-profit service that flies helicopter missions. Although he generally performed these duties without much fanfare, his quiet part-time job accidentally went viral when ITV cameras captured him aiding in the rescue of an arborist who was injured by a collapsed tree branch.

According to a BBC Future profile, William said he does this because, "I look forward to coming here every day, whether it's 5:30am or going to bed at 2am. The shift work is exciting… And the fact that I love working in a team. That's something that my other job doesn't necessarily do." And seriously, it is not only selfless, but downright heroic that he does this, so good on him.

Daniel Day-Lewis

Known for his method acting, Daniel Day-Lewis undergoes extraordinary preparation for his roles. To get into character for The Last of the Mohicans, he "spent a month in the woods of North Carolina living with experts on the lives and skills of American Indians," according to The New York Times. And for The Boxer, he famously trained with legendary coach Barry McGuigan for a year and a half prior to filming. Of Day-Lewis' skills, McGuigan told The Telegraph, "If you eliminate the top ten middleweights in Britain, any of the other guys Daniel could have gone in and fought."

So it's no surprise that he puts as much attention into his side work as he does for his acting. One of those side jobs just happened to be an apprenticeship with renowned Italian cobbler, Stefano Bemer, whose line of fully customized shoes, known as Bespoke, starts at $2,450 euros. Day-Lewis worked as Bemer's apprentice for eight months, and rarely spoke about the experience to the media. Although in an interview with The Hartford Courant, he did confess, "I don't mean to give it a greater air of mystery than it has. It's as much for the work I do as an actor as anything else. Who knows if it does inform the work in the time you take away, but I choose to believe it does." So, wait a minute. Could this possibly mean that Daniel Day-Lewis has been Adam Sandler this whole time? It would definitely explain how Grown Ups 2 landed all of those Oscar noms.

Nick Offerman

If you had to imagine Ron Swanson taking up a side pursuit, your first answer would have to be woodworking, right? That mustache screams middle school woodshop teacher. But the actor who played the deadpan Director of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation Department, Nick Offerman, takes woodworking to another level. According to Popular Mechanics, Offerman grew up learning woodworking skills from his family, then combined his love of that craft with his study of theater to open his own shop that specialized in building sets. Eventually, he made his way to LA and found success in acting, but Offerman always maintained his love of working with his hands. And it's not just a hobby for him, it's literally his life philosophy. "Choosing to make things, or having the skills to fix things in your life, whether it's your vehicles or your home or your clothing—that's what I mean by a way of living," he says.

As of this writing, Offerman's craftsmanship can be found on display at Offerman Wood Shop, an LA-based co-op where various other craftsman also share the space to hone their trade. So is Offerman any good, you might be asking? Check out this stunning canoe that looks more like a sculptural masterpiece than anything you'd go knocking around the lake in. If you'd like to buy it, you can click the link that says "Enquire about pricing," but keep in mind, that's usually code for "you can't afford it."

Dylan Sprouse

Dylan Sprouse was one half of the twin acting duo who played the adorable Julian 'Frankenstien' McGrath opposite Adam Sandler in Big Daddy. He and his brother, Cole, also went on to amazing success with the hit Disney series, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, as well as all of the spin-offs it generated. So it was kind of a shock to everyone when Dylan was spotted working as a host at a restaurant in NYC. Did he fall into the sadly familiar former Disney star trap of going of the rails and blowing all of his money? (Paging Lindsay Lohan.) Not even close.

Both Dylan and Cole announced a break from show business in 2011, at which point they both enrolled in NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. While there, Dylan did what almost every college student does — get a part time job. But the Internet loves nothing more than a fallen star, so the "broke rumors" flew like crazy. And like a true millennial, Dylan headed to his Tumblr page to address them. He wrote that although he is financially secure, he took the job to pay for his "bountiful video game addiction." Then the former kid star went right for the guilt trip. He wrote, "I also took this as a way to try a new experience, working somewhat below the means I'm used to, as well as a way to socialize and get out of the house. I feel most comfortable when I'm working and doing something, to criticize someone of that is pretty odd. I will potentially return to acting someday, but in no way do I think any experience is a step down for me, but rather a new step in another direction." Boom! Any other questions, haters?

Tom Selleck

It may seem like the natural side business for Tom Selleck to have gone into would have been selling mustache wax and tiny combs, but he didn't do that. Instead, he bought a California ranch with a working avocado farm, which he told Good Housekeeping that he actually enjoys working on. "I live on a 63-acre avocado ranch. So I like to get outside and work on the farm, from fixing roads to clearing brush. I hate going to the gym, so sweating outdoors sure beats sitting on a stationary bike staring at my navel. And I work cheaper than anyone I could hire to do it." Granted, Selleck also once told People that avocados "make him gag," and he recently got accused of allegedly stealing municipal water from a fire hydrant during a California's "unprecedented drought," to keep his crop alive, at least he seems dedicated to being a part-time farmer.

Unlike his next door neighbor and rival green wonderfruit grower, Jamie Foxx, who told Tavis Smiley that he doesn't work his own field. He employs "a cat named Mario" who actually whispers to Foxx's avocados, which is why, he claims, they're so bountiful and taste so good. This is a boast directly challenged by Selleck who, according to Contact Music, has said, "My avocados are a little better than his and they're selling like hotcakes… Mine will sell more because my trees are older." Although Foxx does admit in an interview on his own fan site that his guacamole game is tight, so even though he's not getting down and dirty working his land, he's enjoying the fruits of his harvest. We just hope he doesn't knock on Selleck's door to share a bowl of it. That would be awkward.

James Franco

Because of a few of his movie roles, as well as his friendship with Seth Rogen, some people have the perception that James Franco is a lazy stoner. This couldn't be farther from the truth. In fact, it's almost impossible to keep track of every side gig James Franco pursues. Aside from acting, he's an author, director, poet, and visual artist. He's also addicted to academia in a way that seems borderline insane. According to New York Magazine, at one point in 2010, he was simultaneously pursuing Master's Degrees from "NYU for filmmaking, Columbia for fiction writing, Brooklyn College for fiction writing, and—just for good measure—a low-residency poetry program at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina." Oh, and a Ph.D. in English from Yale. Almost forgot that one. So why not throw teaching on top of all of that, right? But in 2011, that's exactly what he did. He started out teaching a filmmaking course at NYU, and despite some controversy and the inevitable criticism lobbed at a celebrity teacher, he seems to have maintained the pursuit.

As of 2014, Franco had even made his way onto the faculty at UCLA as well. Speaking to LA Weekly, one of his former students, Nicolas Curcio, shed some light on his famous prof. "I think that a lot of people figured his assistant would teach the class and he wasn't going to be there but he's there every week and he's completely dedicated," Curcio said. And although part of the curriculum sounded decidedly Franco-esque — As in "What is your creative response to Jersey Shore?" — by most accounts, Franco's students had the same experience as Curcio.

Erykah Badu

Multiple Grammy Award-winner Erykah Badu is not only an esteemed musician, she's also a fashion icon and role model for women. She's also a deeply spiritual person who once published an essay in Essence which read, in part: "The ultimate human JOY we seek can only be found in the full acceptance of who we really are and not in the avatars we've created to define ourselves." So yeah, she's clearly operating on another level. That's probably the reason she was so profoundly moved during the birth of her friend's child, that she became an official doula, which is defined as "a woman who assists women during labor and after childbirth."

Speaking to Origin magazine (Via Huffington Post), Badu relayed the experience that led to her new side career. "I just knew how to open myself up to the baby and be the welcoming committee. And now when Afya was in labor for fifty-two hours. Day and night. She's my hero. And she finally had the baby and put my finger in his palm, and I kind of felt like, I like being the welcoming committee." As of 2015, Badu claims to have been a doula for 40 births. Not only that, but she also said that she "sits at the bedsides of hospices, where souls are going out, too," because ultimately her goal is for "people's spirits to be at peace, whatever happens next." Wow. Talk about a selfless and spiritual pursuit.

Kevin Costner

In the immediate aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster which led to over 130 million gallons of oil being spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, we're pretty sure nobody looked around and went, "Can someone get Kevin Costner on the phone? We need him now!" And yet, somewhat ironically, the Waterworld star was poised to be a real life hero when he offered the centrifuge technology that his company, Ocean Therapy Solutions, developed as a way to separate oil from water in just such an occasion. "At its core, my dream, this machine, was designed to give us a fighting chance to fight back the oil that has got us by the throat," Costner said, sounding exactly like he was wearing a cape flapping in the wind.

Unfortunately, his machines were never used, because it took too long to get them loaded onto ships and out onto the water. Costner's business partner in the environmental clean-up business, John Houghtaling, told WSDU News, "In a matter of weeks this company had taken 1,400 naval architects, put Kevin's machines on there and we were out in the Gulf. But by time we got to Gulf, they had already hit the oil with dispersants." The "dispersants" were the controversial chemicals that while quickly removing the oil from the surface of the water, created a whole host of other problems by just sinking it to the ocean floor. So once again, Costner's amazing side business that nobody knew about — and that he's sunk $20 million into — has gone back on a shelf.

Lenny Kravitz

Rock legend and movie star Lenny Kravitz has always had a definitive style. From his ever-changing hair to his funky, eclectic wardrobe, the guitarist and singer has always been on the cusp of new fashion trends. And despite the fact that he's often spotted in the front row of Fashion Week runway shows, most people are unaware that he also founded a design firm in 2003, called Kravitz Design.

His approach to the NYC-based interior and product design firm seems to mirror his own personal style, in that there is no single, defining characteristic to the work. According to a New York Times Real Estate profile, Kravitz's creative efforts outside the music industry have included "wallpaper for Flavor Paper, furniture for CB2 and Kartell, door levers for Rocky Mountain Hardware, a chandelier for Swarovski, a watch for Rolex, public spaces for Miami's Paramount Bay condo building and penthouse hotel suites for SLS South Beach." So, he's definitely working on prestige projects in the luxury space. As of this writing, the firm is now designing interiors for a high-end Manhattan condo building that you almost certainly haven't seen while binge-watching Property Virgins. The price range for the swanky NYC housing unit is "$1.695 million for a 601-square-foot one-bedroom and up to $15.5 million for a 3,017-square-foot four-bedroom penthouse." Remember when we thought Nick Offerman's handcrafted canoes were probably pretty expensive? Yeah …

Steven Seagal

We saved the best one for last, and yes, we're aware it's a bit of a stretch to say that celeb Steven Seagal has "quietly" been working a regular job as a cop, since the 2009 reality show, Steven Seagal: Lawman, was based on his unbelievable part-time gig. But Seagal claimed that he'd been doing police work with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office "for two decades under most people's radar," so we're counting it. Deal with it. Anyway, the show came to a controversial end when Seagal allegedly resigned from the force in lieu of facing allegations by a former assistant who accused him of "sex trafficking and creating a hostile work environment," according to The Phoenix New Times.

The Under Siege star resurfaced on the law enforcement scene, and with a revived version of the reality show, a few years later. This time, he was in Arizona, as a member of controversial Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio's "posse" that conducted a dubious raid on a suspected cock-fighting ring which resulted in one arrest and the seizure of 100 chickens. So, even if Seagal had been doing great things as a police officer for decades, he almost immediately negated all of it with his reality TV antics. And finally, we get to the entire reason for including Seagal on this list, which is the hilariously phony staging of a Russian martial arts demonstration below proving that even if he once was an action star / martial artist / tough-guy lawman, he no longer has the chops to be doing any of that. Enjoy.