Celebs Who Quietly Work A Regular Job

The following article includes mentions of mental health issues and sexual misconduct allegations.

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 a product simply due to name recognition alone. 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 a 2016 interview with Robb Report, one of Renner's most lucrative 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 with no running water — including right when his career took off with his Oscar nod for "The Hurt Locker." During the 2010 awards season, Renner explained, "I'd throw on a tuxedo, jump in a limo, and stop at Starbucks so I could brush my teeth." So, he basically 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 potentially endanger his own life by flying around in helicopters rescuing people from disasters. But that's exactly what the Duke of Cambridge sometimes 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 in 2016.

According to a 2016 BBC Future profile, William said he does this because, "I look forward to coming here every day, whether it's 5:30 am or going to bed at 2 am. 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." Honestly, 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 Native Americans, 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 the late and 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 a 2002 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."

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 Los Angeles 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 said.

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 Sprouse, also went on to amazing success with the hit Disney series, "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody." So, it was kind of a shock to everyone when Dylan was spotted working as a host at a restaurant in New York City. Did he fall into the sadly familiar former Disney star trap of going of the rails and blowing all of his money? 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 ... 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 what 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, while Selleck also once told People that avocados "make him gag," and in 2015 was accused of allegedly stealing municipal water from a fire hydrant during a drought in California to keep his crop alive, he does seem dedicated to being a part-time farmer. In comparison, his next-door neighbor and rival green wonderfruit grower, Jamie Foxx, once told Tavis Smiley that he doesn't work his own field, but instead employs someone who actually whispers to his avocados — which is why, Foxx claims, they're so bountiful and taste so good. 

However, 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."

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 HuffPost), 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." By 2015, Badu claimed 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 in 2010, 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 (via The Guardian), 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." These 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 — went 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 2017 profile by The New York Times Real Estate, 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. 

Around this time, the firm was 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 was "$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

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. 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 sexual misocnduct, as well as "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 so-called "posse" that conducted an allegedly dubious raid on a suspected rooster-fighting ring, which resulted in one arrest and the seizure of 100 chickens in 2011. So, even if Seagal had been doing great things as a police officer for decades, some might argue that he almost immediately negated this with his alleged reality TV antics.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Chris Colfer

Chris Colfer went from being fashionista Kurt Hummel in the musical dramedy series "Glee" to writing fictional tales for children that has made him into a bestselling author. 

Colfer switched up careers when he became a writer and published his "The Land of Stories" six-book series, which follows twins Alex and Conner on magical fairy-tale adventures. Colfer's series instantly became a No. 1 New York Times Bestseller, and he followed up this success with a prequel entitled "A Tale of Magic...," a series that has also debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times Bestsellers list, along with other spin-off books. Talking about the inspiration behind his beloved series, the multi-talent shared at a 2018 BookExpo (via Publisher Weekly), "I loved fairy tales when I was a kid. I asked my mom a million questions about the stories we read together and finally one day she said, 'Just write your own fairy tale.'" 

In 2017, Variety reported that Colfer would be directing and writing the script for a film adaptation for the first book "The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell." As of this writing, it has yet to make it to the big screen, with the actor once sharing with The Canadian Press that he was very protective over how his stories would translate into film. "Hollywood makes some great stuff, but sometimes they get things wrong, and one thing that they do that I personally think is wrong is taking something unique and trying to make it like everything else," Colfer explained. Let's hope Hollywood gets it right! 

Paul Rudd

Paul Rudd doesn't quite need to work a second gig as he's already one of Hollywood's top actors. The Marvel's "Ant-Man" star did, however, become co-owner of a candy store in Upstate New York when he, along with best pals and actors Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Hilarie Burton, saved it from closing. Now proud owners of Samuel's Sweet Shop, the stars have something to look forward to when they need to satisfy their sweet tooth. 

According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, all three stars, along with Rudd's wife Julie, and friends Andy Ostroy and Phoebe Jonas, came to the store's rescue when its original owner died in 2014. Not only are they long-time fans of the shop's unique offerings of candy and coffee, but the celebs are also residents of the Rhinebeck, New York area. Rudd told the outlet, "One of the most important things any human can experience is to be part of a community and feel connected to where you live and to other people who live there, especially in a job like mine." 

Although Rudd keeps busy with his many films, fans can sometimes spot him at the counter. He added, "So to have this place, to come in and just serve coffee for a while and hangout at the store and hand out candies ... to feel a part of the community makes us sane."

Bruce Dickinson

John Travolta isn't the only mega star taking off to the skies and flying his own planes. Iron Maiden's lead singer Bruce Dickinson has been flying planes since the 1990s and has even sat in the pilot's seat in the band's own jumbo jet, taking them across the world during their tours.

According to Business Jet Traveler, Dickinson had big dreams about becoming a pilot. "I was always interested in aviation," he explained. "We were in Jersey writing an album and Nicko McBrian, our drummer, decided to learn to fly. Then I was on a family holiday in Florida, so I tried a lesson. My life changed. Every little boy has a fantasy. My heroes were U-boat captains, test pilots, astronauts, and fighter pilots."

When he wasn't on tour with Iron Maiden, Dickinson was flying planes for commercial airline Astraeus Airlines, which has since stopped operating. After his pilot's job came to an end, he created an aircraft maintenance and pilot training company in 2012, per LoudWire. According to a January 2022 interview with AP News, Dickinson will no longer be piloting the band's plane for their remaining tours since he'll be nearing a pilot's retiring age of 65 — however, there is no set age limit for flying private planes.


You would never think to add apiarist to Red Hot Chili Pepper bassist Flea's resume, but believe it or not, this rocker is totally into bees. According to TMZ, Flea, whose real name is Michael Balzary, has been taking care of bees since 2015 and, at that time, had three beehives with over 60,000 bees in each hive. Flea's love for bees also comes with the hope of helping with the serious decline of bee populations across the world.

According to the FAO, the decline in bees would "wipe out" many of the foods we love to eat, adding, "About two-thirds of the crop plants that feed the world rely on pollination by insects or other animals to produce healthy fruits and seeds for human consumption." That means that crops like apples, blueberries, tomatoes, nuts, and even coffee would be heavily affected if bee colonies continue to collapse.

Flea isn't the only celeb that's helping the environment by rocking a beekeeper suit either. According to Local Hive Honey, stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Martha Stewart, and Scarlett Johansson are avid beekeepers. 

Brian May

Some people don't like to believe that Hollywood's biggest stars also have brains. Celebs like Natalie Portman may be known for her incredible movie roles, but she also graduated from the prestigious Harvard University. "The Big Bang Theory's" Mayim Bialik played a neuroscientist in the show, but she actually is one in real life. Then, there's rock band Queen's lead guitarist Brian May, who some might not know is also an astrophysicist. 

According to Queen's website, May holds a PhD in astrophysics, which he obtained in 2007 after years of putting his studies aside to rock out with the late Freddie Mercury. Deciding to go back to school to finish what he started back in the '70s, he shared on the "Kevin O'Sullivan Show" in 2020, "In a way, it was unfinished business. I always had a passion for astronomy right alongside the passion for music. There was always that kind of yearning feeling. 'Wouldn't it be nice... .'"

May got to work with NASA's space missions to reveal the furthest object ever seen from Earth. He shared the discovery on Instagram in 2019, writing in part, "Ultima Thule is by far the oldest known and most unspoilt relic of the early solar system — that same solar system that was born so that you and I could be born!"

Steve Buscemi

Steve Buscemi might be known to fans as Nucky Thompson on HBO's 2010 series "Boardwalk Empire," and for his work in films like "Reservoir Dogs" and "Fargo," but his first job before making it in Hollywood was working as a New York City firefighter. Although he isn't fighting fires or saving lives today, he did put his uniform back on after the terror attacks on 9/11.

According to Yahoo! News, the actor became a firefighter at the age of 18, but left to pursue his acting career. After the attacks, he traveled to New York and worked alongside hundreds of NYC firefighters as they searched for survivors. Buscemi said at the time, "It was a privilege to be able to do it. It was great to connect with the firehouse I used to work with and with some of the guys I worked alongside. And it was enormously helpful for me because while I was working, I didn't really think about it as much, feel it as much." The Brotherhood of Fire Facebook page commended Buscemi for working "12-hour shifts" for many days after the attacks as firefighters were "digging and sifting through the rubble of the World Trade Center." 

In 2021, Buscemi admitted on the "WTF With Marc Maron" podcast (via New York Post) that he struggled with PTSD after working with his old crew. "I was only there for like five days, but when I stopped going and tried to live my life again, it was really, really hard," he shared. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Dan Spitz

Thrash metal and watchmaking don't necessarily go hand in hand, but for former Anthrax guitarist Dan Spitz, they have more in common than you think. The musician left the group in 1995 to pursue his studies in watchmaking, and this master craftsman is considered one of the best in the watchmaking industry. 

In a 2012 interview with Hodinkee, Spitz shared that leaving his band behind was "a long process," with playing guitar and going on tour becoming "mundane and more like a job." He added, "At the end of the day, I just needed a break. I have extreme OCD, I do things either full-on or full-off, and I like to do things that others have not done before." According to his bio, Spitz attended the most prestigious watchmaking schools in the world — WOSTEP School of Watchmaking in Switzerland — and became "one of the world's most coveted Swiss trained Master Watchmakers on the planet."

Music and watchmaking are one in the same for Spitz, as he told Hodinkee, "It's so similar it's not even funny. Learning to play a heavy metal guitar is a never-ending skill. It is painful to learn. That's what's cool about it. Same for watchmaking — it's an unending skill to learn." Spitz did return to Anthrax in 2005 for a reunion, but his passion for watchmaking appears to outweigh his love for making music. 

Ali MacGraw

Ali MacGraw's rise to fame came when she won the Golden Globe for new star of the year for her role in the 1969 film "Goodbye, Columbus." Things would only go up from there when she starred in the beloved romantic film "Love Story," which won her a Golden Globe for best actress in 1971. However, after only starring in a few more films and a couple of television series, MacGraw left Hollywood for good.

In 2017, MacGraw shared with AARP that acting was never really her thing. "I was never trained as an actress. It was frightening for me, every single solitary breathing second. I had some sort of pop-star energy, but I had no qualifications. I was never comfortable," she said. Instead, MacGraw found other passions in life and became a devoted yogi. In 1994, she released her yoga video called "Ali MacGraw: Yoga Mind & Body," and in 2005, had the privilege to introduce Indian yogi B.K.S. Iyengar, who is considered one of the foremost yoga gurus in the world, during an event at UCLA, per The New York Times

MacGraw also spends her time advocating for animal rights, telling AARP, "I have to restrain myself from bringing home any more strays."

BokHee An

BokHee An is a familiar face on "Grey's Anatomy" as she's been on the long-running show since its start in 2005. Although she hasn't had many lines over the course of the series, she does her job as a scrub nurse at Seattle Grace Hospital very well, and that's probably because she is a real-life nurse, too. 

According to Metro, BokHee An (who changed her legal name to Kathy C. An, although she mostly uses BokHee) is actually a surgical nurse who, like her character, works directly with doctors to give them assistance during procedures. In fact, the cast of "Grey's Anatomy" watched An work in real life so that they could get a better understanding of their own roles and accurately portray them in the show.

Ellen Pompeo, who stars as protagonist Meredith Grey, praised her co-star in May 2022 (via Bustle): "What's extraordinary about BokHee is not only her commitment to 18 seasons of 'Grey's Anatomy' and counting, but also her first profession that got her the gig on 'Grey's.' BokHee is responsible for helping the surgeons at St. John's [hospital here in LA] save the lives of hundreds of people." Bustle also reported that An has since retired from being a nurse, but continues to play one on screen.