- Several celebrity couples have teamed up to start businesses together, but not all of them are successful.
- We compiled four celebrity couples involved in successful businesses together, and three others who weren’t so lucky.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Couples who go into business together give new meaning to the word partnership.
But not every couple that enters the business world manages to find success, judging by the example of certain celebrity couples. For every successful enterprise, there is a failed business or bankruptcy with famous names attached that no amount of celebrity power and money could save.
We compiled seven businesses backed by celebrity couples – four that succeeded, and three others that weren’t so lucky.
Read on to see which couples were able to take their partnerships to another level.
Spike and Tonya Lewis Lee have co-authored multiple children’s books
Business runs in the Lee family: Spike has been making movies for over 35 years, and wife Tonya Lewis Lee has been producing TV shows and movies for almost 20 years.
The couple met in 1992 and married a year later, and have collaborated on a number of industry jobs, including “Miracle Boys,” which Tonya produced and Spike directed several episodes for, as well as a Netflix series based on Spike’s film “She’s Gotta Have It.”
The two have pivoted into more child-friendly territory over the years in the form of children’s books. The first book, titled “Please, Baby, Please,” is about a parent begging for their child to behave. The book has sold well enough to warrant a sequel, “Please, Puppy, Please,” and to give the couple a new stand-alone, “Giant Steps To Change The World.”
Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore founded an organisation to fight human trafficking
The guy who rose to fame playing a goofy stoner doesn’t seem like the guy who would know to make smart investments. Yet Ashton Kutcher has taken his money and invested it in a number of smart startups. Kutcher has seen a number of his investments grow into highly lucrative companies, including Skype, Airbnb, and Foursquare.
After Kutcher married Demi Moore, she helped turn his investing energy toward humanitarian efforts. She worked with Kutcher to found the DNA Foundation, an organisation that worked to fight human trafficking worldwide, in 2012.
The company has grown to partner with a number of other organisations, such as the Polaris Project, and has attracted further celebrity endorsement, including the likes of Jamie Foxx, Jessica Biel, and Sean Penn.
In 2012, DNA was renamed Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children. Although Kutcher and Moore split up in 2013, the group is still active, and is currently working with search engines and service providers to build a database that will track and target sources of child abuse images.
Chip and Joanna Gaines give back to their hometown with Magnolia Market
Known for fixing homes on HGTV’s “Fixer Upper,” Chip and Joanna Gaines turned their sustainable love and home-making skills toward their community.
Before starting a family and rising to fame, the couple owned a store in Waco, Texas, called Magnolia Market, which featured home goods and country-chic products. With two kids on the way, though, the couple closed up shop and focused on their own home for a bit.
After some time focusing on their company Magnolia Homes, the couple were able to reopen the market and start expanding. They bought up the Silos, a local town landmark, and fixed it up for new business. In 2015, the complex opened, covering two city blocks and hosting a number of retail stores, including a food truck park, a garden store, bakery, and lawn area. In the first year, the complex saw nearly 2 million visitors.
Bill Rancic, the first winner of ‘The Apprentice,’ opened a line of restaurants with his wife, TV hostess Giuliana Rancic.
Not many people will readily remember Bill Rancic, but he made history as the first person hired on a reality TV show: Back in 2004, he became the first winner of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice.”
Rancic worked on the development of Trump Tower Chicago, and he used his real estate experience to later develop and sell homes throughout Chicago.
Together, the couple has found success in other areas, most notably an Italian restaurant called RPM Italian with locations in Chicago and Washington, DC. The restaurant’s success led to a spinoff location in Chicago called RPM Steak.
The restaurant is frequented by celebrities including President Barack Obama. A fourth restaurant, RPM on the water, is slated to open this fall in Chicago.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé saw initial success with their Tidal streaming service, but it’s now in hot water.
Creator-owned content is the dream for any artist, and for musicians that dream became a reality with the launch of the music-streaming service Tidal.
Tidal launched in 2014 in Norway, only for Jay-Z to scoop it up within six months. The rapper announced Tidal in a press conference flanked by 16 musicians who were stakeholders in the business, including Mrs. Z herself, Beyoncé.
The service gained 100,000 users after the initial press conference. It’s available in 53 countries and boasts over 3 million subscribers, which all sounds like a booming success.
From the outset, though, the service was hit with heavy criticism. USA Today released an article of “three reasons why” the service was “stupid,” focusing on the bold fee of $US20 a month, which mostly rested on subscribers wanting a better sound quality – which most claimed the fans wouldn’t even notice.
More concerning, though, are the questions around Tidal’s numbers. Norwegian paper Dagens Naeringsliv reported in May 2018 that Tidal artificially boosted figures for Kanye West’s “The Life of Pablo” and Beyonce’s “Lemonade” by 300 million. Tidal also served legal notice over the supposed user base prior to Jay-Z’s purchase, saying that audits fell “well below 540,000 reported.”
Bruce Willis and Demi Moore were two of the celebrity investors behind the doomed Planet Hollywood
In the ’90s, it was hard to go anywhere without bumping into a themed restaurant. Even Steven Spielberg tried his hand with Dive!, a nautical sandwich stop.
With the unrivalled success of the Hard Rock Café, the owners tried to parry their model to cash in on Hollywood and the rise of the Hollywood blockbuster. While the biggest names associated with the chain were Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hollywood star couple Demi Moore and Bruce Willis also added their backing and operated as minority shareholders, and the group occasionally made guest appearances at restaurants to drum up interest.
For a few years, Planet Hollywood thrived, reaching its peak in the late ’90s with 87 locations around the world. When the company went public in 1996, its value doubled on the first day. The developers attempted to open a hotel in Times Square in 1997 and opened a chain of ice cream stores called Cool Planet Cafe. The company even opened a Marvel Comics restaurant chain.
But between stretching their resources thin with diversification and the rise of various competitors, Planet Hollywood began to struggle. The company, which saw value peak at $US3.5 billion, ended up with hundreds of millions in debt for consecutive years in the new millennium. By 2002, the company had filed for bankruptcy twice, and the star investors pulled their backing. Six restaurants remain active today.
And actress Debi Mazar and celebrity chef Gabriele Corcos opened a Brooklyn restaurant that failed within 3 years
A change of pace can only go so far. In the case of actress Debi Mazar and chef Gabriele Corcos, it was a pretty long ride until they finally met failure.
The Boston Globe once called the couple the “first family of the Cooking Channel.” The couple created a successful video blog, Under the Tuscan Gun, which led to a series on the Cooking Channel called “Extra Virgin.”
A wealth of experience doesn’t always translate to clear success, though. In 2015, the couple opened a restaurant called Tuscan Gun Officine Alimentari in their Brooklyn neighbourhood. The restaurant tried to fill a number of roles, as a cafe by day and a Tuscan bistro at night. The restaurant also provided ticketed events with a prix-fixe menu.
Perhaps because the restaurant had no clear identity or calling, it was unable to find a consistent patronage, and closed only three years after opening.
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