Five celebrity women who have used the fame and fortune of their relationships to build empires.
By Deanna Atkins
It often seems like our culture thrives on talentless women who keep us entertained through guilty pleasure reality television shows. If the media would stop flooding its audience with Lindsay Lohan’s latest relapse, we’d see celebrity gals with brains and million dollar net worth who give women back the reputation we deserve. Below are a handful of leading ladies who chose to make the most of their fame by creating successful empires—with the help of their supportive and loving husbands:
Related: Celebrity Women Who Are the Breadwinners of the Relationship
1. Bethenny Frankel: As a reality star, entrepreneur, wife and mother, Bethenny Frankel is certainly someone to admire. By combining her passion for healthy, natural foods with her business sense, she developed her signature Skinnygirl Cocktails. She and husband Jason Hoppy brought Skinnygirl to life over the seasons of Bravo'sThe Real Housewives of New York and their own show, Bethenny Ever After. Hoppy’s background in finance ensured that Frankel’s business ideas would flourish, and they did just that. In 2011, she sold her company to Fortune Brands’ Beam Global for over $100 million.
2. Tori Spelling: From actress to author to executive producer of her own show, it's no wonder Tori Spelling stays so skinny: she can't possibly have enough time to eat. She’s come a long way since her role as Donna Martin on 9021o. Now she happily resides in Los Angeles with her husband Dean McDermott, their three children and another baby on the way. Spelling has written four books; her first, sTORI Telling, because a New York Times Bestseller. Additionally, she operated a bed and breakfast with McDermott and created a signature fashion and jewelry line. Today, she manages her own website, ediTORIal by Tori Spelling.
3. Beyoncé Knowles: Bringing in a whopping $87 million a year is nice, but it's even nicer when you've got rapper, producer, co-owner of the NJ Nets and entrepreneur Jay-Z to “put a ring on it.” Their marriage has made their combined net worth over $800 million. This brilliant couple brings in the dough with their chart-topping hits, but Knowles also acts, designs and models, placing her at #2 on Forbes’s 2010 list of 100 Most Powerful and Influential Celebrities in the World. Hollywood's hottest pair also showed off their business smarts when they trademarked their first child's name, 'Blue Ivy,' which is expected to soon become an empire of its own.
Related: Fame, Fortune and Love: The World's Wealthiest Celebrity Couples
4. Lisa Vanderpump: Even if you knew her dog Jiggy before you were aware of her husband Ken Todd, there's still no denying that Lisa Vanderpump's bank account is as obscenely large as it is because of her adoring spouse’s help. Still, her own business sense has certainly helped, and together the couple has worked hard to be successful. Born in England and a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, the Brit earned her $65 million net worth by co-owning 26 restaurants with her hubby of 29 years. Hard work paid off with a luxurious lifestyle, but Vanderpump still keeps busy by designing shoes and clothes, developing a skin care line and writing for Beverly Hills Lifestyle Magazine.
5. Jill Zarin: Entrepreneur, businesswoman and Real Housewives of New York City star Jill Zarin and husband and businessman Bobby Zarin own a home furnishing and fabric store on the Lower East side. Recently, Zarin has expanded her business to the fashion world by creating Skweez Couture, a functional shapewear line for women. She has also launched her own jewelry and bedding line, Jill Zarin Home. The couple's business was big enough originally, but Jill's most recent endeavors are expanding their empire even further.