Tue, June 09, 2009
Entertainment > Celebrity

Married celebrity entrepreneurs

2009-06-09 09:24:48 GMT2009-06-09 17:24:48 (Beijing Time)  Forbes

These dynamic duos give new meaning to "power couple."

Beauty, fame, entrepreneurial success--that's more than most of us can hope for.

Now imagine marrying someone who also brought those qualities to the altar. Such rare, dynamic duos exist. Each on his or her own is a force--in entertainment, fashion, food, you name it--but together, these couples give new meaning to the expression "power couple."

Take Beyonce Knowles, 27, and husband Shawn Corey Carter, aka Jay-Z, 39. The former lead singer of girl group Destiny's Child, Knowles has rocked a Grammy-winning multi-platinum R&B solo career since 2003. She's also appeared in movies like Dreamgirls and The Pink Panther, and has racked up millions in endorsement fees from the likes Pepsi, L'Oreal and Armani.

Hip-hop hubby Jay-Z, meanwhile, is no slouch as an entrepreneur. Former chief of the Def Jam record company, he also founded clothing line Rocawear in 1995, which he sold to Iconix Brand Group in 2007 for $204 million. Concert promoter Live Nation recently signed Jay-Z to an exclusive 10-year, $150 million deal covering all merchandising, promotion and touring. Beyond the music and fashion realms, Jay-Z owns 40/40, a chain of upscale sports bars, and has a $4.5 million stake in the New Jersey Nets basketball squad. Real estate holdings include a mid-block parcel on the West Side of Manhattan, purchased for $66 million in late 2007, on which he plans to build a hotel.

Makes you tired just thinking about it all. It begs the question too: When do these busy lovebirds ever get a chance to share a relaxing cup of coffee?

Then again, when you're hardwired for accomplishment, down time doesn't take top priority. "Could you imagine if I didn't work and just sat and home and waited for him once my kids went to bed?" asks Gelila Assafa Puck, second wife of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. Ethiopian-born Assefa Puck owned her own Los Angeles couture store from 1998 through 2001. In 2006, she launched a line of high-end handbags, manufactured in South Africa, that sell for $7,000 to $30,000. (She says she hopes to return to fashion design when her 2- and 4-year-old sons are old enough for school.) If that weren't enough, she also operates a non-profit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that sponsors secondary schooling for about 400 children.

Supermodel turned furniture- and cosmetics-marketer Cindy Crawford admits that finding enough quality time with club-owner husband Rande Gerber and their two kids can be a struggle. Get it right, though, and there's a hidden upside, she says: "If you love your job and you're passionate about it, it's good for the kids because they see me doing work that I like."

As for Gerber, he knows the power couple has to stay vigilant to maintain the right balance. "We make our own schedules, and we go over them often to make sure we're together enough each month and with our kids," he says.

Another benefit to tying up with a celebrity entrepreneur: synergy. Gerber's international portfolio of bars, hotels and nightclubs--including the Stone Rose Lounge in New York, L.A. and Scottsdale, Ariz.; Midnight Rose in Madrid, Spain; and the Rose Bar in Cancun, Mexico--syncs well with Crawford's living billboard persona. "In some cases, one plus one is more than two," says Crawford. "Rande gives me a cool factor. He's New York and a nightclub guy. I probably give him the glitz and glamour factor."

Yet a third dimension to celebrity unions: "A relationship or marriage gets the public to see a celebrity in a different light as a wife, husband, mother or father versus a movie star or a TV star," says Chalcea Park, managing director of talent and licensing for Davie Brown Entertainment, a branding consultancy. That connection can endear customers to an enterprise in a way that a two-dimensional magazine page or a movie screen can't.

Last but not least, there's the good, old-fashioned empathy and support that come from being married to someone who truly understands your plight--and who can offer a welcome fresh perspective. "If there's a big decision, [Rande and I] talk to each other," says Crawford. "We do very different work, and it's good, because he can give me a totally different perspective on business decisions."

(Maureen Farrell, forbes.com)

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