But these celebrity mums and dads show that they are much more than mere sophisticated threads and suave good looks. From fashion and food to beauty, these go-getting guys and gals have launched thriving businesses that not only rake in the big bucks, they are leaving an enduring legacy for their lucky offspring.
Scroll through the photo gallery to find out how these personalities went from humble beginnings to brilliant business moguls…
Mark Lee, 49
OWNS13 STAGES, an eatery he co-owns with his wife Catherine and two other friends, Dion and Lynn.
Mark Lee may be one of Singapore’s most prominent comedians, but few know of his rags-to-riches story. Some 30+ years ago, the funnyman was earning just $100 a month during an 18-month gig on Comedy Nite, a hit Channel 8 variety show. In fact, he was in such dire fiscal difficulties that he could only get by with financial help from his sister and mother. Flash forward to today, Mark has shares in various businesses ranging from a talent agency and production company, to even a hair salon. Recently, he opened 13 STAGES, an eatery at Kallang Wave Mall with his wife, Catherine Ng, 43, and two other friends. This latest venture serves seven chicken-flavoured dishes, as well over a dozen types of coffee. No longer cash-strapped, he now owns at least two private apartments and several cars. And he intends to stay solvent for the sake of his three kids, Calynn, 5, Marksonn, 7, and Calista, 10. He tells Toggle, “In my parents’ generation, they could afford a three-room flat in three to five years’ time if they scrimped and saved, but for the young today, you can’t even afford a COE in 15 years ― even if you scrimped and saved.” (Photos: Instagram/@marklee4444)
Jessica Alba, 37
OWNSThe Honest Company, a company producing ethical household, babycare and beauty products.
In 2008, shortly after she gave birth to her firstborn, daughter Honor, the Sin City actress washed her baby’s clothes using a detergent recommended by her mother. To her horror, baby Honor broke out in hives — it was an allergic reaction to the detergent. Jessica, who is married to film producer Cash Warren, 39, tells Vanity Fair magazine, “I was thinking, what if my baby has a reaction and I don’t know? What if her throat is closing? I had all this fear and anxiety because I was always sick as a child.” After the harrowing incident, Jessica, also mum to Hayes, 6 months, and Haven, 6, Googled the detergent ingredients, only to realise that some toxins were disguised as “fragrances”. This provided the basis of The Honest Company’s mission ― to produce safe and effective consumer products mothers can trust. From a handful of household and babycare products, Honest now includes cosmetics under the Honest Beauty label. In 2015, the company was valued at US$1.7 billion ($2.3 billion). Last year, however, the company had to settle a lawsuit for US$1.5 million for falsely labelling some of its cleaning products ― paying out US$7 million for false claims several months later. (Photos: Instagram/@jessicaalba)
Serena Williams, 36
OWNSSerena, her own independent women’s wear label.
When the tennis superstar isn’t conquering tennis courts or raising her 10-month-old daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian with husband Alexis Ohanian, 35, co-founder and executive chairman of online social news site, Reddit, she’s designing new togs for her eponymous clothing label. Nor is the first time the 23-time Grand Slam title holder flirting with fashion. In fact, Serena attended fashion school at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in the US and has previously collaborated with brands like Nike and the Home Shopping Network. Serena is relishing the chance to be truly creative with her own fashion label. In an interview with WWD, she says, “I really want to be able to start doing what I want, how I want it, and letting people see my vision in fashion, how I want it to be seen.” The label offers athleisure togs such as tees, tank tops, joggers and stylish dresses with reasonable price tags. “Our prices are practical, our fabrics are practical … These are high-end quality fabrics and high-end quality feels, and you don’t have to pay over price for it.” (Photo: Instagram/@serenawilliams)
Drew Barrymore, 43
OWNS Flower Beauty, an affordable and cruelty-free beauty brand.
This former child star shot to fame in 1982’s E.T. The Extra Terrestrial at age 6 and hasn’t looked back ― or stopped working ― since. Drew, mum to Frankie, 4, and Olive, 6, with her ex, Will Kopelman, 41, may come from Hollywood royalty but the hardworking actress isn’t one to rest on her laurels. In 1995, she formed a TV/film production company, Flower Films, which has made successful movies like Music and Lyrics, and more recently, Santa Clarita Diet, for Netflix. In 2013, she launched Flower Beauty, a cruelty-free range of cosmetics (most items are priced under US$15), which she describes as “affordable luxury at mass”. The well-regarded brand is sold online and at Walmart stores. Nor is the actress/producer/author/entrepreneur done ― Drew has also launched Flower Eyewear, a home line and now dabbles in wine-making. Says the former wild child of being a working mum, “I want to empower my daughters to think work is good and necessary. And can even lead them to road of their dreams. I feel guilty as hell for being away (and what mother doesn’t?!) But I try a way to empower me and my kids into something more positive.” (Photos: Instagram/@drewbarrymore & @flowerbeauty)
Not just a popular TV host and actor, Ben has already written two cookbooks, Cooking for Kids and Healthy Meals for Kids, and is linked to the Tenderfresh franchise, which specialises in fried and BBQ chicken. The hardworking dad is also behind Play Kitchen, a chain of pasta stalls located at various food courts in shopping malls. The doting dad tells SmartParents of having a finger in so many pies, “[I have to] Sleep less, lah. Sleep less and plan your schedule well. Yeah, sacrifice some of your time and things that you like to do lah.” Still, the Shatec-trained entertainer, who is married to Claudia Cheong, always makes time to cook for his sons Jarius, 6, and Javier, 9. (Photo: Instagram/@benyeo23, @tenderfreshsg)
Tjin Lee, 45
OWNSMercury Marketing & Communications, a public relations and events company.
Besides running her own boutique agency, Mercury PR, the multitasking mumpreneur co-founded CRIB, a social enterprise that empowers women to become successful entrepreneurs through networking events and Trehaus, a family-friendly co-working space. The mum to Jake, 2 and Tyler, 4, also co-owns Baby Style Icon, an online store offering clothes for toddlers aged 0 to 6, that was set up with well-known blogger, Xiaxue. She tells SmartParents, “For me, I like to work, I think that’s what keeps me alive and I do like for the boys to have a working mum as a role model.” Tjin is married to commodities businessman John Lim. (Photo: Instagram/@tjinlee, @babystyleicon)
Wendy Cheng “Xiaxue”, 34
OWNSBaby Style Icon, an online toddler clothes shop, which she co-owns with Tjin Lee and two other partners.
You’ll recognise her as Singapore’s controversial blogger and Instagram queen, who just happens to be the co-owner of Baby Style Icon. The business idea took root when Wendy, mum to Dashiel, 5, stumbled upon Tjin Lee’s Instagram account that’s peppered with cute photos of her stylishly-attired sons. Wendy dropped Tjin a message as she was curious as to where the PR practitioner snapped up the trendy threads. One thing led to another and a full-fledged online business ― Baby Style Icon ― was born. With Tjin’s expertise in marketing and fashion and Wendy’s social media reach (she has 601,000 Instagram followers), it’s little wonder the brand has been profitable from the start! Wendy is married to American engineer Michael Sayre. (Photos: Instagram/@xiaxue)
Cheryl Wee, 31
OWNSCheryl W, a women’s wellness and weight management boutique. This newly-minted mum shows us that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Proving that she has her parents’ business chops, the Mata Mata actress took over the slimming and wellness sectors of the Jean Yip Group and rebranded it as Cheryl W. Despite having given birth to her firstborn, Marc, three months ago, the bubbly actress isn’t letting motherhood slow her down. Cheryl tells SmartParents, “In fact ever since I was pregnant, I’ve been starting to look for products that are more pregnancy-friendly.” Cheryl, who is married to architect Roy Fong, 31, hopes her boutiques will eventually redefine what slimming and wellness means to women. “I don’t want the public to be fixated on sizes, it’s not about size zero being seen as slim. It’s aimed at giving your body that boost to feel confident.” (Photos: Instagram/@weecheryl, @jenpanphotography)
Sheikh Haikel, 42
OWNSFatPapas Burgers and Shakes, which he co-owns with DJs Justin Ang and Vernon A and Fatboy’s owner, Bernie Tay.
The local rapper is such a huge fan of the country fried steak at home-grown burger chain Fatboy’s that he once ate about eight servings during his birthday party! It was his passion for the dish that sparked his idea to set up a halal offshoot of the burger chain. But it was seven years before the former radio DJ finally opened his first branch in Bali Lane. There are now five branches, including one in Kuala Lumpur — a testament to Sheikh’s hard work. His business-partner, Class 95 DJ Justin Ang tells 8 Days, “FatPapas is really Haikel’s baby. He took seven years to convince Bernie to open a halal version of Fatboy’s and now he is at the restaurant every day, welcoming diners with open arms.” Sheikh is married to actress-host Anna Belle Francis, 38 ― they are parents of three, sons Juz, 2, and Abbra, 13, and daughter Triqka, 14. (Photo: Instagram/@fatpapas)
Kate Hudson, 38
OWNSFabletics, an athleisure women’s wear company.
When the Almost Famous actress isn’t conquering the red carpet in slinky dresses, she prefers lounging at home in leggings, oversized T-shirts and sweaters. In 2013, Kate, who is expecting her third child, a girl, with her musician boyfriend Danny Fujikawa, 32, turned her love for active wear into a business when she established Fabletics. “I thought, high fashion is great and I love it ― and there’s always a place and a market for it ― but I thought I would love to speak to a wider group of women of all shapes and sizes,” she tells Harper’s Bazaar. Kate’s brand differs from other athleisure wear competitors as shoppers are offered the choice between paying a subscription and just being a regular shopper. Subscribers get first dibs on the label’s newest designs at discounted prices. The brand has a great success, and was valued at US$250 million after just three years! She also has two sons, Bingham, 6, with ex-fiancé Muse frontman Matthew Bellamy, as well as Ryder, 14, with her ex-husband rocker Chris Robinson. (Photo: Instagram/@katehudson, @fabletics)
Mark Wahlberg, 47
OWNSWahlburgers, a burger restaurant chain which he co-owns with his brothers Donnie, a TV actor, and Paul, a chef.
The Ted actor told People magazine that he didn’t think there was any potential in opening a burger eatery when his brother, Paul, first shared the idea. But because his brother was at the helm, he took a leap of faith knowing that the restaurant would be in good hands since Paul also running the family’s other restaurant, Alma Nove, which serves Italian-Mediterranean food. In 2011, Mark, Paul and brother Donnie launched the first Wahlburgers branch in Boston, Massachusetts. Today, the burger chain has since grown to 26 branches, including outlets in London, Toronto and even Shanghai. Mark, who is married to model Rhea Durham, 40, has four kids — Grace, 8, Brendan, 9, Michael, 12, and Ella, 14. The doting dad has grand plans for his family burger empire, telling People magazine that he hopes to pass the restaurant chain to his kids one day. (Photo: Instagram/@wahlburgers, @markwahlberg)