Reported by Lyonel Laverde-Hansen
What will you purchase when you receive your first “huge” paycheck (whatever that means to you)? Actress Gabrielle Union bought a cute Mazda Miata when she received hers; actor Jim Parsons bought a laptop computer; and playmate Kendra Wilkinson got breαst implants—and a house!
What do all these celebrities have in common? They all made some kind of purchase with the first significant amount of money they earned from becoming famous. The choices range from the extremely practical to the absolute extravagant, and also say a lot about the times in which they made those purchases.
After his success, rapper Pusha T splurged on a Jaguar for his mother in 2001. The irony is that his mother apparently never used it. By contrast Wiz Khalifa, another rapper, bought a more modest Dodge Challenger. He refused to buy it outright, reasoning that he could “build” up his credit.
When he was starting out in the entertainment business, Mark Wahlberg was so excited to spend his first paycheck on a new Mercedes Benz and “didn’t have money for his registration, insurance or gas.”
Comedian Chris Rock nearly spent it all on a red Corvette. As Rock put it, “It was a red Corvette and cost $45,000. I only made $90,000 that year, hadn’t paid taxes yet and with getting the car insurance and everything, it sort of put me in the hole.”
Old-school rapper turned actor LL Cool J got his first advance check as a teenager. It was for $50,000. “I had never seen that many zeroes before. I bought my moms a Mercury Cougar. I got myself some gold chains. And, of course, plenty of Kangols.”
Rapper Big Sean spent his initial large earnings Rolex ring like his idol, 2Pac (Tupac Shakur).
Next to vehicles and bling, homes seem to be the most popular purchase for first-time celebrities. Actor Tristan Wilds, who grew up in the Stapleton housing projects in Staten Island, got his mom a home. Actor Robert Townsend bought a three-bedroom beauty in the Hollywood Hills “with a view of the city.”
Some first celebrity buys were extremely practical. Gospel star Kirk Franklin decided to give back. He proceeded to, in his words, “pay all of my bills, and do things for other people, which has always been very important to me.”
For the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, she spent her first major check rather extravagantly. Throughout her youth, she’d coveted a mink stole and a chinchilla jacket as a teenager. Once she was famous, she didn’t hesitate to make her purchases. “I finally had the finances to afford one, so I bought one of each.”