Bet You Wish You Stayed: Celebrity Women Who Ended Up Being Bigger Than Their Famous Exes

September 24, 2013  |  

celebrity women more popular than their exes

Sometimes in Hollywood, famous guy meets girl. Guy becomes serious about girl or marries girl. Guy improves her quality of life, she improves him, and they live happily ever after. But other times, a famous guy meets a girl, they get serious, they break up, and then the woman becomes the star. To be honest, that’s actually happened often. Here are nine examples of women who became successful businesswomen, movie and TV stars and a wealth of other major things after dropping their dead weight, aka, their exes.

Damon Dash and Rachel Roy PF

Rachel Roy and Damon Dash

In the beginning, designer Rachel Roy started off as an intern for Rocawear clothing. After years of hard work, the beauty became creative director of the fashion brand’s women’s and children’s lines and became close and cozy with Damon Dash. In 2005 the two married and that same year, she started her own fashion line, Rachel Roy. After two kids and years of awkward red carpet photos, the two divorced in 2009. Since then, Roy’s been able to launch collaborations and extensions of her line, including RACHEL Rachel Roy and Rachel Roy Signature. Her clothing sells well at Macy’s and has also been on famous folks like Michelle Obama, Tyra Banks, Jennifer Garner and more. As for Dash, he’s fallen in and out of love with Jay Z, had quite a few money woes in the last few years, dealt with foreclosure of his home and publicly said “I haven’t had money in so long.” Dang Dame, what happened?

Ike and Tina Turner

Tina Turner and Ike Turner

But of course. Before getting with Tina, who was at one time a young Anna Mae Bullock, Ike was pretty popular as a member of the group Kings of Rhythm. After meeting Bullock, eventually realizing her talent was major and changing her name to Tina, the two blew up together as Ike & Tina Turner. After years of abuse, Tina left Ike and their musical partnership in 1976. Post that difficult split, Ike had trouble finding solo success, battled drug abuse, and did a stint in prison while Tina made a major comeback on her own and is to this day remains one of the biggest and most beloved divas out there.

Nicole Kidman Tom Crusie

Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise

When they became an item, she was just a little known Australian actress who fell in love with a major Hollywood actor. The two met on the set of their film Days of Thunder, and were married that same year, in 1990. But after 10 years of marriage, the tall beauty and her Scientology loving beau decided to part ways as her career was heating up big time. Since ending their relationship, Kidman has found love with sweet country singer Keith Urban, has two children with him (the second via surrogate), and is an Oscar winner. As for Cruise, he found love with Katie Holmes, and then they divorced, and his films have had rocky showings at the box office compared to his past success. Despite their differences, we liked these two together, but Kidman is clearly better off.

WENN

Rihanna and Chris Brown

Don’t hate me because you know it’s true. When they got together, Rihanna and Chris Brown were up-and-coming pop stars. But let’s be honest, Brown had more hits, his debut album debuted at number two on the charts, and he was slowly but surely becoming what folks were claiming was the successor to MJ. He could dance his behind off and had a strong voice. Ri Ri on the other hand was trying to be seen as more than just the “Island girl” after “Pon de Replay,” and by her third album, she finally struck gold thanks to “Umbrella.” At the same time, Brown was blowing up even bigger than before with hits in “Kiss Kiss,” “No Air” with Jordin Sparks, and of course, “Forever.” But in 2009 their lives would change after that brutal domestic violence incident the night before the Grammys. Since then, Rihanna’s sound has drastically changed and she’s become the bad a** bad girl selling mad singles and coming for Madonna’s record for the most number ones on the Billboard Charts. Brown’s music is still getting play after he was blacklisted for a while, but he’s become America’s bad boy for the wrong reasons…

Will Arnett Amy Poehler PF

Amy Poehler and Will Arnett

Love her! After years of starring in films and appearing on shows together, many still weren’t aware that comedians Amy Poehler and Will Arnett were actually a married couple. They married in 2003 and were married on-screen for the show Arrested Development. They also played a brother and sister having an incestuous relationship in Blades of Glory. But after almost 10 years of marriage and two kids, the two divorced last year. Poehler has blown up big time over the years (and since the divorce), getting Emmy and Golden Globe noms for her popular NBC show Parks and Recreations, being named one of TIME’s “Most Influential People In The World,” and hosting the Golden Globes with Tina Fey. Arnett has been able to return to Arrested Development on Netflix, but he’s watched his last few shows on network TV, including Up All Night, Running Wilde and The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret get canceled since his marriage ended.

Wyclef and Lauryn Hill PF

Lauryn Hill and Wyclef

As a part of the Fugees, they were the best known members. But behind the scenes, they were having a rocky relationship that would eventually help bring the group to its knees. They both had success outside of the group, with ‘Clef releasing Wyclef Jean Presents the Carnival Featuring the Refugee All-Stars, which had a few jams (including “Stayin’ Alive”). But by the time Hill released The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, she surpassed her group mates, and her ex, BIG time. Despite having her share of legal trouble these days, many people still root for Lauryn and crave new music, while Wyclef is out here releasing tell-all books and riding motorcycles in his underwear.

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Mariah Carey and Tommy Mottola

In the beginning of her career, Tommy Mottola guided Mariah’s path. He had a major influence on her sound and basically helped get her foot through the door. They married in 1993 and afterwards, she claimed that he had become romantically controlling and the two also bumped heads over creative control. By 1997 she was ready to hit the road and they divorced in 1998. While Mottola felt that he gave Carey her first big shot, by changing her sound over the years since departing from him, she’s been able to remain hot more than 20 years since first coming out. She is still “the voice,” and despite setbacks and breakdowns, Carey has become one of the top-selling artists of all time.

Ray J Kim Kardashian PF

Kim Kardashian and Ray J

In 2007, there were very few people who knew or cared who Kim Kardashian was. But when a sex tape of one of her bedroom romps with ex-boyfriend Ray J hit the Internet, she (as well as that booty) became a force to be reckoned with. She helped her family get on and they’ve become a multi-million dollar brand thanks to reality TV, retail stores, expensive appearances, spokeswoman work and a wealth of other business ventures. On the flipside of things, after doing a few dating reality shows, Ray J has been working to get attention by bringing up Kardashian whenever he can, including dropping the very terrible song, “I Hit It First.”

Jessica Simpson Nick Lachey PF

Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey

Before Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, he was the cute lead singer from 98 Degrees, and she was that one girl who looked like a mix of Mandy Moore and Britney Spears but had strong vocals similar (but not close) to Christina Aguilera. That is, Jessica Simpson was a so-so pop star. But after the show, she became the bubbly, maybe a little mentally naive star with major star power. She did some movies, her music did better on the charts, and she sexed up her image. Lachey on the other hand wound up fading into the background. He’s still doing big things, including tackling hosting duties for reality TV and marrying Vanessa Minnillo (they have a son together too!). But one can’t deny that despite not making new music in years, Simpson (who is a mother of two now) is doing MAJOR things, including cashing in millions from her popular clothing, shoe and accessories line, Jessica Simpson.

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  • Shango67

    Seriously? This is a terrible example. No loss there for either one of them.

    • Shango67

      Ray Jay or Kim

  • Anna-Claire Joseph

    A good list that proves that women are strong and can do better on their own. 🙂

  • flboy85

    Wyclef is more relevant in music than Lauren. She only had one hit album and never followed it up. Clef is still a top producer and blew up after the break up of the group.

  • PolkaDots

    I’m glad that Jessica Simpson is running circles around any IDEA of success Nick Lachey may have. He’s such a bastard. The only reason why people even MENTION him is because of JESSICA.

    He made a pity me song after his divorce from her and EVERYONE bought it because it was ABOUT JESSICA.

    They’ve been divorced for YEARS and yet he is asked about his EX, Jessica, in EVERY interview. You would think he would tell them not to mention her to him but he doesn’t because he knows that it will get him attention.

  • Linda Whitlock

    No way is Nicole Kidman bigger than Tom Cruise.

    • leebeen1

      But she was when they first got married.

  • CC

    This article could’ve been somewhat interesting if the author would’ve included more relevant and important facts. How can you mention Mariah Carey’s comeback from her ex without mentioning her current successful marriage to Nick Cannon??? Also, there are others that belong on this list as opposed to Rihanna (Chris Brown is doing well career-wise but not in general), Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman (both of them are very successful), and Rachel Roy who??? I’m more familiar with Rachel Ray than Rachel Roy. Oh well……

  • unque43

    famous couple article FAIL Tom Cruise and his ex were and are bouth famous and well known. You have people who are still famous without their ex.

  • xedos

    Rihanna had more number one than Chris Brown. more songs in the top ten when they started dating . she did an European arena tour before chris. Rihanna was bigger than chris and still is.

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  • ch

    Earth to the writer of this article.
    Do you mean the Tom Cruise who was the number ONE highest-paid actor in Hollywood last year?
    The one whose last film this year – Oblivion-grossed nearly $300 000 000?
    The one who owns his own production company?
    Oh, you meant the “other” one.

    • sue

      Yeah @ch ,I don’t get this one . I guess it is the “other ” one .

    • MNEditor2

      Oblivion did well, but I think most would agree Tom Cruise’s films and his popularity are on the decline. Jack Reacher? Bomb. Rock of Ages? Bomb. Knight and Day? Bomb. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol? How many actually saw that? And those were movies from just the last few years. Tom Cruise used to be the man back in the day, but after a string of bizarre behavior over the years (remember the comments he made about Brooke Shields taking medication for Postpartum depression and his tense interview with Matt Lauer?), people haven’t really been as impressed with him. His last major hit was maybe Tropic Thunder in 2008, but he’s nowhere near the popularity or box office success of the early 00s. However, Kidman has won an Oscar and gets cast in critically acclaimed films back-to-back and has had major endorsements. He’ll always be huge, but one can’t deny that people are really loving Nicole these days. Just saying.

      • Hello

        Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol was the highest grossing Mission Impossible film and the highest grossing Tom Cruise film in general making over $600 million. So I’m guess a lot of people saw it.
        Knight and Day and Jack Reacher also grossed over $200 million which against their budgets makes them successful movies.

      • Ok

        “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol? How many actually saw that?”

        Enough to earn over $200 million in the U.S.
        Jack Reacher and Valkyrie both exceeded $80 million to basically break even.

  • Kaho’olawe

    I don’t get why this is an article.

  • L-Boogie

    I hope Rachel Roy and Dame Dash get back together. They were so handsome together.

    • Kaho’olawe

      Right. All that matters in relationships is whether or not the couple looks good together.