Famous Celebrities Who Are Also Published Authors
Did you know Ricky Martin wrote a children's book?
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Celebrities — with their larger-than-life existences — often have great stories to tell. So it makes sense that so many of them have nabbed book deals that allow them to share everything from their personal stories to their family recipes to funny haikus.
The singers, comedians, actors, models and other A-listers in this post have written books that are well worth the read. Read on to see what you should add to that pile on your nightstand.
Tiffany Haddish: ‘The Last Black Unicorn’
Between her movies, her New York Times best-selling book and a forthcoming album, actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish is dominating the entertainment industry right now. She recently revealed to Glamour that she’s also working on an album, a natural next step after being recognized for her phenomenal singing in “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.”
In “The Last Black Unicorn,” which came out in December 2017, Haddish shares personal essays about growing up in a poor neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles, being in foster care and being homeless. Her essays are humble, and she sprinkles her signature comedy throughout. Oh, and if you thought the name of her book sounded glamorous? The unicorn nickname came about because she had a wart on her forehead when she was a kid and was teased for it.
Reese Witherspoon: ‘Whiskey In A Teacup’
According to Reese Witherspoon’s grandmother, Southern women were often referred to as “whiskey in a teacup” for their combination of beauty and strength. The Academy Award-winning actress borrowed her grandma’s phrase for the title of her book, “Whiskey in a Teacup: What Growing up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and Baking Biscuits.” In the book, the “Big Little Lies” star dishes on everything from how she entertains and decorates her home to how she does her hair with hot rollers. She even shares some family recipes.
Trevor Noah: ‘Born A Crime’
In his raw memoir, “The Daily Show Host” writes about what it was like growing up in apartheid-era South Africa. Noah was born to a white father and black mother at a time when interracial unions were punishable by prison, and he was living proof of the “crime.” In “Born a Crime,” Noah writes about being kept indoors when he was a child, hidden from the police and government so he wouldn’t be taken away. In an interview with NPR, Noah discussed how apartheid was enforced.
“People were encouraged to snitch,” he said. “It was a police state, so there were police everywhere. There were undercover police; there were uniformed police. The state was being surveilled the entire time, you know, communications were monitored and anyone could snitch.”
Julie Andrews: ‘The Very Fairy Princess’
Julie Andrews is not just an on-screen star, though you may automatically think of “Mary Poppins” and “The Sound of Music” when you hear her name. She’s also the co-author of more than 20 picture books, novels and early readers that she created with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton.
Their most recent book, “The Very Fairy Princess,” is the story of a girl named Geraldine who dresses in royal attire, practices flying and is on the lookout for problems to solve. Surprised by her side gig? Andrews has said that books are an extension of her singing voice.
Mindy Kaling: ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?’
Comedian Mindy Kaling of “The Office” fame and creator of “The Mindy Project” actually has two must-read books. Her debut book — “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” — came out in 2011 and she followed it up with a second round of LOLs five years later in her book titled “Why Not Me?”
Her musings about friendships, family and love are relatable, which makes readers remark that they feel like Kaling is a friend when they’re reading her books. For the record, our buddy Mindy is flattered.
“When people call me either a girl crush or their best friend, like, the best friend they want, that’s, to me, the best compliment anyone could ever give me,” she said in an interview with Interview Magazine.
Shonda Rhimes: ‘Year of Yes’
At a Thanksgiving dinner, television titan Shonda Rhimes’ sister told her, “You never say yes to anything.” Rhimes, a mother of three and the producer of “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy” knew this to be true. She shied away from public speaking, turned down glamorous events and was a homebody who had panic attacks before public appearances.
For a full year, Rhimes challenged herself to say yes to the things that scared her, which included being a guest on Jimmy Kimmel and giving a graduation speech at her alma mater, Dartmouth. And then she wrote a book about it.
Carrie Fisher: ‘The Princess Diarist’
In this revealing memoir written by the late Carrie Fisher, released in 2016, Fisher draws from diary entries she kept when she 19 years old and playing Princess Leia in “Star Wars.” In it, she details the affair she had with her co-star Harrison Ford, who was in his 30s, married and a father of two. A “Los Angeles Times” review delves into the significance of the reveal, saying Fisher had been an open book, writing about her prickly relationship with her mother Debbie Reynolds as well as her own mental-health issues and electroshock therapy.
“How did a movie phenomenon this large and a writer this candid manage to keep a secret like this under wraps for so many years?” wrote the LA Times reviewer.
Barack Obama: ‘Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters’
Written as a letter to his daughters Sasha and Malia, former U.S. President Barack Obama gives tributes to 13 iconic Americans who have helped shape the nation in “Of Thee I Sing.” The legends he writes about include George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Neil Armstrong, Sitting Bull, Cesar Chavez, Billie Holiday, Maya Lin, Albert Einstein, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller and Jane Addams. As far as books that Obama read as a kid? He graduated from “Hardy Boys” to “Lord of the Rings,” according to an interview with kid reporters from the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.
Tina Fey: ‘Bossypants’
“Saturday Night Live” alum and “30 Rock” creator Tina Fey penned a memoir about her journey into the world of comedy. Fey, who became the first female head writer for “SNL,” reportedly received a $6 million advance to write “Bossypants.”
Despite writing comedy for a living, writing a book was much different for Fey. In an interview with the “Associated Press,” Fey said: “After years of writing character-based comedy in a group process with other writers, a book ‘about me written by me alone’ made me feel panicky and vulnerable.”
The book, though, was a hit, with 3.75 million people buying it in the first five years after its release.
Tina Turner: ‘My Love Story’
Rock icon Tina Turner co-wrote her first autobiography in 1986 with MTV news correspondent Kurt Loder. “I Tina: My Life Story” is about Turner’s childhood growing up in rural Tennessee, her abusive and volatile relationship with Ike Turner and her comeback in the 1980s.
In 1993, Tina Turner’s book was adapted into a movie, “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” and Turner was played by Angela Bassett. Turner’s latest book, “My Love Story,” is a memoir that reveals even more about the obstacles she overcame. She writes about her suicide attempt while she was married to Ike Turner, and how his friends shot up her house after she broke up with him. She also writes about her battle with intestinal cancer and losing her son to suicide.
Portia de Rossi: ‘Unbearable Lightness’
In her 2010 memoir “Unbearable Lightness,” actress and model Portia de Rossi details her struggles with anorexia. She went on her first diet at age 12 and she got a “high” off of losing weight, she said in an interview with Marie Claire. She ended up battling disordered eating for 15 years. Once, when she weighed just 82 pounds, she collapsed on a Hollywood set.
The “Ally McBeal” and “Arrested Development” star also shares what it was like to live in the closet and to eventually fall in love and marry comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. Today, she says, she has a very healthy relationship with food.
“I never restrict quantities or types of food,” she told Marie Claire in the interview. “Everything that I want I allow myself to eat. As a consequence, I eat a very kind of regular, normal diet and it’s not perfect, it has a kind of smattering of junk food in there.”
But, she said, she’ll never go on a diet again.
Jessica Alba: ‘The Honest Life’
Actress Jessica Alba has made a name for herself in the wellness arena with the start of her business, The Honest Company, which sells safe, natural baby products. In her book, “The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You,” Alba gives down-to-earth tips for a clean diet and eco-friendly beauty routines. She also writes passionately about her love of cooking and shares some of her recipes.
“There’s something about the love and time you put into making food for your family — I think people are nourished by that energy as much as the meal itself,” she writes.
Holly Madison: ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’
Ever wonder what went on behind the scenes at “The Girls Next Door”? Holly Madison, a former girlfriend of Playboy Hugh Hefner, wrote a tell-all book about her time living in the Playboy Mansion. “Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny” details Madison’s account of the oppressive routines, strict rules and drama in the mansion.
Cosmopolitan mined out some of the more odd and disturbing rituals, like Hef wanting the girls to change into matching flannel pajamas before bed, adhere to 9 o’clock bedtimes and buy over-the-top clothes with $1,000 allowances.
Misty Copeland: ‘Life in Motion’
Ballerina Misty Copeland, who didn’t get started in the sport until she was 13, wrote a memoir about how she became the first African-American principal ballerina at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. Copeland also published a “young readers version” of her book “Life in Motion.”
Throughout her book, Copeland writes, “This is for the little brown girls.” In an interview with the African American Literature Book Club, Copeland said: “I feel like I represent every young dancer, and even non-dancer, who felt they were not accepted by the ballet world,” she says. “I’d like to think that they can see themselves in me. So, every time I made that statement, I was sort of saying, ‘I’m doing this for you, so it will be easier for you.’”
Brooke Shields: ‘Down Came The Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression’
Actress and model Brooke Shields writes of how she dealt with crippling depression following the birth of her newborn daughter. Despite the fact that postpartum depression affects many new mothers, causing extreme sadness and anxiety, the condition is often misunderstood. Shields writes candidly about her struggle to become pregnant, and of how she later struggled with her maternal role in the midst of disabling depression.
In an interview with Oprah, Shields discussed her postpartum depression.
“This gripped my heart to such an extent that I didn’t even have the desire to try to overcome it,” she said. “I mean, I was flattened by it. I was devastated by it. And it wasn’t the ‘baby blues.’ And I was told it was the ‘baby blues’ at first. And so then, what was wrong with me was even worse. I thought, ‘Well then I must epitomize failure if I can’t even get past this.’”
Anderson Cooper And Gloria Vanderbilt: ‘The Rainbow Comes And Goes: A Mother And Son On Life, Love, And Loss’
CNN television anchor Anderson Cooper and his fashion designer mother Gloria Vanderbilt share their back-and-forth personal emails on a wide range of topics. The result is “The Rainbow Comes and Goes,” an epistolary memoir crossed with lots of inspiration. With great depth, they discuss their lives, what matters to them and what they still want to know about one another.
In past interviews, Cooper has said he won’t get an inheritance from his mom, who inherited a fortune before making millions in the fashion industry. He’s said that he’s grateful for his mother’s decision because it always gave him the incentive to work.
Judy Greer: ‘I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: My Life As A Co-Star’
In her self-deprecating memoir, Judy Greer acknowledges she’s more of America’s “best friend” than “sweetheart.” She discusses Hollywood from the perspective of a semi-recognizable, perennial co-star. Oh, and if she looks familiar, it’s because she was in the “Wedding Planner,” “13 Going on 30,” “27 Dresses,” “The Descendants,” … the list goes on.
But, there are perks to being only semi-famous, Greer told NPR in an interview. “It happens to me every day of my life, if I leave the house,” she said. “Someone wants to know how they know me. I can go about my business, run errands, get drinks at a bar, floss my teeth in a public restroom, read a book in a park, walk my dog in my jammies; and maybe I have to answer one of these questions, but I still have my privacy.”
Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography
Putting his own spin on the celebrity memoir, actor Neil Patrick Harris discusses life on the set of “How I Met Your Mother,” spills some secrets from awards shows and discusses life with husband David Burtka and their twins, Harper and Gideon. But he does so in a “choose-your-own-adventure” format. The reader is also treated to magic tricks, cocktail recipes, funny photos from his time as a child actor and a closing song.
Harris is also a children’s book author who writes about magic.
Julianne Moore: “Freckleface Strawberry”
While she may be one of Hollywood’s most famous redheads, Julianne Moore once was bullied as a kid because of her red hair and freckles. Her childhood experiences led to her to write a children’s book, “Freckleface Strawberry,” in 2007. The book is about a young girl who is learning to love herself.
Since then, she’s written sequels, and her book was adapted into a stage musical.
“I just really like the character as she develops, and I think it’s apparent too that she’s a real little girl, she’s not a princess, she’s not magical in any way,” Moore told Entertainment Weekly in an interview. “She’s just a regular kid with regular friends.”
Anna Kendrick: ‘Scrappy Little Nobody’
“Pitch Perfect” star Anna Kendrick says she was hesitant to write a book at first. But then she realized that when she’s interviewed by others, the writers get to frame her story.
“I wanted something to exist for people who were interested in reading my stories through the lens of my stupid brain,” says Kendrick, in a video on her book’s page.
Plus, her fans love her tweets and a book gave her a chance to showcase her wit. “Scrappy Little Nobody” is a collection of Kendrick’s essays that cover her childhood growing up in Maine, her Broadway career as a teen and her acting career as an adult.
Chrissy Teigen: ‘Cravings, Hungry for More’
Chrissy Teigen is a model, a mom and a beloved rabble-rouser on Twitter. She’s also a darn good cook and has two cookbooks out in which she shares recipes she makes for her family, and that were inspired by her own parents’ cooking.
In an interview with Good Housekeeping, Teigen discussed how cooking helped her heal after she gave birth to daughter Luna and suffered postpartum depression. Her latest book “Cravings: Hungry for More” is like an edible diary, with quick meals, comfort food and one of her favorite dishes, pad thai carbonara.
Jamie Lee Curtis: ‘Me, Myselfie & I: A Cautionary Tale’
Sure, Jamie Lee Curtis may be known as the “Scream Queen” in Hollywood because of her famous roles in scary movies like the “Halloween” series. But when it comes to writing, she spins some sweet tales for children.
The author of 11 children’s books, Curtis’ latest book, “Me, Myselfie & I: A Cautionary Tale,” is about an old-fashioned mom who gets a smartphone. The underlying lesson in this children’s book is that the best things in life happen when phones are turned off and we’re present. Curtis told Romper that her latest book was inspired by an Instagram post. Curtis got a selfie stick for Christmas, snapped a photo of herself with it, and shared it on Instagram with the caption, “Mommy got a selfie stick.” A friend asked if that was the title of her next children’s book and it got the wheels turning.
Ricky Martin: ‘Santiago the Dreamer in Land Among the Stars’
Global music star Ricky Martin wrote a children’s book about a boy who has big dreams of performing on stage. When Santiago doesn’t get the lead role in the school play, he doubts himself, but his father helps rebuild Santiago’s confidence. The story, at its core, is about passion and dedication.
According to NPR, the singer said the book was inspired by his own relationship with his father. The Grammy winner may have empathized with his protagonist.
“The first time I performed in front of a large crowd, I thought I was the king of the world,” Martin told NPR. “And then when the show was over, I went back home and my manager told me you did it all wrong.”
Gabrielle Union: ‘We’re Going to Need More Wine’
In her collection of essays, “We’re Going to Need More Wine,” actress Gabrielle Union handles some heavy subjects, sharing deeply personal stories of events that shaped her as a person and also led to the advocacy work in which she’s involved.
Union, an advocate for victims of sexual assault, discusses her own violent rape at gunpoint when she was 19 years old and working at a Payless shoe store. She also writes about a close friend who died of breast cancer, leading to a discussion of the role Planned Parenthood plays in women’s health initiatives, opens up about the racism she encountered growing up and in Hollywood, and delves into her fertility struggles. Her book was a “New York Times Bestseller” and was also nominated for the NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Literary Work.”
Kristi Yamaguchi: ‘Dream Big, Little Pig’
After a successful career as an Olympic figure skater, Kristi Yamaguchi’s next chapter was as a children’s book author. In 2011, she released “Dream Big, Little Pig,” which is about Poppy, a pig who takes up figure skating but has a tough time on the ice. Through Poppy, kids learn how it takes practice to achieve dreams.
In another children’s book, “It’s a Big World, Little Pig,” Poppy ventures off to world ice skating championships in Paris, where she meets a snowboarding panda and a Maltese who skis.
Amy Schumer: ‘The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo’
A review from Glamour promises that stand-up comedian Amy Schumer is as “honest and hilarious on the page as she is on the stage.” Schumer writes on a wide variety of topics in her debut memoir, “The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo,” including sex, dating and being an introvert.
“Being introverted, it doesn’t mean necessarily being shy or being afraid of public speaking, it just means that it’s hard for me to interact with people for too long,” she told NPR during an interview after her book came out.
Her book also navigates some tough topics, including sexual assault as well as complications her father has had with multiple sclerosis.
Octavia Spencer: ‘The Case of the Time Capsule Bandit’
“Hidden Figures” actress Octavia Spencer is also a children’s book author. The Academy Award-winning actress wrote a story about a time capsule that goes missing before a small town’s Founder’s Day Festival. In “The Case of the Time Capsule Bandit,” Randi Rhodes, a 12-year-old ninja, and her best friend act as local detectives who are determined to solve the crime, which takes them on some interesting adventures. Spencer also wrote a second children’s book about a New York City art heist.
Steve Martin: ‘An Object Of Beauty’
While it’s not all that uncommon for celebs to write memoirs and even children’s books, comedian and actor Steve Martin is unique in that he’s written novels. Martin is the author of “Shopgirl,” “The Pleasure of My Company” and “An Object of Beauty.” The latter title is about a charismatic New York City art dealer willing to do whatever it takes to advance in her field. His own life helped inform his writing. Martin told the Los Angeles Times that he was familiar with the art world, as he had been collecting since the 1970s, and that several of his close friends were art dealers and gallery owners.
Amy Poehler: ‘Yes, Please’
Adding to the list of “great books written by funny women” is SNL alum Amy Poehler, with her book “Yes, Please.” It’s a collection of stories, but the “Parks and Recreation” actress also threw in some lists, photographs, mantras, advice and poetry.
In an interview with NPR, Poehler shares that it was easier to write characters for TV than it was to open up about her present-day life in her book.
How many of these celebs’ books have you read?