22 Famous People Shared What They Bought With Their First Big Paychecks, And Some Of These Surprised Me

    Lil Nas X taking his whole family bowling is so wholesome.

    1. America Ferrera

    close up of America

    In 2019, the Ugly Betty actor told InStyle, "My first job was a Disney Channel movie called Gotta Kick It Up!, and I could not believe how much money I was getting paid to do the thing that I had always wanted to do. I couldn’t believe they were paying me at all — I would’ve paid to get to dance and be in a movie!"

    america wearing overalls in the Disney movie

    She shared that she bought a car with her first big paycheck. "It was a 2000 Mitsubishi Mirage. It was used, and I think it cost me $12,000. The hardest thing about growing up in LA was getting a ride anywhere. I used to have to ride, like, three buses to get to an audition. This was pre-Uber, not that I would’ve been able to afford Uber if it had been around. I had to ride the bus, I had to walk, I had to ride my bike, I had to beg my siblings for a ride. Getting your own car in LA is a huge right of passage."

    close up of America

    2. Donald Glover

    close up of Donald

    On Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the actor shared that he bought gushers with his first big paychecks.

    donald being interviewed by jimmy kimmel

    You can watch the full interview here:

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    3. Kerry Washington

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    In 2016, the Scandal actor told The Hollywood Reporter, "This is so Bronx girl of me. Save the Last Dance was my second movie, and we had a per diem. I couldn't believe somebody was handing me cash. Coming from where I came from, I actually, literally used to hide it under my mattress for the whole movie. I put myself on a tight budget of what I could spend. And at the end of it, I used all the cash from the three months and bought my first laptop."

    close up of kerry

    4. Madelaine Petsch

    close up of Madelaine

    During a 2020 Teen Vogue interview, the Riverdale star said, "I'm actually wearing it right now! My first big splurge was this rose gold Cartier ring. I now buy myself one at the beginning of every season to have something that I can remember. I called my mom — I was super nervous to buy it. I was like, 'This is a big investment. Should I get it?'"

    madelaine holding the ring up

    "I don't really buy a lot of stuff," she continued. "I don't really splurge too often, but it's nice to have those little things that remind me of where I came from and where I'm at now."

    close up of madelaine

    You can watch the full interview here:

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    Teen Vogue

    5. Jennifer Lopez

    close up of jennifer

    In 2016, the singer told The Hollywood Reporter, "I was driving a Honda hatchback that Keenen Ivory Wayans had given me when I was a Fly Girl, and I had been driving it to every audition. And when I got a regular series, I bought a car. I bought a Mercedes. And it was a huge deal. It wasn't a hatchback! It wasn't a Honda."

    close up of jennifer

    "I remember, though, I was signing the lease to the car, and I was breaking up with my boyfriend the same week. That's what I remember. We were in the dealership, and I was crying, but I was buying the car, and he was going back. It became a thing, like, 'I'm gonna be on my own.' He had been living with me. We had been dating for 10 years. And I was like, 'That's it. The hatchback is out, and so are you!'"

    close up of jennifer smiling

    6. Nicole Kidman

    close up of nicole

    During a 2018 interview with Time, the actor said, "I bought my mom and dad a washing machine. Later on, I bought some boots for myself that were, like, the coolest boots I had ever seen in my life."

    nicole smiling

    7. Tiffany Haddish

    tiffany smiling

    In the same Time video, Tiffany revealed that her first check was around $120. "First thing I did is I went to the bank and I opened up a checking account. And I bought a big box of Snickers and lollipops, Jolly Rancher sticks, and Blow Pops. Oh, and Corn Nuts. I'm surprised I don't have diabetes right now because I love Snickers."

    close up of tiffany

    You can watch the full interview here:

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    8. Brad Pitt

    close up of brad

    During a 2012 interview with Architectural Digest, the actor said, "When I received my first paycheck from my now known day job, I spent it on a period Craftsman chair and a Frank Lloyd Wright–wannabe lamp. With my second paycheck, I bought a stereo."

    close up of brad

    9. Ashley Graham

    close up of ashley smiling

    In 2019, the model told People, "Probably my first big purchase was a pair of Chanel platform creepers. But the most I spent was on a personal trainer, I was so clueless in the gym and I really wanted to learn how to use all of those intimidating machines without hurting myself."

    close up of ashley smiling

    10. Tom Cruise

    close up of tom

    On The Graham Norton Show, the actor shared that he used his first big paycheck to pay for his sister's college tuition.

    tom saying he paid his sister's tuition and also bought her a car

    You can watch the full interview here:

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    11. LaKeith Stanfield and Issa Rae

    LaKeith and Issa on the red capet

    During a BuzzFeed interview, the stars of The Photograph were surprised to find out both of them bought a Tesla after landing their first major role.

    both actors saying they bought a tesla

    You can watch the full video here:

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    12. Rami Malek

    close up of rami

    The Mr. Robot actor told GQ, "I ended up spending that paycheck on my own personal espresso machine. I think I figured that shit out."

    close up of rami

    13. Sarah Paulson

    sarah smiling

    "I bought a lot of stuff at the Gap because I was 19," the actor told The Hollywood Reporter in 2016. "I was still living at home, and I was understudying Amy Ryan on Broadway in The Sisters Rosensweig, and my check was substantial. I had never had a job before, ever, anywhere. I was a waitress for two seconds, but I couldn’t spell 'parmesan' and I quit, promptly."

    close up of sarah

    "So, I got a big, big weekly check from understudying, and I went to the Gap, like every day. And I would give Gap presents to all my friends. That and there were some flaming Dr. Pepper drinks down on 11th Street and Third Avenue. That was my big splurge. I should have gotten a car!"

    close up of sarah smiling

    14. Lil Nas X

    lil nas x looking back

    "I took my family bowling," the singer told Insider in 2020. "Like, everybody. It was a lot of us, not just my immediate family."

    lil nas x smiling

    15. Ariel Winter

    close up of ariel

    During a 2014 interview with People, the Modern Family actor said, "I think I bought some serious shoes. I bought a lot of shoes. I love shoes."

    ariel at an event

    16. Julianna Margulies

    close up of julianna

    During a 2016 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Good Wife actor said, "I got my first movie, and they flew me out to LA. I remember thinking, 'If they had just told me it was a first-class ticket, I would have traded it in and gotten cash,' because I was so broke. So I got to LA, and at the hotel was a wad of cash, per diem, for the two weeks that I was going to be there."

    julianna smiling

    "And I had hair down to here [points to waist], and my heart started pounding, and I ran to the drugstore, and I got Flex conditioner. I’m dating myself now, but Flex shampoo and conditioner were a [big deal] at that time. I was 22, and I just, I remember sitting there in the hotel room with the conditioner on my hair for hours."

    julianna smiling

    17. Kirsten Dunst


    In 2016, the actor told The Hollywood Reporter, "I started acting so young, all my money just went into a college fund. And then I probably bought my mom a house."

    kirsten on the red carpet

    18. Lil Wayne

    Lil wayne on stage

    In 2014, the rapper told ESPN that he realized he could make money in the entertainment business when he got a $6,500 check at just 14 years old. He first offered it to his mom, then spent it on a Nissan Pathfinder.

    lil wayne in an interview saying he bought a nissan

    19. Minka Kelly

    close up of minka

    "I got my dad a huge flat screen TV for Christmas," the Titans actor told InStyle. "He had no idea it was coming and then he called me and said, 'Do you know anything about this?' And I was like 'Surprise!'"

    minka on the red carpet

    20. Olivia Holt

    close up of olivia

    In 2016, the former Disney star told People, "When I was eight or nine, I did a commercial. My parents gave me $200 from it, and I took that $200 to Petco, and I bought a Betta fish."

    close up of olivia

    21. Brie Larson

    close up of brie

    The Marvel actor told GQ, "The first real purchase that I recall was a blue electric guitar."

    brie smiling

    22. And finally, Kelly Rowland

    close up of kelly smiling

    "When I got one of my first paychecks, I went to the grocery store and bought almost everything that my mom used to tell me was too expensive," the singer told InStyle in 2018. "I bought all of that shit, had a party at my house, and everybody ate up everything. I'll never forget it because it was fun, and it was something I was able to fund myself."

    kelly at an event

    Do you remember what you bought with your first paycheck? LMK in the comments below!