How Donald Glover, Nicole Kidman and More Celebrities Spent Their First Big Paychecks

From fancy shoes to quirky instruments, see what stars bought when they finally had money to spare

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DONALD GLOVER: GUSHERS AND OTHER CANDY

Glover scored a writing job on 30 Rock when he was just a college student. “I had more money than all my friends, but I didn’t spend it well. You’re too young,” he said on Jimmy Kimmel Live! 

“Can I be honest?” the Lion King star continued when Kimmel asked him how he spent his network TV money. “Like, Gushers. I wasn’t allowed to have candy as a kid, so I was like, ‘I’m balling.’ “

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CALEB MCLAUGHLIN: NIKE JORDANS

The 17-year-old Stranger Things star splurged on a fresh pair of kicks when the Netflix money started rolling in. “There were these sneakers called Jordan Wings that I bought,” he shared on an episode of First We Feast’s “Truth or Dab.” The shoes cost hundreds of dollars; however, McLaughlin generally tries to remain frugal. “I don’t really spend that much,” he added.

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KELLY ROWLAND: GROCERIES

“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 former Destiny’s Child member shared with InStyle. “I bought all of that s—, 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.”

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MINKA KELLY: A BIG FLAT SCREEN TV 

Upon landing her role in Friday Night Lights, Kelly went ahead and purchased a TV for her dad. “I got my dad a huge flat screen TV for Christmas,” the actress 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!’”

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JOHNNY DEPP: A HOUSE FOR HIS MOM

In an intimate interview with Rolling Stone, Depp revealed that his first big purchase after becoming a breakout star was a horse farm near Lexington, Kentucky, for his mother. “Betty Sue, I worshipped her,” he said of his late mom. 

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NICOLE KIDMAN: A WASHING MACHINE

It wasn’t for herself, however. “I bought my mom and dad a washing machine,” Kidman told TIME of what she spent her first paycheck on. “Later on, I bought some boots for myself that were like the coolest boots I had ever seen in my life.” 

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TIFFANY HADDISH: SO MUCH CANDY

But first, the Girls Trip star took herself to the bank. “First thing I did is I went to the bank and I opened up a checking account. It was like $120,” Haddish said in a video for TIME. “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.”

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JENNIFER LOPEZ: A SHINY NEW MERCEDES

Buying a sweet new ride was a big moment for young J.Lo — even though her personal life was rocky at the time. “I was driving a Honda hatchback that Keenen Ivory Wayans had given me when I moved out here when I was a Fly Girl [dancer on In Living Color]. And I had been driving it to every audition,” Lopez revealed of her early L.A. days during an actress roundtable with The Hollywood Reporter. “And when I got, I think it was a regular series, I bought a car — a Mercedes. And it was a huge deal, though I was signing the lease to the car and breaking up with my boyfriend the same week. We were in the dealership and I was crying.”

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AMERICA FERRERA: A 2000 MITSUBISHI MIRAGE

“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,” Ferrera recalled to InStyle, revealing she used her paycheck from starring in the Disney Channel movie Gotta Kick It Up! to purchase her very first car. “Getting your own car in L.A. is a huge right of passage.”

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SERENA WILLIAMS: STRAIGHT TO THE BANK

No, seriously. The tennis legend may have thought earning her first million was NBD, but her bank was quite surprised when she rolled up with the hefty check. “I never touched [the money] — I just put it in the bank. I remember I went through the drive-thru to deposit my check, and then they were like, ‘I think you need to come in for this,’ and so I ended up going inside,” she shared on Kneading Dough. So, depositing a seven-figure payment is just slightly more complicated than ordering a cheeseburger — who knew?

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ARIEL WINTER: SHOES, SHOES AND MORE SHOES

She’s gotta have her kicks! The Modern Family actress went straight for retail therapy when she made her first substantial TV earnings as a teen. “I think I bought some serious shoes. I bought a lot of shoes. I love shoes,” she told PEOPLE in 2014 of her first splurge as a star.

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KERRY WASHINGTON: HID IT UNDER HER BED — AND THEN BOUGHT A LAPTOP

It took a little bit of time for the Scandal star to get comfortable with her successful actress salary. “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 and I literally used to hide it under my mattress for the whole movie,” she admitted during an actress roundtable with The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”

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ASHLEY GRAHAM: A PERSONAL TRAINER (BUT ALSO SHOES)

The model mostly went the practical route when she first made it. “Probably my first big purchase was a pair of Chanel platform creepers,” Graham shared with PEOPLE. “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 intimating machines without hurting myself.” Lucky for us, these days Graham frequently passes on fitness routine wisdom via Instagram, free of charge. 

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BRAD PITT: FURNITURE 

“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,” Pitt told Architectural Digest

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BRIE LARSON: AN ELECTRIC GUITAR 

The Oscar-winner told GQ about her first major buy. “The first real purchase that I recall was a blue electric guitar,” she revealed, reminding us, once again, that she’s infinitely cooler than we’ll ever be. 

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CINDY CRAWFORD: WALLPAPER 

The supermodel focused on making her home look good after making it in the fashion business. “I still remember what I spent my first paycheck on — wallpaper. Says a lot doesn’t it?” she tweeted. 

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OLIVIA HOLT: A PET FISH 

The actress-singer got an early start in Hollywood, and spent her first paycheck accordingly. “When I was 8 or 9, I did a commercial or something, and my parents gave me $200 from it and I took that $200 to Petco and I bought a Betta fish,” she told PEOPLE. 

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RAMI MALEK: AN ESPRESSO MACHINE 

The Mr. Robot star clearly has a deep love for caffeine. “I ended up spending that paycheck on my own personal espresso machine. I think I figured that s— out,” he told GQ about his first substantial acting gig payday. 

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KATHY GRIFFIN: A HOME FOR HER PARENTS 

When the money started coming in, Griffin went straight to helping her long-supportive parents out. “I splurged on my mom and dad first, because, you know, they’re very working class and always took care of me and paid for my acting classes and my braces, which I still hear about,” she told PEOPLE. “So it was all about getting them a nice place to live, and that’s really the most fun part.”

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