10 Famous People Who Used a Ghostwriter

19 Mar 2019


If you have visited a book store or a library lately, you have probably noticed that just about every celebrity and politician out there has come out with some kind of “tell all” about their lives.

But, are these celebrities actually sitting down and writing their own books? Or are they employing ghostwriters to help them get their stories onto paper?

Finding the answer to that question is not as easy as you would think. Celebrities tend to be a proud bunch, and don’t really love the idea of giving credit to someone else. In fact, many celebrities or politicians who use ghostwriters require that the ghostwriter sign a non-disclosure agreement, restricting them from taking any credit for the book (or even admitting that they helped write it!)

And frequently, when a celebrity does admit to having help with their book, the term ghostwriter is replaced with other words such as “co-author,” “co-writer,” or “collaborator,” in an attempt to make it sound like the book was still primarily written by the celebrity.

After digging deep, we have come up with a list of 10 celebrities and politicians who are known to have used a ghostwriter (or, as they may put it, “collaborator”) when writing their books.

1. Gwyneth Paltrow:

While the actress later claimed that she wrote every word of her cookbook, titled “My Father’s Daughter,” it seems that she did initially admit to the New York Times that the book was written with the help of ghostwriter, Julia Turshen.

2. Nicole Ritchie:

The actress/model has released two books; an autobiography titled “The Truth About Diamonds,” and a fictional novel called “Priceless.” While promoting “Priceless,” Ritchie claimed that she had penned the entire thing on her own. This was contradicted, however, by her publisher’s claims that a ghostwriter wrote the majority of the book.

3. Pete Wentz:

The front cover of the musician’s book, “Gray,” which was based on his experience with mental illness, credits James Montgomery as a co-writer in the novel.

4. Pamela Anderson:

The former Baywatch star is frequently credited with the celebrity ghostwriting industry’s rise in popularity. She has written two books: “Star” and Star Struck, both of which she openly admits were “co-written” by Eric Shaw Quinn.

5. Laura Bush:

The former first lady acknowledged that her memoir, “Spoken from the Heart,” was written with the assistance of Lyric Winik. According to Mrs. Bush, the stories within the book were her own; she just had help putting them into words. 

6. Chip and Joanna Gains:

The “Fixer Upper” couple’s book, “The Magnolia Story” gives credit to co-author Mark Dagostino. According to Chip Gaines, though, his new book “Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff,” was written without the help of a ghostwriter. He does, however, credit his wife with helping him remember the little details.

7. Hilary Duff:

The actress/singer has recently taken on writing young adult novels. She did confess to having a ghostwriter help her with her books, though, explaining that she is a horrible at spelling.

8. John F. Kennedy:

President Kennedy’s book,  “Profiles in Courage,” which was written when Kennedy was Senator of  Massachusetts, went on to win a Pulitzer Prize. While Kennedy never admitted to using a ghostwriter, his long-time aide and speechwriter, Ted Sorensen, set the record straight in his own autobiography, stating that he “did a first draft of most chapters” of “Profiles” and “helped choose the words of many of its sentences.”

9. Ashley Judd:

The well-known actress and activist’s highly acclaimed memoir, “All That Is Bitter & Sweet: A Memoir,” was primarily written by Judd. She does give credit to Nicholas D. Kristof for writing the foreword in her book, and to Maryanne Vollers for working as her “collaborator.”

10. Leah Remini:

The actress, who is well known for her split with Scientology (and her A&E docuseries), wrote a memoir about her life, titled “Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology.” While the stories are based on her life experiences, she credits “co-author,” Rebecca Paley, with helping her write the book.

Jennifer Rizzo 
Jennifer Rizzo is a Denver based writer with a background in Healthcare, International Tour Management, Genealogical Research, and a passion for travel and languages. She studied Spanish at the University of Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico and also lived and studied in Ancona, Italy. After spending nearly a decade working in the health care field, Jennifer has a well-rounded knowledge of hospital functionality, medical terminology, and disease processes. She has extended work experience with government medical benefits as well as Social Security law, which has allowed her to fine-tune her ability to sort through large amounts of medical records, research, and data, and turn that information into well written reports and case briefs. Since joining The Writers for Hire, Jennifer has written on vast array of topics and has done many in-depth ancestry research and family history projects. She has worked as Project Manager for various client websites, family history books, and RFPs, as well as other projects. She enjoys working closely with clients, and loves any opportunity that allows her to indulge her creative side.

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2 thoughts on “10 Famous People Who Used a Ghostwriter

  1. The writing of a book takes so much time and effort. There will always be multiple hands and minds involved. When a person is writing but has a “day job” or even just does not have training and experience as a professional writer they should have no shame to be completely transparent. Writing is a profession. A hard one — writing something that is easy (or intentionally not easy) to read with style and substance.

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