Will Smith, Mark Cuban, Katy Perry & Other Celebs Who've Threatened to Run for President

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI
Will Smith during AFI FEST 2015 at TCL Chinese Theatre on Nov. 10, 2015 in Hollywood, Calif.

Two years ago, you might have laughed if someone told you that a thrice-married former reality TV star/beauty pageant owner/real estate mogul with no political or military experience would have a finger on his big nuclear button. But one year into the Trump administration, any doubts about what qualifies one for the highest office in the land have gone out the proverbial window.

Which is why the liberal nation went into a frenzy on Sunday night when another billionaire TV star, Oprah Winfrey, made a speech at the Golden Globes that many thought sounded, well, presidential. The #Oprah2020 hashtag blew up overnight (and, amazingly, so did a surprising number of merch sites hawking T-shirts, bumper stickers, onesies and mugs), and suddenly the idea of yet another celebrity commander in chief didn't sound that crazy.

The pipeline from pop culture to politics is well-trod, with everyone from Clint Eastwood to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, Al Franken, Ronald Reagan, Sono Bono, Shirley Temple and Fred Thompson making the leap in the past and Kid Rock recently earning plenty of headlines for his phony run for Senate in Michigan. And while Winfrey has not officially responded to the many calls for her to take on The Donald in 2020, if she does decide to make a run, she wouldn't be the first A-lister to tentatively throw her hat in the ring to date.

Here's a list of other stars who've made noise (some serious, some not so) about a potential White House bid.

Will Smith

He's saved the Earth from aliens and supervillains, but before Trump even became president Smith said the ugly rhetoric in the 2016 campaign might someday force him to switch careers. "If people keep saying all the crazy kinds of stuff they've been saying on the news lately about walls and Muslims, they're going to force me into the political arena," Smith said in December 2015.

Chris Rock

OK, this one was clearly a joke, but still... stranger things have happened.

Ben Affleck

The Batman star told the New York Times last December that he likes "the idea of running for office. I think there's something noble in public service." His recent stumbles when talking about the #MeToo movement and a resurfaced groping allegation by actress Hilarie Burton, however, seem like an impediment.

Katy Perry

KP was clearly joking in July 2015 when she speculated that she might become No. 46 when posing between 42 and 43. She was a huge Hillary Clinton booster during the 2016 election. Plus, how is she less qualified?


42, 43, 46?!

A post shared by KATY PERRY (@katyperry) on

Mark Cuban

Have you heard the one about the self-made billionaire/reality TV star? In this era the Dallas Mavericks owner seems as qualified as just about anyone to run the nation. “I think that given the circumstances, there’s a unique opportunity for someone like me who’s independent, and not affiliated to a party in any way,” Cuban told The New York Times DealBook conference in November. “I think that people are looking for an independent voice. A real independent voice that has at least an inkling of what they’re talking about."


Waka Flocka Flame

The Atlanta rapper announced his candidacy in a 2015 interview and went on to shoot a campaign ad and do some canvassing on New York streets. Turns out he was too young at the time (29) to make a serious bid and he'll still be a year short in 2020 -- but 2024?

George Clooney

If we're being honest, the eternally handsome actor is as good a bet as anyone on this list. He's a longtime supporter of righteous causes, is a once-married father with adorable twins, comes from a political Ohio dynasty and is a renowned political donation magnet. “Would I like to be the next president? Oh, that sounds like fun. Can I just say that I’d like anybody to be the next president of the United States. Right away, please,” Clooney said in September when promoting his dark satire Suburbicon. Or Oprah's veep.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

From Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle to the White House? The professional wrestler-turned-actor wouldn't be the first thespian at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. (see Ronald Reagan), but in December, he said he's "seriously considering" being the next. "I can tell you with all honesty that the consideration comes at the desire from a large amount of people that would like to see this happen," he told USA Today.

Kanye West

Yeezy rubbed some people the wrong way when he met with Trump at Trump Tower back in late 2016, nearly a year after he claimed he was planning a 2020 run while accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards. 

Mark Zuckerberg

A white, self-made billionaire -- sound familiar? The Facebook boss seems to be setting the table for a possible 2020 run, including the hiring of a Democratic pollster and other notable Democratic functionaries, as well as a yearlong "listening tour" to all 50 states that seems like a dead giveaway. So far, he's denied it (in a lengthy FB post, of course).

Ron Perlman

The Hellboy actor seemed like he was just joking about "Perl 2020," but he recently got a bit more serious about it when he said "we're in a very dangerous, very degraded moment in time where the values that everybody who came before us fought and died for are all being tromped upon. For no good end except power and greed."