Whatever differences there may be between pop stars of the 1990s and pop stars of today, there are a few things that they share. For one, the type of music that they produce is largely unchanged: besides the heavier beats and electronics of today, the pop music style is a mainstay in modern culture. People love it—especially young people. And, strangely enough, there are more and more young people aging every year, so that means more and more fans for these megastars!
Who knows, at some point, 90s stars like Ricky Martin and Alanis Morissette might be forgotten completely. We doubt it, though, because the one thing that keeps them relevant in this ever-changing world is their music. Their legacy is in their tunes and that’s something that no one can take away from them. Like it or not, these pop stars have made a lasting impact on culture around the world, and new stars will continue to influence people as the years progress.
That being said, some of these pop stars—both from the 1990s and the modern era—drive some questionable automobiles. It’s not really a hipster fad or trendy thing, either, but rather that they just don’t care what other people think about what they drive. That’s also how they stay rich and powerful: keeping their pocketbooks tight. Sure, there are probably plenty of pop stars who drive cars they can’t afford but the big names have nothing to prove. Their work speaks for themselves.
Here are 15 pop stars from the 1990s and five stars from the modern era who drive lemons.
20 '90s Lemon: Ludacris’ 1993 Acura Legend
Ludacris might not be who you think of when you think of pop stars of the 1990s but he got his start before the turn of the century, in a big way. And for a while, he was one of the most popular rappers in the game. Now, he’s one of the biggest movie stars around, having been a regular in the Fast and Furious franchise since the second film. Even when he made it big, he still drove around in his 1993 Acura Legend. It’s not a Lemon, per se, but for someone worth $25 million, it’s certainly not what you’d expect. He was such a positive figure for the Acura brand that they even completely restored it (at 280,000 miles).
19 '90s Lemon: Britney Spears’ Mini Cooper
Britney Spears is as popular as ever, after making a resurgence from her mental health crisis earlier in the 2000s. You basically can’t even name your child “Britney” now, because the name is synonymous with her. The “Oops… I Did it Again” superstar is worth $215 million, but she prefers to zip around in a little Mini Cooper, which costs less than $22,000. She’s had her fair share of cool cars: Aston Martins, Mercedes-Benzes, and the like, but she’s been spotted driving this one more often than the others. That’s one way to keep your bank account full: don’t spend it on frivolous things!
18 '90s Lemon: Justin Timberlake’s Volkswagen Jetta
It seems apropos to follow up Britney Spears with her one-time sweetheart, Justin Timberlake. Many younger folks these days might not even know that they dated at one point and were the biggest power couple in the pop world. The *NSYNC-turned-solo superstar is worth $230 million but he drives around in a Volkswagen Jetta. And it’s not a new one. The starting price of this car was just $16,000, making it one of the cheapest new cars on the market! But it gets great gas mileage, is reliable, and will get JT from A to B. JT could own 14,000 Jettas if he wanted but he prefers to keep his bank account stacked, and we can’t blame him.
17 Modern Lemon: Justin Bieber’s Smart Fortwo
Let’s follow up one Justin with another: the current pop sensation, Justin Bieber. He might not be as universally loved as JT but he’s arguably more successful. You can’t throw shade on the guy for knowing how to market himself. The singer-songwriter is already one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold 150 million records worldwide, and pretty much everything he releases becomes a #1 hit. He owns some of the coolest cars on the planet, but he’s also been spotted in this dingy matte black Smart Fortwo, which is a questionable choice for a guy worth $265 million.
16 '90s Lemon: Mark McGrath’s Toyota Sienna
Mark McGrath nowadays is probably best known for being the host of the TV show Extra and Don’t Forget the Lyrics! But he’s also the singer for the band Sugar Ray. He might only be worth $6 million (“only” being relative to the other pop stars on this list), but he knows how to stretch the dollar. He prefers to drive around in this family car, a 2014 Toyota Sienna, even though he could own cars much more expensive. He also has a $47,000 Cadillac XTS in his garage, however—a car he gives 10 out of 10 and calls his favorite car from his favorite car company. But the Sienna’s more comfortable.
15 '90s Lemon: Will.I.Am’s Volkswagen Beetle
You can dress a VW Beetle up any way you want and all the bells and whistles might transform it into the Dick Tracy-mobile from the future. But a VW Beetle will always be considered a lemon when it’s being driven by a superstar. Will.I.Am, of The Black Eyed Peas fame, is worth $75 million. He is also the owner of a car company, IAMAUTO, where he customizes and ruins perfectly good cars (like this Beetle and a DeLorean DMC-12), to make them one of a kind. This car reportedly cost him $900,000 to create! The work was done by Austin Weiss at The Garage and West Coast Customs, but he can’t be blamed for this monstrosity, because it was clearly a design Will.I.Am wanted.
14 '90s Lemon: Mark Wahlberg’s Toyota Sienna
Mark Wahlberg has one of the most successful careers in modern movie history. He’s worth $255 million and seems to star in every leading role you could think of. But did you know the action star actually got his start as a rapper called Marky Mark? If you’re old enough, then yes, you probably knew that. During the 1990s he was a sensation and, just like now, the chicks loved his bad-boy Boston rapper persona. He owns some cool cars but the one he prefers to drive is a Toyota Sienna—what is it with superstars and this van? He made some modifications to make it a little cooler (tinted windows, aftermarket tires, etc), but it’s still a lemon at its core.
13 Modern Lemon: Selena Gomez’s Ford Escape
Selena Gomez has a bright future ahead of her and a bright past behind her. She received wide recognition for playing Alex Russo on the Wizards of Waverly Place on Disney and then much wider recognition when she became Justin Bieber’s bae. Even though their relationship didn’t last, her fame was cemented in popular culture. She’s a very successful musical artist in her own right and is worth $60 million. So why does she drive a Ford Escape, you might wonder? Well, she got her driver’s license late and the Escape is a pretty reliable car that gets good gas mileage. She’s clearly not too concerned what people think of her choice of automobile.
12 '90s Lemon: Kid Rock’s Pontiac Bonneville
Kid Rock might only have two or three well-known songs and one of them you probably can’t even pronounce (Bah Whit Da…what?) but he’s still worth $80 million. So, he’s managed to coast on his few hits and has carved out a fantastic musical career for himself. He’s got some awesome cars in his collection but this Pontiac Bonneville, which he paid $225,000 for, is not one of them. It’s ostentatious and glamorous, like the man himself, but that flashiness doesn’t make it any less of a lemon. It’s sporting two giant Texas longhorns on the grille, some saddle-like leather interior that was designed by celebrity designer Nudie Cohn to match his cowboy persona but it just looks a bit ridiculous.
11 '90s Lemon: Paul Weller’s Mini Cooper
Like the Toyota Sienna, the Mini Cooper is a car that you’re going to see again and again on this list, probably because it’s affordable and zippy and fun to drive. It’s a good car with which to escape paparazzi. Paul Weller is probably the most famous pop star you’ve never heard of if you live in the US. He’s not a crossover international star but rather a huge name in the UK. He’s been compared to David Bowie, in fact, in terms of originality and influence. His Mini is colored pinstripe-pink and brown and was auctioned off for charity. It was an ugly car, sure, but at least it helped some people. Weller has driven Minis all his life, like many proper Brits.
10 '90s Lemon: Lance Bass’ Toyota Mirai
Lance Bass is, of course, best known for his tenure with the wildly successful boy band, *NSYNC and also his solo career. He’s worth $22 million, so he can afford any car he wants, but he drives a Toyota Mirai. Now, this isn’t a lemon in the typical sense: it’s the first car powered by fuel cell technology that’s sold publicly and costs $58,500. Bass was also a spokesperson for the car when it first came out. That being said, it’s still a 151-horsepower Toyota, not a Lamborghini or Ferrari, so it fits in this category of lemons. But hey, Lamborghini and Ferrari can’t claim to get 66 MPG, can they?
9 Modern Lemon: Lily Allen’s Ford Focus RS
You can put the RS at the end of it but at the end of the day, Lily Allen’s lime green car is still just a Ford Focus, which is a Lemon when owned by a huge pop star celebrity worth $20 million. She first gained fame from Myspace, which might blow some people’s minds—those who still remember that ancient site—and her first single was named “Smile” and charted at #1 on the UK Singles Chart in 2006. The Ford Focus RS is the sporty version of the car, costs $41,120, and has 350 horsepower. Sure, Lily could own whatever car she wants but she’s too busy charting singles on Billboard to care, it seems.
8 '90s Lemon: Alanis Morissette’s Volkswagen Jetta
Alanis Morissette might be a stranger to many of the younger crowd but she was one of the biggest names in music throughout the 90s. The former child actress-turned-dance-pop-diva eventually transformed herself into one of the most popular singer-songwriters on the planet. She’s worth $45 million but still prefers to get around in a Volkswagen Jetta, just like Justin Timberlake. She’s been active in the music business since 1991 as an artist and producer, as well as an actress. Having sold more than 75 million records worldwide throughout her illustrious career, she has been dubbed the “Queen of Alt-Rock Angst” by Rolling Stone.
7 '90s Lemon: Shania Twain’s Dodge Ram 2500
Another superstar who has countless Billboard-breaking hits under her belt, Shania Twain has sold 100 million records during her career, making her the best-selling female artist in country music history and one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Her honorary title, the “Queen of Country Pop,” is well deserved. She has some pretty fantastic cars in her collection but the one that she’s been spotted in multiple times is her Dodge Ram 2500, a $32,000 heavy-duty truck that definitely fits her country roots. Her 1997 album, Come On Over, spawned 12 singles and became the best-selling studio album of all time by a female act in any genre, selling 40 million copies.
6 '90s Lemon: Jennifer Lopez’s Jeep Wrangler
Jennifer Lopez, endearingly referred to as J-Lo by the vast majority, is one of the biggest stars on the planet. Even Trevor Noah (of The Daily Show fame) recounted a story where lines filled with celebrities at a club parted like the Red Sea to allow J-Lo entry. She’s been spotted with Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, Aston Martins, and more, but she’s also frequently seen driving around her older generation Jeep Wrangler around, which does not seem like it fits the pop star. For a superstar worth $400 million—topping the list so far—and making $40 million a year, it makes the Wrangler even more confusing. But J-Lo’s going to drive what she likes to drive.
5 Modern Lemon: Adele’s Mini Cooper
In 2017, Adele came in at #18 on Forbes’ list of Celebrity 100 Earnings, bringing in a staggering $69 million. At the time, her net worth was estimated to be $135 million but after a few huge shows on the worldwide stage, it’s probably more than that. There aren’t too many artists that can get away with the one-name names (like Beyonce), but Adele manages it flawlessly. And she’s got the pipes to back it up, as she’s easily one of the best singers to come out of the modern pop era. She drives a Mini Cooper, like many other pop stars, it seems, because she loves to zip around in it. Unlike others who are indifferent to their cars, Adele actually likes her Mini.
4 '90s Lemon: Ricky Martin’s Chevrolet Suburban
You might expect an exotic superstar like Ricky Martin to drive around in Aston Martins or Ferraris or something super fancy but you’d be mistaken. Granted, the “Livin’ La Vida Loca” pop star has been seen in cars like those but he’s also been spotted in a Chevrolet Suburban, which doesn’t seem to fit his personality at all. Worth $60 million and having sold over 70 million albums worldwide, Ricky is one of the best-selling Latin music artists of all time. Throughout the 90s, he was a powerhouse in the music world and even though his fame has mellowed out since then, he’ll always be remembered and he’ll always be a legend.
3 '90s Lemon: Christina Aguilera’s Lincoln Town Car
Christina Aguilera rose to fame around the same time as Britney Spears, basically becoming her rival for the blondest, hottest pop star in the world toward the end of the 90s. She has an epic car collection filled with a pink Bentley, Rolls-Royces, Aston Martins, Range Rovers, and more, but she also—strangely enough—has this Lincoln Town Car in her possession. Maybe it holds sentimental value for her. The superstar is worth $160 million and she’s sold 75 million records, so she clearly has no problem with money. She was also the only music artist under 30 to be named on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers of All Time in 2008.
2 '90s Lemon: Dave Matthew’s Subaru Outback
Dave Matthews is the soft-singing acoustic pop star that everyone wants to be friends with. He seems like a chill guy to hang out with. He’s also worth $300 million, making him low-key one of the most successful people on this list. His band, appropriately called the Dave Matthews Band, holds the record for having seven consecutive #1 albums on the Billboard charts as of their 2018 release, Come Tomorrow. He also drives a Subaru Outback, which only adds to his chill persona. He’s performed in movies, and between 2000 and 2010, his band sold more tickets and earned more money than any other act in the US.
1 Modern Lemon: Katy Perry’s Smart Fortwo
Katy Perry is worth $330 million, thanks to her album sales, tours, merch sales, endorsements, and her celebrity judging role on American Idol. That number is up from $125 million in 2016—just three short years ago—so you could say she’s doing all right for herself. Having sold over 100 million records, she’s one of the best-selling music artists of all time, but she drives a Smart Fortwo (among other, cooler cars), like Justin Bieber. Who knows what her reasoning behind the Smart car is, but it doesn’t really matter—she seems to be successful in just about everything she does. If anyone’s going to make a Fortwo look good, it’s Katy Perry.
Sources: DMB Tabs, Forbes, and This Is Insider.