'American Idol' host who became Uber driver hits back after being job-shamed

The actor-comedian is now an Uber driver, and if anyone has a problem with that, he has something to tell them.
Brian Dunkleman
Brian Dunkleman, seen here at the Fox farewell to "American Idol" in 2016, is working behind the wheel instead of behind the mic these days -- and he's just fine with that.FilmMagic

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/ Source: TODAY
By Ree Hines

Comedian, actor and onetime "American Idol" co-host Brian Dunkleman recently added a new role to his resume: Uber driver.

And while the 47-year-old never intended to make a public announcement about his current employment, he won't be shamed for it.

On Thursday, TMZ reported that Dunkleman disclosed his occupation as "Uber driver" in financial documents related to his divorce from his estranged wife, Kalea, going so far as to include details about how many hours he works each week and his approximate wages.

Dunkleman's response to that story and the others that soon followed? In short: That's life!

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"I chose to stop doing standup comedy and started driving an Uber so I could be there for my son as much as he needed after our life as we knew it was destroyed," he wrote on Twitter, referencing his divorce and ongoing custody battle. "Print that."

Then, continuing his message to TMZ and the publication's creator-editor, Harvey Levin, he added, "And I make over a grand on a good week mother------s."

Many fans stuck up for Dunkleman, praising him for making "an honest living" and for putting his son, 5-year-old Jackson, ahead of his career.

Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman shared a stage on "American Idol's" debut season in 2002. Getty Images

Dunkleman first gained fame on the debut season of "American Idol," where he shared the stage with then co-host Ryan Seacrest in 2002. Seacrest went on to helm the series solo after that, as Dunkleman took on a variety of small-screen roles and focused on his comedy work.

The two shared the "Idol" stage one last time when the series aired its Fox finale in 2016.

Ryan Seacrest reunited with former co-host Brian Dunkleman on the Fox series finale of "American Idol" in 2016.Getty Images

Of course, Dunkleman isn't the only former TV talent to find himself the subject of public shaming for simply holding down a job outside of the spotlight.

In September of last year, "Cosby Show" alum Geoffrey Owens made headlines after he was photographed while working as a cashier at a Trader Joe's in Clifton, New Jersey.

"The general public has no idea what the typical life of an actor is, or how showbiz works — especially financially," the actor later explained in an essay for TODAY's Voices series. "So I’m not surprised they’re amazed that someone who had a role on a hit show would end up working at a regular job. It’s not their fault. How would you know if you’re not in the business?"

While Owens' situation initially led to the same sort of social-media sympathy that Dunkleman is now receiving from fans, it also eventually led him to new television opportunities and renewed fame.