Parents for Hire: Celebs Employ 'Momagers'

When the grunt work is over and the day's decisions have been made, some celebrity managers go back to their primary job — parenting a star.

Ashanti (search), Jessica Simpson (search), Lindsay Lohan (search), Beyonce (search) and Usher (search) are just a few of the young luminaries putting their careers in the hands they used to hold.

But is it possible to be both mom and manager? R&B superstar Ashanti's mother told that it's more than possible — it's ideal.

“This is a tough business. It is dog-eat-dog and very competitive, but when you surround yourself with people who love you and support you, then you can't lose,” said Tina Douglas, who manages her Grammy-winning daughter under the inventive title of "momanger."

Why "momanger"? we asked.

“I spell it the same way I pronounce it. It's just mom and anger. If you mess with my kid you make me angry," Douglas said.

Ashanti is not alone. Blonde bombshell Jessica Simpson (search) takes nepotism to a whole new level by employing her father Joe as her manager, her best friend CaCee Cobb as her assistant and her childhood pal Mike Alexander as her personal trainer. Joe Simpson also manages his other pop-star daughter, Ashlee.

Among other stars, Beyonce's mom serves as stylist for her daughter's R&B group Destiny's Child and her dad manages the trio; Lindsay Lohan employs her mom as manager and hip-hop crooner Usher's mom is his manager

But trouble can come into play when “momagers” and “popagers,” as they are commonly referred to in show business (usually without the "anger"), start viewing their offspring as a meal ticket instead of a child.

For instance, Christopher “Kit” Culkin, father and ex-manager of former child-star Macaulay Culkin (search), notoriously lived off the "Home Alone" actor's assets. Kit Culkin also had a reputation for signing Macaulay up for movies without his son's permission.

And in 2000, country singer LeAnn Rimes (search) sued her father, Wilbur Rimes, and his co-manager, Lyle Walker, for embezzling at least $7 million from her empire. Though Rimes and her father are no longer estranged and the case was settled out of court, one might wonder if a child could ever recover from such betrayal.

“A parent, you would hope, would be protective of their child and her assets and say 'this money should last you a lifetime. I just want you to be successful and have a good life with it,'” said Dr. Pamela Hain-Koenigsburg, a psychologist from Baltimore.

Then there are those momagers and popagers who are criticized for hypersexualizing their own kids.

Joe Simpson, a former minister, has come under fire for heating up his daughter Jessica's image. And Teri Shields, the momager of Brooke Shields (search) who famously marketed her daughter as Brooke Shields and Co., was criticized years ago for encouraging her then-underage daughter to play a child prostitute and appear in sexually implicit ads for Calvin Klein Jeans.

“I used to look at Britney Spears (search) and Jessica Simpson and wonder 'How do you let your child dress like that?'" said Hain-Koenigsburg. "As the parent of a girl, I wonder how you could sex a child up like that and throw her out to the world.”

Hain-Koenigsburg has been particularly troubled by the recent case of Lohan, whose ne'er-do-well father has demanded that ex-wife Dina split the earnings she has made by managing their daughter.

“Her situation is so terrible,” she said, adding that she thinks Lohan would have been better off if her parents just remained parents. “When that kind of situation happens, who do you go to and who do you trust?”

On the flip side, Bonnie Low-Kramen, personal assistant to Academy Award-winner Olympia Dukakis (search), said trust is precisely the reason why stars employ their moms and dads to be their managers.

“Celebrities are vulnerable, so it makes sense that they would yearn to have someone close to them there at all times,” said Low-Kramen.

But she is concerned that having a momager may not be good for the average family.

“It has to be a very special relationship for it to work," Low-Kramen said. "I know Olympia, and my business relationship is first and foremost, and we have that boundary. [A parent and child] would have to get some ground rules, because it's likened to going into business with someone. It changes the whole relationship.”

And then there's that paycheck issue.

"The child has to pay the parent a salary — there is something tricky about that," Low-Kramen said. "I think celebrities welcome the ability to separate the business from the personal."

But Hain-Koenigsburg said that if a parent's motivation is genuine, employing him or her might be the best thing for a star.

“Nobody will look out for your interests the way a parent would.”

Douglas, of course, agreed, saying whether it's a soccer game or a record deal, nobody cheers you on like your mom.

“Some managers have approached me in a negative way, saying that I can't manage Ashanti because I'm her mom and I'm emotional. But that emotion is what helped get her to where she is today.”