Original ‘American Idol’ Host Brian Dunkleman Explains His Surprising New Career As An Uber Driver

Ryan Seacrest’s former co-host now works as an Uber driver so he can spend more time with his young son.

Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman on the American Idol finale
Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Ryan Seacrest’s former co-host now works as an Uber driver so he can spend more time with his young son.

Brian Dunkleman once worked alongside Ryan Seacrest as co-host of a little TV talent competition called American Idol. Seventeen years later, in documents submitted in his divorce from his ex-wife Kalea Dunkleman, the former Fox star has revealed he works as an Uber driver.

Financial documents obtained by TMZ reveal that Brian Dunkleman disclosed his occupation as “Uber driver” in the former couple’s divorce filing. The ex-Idol host noted that he began his career as a driver in March 2016 and currently works 45 hours a week and earns about $800 a week.

Brian and Kalea Dunkleman’s divorce may not be a high dollar one, but it is a contentious one that includes shared custody of their 5-year-old son Jackson. After years of working as a standup comedian, Dunkleman revealed that his young son was the reason why he opted for a job with a more flexible schedule.

After TMZ’s report about Brian Dunkleman’s career as a driver was posted, the former American Idol star took to Twitter to reveal that he chose to stop doing standup comedy and started driving an Uber so he could “be there for my son as much as he needed after our life as we knew it was destroyed.” Dunkleman also added that on a good week he makes “over a grand.”

Brian Dunkleman co-hosted American Idol with future media king Ryan Seacrest during the show’s first season back in 2002. But Dunkleman quit his job as co-host of the Fox singing competition before it became a megahit and his premature departure became a running gag for Seacrest and the media. Even Dunkleman still jokes about it, as seen in his recent New Year’s tweet below.

But Brian Dunkleman later told People he believed he would have been let go from American Idol either way.

“I think I beat them to the punch and I didn’t know. I left the show but from what I gather they weren’t going to have me back anyway. So it’s kind of a big load off my shoulders. I guess I didn’t make a mistake.”

In addition, Brian Dunkleman admitted that he did not always get along with Ryan Seacrest and that he later apologized to him before their reunion on the American Idol finale in 2016.

While Dunkleman was said to be initially “bitter” over American Idol’s successful run, he eventually admitted the show really only needed one host, and Seacrest was the right man for the job.

“Do I regret not remaining on the show?” Dunkleman said just ahead of the 2016 finale. “Yes. Especially when I open my bank statements. But without the benefit of hindsight, I would have done the exact same thing. All I know for sure is that I was a part of history…Regardless of how history judges me, nobody can ever take that away from me.”

For more on Brian Dunkleman’s departure from American Idol, check out the video below.

The second season of the American Idol revival, the show’s 17th season in all, returns March 3, 2019, on ABC.