Million Dollar Contractor Stephen Fanuka On His Favorite Celebrity Renovation Memories

Yes, Tina Fey baked him chocolate chip cookies.


If you scrolled through Million Dollar Contractor 's cell phone contacts, you'd definitely recognize a name ... or seven. In fact, his list of numbers is the perfect visual representation of his life: balanced. From family members and personal friends to clients ranging from parents in need to Beyoncé and Bruce Willis, the man's incredibly connected.

That's the thing, though: These clients stay in his phone, long after the project's finished, not because he likes to humblebrag about them — it's because they've genuinely become friends during the process. "I consider myself their construction bodyguard," Stephen told me. "Nothing's going past me, no one's going to hurt them, and I won't let anyone in who's not someone I would vouch for."

"I want to be the gold standard, I want to be a legend. I want to be someone that's not forgotten."

They're letting him into their homes, and he doesn't take that responsibility lightly. After all, they do have to work pretty closely together for months on end, during the renovation process. "It can go two ways: either I'm an adopted family member or I'm a virus that they'll never get rid of, one or the other," he laughed.

Thankfully, it's typically the former, which leads to some truly unforgettable times. Whether Stephen's unnamed celeb-client-turned-BFF is FaceTiming with his daughter for her birthday (yes, this happened), or he's jokingly being threatened with a baseball bat by Bronx-native actress (also true), he could share stories for hours. Here are just a few of the standout ones from the projects he's worked on.

Tina Fey

Tina Fey Visits 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon'
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Tina quickly became his favorite client — and I can see why. "When I first met her, she was baking [chocolate chip] cookies and asked if I wanted one," he said. It wasn't just the cookies though; Stephen says she was the most humble person he'd ever met.

Neil Diamond

Songwriters Hall Of Fame 49th Annual Induction And Awards Dinner - Show
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"We joked around, and he was busting to 'Sweet Caroline' with me and two guys."

Bruce Willis

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"It took him about 15-20 minutes before he said anything to me, and then finally he just opened up," he recalled. "A year later he asked me to come to an event. I made a sign and it said 'yippee ki yay' on it and I said, 'don't look ... We're going to take our picture now together, and I'm going to show this paper.' He goes, 'Stephen...' and I go, 'No, trust me.' So we take the picture, I show him what it is, and he starts laughing."

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett In Concert - Austin, TX
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"He loved to paint, he loved to do his art. He's an icon. And humble, humble as pie."

Annie Leibovitz

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"You can't pull the wool over Annie's eyes, and that's what I love about her."

Michael J. Fox

2017 Museum of Modern Art Film Benefit - A Tribute To Julianne Moore
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Stephen became so close to the Back To The Future star that after he worked on the actor's home, he got on the family's mailing list. "Michael J. Fox, for years, used to send me his family's [holiday] picture card," he said.

Bethenny Frankel

Celebrity Sightings in New York City - July 10, 2018
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"[She] is exactly what you see on TV, she's 100% real."


(*Because it makes them sound "weird")

Mr. Bigglesworth cat
Note: Not the actual cat.
Giphy/New Line Cinema

"I have bodyguarded a cat that was diabetic during an 8-month renovation," Stephen recalled. "Because the family didn't have kids, and this was their child. It was diabetic, 17 years old, so they had a doctor come to give it its insulin shots, and I had to hire two bodyguards to walk around the cat and protect it during the whole renovation."

Now, what can we expect from Stephen in the near future? Well, he has partnered with to sponsor the (also available at CVS and Walgreens). It may seem like an odd pairing, but a guy who works with his hands all day, every day, knows a thing or two about preventing (and healing) cracked skin. Beyond that, you can catch him on TV again in late 2018-early 2019.

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