Whatever Happened To Joel And Benji Madden, The Twin Brothers Of Good Charlotte?
In the early 2000s, Joel and Benji Madden defined a generation with their spiky-haired brand of TRL-topping pop punk. The brothers fronted the beloved band Good Charlotte, whose angst-ridden songs skewered melodramatic celebrity complaints (hello, "Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous"). After three platinum albums and numerous stadium tours, the duo took a break from the band they formed in high school, but what happened to the Madden brothers after that?
While there are probably still some things you didn't know about the Madden siblings, the truth is that the Joel and Benji Madden today aren't too far removed from their pop punk roots. The band regularly helps write and produce records from some of the genre's more recent artists, including 5 Seconds of Summer, Tonight Alive, and Waterparks. They've launched a management empire, and snagged a few well-known TV spots and ad campaigns. Basically, the brothers are absolutely killing it.
The Brothers Got Fed Up With The Greedy Music IndustryPhoto: jenniferlinneaphotography / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
After three platinum records and a few awesome TRL appearances, Good Charlotte went on an indefinite hiatus in 2011. The band cited a number of reasons, but primarily, they said that they were tired of the less desirable corners of the industry, where everyone is trying to make a quick buck.
“I was done,” Joel told GQ. “I limped off the field as an artist. It just started to feel like we were squeezing every last drop out of this thing — and the bad side to the music business took over. We were kids when we started this, and when you’re a kid wanting to make it, you’ll sign and do anything.”
During their sabbatical, the Madden twins tried to lend a helping hand to young artists who hadn't yet discovered the music industry's pitfalls. "No one put their arm around us and said, ‘Let me protect you, don't do that.' Everyone was pushing us and we had to learn the hard way. I got victimized at a young age, and then I became a victim, and have the scars to prove it," Joel continued.
Benji Married Cameron Diaz (And They're Adorable Together)
In 2015, Benji married Cameron Diaz after a whirlwind seven months of dating. That might seem fast to some, but Diaz admitted she "just knew" the rockstar was going to be her husband the second she met him. The couple was introduced by Benji's celeb sister-in-law Nicole Richie.
Madden and Diaz's wedding was uniquely intimate. The ceremony took place inside the living room of their Beverly Hills home, and the reception was in their backyard. For the most part, Diaz and Madden are relatively private about their relationship, aside from a few sweet words shared on Instagram. In a rare 2016 interview, Diaz made everyone's heart melt with her adoration for her rock star hubby.
"The first thing I said when I first met my husband was, 'He's hot.' How come I didn't know this before? We had never been in the same circle... You know, nothing matters now that I have my husband. Like, I don't even remember any of that," she told radio host Andy Cohen. "All of that is like, that's the thing, that's how I know he's my husband... No one compares. Everything else just like washes and slips away. You realize like, 'Oh this is like the real thing is. This is what real love is. This is what real commitment and devotion is. This is the person you build your life with.'"
Joel Became A Judge On 'The Voice Australia,' And His Brother Soon Followed SuitPhoto: The Voice Australia / Nine Network
In 2012, shortly after Good Charlotte called it quits, The Voice Australia enlisted Joel to fill out its star-studded panel of judges.
"I didn't know what it would be like. I'd never done anything like it. I'd done some TV — TV has always been a part of our career — and the show was huge there," Joel told Rolling Stone. "I ended up becoming really good friends with everyone I worked with: Seal, Keith Urban, Kylie Minogue. Australia has been a place where we not only get to do TV, we get to discover bands before everyone else."
In 2015, Benji joined Joel on the singing competition. The brothers were once again working together, because two Maddens are always better than one. They also shared their music industry expertise on The Voice Kids Australia.
The Madden Brothers Landed A KFC Endorsement, Despite Their Vegetarian HistoryVideo: YouTube
The Madden twins don't walk away from good opportunities, and their 2012 KFC ad campaign was too finger-licking good to pass up. Though the brothers were reported to be vegetarians since 2003, and created a line of vegetarian and vegan burritos for Denny's in 2009, they changed their tune when KFC came calling in 2012. Everyone has a weakness, and bacon sandwiches with fried chicken instead of bread can easily get the best of people.
The ad campaign, which encouraged Australian fast food lovers to write songs about what makes KFC and living in Australia "So Good," was met with a ton of criticism. Benji defended their decision, telling Faster Louder that he abandoned the veg lifestyle years ago for "dietary reasons," and that his father was a butcher.
The Twins Launched A New Project Called The Madden Brothers In 2014Photo: Capitol Records / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
Benji and Joel Madden always had a distaste for the lifestyles of the rich and the famous, and after Good Charlotte went on hiatus, they were unsurprisingly done with the music industry's focus on money. The pair weren't sure if they were ever "going to come back" to creating music, but thankfully, they returned in 2014 with a new project called The Madden Brothers.
It turns out that Benji and Joel never stopped making music. In 2011, the same year that Good Charlotte went on hiatus, the brothers hopped into the studio with Pharrell Williams. Despite delays, the new group eventually signed to Capitol Records and released a full-length album, Greetings from California. The album received positive critical attention, but failed to gain traction in the public sphere.
Benji and Joel Launched MDDN, An Artist Management And Publishing Company
In 2014, the twins launched the ambitious media company MDDN with their other brother, Josh. The company focuses on artist development and management, as well as publishing.
"We do a little bit of everything," Benji told Alternative Press. "We became self-managed almost three years ago, and in the midst of that we thought we could take on more if we hired a few people. It’s called MDDN—we couldn’t think of anything better."
MDDN currently works closely with labels like Equal Vision and Fueled By Ramen to help develop the next generation of pop punk artists. In 2018, Equal Vision's Waterparks (along with several MDDN artists) made plans to follow in Good Charlotte's neon-haired footsteps.