How Bill Rancic Has Changed Through The Years

If you know one thing about Bill Rancic, it's probably that he's married to former E! News red carpet correspondent Giuliana Rancic. If you know a second thing about him, it's probably that he won the first season of "The Apprentice." Once upon a time, though, he wasn't sure whether his fame would last. In 2005, he published a book called "You're Hired: How to Succeed in Business and Life." In the book's introduction, Rancic wrote, "The dust will eventually settle and before long folks will forget I ever appeared on a reality television show. Before long, I'll be back to where I was when the show started ... back to working on my own opportunities and chasing my own dreams, on my own terms."

That prediction hasn't exactly come true. Yes, he has kept working on various opportunities and chasing various dreams, but Rancic has remained famous for the past two decades. Fans have followed him through a marriage and fatherhood, from business idea to business idea and reality show to reality show. He's had to make several career pivots alongside a life that has continued to grow; here is how Bill Rancic has changed through the years.

Bill Rancic didn't grow up with a business background

Bill Rancic was born in 1971 in Orland Park, a suburb of Chicago. He loves the city he came from, even writing an ode to Chi Town for HuffPost. "I may have grown up in the suburbs, but I ran to you every weekend," he wrote. "There were so many ball games, parks, and museums that I couldn't say no."

In his memoir "You're Hired," Rancic wrote about being raised in a family full of people who did things other than business. He's the youngest child, and he has three older sisters. "[O]ne's a speech pathologist, one's a high school teacher, and one was off to medical school before switching gears to become a consultant," Rancic reported. His parents were teachers who later became school administrators.

Rancic, however, showed an aptitude for business at a very early age. In an interview with The New York Post, Rancic recalled spending time with his grandparents. One weekend, he learned how to make pancakes from his grandma. "Afterward, I invited all the old ladies from the neighborhood over to her house, and I cooked them pancakes. When they left, they all put five-dollar bills underneath their plates," he said. Soon he was running his pancake scheme every weekend. Rancic concluded, "They knew I was kind of a different breed early on."

He took a sales job right out of college

When Bill Rancic graduated from college, he found that many of his classmates settled for entry level jobs. That wasn't interesting to him, and he told himself that he would only sign up for a gig that offered him at least $50,000 a year. Instead, he wound up taking a gig as a commodity metals salesman. In his memoir "You're Hired," he reflected that the job was a strange one. "I knew as much about commodity metals as I knew about fertilizer or waste management or industrial bathroom supplies. That is, I knew crap," Rancic joked.

Still, he put his head down and got to work, and he soon realized that if he was able to sell himself well, he would make way more than $50,000 in commission. "I learned by watching," Rancic wrote, "by listening to the sales pitches that worked and the ones that didn't ... It's a lot easier to sell when you can stand behind your product or service and know you've got the goods." It was a life lesson that Rancic would take with him moving forward because fame soon came knocking.

He had to deal with public attention after winning The Apprentice

In 2004, Bill Rancic rose to fame when he competed on the first season of "The Apprentice." He later told E! News that a friend's mother was the one who signed him up for the show, which he hadn't even heard about at the time. He was flown out to Los Angeles for the casting process. "At the end of the week, I was the last one chosen," he said. "It was actually worse than that: I was the alternate."

Rancic went on to win, and he told a press conference (via "Today") that he viewed his story arc as proof that success is possible. "The American Dream is still alive out there, and hard work will get you there. You don't necessarily need to have an Ivy League education or to have millions of dollars startup money," he said. As his prize, Rancic chose to manage a Trump building project in Chicago, netting himself a plum salary of $250,000 a year.

In his book "You're Hired," Rancic wrote about the fact that he was surprised to be a pubic figure after winning "The Apprentice." He claimed that he'd been focused on the business opportunity and not the chance at fame. "I wasn't conditioned to think about things like celebrity and publicity and people asking for an autograph while you're hurrying to catch a plane," he reflected. "I don't know that I'll ever get used to all the noise."

A certain E! News host interviewed him about his win

Not many couples can say that the first time they flirted with one another was captured on camera, but that's the case for Bill Rancic. He first met Giuliana DePandi at a party in 2004, but not much happened. When she interviewed him for E! News in 2005, however, it was clear from that very first on-camera interaction that they were made for one another. They both blushed throughout the interview, and DePandi even leaned in and rested her head on the "Apprentice" winner's shoulder, asking the camera, "What do you guys think? Do we make a good couple?"

It seems that Rancic certainly thought they'd be a good couple. They got dinner together after the interview and soon found themselves coordinating schedules, planning their second date months in advance. "We knew instantly. We were having dinner in Malibu and we were making plans for three, four months out," Rancic told ABC News. "That was on our first date."

Bill Rancic and Giuliana DePandi married in 2007

At the end of 2006, after a bit more than a year of dating, Bill Rancic proposed to Giuliana DePandi. He told ABC News that he orchestrated a big, grand gesture with the help of his three sisters. He hired a limo to pick DePandi up from the airport, but they pulled over about a mile away. When she got out of the limo, there he was. "I had a helicopter waiting and told her we were going to look at the Christmas lights, which Chicago is known for," he recalled. "We got up there and were drinking champagne and had Michael Bublé playing in the background, then we flew over Michigan Avenue. That's when I got down on one knee."

They married in 2007 on the island of Capri, and Giuliana DePandi became Giuliana Rancic. Bill told People that his departed father was his best man, and the ceremony was conducted by the priest whose church he used to attend as a child. "This is the real deal, so we wanted a very old school, full Catholic mass," he explained.

One famous face associated with the couple was nowhere to be seen. Donald Trump, it seems, couldn't make it to see his protégé get married. Rancic explained simply, "His schedule didn't allow it."

Bill Rancic became a reality star again in 2009

By the end of the decade, Bill and Giuliana Rancic's profiles had both grown. They were famous as individuals, but they were even more famous as a couple. Accordingly, they did what a lot of people did in the 2000s: They launched a reality show. "Giuliana & Bill" premiered in 2009 on Style, a sister network to Giuliana's home at E!

Giuliana told "Good Morning America" that the added public pressure from the reality show didn't affect their marriage the way it seemed to affect other couples who had shows. "I think the difference between us and a lot of these other couples is, from the beginning, our foundation was very strong," she said. In other words, the simple key to Bill and Giuliana's marriage is genuine love.

"Giuliana & Bill" inadvertently wound up chronicling Giuliana's experience with breast cancer, which she was open about with her fans. Giuliana has even since shared the inspiring lesson she learned from having breast cancer. According to Bill, that storyline became very influential, affecting the audience. "We can't make it through an airport without someone coming up and saying, 'Thank you. My wife finally got a mammogram,'" Bill shared. "I mean, not a day goes by where that doesn't happen."

Bill Rancic opened a restaurant in Chicago

Bill Rancic, never one content to explore only one avenue of entrepreneurship, became something new in 2012: a restaurateur. That year, he and Giuliana launched RPM Italian, a restaurant in Chicago that served Giuliana's Italian-style cooking. "Everyone knows it's the worst investment you can make, from a business perspective," Bill told City Lifestyle. Still, Giuliana was adamant about wanting to try it out, so Bill got to work and found business partners. That said, Bill emphasized that they weren't just lending their names to the project. "We're very hands-on," he said. "We go to all the tastings, we work on the marketing side and the style side."

As for the fact that the restaurant is located in Chicago, Bill told Chicago Tribune that it just felt right to launch their new venture in his hometown. "This is our home," he said. "It's where our support group is. It's where we will raise our kids and where we will retire."

The RPM Italian venture was successful enough that the couple have since launched a chain, including a location in Las Vegas that opened in 2022. Bill told Vegas Magazine that he reviews attendance reports every single morning. He insisted, "We wow and make an impression every time."

He became a father in 2012

Bill and Giuliana Rancic were able to become parents in 2012 thanks to a surrogate, a decision they made after a difficult fertility treatment journey. "Our journey has a happy ending. We didn't give up, we didn't quit and we're going to have a good ending to this," Bill told People upon the arrival of their son, Edward Duke Rancic.

The happy couple both spoke with Redbook about various facets of becoming parents. First up was the revelation that their son was named after both of their fathers; Bill's dad was Edward, while Giuliana's was named Eduardo. "If he can grow up to be as good as my father and Guiliana's father, then we'll be pretty happy," Bill gushed. He also opened up about what their IVF journey had done for them. "When I look at that little guy, he saved her life," he said. "If it wasn't for the struggles we had with IVF, we would have never found the breast cancer, so this kid is pretty darn special."

Becoming parents had another effect on their lives, too. Because of privacy concerns, their reality show "Giuliana & Bill" wound down in 2014. Giuliana told HuffPost, "Bill and I are very open. We share a lot, but it's our son. And so, until he has a say, we want to just protect him." Accordingly, there's a lot we don't know about Giuliana and Bill's son Duke.

The self-help author turned to fiction in 2016

Bill Rancic became an author early in his career when he wrote "You're Hired," a self-help memoir about his time on "The Apprentice" and his advice for entrepreneurs who wanted to follow in his footsteps. A marriage advice book called "I Do, Now What?" followed in 2010, co-written with his wife Giuliana.

In 2016, Rancic's writing career entered a new phase when he moved into the fiction space. That year, Rancic published "First Light," a romantic survival novel about a couple who are stranded after a plane crash. He told Yahoo! that he felt pressure to make sure the book was good because he knew people would be suspicious of a self-help author turning to fiction. "This book has to be better than your traditional romance novel because people are going to question it a bit more," he said.

Promoting "First Light" on Rachael Ray's cooking show "Rachael," Rancic curiously claimed that the book was based on his life with Giuliana. While they may be in love, they don't seem to have survived a plane crash, as far as fans know. He also promised that his audiences would enjoy spending time with the novel, a relatively more believable claim. "It comes with a warning," Rancic joked. "If you like romance novels, once you start this, you're not gonna be able to put it down."

Rancic supported his former boss's presidential campaign

In late 2016, the world tried to wrap their minds around the fact that Donald Trump, the former host of "The Apprentice," had been elected president of the United States. Understandably, Bill Rancic was asked about his former boss's successful campaign, and his former reality television co-star had nothing but positive things to say about the man who didn't tell him, "You're fired." 

At a leadership event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Rancic spoke with CNBC about how he felt Trump's supposed business acumen would translate to running the country. "He lifted me up. He gave me an opportunity that was absolutely spectacular, and I think he's going to do the same for all of America," Rancic predicted. Rancic also took the opportunity to praise Trump's work ethic, pointing out that the businessman had hit the campaign trail hard. "That's something that I think everyone should cherish and value ... Certainly instilling a good work ethic is something that my wife and I believe in, and we're going to do the same for our son," Rancic said.

It should be noted Rancic wasn't the only "Apprentice" alum to stump for Trump. Rancic's former co-star Omarosa Manigault Newman took a job at the Donald Trump White House, though she later turned on her former boss, turning heads with comments about what it was like to work for Trump.

Bill Rancic: App Developer

In 2018, Bill and Giuliana Rancic teamed up on a brand-new business venture: an app called Pear. The couple did a lot of press around the new app, which promised to be a "judgment-free" tool for parents looking for advice and community around the best way to raise kids. In an interview with "Good Morning America," Bill explained, "There wasn't a place where we get vetted information, we could navigate easily, and where there was a forum for parents to communicate with each other like this." The couple rounded up a team of experts to advise them on the app, including a nutritionist, a child psychologist, and a fertility doctor.

Pear launched in May 2018. "It's Game Day ... Be sure to become a VIPear to access great content and join the forum," Bill advised his followers on Instagram. The app does not seem to have been particularly successful, to put it mildly. The link is no longer live on the App Store, and the app's Instagram account hasn't been updated since November 2018, about six months after the app went up.

We're not saying Bill spread himself too thin, but advice he offered to The Chicago Tribune in 2015 might be relevant here. "So many of us try and do everything. We're know-it-alls," he said. "When the conductor tries to play every instrument, it sounds pretty bad. It's the same with the small business owner. We let our egos get in the way."

He's now a prolific public speaker

Thanks to his decades of experience in business, entrepreneurship, and reality television, Bill Rancic now spends a lot of his time as an in-demand public speaker. His website includes his public speaking client list, revealing that he's given talks to companies as varied as Capital One, Coca-Cola, and the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association. He claims to have given more than 500 such talks on topics such as "faith and future," "dental," "technology," and "work/life balance." His site also includes testimonials from people who have booked his speaking talents, including Jon Harris, senior vice president and chief communications officer at Conagra. "No matter the size of the group, Bill Rancic is the secret weapon," Harris wrote. "His poise and class is something that cannot be taught."

On "The Beyond Speaking Podcast," put on by the Premiere Speakers Bureau, Rancic offered up a plethora of advice to listeners about how to run successful businesses. "You have to be willing to do what other people are not willing to do," he said. "That means getting up earlier, staying later, putting the time in, and making the sacrifices."