John Rich Wins Celebrity Apprentice

Bests Marlee Matlin in finale.

Photography by: Heidi Gutman/NBC

John Rich is the winner of Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice, claiming victory over actress Marlee Matlin and garnering $250,000 for his charity, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, with the win.

It was the toughest Apprentice decision yet, according to The Donald, who announced the winner during a live segment on NBC Sunday night (May 22).

John became the first country star to win NBC's Celebrity Apprentice, and some wonder if that didn't have to do with a little unauthorized fundraising at the finale.

He and Marlee both held events to promote a soda company's campaign for retro products. And John solicited and received extra donations at his event, to the tune of $275,000, for his charity.

That move infuriated Marlee, who noted, correctly, that the final events weren't intended to be fundraisers. But John argued that no one should pass up a chance to raise money for charity.

“I've been pedal to the floor this entire time,” John said. “I'm not gonna leave any card in the shoe.”

The Donald said John would receive no extra credit. But he said he couldn't help but feel “deep down” that John should have an advantage.

John crowed this morning (May 23) on Twitter.

“ForTheKids!! Thank you Mr.Trump for the opportunity! 250k on its way to @stjude ! I'm blown away....love ya'll! JR” he posted.

And later: “WinnerWinner Chicken dinner! Great day 2day....holy cow....!”

In all, St. Jude's gets more than $1.3 million from this season of Celebrity Apprentice. And John got even more than that in publicity and goodwill.

Congrats to both.

John released two EPs, For the Kids, which benefits St. Jude, and Rich Rocks, on May 17.

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