Since Jackie Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis got married on his private Greek island, Skorpios, in the 1960s, the über wealthy of the celebrity world have been afflicted with “fiefdom syndrome.” While the recent purchase of most of Hawaii’s island of Lanai doesn’t exactly give Oracle’s Larry Ellison feudal lord status, it does put him among the one-percenters who find owning an island a cool way to exhibit their wealth and status.
Not all island-owning celebrities are showing off; sometimes the island life is the only way to protect the rich and famous from the prying eyes of the public. Ever digging the dirt on celebrity excess, RealEstate.com brings you a list of islands in the celebrity stream.
Larry EllisonPicture by latimes.com
The question on the minds of many right now is: Will the 36-billion-dollar-man, Larry Ellison, change the name of the Hawaiian island he is purchasing to Ellison Island? Local Lanai residents barely know who he is, and, according to interviews by a Honolulu TV station, they hope he has a “good personality,” and that he keeps the island’s feeling of ohana (family) intact.
Ellison, America’s third richest person, according to Forbes, isn’t saying how much he spent for his 88,000-acre slice of paradise that includes two golf courses, two resorts and various other buildings.
Forbes goes on to say, however, that if he paid the asking price of $600 million, he snagged the island for sixteen cents a square foot. The magazine also mentions that, although $600 million is an obscene amount of money to most of us, paying that amount for the purchase of a Hawaiian island is comparable to someone worth $1 million“buying a used Chevy Impala.”
Or, Forbes says, another way to put the purchase in perspective: Consider that a penthouse is Manhattan sells for more than $13,000 per square foot. This makes the purchase of Lanai look downright affordable.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
While celebs such as Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan own luxury retreats in the Bahamas, country music’s first couple, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill own an island, Goat Cay, complete with sandy beaches and a recently-built 15,000 square foot estate.
Famous island-owning neighbors in this same Bahamian chain include Johnny Depp, Tyler Perry and David Copperfield.
So, is Johnny or his soon to be ex-wife Vanessa Paradise going to get Little Hall’s Pond Cay in the divorce? It seems only fitting that the Caribbean pirate take the bounty. After all, he did shell out over $3.5 million for the island back in 2004, according to Private Islands magazine.
The 35-acre, mile-long island is run completely on solar power. It contains a private harbor for Depp’s yacht and boasts six sandy beaches, one of them called “Heath’s Place,” named after Depp’s pal Heath Ledger.
He may have a potty mouth, but Mel Gibson knows a good deal when he sees one. The proud owner of Mago Island in Fiji’s Lau Group, Gibson spent a mere $9 million for his slice of South Pacific paradise, in 2005. A “deal” you say? The island contains 5,400 acres, making it, according to Private Islands magazine, the size of a small country.
Now this “small country” has its own bowling alley, as Gibson had one shipped in, according to ABC News.
While so many celebs choose trophy wives, David Copperfield, having been down that road, now owns a trophy island, Musha Cay. With 150 idyllic acres, there’s plenty of room for the magician and his resort’s guests, such as John Travolta, who pay $325,000 a week to rest and recuperate.
Your first challenge when telling your friends about Celine Dion’s ivy-covered stone manse is pronouncing its name: Ile Gagnon. Located in the middle of the Mille Iles River, Ile Gagnon went on the market last month and you can feast your eyes on all 24,000 square feet of it by checking out the YouTube video, provided by Sotheby’s.
The French Normandy Chateau-inspired estate is completely fenced from the eyes of curious fans and guard-gated for extra security. It is being offered, fully furnished, at $29,655,500, making it the most expensive listing to ever hit the Quebec housing market, according to The National Post.
Richard Branson, the epitome of “go big or go home,” owns not one but several private islands, spread around the world. Most celebrity watchers know about Necker Island, located in the British Virgin Islands. He also owns another chunk of BVI land, Moskito Island, where it was announced last year that he plans to release 30 ringtail lemurs into the island’s rainforest with an eye toward preserving the species.
Another of the billionaire’s island holdings is Makepeace Island in Australia’s Noosa River. The 25-acre heart-shaped island features an exclusive Balinese-style hideaway for up to 22 guests, with every imaginable amenity. Available only as an entire-island rental, plan on paying $2,800 to $4,050 per day (depending on season) plus an additional $890 per day guest charge.
Thinking of buying your own private island? Believe it or not, there are real estate agents who specialize in listing and selling islands. Right now, for instance, you can pick up a lighthouse island in Maine, Ireland’s 18-acre Sandycove – which, for ecological reasons, can’t be developed – or Big Darby Island in the Bahamas’ Exuma Cays, just a quick skiff ride to David Copperfield’s place.
Now that you’ve got your eye on one, what would you do with your own private island?