10 Celebrities Who Own Private Islands
The rich may vacation at a private luxury island resort, but the really rich own the private island itself. That said, buying one doesn’t always require ponying up tens of millions of dollars — but even if you can afford it, island ownership isn’t for everyone. The logistics alone can be daunting.
“Always be careful what you wish for,” David Copperfield, who’s on the list below, once told the Hollywood Reporter about the hassles of owning a piece of paradise. “It’s like when you see Fred Astaire dance, and you say you want to dance like Fred Astaire. It looks effortless on the outside, but there are bleeding toes and sprained ankles.”
Johnny Depp: Little Hall’s Pond Cay, Bahamas
While filming the first ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie in the Bahamas, the eccentric actor became smitten with the region. So in 2004, he shelled out $3.6 million for Little Hall’s Pond Cay in the Exuma isles, a place so secluded and far-removed from the paparazzi that he nicknamed it “F— Off Island” and once offered to lend it to Lindsay Lohan.
Leonardo DiCaprio: Blackadore Cay, Belize
In 2005, the actor/environmental activist and an investor friend bought Blackadore Cay, a 104-acre island situated between mainland Belize and Ambergris Caye, not far from the world-renown beauty of the Barrier Reef. Price? A mere $1.75 million. He’s since expressed an interest in building an eco-friend luxury resort on the island that will be a “landmark example of sustainable development.”
Mel Gibson: Mago Island, Fiji
Gibson bought the massive island for $9 million in 2005, and considering what he got, it was quite a steal — at 5,400 acres, it’s one of the largest privately-owned islands in the South Pacific. And environmentalists need not worry he’ll spoil its beauty, because Mel said that aside from building a modest home, he’ll leave the rest of the island alone.
Faith Hill + Tim McGraw: Goat Cay, Bahamas
No one’s quite sure when the married country superstars bought their 17-acre paradise or how much they paid for it, but the couple is reportedly in the final stages of construction on a 15,000 square-foot home there that “will have a lookout tower and be flanked by three smaller homes for a manager and staff.”
John Lennon: Dorinish Island, Ireland
Lennon bought the 19-acre Dorinish Island for just $2,600 in 1967, intending to use it as a vacation retreat (and, we’re guessing, Beatlemania repellent). That never really happened, though, and it eventually became a de facto hippie commune. Yoko Ono sold the island after Lennon’s death and donated the money to an Irish children’s charity, and in 2012, Dorinish hit the market again.
Eddie Murphy: Rooster Cay, Bahamas
Eddie’s been called Hollywood’s most overpaid actor, and back in 2007, he spent $15 million of those allegedly undeserved riches on his own 15.4 acre private island near Nassau. No word on whether he’s keeping it for private use or plans a resort development.
Celine Dion: Ile Gagnon, Quebec
The Canada-born diva’s private island retreat (located near Montreal in Quebec’s Mille Iles River) isn’t tropical, but the enormous French Normand-style chateau she had built there in 2001 is probably just as relaxing. Regardless, Celine’s been consolidating her real estate as of late, so she put the island and the mansion on the market last year for $29.3 million. And everything in the house was included.
Ricky Martin: Unknown Island in Angra dos Reis, Brazil
Purchased in 2008 for $8 million, the exact island on which Ricky’s livin’ la vida loca has stayed a secret for privacy reasons, but it’s reportedly in the stylish resort region of Angra dos Reis off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. The area’s known for its wealthy and beautiful visitors — and if they look especially refreshed after a vacation, maybe it’s because one of the nearby islands is home to a plastic surgery center.
Richard Branson: Necker Island, British Virgin Islands
The hilariously self-deprecating Virgin Group mogul bought 74-acre Necker for about $290 million in 1979, and spent another $10 million on a private resort that’s since served as a bit of a playground to the rich and famous. A lightning strike caused a catastrophic fire in 2011, but the damage has now been repaired — and Necker is back in business. (It was that fire, by the way, that led to Kate Winslet becoming Richard’s niece.)
David Copperfield: Musha Cay, Bahamas
The famed illusionist didn’t just buy one island in 2006 — he bought all 11 small islets that make up Musha Cay for about $50 million. And then he dropped $30 million more building a 700-acre resort where he can “create magic in three dimensions,” and where guests who pay $265,000 a week (!) are part of a “living movie” including dozens of actors and illusionists who’ve been imported to play pirates. And that’s just the beginning.