With the world at their feet, what do the globe’s richest splash their cash on?
Elvis once bought a ranch and then horses, saddles, leather chaps and hats for himself and all his entourage just so that he could play at being a cowboy for a bit, while the bar stools on Aristotle Onassis’ yacht were covered in whale foreskin. Yup, life on planet fame can lead to some pretty peculiar purchases. So what of the latest generation and their most outlandish acts of ostentation? Read on.
Sheikh this! (Sultan of Brunei)
What kind of man pays RMB12.6 million to his badminton coach? The Sultan of Brunei, of course, he of a 1,788 room mansion, RMB137 billion Boeing 747 replete with gold plated furniture and a fleet of 5,000 luxury cars, including 500 Rolls-Royces (during the 1990s, his family accounted for half of all Rolls-Royce purchases) and a racing car driven by every Formula 1 World Drivers Champion since the 1980 Formula One season. With the riches of a 600-year-old Muslim dynasty behind him, his notorious spending sprees dwarf those of anybody else on Earth – he once blew RMB20 billion in a month. And all this from the ruler of an area smaller than the municipality of Shanghai.
Transatlantic takeaway (Beyonce Knowles)
We’re all partial to a cheeky donor kebab after a night out, but judging from the lengths she took to get a takeaway, pop diva Beyonce Knowles’ curry cravings know no bounds. At a New York party in 2004 she ordered a meal from an Indian restaurant in rural Surrey, England. The meal was then flown 4,820 km by helicopter and plane, before reaching its destination. And all for the princely sum of RMB40,000.
Konvict diamonds (Akon)
In the battle of the bling that dominates the world of hip-hop, R&B crooner Akon dazzled the competition in 2007 when he bought a diamond mine in South Africa. But the purchase coincided with the release of Blood Diamond, the Oscar-nominated film portraying the diamond trade as brutal and deadly, leaving Akon in a spot of bother.
The dog house (Paris Hilton)
It’s no secret the Hilton-heiress likes slobbering on a meaty bone, but showering her canine entourage with imitation brands like ‘Chewy Vuitton’? Clearly somebody needs to be put on a leash… In 2009 she even built a RMB2.2 million, two-floor, 300 square foot property to house her nine-strong pack of pooches who, with names such as Tinkerbelle and Prince Baby Bear, get to enjoy crystal chandeliers and fully-furnished wardrobes. We all know she’s into doggy-style, but that takes the biscuit.
Rich bitch (Leona Helmsley)
While we’re on the subject of filthy rich fleabags, when billionaire real estate mogul and hotelier Leona ‘Queen of Mean’ Helmsley conked it she left two of her grandkids absolutely nothing, but her Maltese mutt, oh… US$12 million. Nine-year-old Trouble now lives in Florida with an annual fee of US$100,000 for full-time security, US$8,000 for grooming and US$1,200 for food, while her guardian gets US$60,000. World’s wealthiest dog? Nope – in 1991, a German countess left the entirety of her $80 million estate to her German Shepherd. Barking mad.
Eclipsing the rest (Roman Abramovich)
Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich now has a new floating fortress. With an alleged RMB7.3 billion price tag, his 540 ft long über-yacht ‘Eclipse’ boasts two helipads, two swimming pools and a disco. It’s also armor plated and fitted with bullet-proof glass, a missile defense system and an anti-paparazzi shield in the form of lasers that sweep the surroundings and fire a bolt of light right at any camera they detect to obliterate any photograph taken of it.
Water of Life (Madonna)
As Mel Gibson and the Hoff will gladly tell you, there’s nothing wrong with splashing some cash on a drink or 22. Questions arise, however, when the drink is bottled water and the amount splashed is RMB70,000 a month. In 2008 the world learned of pop queen Madonna’s drinking problem, where she insists on shipping crates of ‘specially-blessed’ Kabbalah water to wherever she is staying on the globe. The holy H2O is being touted as her age-defying secret; we still think it’s the bone marrow of African babies.
Ghetto Bond (Puff Daddy)
“The name’s Bond, James Bond muthaf***a!” Nope, we can’t hear it working either, but professional plonker P-Diddy thought it had a ring to it. Spurred on by his cameo role in CSI Miami, he flew out to the south of France in 2008 and spent RMB5 million making an audition tape to become the first ‘black Bond’? So much for his self-proclaimed title of ‘Bad Boy for Life.’ Can’t argue with his choice of Bond girls, mind…