No Trespassing! 16 Celebs Who've Owned Private Islands
Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio and more stars are the proud owners of private oases
Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
The Nashville couple took to Goat Cay near the Turks and Caicos islands in 2003, building a 15,000-square-foot vacation retreat, complete with lookout tower. Maintained exclusively for vacations with friends (they famously loaned it out to Gwyneth Paltrow/Chris Martin for their post-split 2014 holiday) they've kept it pretty much off the grid. Showing the place off to Architectural Digest in 2017, however, revealed their shared passion for cliff diving.
In 2020, news broke that the pair were selling the property — reportedly for a cool $35 million.
The Revenant star purchased the 104-acre Blackadore Caye island off the Belize coast in 2005 with plans to create a "wellness-focused, luxury eco-resort." After several setbacks and construction delays, building permissions were finally issued and developers were working on plans that called for 36 resort bungalows and estate villas fully integrated into the landscape, with circadian lighting and solar panels, according to Bloomberg.
In 2006, the master illusionist bought a group of 11 islands in the Bahamas around Musha Cay for $50 million, according to Forbes. Then with another $30 million — and appropriate sleight of hand — he turned the whole area into "The Islands of Copperfield Bay," an ultra-luxe resort described as "one part Casino Royale, two parts Blue Lagoon."
Just 90 minutes from Miami, Musha Cay provides an ultra-private getaway for anyone who can afford the magical fee of $42,000 per night for up to 12 guests (with prices rising per person up to 24 guests) to stay in one of its five main island homes — although only one group can rent the island at a time, a representative for the property told PEOPLE.
When they’re not sleeping, guests get to enjoy 40 private beaches, an outdoor theater, a speedboat, gym, tennis courts, team illusions and other adventures. Those to have made the journey include Oprah Winfrey, Bill and Melinda Gates, Jim Carrey and John Travolta, while Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem — as well as Google founder Sergey Brin — have held weddings there.
Redesigned and reopened with the involvement of Brando's children in 2014, it has become an extreme and costly destination for a highly-select band of guests looking for privacy, pristine beaches and a weekly evening mixer. (It was during one of these that Monaco's Princess Charlene found her children dancing one summer with Lady Gaga).
There are also two haute cuisine restaurants overseen by Parisian chef Guy Martin, who told PEOPLE “there is no other place like it anywhere else on Earth.”
The resort is currently closed due to COVID-19.
Depp fell in love with the Bahamas while filming Pirates of the Caribbean in 2004, and his Little Hall Pond Cay is the personification of a celebrity perk: 45-acres of dunes, a palm-lined lagoon and secluded white sand. The beaches are named after family members, as well as journalist Hunter S. Thompson and Marlon Brando, in honor of the actor Depp claims instructed him in how to buy an island.
He reportedly paid $3.6 million for it in 2004, according to Forbes.
Depp also hosted a wedding weekend here, celebrating his February 2015 marriage to now-ex Amber Heard.
Clooney and wife Amal set up in the leafy surroundings of south Oxfordshire in 2014, purchasing a large private island on the River Thames (which runs through London further downstream) for a reported 10 million GBP, according to Architectural Digest.
The Clooneys have since extensively remodeled the existing 17th-century mansion to include an indoor pool, home cinema, glass house, and private boathouse — plus, a nursery for twins Alexander and Ella.
Perry purchased the 25-acre White Bay Cay – plus an adjacent 7-acre island — in 2009, telling PEOPLE the purchase was a birthday present to himself. The larger island was listed for a combined $7 million, according to the Wall Street Journal, but a final sale price is unknown.
The filmmaker took flying lessons so he could take his private plane to the island, which he has since appointed with Balinese style villa and bungalows.
Shortly after releasing the successful 2004 film Passion of the Christ, Gibson bought the island of Mago from a Japanese corporation for $15 million, reports the L.A. Times. One of the world's largest private islands, according to the Telegraph, Mago offers 5,400 acres of volcanic paradise. "Mago rises majestically to 670 feet on its eastern cliffs and is fringed entirely by protective reefs, powder white beaches and turquoise lagoons,” reads the sale's original offering.
Gibson once reportedly let a group of backpackers pass through to use his private airstrip.
In 2008, Ricky Martin purchased Ilha do Maia — a 19.7 acre stretch of coastline near the stylish Brazilian resort district of Angra dos Reis, PEOPLE en Español reports, citing Mexican newspaper El Universal.
The region, two hours from Rio, is renowned as a marine conservation district, yet Martin's island has more of a fortress-like appearance thanks to the presence of 12 cannons and watchtowers, plus a large Portuguese colonial-style villa (complete with large party room). The "Livin' La Vida Loca" singer has principally used the island as a holiday location.
Some people just have a passion for islands, it seems. Two-time Oscar winner Gene Hackman owned 2.3-acre Fawn's Island in the straits between Canada and Washington State, according to Curbed Seattle. Not content with that, Hackman sold off the San Juan chain timberline in 2008 for $3.6 million, reportedly using his windfall to purchase a larger, even more remote island in British Columbia.
The survival expert installed on St. Tudwal West island off Wales' Llyn Peninsula in 2001, eventually paying 95,000 GBP for the 30-acre rock, according to the Telegraph. The location is famous for its wildlife (grey seals, otters and dolphins are common visitors), signature lighthouse cottage and wild, dramatic coastline.
Yet it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the ex-SAS trooper: he ran afoul of his neighbors in 2015 when he installed a metal slide on the side of a cliff, the outlet reported.
The musical combo of Colombian pop star Shakira and Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters may strike as an unusual collaboration, yet the pair purchased Bonds Cay in the Bahamas' northern Berry District for a reported $16 million, according to Coastal Living.
The 700-acre island, roughly an hour’s flight from Miami, has five white sand beaches, three salt pond lakes — and lots of potential. It was previously developed as a hotel property.
Francis Ford Coppola
The Godfather director and his family operate six wonderfully remote hideaways around the world; They have three in Central America, including Turtle Inn, a jungle getaway-from-resorts-type resort on Belize's coast.
And, as if that location wasn't already Robinson Crusoe enough, several years ago, he began ferrying guests to Coral Caye: his own private 2-acre, three-dwelling islet. A 25-minute boat ride from Turtle Inn, it's ideal for snorkeling or hammocked siestas, accommodating up to 12, with arranged massage and butler services available from the lodge for the truly world-weary.
Princess Caroline's daughter-in-law arrived with an unusual dowry when she married Pierre Casiraghi in 2015: a set of five private islands bearing her name. Owned by her family since the 17th century, the Borromeo islands — which hosted the couple's celebrity wedding— feature several palazzos, terraced gardens, Renaissance structures, private chapels, a convent-fortress and extreme privacy.