From Amanda Seyfried’s taxidermied miniature horse (huh?) to Flavor Flav’s statue of O.J. Simpson (why?), our favorite celebrities never fail to find creative ways to splurge. But you know, if Tom Cruise’s ultrasound machine (…okay) isn’t your thing, perhaps your style of strange is Marilyn Monroe’s x-rays, complete with medical history… Not that we’re judging, but, uh, what? Maybe try spending your millions on a private jet like the rest of us. Just a thought.
The bizarre factor begs the question: was an ounce of thought put into these purchases or were they impulse buys? You know, like when M&Ms 2-for-1 beckons you in the checkout line at the grocery store. (Celebrity or not, there is no stronger compulsion than that of humans to peanuts wrapped in creamy milk chocolate hard shells.) Look, we get it—money talks. Just ask reality show hero Spencer Pratt. "We made and spent at least 10 million dollars," he told OK! magazine in 2013 (via SFGate). "The thing is, we heard that the planet was going to end in 2012. We thought, we have got to spend this money before the asteroid hits!" God bless him.
Ready to get into some of the unique ways the rich and famous have spent their cash? Let’s make like Scrooge McDuck and dive in.
Mike Tyson became the proud owner of three tigers
It’s tough to be a professional boxer with zookeeper ambitions. No one knows that better than Mike Tyson. During his prison stint in the ’90s, Tyson had a conversation that ultimately resulted in three Bengal tigers. And according to The Telegraph, this wild purchase apparently set him back $70,000 apiece.
Tyson explained on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast that his car dealer planned on trading in some of his cars for horses. Immediately intrigued, Tyson wanted in on the deal. "I had a lot of cars, I probably should get some horses too." But why stop at horses when you could get cougars, lions, or tigers? "I said, ‘Dude, can you get me some tigers?’" Tyson recalled asking his car dealer, who went on to assure his client he’d take care of it. "And when I came home I had those cubs right there waiting for me," Tyson said.
In an Instagram Live chat (via YouTube), the heavyweight champion told Fat Joe he treated the tigers just like normal pets: "I loved them. I used to sleep with them." Well, not everyone was met and spared by Tyson’s cats. The sports superstar revealed that one of his neighbors jumped over his fence, and, uh… "a bad accident" happened. "You can’t believe what they can do to a person’s flesh…I was foolish then," Tyson said. "There’s no way you’ll domesticate these cats 100 percent … They kill you by accident … They’re too strong." Tyson no longer has the tigers as pets.
Lady Gaga bought some ghost-hunting equipment
Lady Gaga is no stranger to buying weird things or getting into weird things. From the jump, she made it her M.O. to prance around in claws, jackets made of Kermit the Frogs, confusing and often spiked headgear, and raw meats. Who doesn’t? Gaga even refers to herself as Mother Monster to her "Little Monsters" fanbase. Neat.
How does whimsically gothic Gaga spend her riches? To relieve her paranormal angst, of course! After all, when Harper’s Bazaar asked Gaga if she believed in ghosts, she replied, "Yes. I have many old souls around me all the time." According to The Mirror, Gaga apparently spent a few thousand dollars on electromagnetic field sweepers and other equipment to remove "evil spirits" and "bad energy" before her 2010 Monster’s Ball concert in London. Evidently, Gaga bought the off-brand version because, as the Daily Star reported in November 2010, she supposedly felt a ghost named "Ryan" stuck around.
Will someone inform Ryan that Gaga already has plans with Alexander McQueen’s ghost? Gaga told Harper’s Bazaar (via Marie Claire) that she believes McQueen is in heaven communicating songs to her. "I didn’t even write the f***ing song ["Born This Way"]," she said. "He did!" Gaga again admitted consulting her mystical beings for musical inspiration to Apple Music’s Zane Lowe. "Okay, I’m gonna open the portal, I’m gonna listen, I’m gonna talk to all my fairies," she said. "All the fairies that help me write music and I’m gonna ask them what the world needs to hear." Same.
Madonna spent a lot of money on blessed water
Over the years, we’ve seen many different versions of pop music legend Madonna, as she has mastered the art of reinventing herself. "That’s me. Resilience and reinvention. And that’s how we keep going," the singer told Kim Kardashian during an event for MDNA SKIN. And whew, she sure has bought some interesting stuff throughout her different eras.
Who could forget the Material Girl’s mid-’00s Kabbalah phase? "It’s a belief system. It’s incredibly scientific and, as I said, it predates religion.” Madonna said to Larry King of the faith. When asked how she discovered the religious group, she said, "I was looking for the answers to life…What am I doing here? What is my purpose?….I heard about these classes they were teaching. I heard they were very scientific in nature."
Well, according to In Touch Weekly (via Today), Madonna reportedly racked up a monthly bill of $10,000 on… water. Specifically, blessed bottled Kabbalah water. Each bottle cost $5 a piece, and apparently, she couldn’t get enough of the stuff. So much so, that she, according to The Mirror, apparently wanted to fill her pool with it. Alas, as the outlet goes on to state, then-estranged husband Guy Richie pumped the brakes on that plan. It’s a shame because MTV Cribs would’ve had a field day.
Johnny Depp shelled out millions to fire off an author’s ashes
We know him as Captain Jack Sparrow, Willy Wonka, Edward Scissorhands, and the Mad Hatter; Tim Burton mainstay Johnny Depp is a master at bringing the wacky to life. As he said of his roles on CBS This Morning, "It’s an exploration of the outside or…what’s considered the outsider or the underdog or the damaged you know, those are the things that I find interesting."
In any case, Depp makes some rather… interesting real-life decisions in the economics department as well. To put it bluntly, he has made some bonkers purchases. For starters, a source told The Hollywood Reporter that Depp purchased a "$400,000 diamond cuff" on a whim. Chump change. "It’s my money," Depp told The Wall Street Journal. "If I want to buy 15,000 cotton balls a day, it’s my thing." What’d you expect—for Hollywood’s most rebellious misfit to walk around with all the basic swagger of your cousin, Connor? Guess again.
Depp’s shopping narrative proves to be one of ultra opulence, through and through. Like the time he told Rolling Stone he dropped a cute $5 million to launch Hunter S. Thompson‘s ashes into the sky. As one does. Oh, and let’s not forget that he also apparently forks over a boatload on vino. "It’s insulting to say that I spent $30,000 on wine," Depp told Rolling Stone. "Because it’s far more."
Oprah Winfrey bought a bathtub that hugs her back
There is no purer, more glorious union than Oprah Winfrey and her bathtub. What’d you expect—for her to give away all those cars and not get something for herself? Please. Winfrey stands for opulence and we’ll have her no other way! And you better believe she bought the finest of bathtubs that money can buy.
"You could get a couple in there. However, it was carved to the shape of my body," the bath connoisseur explained the dynamics of her prized possession on a 2018 episode of The Late Late Show. She also revealed the "hand-carved tub" is made out of "marble and onyx."
Winfrey’s been serious about tubbing for a while. She told Vogue, "I major in bathtubs. I spend my time looking for the best possible bathtub a woman can buy." Like finding love for the first time, Winfrey continued to gush about her fondness to Harper’s Bazaar: "I love creating bathing experiences—bath gels, bubbles, crystals, salts, lavender milks," she said. "I go waaaay prune. I’ve gone to sleep." Clearly, Winfrey knows a thing or two about having fun in the suds. As she said on the aforementioned episode of The Late Late Show, "Bathing is my hobby."
Kanye West paid thousands for Whitney Houston’s bathroom photo
Remember when Kanye West bought Whitney Houston’s alarming drug phase bathroom photo, because, you know, art? As Pusha-T told Entertainment Weekly, West dropped a chill $85 grand to license the image because it "match[ed] the energy of [Pusha-T’s DAYTONA] album." Nine out of ten financial advisors are crying over this weird and macabre money move.
"[West] definitely makes me nervous," Pusha shared on The Angie Martinez Show. "He changed my artwork last night at 1 a.m. ’cause he wasn’t feeling it." Hate it when that happens. "I said, ‘Hey, I don’t want to pay for that,’" Pusha recalled. "’No, this is what people need to see to go along with this music. I’mma pay for that,’" Pusha quoted West as saying.
West is no stranger to tossing money around. In The World According To Kanye (via Money), the Yeezy founder detailed his frivolous ways. "One of my courses was piano," he wrote. "I actually went to college to learn how to play piano. Talk about wastin’ some money." That said, West will have you know that he can afford it. "It’s not a billion," West texted Forbes after they published his earnings in 2019. "It’s $3.3 billion since no one at Forbes knows how to count," he wrote. Alright, settle down, Wolf of Wall Street.
Paris Hilton dropped dough for a dog mansion
There are so many important pop culture moments brought to us by Paris "That’s Hot" Hilton. Since the early ’00s, we’ve watched the socialite drift from Hollywood party to farm life decked in bedazzled toddler pageant dresses, sandwiched between shopping bags and Greek shipping heirs. Accompanying the reality TV personality through the pools of black eyeliner and DJ booths was her miniature sidekick, Tinkerbell (RIP), a teacup chihuahua that got a backstage pass to all the drama. All these years later, Hilton continues to bring the glam and bring home the dogs— and her dogs sure do reap the benefits of one of her most noteworthy purchases. Her four-legged friends kick up their paws in quite the pad.
In 2017, Hilton shared some snapshots of her pooches’ abode on Twitter, writing, "My dogs live in this two-story doggy mansion that has air conditioning, heating, designer furniture, and a chandelier. Loves it." The interior boasts bubblegum pink walls with black crown molding, the exterior has a balcony, and yes, it’ll have you saying "That’s paw-t." (Sorry.) "It’s like a replica of my house but obviously smaller," Hilton said on LIVE with Kelly and Ryan. "I don’t have kids yet so basically I spoil them like they’re my children." And wow, does she spoil ’em: In 2009, she told Life & Style Weekly (via Curbed) that the doghouse set her back $325,000.
Where can you waste full Sunday afternoons learning more about her menagerie? Why on the Hilton Pets Instagram account, of course! Thank goodness for that.
Kylie Jenner paid to create an amusement park—twice
Love her or hate her, Kylie Jenner is a mega-boss on more levels than one. "I make my own money and start my own businesses, and I feel like I’m an inspiration for a lot of young girls who want to stand on their own," Jenner told Glamour. Perhaps she was distracted by counting her piles of cash, but Jenner also told the outlet that she’s not a big spender. "I don’t really like splurging — unless it’s on cars." We see you, and you are being heard!
Well, her party bills say otherwise, as she’s no stranger to forking over a staggering amount of cash for a birthday celebration. As the Daily Mail noted, when Stormi Webster turned one, her mom shelled out some of "her make-up millions on incredible 1st birthday bash for her daughter." Jenner went full Walt Disney and built an amusement park. According to the Daily Mail, "Stormi World was inspired by [Travis Scott’s] love for Houston’s Six Flags AstroWorld." The theme park featured carnival rides, moving cakes, a live performance by Baby Shark, and Chanel gifts.
Jenner brought StormiWorld back for her daughter’s second birthday, apparently dropping around $100,000 for the festivities, according to the Daily Mail. "Such a blessing to be able to create these magical experiences for my baby," Jenner said via Instagram. No word on why Jenner embraced a sparkling spacesuit aesthetic for the event.
George Lucas spends his cash on a brigade of firemen
Everyone loves firefighters. But maybe no one more than Star Wars creator George Lucas, who shelled out some dough to bring in a whole team of firefighters to serve Skywalker Ranch. As the Marin Independent Journal noted, the enormous property "has its own fire brigade of trained firefighters." Now just what sort of pyro-centric experiments are going on up there?
"Having a peaceful environment is very important to the creative process," Lucas told Star Tribune. A peaceful and costly environment, that is. According to Business Insider, "Lucas has spent $100 million developing the property since 1978." In addition to hosting the filmmaker’s studio, Architectural Digest writes that the grounds feature "a bed-and-breakfast guest complex … three restaurants, a health club with yoga and Pilates classes, a seven-acre olive grove, a 35-seat theater, an organic garden" and a bunch of animals. Understandably, Lucas is serious about keeping the place safe.
As the Marin Independent Journal reported, a fire did break out at the ranch in 2013, and thanks to the firefighters, no one was hurt and only about "$25,000 of damage was recorded." And when the Skywalker Ranch firefighters aren’t busy keeping flames at bay? According to the Los Angeles Times, they "have played hoops with Salma Hayek and volleyball with Seth Green."
Kim Basinger went and bought herself a town
In 2017, Academy Award-winning actor and Georgia native Kim Basinger told the Georgian Journal that she spends much of her time by the beaches of Southern California. But in 1989, the Georgia native made a surprising purchase when she took her $20 million and bought herself town on the other side of the country. "I’m Big Daddy now. I mean, I’m Big Mama. I just bought me a town," she said in Vanity Fair. As The New York Times reported, Basinger acquired Braselton, Georgia, a town with a population of 500 at the time. So, what sparked this decision? "She has a real good business head and is always doing something unexpected,” Basinger’s mother told The New York Times.
Basinger intended to turn Braselton’s 2,000-acre farmland into a tourist attraction, with, as Vanity Fair wrote, "[t]ours, movie-studio facilities, postcards." As she joked to the outlet, "I want to go public with Braselton. See, I want it to be like Dollywood. What do you think of the name Kimwood?"
Thing is, the project seemed to collect dust, and this money move didn’t exactly work out for Basinger. When asked for updates on the venture, Basinger’s brother and investor told the Chicago Tribune, "Maybe we will, maybe we won’t. Hell, I don’t know." After filing for bankruptcy in 1993, Basinger gave up her dream and the land. Some outlets, such as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, indicate she sold it for $4.3 million; others, like, InvestmentNews, have the price tag at just $1 million.
Arnold Schwarzenegger mobs around in a military tank
It’s pretty clear that for Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mr. Universe 1995, bigger is better. Typical Leo. So it’s no surprise that Schwarzenegger mobs around in a military vehicle. Yes, the superstar literally shelled out money for a tank. Hey, can you really imagine all of the Terminator stepping in and out of a Prius? Negative.
As CNBC noted, the bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-California governor paid $20,000 to ship the very tank he operated during his time in the military to the United States. "I asked the Austrian Army if I could have it back," he said on The Tonight Show. "I had to get permission from the American Pentagon and from the military." According to Collider, Schwarzenegger originally planned to use the tank "as part of a plan to build a Las Vegas-based Planet Hollywood with a theme of military vehicles used in the movies." Huh, wonder why that never panned out.
On a 2018 episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, Schwarzenegger gave a tour of the 50-ton beast. As CNBC noted, the tank is "equipped with an 810-horsepower Chrysler V12 twin turbo gas engine," but that didn’t stop Schwarzenegger from calling it "a great toy" in the aforementioned The Tonight Show interview. Clearly, these hot wheels are nothing like what little Chad has in the sandbox. However, that’s not to say Schwarzenegger doesn’t share this toy. "I bring kids out here from the after-school programs," he told Jay Leno. "When they stay in school their reward is to come out here and drive tanks with me."
Celine Dion built a backyard water park
Our hearts will go on and on for Canada’s best-selling recording artist, Celine Dion, who brought us the legendary love anthem and theme song to James Cameron’s Titanic. Maybe you’ve heard of it? It was so massive that it poured riches into Dion’s pockets… and 3,000 pairs of shoes into her closet. "My fans bought me this house. They bought my records," the singer told Vanity Fair in 2011. "I was very fortunate."
Dion’s made a ton of money over her career, and with that cash, she bought a bonkers backyard. Apparently, Dion found herself with the same everyday annoyance we encounter: sharing water parks with strangers is just so pedestrian. So, she had a "460,000-gallon dream come true" built, according to Secret Lives of the Super Rich. The host of the series goes on to note that the "aquatic paradise" features "two slides that spill into a flowing river," plus "beaches designed for sand-free sunbathing." Yeah, this isn’t your dad’s lake house. Of course, Dion wasn’t going to have a water park without a pool-house gazebo, a fire-pit lounge built into the pool, and a beachfront cabana designed as a massage lounge. "Some people do drugs and go out every weekend, I built a water park," Dion said on The Jonathan Ross Show. Noted!
In 2017, the Palm Beach Daily News reported Dion sold her South Florida water park, er, home for a cool $28 million.