The Most Exclusive Private Islands Owned by Celebrities (And How You Can Join Them)

A view from the main house on Necker Island, owned by Richard Branson
A view from the main house on Necker Island, owned by Richard Branson | © Mark Pearson / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Christopher P. Baker
1 December 2021

What’s a celebrity to do once they’ve bought a Bombardier and a Bugatti? Buy their own private island in the Caribbean, of course. Richard Branson launched the craze in 1979 when he bought Necker Island. Other billionaires, singers, and Hollywood stars have since joined him. Take a peek at the most glamorous celebrity islands, including a handful you can rent for a princely sum.

Necker Island, British Virgin Islands

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Beach facilities at Necker Island, a private island owned and rented out by Virgin Limited Edition, a company owned by Richard Branson.
© S. Hill / Alamy Stock Photo
The Balinese-themed private paradise home of Richard Branson is perhaps the world’s most famous celebrity island. The Virgin Group founder bought the rugged uninhabited isle in 1978 for a mere $120,000. He turned it into a chic island escape offering barefoot luxury for the rich and famous, drawing guests from Princess Diana and Nelson Mandela to Mariah Carey and the Obamas. Branson has even stocked the carbon-neutral property with endangered critters: flamingos strut in the shallows, while lemurs cavort in the trees. The main premises, beach house, and a fistful of gorgeous villas accommodate up to 28 guests. Necker Island normally rents exclusively, but you can book individual rooms on selected weeks of the year.

Eustatia Island, British Virgin Islands

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A view of the beach at Eustatia Island, British Virgin Islands
© S. Hill / Alamy Stock Photo
There’s a reason Virgin Gorda is known as the “billionaire’s playground.” Google co-founder Larry Page jets off to his personal Caribbean retreat, Eustatia, where he kitesurfs with his pal and neighbour, Richard Branson. Page actually wed his wife, Lucy, on Branson’s Necker Island. If you want to spend your lottery winnings on an idyllic private adventure, you can rent the solar-powered 35-acre (14ha) island, with its luxurious hilltop villa and three beachfront houses, including one with a shower built into a bat-cave. The exclusive, fully-staffed sanctuary comes with its own helipad and all the fun water toys you can dream of.

Little Halls Pond Cay, Exumas, Bahamas

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Actor Johnny Depp fell in love with the necklace of 365 isles and cays that comprise the Exumas while filming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest on Sandy Cay. So it’s no surprise that Captain Jack Sparrow bought his own private island here for a life of leisure beneath the palms. Depp’s piece of paradise has six beaches. One has a beach bar remake of that featured in The Rum Diary; Depp and actress Amber Heard married here in 2015 after they appeared in the movie. Passing yachters can’t step ashore, but that leaves 364 other idyllic Exuma cays to choose from.

Moskito Island, British Virgin Islands

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A view of the main house on Moskito Island, Caribbean
© Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo
Not content with owning just one luxury Caribbean island, billionaire Richard Branson purchased Moskito Island, off Virgin Gorda, in 2007 for £10 million. The craggy sister isle to his nearby Necker Island rises from the protected waters of North Sound, a popular haven for yachters. In January 2020, Branson unveiled his own Branson Estate, available for private buyouts through Virgin Limited Edition. Two additional, separate, and no less opulent, villa estates opened in October 2021 for individual rental. This exclusive bucket list island experience doesn’t come cheap, but daydreaming is free.

Musha Cay, Bahamas

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A view of the water and a house at Musha Cay, owned by David Copperfield
© Cedric Angeles / Alamy Stock Photo
This gorgeous reef-rimmed Bahamian island owned by illusionist David Copperfield is, errr, magical. Actually, it comprises two islands and nine tiny satellite cays, mid-way down the Exumas chain. With its own private airstrip, more than 40 talcum-fine beaches, all your wishlist watersports, and even an outdoor movie theatre, this is one of the world’s most desirable fully-staffed private island collectives. A huge hilltop mansion offers sensational 360-degree vistas, while below each of four villas nestles beside its own private beach. Feeling flush? Rent the entire complex as your exclusive island paradise for up to 24 guests. A five-night minimum costs a cool $250,000.

White Bay Cay, Bahamas

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Another Exuma gem surrounded by pink sand flats and turquoise waters, this gorgeous chunk of high-end real estate is owned by billionaire writer-actor-producer Tyler Perry. As his own 40th birthday treat, he dished out $7 million for the virginal island in 2009, then built a massive Balinese-style mansion and six guest villas for invitees only. Actor Aaron O’Connell proposed to model Natalie Pack here in an epic surprise engagement. Perry even flies his own seaplane from Nassau to his private resort, which is just northwest of Johnny Depp’s Little Halls Pond Cay.

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