Surprisingly, the rich and famous tend to have very ordinary hobbies and interests, many of them shared by you and me.
Although there is a sprinkling of weird or odd, generally they tend to follow what we mere mortals would consider as “normal”.
Wealth X, a company that conducts research on the ultra-wealthy, recently released its The Wealth-X Billionaire Census 2017, exploring the trends and habits of the world’s richest people. It also explored their passions, interests, and hobbies, providing insight as to how the super wealthy spend their free time.
By far the most popular hobby is philanthropy, with more than half of all billionaires pursuing charitable activities.
Here are the top 5 hobbies and interests and the percentage of billionaires who participate in each:
Others that got into the top 10 include wine and spirits (16%), boating (15%), health and exercise (15%), automobiles (14.5%), collectables (14%).
Hobbies of Celebrities
Forbes list of the top celebrities is frequently published but what most of us don’t know is what celebs get up to in their spare time and I am not referring to the more scandalous past times.
Nicolas Cage (Superman)
Cage not only has a ton of collectables from the comic book and movie series, he even named his son Kal-El, which is Superman’s real name.
Tom Hanks (Vintage Manual Typewriters)
As an avid collector of vintage manual typewriters, Hanks enjoys recording some of his most intimate thoughts and observations on the old school machines. In fact, Hanks actually launched an iPhone app that allows people to type the same way a typewriter does only using their phones, it’s named, Hanx Writer!
David Arquette (Knitting)
While Arquette as a professional wrestler may seem bizarre, he has an even stranger hobby: knitting! Taught by his grandmother at an early age, Arquette is proud of his skills and even appeared on the cover of “Celebrity Scarves 2: Hollywood Knits for Breast Cancer Research.”
Apple co founder Steve Wozniak
Wozniak plays polo — on a Segway. Even off the polo field, Wozniak enjoys using his Segway as his primary means of transportation.
Johnny Depp (Barbie Dolls)
Depp began collecting dolls to help himself get into characters, not sure how.
Taylor Swift (Snow Globes)
The bubbly and energetic singer enjoys getting together with friends to make the collectable trinkets to give away as Christmas gifts.
Paris Hilton (Frog Hunting)
Hilton promises that she doesn’t kill the frogs but, instead, runs around and catches them by hand only to put them in a bucket to watch. After losing interest (which shouldn’t take long), she sets them free only to chase them again.
Simon Cowell (Climbing Trees)
Cowell says that it’s a great form of exercise and that his children often climb with him, but others claim the hobby goes all the way back to Cowell’s childhood when he was bullied and could only escape by climbing the nearest tree. Apparently, he also takes a spot of time off to spy on his neighbours. Weird!
Philanthropy, Acting, Broadway Producer, Reading, Political Fundraising. Television host Oprah is, according to some, the most influential woman in the world and if so where does she find the time for hobbies?
Tiger Woods – Diving, Spear fishing and Physical Fitness
Mr Woods is a well-travelled diver, diving and spear fishing all around the world.
Angelina Jolie – Tattoos, People Watching, Dagger Collecting.
Surprise, surprise! In 2008, Jolie told W Magazine that her mom introduced her to daggers when she was a kid, and that she hopes to pass this hobby on to her son, Maddox. She says the knife blades she gives him are dulled so he can’t hurt himself, and that their dagger purchases are always “accompanied by discussions about violence.”
Beyonce Knowles – Shopping, Swimming, Reading, Dancing
Swimming, dancing–and of course shopping! Body and brains?
Billionaire Warren Buffett
Buffett’s been playing the ukulele for decades, He even once played a duet with Jon Bon Jovi for the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy. The billionaire Berkshire Hathaway CEO told CNN Money that he also plays online bridge most Mondays with three other partners, sometimes including Bill Gates.
David Beckham – Tattoos, Fencing, Shopping
English footballer David Beckham is apparently a fan of both fencing and getting tattoos. It’s been reported that he gets together with Will Smith and Tom Cruise in order to fence.
Brad Pitt – Architecture, Interior Design, Metal Art Collector
American actor and film producer Brad Pitt is a cultured guy who’s into architecture and interior design.
Susan Sarandon – pin-pong
The Academy Award-winning actress loves the sport so much that she gives ping-pong tables to friends and to inner-city schools as gifts, reports The Associated Press.
Will Smith – Fencing, Rapping
When Will Smith isn’t acting, rapping, or fighting aliens, it appears he’s fencing with reported friends Tom Cruise and David Beckham.
Cameron Diaz – Snowboarding, Rafting
She claims to love the speed and adrenaline of snowboarding and even had plastic surgery on her nose to repair damage done while snowboarding.
Roger Federer – Sports, cards, sitting on the beach, playing and watching cricket.
Federer claims watching cricket is one of the most relaxing hobbies he’s found.
Billionaire Richard Branson
The Virgin Group founder told SurferToday.com that he learned kitesurfing on Necker Island — which he owns — in 2002. He said he likes to “get half an hour away from Blackberries and iPhones” to go kitesurfing, which allows him to return to work feeling “completely refreshed” and “ready to go.”
Celine Dion – Golf, Collecting Shoes, Swimming
Canadian singer Celine Dion is reportedly an avid golfer and swimmer and has a giant shoe collection.
Neeson told Contact Music there’s a lot of “nonsense” in Hollywood that he likes to get away from when he’s not working by spending time with his family and his favourite hobby: fly-fishing.
Tom Cruise – Flying, Fencing, Cooking
He reportedly built a room in his house for fencing, where Will Smith and David Beckham go to attempt to defeat him.
Stephen King – Walking
Probably where he got all his weird ideas.
Ronaldinho – Karaoke, Playing Percussion Instruments
This Brazilian footballer is pretty talented at belting out karaoke songs. He’s even got a karaoke machine in his house.
Leonardo DiCaprio – Pool, Basketball, Video Games
Apparently addicted to his PlayStation.
Matt Damon – Philanthropy, Politics
He has appeared on Hardball, discussing the war in Iraq and in addition, Damon supports the charities and organisations ONE, which fights AIDS and poverty in third world countries, Greendimes, and Not On Our Watch.
Maria Sharapova – Russian music and food, Dancing, Reading, Movies
Tennis star Maria Sharapova enjoys dancing (jazz, specifically) as well as reading and watching movies (she loves Sherlock Holmes and her favourite movie is Pearl Harbor).
Daniel Radcliffe – Gymnastics, Football, WWF
When Daniel Radcliffe isn’t pretending he’s a wizard or prancing around naked on stage, he’s apparently either doing gymnastics, playing football, or protecting the environment.
Tom Clancy – Politics
Author Tom Clancy has been known as politically conservative, donating as much as $256,000 to the Republican Party. After 9/11, Clancy defended Islam and appeared on the O’Reilly Factor, saying that U.S. left-wing politicians were partly responsible for the attacks due to what he called the “gutting of the CIA.”
Patrick Dempsey – Antique Collecting, Home Remodelling, Skiing, Racing
Most guys don’t necessarily have interests as varied as racing in the Panoz GT Pro Racing series to collecting antiques.
How about Authors?
Dame Agatha Christie, the archaeologist
The British murder-mystery writer Agatha Christie had quite an adventurous life. In 1930, she married the prominent archaeologist, Max Mallowan. She accompanied him as he travelled throughout the Middle East and assisted him on his archaeological digs.
Victor Hugo, the artist
Famous for his novels Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, French writer Victor Hugo was also a talented artist, producing over 4,000 drawings during his lifetime. At first, Hugo treated painting only as a pastime, but he eventually pursued it more seriously, and his paintings were praised by the leading artists of his era. He usually only shared his paintings privately, however, afraid they might overshadow his literary achievements.
Other writers like J. R. R. Tolkien, T. S. Eliot, William Faulkner, Rudyard Kipling, Beatrix Potter, and William Makepeace Thackery illustrated their own work.
Emily Dickinson, the baker
Emily Dickinson, another American poet, loved spending time in the kitchen. An accomplished baker, she won second place at the 1856 Amherst Cattle Show for her round loaf of Indian and Rye bread.
Leo Tolstoy, the chess player
Best known for his sweeping epic novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, Russian writer Leo Tolstoy was also an avid chess player. He learned how to play as a young boy and carefully recorded many of his games.
Ernest Hemingway, the outdoorsman
The Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway loved spending time outdoors, hunting and fishing. He went on several African safaris and was also an accomplished deep-sea fisherman in the Caribbean. In 1935, he reeled in the largest marlin caught to date.
G. Wodehouse, the golfer
The British humourist P. G. Wodehouse loved spending time on the links. He wrote twenty-five short stories about golf, all narrated by a character called The Oldest Member.
G. Wells, the war gamer
The writer Colin Middleton Murry visited H. G. Wells at his home and observed one of the war games. Murry wrote, “He [Wells] rushed round frantically, winding up clockwork trains, constructing bridges and fortifications, firing pencils out of toy cannons. It was all quite hysterical – quite unlike any grown-up behaviour I had ever known.”
And finally, let’s not forget the politicians
Enthusiastic stamp collector and former French President Nicolas Sarkozy had pages and pages of stamps in books, and his hobby was well known among his peers. In fact, Queen Elizabeth II even gave him a set of stamps from the English post office as a gift.
One wouldn’t think of the ruthless former President of Iraq as having a penchant for romance, but he has penned, (or hired ghostwriters to pen), several books that deal with love, although not in an entirely normal way. One book, “Zabibah and the King,” deals with a beautiful girl (Zabibah) and a king who fall deeply in love. However, the book is more of an allegorical tale of the history of Iraq, as the girl is attacked by her cruel husband, widely thought to represent the U.S.
Kim Jong-il wanted to be an NBA star
Former President of North Korea and Dear Leader Kim Jong-il was a passionate basketball fan and had hopes of turning his country into a basketball haven. Unfortunately, that never came to light and he had to settle for watching every recording of every game that Michael Jordan ever played with the Bulls. He even invited MJ for a visit, who sadly declined, most likely due to the human rights violations and diplomatic difficulties that would have ensued.
Vladimir Putin: judo master
A little known fact about the Russian president: he has a black belt in judo, having practiced the sport since age 11. He also has a black belt in karate and is a sambo champion – it’s a Russian martial art.
Joseph Stalin liked to draw…naked men?
Apparently, Stalin was a big doodler in his free time. He would sketch drawings of naked men, often adding remarks about people underneath, for unclear reasons. It was briefly argued that the drawings weren’t his, but after being authenticated by experts, the truth came out. Psychologists have studied the drawings, and have made statements claiming there were no “expressions of homosexuality” in the pictures, for whatever that’s worth.
Lyndon B. Johnson
LBJ enjoyed spending time on his ranch in the Lone Star State where he was apparently fond of drunkenly speeding around his property in various automobiles, including an amphibious vehicle that looked like a normal convertible. He liked to toy with unwitting guests by pretending the brakes had failed and then driving the car into a lake.
I hope you enjoyed reading about the interests of the rich and famous and if you know of any peculiar hobbies of your favourite celeb, please share.
The following sites were a great help in compiling this list and my thanks and appreciation to the authors of the various articles.