Imagine that you don't have a financial care in the world. You've got millions, maybe even billions, in the bank. The world is your oyster. What eccentric behavior would you indulge in? Many people dream of multiple homes in exotic locales. Others dream of crazy expensive cars that would be the envy of their friends. Others spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a saber toothed tiger skull (we're looking at you Nic Cage). For every millionaire and billionaire, there is an eccentric desire lurking just beneath the surface, and for most of them that is where it stays. Not these 10 rich people though! They've embraced their weirdness and that's what has earned them a spot on our list of the 10 most eccentric millionaires and billionaires.
10. Jocelyn Wildenstein
Jocelyn is a Swiss socialite who was introduced to billionaire art heir Alec Wildenstein by Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi on his 60,000-acre ranch in Kenya. During their marriage, Jocelyn underwent millions of dollars worth of plastic surgery to transform her features into a cat-like appearance. This was reportedly to please her husband's tastes. Before the cosmetic surgeries Jocelyn was a great beauty. After the surgeries, she barely looks human. And still that was not enough to please her husband as Jocelyn caught him in bed with a teenaged Russian model in 1997. She received one of the biggest divorce settlements in history–a reported $1.5 billion, with an allowance of $100 million a year for 13 years. This allows her to live quite extravagantly. In fact, she claims to have spent $60,000 on a year's worth of phone bills and $547,000 on food and wine in a 12-month period. The judge presiding over her divorce stipulated that she was not allowed to use any of this money towards new cosmetic surgeries.
9. Robert Klark Graham
Robert Klark Graham was an optometrist who invented shatterproof eyeglass lenses. Once he'd made his fortune, though, he didn't sit back and relax. Nope. He set out on his newest mission: to create a master race. He opened the Repository for Germinal Choice in 1980. He only accepted sperm donation from Nobel Prize laureates. That was shortsighted, since most Nobel Prize worthy work tends to take a lifetime to accomplish and the sperm of the elderly is not exactly the most suitable for insemination. The only donor that became known publicly was 1956 Nobel Prize winner in Physics, William Shockley. He was 70 when he donated sperm. It is believed that more than 200 children were conceived from Graham's sperm bank and the handful that have come forward actually do display considerable intelligence. Graham slipped in the shower in 1997, knocked himself out, and drowned. The Repository closed soon after.
8. Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg became a billionaire while still in his 20s, and at first, and he seemed to be pretty normal. He's a bit awkward and his sense of style hasn't evolved since college–but that is par for the course for many people his age, with or without those billions in the bank. All seemed normal, until 2011, when he suddenly declared that he would no longer eat meat unless he killed it with his own two hands. In May of 2011, Zuckerberg posted on Facebook (of course) that he'd just killed a pig and a goat. This phase lasted about a year. Since 2012, the Facebook founder has been getting his meat the old fashioned way–at the grocery store.
7. Jeff Bezos
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is worth nearly $30 billion. With that kind of money, you can have some pretty expensive hobbies. Well, it turns out that Bezos' hobby is space exploration. For over a decade, he and his company Blue Origin have worked on privatizing spaceflight. Bezos even went out with an ocean exploring team to recover engines from the Apollo 11 mission located at the bottom of the Atlantic. Additionally, he contributed $42 million in funding to the Clock of the Long Now, which is a clock designed to run for 10,000 years and is to be buried on his own land deep in the Sierra Diablo Mountains.
6. Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, 18th Duchess of Alba
The Duchess of Alba's bad plastic surgery rivals Jocelyn Wildenstein's. In fact, it looks like the two women could have used the very same surgeon. But that isn't what landed her on this list. The Duchess is a romantic of the highest order. When the then-85-year-old Duchess, rumored to be worth around $5 billion, announced she was marrying 61-year-old Alfonso Diez Carabantes in 2011, not only did her family balk, but so did Juan Carlos, the King of Spain. To prove that her love was true, the Duchess gave her six children their inheritances early, and completely renounced her wealth in order to be with her love. The Duchess died on November 21, 2014 at the age of 88.
5. Peter Thiel
Peter Thiel is a co-founder of PayPal and a Facebook investor, so he certainly knows how to make money. His net worth of $2.2 billion allows him to pursue his passion in philanthropy through his Thiel foundation. The Thiel foundation invests in strange but potentially revolutionary technologies. Some of his current projects include developing artificial intelligence, exploring ways to human immortality, and building oceangoing floating cities–which Thiel believes are integral to the survival of our species.
4. Robert Durst
For years, Robert Durst was living proof that when you have ungodly amounts of money, you can literally get away with murder. Durst, who is the son of real estate mogul Seymour Durst, witnessed his mother leaping from the roof of their home to commit suicide when he was just seven years old. Whether or not that had an effect on the man he grew up to be is hard to say. However, in 1982 his wife, Kathleen, went missing and her body was never found. The investigation was reopened in 2000, and Durst's friend Susan Berman was found shot execution style in her home. It was rumored at the time that Berman had information on Kathleen's disappearance, and he didn't want that coming out. Shortly after, he began cross-dressing. Then, in 2001, the body parts of his neighbor were found floating in Galveston Bay, Texas. He was arrested. After he posted bail, he literally bailed. He was the subject of a multi-state manhunt before he was ultimately acquitted of murder. On Match 14, 2015 Durst was re-arrested in New Orleans on a first-degree murder warrant for the death of Susan Berman, signed by a judge in Los Angeles. He was arrested by FBI agents at a hotel where he was registered under the name "Everette Ward." He had a .38 Smith & Wesson revolver, his passport and birth certificate, a flesh toned latex mask with gray hair attached to his, and $42,631 in cash on him. A UPS tracking number was discovered, and it led to $117,000 more in cash. He was denied bail this time.
3. Ingvar Kamprad
The IKEA founder is renowned for his extreme frugality. He has a net worth of $44.5 billion, yet he drives a 20-year-old Volvo, steals salt and pepper packets from restaurants, and recycles tea bags. Ingvar Kamprad frequently uses public transportation, and his modest house looks like any average house in any suburban neighborhood. The house is furnished with IKEA furniture he assembled himself. He even waits for after Christmas sales to buy wrapping paper.
2. Clive Palmer
Australian Clive Palmer has a net worth of $2.2 billion. He is the owner of Mineralogy–a mining company that provides iron ore to China. Palmer is well known for his grandiose and bizarre ideas. In 2012, he took issue with Greenpeace, claiming they were collaborating with the CIA to bring down the Australian mining industry. And then for a while, he was planning to clone a dinosaur. Why? He thought the novelty of a real live dinosaur would attract guests to his 5-star Palmer Coolum Resort. That obviously didn't work out, so instead he had more than 100 animatronic dinosaurs built and installed on the resort's golf course. Most recently, he's been working on a replica of the Titanic, to be called the Titanic II. It is scheduled to arrive in 2016, and it will be historically accurate–passengers will be separated by class and forbidden to intermingle, and modern conveniences like televisions and Wi-Fi will be unavailable.
1. Howard Hughes
No list of eccentric rich people would be complete without the famously eccentric Howard Hughes. The oil tool drilling fortune heir was the very definition of eccentric over his lifetime. He produced a string of Hollywood blockbusters and had flings with the hottest starlets of the time. He was a pioneer in aviation, who had a bad accident when he crashed his experimental Hughes XF-11 into a Beverly Hills neighborhood, as depicted in the film "Aviator." After that crash, his eccentricities multiplied. He spent months alone in a dark screening room. He didn't bathe, or get up to use the bathroom. He relieved himself into bottles and ate only chicken and chocolate bars and drank only milk. He continued his descent into madness and became a recluse. He'd spent great amounts of time holed up in hotel rooms, and if his demands became too much for the owners, he'd buy the hotel. Hughes was a germophobe with intensified obsessive-compulsive disorder. After the plane crash, he suffered from chronic pain that led to a serious addiction to painkillers. When he died in 1976, he was so deteriorated, that the coroner had to use his fingerprints to positively identify his body.