Being a celebrity affords you “privileged” access to the entire world; it’s like freedom in a way you’ve never imagined it. We’ve all dreamt of lackadaisically sliding into the driver’s seat—for no apparent reason—and going anywhere we wanted. Sometimes, you might have even dreamt that you could fly. Ahh, if only you were excessively rich, right?
How much easier would life be if you could just hop into your very own private jet? Easier doesn’t even begin to describe it! In more extreme cases, some of these super-wealthy folks are even enterprising enough to construct a boarding station—for a Boeing 737, no less—closer to their front door than they park their SUV (looking at you, Travolta).
But there’s that other part about being famous, too. When you’re a national icon, everybody wants a piece. Call it gold-digging, call it gravitation to sustainability and resources, call it what you want to call it: if you have an airplane, you have the ultimate wingman. And that’s where things start to get spicy.
Just think of Iron Maiden’s personal Boeing 747 (in and of itself), and realize that these mega-stars stand in a league of their own. Some of them are here for their tendency to rack up Tindr dates like a carnival ride while others have different reasons for staying away from commitment. Ultimately, when you've got a private plane, being single is just too gosh-darn fun to be bogged down by the proverbial ball and chain.
20 Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie was almost destined as a match for Brad Pitt by default. The power-couple even shook sets together as co-stars and some thought it was a match made in heaven. But the tenacious Tomb Raider was not to be restrained by the Fight Club star. Her involvement with a top-notch handful of A-listers solidifies her reputation as the heartbreaker you always knew she was. Billy-Bob Thorton, Mick Jagger, Timothy Hutton, among others have been linked to Jon Voight's daughter. She also owns this sweet-looking Cirrus SR22 (and flies it like the player she is, too).
19 Brad Pitt
Angelina Jolie may be one of the biggest movie stars of all time and constantly surrounded by paparazzi, but dating her still has its benefits. Not those benfits—I’m talking about rotors on rotors! Jolie was (once) so head-over-heels for Brad, she bought him a helicopter. You know, just because. And yes, to the Gone in 60 Seconds and Girl, Interrupted star, a $1.2-million rotorcraft is pocket change. But you can have one guess what Brad Pitt was probably doing with his newfound freedom. He’s Brad Pitt, known for his chest-baring scenes in Thelma and Louise, Fight Club, and Troy, only now he's Brad Pitt with a helicopter.
18 Clint Eastwood
We all know Clint Eastwood to be the man’s man of men’s men. Whether he’s twiddling his fingers anxiously above the worn handle of his Cattleman revolver or pointing a threatening finger at neighborhood hooligans, Eastwood’s famous Gran Torino one-liner pretty much sums up his life in a sentence: “Get off my lawn.” Although he’s the quintessential “lone-fox,” he’s been in and out of numerous relationships since before he was even 15 years old. This was to be a habitual trend, and he would continue to knock-em down (left and right) his entire career. He’s also been a rotorcraft pilot for over three decades. I can just picture him growling over the radio at Southwest 737 pilots to, “Get off my sky!”
17 Hilary Swank
Swank, humbled by the honor of portraying the multi-faceted aeronautic legend, Amelia Earhart, was inspired to do more than just look pretty holding the yoke. She wanted to actually fly. And that she did. She's flown through the men in her life, as well. She married Phillip Schneider in 2018, was engaged to Ruben Torres in 2016, fooled around with Laurent Fleury for a few years, and stagnated with John Campisi for a while (you can do better, Hilary, please). All of this, mind you, after being married to Chad Lowe for a decade. But planes are perhaps her newest one true love.
16 Dennis Quaid
When Quaid stepped into the role of Captain Frank Towns in The Flight of the Phoenix, some may have noticed him exuding an unusually-high level of “natural swagger” in that role. Although his personal life may not see him in the left seat of the twin Fairchild C-119 (the “Flying Boxcar” that fell apart before our eyes in the movie) too often, he has been a certified pilot since the 1980s, thanks to his role as Captain Gordon Cooper in The Right Stuff. He admits to being afraid to fly initially, but he seems to do pretty well with rough landings. He also does pretty well with the ladies; Meg Ryan and Shanna Moakler could attest to this.
15 David Coulier
He’s best known for his role as Uncle Joey in Full House. Uncle Joey has a secret, however; he’s also, as it would turn out, a pilot. He never forgot the feeling he got when he took off in a family friend’s Cessna 170 at the age of five. Since then, he’s been sailing through the sky in his B35 Beechcraft Bonanza. Flying has been very rewarding for him, and he is a very studious and dedicated pilot when he flies. If that same type of tenacious commitment applied to his dating and love philosophies, he’d probably keep women around for more than a year before clearing them for takeoff. Can Melissa Bring endure the test of time?
14 Michael Dorn
Star Trek fans will recognize him instantly while the rest of the world could be standing behind him at the grocery store and never know they were in the presence of the Klingon known as Worf. (What a Klingon is, to this day, eludes me.) As unfamiliar as I am with a Klingon, Dorn is exactly that familiar with an airplane. He’s had a burning passion from the time he was little, and this love for flying has even gotten him rides with the Blue Angels. “Flying with them ruined me,” he says. “It was over – because I [now] love jets.” Since the pivotal Blue Angels flight, he’s owned multiple ex-military jets and been the captain for twenty times that number of women. (He is a Klingon, after all.)
13 John Travolta
Travolta has had a long and stately career. But while many actors funnel unholy amounts of money into needless excess, John Travolta is no such waster. He has humbly restrained himself to a maximum of five jets (for now), as long as his Boeing 707 gets to stick its nose up to the kitchen window. “I like having the world at a moment’s notice,” Travolta reveals. But the world wasn’t the only thing at Travolta’s fingertips; at one point or another, he's been linked to Anita Gillette (born in 1936), Diana Hyland, (also born 1936), French actress, model, and singer Catherine Deneuve, Brook Shields, a pilot (presumably of his private jets), and his current wife.
12 Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford is one of those guys that is probably closer to his movie persona in real life than most of the other actors we come across. His first role was in a 1966 film. It lasted a grand total of 38 seconds (and was uncredited). Today, Ford is far from the formative stages of his career. He affords himself some of the finer of luxuries nowadays; his fleet of airplanes and helicopters range from vintage warbirds to luxury business jets, like the C680 above. After one of the most expensive alimony settlements in Hollywood history, the “scruffy-looking nerf-herder” is back to bombshells; he married Calista Flockhart in 2010 during the filming of Cowboys & Aliens.
11 Kurt Russell
Russell is a name-brand actor that’s reached A-lister fame for many roles in movies and TV shows dating all the way back to his childhood. It was during this childhood that aviation would be impressed upon him by a very influential figure; Kurt was inspired by his grandfather, a high-time, aerobatic pilot with over 45,000 hours on the logs. He’d always regret never getting to fly with his grandfather but in 1988, he began flying under experienced instruction. Since then, he’s owned multiple aircraft, including a Commander, Crusader, 414, and a Conquest. And speaking of conquests, Season Hubley and Goldie Hawn have both, at one time or another, fallen for those baby blues.
10 Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise is a man that needs no introduction. He’s not going to be happy unless he’s going Mach 2, with his hair on fire, and he knows this. Although the Top Gun movie had us believe he lives in the land of negative 4g inverted dives on MiG-28s, that maneuver is actually not possible. In order to maintain 4g of sustained loading, the angular velocity around the pitch-axis would have to be close to 25°/second of rotation. This basically means that your “dive” would end almost as quickly as it began. That didn’t stop Pete Mitchell, however. He’s a man of action; a man of action that put the name of a few special ladies on his vintage P-51 Mustang. “Kiss me Kate,” reads his custom nose art (not pictured), but is that a reference to Hudson or Holmes?
9 Dr. Phil
Phillip Calvin McGraw; you know him as Dr. Phil. This man has been permeating your living room speakers for decades with psychological rhetoric of only the highest, absolute quality. After all, nobody would ever air a show without a wholesome component of competence to go along with the solicitation of their highly-generalized (and flagrantly subjective), on-the-spot life assessments, right? He’s experienced exceptional career success but wasn’t about to let things languish on the ground. Dr. Phil maintains an instrument rating to enable him to fly in low visibility and clouds. (What do bad weather and bad ratings share in common? Neither can keep Dr. Phil down!) He married the homecoming queen and cheerleader from his high school…if that doesn’t tell you a thing or two about the Doc.
8 Gisele Bundchen
Gisele Bundchen is the sweetheart of Tom Brady. This power-couple blows orthodox out the window with an interesting swap in provider roles. While it’s unclear (and unimportant) what their private life is like, there’s definitely a deficit between her and Tom’s earnings—she makes around $10 million more annually—and is worth a bundle more than him on top of that. Tom’s not threatened, though; after all, she doesn’t ask to borrow money. Plus (and most importantly), she can buy more airplanes this way. She already owns this Gulfstream G550, one of the top business jets on the market at the time.
7 Jimmy Buffett
When you’re as big as Jimmy, you can afford to laugh at a few stray bullet holes in the hull of your 1954 Grumman HU-16 Albatross. He affectionately nicknamed it the “Hemisphere Dancer,” and for good reason; dance it did. He was actually shot at off the coast of Jamaica in a case of mistaken identity, where he had to explain he was “just there for the chicken.” (Sure, pal.) With a twin-engine Albatross—consistently aimed at island getaways—and a tropical melody strumming at his fingertips, this island love-gangster is hard to resist, whether he likes his face in the newspapers or not.
6 Kris Kristofferson
There’s a good chance that Kris Kristofferson is far more accomplished than you initially give him credit for. You know him from things like A Star Is Born and Flashpoint (if you remember them), but his acting and singing careers have seen a handful of ebbs and flows, to say the least. Here’s why he’s underrated to no end: he has 29 albums, maintained friendships with Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, won three Grammys, an English master’s degree, is an Army Helicopter pilot, attended Ranger school, and is Rhodes Scholar. He’s just a go-getter. He was a helicopter pilot for a petroleum company—a job many salivate over—before walking away from it to pursue his “other” passions. All of that, and eight children between three marriages, smells like a rolling stone to me.
5 Jake Gyllenhaal
“Love is a force of Nature” – so read the tagline for the romantic, ranch-hand, mountain getaway film that brought you more high-altitude tent-slappin’ than you could comfortably pack into a 20-year timeline. Despite the national level of acclaim that the film was received with, it definitely wasn’t for everybody. Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Leonardo DiCaprio all had no problem quitting the script after the first cattle drive (or whatever those two were supposed to be doing out there). Jake persisted, and it’s tenacity like that that keeps him at the top of his game; Brokeback Mountain couldn’t break him, and Heath Ledger wasn’t the only thing he didn’t know how to quit; Rachel McAdams, Alyssa Miller, Minka Kelly, Lea Seydoux, Taylor Swift, Reese Witherspoon, Kirsten Dunst, and Jenny Lewis. Indeed, Brokeback Mountain appears to be a lot more populated than you’d ever think to give the rocket-boy credit for.
4 Emma Watson
It’s not hard to see why we love her; she’s an activist, a philanthropist, and a wizard. She’s even been to the “Dragon School.” (It’s not as cool as it sounds.) With her current works spanning across a wide spectrum of features, she’s proving to be a regular multi-tool. She likes to stay down to earth, though, and sticks to her Prius…or her Audi…or her Cadillac, depending on her mood. Also depending on her mood are her men; Jay Barrymore, Tom Ducker, and Will Adamowicz all got caught up in her spell, along with Matthew Janney.
3 Charlize Theron
She’s a baddie and there’s no getting around her love for cars. She was the antagonist in The Fate of the Furious, a lead role in an installment of the Fast franchise that would only come naturally to her. Her dad was essentially a “crazy scientist, building things in the backyard,” as she put it; he’d teach her how to build go-karts fast enough to beat all the local boys. Speaking of boys, her love isn’t just limited to four-wheeled machinery. She likes to date singers, actors, and more singers, and live abroad with them in two or three years “runs”. Taking a page from Vin Diesel’s “one-liner” handbook, she appears to live her life “one quarter-mile at a time.”
2 Iron Maiden
Iron Maiden has quite possibly achieved the epitome of irony with the newest “Ed Force One” edition. They’ve had their very-own, dedicated tour plane before but the new Ed is different. He’s bigger. It’s only fitting that the legendary group, made famous for carving heavy metal into enlightenment, would choose the heaviest plane they could get their hands on. It’s a 747, one of the world’s largest aircraft. Bruce Dickensen, Maiden frontman, is her pilot. He’s just as comfortable flying Ed around in IMC (instrument meteorological conditions) as he is screaming like a savage in front of bigger crowds than even the president could dream of. Not even Jay-Z rolls like this, kids. Maiden well-deservedly catapults the “rockstar lifestyle” to a stratospheric new level. UP THE IRONS!
1 Morgan Freeman
Morgan Freeman would probably have chosen to be a pilot over a movie star in a heartbeat. In 2002, he made a dream come true when he got his pilot’s certificate (there’s technically no such thing as a “pilot’s license”). He’d eventually get his multi-engine and instrument ratings; thus allowing him to then fly “big-boy” planes. Seeing as he was just about as qualified as an airline transport pilot (not really), he figured he might as well have a super-sweet set of wings to go along with it. Not only can his SJ30 keep up with Southwest in Class-A airspace, but the SyberJet can also travel at 49,000 feet MSL (above sea level) clear across the country at 530 mph! The Airbus A-330 cruises at 514 mph.
Sources: Mercury News, Ranker, Aviation CV, and Airport Journals.