The strange demands of celebs visiting NZ

By Jane Phare

Jeremy Clarkson, Charlie Sheen and Lady Gaga all had lavish demands when staying on Waiheke during their visits. Photos / File
Jeremy Clarkson, Charlie Sheen and Lady Gaga all had lavish demands when staying on Waiheke during their visits. Photos / File

Lady Gaga wanted to go fishing in an outlandish costume, Jeremy Clarkson sent a helicopter to Auckland four times in one night and a Russian princess insisted the house flowers and fruit be changed twice a day.

So go the demands and eccentricities of some of the rich and famous who hire luxury homes in New Zealand.

With their chequebooks and fame come at-times bizarre demands.

Ed Coutts, owner and managing director of Waiheke Unlimited, has spent 20 years dealing with wealthy clients who want to rent a secluded, luxury house on Auckland's Waiheke Island. He says he has seen it all.

"I had a Russian princess whose maid-in-waiting couldn't be any closer than 20 feet [6m] to her at any stage," Coutts said.

Every room had to be heated to no less than 28C, the flowers and fruit bowl had to be changed twice a day. "The lining papers in every drawer and cupboard in the bedroom had to be changed every day."

Former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has been a regular visitor and during one stay he sent a helicopter to Auckland four times for things like cigarettes - because it was too far to drive to the shop - a Monopoly game requested at 6.30pm when the Waiheke shops were closed and even gravy mix.

"The cost was outrageous and the show's promoters were complaining they were going broke," Coutts said.

During another visit, Clarkson wanted a new, black-on-black Range Rover Sport with no mileage on the odometer delivered to the house.

Coutts did manage to get the exact colour and model to the island, albeit with 100km on the clock.

"Then it sat there and it never got used.

"I asked him [Clarkson] what was the point and he said 'I just wanted to look at it'."

During the 2003 America's Cup in Auckland, Clarkson demanded a place on an America's Cup boat during a race.

When told that was not possible, he then wanted to race around the course at the same time.

Fossil Cove Estate on Waiheke Island is a favourite hide-out for Lady Gaga. Photo / Supplied
Fossil Cove Estate on Waiheke Island is a favourite hide-out for Lady Gaga. Photo / Supplied
Fossil Cove Estate on Waiheke Island. Photo / Supplied
Fossil Cove Estate on Waiheke Island. Photo / Supplied

"We told him he couldn't but we did get one of the old America's Cup boats and went out on that."

Smuggling Lady Gaga to Waiheke took five helicopters going in different directions at the same time all with "lookalike Gagas" on board.

Coutts had arranged to shut down local restaurants for private dining but when she arrived at Fossil Cove, the home she was renting, she declared she was not going out.

A panicking Coutts said he had not organised a chef or enough food so Gaga asked him if he could cook.

"I told her I could and she said 'Well, you're moving in'," he said.

"She moved me in for four days and I became 'Boy Friday'. We had lots of fun."

Ed Coutts says he has seen it all. Photo / Supplied
Ed Coutts says he has seen it all. Photo / Supplied

After Coutts arranged a fishing charter for some of her entourage, Gaga asked to go fishing, too.

Coutts offered to take her in his boat and he arrived to find her decked out in a wig, Gaga shoes and a winged outfit.

"It's not going to work Gaga. It'll all blow off," Coutts told her.

In the end he bought her ordinary clothes and a pair of Jandals and took her fishing.

"We lasted about 45 minutes and she said 'I'm bored with this, let's go'."

Of all his clients, Charlie Sheen was the most demanding, Coutts said.

"He had an exhaustive list of wants. Nothing he wanted was available on the island I can assure you."

- Herald on Sunday

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