I’ve lived in Los Angeles for half of my life and on Maui for the other. Since being on Maui, I’ve seen 100 times more celebrities than I ever did in LA.
Why do celebrities come to Hawaii?
Hawaii is the closest tropical vacation getaway to LA. Also, paparazzi are not quite as prevalent on the islands. Don’t get me wrong, paparazzi are still here, but islanders are not fond of their invasive tactics. Most islanders are hard on these parasitic people. Another reason comes from the many film locations available here.
Here are some stories as well direct quotes from celebrities visiting (or living on) Maui:
Paul Rudd joined us last year for the Maui Film Festival. He put it nicely by saying, “My impressions thus far of Maui are perfect because Maui is incredible! I have several amazing Hawaii stories. Things that have happened to me here. I was swimming and a whale breached in front of me and hit the water. I was scuba diving and I was on the surface. The whale went under the boat as we were going out. It was just me and another guy, the dive master. It was incredible! That was one of the most incredible, spiritual moments I’ve had out here. I’ve had many because it’s such a magical place.”
Not only do high-profile celebs regularly visit Hawaii, many have second homes here. To name a few, Helen Hunt, Carlos Santana, Randy Travis, Willy Nelson, Woody Harrelson, Roseanne Barr, and Kelsey Grammar have Maui homes. Oprah happens to own many parcels of land, much of it in Hana. Willy Nelson spends a large amount of time here and also owns a restaurant in Pa’ia called Charlie’s. On occasion, you’ll find Willy playing a couple sets there. Many celebrities were born here. Presidential candidate, Barack Obama was born on Oahu as well as musician and surfer Jack Johnson who owns a home in front of Pipeline on the North Shore. Bette Midler was born in Hawaii and has a home on Kauai.
Our favorite new Star Wars bad guy, Adam Driver, shared, “Maui: It’s beautiful. it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. The sunsets look fake, they’re so picturesque.”
Mike Myers spends a good amount of time each year on the South Shores of Maui as well as Alice Cooper. Cooper is a big golfer, which makes for a strong attraction to the many world-class Maui golf courses. Many athletes come to Hawaii. Kareem Abdul Jabar visits as well as Horace Grant. Horace is one of the most low-key and nicest of all the celebrities to visit Hawaii. Not only is he extremely generous, but also Horace is polite and a pleasure to be around. Another surprisingly low-key celebrity, when in Hawaii, Paris Hilton spends a good amount of time in the Wailea area of Maui. Cameron Diaz also enjoys Hawaii. She is a regular on Oahu and is a decent surfer.
Olivia Wilde is regular here on Maui. She recounts, “I love Maui! We’ve been coming for years. I love hanging out at the beach. I love Kihei, I love Hana of course, I love Paia. We always make it into Paia and try to see a show at Charley’. I mean, I’ve been walking barefoot into Mana foods for like fifteen years. Haha! Just getting provisions, going swimming at the beaches there, going hiking. I’m a Tourist, so I love Mana’s Fish House. But it truly is the greatest experience. For my kids, they love it! They keep asking me “when are we going to Mama’s?” It’s just the most amazing place! I feel like we actually have a real community here. When I walk into Hawaiian Moons, they’re like “hey what’s up!” as though I was there last week. It’s been 2 years, but I appreciate that. And I just love the experience of waking up here and remembering that this actually always exists. I always think about that when I’m in my crazy life in New York and everything feels hectic. I think, WOW. Simultaneously Maui exists and that incredible expanse of ocean. And I can’t wait to get on my paddleboard. I will never stop talking about how much I love Maui!”
Britney Spears is a regular to Maui, Hawaii. She and her crew of bodyguards jaunt around South Maui with her family on a regular basis. This editor watched Britney change her shirt at a table at Tommy Bahama’s Maui restaurant as well as fall a sleep at the table during her meal. Her mother was taking care of the kids, while their bodyguards frantically patrolled the restaurant and it’s complex for the 3-4 paparazzi that had been following her.
Amber Heard shares her love of Maui by saying, “It’s a beautiful place. I love Maui. I love all of Hawaii. I couldn’t be happier to be here! What a treat. This is my first time, and I’m really happy to be here. I love Maui.”
On Kauai, Ben Stiller, Pierce Brosnan, Michael Crichton, Drew Barrymore, and Natalie Merchant own second homes. Many cast members of the hit NBC TV show “Lost” have homes on both Oahu and Kauai. Most of the filming is done on Oahu. Since the State of Hawaii has issued large tax breaks and incentives to the film industry, movie and television filming has become increasingly attractive on the islands. The fact that the Hawaiian Islands are home to some of the most beautiful spots on the planet also make our islands popular with filmmakers. Recently both the last addition to Indiana Jones and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies have been filmed here, particularly on the neighboring island of Molokai.
Josh Radnor also loves visiting Maui. He recently said, “I’d spent about 2 a week on Maui about 2 years ago and really fell in love with it. And it’s so nice to come back here and confirm my suspicions about what a special places it is… I realize this week one of the reasons I love Maui, is that no one takes Maui for granted, no matter how long they’ve lived here.”
Most of the information has been confirmed by reliable sources. Some of the above information is word of mouth and may not be accurate.