By Daniel Bukszpan, CNBC.com
People love to read about celebrities who spend huge sums of money on luxury items-even in these hard times. After all, who wouldn't be amused to learn that Paris Hilton owns a $325,000 doghouse that's an exact replica of her own mansion?
The limits of celebrity conspicuous consumption continue to be pushed. Some of the rich and famous have distinguished themselves by the sheer quantities of cash spent on quirky luxury items-up to $1 million or more. Often, the practicality of these purchases is dubious at best, and nonexistent at worst.
Who are some of the celebrities who have spent around $1 million or more on decadent extravagances?
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Celebrity Million-Dollar Extravagances
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Rihanna is a singer who's been appearing regularly on the Billboard charts since her 2005 debut album "Music of the Sun." She followed such chart-topping singles as "Umbrella" and "Disturbia" with more top-selling albums all the way through 2010. By April 2011, she had logged 10 number one songs-in fact, her succession of hits was the fastest accumulation of number one songs in history, second only to The Supremes and The Beatles.
Now at the height of her fame, Rihanna has chosen to focus on an investment that's important to any professional singer-her hair. According to The Daily Mail , the singer retains the hairstyling services of one Ursula Stephen, whose services cost more than $21,000 a week. Altogether, the singer spends in excess of $1 million on hairstyling.
For some, spending $1 million or more on a single item is just wasteful. After all, why spend that kind of money on one painting, comic book, or private jet when you can drop that same amount on a very gratifying session of retail therapy?
This was the rationale personified by designer Victoria Beckham, who spent $1.6 million in a single January afternoon in 2010 in the boutiques of Milan. Among the items she purchased were 12 pairs of Versace sunglasses, a set of Louis Vuitton luggage, five sofas, and a $632,000 Rolex watch for her footballer husband David Beckham.
Neo Rauch is a contemporary German artist. According to ARTINFO, he "has emerged as one of the key figures in the resurgence of German figurative painting" and has "influences ranging from state-sponsored Socialist Realism to Surrealism to the art of comic books and commercial graphics."
In June 2009, Brad Pitt caused a stir when he showed up at an art fair in Basel, Switzerland, and parked himself in front of Rauch's 1998 painting "Etappe." After some wavering, the one-time "world's sexiest man" decided to take the painting home for a sum of just under $1 million.
Tamara Ecclestone is the daughter of Bernie Ecclestone, president and CEO of Formula One. Her father is worth more than $4 billion, and Ecclestone has made her own way with a career as a television personality, model, and animal rights activist.
Rescuing minks from coat manufacturers can be nerve-racking work, and when it comes to relaxing, few of life's pleasures equal soaking in a hot bath. For this purpose, Ecclestone invested in a somewhat practical purchase-a crystal bathtub worth $1.6 million.
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By Daniel Bukszpan, CNBC.com