'Tis the season for gift giving, but not many of us have ever unwrapped presents remotely like the 15 described here. We'll save the best of them—from Paul Newman to Joanne Woodward—for last.
Elvis and Gladys Presley
THE GIFT: A pink Cadillac.
THE CIRCUMSTANCE: Elvis gave the car to his mother Gladys in 1955, a few months before the release of "Heartbreak Hotel," his first No. 1 hit.
WHAT CAME NEXT: The Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60—custom-painted in "Elvis Rose"—became famous as one of the most extravagant celebrity gifts of the '50s. Just one catch: Gladys didn't have a driver's license.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
THE GIFT: A waterfall.
THE CIRCUMSTANCE: After they visited Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright house built on a waterfall in rural Pennsylvania, Angelina gave Brad a waterfall in California for his 48th birthday, with the idea that he would build a similar house on top of it.
WHAT CAME NEXT: Brad bought Angelina a seaplane for her 40th, a year before their 2016 breakup.
Elton John and Rod Stewart
THE GIFT: A Rembrandt.
THE CIRCUMSTANCE: Rod Stewart was stunned when he received the Christmas gift from Elton John, an original artwork by the Dutch master. And mortified: He'd just sent Elton his present—a portable refrigerator.
WHAT CAME NEXT: When Stewart married Rachel Hunter in 1990, Elton gave them a gift certificate worth about $20 from the British chain store Boots. Enclosed was a note: "Get yourself something nice for the house."
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor
THE GIFT: A 68-carat diamond ring.
THE CIRCUMSTANCE: No special occasion. Burton paid $1.1 million for what became known as the Taylor–Burton diamond, a headline-grabbing gift to his wife.
WHAT CAME NEXT: The diamond was so heavy that Taylor ended up wearing it on a necklace. She sold the jewel in 1979, after her second divorce from Burton, and used the proceeds to help build a hospital in Botswana.
Mike Tyson and Robin Givens
THE GIFT: A 24-karat gold bathtub.
THE CIRCUMSTANCE: Iron Mike bought the $2 million tub in the late '80s as a Christmas present for his first wife.
WHAT CAME NEXT: After earning more than $400 million during his 20-year boxing career, Tyson filed for bankruptcy in 2003, the result of profligate spending on indulgences like a tricked-out Bentley ($500,000) and two white Bengal tigers ($140,000 plus $125,000 a year for their trainer).
Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox
THE GIFT: A Chanel bicycle.
THE CIRCUMSTANCE: In 2008, Courteney Cox picked out the $12,000 eight-speed—with a quilted leather seat and saddlebags bearing the designer brand's "CC" logo—as a 39th birthday present for her former "Friends" co-star.
WHAT CAME NEXT: The gift served as more than just a fashion accessory: Jen took up biking for exercise.
Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx
THE GIFT: Two horses.
THE CIRCUMSTANCE: In 2010, after Robert Downey Jr. acquired a ranch in Malibu, his friend Jamie Foxx surprised him with a pair of horses for his 45th birthday. Although touched, Downey admitted, "I'm terrified of horses."
WHAT CAME NEXT: Downey reciprocated, giving Foxx a 1967 vintage El Camino like the one featured in "Iron Man" for his 43rd birthday later that year.
Jack Nicholson and Angelica Houston
THE GIFT: A pearl-and-diamond bracelet that Frank Sinatra once gave to Ava Gardner.
THE CIRCUMSTANCE: In 1989, Jack revealed to Angelica that another actress, Rebecca Boussard, was going to have his baby. That Christmas, he sent his longtime romantic partner the bracelet with a note: "These pearls from your swine ... Yr Jack."
WHAT CAME NEXT: Jack and Angelica soon split up for good.
Adam Sandler and Co-stars
THE GIFT: Four Maserati sports cars.
THE CIRCUMSTANCE: As his 2010 comedy "Grown Ups" took off at the box office, Sandler gave each of his co-stars—Chris Rock, David Spade, Kevin James and Rob Schneider—the same Italian luxury car as a thank-you gift. Total cost: about $800,000.
WHAT CAME NEXT: David Spade confessed that he was too embarrassed to drive it. Chris Rock told Howard Stern, "Now I think that I'm Adam Sandler's bitch."
Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III
THE GIFT: A 147-foot yacht.
THE CIRCUMSTANCE: This was a wedding gift, but not from the groom to the bride. Aristotle Onassis gave it to Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier when they married in 1956.
WHAT CAME NEXT: The couple spent their honeymoon cruising the Mediterranean on the Deo Juvante yacht. Renamed the M/Y Grace Kelly, it's now a luxury cruise vessel that offers tours of the Galápagos Islands.
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes
THE GIFT: A Gulfstream IV-SP jet.
THE CIRCUMSTANCE: In 2006, a year after famously jumping for joy on Oprah's couch, Cruise picked up the $20 million aircraft as a wedding present for his new bride.
WHAT CAME NEXT: "It's like a bus, only quicker," Katie said of the jet, which she used as a backup when her husband's $36 million Gulfstream wasn't available. The couple divorced in 2012.
Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall
THE GIFT: A mink coat from Bergdorf Goodman.
THE CIRCUMSTANCE: Christmas 1946. Bacall, 22, was drinking aquavit on ice and the coat—embroidered with her initials on the lining—looked so irresistibly luxurious that she and a friend spread it out on the floor and walked on it barefoot.
WHAT CAME NEXT: "Bogie was livid," Bacall remembered years later. "It was touch and go for a while there."
Kelsey Grammer and Kayte Walsh
THE GIFT: $1 million in cash.
THE CIRCUMSTANCE: Grammer put the money in a bank account belonging to former flight attendant Kayte Walsh when she became his fourth wife in 2010. Just weeks earlier, he had given ex-wife Camille a reported $55 million in a divorce settlement.
WHAT CAME NEXT: The couple now have three children—and no prenup!
John Travolta and Oprah Winfrey
THE GIFT: A Rolls-Royce Corniche II convertible.
THE CIRCUMSTANCE: Travolta gave Oprah the 1988 car, valued at more than $350,000, to thank her for her friendship.
WHAT CAME NEXT: The talk show host and media mogul kept the Rolls at her home in Santa Barbara, California, until 2008, when she put it up for auction. Proceeds went to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.
Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward
THE GIFT: An X-ray of Paul Newman's heart.
THE CIRCUMSTANCE: With a heart painted over it, the X-ray is the least extravagant of the gifts mentioned here. But it meant a lot more than a gold bathtub—or even a pink Cadillac.
WHAT CAME NEXT: Paul and Joanne were married for 50 years, until his death in 2008.
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