The Odd Couple

Eccentric celebrities and their wild pets

By Stefanie Gibson

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Celebrities are nothing if not eccentric and that’s part of what makes them so charming. And are we that surprised when these eccentricities spill over into their pet selections? Not really. Throughout the ages, famous people have been cuddling up to some fascinating household pets and we thought we’d take a look at a recent timeline of captivating odd couples. Please everybody, unless you’re a multi-millionaire with an animal trainer on retainer, don’t try this at home.

Salvador Dali’s Ocelot, Babu

No one will ever accuse Salvador Dali of being a conformist; he will go down in history for his talent and eccentricity. Dali certainly had a fondness for the wild and shocking. In childhood, he had a pet bat and later in life he became obsessed with anteaters—he has even been pictured taking one for a walk. But perhaps his most enduring (and odd) pet relationship was with his Ocelot, Babu. Dali would often take Babu to restaurants and once convinced an offended patron that Babu was simply a housecat with painted spots. Good one, Dali.

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Frida Kahlo’s Menagerie

Monkeys, birds and a fawn (oh my!)–Frida Kahlo, famous for her exquisite self-portraits, also shared her home in Mexico City with some very interesting friends. Visitors could expect to interact with her spider monkeys, parrot, macaw, eagle and fawn among other creatures. In fact, 55 of Frida’s self-portraits also feature her beloved pets.

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Elvis Presley’s Wallaby

The king of rock and roll had several strange pets, but perhaps the strangest of all was a Wallaby that was given to him as a gift. The Wallaby was only a temporary pet however, and Elvis donated his Australian friend to the Memphis Zoo.

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Michael Jackson’s Neverland Zoo

It’s no surprise that Michael Jackson had a sprawling collection of animals: Chimpanzees, an elephant, alligators, giraffes, tigers, snakes etc. Unfortunately, when the king of pop’s life took a spiral with his 2005 trial, many of his pets had to find new homes, exemplifying the fate that often befalls exotic pets.

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Photo credit: dalbera/CC

Michael Jackson and his beloved chimp, Bubbles.

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George Clooney’s Pig

George Clooney is not known for his long-term relationships, but his relationship with his 300-pound pet pig, Max, stood the test of time. In fact, Max lived to be 18 before leaving George for hog heaven.

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Photo credit (left): teobonjour/CC

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Reese Witherspoon’s Barnyard Friends

Reese is a serious animal lover. Having grown up in the country she has a particular fondness for farm animals and it shows. Reese has two donkeys, pigs and goats all living on her Ojai, California property.

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Photo credits: minglemediaTV/CC, theflyinggerbil/CC