British billionaire Richard Branson's first world record was set 25 years ago this week. In 1986, he and his 72-foot powerboat Virgin Atlantic Challenger took two hours off the time set by the SS United States in 1952 to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Branson (below) had sunk a year earlier attempting the feat. The adventurer has since broken many other records, using a fortune he amassed with Virgin Records, which first hit the shelves in 1973 with Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield ...
Oldfield's annoyingly catchy debut instrumental album sold millions of copies worldwide and was used as the soundtrack of classic 1970s horror film The Exorcist. Oldfield had a horror of his own in 2006, when he was sued in Spain by the buyer of a clifftop villa he sold on the Iberian party island of Ibiza for ?2.5 million in 1999. The court agreed with the plaintiff that the house was subsiding into the sea and awarded compensation to its new owner, Oasis musician Noel Gallagher ...
Gallagher, himself no stranger to controversy, is a football fan, who watched his beloved Manchester City win the FA Cup at Wembley last season over rivals United. Despite being an England supporter, the songwriter turned out to be an unlikely lucky mascot for Italy in the 2006 World Cup final, which Azzurri won, beating France. He went to the match wearing the same clothes, underwear and socks as he did at Italy's victorious semi-final over hosts Germany. He was asked to do so by fan-turned-friend Alessandro Del Piero ...
Italy's fourth-highest goal-scorer, Del Piero has been named by Brazilian football icon Pele as one of the greatest living footballers. The Italian's sublime skills made him an idol for millions and he was selected to feature on the cover of the Fifa Football video game produced by EA Sports in 2004, alongside Ronaldinho and Thierry Henry ...
Henry's amazing football skills, good looks and clean image have made him an advertiser's dream. For years, he was Mr Va-Va-Voom, responsible for selling Renault cars. Earlier this year, the French striker took a surprising role in a new advertisement for the Renault Clio, peeping through a hole at a sex show, to watch a striptease by the modern mistress of burlesque, Dita Von Teese ...
Von Teese's skills are very much in demand by advertisers that want to give a sexy edge to their products. Last year, she dressed as a Vegas showgirl in a red corset, fishnets and stiletto heels to do a wing walk on a Boeing 747-400 aircraft at the gambling mecca's airport. The plane was, of course, grounded at the time, but she was swept off her feet by perhaps the greatest corporate showman on Earth: the airline's owner, Richard Branson.