Richard Branson's house burns down

Last month Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo were married on Richard Branson's private Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands. And it wasn't cheap (for TLC, which aired a two-hour wedding special and probably paid for everything), as exclusive use of the island (for you and 28 friends) costs $54,500/night with a five night minimum. After the wedding, Nick told People:
"We love to travel and we love Necker Island. We've vacationed there multiple times, and when we got engaged, we both immediately thought of the island as the perfect place to have our wedding."

Adds Minnillo, 30: "We were on a boat, on vacation, passing the island and we both looked at each other and he said, 'Yes!' I was so glad he said what I was thinking. Nick saw it in my eyes."
To avoid the paparazzi, Nick and Vanessa's wedding was in Branson's Great House, the first time he's let anyone hold a wedding in it (normally they happen on the beach). Well I hope Nick and Vanessa didn't fall in love with that house, because it burned to the ground this morning -- and almost killed Kate Winslet. The Telegraph says:
Winslet carried [Branson's mom Eve], 90, from the Great House on Necker Island after it was struck by lightning during a tropical storm at 4am. All the guests escaped unharmed, including Sir Richard’s daughter, Holly, 29, Winslet’s children, Mia, 10, and Joe, seven, and the actress’s boyfriend. Sir Richard credited the actress for her actions during the blaze, which Winslet described as like being on a film set waiting for the director to say “cut”.

The businessman said: “My mum is 90 and can walk but it was more just to speed the process up than anything else. But anyway, she was great. She swept her up into her arms and got them out of the house as fast as possible. Talking to her, she said it’s like being in a film set where you’re waiting for the words 'cut’ but they just don’t come. So it was quite surreal for her to be in a real-life situation.”
The most suspicious thing about the fire is, at the time it started, Nick and Vanessa were 2500 MILES AWAY IN BEVERLY HILLS. Hmmmmmm. I know their wedding was last month, but it still seems a bit too "convenient" to me. Isn't that right Nick Lachey? . . .  or should I use your given name: OSAMA BIN LADEN! dun dun dunnnnn!

*10 Necker Island pictures total in the gallery:

  • Necker Island Fire 1
  • Necker Island Fire 2
  • Necker Island Fire 3
  • Necker Island Fire 4
  • Necker Island Fire 5
  • Necker Island Fire 6
  • Necker Island Fire 7
  • Necker Island Fire 8
  • Necker Island Fire 9
  • Necker Island Fire 10
[Pacific Coast News]

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