In the weeks since confirmed cases of covid-19 have risen in the States, it’s been made abundantly clear that no amount of money or prestige can insulate the ruling class—either from infection or the endless, anxious boredom of locking oneself at home indefinitely. Suddenly, the internet is glutted with a new genre of news: The celebrity announcement of potential covid-19 exposure; the celebrity announcement of the results of an absurdly swift covid-19 test; the celebrity Instagram post about how much they wish they could go outside. As Madonna helpfully pointed out from a bathtub in one of her six-odd houses, coronavirus is the “great equalizer,” which I’d argue is only true if you own six houses and are experiencing something common for the first time in your natural life.
A piece of useful information that’s generally left out of these announcements is where, and under what circumstances, exactly, politicians and celebrities and athletes are quarantining while they post Tik Toks or cobble together live-streamed PSAs. So here’s a tour of the likely places the country’s rich and powerful are sheltering as they alternately urge us to stay indoors and complain about being unable to live the seamless life they’ve come to know.
Romney reportedly went into self-isolation on Sunday after being in contact with Rand Paul, a man so at odds with reality he refused to isolate himself as he awaited the results of his own test. (Paul tested positive; Romney has since tested negative but says he remains in self-quarantine given guidance from his doctor and the recommendations of the CDC. It is entirely possible he is simply afraid, which is his most relatable attribute.)
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, upon learning of his potential exposure, the Senator immediately chartered a private flight back to Utah, where he hunkered down, most likely in a 5,900 square foot compound he built six years ago, one of his many homes. As the Tribune reported, Romney’s daughter-in-law dropped off some hot dogs and ramen recently to sustain him during his exile: The Senator is currently giving press conferences over Zoom about the dangers of extensive unemployment benefits from his home. No photographs are available, as the secretive politician commissioned the luxury compound himself, but it is said to feature a number of terraces and gazebos, a fountain, an outdoor spa, and a secret room hidden behind a bookcase.
Daniel Dae Kim
In the days since he announced he had tested positive for covid-19, Daniel Dae Kim of Lost and, until fairly recently, Hawaii 5-0, has been assuaging his boredom by broadcasting lengthy Instagram videos. Like many celebrities, Kim has taken it upon himself to advise the citizenry on matters of public health; in one video, he encouraged social distancing and criticized the racism that’s attended the crisis.
In a second, somewhat less helpful video, the actor credited his recovery to doses of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug boosted by President Trump that is now both impossible to come by and, apparently, hasn’t proven to be particularly useful in treating the disease caused by the virus. In any case, Kim says his family remains symptom-free, “and just bored, like the rest of us.” Unlike the rest of us, public records place Kim’s last Hawaii residence as a five-bedroom, seven-bath luxury home in Honolulu described as “truly a resort within itself” on real estate listings. The private self-isolation site also features a wet bar, two dining rooms, and a poolside outdoor kitchen complete with a wet bar.
Bravo executive and talk show host Andy Cohen has been in self-isolation since he tested positive for the novel coronavirus last week; symptoms are getting better, he told a number of outlets recently, but he really misses his young son. (“He’s great, and his nanny is negative,” Cohen said when he called into a radio show.) On Tuesday, the star posted an Instagram video encouraging followers to “stay home” and “be smart” from his West Village duplex, three apartments he combined into one with the help of a high-end architecture firm. As Elle noted when it featured his apartment in a glossy spread, the space features a gold-tiled bar in the living room, a walk-in closet that fits more than 500 ties, and a multi-room photomural of an Oregon meadow.
In mid-March, following contact with a well-connected yet unnamed participant at CPAC who tested positive for covid-19, Texas senator Ted Cruz isolated himself for a tragically brief 10 days before declaring he felt “great” and “strong.” In the less than two weeks the senator was confined to his home, he found the mandate to stay six feet away from his family “frustrating” and “annoying,” as he told CNN. At night, the beleaguered politician said, he was forced to sleep alone. Perhaps luckily for the senator, his family had already sold the condo they occupied until a few years ago, a 2,049 square-foot abode in a high-rise once occupied by the alleged murderer and real estate magnate Richard Durst. Cruz most likely slept by his lonesome and ate separately from his family in their stately $1.9 million five-bedroom in Houston’s Royal Oaks, which features floor-to-ceiling windows, two walk-in closets, a game room, as well as, naturally, a wet bar and silver closet.
Following the delivery of mysteriously speedy covid-19 tests to just about every guy who is famous and plays sports, LA Lakers player LeBron James is rounding out 14 days of self-quarantine spurred his proximity to the virus. Last week, he filmed a video in which he complained about not being able to see his barber: “I’m looking like Tom Hanks off Castaway,” he said. “The struggle is real in the James household right now.”
Assuming that James is in his $23 million Los Angeles mansion and not going full prepper in the compound he owns in Ohio—which, Trulia helpfully notes, takes up about half the state—his particular struggle includes access to an in-home spa with designated massage room, a kitchen with beer taps, and a rooftop terrace with direct elevator access. Though there is not an in-home barber, the house also features a theater room and a “cigar room” with complex air-purifying technology.
Kylie Jenner is bored. Kylie Jenner is messing around with her hair. Kylie Jenner is planning on taking long baths and doing puzzles. All of this Kylie Jenner was prepared for because during her pregnancy, she didn’t leave the house for eight months—that house being a $6 million mansion in California with a solar-heated swimming pool, spa, and “glam room.”
Like a great number of celebrities filming themselves in the midst of breakdowns or ill-considered stunts, Cardi B has become rather feverish since she socially distanced herself in the estimated $5.79 million Atlanta mansion she bought with her husband late last year. “I don’t know if you can tell,” she said in an Instagram video, “but I’m losing my fucking mind. I want to get dressed up … I want to put on my fucking expensive outfits, and I want to go out. And I can’t!” The musician could, actually, go out into any of the six acres of private gardens that surround her European-style manor. She could, alternately, target shoot in the steel-walled gun range that came with the house.
When the South Carolina senator discovered he’d had contact at Mar-a-Lago with a number of people who had tested positive for covid-19, the 64-year-old politician briefly self-quarantined while awaiting the results of his test. Considering that he later tested negative and was only in isolation for a few days, it seems likely that Graham hunkered down in his second home, a 1,254-square foot townhouse worth an estimated worth of $785,607, before he returned to writing baffling war metaphors about bombing and killing the virus.
Is in prison, thank God.