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Marking Your 21st the Celebrity Way

Aug 22, 2008
Even today, when the occasion doesn't have any legal significance, most people want to make a big deal of their 21st birthday. For those with fame and fortune, it seems a ceremonial key to the door and a bottle of champagne aren't enough in the way of 21st birthday gifts: they want wild parties with glitz and glamour.

None more so than Pirates of the Caribbean star Keira Knightly - She held a 1920s themed party where 150 guests each got a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne and a selection of caviar; let's just hope none of them skimped on her 21st birthday gifts! The bubbly wasn't all that was on offer: it's reported the tequila was flowing freely, which may explain why Keira left early the next morning wearing a pig mask.

Basketball superstar Lebron James actually managed to top Keira's bash, arriving in a black Rolls Royce at a private dinner for 65 close friends. He then held a party for a thousand guests who each paid up to 150 to attend, with the proceeds going to charity. And you can't accuse Lebron of being a soft touch: being born on 30 December, he warned guests not to pass off Christmas gifts among his 21st birthday gifts.

Vegas seems to be the home for many celebrity 21sts, though singer Ashlee Simpson went a step further by performing two songs from her new album at her own party. Then again, 21st birthday gifts weren't the only thing on her mind: she was also preparing for an MTV special dedicated to her birthday.

Not all Vegas parties go so smoothly though. Kelly Osbourne didn't expect her 21st birthday gifts to include a $102,000 bill for damages to a hotel suite. But that's what she got after Paris Hilton's then-boyfriend Stavros Niarchos reportedly went on the rampage and smashed valuable furniture. The two singers exchanged barbed words in the press for weeks afterwards.

Lindsay Lohan avoided that type of chaos by cancelling a two-day long celebration in a Vegas nightclub which, at one point, was going to be sponsored by the vodka manufacturer Svedka. That went out the window when Lindsay checked herself into rehab. Instead she held a quiet beach barbecue serving non-alcoholic drinks and bottled water.

Our own British stars are also used to high-profile parties, but none so much as Amir Khan. The Olympic silver medallist had no sooner opened his 21st birthday gifts than he had to go to a jam-packed Bolton Arena where a hometown crowd watched him defend his Commonwealth lightweight title. Fortunately the birthday boy's party wasn't delayed too long: he knocked out challenger Graham Earl in just 72 seconds!

Prince Harry kept a lower profile with a quiet celebration at Windsor Castle. He probably wasn't really in a party mood having recently caused controversy by dressing in a Nazi uniform at a fancy dress do. Hopefully none of his family bought his 21st birthday Gifts with cash as it could have been a strange experience: the Royal Mint marked the occasion by releasing a 5 coin which was the first to feature Harry.

Big Brother star Luke Marsden also had a quiet 21st. He celebrated his birthday in the famous house with a party for him and three fellow housemates. He didn't get any 21st birthday gifts in fact, though he didn't know it, his girlfriend marked the occasion by publicly dumping him after he'd kissed fellow contestant Rebecca Shiner!

Sometimes it feels like celebrities lead lives so outlandish you couldn't write better stories. But it's worth remembering that some fictional characters have also received some unwelcome 21st birthday gifts.

Frederic, the star of the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera The Pirates of Penzance, thought he'd celebrate his 21st birthday by becoming free from the band of pirates he'd spent his entire life with (his mother had misheard the offer and thought she'd apprenticed him as a pilot.) Unfortunately for Frederic, he was born on 29 February and the pirates, sticklers for accuracy, pointed out that he wouldn't earn his freedom for another 63 years!

In the hit offbeat drama Reaper, lead character Sam Oliver's 21st birthday gifts include some unwelcome news from his parents. It turns out they did a deal with the devil by which he cured them of sickness in return for promising him their first-born child and today is collection time!

Both the graphic novel series The Darkness, and the video game of the same name, feature the character Jackie Estacado. His 21st birthday gifts are somewhat overshadowed by the discovery that the New York mafia is attempting to blow him up. However, he manages to avoid assassination thanks to the fact that turning 21 also triggers supernatural powers passed down from his ancestors.
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To explore our range of 21st Birthday Gifts further, please visit our website at http://www.gettingpersonal.co.uk.
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