This month Haute Living sat down with Sir Richard Branson, the man behind the Virgin Group, which includes behemoths such as Virgin Music, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Air. Branson, a larger-than-life personality who founded his first business at just 16, opens up about the dramatic event that brought his family together with Academy Award-winning actress Kate Winslet. While vacationing on Branson’s private Necker Island, Winslet bonded with the mogul’s family after a fire erupted, including Branson’s nephew Ned Rocknroll. However, Branson downplays his role as matchmaker. “It was less me and more of the great fire that swept through our house that got the two of them together,” Branson told Haute Living. “Through all the trauma of that, the fire and Kate rescuing my mother, Ned and Kate somehow fell madly in love and got married and are incredibly happy together. It’s a whirlwind romance that took place on a windswept, fiery day. It all worked out pretty well in the end, I’d say.”
At 62, Branson is busier than ever, with new domestic routes in the United States and some decidedly non-domestic routes. “We’ll be taking people into space at the end of this year,” Branson said. “We’re the only company in the world that’s doing this, so from a brand point of view, it will be a spectacular move for Virgin and will have a wonderful halo effect on all the other Virgin companies.”
Also in this issue, Will Smith opens up about working with his son Jaden on the upcoming film After Earth; and French chef Ludo Lefebvre about his new eatery Trois Mec and professional dance’s most recognizable face, Nigel Lythgoe.