Richard Branson’s life – life-changing gift, island at bargain price, sad loss

Richard Branson is one of world's richest businessmen of all time after he started up the Virgin Group Empire – which began in 1972.

He could be considered as one of the most envied people on the planet given his huge success, riches and his own famous private island Necker.

The tycoon has certainly got a keen eye for a deal after he snapped up the island in September 1978 for the bargain price of £130,000 – which was way less than the £6million for sale tag.

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While Richard has seemingly lucked out on many occasions during his 40-year spanning career, he has also suffered much misfortune too.

Here, Daily Star discovers the highs and lows of Richard Branson's impressive life.

Mum gave him £100 which started Virgin

In January 2021, Richard was left heartbroken after his mum Eve had tragically died from Covid-19 at the age of 96.

Rather than mourn her loss, he wanted to celebrate her life and add thanks for everything she had done for him.

Giving praise, Richard revealed that if it wasn't for his mum, he would have never have made his millions.

Back in the 60s, Eve had stumbled across a necklace lying in the road and decided to hand it in to the police.

As nobody had come forward to claim the item, the police allowed her to keep it – with Eve selling the necklace for £100.

Rather than keep the money for herself, she gifted it to Richard to kick start his career.

The business-tycoon explained in article written on his Virgin website: It is no exaggeration to say I owe my career to mum.

"One day in the late Sixties mum saw a necklace lying on the road near Shamley Green and took it to the police station.

"After three months nobody had claimed it so the police told her she could keep it.

"She came up to London, sold the necklace and gave me the money. Without that £100, I could never have started Virgin."

The birth of Virgin

In 1970 the entrepreneur opened up a record shop on London's Oxford Street – unbeknown to him what success would come knocking at the door.

Two years on, he married his first wife – who was believed to be a designer – Kristen Tomassi.

That same year Richard's business began to thrive as he became a fully fledged label and putting Virgin Records on the map.

Richard makes his first million

In 1973, Richard made some groundbreaking deals with some huge celebrities who were hoping to crack the thriving pop world.

The Virgin owner hit the big time when he signed Mike Oldfield who went on to have a hit number one with Tubular Bells which remained in the charts for well over a year.

He also landed contracts with the Sex Pistols and Paula Abdul which led to the savvy star becoming a reported millionaire at the age of just 23.

The Virgin owner makes epic purchase

Already a millionaire but looking to make a further advance on his fortune, Richard made a deal like no other when he scooped up his very own private island.

Necker Island, which is now his home was on the market for the asking price of $6 million – however savvy Richard paid no where near what was wanted.

He swooped up the island for the bargain price of £130,000 after he'd agreed to build a Virgin resort.

The loss of baby Clare

The same year that Richard purchased his very own island, he also married his second wife, Joan Templeman.

However, the newly-weds suffered heartache when they welcomed their first child Clare Sarah Branson into the world but four days after birth, she tragically passed away.

Clare had been born three months premature and had to be kept in a hospital incubator and sadly arrived too early to survive.

The couple, who have been married for decades, then went on to have two more children, Holly and Sam.

Sir Richard said in a past interview with Daily Mail: "The mending process takes time and it didn’t really start until Holly was born 18 months later … but I suspect for the mother it’s never completely completed."

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