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Celebs Who Have Given Up Their American Citizenship

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Ozzy Osbourne
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See Ya, Star Spangled Banner

Patriotism isn’t inherently ingrained in every U.S. citizen. There are even celebrities who have enjoyed great success in America who choose to renounce their citizenship in favor of another country. For instance, Black Sabbath rocker Ozzy Osbourne, who holds dual British and American citizenship, recently said he has decided to leave the U.S. for his native England because of gun violence. "I'm fed up with people getting killed every day. God knows how many people have been shot in school shootings," the 73-year-old musician told The Observer. Whether for love, because they prefer another culture, or to avoid millions in taxes, some of the most notable celebrities have turned away from the red, white, and blue.


Related: Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, and Other Celebrities with Dual Citizenship

Tina Turner
Tim Mosenfelder / Archive Photos / Getty Images

Tina Turner

Dubbed the “Queen of Rock ’n’ Roll,” Tina Turner had a prolific career as a singer, songwriter, and actress that spanned more than 50 years. She retired in 2009 and in 2013, after living in Switzerland for 20 years, she gave up her American citizenship and became a naturalized citizen of Switzerland.

 
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Jet Li
Jet Li by (None)

Jet Li

Chinese martial arts actor and film producer Jet Li has starred in his fair share of blockbuster hits including “Romeo Must Die,” “Lethal Weapon 4,” and “The Expendables.” Though he was born in China, Li was a citizen of the United States from 2003 until 2009 when he renounced his citizenship and moved to Singapore. Reports on why Li made his decision indicate that he did so because he preferred the education system in Singapore for his daughters.


Related: Strange and Expensive Celeb Purchases

Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor by (None)

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor was one of the biggest movie stars of the 1950s. She was born in London in 1932 to American parents, gaining her dual citizenship. In an effort to gain tax breaks on her movies, Taylor turned her back on the United States. Unlike other celebrities who have renounced their citizenship, Taylor regained her legal status as an American 12 years later when she married her seventh husband, Sen. John Warner.

T.S. Eliot
T.S. Eliot by (None)

T.S. Eliot

Known as one of the most prominent poets of the 20th century, T.S. Eliot is a key figure in English Modernist poetry — even though he was born in Missouri. As Eliot’s career began unfolding, he saw himself becoming more successful in Great Britain. He moved to England when he was 25, received an Oxford education, and got married. To solidify his British citizenship, he dropped his allegiance to the U.S. when he was 39.

Eduardo Saverin
Eduardo Saverin by Gravesv38 (CC BY-SA)

Eduardo Saverin

Brazilian-born Eduardo Saverin became an American citizen when he was 16. Saverin co-founded Facebook and in 2012, he made headlines when he renounced his U.S. citizenship just before the company went public. He became a citizen of Singapore to save himself millions in taxes from his fortune in Facebook. Even though Saverin was still responsible for federal income taxes and an exit tax, he was able to dodge capital gains on his 53 million shares of Facebook’s stock.

W.E.B. DuBois
Wikimedia Commons

W.E.B. Du Bois

Famous sociologist and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois traveled to Ghana in 1961 when he was 93 to oversee an encyclopedia project. While he was abroad, the United States refused renewal of his passport, causing him to give up his citizenship and become a citizen of Ghana instead.


John Huston
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John Huston

According to accounts from several family members, actor and director John Huston despised life in Hollywood. In 1964, Huston renounced his American citizenship and moved to Ireland, saying he had more of an appreciation for Irish culture than American. Artists also get a tax break in Ireland.

Denise Rich
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Denise Rich

Grammy-nominated songwriter Denise Rich has penned songs for big-name artists including Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, and Chaka Khan. Born in Massachusetts, Rich renounced her American citizenship in 2011 in favor of Austria to be closer to her husband and family.

Ted Arison
Wikimedia Commons

Ted Arison

Ted Arison was born in Tel Aviv and became an American citizen to chase a business career after serving in the Israeli military. After founding the Carnival cruise line, Arison became one of the richest businessmen in the world. Two years after buying the basketball team Miami Heat, Arison renounced his citizenship and returned to Israel to avoid estate taxes.


Yul Brynner
Wikimedia Commons

Yul Brynner

To skate around U.S. tax law, Russian-American actor Yul Brynner worked on short projects and claimed tax-exempt status. The government eventually caught on and threatened to charge him fees and penalties for “overstaying” which would have bankrupted him. Brynner got himself out of hot water by renouncing his American citizenship altogether.

Josephine Baker
Wikimedia Commons

Josephine Baker

Though she was a French entertainer, Josephine Baker was born in the U.S. Baker was also a civil rights activist who was disgusted by racism in America. To make a stand, she refused to perform for segregated audiences, but after growing more and more tired of being subject to racial discrimination, she renounced her citizenship and became a citizen of France.

Terry Gilliam
Terry Gilliam by che (CC BY-SA)

Terry Gilliam

Terry Gilliam was the only member of the Monty Python comedy troupe who was born in America. He spent many years of his life as a dual citizen of both the U.S. and England, but in 2006, he let go of his American roots and became a sole citizen of England to avoid U.S. estate taxes.


Queen Noor of Jordan
Queen Noor of Jordan by Skoll World Forum (CC BY)

Queen Noor of Jordan

When she married King Hussein of Jordan, Noor Al-Hussein traded her American status for Jordanian citizenship and a full-fledged royal, political life. Though she lost her position as queen in 1999 when her husband died, she has never regained her status as a U.S. citizen.