Many of us can only dream about the devastation a hurricane can have on our home, while others have to live through it. Being rich and famous doesn’t stop the weather from affecting your life, and country music legend Kenny Chesney found that out firsthand.
Taking a direct hit
Kenny Chesney’s luxury Caribbean house in the island of St. John, part of the Virgin Islands, was ravaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017, and it left its mark on the star’s home. Just imagine the impact that had on him.
In the past, Chesney has never been afraid to show his love for the beach. He’s often pictured hanging out by the sand or on the water, so when he made enough money, he made his dream come true. He bought himself this amazing house to live in and soak up the sun.
Before the storm came along and destroyed the house, this is what the main room was like. The doors and windows opened right out onto the pool area, which allowed Chesney to transport himself to beach life in an instant.
When he visited the island, this was where Chesney could take time to unwind with a book or a film before heading out to the pool area. The room is spacious, so Chesney was able to host parties both inside and out at his retreat in St. John.
Not his first rodeo
This wasn’t Kenny’s first home in the paradise of St. John. Kenny has a particular affinity towards this island located in the Caribbean Sea. Back in 2010, one of Kenny’s previous properties was listed for sale, and allegedly he had sold properties on the island even before that!
Apparently, Kenny wanted a change of scenery, but not too drastic! Around St. John there are plenty of amazing views, and perhaps Kenny was just ready to wake up in the morning and see something different.
For example, if Chesney didn’t feel like hanging out inside his luxurious mansion at all, there was somewhere he could go that would guarantee his troubles disappeared. His backyard was basically an idyllic island paradise, so he could just bring a hammock down to the sand and listen to the waves as he rocked himself to sleep.
It’s a far cry from the hustle and bustle of the music industry and the perfect getaway for Chesney to unwind from being on the road all the time.
Chesney was fortunate enough to be away from his home when Hurricane Irma reached the Virgin Islands, but some of his friends were there. The country music star thought that because his home had been built with stone and storm-proof windows…
…His friends could seek sanctuary from the storm. A video emerged on social media of people hiding out in Chesney’s home as the trees outside were practically doubled over. Chesney said that the people sheltering in his home were able to find a stable closet to hide in.
A full house
In fact, not only were people hiding in the closet of Kenny’s house to avoid the storm, but there were people in the basement as well. All in all, according to Kenny, there was a total of 17 people seeking shelter from the storm in his house!
Moreover, several of those people brought their dogs with them, so it’s safe to say that Kenny’s house was protecting over 20 lives. While Kenny’s house was certainly beautiful, it also became extremely functional as well.
It was just as well that the people hiding from the storm in Chesney’s house were able to find something strong to protect them. Once Hurricane Irma had passed through the Virgin Islands, there wasn’t much left standing.
That includes Chesney’s house, which had basically been flattened by the raging weather. When asked about the damage Chesney said it was “biblical in nature,” and that his house was “just simply gone.” Despite his hopes that his home was storm-proof, Hurricane Irma was just too strong.
Unfortunately for Chesney, his dream home on an island wouldn’t last forever as Hurricane Irma had other ideas. Irma was one of the strongest storms to hit the United States and the Caribbean in years as the Category 5 storm ravaged people’s lives.
Over 100 people lost their lives due to the storm from areas all over the region. Mainland United States was also hit by the storm as parts of Florida had to be shut down while Hurricane Irma was raging.
Not caring about the house
Of course, Chesney would have been sad that his home was no longer standing, but he had more pressing concerns once he learned the storm hit. Chesney says he feels a connection to the people who live on the Virgin Islands.
The country singer believes the place and people there mean much more to him than his house ever could. Things looked bad enough from the safety of the mainland, but when Chesney got out to where his home had stood, he knew he needed to do something.
Doing everything possible
In the aftermath, Chesney vowed to do everything he could to help the community try to rebuild. He formed a foundation called Love for Love City, which solely aimed at getting St. John back on its feet again. The star welcomed donations, but that was just the beginning.
Chesney wanted to help the people living in St. John and the Virgin Islands to completely rebuild. The singer wanted to find a way to relieve some of the stress that people were going through in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
A shy guy
If Kenny was going to use his platform to do some good for the sake of St. John, it would mean he would have to bring himself to the forefront of the media. This was especially difficult for him to do, because typically Kenny likes to keep his personal life quiet.
Nevertheless, Kenny understood that this was no time to care about his privacy. Kenny said that there were people in desperate need of his help, and so he would do everything he could to help them.
Chesney wanted to make sure as many people as possible knew how badly hit the Virgin Islands had been after Hurricane Irma. He did whatever possible to draw attention and took to the news stations to make his foundation known about.
Whatever money he could raise was going to help the people who lived on the islands, no matter how big or small the amount was. The area is still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, and the effects are still apparent on the islands.
For years Chesney had owned properties in St. John, but right after the storm he said he felt helpless. Chesney said he had never been to war, but he could feel the total devastation that had been left by the hurricane.
As Chesney approached the island by helicopter, he said he couldn’t stop himself from weeping. The devastation was just too much for him to handle, and he felt as though his heart broke seeing how many people’s lives had been destroyed.
Lending a hand
That’s when Chesney decided he wouldn’t just throw money at the situation, he was going to help rebuild the community personally. Not only did he release an album titled ‘Songs for the Saints,’ but Chesney got his hands dirty in rebuilding.
The singer got stuck in and helped clear out fallen buildings. He put his helicopter to good use and said as soon as he was cleared to land, he was flying supplies “three or four times per week.”
Born on the beach
Chesney explained that he spent many years on the island before he ever became famous. He says he has many friends on the island who knew him before he had all the fame and money. Those friends are so close to Chesney he even considers them like family.
That’s why he was so willing to let them hide out in his home when news of Hurricane Irma heading in their direction broke. The easy-going lifestyle seemed to suit Chesney well, and it’s a place he holds dear in his heart.
It wasn’t just the people of St. John who were affected by the storm, there were many animals also struggling due to the damage caused. Chesney confirmed that just days after Irma came through St. John, his dog Cookie passed away.
She was 18 and had lived her entire life on the island, but Chesney wanted to help as many animals as possible. Chesney felt the island was no place for dogs for a while and helped relocate over 1,400 dogs to the mainland to find new loving homes.
Kenny’s new family
Kenny had spent quite a number of years getting to know the people of St. John during the times that he stayed there for vacation. Nevertheless, the amount of time and energy that he put into fixing the community after it had been so destructed by the hurricane really embedded Kenny even further into the community.
By helping the locals get access to supplies, saving their animals, and rebuilding their homes, Kenny fully asserted he was committed to the island – officially a member of the St. John family.
Sitting on the foundations
There really wasn’t much left of Chesney’s house in St. John. After the country star had helped as many people as possible on the Virgin Islands, he turned his attention to his own home. Every part of the house seemingly came down, and the only thing left was the foundations.
This is where Chesney took some time to reflect on everything that had happened, not only to his home, but to the people who lived through the terrible storm.
Safe in Nashville
Although this Chesney property was in St. John, it’s not the only one he has. Chesney was safe and sound at his home in Franklin, Nashville when Hurricane Irma ravaged parts of the United States and the Caribbean.
Here he could come up with a plan of action to try and get to St. John as soon as possible. Chesney wanted to leave Nashville as soon as possible to get to St. John but was told he had to wait until the runways were cleared of debris.
Life of luxury
Judging by the pictures of the bathroom in Chesney’s Nashville mansion, he was at least able to be very comfortable during Hurricane Irma. The singer may have been too preoccupied to enjoy the luxury of his Nashville home though as he worried about his friends on the Virgin Islands.
Chesney knew his friends were hiding out in his home, but for six days, he didn’t hear a thing from them. The power lines had gone out, and Chesney had no way of checking if they were alright.
Another Nashville spot
That Franklin home isn’t the only property Chesney has had in Nashville over the years, and this water-front home was where he lived first. The home offered amazing views of the water, but reports claimed that it was prone to flooding.
Flooding was so bad in this area that Chesney’s publicist thought this house would eventually be condemned. The water level had reached beyond the ground floor, and this was possibly the first house Chesney lost to Mother Nature.
New home in Malibu?
Although it hasn’t been confirmed by Chesney, there are reports suggesting the country star has bought himself a new home in Malibu. Naturally it is close to the water, and in fact, it seems to back right onto the beach.
We know that Chesney loves the beach, so this spot seems like the perfect vacation home for him now that his St. John home is gone. It’s not known yet whether Chesney will try to rebuild the home he once had in the Virgin Islands, or whether he’ll move on.
Born to perform
Although Chesney has had many properties in the past, the one place he truly feels at home is on the stage. This is where he’s at his best, doing his thing and entertaining thousands of adoring fans in arenas.
People love the country star, and his popularity only seems to be getting bigger and bigger the longer his career goes on. His ‘good vibes’ feeling is perhaps best summed up by his album ‘No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem,’ as he seems to fully embrace beach life.
In 2014 Kenny Chesney took his love of the beach to a new level when he threw a huge beach party on the Florida-Alabama border. It’s estimated around 40,000 people showed up to the event, making it one of the most popular beach events ever thrown.
People camped out overnight to watch the star perform some of his biggest hits, and they weren’t disappointed. The best thing about the concert was that it was completely free for all of the people who showed up.
After Hurricane Irma hit, the entire island of St. Johns looked like it was some sort of post-apocalyptic world. Kenny Chesney had no chance of returning to his home for a vacation any time soon, not that he really wanted to.
Instead, he focused all his efforts on helping the community where his home once stood to rebuild. His main goal was to help the people and the dogs first, then he would worry about his destroyed home after that.
The work continues
The work to bring St. John and all of the Virgin Islands back to their former glory continues in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Some houses are still relying on blue tarp to keep the rain from getting in as the rebuilding process drags on.
Despite Chesney’s best efforts, the islands are still struggling to return to their former glory. His vacation home was flattened, but luckily for the singer, he has others he can live in. The same cannot be said for those who call these islands their permanent homes.
Since the disastrous hurricane took place, Chesney has on occasion been asked if he suffers from survivor’s guilt. And that is a bit of a tricky question to answer for him.
Survivor’s guilt is the psychological term used to describe feelings of guilt survivors of accidents or acts of violence can feel – simply because they survived, and others didn’t. Chesney has admitted he has felt this to a certain degree, but also knows the only option he has is moving forward.
Not being there
Chesney mostly felt guilty over not having been on the island as the hurricane took place. He wasn’t there, fighting through it, like so many other who live on, and love, the island just as he does.
But you can’t change the past, and he is aware he is also very fortunate to have been spared the terror of riding out a hurricane. These storms might look cool on film, but the reality is something else entirely.
St. John and the entire Caribbean has slowly but surely started returning to its former glory, which is in large part thanks to Chesney’s Love for Love City, and other similar initiatives.
But he fully realizes it will take more than a couple of years until the areas are completely restored and healed from the traumatic events. And what’s also nerve-wracking is there are always the possible threats of new hurricanes approaching the islands, to wreck new havoc.
The two-year-anniversary of Hurricane Irma has just come and gone, but for Chesney and other island inhabitants, those disastrous days always feel close. The apocalyptic reality everyone woke up to is not something that’s easy to forget.
And there is constantly the threat of new hurricanes arriving, destroying the massive progress that has been made since Irma passed by. But if there’s one humbling lesson Chesney learned from the hurricane, it’s to value community and never give up hope.
Say what you want about disasters – they do bring people together, and despite the trauma and sadness, bring out the beast in each other. That’s exactly what Chesney learned through all his hard work with the volunteers in Love for Love City, and he continues to be grateful for that lesson.
And – he continues to pour his heart and soul into his music. He wrote his most recent single Tip Of My Tongue with a new pal of his in the music industry, Ed Sheeran.
Not gone for long
Kenny just finished his 2019 music tour, and is definitely in need a vacation. With no reports indicating that he has built a new vacation home for himself in St. John, Kenny has undoubtably found himself a new vacation spot for the time being.
While there are more important things for Kenny to accomplish in St. John right now, such as rebuilding the infrastructure, we are certain that in no time at all, Kenny will be in the place he calls his second home.
An inspiring performer
Finishing the 2019 tour, Chesney’s fellow singer Caroline Jones, who joined him onstage a few times, has nothing but positive things to say about the man. It seems that both on and off stage Kenny keeps the good vibes around him, and everyone can feel that.
Jones said in a recent interview that Kenny’s “consistent energy” was incredibly inspiring to her. She said one could really see, looking from the side, “how hard he works behind the scenes.” She complimented him further, saying that he’s “one of the best performers [she’s] ever seen.”
‘Get it out’
The events following Hurricane Irma were described by Chesney in a 2018 interview as “a chaotic time for everyone.” In order to figure out something inside all this chaos, Chesney apparently started writing the songs for his recent album.
He said he just had to “get it out,” let “whatever was in here out,” while pointing at his heart. According to the singer, he didn’t plan on making the record at all, in the first place. The storm “lit a fire” in his heart and soul, which got him to start writing.
Part of the healing process
He felt that the songs in Songs to the Saints were part of the healing process in the aftermath of the events. While recording the album in the studio, he kept thinking about what the people suffering the event deserve and what he wants them to get with the songs.
He said that “it was so important” to him that these songs will be part of the “healing that they deserve.” He posted on his social media account the interview, followed by warm appreciative comments from followers, saying he is an inspiration to everyone.
Heart wide open
In another interview about the songs from Songs to the Saints, he described the meaningful people in his life. He admitted that the line “what good is living a life if all you do is stand in one place,” brought him back to the time he moved a lot, and the fateful decision to move to St. John.
He said that back then, his heart was “wide open” to meeting new people and let them in, something which might not have happened had he done it more recently, “due to the nature” of his lifestyle. In the end, he was able to surround himself with some great people, with whom he felt like he belonged.
The love of his fans
Ironically enough, one of his late May 2019 shows was delayed due to a storm. For 15 minutes, the stadium was dark and only quiet chants of “Kenny” sounded around it. But Chesney being Chesney, didn’t disappoint his expectant fans.
He came out on stage with his wild energy and amazing vibes, apologized briefly for “the delay” and delivered 100 percent, like only he knows how. Because despite everything he went through, Kenny knows the love of his fans is part of his healing, too.