Obama’s scaled-back 60th birthday bash: Celeb arrivals begin to show who’s in, who’s out

A number of A-list celebrities made the cut after former President Obama scaled back his nearly 500-person birthday party guest list amid concerns about the delta variant of the coronavirus, according to reports. 

Seen arriving at Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts on Friday were stars such as John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union and Don Cheadle, a day before the Saturday bash is expected to take place at the former president’s $12 million home, according to the Daily Mail. 

While power couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé remained on the list, awkwardly, many other guests – including Larry David, Conan O’Brien, David Axelrod and some former White House staffers – were asked not to attend. 

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, seen in Hollywood, California, on Feb. 26, 2017, were reportedly still invited to former President Obama’s scaled-down birthday bash. (Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Amid pressure over the virus and potentially bad optics, the Obamas had said they were scaling the party down to just “family and close friends” but a local told the Mail the ex-president’s definition may be different from others.’

Obama turned 60 on Wednesday.


“His close friends apparently include his golfing buddies, politicians, celebrities. Those people are here on the island and I doubt he’ll be turning them all away,” the source said. “He wants people to think this is going to be small and intimate, but I don’t think we have the same definition of intimate.”

“He wants people to think this is going to be small and intimate, but I don’t think we have the same definition of intimate.”

— Martha’s Vineyard resident

Poet and local Rose B. Styron told The New York Times many residents were happy the party was toned down. 

“A lot of islanders were very upset at the prospect of hundreds of people coming for the party. Everyone is very nervous about getting together at all.” She said she has been invited to a Friday evening event kicking off Obama’s birthday. 

The Obamas' home on Martha's Vineyard. (Realtor.com; Pete Souza/Official White House Photo)

The Obamas’ home on Martha’s Vineyard. (Realtor.com; Pete Souza/Official White House Photo)

Resident and columnist Richard Taylor said he thought the concerns over the party were overblown. 


“He has 20-plus acres of land, and everyone was going to be outside,” he told The Times. “You’re dealing with a sophisticated crowd.” 

Tents have been erected around Obama’s property and chairs and couches bedeck his spacious lawn for the last of the months-long preparations, according to the Mail. Guests will reportedly enjoy music from The Roots and others, dancing and lavish meat-free catering.   

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