This year, we'll save you from the obnoxious "Celebrities: They're Just Like Us" spiel. In fact, while the rest of us spent the better part of 2011 trying to extract ourselves from the muck that is the apparently never-ending housing crisis, our favorite celebs were busy playing millionaire Monopoly.
Whether it's flinging multiple properties on the market like they're having some sort of yard sale, selling their palatial digs to fellow A-listers, or renting out their luxury homes at exorbitant prices, it's clear that this year, celebrities' relationships with their houses were about as bipolar as their ... well, relationships. Below, we've outlined some 2011 celebrity real estate trends that we hope you'll find as amusing and mildly infuriating as we did.
While we humble plebeians struggle to scrape together a down payment, begging our moneyed baby boomer parents for a permanent loaner, celebrities have spent their days floating from manse to manse, throwing the millionaire version of a yard sale. Case in point, our favorite "Friends" funnyman Matthew Perry.
In the short span of three months, the actor has put three separate LA mansions on the market -- while closing escrow on yet another Hollywood Hills mansion in that same time period (an $8.65 million stunner, so don't go thinking that he's selling because he's broke). The first to hit the market was his $2.9 million Sierra Towers condo in WeHo, the second, a stunning, 3,777 square foot Malibu contemporary, and the third, a palatial $5.695 million Hollywood home that he bought in just 2008 (bored easily, perhaps?). This excessive selling has even the experts wondering whether Chandler Bing simply has way too much time on his hands.
Similarly in 2011, "Die Hard" star Bruce Willis put three of his stunning properties on the market. Two of them in Sun Valley, Idaho, (one his private ski retreat, the other a star-hopping restaurant) and one at Trump Place in New York City, which apparently sold at a very un-John McLane-like loss in July. But again, don't go thinking that he's broke. Far from it, in fact; we're told that he's just so caught up making blockbusters that he "barely has time" to vacation in Idaho. He does, however, seem to have enough time to look for more properties -- his listing agent David Salvatore says that he and his model girlfriend are currently busy looking for yet another property in New York City.
In my opinion? Willis and Perry should've saved themselves some time and just swapped houses. Which brings me to my next point.
Jennifer Aniston once joked that celebrities existed in a secret land "far, far away" from reality. Like a rare breed of uber-human living in their own separate, secret la-la land (not too far from the truth, actually). That would explain, then, our favorite celebs' propensity towards keeping it all "in the family."
Take for example, the celeb-to-celeb home transactions this year. After Aniston and Brad Pitt divorced in 2008, Pitt purchased a 4,088-square-foot Malibu manse situated right on the scenic Encinal Bluffs. This December, Pitt sold it to none other than his close buddy Ellen Degeneres ("We've known each other over twenty years," Pitt reminisces fondly during his latest interview on her talkshow). It is perhaps this closeness that brought Pitt to sell his home to DeGeneres and her wife, Portia De Rossi (pictured) for only $12 million. Pitt had originally put it on the market in September for $13.75 million.
Also in the Golden State last month, "The Big Bang Theory's" wildly popular Simon Helberg scooped up a stunning 4,179-square-foot Mediterranean-style villa in Los Feliz for $2.9 million. Its previous owner? None other than his former CBS chum, Mr. "Two and Half Men" himself. Charlie Sheen bought the house in 2007 with his then-wife Brooke Mueller for only $2.575 million -- making a decent chunk of change off his CBS buddy. One might say he's on a "Winning" streak.
On the other side of the country, sources reveal that music moguls Beyonce and Jay Z are showing interest in friend and fellow pop star star Ricky Martin's 9,491-square-foot Miami pad. The $12.5 million oceanfront home boasts seven bedrooms and 10 bathrooms -- perfect for housing the army of kids that Beyonce wants to have. No confirmation yet on whether the power couple will actually be buying Martin's pad or not, but if they do, they'll be neighbors with Miami Heat stars (and Jay Z's buddies) Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.
Celebrities as Landlords
If you've ever dreamed of living like an A-lister for a minute, then 2011 was the year to do it. Celebrities like "Baywatch" babe Pamela Anderson famously put her Malibu Colony home up for rent on Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO) -- for a cool $20,000 a week, or $75,000 a month. Apparently, despite the sprawling contemporary being her "humble stab at perfection," the blonde bombshell prefers to spend her time in Canada, where she was born and raised. If you, like us, are wondering what a $20,000-a-week rental in Malibu looks like, don't worry -- we have pictures.
Over in the Winfrey City, er, Windy City, on the same month, Oprah announced that she, too, would be leasing out her sprawling, 4,607 square-foot Streeterville co-op. The asking price? $15,000 a month. The queen of daytime television bought the three-bedroom Chicago co-op back in 2006 for $5.6 million but apparently, like Pammy, prefers to live elsewhere -- in her case, another duplex condo in a different building a few blocks away. Though we can't imagine why. With 10-foot ceilings, fireplaces, a library and a wine room, this one sounds pretty damn good to us (see gallery below). The talk show queen's no stranger to the rental market, though; earlier this year, Lady O put her other mansion, in Greenwich, Conn., up for rent for a cool $24,500 a month. The property's previous tenant? None other than her BFF and NBC's newest star, Gayle King.