The celebrities are attempting to cohabitate with us. I repeat: the celebrities are attempting to cohabitate with us. Make no sudden movements and back slowly toward the nearest lockable room; we’ll have to wait there quietly until their Airbnb deals expire, and hope for the best. Elsewhere, Katy Perry has somehow gotten herself into another housing-related legal battle with the Platonic ideal of a person whom you don’t want to be in a publicized housing-related legal battle with (the first time it was elderly nuns, now it’s an elderly Army veteran), and Jeff Bezos…well, he’s buying swaths of property in Florida, which I suppose is his right as an ill-reputed billionaire. Let’s get into the news.
- Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher announced on August 15 that they’re opening up their Santa Barbara, California, beach house to strangers as an Airbnb rental. Well, one set of strangers, that is, for one night only. You may remember Gwyneth Paltrow announced a similar deal recently, regarding her Montecito guesthouse in the same region. What do the celebrities want with us? Is it an Alien-like plot for world domination that will leave several noncelebrities incubating a tiny Mila Kunis within them? Or is it a headline-grabbing publicity stunt from a struggling short-term rental company? Only time will tell…
Someone who is not renting out their home, even though they have a few and can’t possibly be using them all at once: Kylie Jenner. The Daily Mail got a look at the construction site in the Hidden Hills, California, gated community/celebrity enclave that will eventually become her third mansion. The massive estate, which sits on five acres Jenner bought for $15 million in 2020, is coming along, but it’s still too soon to tell if it will take on the style of her nearby family’s beloved modern farmhouses.
Pamela Anderson opened up her home in Ladysmith, British Columbia, to Aritzia in a photoshoot for its fall 2023 campaign. The stated goal of the collaboration is to celebrate both Anderson and the brand’s Canadian roots. You can see her mowing the lawn in heels and hacking away at a bush with garden shears in a little black dress; the photos are almost, but not quite, relatable. But can we see more of the house?
Elsewhere in Canada, David Beckham and Austin Butler are lifting a felled tree. The two were on vacation with their families in Muskoka, a luxury Canadian lake retreat that has been beloved by the rich and famous since the ’30s, when the Rockefellers and Carnegies were among those who flocked to build mansions around its lakes. Maybe Austin Butler heard about the spot from Elvis costar Tom Hanks, who owns property there. Or maybe he heard about it from fellow Muskoka homeowners Steven Spielberg and Justin Bieber. Why is the area growing in popularity lately? Because it’s beautiful, private, and because "cottages" (meaning: lakefront mansions) there function as high-yielding investments on the rental market. Finally, a side hustle for Tom Hanks.
Jeff Bezos doesn’t own a home in Muskoka yet, but he did just buy a $68 million mansion in Indian Creek, a man-made barrier island nicknamed ‘Billionaire Bunker’ in the Miami area that Ivanka Trump and Tom Brady also call home. Bezos’s new waterfront property sits on 2.8 acres. According to a Bloomberg source, Bezos is intent to buy other properties in the area. Okay. (Does he know about climate change?)
Tom Ford paid $52 million for a historic East Hampton estate where Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis spent her childhood summers. It’s one in a succession of major real estate deals Ford has made since selling his fashion label to Estée Lauder; first purchasing a modern Palm Beach mansion for $51 million last December, then selling it before buying, in an off-market transaction, an even larger home in the same area. The Hamptons house is 8,500 square feet and spans seven acres. Must be nice, even at a price point that is almost double what the home’s last owner paid for it in 2018 ($24 million).
As the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes continue, some of Hollywood is feeling the financial toll, like Pose star Billy Porter, who says he had to put his home on the market. "I don’t know when we’re gonna go back [to work]," he told Evening Standard. "The life of an artist, until you make f***-you money—which I haven’t made yet—is still check-to-check."
Maybe Katy Perry will buy it? She and Orlando Bloom are currently involved in a legal battle with 83-year-old Army veteran Carl Westcott (father-in-law of former Real Housewives of Dallas star Kameron Westcott) over his Montecito home, which they put an offer on three years ago. Westcott had only moved in two months prior to Perry and Bloom expressing their interest, and had just undergone back surgery. In court documents obtained by the New York Post, Westcott claimed he "lacked the mental capacity to understand the nature and probable consequences of the contract," due to being under the influence of post-surgical opioids and painkillers. He attempted to renege a week after signing, when he became "mentally clear again." The celebrity couple increased their offer, but Westcott refused, saying he "gave it his deepest consideration, but that he is in the final few years of his life and he cannot sell his home." Perry and Bloom still want it, though. And Perry tends to get her way—you saw what happened to that nun.
As a palate cleanser before I leave you, please enjoy Michelle Obama reminiscing about the refuge of her childhood kitchen on the podcast Your Mama’s Kitchen. "When I hear about [families] who don’t eat dinner together, I can’t envision that," she said. "You have to sit at the table. There was a process, a ritual of dinnertime. All four of us sat together, we’d say our prayer, sometimes the prayer would change but we would always bow our heads and say a prayer."
Top photos courtesy (clockwise from top left): Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images; Aritzia; Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images.
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