Why A Bunch of Nuns Hate Katy Perry
And 7 other celebrity real estate scandals
Stars: They have money, fame, power--and major real estate woes. From Katy Perry’s run-in with angry nuns to Bianca Jagger’s toxic mold, there’s nothing but headaches when famous folks try to find a place to call home.
Nuns’s the Word: Katy Perry
Last week, the L.A. Times reported that the rainbow-tressed performer is looking to buy some sweet hilltop property in L.A. for $14.5 million, all cash. The only problem? The abode is a former Catholic convent whose nuns don’t want to sell to the singer after seeing her videos online. In a Hail Mary to win the gals over, Perry dressed conservatively, visited the sisters and tried to persuade them by showing off her “Jesus” tattoo. Jury’s still out on whether it worked.
Water World: David Copperfield
This spring, the magician was in Las Vegas, performing his nightly act, when the plumbing for the rooftop pool in his four-story NYC apartment burst, soaking his walls and floors and dripping all the way down to 20 of his neighbors’ considerably less fancy apartments. According to his rep, the illusionist’s priceless antique arcade pieces were unharmed.
No Pictures Please: Barbra Streisand
In 2003, attorneys for the wealthy entertainer sued a photographer and photo website for posting an aerial shot of Streisand’s Malibu home, along with 12,000 other pictures of California’s eroding coastline. The images were meant to influence policymakers, and had been downloaded only six times when the suit was filed. But after word got out about the kerfuffle, more than 420,000 people flocked to the website in a single month, thus drawing way more attention than it ever would have without Streisand’s intervention.
If a Tree Falls in Beverly Hills: Billy Corgan
Last year, a giant windstorm blew a large eucalyptus tree off the Smashing Pumpkins frontman’s yard and across the street onto Rebecca Gayheart and Eric Dane’s lawn. Insurance paid for damages, but the couple was reportedly so annoyed by Corgan’s alleged lack of remorse, that they sued to have a bunch more of his trees cut down preemptively. Corgan complied and recently put his three-bedroom home with guesthouse (and unknown number of extant trees) on the market for $4.95 million.
Bitch, I’m the Hamptons: Madonna
The pop-music superstar recently purchased a plot of land zoned exclusively for agriculture next to her new $4.9 million Bridgehampton estate. Madge has promised to create a working nursery on the land, but locals are outraged that she paid an estimated one-fifth of residential market value and is getting deep tax cuts for the whole operation.
Murder, Bribery and Scientology: William Randolph Hearst
The beautiful, sprawling Celebrity Centre of the Church of Scientology is one of the organization’s glittering jewels. But its background is murky: In 1924, the newspaper magnate is said to have signed the 100+ room mansion over to the widow of Thomas Ince as hush money for Hearst's shooting of Ince in a jealous rage while the group was traveling on his yacht.
Paper Town: Kim Basinger
In 1989, the Academy Award winner made headlines when she and some business partners bought an entire town. The plan was to make Braselton, Georgia, a resort destination, business center and film studio. (Locals were not quite so into this idea.) Five years later, and on the verge of bankruptcy, the actress sold Braselton at a considerable loss.
Toxic Accusations: Bianca Jagger
Mick's first ex-wife sued her landlord in 2003 for $20 million in damages. The reason? Mold, she claimed, which had taken over her Park Avenue apartment and caused her myriad (alleged) health problems. The case dragged on for more than a decade, and the Jaggers ended up owing the landlord more than $600K in rent and legal fees. (The NY state court ruled that she wasn’t eligible to live in the rent-controlled apartment in the first place, since she’s in the U.S. on a temporary visa.)