Early in her career, Ellen DeGeneres just wanted to be able to have a home to call her own. Little did she know that her first real estate purchase would lead to an extremely profitable passion. “The first thing I did when I made money was buy a house. And then…” she recalled to Architectural Digest in 2011, as her wife, Portia de Rossi, quipped, “Another one, and another one, and another one, and another one.”
That abode, a Spanish bungalow in West Hollywood, was also DeGeneres’s initial experience with flipping houses—although she has said she doesn’t consider the phrase to be an accurate description of what she does. “I fixed it up and later sold it,” the designer of her namesake ED Ellen DeGeneres brand told the Los Angeles Times in 2015. “That was when I realized that if you make some improvements, you can make money.”
“Make money” may be a slight understatement. Just in 2020, DeGeneres and De Rossi sold a Tudor-style home to Ariana Grande for $6.75 million—after buying it for a little more than half that price. Months later, they offloaded another home for $33.3 million, and already in 2021, they sold a Beverly Hills dwelling for an estimated $47 million. Despite often making a significant profit, DeGeneres insists that cash isn’t what drives her to renovate and sell these extravagant homes. “I’ve never bought to sell. I always say, ‘This is it. I’m never moving,’” she told The New York Times in 2014. “People laugh at me now.”
When speaking to AD about her new furniture design competition show recently, DeGeneres declined to confirm exactly how many homes she’s owned over the years, but she did say this: “The problem is I keep seeing houses I like. I see one that has potential and I love putting my own twist on it.”
Here, AD looks back at some of the couple’s most memorable real estate transactions.
The same year she began hosting The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the budding real estate tycoon bought a Hollywood Hills home for $6 million. She sold the four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom property to Will Ferrell three years later for $9 million.
DeGeneres and De Rossi reportedly began their romance this year, and the comedian also paid $1.275 million for a midcentury-style Hollywood Hills home nicknamed “the tree house,” due to its 2,000 square feet of outdoor living spaces. The Finding Nemo star reportedly sold the two-bedroom, two-bathroom property for $2.1 million one year later to late actor Heath Ledger. It was then owned by Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson, who put it on the market in 2019.
Within the year of 2007, the women acquired a mansion in Montecito, California, for $15.75 million and sold it for $20 million. The property in question reportedly went on to be used as the location of Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian’s lavish televised wedding in 2011 (like DeGeneres and De Rossi’s ownership of the home, their marriage was over within the same calendar year).
This is when the duo really began to ramp up their real estate activity, paying $29 million for a 9,200-square-foot property, and then buying two surrounding homes to incorporate into the estate, which Architectural Digest later toured. "It was a really beautiful property and we loved it there,” DeGeneres wrote in her book, Home. “In fact, we got married there.” (They tied the knot in August 2008.) By 2012, they had sold the compound to Ryan Seacrest for $37 million.
As if 2008 wasn’t busy enough, the Emmy-winner and the Arrested Development actress also picked up a horse ranch in Thousand Oaks, California, for $8.5 million. After renovating the property, they sold it for $10.85 million in 2013. “Everyone thought it would take me (many) years to get it in shape,” DeGeneres wrote of the ranch in Home. “But it actually took me 12 short months.”
The couple scooped up Brad Pitt’s former Malibu home for $12 million and sold it one year later for $13 million.
Their next purchase was the Skouras residence, designed by architect Hal Levitt, for $17.4 million. They sold it in 2013 for $20 million.
DeGeneres and De Rossi added a Wallace Frost–designed Montecito estate to their portfolio for $26.5 million in 2013. Five years later, they sold the property, with a sunken tennis court, a badminton court, and a lap swimming pool, for $34 million.
In another quick flip, they paid almost $40 million for an A. Quincy Jones–designed Holmby Hills home (called the Brody House), and then sold the lavish property for $55 million just six months later. The buyer was Napster founder Sean Parker, according to the Los Angeles Times.
That same year, the couple shelled out $13.2 million for a pair of adjacent condos in Los Angeles, a move DeGeneres described in Home as “a giant experiment.” Three years later, they sold the residences for $11.85 million.
The condos might have sold at a loss, but the pair saw a significant profit when they obtained a four-bedroom, eight-bathroom Beverly Hills villa for approximately $16 million and sold it three years later for $35 million.
Rancho San Leandro, a historic property in Montecito, joined their collection of homes in 2017. After buying it for $7.2 million, they sold it to Tinder founder Sean Rad less than a year later for $11 million.
In 2017 they also dropped $18.6 million on a mansion in Carpenteria, California. Just two years later, they sold the oceanfront beach house for $23 million to makeup tycoon Jamie Kern Lima and her husband, Paulo Lima.
DeGeneres and the Scandal star bought a Hollywood Regency–style mansion in Beverly Hills designed by architect John Elgin Woolf for $15 million in 2018. Less than a year later, they said goodbye to the five-bedroom property with a $15.5 million sale.
Also in 2018, the couple purchased a Santa Barbara ranch for $6.7 million. One year later, Nickelodeon president Brian Robbins bought the three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom property from them for $6.98 million.
In early 2019 they dropped $27 million on a five-bedroom, 10-bathroom Balinese-style Montecito mansion known as the Salt Hill estate. The following year, they sold it for $33.3 million.
And when Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo were ready to sell their newly renovated five-bedroom, 12-bathroom Beverly Hills mansion in May of 2019, DeGeneres and De Rossi scooped up the Tudor-influenced home for $45 million. By March of 2021, they’d sold the place, and although the final price has not been confirmed, the Wall Street Journal reports that they received close to $47 million for the charming ivy-covered dwelling.
The couple began 2020 by purchasing one of their most unique homes yet: a three-bedroom Tudor in Montecito, California, which was originally constructed in England in the 1700s and later brought over to the United States. DeGeneres and De Rossi paid $3.6 million for this place, and clearly spent the COVID-19 pandemic giving it some serious TLC, because by June of 2020, they’d sold it for nearly double that price. The buyer was Ariana Grande.
That September, they picked up a four-acre property in Montecito with multiple buildings on it, including a Tom Kundig–designed barn and a Cape Dutch–style main house. At $49 million, this was one of the most expensive sales in the area.
Remember Rancho San Leandro, the historic Montecito property DeGeneres and de Rossi bought in 2017 and offloaded not long after? Well in May of this year, the couple bought it again, this time spending $14.3 million, or just short of double what they originally paid. The following month, they dropped $2.9 million on yet another home in the seaside town, a small, two-bedroom midcentury-modern bungalow not far from Butterfly Beach.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest