Just two months before The Fight of The Century, boxer Manny Pacquiao bought a new house in Beverly Hills. The 10,000-square-foot mansion contains a feature that is practically a non-negotiable in homes of a certain size in Los Angeles: a home theater (this one with seating for 20 people). The previous owner was someone who might be just as interested in a top-notch viewing room: Sean “Diddy” Combs, who paid $39 million for a brand-new, 17,000-square-foot mansion with an even bigger, 35-seat home theater six months before selling his old house to Pacquiao.
At a list price of $12.5 million (actual sale price undisclosed), Pacquiao’s buy was relatively modest–at least compared to his earnings. Thanks to a take-home salary of $160 million in pretax income from June 1, 2014 to June 1, 2015 (before deducting management and legal fees), Pacquiao brings home a whopping $160 million, landing him the No. 2 spot on our Celebrity 100 List.
Given all that cash–not to mention fame and accompanying paparazzi–there are certain requirement when it comes to celebrity housing. “Certainly the number one thing they’re looking for is going to be privacy,” says Billy Rose, president of The Agency, a Los Angeles-area luxury real estate firm he co-founded with Mauricio Umansky, husband of reality TV star Kyle Richards of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
In conjunction with Forbes’ just-released Celebrity 100 List for 2015, we’ve compiled a list of where these stars lay their heads away from the spotlight. This year’s round-up focuses on earners at the top end of the scale. Perhaps not surprisingly, the majority of the properties are in Los Angeles.
In the City of Angels, many home-shopping celeb clients bring their security detail to check a potential home from every vantage point–including for views that could potentially be reached by drones, Rose notes. Thanks to the popularity of this technology, celebs are increasingly desiring backyards with outdoor rooftops that protect them from prying eyes. Also popular: gates, hedges, and multiple entrances where getaway cars can escape undetected. “I like to call it stop-arazzi,” Rose says of these factors.
Another feature popular with celeb is panic rooms: safe place they can go and call for help should an intruder make their way inside. Also important is a home gym, so they can work out without eliciting stares. One celebrity home even had what one agent referred to as a “doctor’s chair” for facial beautification treatments like Botox injections.
Aside from privacy, stars like perks that appeal to the rest of us. Of course industry-related features like premiere sound systems and high-end screening rooms are popular. So are smart homes, with technology for controlling temperature, lights, and water features with the touch of a phone. “I find that my extraordinarily wealthy clients are interested in playing and logging on and finding out what’s going on their homes,” says Michael Collins, an agent with Coldwell Banker Previews International who has worked with many celebs, including Idina Menzel. “I don’t think they’re taking care of their own security by any means. There’s a cool aspect to it.”
Certain neighborhoods in Los Angeles are especially dappled with the famous, in particular the Bird Streets in the Hollywood Hills. Residents include Dr. Dre (No. 73), Leonardo DiCaprio (No. 89), Keanu Reeves, and Google exec Eric Schmidt. Trousdale Estates, a Beverly Hills enclave of the currently trendy Midcentury Modern homes, is home to Jane Fonda, Elton John (No. 31), and Courteney Cox, and used to be home to Jennifer Aniston. Also popular is Pacific Palisades. Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Adam Sandler, Kate Hudson all have homes in that neighborhood. A few celebrities reside in the San Fernando Valley: Justin Bieber and the Kardashians have both lived in Calabasas.
But there are a handful of celebs who prefer to stay far from the glare of Los Angeles or New York. Our 2015 roundup contains several celeb homes designed specifically as respites from the pressures of celebrity life. Justin Timberlake (No. 12) and his wife Jessica Biel bought in the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana, a private ski resort with a buy-in of $300,000 and membership dues reported to be $30,000–and that’s before the price of the home.
Johnny Depp (No. 87) and his former partner, the French actress Vanessa Paradis, had their own mini-village in Southern France. That property is now on the market, listed with Sotheby’s International Realty. While most celebs value their privacy, Depp is taking an unusual step in his attempt to sell: the marketing materials boldly trumpet Depp as the owner. Have a hankering to buy a celeb home in the U.S.? Garth Brooks (No. 6) and Trisha Yearwood’s Malibu compound might do the trick. The 4,236-square-foot home is currently listed for $7.8 million. And Tom Cruise (No. 52) is selling his ranch in Telluride, which he paid $1.9 million for in 1992. Current list price: $59 million.