Known as the “Queen of Nice” because of the loving compassion she shows to others, Ellen DeGeneres has come quite a long way from her early days of doing stand-up in New Orleans, Louisiana. Praised for her observational comedy and deadpan humor, the young comedian caught her first major break in 1986 when she appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and became the first female comedian Carson ever invited for an onscreen chat after her set. With an endorsement from the late night legend, DeGeneres’ career was born.
Starring in a number of films and sitcoms over the years including Mr. Wrong, The Ellen Show and, most famously as the voice of Dory in Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, the award-winning actress and comedian is best known for her daytime talk show Ellen, which has been top-rated since its inception in September 2003. However, it hasn’t always been easy for the 58-year-old star. In 1997, she came out as a lesbian on The Oprah Winfrey Show and fell into a deep depression as her sitcom was canceled and her personal life overshadowed her talent. Turning to her mother for help, DeGeneres picked up the pieces of her life and hasn’t looked back since.
Now ranked as one of the most successful talk show hosts of all time with a yearly salary of $65 million and a net worth of $300 million, the former waitress, bartender and house painter is truly living the dream since marrying her longtime girlfriend, actress Portia de Rossi, in 2004. Despite a 15-year age difference between the two, the couple has spent the last eight years together in a complete state of bliss while discovering a second passion they share: flipping homes.
Purchasing, flipping and selling over a dozen homes throughout Southern California, the couple spends the majority of their time in the Holmby Hills estate in Los Angeles right next door to the Playboy mansion. Known as “The Brody House,” the home was purchased in 2010 for $14.8 million by an unknown buyer and, after massive renovations, was the venue for a royal event held by the Los Angeles Conservancy. That evening, art from 1949 aficionado Frances Lasker Brody studded the walls as guests toured the opulent home. Shortly after, headlines broke that DeGeneres had purchased the home in an off-market sale for a rumored $40 million.
Instantly drawn to the home’s modern architecture and exquisite details including vaulted ceilings, walls of glass and an atrium, DeGeneres paid top dollar for the 2.3-acre estate boasting six bedrooms and nine full baths. Marked by an open design that continues throughout the home, the living room has a massive library fit for any avid reader with a mesmerizing state-of-the-art kitchen complete with an adjacent formal dining space. The master suite takes up the entire second floor and features a sitting area, twin dressing rooms and terraces for each bride. The third floor has three bedrooms and three bathrooms with four additional rooms used for guest or servant suites.
The exterior is just as breathtaking as the interior with a single-bedroom guesthouse that’s perfect for both DeGeneres’ and de Rossi’s mothers during visits. And, when the stars need to burn off steam from a rough day on the set, there’s plenty of options with a tennis court, home gym and a luxurious pool and spa. If that doesn’t suit them, the magnificent landscaping and the rooftop patio overlooking the property should be more than enough to do the trick!
Beyond their Holmby Hills estate, the couple also owns homes in Thousand Oaks, Malibu and Beverly Hills in addition to the houses DeGeneres is currently busy flipping. But what started her love of being a homeowner and her passion for buying and flipping? During an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the Finding Nemo star explained her obsession.
“I didn’t grow up in a house—we moved a lot and we always lived in apartments. But we looked a lot, we went to open houses almost every weekend. I think that’s why I always wanted a house. The first house I bought was a little Spanish bungalow on Clinton Street in West Hollywood, right behind the Improv. I was renting it and I asked the owners if I could buy it and they were really nice and let me work out a deal. And I fixed it up and later sold it. That was when I realized that if you make some improvements, you can make money.”
Obviously hooked and resembling a real-life HGTV episode, DeGeneres has plenty of income to pursue her passion alongside de Rossi who currently has a recurring role on the hit series Scandal. Although many wonder why the couple continues to play musical houses rather than settle down, the 58-year-old says she never buys a house intending to sell. Instead, she’s always looking for new ways to redefine what it means to be home. For her, it’s simple. “Home is just somewhere where you feel really comfortable, where you don’t feel like you can’t put your feet somewhere,” DeGeneres said. “I mean, I like beautiful things, maybe more than most people, but I don’t want to live somewhere so precious that you can’t let your dog or cat on the sofa, or put your feet up.” Luckily, she’s found a place to put her feet up in Holmby Hills, at least for now.