Ellen’s $40m Montecito Mansion Is Spectacular, But The TV Host Has Decided She Has To Get Away

It’s been one helluva year for Ellen. Now the news has broken that the comedian and talk show host is bailing on her stunning $40 million Montecito pad. The Bali-themed abode has become somewhat of a home away from home to many in recent times due to Covid-19 episodes of The Ellen DeGeneres Show being broadcast from there. It’s a gorgeous house. So, what could it be that’s driving Ellen out?

It’s not often we’re able to become familiar with the inside of celebrity pads. Despite the popularity of shows such as MTV’s Cribs, getting a through-the-keyhole glance into how the rich and famous live still isn’t an experience that comes around often. That’s why audiences have been intrigued to see Ellen filming episodes of her eponymous talk show from her private residence during the lockdown.

And as we would’ve expected, Ellen’s home is comfortable to say the least. With a tropical theme to the décor, the living room – which is where it seems that Ellen films from – is reminiscent of a luxurious honeymoon destination. Exotic plants fill the view, while the selection of tasteful furniture continues the Bali-based theme.

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But now news has broken that Ellen and wife Portia De Rossi are selling the luxury pad. The couple only bought it less than two years ago So, the question is: why are they upping sticks so soon? Could it have anything to do with the goings on that have made 2020 an annus horribilis for the previously untouchable Ellen?

Because until 2020 rolled around, Ellen DeGeneres was undoubtedly one of the most popular celebrities in America. The comedian burst onto the scene in the 1990s with her sitcom Ellen, a series that cemented the comic’s place in the hearts of the viewing public. Prior to that, Ellen had already become a staple of the late-night chat show scene with her irreverent humor.

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At the height of her sitcom’s popularity, Ellen made headlines around the world in 1997 when she revealed that she was gay. As well as Time magazine devoting its cover to her, Ellen’s character came out at the same time on her show. Despite network bosses’ fears that the reveal would damage her popularity, fortunately it seemed to do no such thing. Since then, Ellen’s career has gone from strength to strength.

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, due to her candidness and standing, Ellen has also become a champion for gay rights. Her apparent openness and honesty have endeared her to a generation of TV viewers and her fame was only elevated when she began her own chat show in 2003. Now in its 18th season, the series – which features topical discussions and celebrity guests – continues to this day.

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The popularity of her chat show has seen Ellen become one of the most beloved television stars in America and beyond. The series has claimed no fewer than 11 Daytime Emmys to this date, which remains a record. Ellen has also featured in a number of hit movies, including Finding Nemo and the film’s successful follow-up Finding Dory.

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Ellen’s personal life has also been a success. After dating actor Anne Heche for several years, the comedian later fell for another well-known actor: Ally McBeal star Portia de Rossi. The pair wed in 2008, with Portia officially changing her name in 2010. It’s a union that remains strong to this day.

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And The Ellen DeGeneres Show went on to become a staple of daytime television, continuing to showcase the host’s talents. There’s a barely a noteworthy star of screen or the music industry that hasn’t appeared opposite Ellen during the show’s run. In addition to the series’ star appeal, the host created a winning manta of “be kind” – words she utters at the end of every episode.

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Comedian. Talk show host. Advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. You can add successful author and businesswoman to that growing list of achievements as well. And a lesser-known string to Ellen’s bow is her activity in the property market. According to Architectural Digest, Ellen has bought and sold more than 20 homes over the past two decades. Her current portfolio includes that well-known property in Montecito, California.

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For those not familiar with the area, Montecito is about 80 miles from Los Angeles. Situated in the hills of Santa Barbara County with the ocean on one side and a mountain range on the other, Montecito has become somewhat of a personal hideaway for the fabulously rich and famous.

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Oprah Winfrey is one of the biggest stars to call this area of California home, for example. And the list of celebrities who either live, have lived or own second properties in the Montecito/Santa Barbara area reads like a “who’s who” of Hollywood royalty. Charlize Theron, Brad Pitt and Kevin Costner are just some of the VIPs you might bump into while exploring the local shops or cafes.

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As well as the famous names, Montecito has a number of famous locations. Just off the coast is San Nicolas Island, which served as the location for 1985 movie Commando starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. And then 631 Para Grande Lane featured in Scarface as Tony Montana’s Florida residence.

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But perhaps even more attractive than its Hollywood connections is Montecito’s climate and geography. With its Mediterranean-esque weather, sun-kissed shores and rolling hills it’s little wonder that this part of California has become known as the “American Riviera”. The colonial buildings and quiet environment only add to the appeal. Yet it’s still only a 90-minute drive to the bustle of LA.

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It’s unsurprising, then, that Ellen decided to make Montecito her home. But it certainly cost her a pretty penny. Local homes usually sell for anywhere from $2 million to $20 million. “Occasionally a house will sell for over $20 million,” local realtor Cristal Clarke states on her website. “The most popular price bracket is $4 million to $10 million and buyers pay in excess of $5 million for a home with a sea view.”

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Ellen and wife Portia reported bought their residence for a “bargain” price: it only cost $27 million. Of course, that’s not a trifling amount, but it’d originally been on the market at $40 million. And considering some of the details of the property, as well as Ellen’s substantial wealth – calculated by Forbes to be $370 million in 2020 – it was quite a steal. The property has only appreciated in value since the couple bought it as well – more of which later.

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So what exactly did Ellen and Portia get for their money? Well, the sheer magnitude of the mansion and its grounds is quite stunning. For a start the residence sits in grounds of more than 8 acres. And remember, this is Montecito in Santa Barbara County – in other words, prime real estate. So the location alone adds more than a few dollars.

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The finer details of the house are even more staggering, based around the theme of a Bali-esque tropical getaway. The main home, which is stretches over more than 8,000 square feet, has five bedrooms and twice as many bathrooms. You’ll never get caught short here, that’s for sure.

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To give the property its Bali-like flavor, components include bamboo in the home’s ceilings, black limestone for the walls and also oak floors. Outside there’s a large infinity pool and tropical gardens. There’s also a guesthouse featuring a pair of en suite bathrooms, as well as a private gym and changing room in a standalone cabana, and even an office that’s separate from the main residence.

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If all those features weren’t quite enticing enough, then this Montecito property has some further attractions. One’s that this property comes with an undeveloped plot of land that’s just crying out to be put to use. Ellen and Portia also purchased a $1.9 million property next door, further sweetening the package. And then there’s the fact that the entire property, gardens and jaw-dropping infinity pool – built in a waterfall style – all offer the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

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In short, then, it’s a remarkable property. But in recent times Ellen’s home has been receiving a bit more coverage. Until recently, on an almost daily basis, people were welcomed in through the property’s front door. This was not some open-house party, though. This was the reality of filming a TV chat show in the middle of a modern pandemic. So we’ve been seeing a little more of Ellen’s private residence that we ever could have believed possible.

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For a large part of 2020 The Ellen DeGeneres Show has been filmed with the star reclining in her Montecito pad. After a short, enforced hiatus at the start of the pandemic outbreak, The Ellen DeGeneres Show was back on U.S. screens by April 7. In that episode, Ellen addressed her audience directly, telling them that she “wanted to start doing my new show as soon as possible, because it’s really for people who are stuck at home”.

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It was during this period that audiences became accustomed to seeing behind the curtain, so to speak, of Ellen’s luxury pad. Shooting took place in Ellen’s living room because, the star explained, the light was good in there. She also joked that “all the other rooms in my house are filled with toilet paper.”

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Yet not everything Ellen said resonated with her loyal audience. She stated that the enforced quarantine at home was “like being in jail,” for instance, though true to form there was a joke coming. “It’s mostly because I’ve been wearing the same clothes for ten days and everyone in here is gay,” the star added. But the joke backfired somewhat.

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Working from home is something that vast swathes of the general public have had to get used to in 2020, of course. Yet Ellen’s “jail” hardly compares to most. This is a luxury pad with an infinity pool, don’t forget. And five bedrooms. And ten bathrooms. And glorious views of the sea. So not everyone was impressed by Ellen’s choice of simile: a YouTube viewer remarked that the star’s comments were “tone deaf”.

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And this is a year in which opinion has begun to turn against the previously untouchable Ellen. There have been quite a few negative news stories reported about the star in recent times. A common thread is that, despite her “be kind” mantra, the star is actually mean herself, and that there has been a serious culture problem behind the scenes of her hit talk show for some time. And then there has been a stark decline in viewing figures.

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Then came July 4. Independence Day. But while most Americans were enjoying some light relief from a stressful year, Ellen’s annus horribilis took another turn for the worse. That’s because the star and her wife Portia apparently fell prey to a robbery. According to reports, their Montecito pad was broken into, though there have been no confirmations that the pair were in the residence when the incident occurred.

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Cops at the local sheriff’s department had a hunch about the apparent break-in. They believed the Montecito property was “targeted due to the victim’s celebrity status.” In terms of what items were stolen, unconfirmed reports suggest that expensive pieces of jewelry were among them.

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There have also been subsequent reports that the theft was an “inside job.” Whatever the truth, it must have been a difficult experience for Ellen and Portia. And it was yet another blow to the star in what has been a rough ride in 2020. So perhaps this was the real reason that the couple then decided to put the Bali-themed residence up for sale.

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This luxurious Montecito pad is far from Ellen and Portia’s only home, though. The pair have amassed quite a portfolio of properties over the years. They’ve also built up quite a reputation for flipping houses – that is, purchasing a pad, doing it up and then selling on for a profit. And in early 2020 the pair bought yet another home in Montecito. It’s clearly an area in which they feel quite at home.

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Purchasing property and then selling it on not long after has certainly become a theme for Ellen. The tropical-style pad in Montecito may have only been the star’s home for less than two years, but it’s a familiar approach. After all, she’s bought and sold more than 20 homes since 2003, remember?

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In a revealing 2011 interview with Architectural Digest, Ellen spoke about her love of buying and selling property. “The first thing I did when I made money was buy a house. And then…” Ellen said. But before she could finish, her wife did the job for her. “Another one, and another one and another one and another one,” Portia interjected.

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Yet Ellen has denied that she solely buys houses to make money. “I’ve never bought to sell. I always say, ‘This is it. I’m never moving.’ People laugh at me now,” the star told The New York Times in a 2014 interview. But in the course of 2019 the couple reportedly offloaded houses for $6.98 million, $15.5 and $23 million. It was a quite year.

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Ellen further elaborated on her true motivation for buying and selling houses in a 2018 Today interview. “We buy a house and we love it, and we stay in it. Then we get a little bored because we like a different style or different aesthetic – and I love furniture and decorating – so if I find something else, and we make money, why not move to another house?” the talk show host asked. Why not, indeed?

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So, fear not. Ellen and Portia definitely aren’t short of somewhere else to live if needed. The couple currently own a Beverly Hills mansion that they bought off musician Adam Levine for $45 million. They also have a horse ranch near LA. But it’s clear the pair are reluctant to leave the immediate area. Until recently they owned another house rustic property right there in Montecito.

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There’s a strange fact about that other Montecito house, though: it once stood in Surrey, England. The very same house. Unusually, the Tudor-style property was taken apart, transported over to the U.S. and then erected where it stands now in Montecito. But not by Ellen, we must add, as certain sections of the media have claimed.

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According to realtor Susan Pate who listed that other house, Ellen’s property was transported over the Atlantic sometime before the new millennium. And that was before Ellen bought it. The property comprises a pair of barns that could be traced back to the 18th century. These facts add some historical gravitas to a property that now also has star pedigree. Which could be why Ariana Grande reportedly purchased that particular residence. Another job well done by Ellen and Portia.

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Given the rate at which Ellen and Portia buy and sell properties, it’s hard to keep up. For friends it must be a nightmare knowing which address to post Christmas cards to. So it came as little surprise when the property made famous for the home recordings of The Ellen DeGeneres Show went up for sale in late 2020. The couple never stay in situ for long, after all.

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But the burning question remains: how much was it going for? Well, considering its location and the fact that Ellen paid $27 million for it back in 2019, it’s little wonder that the asking price is a whopping $39.9 million. So, for all the reasons Ellen might be selling, the number one might just be the fact that the star is set to make an absolute packet on her former home. In a year that hasn’t been kind to the talk-show host, that’s a much needed good-news story.

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