It’s an open secret in Hollywood that Ellen DeGeneres — America’s beloved talk show host and comedienne — moonlights as a successful house flipper.
Over the past 15 years, DeGeneres has amassed nothing short of a real estate empire. She buys and sells luxury California properties, sometimes living in multiple houses per year, and making huge profits from fixing them up. DeGeneres usually garners millions from her flips, selling her renovated homes to fellow A-listers like Ryan Seacrest and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
But she rejects the term “flipping” to describe her endeavors, insisting that her real estate gains are borne through sheer enjoyment, more than anything.
In a recent interview with The TODAY Show, DeGeneres said on the matter: “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?”
DeGeneres documented her housing journey in a book published in 2015, called “Home.” She and wife Portia de Rossi have bought everything from an upscale “treehouse” to a traditional horse ranch — and loved one property so much she ended up buying it twice.
Here’s a chronological guide to some of DeGeneres’ coolest — and most lucrative — real estate projects since 2004.
2007: Montecito mansion
Sold: $20 million
It has since become infamous for being the location of Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian’s 2011 wedding. Schmidt reportedly considered selling it afterwards, as the mansion — which had been a popular wedding venue — was suddenly viewed as unlucky.This sprawling Montecito estate is Southern California at its finest — so fine, in fact, that former Google CEO Eric Schmidt bought the property from Ellen in 2007 for a whopping $20 million.
2008: Beverly Hills compound
Purchased: A combined $48 million
Sold: $37 million
DeGeneres and de Rossi bought this estate’s original property for $29 million — until they decided to merge it with three adjacent homes, nearly doubling its value.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the couple spent five years in the 9,200-square-foot “compound,” eventually selling it to Ryan Seacrest in 2012. This sale, however, marked a rare loss in profit for DeGeneres — most likely due to the drop in Los Angeles housing prices at the time.
Take a look inside here.
2011: Malibu beach house
Purchased: $12 million
Sold: $13 million
In 2011, the DeGeneres couple made a cool million on this chic Malibu property, which was previously owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Despite its amazing amenities — including backyard beach access, a private beach cove, and a tennis court— the couple stayed there for less than a year, eventually “quietly” selling in 2012.
According to Zillow, they may have been disenchanted with the property because there wasn’t much to fix up, as Pitt and Jolie had already renovated.
2013: Thousand Oaks horse ranch
2014: The Brody House
Purchased: $39.88 million
Sold: $55 million
One of the DeGeneres’ most successful flips to date, the Brody House in Holmby Hills, California, is nothing short of legendary.
It was built in 1949 for the wealthy, art-collecting couple Sidney and Frances Brody, who personally commissioned a Matisse for the backyard. The executive director of the Los Angeles Conservancy, Linda Dishman, told The New York Times it is “one of the top five homes in the city.”
DeGeneres and de Rossi eventually felt like “custodians to an important piece of architecture,” so they sold the estate to Napster founder Sean Parker about seven months after moving in— pocketing a whopping $15 million in the process.
2017: Rancho San Leandro
Purchased: $7.195 million
Sold: $11 million
The couple snagged a $4 million profit from this recent, off-market sell in 2018. The rustic Santa Barbara estate is located in a notoriously pricey area — and is neighbor to Oprah Winfrey’s “The Promised Land” estate.
It now belongs to Sean Rad, the founder and Chairman of Tinder, according to Variety.
In 2015, she rented a property to Nick Jonas.
In addition to selling properties, Ellen has ventured into renting and leasing: Nick Jonas was one of her tenants in 2015.
He described living in one of DeGeneres’ fully furnished propertieson her talk show: “I’m so nervous though the whole time I’m there because I know I’m gonna come on the show and see you and check in, and if anything’s wrong with the house it’s bad.”
Ultimately, Ellen DeGeneres has spent at least $145 million flipping houses — and has profited millions in return.
In her TODAY interview, DeGeneres remarked on how thankful she is that she now gets to own homes. Growing up, her family didn’t have a lot of money — which sparked a reverence for real estate in the young star.
“We lived in apartments,” DeGeneres said. “We would look at houses every Sunday, we would go to open houses, but we could never afford a house. As a kid, I thought — ‘That’s going to be my house.’ Now, I just buy as many houses as I can.”