Mary J. Blige has spun out scads of soulful songs and hit records to the tune of nine, cross-genre Grammys over a 30-plus year career, and she grabbed two Oscar nominations for her songwriting and acting contributions to the 2018 Netflix period drama “Mudbound.” Alas, the R&B legend just can’t seem to secure a buyer for a palatial estate in the wealthy New Jersey community of Saddle River that has returned to the market with a new real estate agent, Sharon Kurtz of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s Int’l Realty, and a freshly reduced price of $6.8 million.
Not considering upkeep expenses, improvement costs and real estate fees, it doesn’t take a mathematics genius to calculate that even with a full-price sale the “No More Drama” singer, currently crisscrossing the country on The Royalty Tour with Nas, is staring down a drama-worthy $5.5 million loss on the sale of the 4.2-acre spread she scooped up in 2008 for a whopping $12.3 million.
Briefly for sale in 2015 with an in-hindsight preposterously pie-in-the-sky price of $13.9 million, the conspicuously proportioned and opulently appointed faux-chateau, which current marketing materials describe as a “Country French Manor” of roughly 18,250 square feet with 8 bedrooms and 10 full and three half bathrooms over three, elevator-serviced floors, came back up for sale not quite four years ago with a substantially lower but still entirely unrealistic $13 million price tag. By late summer 2018, it had plunged to a few dollars under $7 million before it was taken off the market earlier this year.
Behind gates and screened from the road by a dense grove of mature specimen trees, the 25-room behemoth is fronted by a vast motor court and entered though a double-height foyer designed to impress houseguests and Uber Eats drivers alike with grand proportions, elaborate formal architectural detailing and luminous, inlaid white marble floor. Archways held aloft by florid Corinthian columns lead to a handful of ample reception and dining rooms, all of which have fireplaces and two of which share a professional quality bar. Less formal but no less extravagantly finished family quarters include a paneled library/office painted deep, smoky red and a gargantuan, double-island kitchen that opens to light-filled circular breakfast room and an adjoining family room.
Several en suite guest and family bedrooms are joined on the upper level by a sprawling master suite that encompasses a private sitting room, dual bathrooms and two cavernous walk-in closets. And, in addition to a two-bedroom apartment for guests or staff, the myriad recreational and leisure amenities contained in a gigantic walk-out basement include a recreation/games room, a temperature-controlled wine cellar and tasting room, a 14-seat movie theater and a fitness complex complete with gym, sauna and indoor basketball court. Beyond the stone terraces and manicured gardens that surround the swimming pool and pool house that is conveniently equipped with a bathroom and full kitchen, a great sweep of lawns rolls down toward the slender, tree-lined waterway that gives the prestigious Saddle River community its name.
Property records indicate the “Thriving” singer, who reportedly owes millions in unpaid back taxes and whose costly divorce from former manager Martin “Kendu” Isaacs, whom she’s called a “con artist,” was finalized just over a year ago, continues to own a considerably smaller and less ostentatious but still spacious and presumably luxurious 6,100+ sq. ft. residence in nearby and also wealthy Cresskill, N.J. that she acquired in 2001 for not quite $2 million.