From 2004 to 2012, he was the de facto dog trainer to the TV watching world. Droves of dog owners eagerly tuned in to his eponymous Emmy-nominated show (“Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan”) to glean tips on how to handle a dog with what he calls “calm-assertive energy.” He wrote many books, including several New York Times bestsellers, launched a line of pet products, and continued his work training dogs, and their two-legged companions, as well as rehabilitating abused and/or aggressive dogs at his Dog Psychology Center.
The multi-platform success quickly made him wealthy and well known. But behind the scenes his life was unraveling. In early 2010, his beloved pit bull Daddy died, and just days later his wife of 16 years asked for a divorce. Bad business decisions left him broke, and the compounding stresses led him to make a suicide attempt. After he hit rock bottom, he clawed his way back to health and wealth — he’s got 2.2 million Instagram followers and he’s back on TV slinging training tips on his new show “Cesar Millan: Better Human Better Dog” — and he and his longtime partner/fiancée, Jahira Dar, are looking to change up their living situation.
In early 2017, records show Millan splashed out $2.783 million for a then brand-new home in an upscale if unpretentious Encino neighborhood, just off the high-end shops and eateries along Ventura Boulevard, that he’s just flung back on the market at just under $4 million. Built in the nowadays ubiquitous modern farmhouse style that has proliferated across Los Angeles and the United States over the last decade, the 5,620-square-foot, five-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath home is available through Dutch Markgraf of Pinnacle Estate Properties.
Besides a wee figurine of a Dachshund placed on a table on an itty-bitty second-floor patio, there isn’t much evidence of canine life at chez Millan. There are, however, lots of bright, jewel-toned pops of emerald, turquoise, ruby, and sapphire. Of course, no one is buying the furniture, though some of the custom decorative features such as the illuminated malachite-pattern wall covering at the back of the shelving unit that surrounds the fireplace in the family room will remain for the next owner to embrace or replace.
Partly obscured behind a manicured hedge and set behind a thigh-high driveway gate even an elderly Chihuahua could probably leap over, the two-story house is entered via a long entrance gallery that passes adjoining formal living and dining rooms, along with a glassed-in wine cellar nipped under the stairs, before it arrives at the great room and kitchen. In the family room area, not exactly dog friendly emerald velvet furniture visually picks up the lush backyard plantings seen through a wide expanse of glass that vanishes into the wall, while the honeycomb-pattern of the rug is repeated in the tile on the loggia. Arranged around a doublewide island, the white and stainless-steel kitchen has all the culinary bells and whistles any amateur gourmet chef might desire.
Upstairs, a lounge with a sapphire sectional sofa leads to several guest bedrooms, one of them set up with ring lights as a studio for making internet videos. In the sprawling master suite, a minimalist column with a double-sided fireplace separates the bedroom from a sitting room dominated by a ruby-red tufted velvet banquette. The over-sized dressing room is lined with mirrored and glass-doored wardrobes, and the bathroom is slathered in white marble, or a material that looks like marble.
Out back, beyond the curtained loggia outside the family room, the hedge privatized L-shaped backyard isn’t especially large, but still comfortably packs in a built-in barbecue, a swimming pool with inset spa, and a flat patch of real grass.
Millan, who entered the United States illegally in 1980 and became a U.S. citizen in 2009, also owns a roughly 45-acre piece of property on the outskirts of Santa Clarita, Calif., about 30 miles north of Encino, where his Dog Psychology Center has been based since 2009.
While his career is back on track and the real estate market is good, and Millan is likely to turn a tidy profit on the sale of his home, it’s not all squeaky toys and beef treats for the dog whisperer, who remains dedicated to the rehabilitation and training of difficult and aggressive dogs. Last year, a woman filed a lawsuit in which she claims she was bitten by one of Millan’s dogs, the same dog, the suit alleges, that attacked and killed Queen Latifah’s dog and that Millan attempted to cover up by telling his employees to tell Latifah the dog had been run over by a car, a claim he’s characterized as a “blatant lie.”