There’s big money in paparazzi photos. Just ask French entrepreneur François Navarre and his American wife Brandy, co-founders and owners of X17, one of the most aggressive and successful celebrity gossip and paparazzi agencies on the planet.
With a spider-web of insider informants and an army of Range Rover-driving shutterbugs willing to risk their own lives for a high-dollar photo, X17 keeps the celebrity-obsessed tabloid reading public awash in hastily snapped and often unflattering photos and videos of famous folk doing perfectly ordinary things like waiting for the valet, pumping gas, and buying groceries.
Occasionally, and unsurprisingly, their efforts have led to conflict with other gossip industry heavy hitters — they went toe-to-toe with Perez Hilton in 2007 — and with the subjects of their photos — last year they were sued by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex over the sale and distribution of unauthorized images of their son, Archie. (The case was settled with X17 apologizing and agreeing to stop distributing the images.)
Despite any backlash, the couple have parlayed their success into a swanky lifestyle of that rivals many of the subjects of their photos: fancy cars, private jets and multimillion dollar homes. For the last two decades, the couple have focused their real estate energies primarily in the quiet, pricey and star-packed Palisades Riviera neighborhood in L.A.’s Pacific Palisades where some of their nearby neighbors include Adam Sandler, Kate Hudson, and Sam Raimi.
Earlier this year they sold an 8,500-square-foot spec-built residence along one of the neighborhood’s most coveted streets for $13.7 million, and their latest acquisition is a contemporary residence just around the bend from Steven Spielberg’s compound that cost the deep-pocketed couple nearly $7 million.
Partly obscured behind mature trees and foliage and set on more than one-third of an acre with distant, over-the-treetops skyline views, the clean and tidy if someone dated split-level home has five bedrooms and five-and-a-half baths in roughly 3,800 square feet, according to promo materials and property records. With honey-hued hardwood floors, slender wood beams across the cathedral ceiling, and a row of clerestory windows, the light-filled living room has a minimalist concrete fireplace and French doors to a large balcony. Half of a flight down, are a dining room and eat-in kitchen, both of which open to jungle-like gardens, and bedrooms are spread throughout the house for maximum privacy and flexibility. Outside, a tiled terrace includes a modern ramada with a simple fireplace column, while the lower part of the yard, encircled in dense foliage, is flat and grassy with plenty of room for a pool.
It seems unlikely the Navarres intend to move to the newly acquired property, which appears to have been purchased as an investment, albeit a quite expensive one. Their primary home has long been a 10,000-square-foot spread that’s just down the street and right next door to Conan O’Brien’s estate. The Zen-modern spread was briefly for sale earlier this year at $15.9 million, more than three times the $5 million they paid in 2005.
Since 2000, when it was acquired for close to $1.7 million, the Navarres have also maintained a home in a discreet and exclusive gated enclave in Malibu that’s been for sale and for rent on and off since at least late 2016. Most recently it was offered for sale earlier this year for $7.5 million and as a summer rental at $45,000 a month.