Divorce is hardly ever anything but a headache, but y’all might be forgiven for assuming that very wealthy folks have it easier than most. After all, they can afford the best attorneys and usually are not besieged by the financial problems that often plague lower-class splits.
But of course, bitterness afflicts the entire wealth spectrum. For a particularly extreme example, take the divorce of billionaires Bill and Sue Gross, who today grace the cover of the New York Post. Married for over 30 years, their split was actually finalized last year, yet the couple are still squabbling with one another about everything from Picasso paintings to algae-filled swimming pools to dead fish in air vents.
And though couple’s three children are all grown and living elsewhere, there was still a bitter custody battle to be hashed out — over cats. Yes, the Grosses have three cats and both wanted custody. (In case y’all care to know, the ex-missus ended up winning primary guardianship but Mr. Gross was awarded visitation rights with the feisty felines. No, really!)
Besides their kitties, one of the former pair’s main contentions is real estate.
For nearly the entirety of their marriage, the Grosses resided primarily in the posh town of Laguna Beach, CA — specifically in a custom-built mansion in the guard-gated Irvine Cove enclave, which is arguably the most expensive and exclusive gated community in all of Orange County. A few years ago, the couple expanded their Irvine Cove holdings by purchasing two of their neighbors’ houses, fashioning for themselves a $70 million three-house compound.
It seems that Mrs. Gross was awarded the entire compound upon their split, which Mr. Gross was none too pleased about. Of course, he was not about to leave Irvine Cove quietly — and so he began trying to buy other houses in the enclave. But the crafty Mrs. Gross caught wind of his plans and outbid him at least three times, spending a total of $37.8 million to keep him out! She even, apparently, gave her sister and brother-in-law $14 million to “steal” one house away from him.
And yet billionaires usually get what they want, eventually. You may recall that an oceanfront Irvine Cove house came up for sale recently asking $35 million. The house quickly sold to Mr. Gross for $35.8 million, and we speculated there must’ve been a bidding war over the property. Court documents now reveal that was indeed the case — and the other bidder was his ex. Allegedly Mrs. Gross made an even higher offer on the house, but the sellers chose to close with Mr. Gross because his offer was all-cash — hers was not.
But we’re not here today to talk about the once-sleepy Irvine Cove community.
Listen kids, we’ve discussed the real estate doings of billionaire Bill Gross so many times on this site that it almost seems like — pardon the pun — gross overkill to write another story about him. But then again, he can’t seem to stop buying outrageous houses — so maybe he’s secretly eager for yet another feature up on here. Well okay, Mr. Gross, we shall indulge you today.
As we have said, Yolanda discussed Mr. Gross’s new $35.8 million “bachelor pad” just a couple weeks ago. The oceanfront Spanish-style abode ranks as one of the most expensive homes ever sold in Orange County — perfect for a billionaire baller. So that’s all fine and dandy. But unbeknownst to us, Mr. Gross did not just purchase one new Laguna house. He bought two.
Just one month after Mr. Gross laid out that fat sum for his new house in Laguna Beach’s guard-gated Irvine Cove, records reveal he shockingly spent a whopping $32,000,000 on yet another oceanfront Laguna Beach house. This one, however, is not located in a guard-gated community — rather, it is situated right on busy Pacific Coast Highway and much closer to the center of town.
Yes, y’all, in the span of one month Mr. Gross spent $67.8 million on two luxury homes in the same city. Combined with the $37.8 million spent by his wife, the erstwhile couple have thrown down $105,600,000 in just one month in their little beach town. That’s Mr. & Mrs. Gross — keeping real estate agents fed and Laguna Beach house sellers happy.
Mr. Gross’s new Laguna house was last sold for $17,500,000 back in 2015 to a successful local fellow named Patrick R. Boyd. At the time of his purchase, the nearly 1-acre property included a 10,000-square-foot, three-story house originally built in 1985. Over the course of two years, Mr. Boyd completely rebuilt the existing property into the uber-modern confection you see here. Today, the property includes 4 bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms, including a sumptuous 3,000-square-foot master suite.
“Rockledge-By-The-Sea” (as the property has been christened) sports 190 feet of coastal frontage and unspoiled vistas overlooking the aquamarine waters. To maximize those billion-dollar views, the newly-renovated house has numerous windows and a sprawling outdoor deck complete with a dining area and informal lounge-type seating.
Indoors, the open-plan main level includes a chic (and very pricey) Bulthaup kitchen with marble countertops and rare wood cabinetry. The living room includes a fireplace, there’s a family room with a pool table and another fireplace, and elsewhere there are three guest bedroom suites.
While the guest bedrooms are nice, the master suite is unquestionably the real star of the show. Occupying the entire third floor of the residence, it sports gobs of ocean views, a private spa, gym, office, bedroom w/ fireplace, walk-in closet, and a deluxe bathroom with his/hers vanities.
Other amenities in the starkly minimal residence include a “commercial 8-person elevator” (great for parties when guests are too boozed-up to traipse up/downstairs), a wine display room, and a double-gated entry drive for privacy and security. There’s also a pool and a spa outside, and the fully landscaped grounds additionally include a grassy lawn, colorful floral plantings, and a narrow stone stairway leading down the bluff to the sandy beach far below.
Yolanda has no clue why Mr. Gross wants or needs two $30+ million Laguna Beach houses within 5 minutes’ drive of each other. But when you’re rich, newly single and free to mingle, the question often isn’t why — it’s “Why not?”.
In addition to their $175 million in Laguna Beach real estate, the Grosses also own $55 million of Beverly Hills property, a house in Indian Wells (CA) worth at least $10 million, and a variety of less expensive (but still multi-million-dollar) homes in the Orange County areas.
Listing agent: Rob Giem, Compass
Bill Gross’s agent: Rod Daley, Coldwell Banker