Yolanda first heard it nearly two months ago from an anonymous tipster and then we heard it again — just days ago — from a very reliable source: whispers say Katy Perry has quietly sold her Runyon Canyon-adjacent compound, and the alleged buyers are famed restaurateur Michael Chow and his new (fourth) wife Vanessa Chow (née Vanessa Rano). The couple were married mere weeks ago in a lavish and somewhat star-studded Los Angeles ceremony.
Per urban legend, the May-December couple (he’s 80, she’s 30) met in an elevator and it was love at first sight for both parties. Truly. Yes, we know some of y’all cold-hearted romance skeptics pooh-pooh the notion of immediate love. But you are wrong. It really does happen! Just ask the Chows.
Mr. Chow is, of course, proprietor of the famed eponymous Chinese restaurant chain whose flagship location — situated on Camden Drive in Beverly Hills — has long been the LA dining hotspot for the see-and-be-seen crowd. Less-known is that Mr. Chow is also a bit part actor with an impressively long list of credits — most notably as an evil SPECTRE agent in the 1967 James Bond flick You Only Live Twice.
So anyway, here’s a little background on the Katy Perry compound, which is perhaps most notable for sitting right atop the Mulholland Drive entrance to Runyon Canyon, perhaps LA’s most stereotypically “LA” hiking destination. Hundreds — if not thousands — of exercise-minded folks walk right by Ms. Perry’s property on any given day.
The compound is comprised of two separate properties with two different addresses. The larger lot, with its Spanish-style main house, was long owned by Walmart heiress Sybil Robson Orr. Our Mrs. Orr — herself a hardcore real estate baller, but we digress — eventually sold the property to oil heiress Aileen Getty, who later purchased the smaller mid-century modern house next door.
In May 2013, along came Katy Perry, who paid Ms. Getty $11,200,000 for the entire shebang — $8.2 million for the big property, $3 million for the smaller one — but only lived there for a few years before attempting to flip the entire compound off-market for $15 million. It’s not yet clear to Yolanda whether the Chows’ purchase — the MLS shows they paid $9,404,000 — includes both properties or the large Spanish-style one alone. We suspect the sale price is for both lots — which would mean Ms. Perry took a huge loss — but we shall see.
And yes, we know some of y’all are a little incredulous that Mr. Chow would buy this place when he’s already got a massive Holmby Hills mansion set on what is arguably LA’s most prestigious residential street — more on that in a moment — but it seems the octogenarian is feeling frisky with his new lady-love and wants to spice things up on the residential front. And what could be sexier than the Hollywood Hills home of a global pop music superstar?
A long, gated driveway leads past a security guardhouse to various outbuildings that include the Spanish/Mediterranean-style main house, a detached guesthouse with a limousine-length garage and a separate fitness building. Naturally — given its rather public location — the entire 2.33-acre property is walled, fenced and heavily fortified with security cameras and the like.
Yolanda expected Ms. Perry’s interior aesthetic to be somewhat eclectic — appropriate to a music phenom known for her visually razzle-dazzle concerts — but the decor is more restrained than we imagined. There are neutral colors, Moroccan-themed accents, Parquet de Versailles hardwood floors in the main rooms and snazzy tile in the light-filled kitchen.
The super-luxe master suite takes up the home’s entire second floor and features a sitting room with an almost unbelievably huge fireplace — it’s taller than the average adult human — a circular bedroom and a Roman-style bathroom with geometric tile floors, a fireplace and a soaking tub.
There are numerous loggias and patios scattered around the pool area. Below the main house is a terraced, expensively landscaped backyard complete with fruit trees, romantic fountains and even an outdoor amphitheater for private concerts.
For many years, Mr. Chow resided in a custom mega-mansion located on what is oft-considered LA’s priciest residential road: South Mapleton Drive in Holmby Hills. The gargantuan 30,000+ square foot manor was modeled after the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid.
Since last October (2018), the Holmby Hills manse has been listed with an unchanged $78,000,000 asking price. So if you’ve got tens of millions to spend on a gargantuan (and gargantuanly-high maintenance) LA behemoth, you know who to call.
As for Ms. Perry, she has since upgraded to an $18 million estate in a guarded (and heavily celebrified) Beverly Hills Post Office enclave. She recently paid another $7.5 million for a second property nearby, which she reportedly uses as a guesthouse. Some of her nearest neighbors include Adele, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Lawrence and Ashton Kutcher & Mila Kunis.
And for the last few years, Ms. Perry has been caught up in a bizarre legal drama over ownership of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a medieval village-style convent located on the neighborhood border between Los Feliz and Silver Lake — on LA’s hipster-ish Eastside.
Our gurl has long been attempting to purchase the convent, reportedly because she’d like to convert it into a massive Perry family compound. In 2015, her $14.5 million all-cash offer was accepted by the Archdiocese but flatly rejected by the nuns who occupied the property — they quickly “sold” it to an entirely different buyer. After a contentious and dramatic two-year legal battle — one of the nuns actually collapsed and died in the courtroom — Ms. Perry was cleared to acquire the eight-acre mega-estate. The transaction was reportedly awaiting Vatican approval as of last year, and Yolanda’s research indicates the deal has still not officially closed — nigh on four years after the OG purchase agreement was signed.
Listing agents (Katy Perry house): Ernie Carswell & Christopher Pickett, Douglas Elliman
Selling agent (Katy Perry house): Jacob Greene/The Altman Brothers, Douglas Elliman
Listing agents (Holmby Hills): The Altman Brothers, Douglas Elliman; Jeff Hyland, Hilton & Hyland