Pretty Woman actress Julia Roberts has shelled out a cool $US3.895 million ($A4.89 million) for a ramshackle property in Malibu that’s unexpectedly modest for a Hollywood star of her calibre.
The humble home in the beachfront suburb of Point Dume is a far cry from her other properties, which include three New York City apartments and a historic oceanfront home in Hawaii.
With a tumbledown garden and a fading paint job, the one-storey home has been described as “downright dumpy” by Variety magazine.
But a larger plan may be at play – some reports suggest the actress’s latest property purchase may signal an attempt to buy up that particular section of the California coastline.
According to Variety, the modest 150 square-metre, three-bedroom, one bathroom abode, offers a key to the gates of the parking lot and footpath to Little Dume beach.
The beach is one of Malibu’s most idyllic and is effectively private, given there is no easy public access.
Ms Roberts’ three-bedroom fixer-upper is her third consecutive property purchase in the exclusive promontory coast of Malibu.
The locale is also home to entertainment heavyweights Matthew McConaughey, Sean Penn, Chris Martin, Barbra Streisand, Owen Wilson and Bob Dylan.
Ms Roberts and her husband Danny Moder first bought a sprawling compound, complete with a custom Craftsman-style mansion, swimming pool, tennis court and cliff-side yurt for $A11.92 million in 2003.
Then, in 2016, the couple purchased a 1950s ranch-style house directly across the street for $A8.58 million.
Beyond Los Angeles, the red-haired star owns a rural ranch property in Taos, New Mexico, three units in an apartment house directly across the street from New York City’s Gramercy Park, and she recently sold her multi-parcel, historic house on the Hawaiian island of Kauai for $A20.32 million – initially listed for $A37.44 million.
Roberts’ rumoured property buy in Point Dume is part of a rising trend in celebrities stocking up on real estate boasting acreage and/or exclusive beach access in coveted areas.
A similar phenomenon has occurred in Kauai where celebrities such as Ben Stiller, Pierce Brosnan and Bette Midler have bought up property so they can enjoy the beach in peace.
Real estate agent and Kauai homeowner Dave Jackson told Forbes Traveller one of the many perks of Hawaiian living was not having to share the idyllic spot.
He recounted going for a surf and only sharing the waves with four other people – Matt Damon, his wife Luciana Barroso, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner.
“And the best part is… there were no shutterbugs anywhere, which was great,” Mr Jackson said. “I don’t think the locals here would tolerate the paparazzi.
“They would be asked in not-so-friendly terms to leave the island … and I think the celebrities know that.”