I love chatting about the Hollywood culture in L.A. It fascinates me, it frightens me, and I mostly keep it at arms distance so that I don’t lose sight of reality. Yet, when I was asked to help with a project in Hidden Hills, I accepted the task with one condition: I must first get a tour of the stars.
Founded in the 1950s, Hidden Hills is located between the San Fernando Valley foothills and the Ventura County line. Calabasas is right next door. It’s a little less than two square miles and has a population of approximately 1,900. There are about 650 homes sprinkled around its beautiful rolling hills. Hidden Hills is a quiet bedroom community that maintains a country atmosphere with trails, horses, and an abundance of greenery. There are no sidewalks and no street lights. The atmosphere is indeed serene, making it the perfect locale for celebrity families to reside.
The homes are large and include such high-end features as underground bowling alleys, movie theaters, ornate waterfalls, and sprawling backyards that can accommodate the occasional chic soirée. Some are beautiful ranch homes while others are giant mansions.
According to variety.com, Angelina Jolie is currently renting Denise Richards’ over 8,200 square foot Hidden Hills property. At about $30,000 per month, Angie and her kids get to enjoy a 6-bedroom estate with high ceilings, a VIP lounge, home offices, a dog kennel with dog run, and an impressive kitchen. An 800 square foot outdoor cabana with a large lagoon and grotto will surely entertain the busy brood. Google the house and you will see its amazing grounds. The home is worth over $7 Million.
Past and present residents include, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, The Osbournes, Lisa Marie Presley, Jessica Simpson, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, The Kardashians, and The Disney family. The Kardashians film their reality show here and shop at The Commons at Calabasas just outside the gates. Each home has a small sign out front in which the inhabitants name their property. A sweet way to identify your headquarters. One home was named the “Flip Flop Divas”.
The day I was there, I saw people jogging (totally covered so you had no idea who), one Kardashian sister was walking in the driveway (petite, might have been Kourtney), and Lisa Marie Presley’s home was under construction (I don’t think she lives there anymore). There have been at least three reality shows filmed here: the current Kardashian franchise, Denise Richards’ show a few years ago, and The Osbourne’s family gig way back when. There is a dirty little secret that film permits restrict the number of days you can film a year. I was told that if the show requires more shots – they always do – then replicas of the home’s interiors are built in a studio to accomplish the rest. I know – totally shatters your belief in reality TV. Or not.
Because it is gated, the paparazzi do not have free reign. That said, a starlet looking for some positive press might invite a photographer inside to take some pleasantly staged shots. I seem to recall photos of Jessica Simpson walking the trails with her daughter popping up in magazines. This was after Jessica obtained her pre-baby body. The only way that photographer would have access to those interior trails is to have a special invitation.
The grounds are no doubt beautiful. The size of the homes is shocking. The location is very private. It look me well over an hour to get there. After my tour, I had lunch at The Commons and it was crawling with well-to-do residents. I bet if you people-watched all afternoon, you would have many a star sighting. It’s a delightful way to dip your toes in famous waters without getting pulled into the tide. As always, I suggest exercising restraint if you see any celebrities saunter by – watch, take the moment in, and let them live their lives. You might not ever see the beauty that is Hidden Hills, but be thankful that you live a life where you don’t have to hide.
Photos provided by guest photographer, Tracy Bristol. I am very grateful for her assistance on this Hidden Hills mission!