HOT PROP­ERTY

He may be em­broiled in fi­nan­cial trou­bles, but Johnny Depp has no in­ten­tion of sell­ing the horse farm he owns in his home state for any less than its ask­ing price

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Johnny Depp’s horse farm in Ken­tucky

Save for four years in the early 2000s, Ken­tucky na­tive Johnny Depp has owned this 41-acre es­tate since 1995, when he first bought it for his mother, Betty Sue Palmer. The Pi­rates of the Caribbean star has a pen­chant for col­lect­ing and fur­nish­ing prop­er­ties, and had this place run­ning as a fully func­tion­ing horse farm un­til late last year.

The Greek Re­vival-style main house was built in 1915. It has 6,000 square feet of liv­ing space, spread over six bed­rooms and seven baths, plus a din­ing room, fam­ily room and sun lounge. The master suite and open-plan kitchen were re­cently re­fur­bished, with the lat­ter featuring a Scandi-style is­land coun­ter­top and new ap­pli­ances. The man­i­cured grounds fea­ture a guest­house, a swim­ming pool with a slide, a pa­tio, four-car garage and three barns. The sta­bles are the main high­light, how­ever, and are made up of 15 stalls and 10 pad­docks with a state-of-the-art au­to­mat­icwa­ter­ing sys­tem. The pad­docks are pro­tected by the stately dark wood fenc­ing that the area is known for, and built on a lush patch of blue­grass, the fod­der of choice for pure-breed race­horses.

Depp was born in nearby Owens­boro and grew up sur­rounded by horse farms. In fact, Lexington is known as the “horse cap­i­tal of the world”, with sim­i­lar such farms dot­ting the coun­try­side, along with thor­ough­bred race­tracks, most no­tably the Red Mile and Keeneland. Of course, few of the other farms will have the plush rugs, quirky art­work, pure wood floor­ing and cabi­netry, floor-to-ceil­ing book­shelves, gi­gan­tic screens and fu­tur­is­tic-look­ing fire­places found at Depp’s lux­u­ri­ous ranch. Framed film posters, ce­ramic plates, ab­stractly shaped mir­rors, and even a gold-hilted sword take up al­most ev­ery inch of wall space; while the master suite has a wa­ter­colour of a vest-clad Depp play­ing the piano.

The es­tate was put up for auc­tion last month, and caught the eye of Amer­i­can ra­dio pre­sen­ter and fel­low farm en­thu­si­ast Rick Dees, who made the high­est bid of US$1.4 mil­lion (Dh5m) against an ask­ing price of $2.9m. His of­fer was promptly turned down. Con­sid­er­ing the fi­nan­cial rut that Depp ap­pears to be in right now – what with a seven-mil­lion-dol­lar di­vorce, cou­pled with his al­legedly lav­ish life­style – it all boils down to numbers, of course.

Fayette County of­fi­cials have as­sessed the fair cash value of the farm at $2.3m, which per­haps ex­plains why Depp orig­i­nally re­duced the price from $3.4m to $2.9m, but also why he re­fused to sell to Dees, who ad­mit­ted him­self that his bid was “too low for such a valu­able prop­erty”. Not to men­tion that Depp first bought the prop­erty in 1995 for $950,000 and sold it in 2001 for a mere $50,000 more, only to buy it back in 2005 for $2m.

The ac­tor also owns a 45-acre château in the south of France, and mul­ti­ple other homes in the US, in­clud­ing sev­eral pent­house lo s in Hol­ly­wood and Los An­ge­les, many of which are cur­rently on the mar­ket, much like his beloved horse farm. By Panna Mun­yal

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