Jennifer Lopez pays Sela Ward $28 million in Bel Air

Yolanda knows most of y’all are out of town this weekend (we walked into the delish Gracias Madre on Friday night and were seated immediately with no reservation!) but she wanted to show you some real damn real estate porn anyway. We know you may have read it somewhere else already, but here goes.

Last February (2015), when former Hollywood big booty doyenne Jennifer Lopez put her 17,000+ square foot blue whale of a Hidden Hills mansion on the market for a starry-eyed $17,000,000, Yolanda assumed she was ready to downsize a tad. After all, that was the house she shared with her latest ex-hubby and now she’s a single mom with two kids and an on-and-off backup dancer boytoy (plus a retinue of personal assistants and such). Maybe a nice McMansion in Mulholland Estates? That seemed like just the ticket.

Turns out Yolanda foolishly overlooked one critical fact. J.Lo is a big ol’ diva. And big ol’ divas, no matter what, never downsize. Especially when their Bottega Veneta purses are as stuffed full of cash as Ms. Lopez’s is. You hear us, Mariah? You better buy in Beverly Park right quick or you’re over as far as Yolanda is concerned. We’re puttin’ our damn foot down. After all, look what your longtime nemesis just bought!

But we digress. Although Ms. Lopez’s unsellable Hidden Hills mansion continues to sag on the market (now with a much-reduced $12,500,000 pricetag) she has already moved to significantly upgrade her LA residential circumstances.

It was our gurl Your Mama at Variety who first hissed that our gurl has secretly spilled out somewhere right around $28,000,000 for veteran actress Sela Ward’s eye-popping Arts & Crafts spread about midway between Upper and Lower Bel Air.

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The estate had been listed at $39,995,000 — first off the market and then on — which either means J.Lo got it at a steal or the thing was overpriced like crazy to start. Or both, right?

The two-parcel compound’s total living space comes in just shy of 14,000 square feet and sprawls out across a generous and hilly 8 acres of land. Ms. Ward (and her venture capitalist husband Howard Sherman) acquired the estate for $3,800,000 in 2003, right about the same time she sold her Beverly Hills mansion on Sunset Boulevard for $12,000,000 to Madonna (that place, in case you’re curious, is now owned by billionaire Russ Weiner).

The Ward-Shermans then invested a no-doubt hefty amount of moolah into renovating and massaging every inch of the estate. We know the architecture may not be to everyone’s taste, but regardless of your opinion, the level of detail that went into the home and grounds is mind-boggling. And we can’t deny that the place is truly stunning.

The grounds include an inifinity-edged swimming pool with a raised spa and sunbathing shelf off the west side of the property.

It’s a bit “busy” indoors, but there’s nothing overtly tacky. It’s just homey. A busy kind of homey. Oh, and the light-flooded European-influenced kitchen is pretty damn fabulous with the 100-year-old flooring, the massive high-end range and a built in bar/center island.

There’s a hidden bar (speakeasy?) tucked under the staircase. And no TV in the family room? Hallelujah!

Ms. Ward and Mr. Sherman powerfully molded the 1940s home into a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Arts & Crafts masterpiece. There’s also a dab of Mission and a dollop of Southern style. The vaulted wood ceilings give the place and informal farmhouse look that somehow seamlessly blends with the more traditional European style, of say, the kitchen.

There’s nothing an inner princess like Yolanda loves more than a nice canopied bed. The master bedroom is spacious but not oppressively so, and French doors provide a beautiful escape to the lush forest of greenery beyond. And check out that fireplace – holy mackerel. That is a serious fireplace!

There’s also a 30-person theater which is — if Yolanda is being honest — one of the nicest ones we’ve seen in quite some time. That’s how a real damn professional-grade home theater should look.

One room in the house (we’ll call it The Lounge) has nothing but a massive wraparound couch covered in Moroccan-style patterned fabric set behind a backdrop of glossy wood-paneled walls. We wonder what use Ms. Lopez will get out of this room? Will her boy Casper Smart get locked in here after she catches him sending those texts again? Just kidding!

And apparently Ms. Ward and Mr. Sherman are big fans of imbibing (or perhaps collecting), because their massive wine rack is damn near completely full.

Black-paned glassy doors meld the indoors with the out in a quintessentially Southern California manner. (That glass-and-wrought-iron table with the chair seems rather shockingly impractical, but whatever.)

For those balmy days — California is blessed with many of them — there’s an outdoor lounge and dining table, plus another massive stone fireplace in case the evening becomes chilly. Up behind the property is a private large pond/small lake that Ms. Ward referred to as her personal “swimming hole”. It’s even got its own sandy “beach”.

There’s a built-in outdoor putting green as well as a massive stone amphitheater than can seat at least 100 captive audience member.

The outdoor kitchen sports a bar, a firepit, and even a pizza oven. The guest house on the property has been converted into a high-ceilinged art studio for Ms. Ward. Hmmm. Maybe Ms. Lopez will use this as a recording studio. Or more likely, maybe she’ll use it as extra space to store those dangerously low-cut gowns she’s (in)famously fond of donning.

For many more pictures of the estate, check out Traditional Home‘s feature gallery here. And for all you forgetful celeb real estate watchers, let’s do a quick rundown of Ms. Lopez’s former LA homes.

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Ms. Lopez’s first house in LA (above) was a very private “villa” tucked way up a long driveway in The Summit, a guard-gated community just off Mulholland Drive that technically has a 90210 zip code but is actually located much closer to the Studio City neighborhood.

Ms. Lopez bought the house for $4,297,500 in 2000 and unloaded it for a hefty $10,950,000 four years later to hotel/nightclub owner/party boy Sam Nazarian. (Mr. Nazarian sold it a few years after that for $13,250,000 to erstwhile couple Gwen Stefani & Gavin Rossdale, who added the guest house you see above and are widely rumored to be selling the home on the down-low. Mr. Rossdale has already purchased a new Studio City mansion, but we digress.)

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In 2005, Ms. Lopez plunked down $6,250,000 for a house on a very swank street in Lower Bel Air, which she sold at a bit of a loss ($6,200,000) in 2009 to a hedge fund mogul named Mark Spitznagel.

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Finally, in 2010, Ms. Lopez (and her then-hubby Mr. Anthony) bought her aforementioned big-ass Hidden Hills mansion for $8,200,000. They had the property done up in a very J.Lo style (muted pastels and shabby chic sorta thing). She put the house up for sale in Feb 2015, asking $17 million, though the price has tumbled all the way down to $12.5 million. And still no takers.

Yolanda wonders who on earth is in the market for a 17,000+ square foot mansion in way out in Hidden Hills. Maybe another one of the Kardashians wants to upsize? We shall see, shan’t we?

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Regardless, Ms. Lopez is clearly not hurting for cash. In addition to the Hidden Hills and new Bel Air mansions, she’s also got a duplex penthouse in NYC’s Flatiron District (bought a couple years ago for just over $20 million, above) and a multi-acre land-locked mini-compound in the Hamptons’ Water Mill area (bought about three years ago for just under $10 million, below).

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And as for Ms. Ward & Mr. Sherman, they reportedly plan to downsize to a smaller place in New York City now that their two children are grown. Yolanda has no details about whether they have already purchased something or if they are still looking. Maybe one of y’all can inform your gurl? Please, oh please?

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