Famous Celebrities Who Live in Modest Homes

By Jake Schroeder
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Photo Courtesy: Wonderlane/Flickr

Considering the average worth of a typical celebrity, it’s hard to believe that some of the most famous stars skip all the luxury and choose to live in modest homes. Obviously, a life of pure decadence isn’t for everyone, and that’s a good thing. After all, a warm, cozy den sounds a lot more appealing than a marble-drenched conservatory.

Some of our favorite big-time celebrities have chosen — at least for a time in their lives — to live simpler lives in humble abodes that are well below their means. Think you can guess who made the cut as a down-to-earth superstar? Take a look!

Hilary Swank

Tucked into the West Village of Manhattan is Hilary Swank's modest 1,400 square foot condo. The wall-sized windows feature gorgeous views of the Hudson River, Freedom Tower and the Empire State Building that make up for what the apartment lacks in space.

Swank
Photo Courtesy: Manfred Werner/Wikimedia Commons; @TODAYShow/Twitter

Those 1,400 feet are worth a lot of money, perhaps more than the average living space of that size, even for New York City standards. Currently, Swank is renting the apartment for $20,000 a month, so, realistically, it’s only modest in size, not value. She has certainly come a long way from the trailer park where she grew up.

Blake Lively & Ryan Reynolds

Together, Hollywood power couple Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds are worth around $90 million, but that doesn't mean they choose to throw away millions on needless luxuries. Located about 40 miles outside of New York City, their home is pretty small in relation to their massive fortune. It's only 4,753 square feet.

Lively Reynolds
Photo Courtesy: Taylor Hill/Getty Images; @spaceandshape/Twitter

Lively and Reynolds have chosen to live a country lifestyle, minus the farm animals. In fact, the home is cottage style, with pink dogwood trees in the yard, a sun porch and several gardens on the property.

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey may own several homes around the world, but the one he chooses to live in most of the time is the most modest of them all: an Airstream trailer! Sometimes, despite all the fame and fortune, a person really just craves the simple things in life.

Matt Mcon
Photo Courtesy: @ArchDigest/Twitter

Of course, the trailer is updated and fancy and doesn’t lack any luxuries, by any means. Still, it’s a trailer, which means it is pretty small. McConaughey calls it convenient and comfortable, which is apparently all he needs to be happy. Good for him!

Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley and her husband, James Righton, live in a very family-friendly home in central London. It makes sense that they would want something suitable for the two children they have together, of course. While the home has four floors, the square footage only comes in at 2,775, making it fairly small for someone of Knightley's status and wealth.

Kiera K
Photo Courtesy: Lia Toby/Getty Images; @HomeExchange/Twitter

The home has five bedrooms and seven fireplaces. Whether you're looking at it from the outside or walking through the interior, it's clear that the overall theme is homey and far from extravagant, especially by celebrity standards.

Tobey Maguire

Tobey Maguire isn’t huge on material possessions. Even though he has made a killing as an actor, particularly after starring in three Spider-Man movies, he doesn't have an overly gigantic house. Of course, it cost him $6.9 million because of the location, but it's only 3,500 square feet with four bedrooms. That’s modest for movie-star standards.

Toby M
Photo Courtesy: Brian Solis/Flickr; @AHMonticello/Twitter

The home is in Brentwood, California, and is technically a mansion with that price tag, but it's a quaint, minimalist, 1950s-style ranch house. The property has a large lawn with many trees and lush plants to keep it private. Most of the bedrooms have sliding glass doors that open out to the yard.

Robert Pattinson

A house in the Hollywood Hills is never cheap, even if it's not very big. Robert Pattinson lives in a rustic, beautiful, small home that cost him more than $2 million, despite the cozy size. It's a single story and styled like a hacienda, boasting two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Rob Pattinson
Photo Courtesy: Gage Skidmore/Flickr; @SusanAndrewsLA/Twitter

Coming in at just under 2,000 square feet, the home had enough appeal to coax Pattinson away from his former residence, a lavish Los Feliz $6.3 million mansion. Apparently, he feels more at home in cozier surroundings.

Don Cheadle

Avengers actor Don Cheadle and his long-time partner, interior designer Bridgid Coulter, have made a small name for themselves in the real estate industry. It seems they like to buy small houses and remodel them into eco-friendly dwellings before selling them again. Most recently, the couple purchased a 1950’s bungalow in Venice, California.

Don Cheadle
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The house has only three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, certainly much smaller than the couple could afford. Still, the impressive roof terrace does offer lovely views of the area. Overall, the house does a great job of proving that bigger isn't always better.

Christina Ricci

Christina Ricci's house is cute, cozy and much smaller than her fortune would allow her to own. Apparently, she prefers to spend her wealth on other things, or she simply isn’t into throwing her money around the way someone worth $18 million might be expected to do.

Bk Ricci
Photo Courtesy: Dominique Charriau/Getty Images; @thecitywanderer/Twitter

The actress lives in Brooklyn, New York, in a three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 2,205 square-foot home with her husband, James Heerdegen. The neighborhood, Fort Greene, has been known throughout history as a place where actors, artists and musicians reside, including Walt Whitman, Erykah Badu and Chris Rock.

John Krasinski

Before John Krasinski upgraded to his Hollywood Hills masterpiece home, he used to live in a more modest home than most celebrities. He had a bachelor pad that was nearly devoid of furniture, with only two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Now that he's married to actress Emily Blunt and has started a family, he rightfully expanded his horizons.

Krasinski
Photo Courtesy: Kirsten Dos Santos/Flickr; @pattoninvest62/Twitter

Even now, the couple's new home isn't as huge as it could be. The luxury level is another story, however. It has an impressive roof deck, not to mention plenty of gorgeous outdoor spaces to enhance the beautifully decorated, five-bedroom interior.

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett is one of the richest men in the world with a net worth of $87.3 billion. Knowing that makes his more-than-modest home in Omaha, Nebraska, especially shocking. He initially bought it in 1958 for just $38,000. Today, it's worth so much more — about $250,000.

Old Richmin
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Nonetheless, a man who has so much money could certainly afford something much larger and more luxurious. Apparently, Buffett doesn’t have any desire to live in some garish mansion. If he’s happy in his little home in Omaha, it’s just good financial sense to stay right where he belongs.

Jennifer Lawrence

Up until 2014, Jennifer Lawrence lived in a home that was much less expensive than she could afford, given her success and fat paychecks for The Hunger Games series. It was worth less than $900,000 and was reportedly pretty basic and minimal on the inside. Given that she is known for living rather modestly in general, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

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Photo Courtesy: Kurt Kulac/Wikimedia Commons; @JLaw_OTD/Twitter

For one reason or another, Lawrence eventually decided to upgrade to a 5,500-square-foot Beverly Hills mansion. Maybe she and her new husband, Cooke Maroney, wanted more space for their married life and potential future offspring. Regardless, it was time to upgrade to a more luxurious lifestyle.

Lena Dunham

When the HBO hit series Girls launched, creator Lena Dunham still lived in a one-bedroom apartment, just like any average person. In the end, she sold the tiny apartment — originally purchased for $500,000 — for $2.9 million. Talk about making a killing! Of course, she has gone on to bigger and better accommodations since then, but nothing too lofty for her modest taste.

Lena Dunham
Photo Courtesy: Fortune Live Media/Flickr; @BkProperties/Twitter

She lives in an apartment in Manhattan's West Village decorated by interior designer Ariel Okin, who created the space of her dreams. It's full of quirky art and decor, pastel colors and even some cat embroidered pillows.

Mark Zuckerberg

Not all billionaires want to live in billionaire-style houses, as it turns out. Although Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is ridiculously rich with a net worth of roughly $68.2 billion, his home in Palo Alto, California, only set him back $7 million.

Zuckerberg
Photo Courtesy: JD Lasica/Wikimedia Commons; @buzzmixer/Twitter

He lives with his wife and two daughters in what he considers a nurturing environment for a family with the privacy that he craves, given his celebrity status. The house itself is around 5,000 square feet, which is much smaller than you would expect a billionaire of his caliber to call home.

Zooey Deschanel

Zooey Deschanel is famous and beautiful and could easily afford to live in the utmost luxury. Instead, she has chosen to live in a more humble abode in Manhattan Beach, which still set her back $5.58 million. Despite the cost, the home is notably understated and simple.

Zooey Desh
Photo Courtesy: Kou Art/Flickr; @PageSix/Twitter

For someone who was making $95,000 a month while starring in New Girl, she is frugal and lets it be known she intends to stay that way. Rather than buying a lavish home that perhaps could easily start to feel cold, Deschanel has opted to live a much calmer lifestyle with her husband, Jacob Pechenik.

Rosie O’Donnell

Rosie O’Donnell has several homes, although her most modest one lies along the Hudson River. From the outside, it's far from spectacular, but that doesn't mean the inside isn't full of luxury. After all, luxury comes in many forms and has many different looks. In O’Donnell's case, the look of her Hudson River home comes across as cozy, rather than opulent.

Rosie
Photo Courtesy: Bruce Glikas/Getty Images; @TODAYShow/Twitter

O’Donnell does have several other homes that are a bit more extravagant, but something about a more downplayed style and homely feel must appeal to her for her to choose this style for one of her houses.

Kesha

Although she has toned it down, Kesha once had a reputation for being a wild child always looking for the next party. It's kind of surprising that she chose to live in a very understated bungalow in Venice Beach with a particularly zen appeal. The modest home only cost her $1.6 million when she could have afforded so much more.

Kesha
Photo Courtesy: Jeff Denberg/Wikimedia Commons; @POPSUGARHome/Twitter

In 2015, Kesha made a slight upgrade. Her overall decor remains tranquil and cozy, and the biggest change from the old house to the new one was the bathroom style. She now has a spa-like bathroom for just the right touch of luxury.

Sarah Michelle Gellar

It’s likely that Sarah Michelle Gellar's difficult childhood led her to live as frugally as she does now, despite the fact that she's a famous and wealthy celebrity with no more financial worries. She remains a person who uses coupons and shops on reward days, and her home is a reflection of this side of her.

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Photo Courtesy: David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons; @AOLRealEstate/Twitter

She and her husband, Freddie Prinze Jr., may have a home worth $6.1 million, but at Hollywood real estate prices, this is not high end. The two of them together are worth about $35 million, so this home costs a mere fraction of what they could have spent.

Elijah Wood

Actor Elijah Wood, particularly known for his role in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, is worth around $30 million. Someone with that much money usually chooses to live more lavishly than Wood, however. At one point, he did live in a garish mansion in Santa Monica, but he has downgraded since then.

Elijiah Wood
Photo Courtesy: Gage Skidmore/Flickr; @ScarlletVVitch/Twitter

Wood now lives in Austin, Texas, in a Victorian home worth close to $700,000. As a music lover looking for a more diverse music scene, Wood couldn’t have made a better choice than Austin to establish a new kind of life.

Ellen Page

Ellen Page, who made her big debut as a Hollywood star in the film Juno, isn't one for being super fancy. It wasn't until 2014 that she moved out of her very modest Hollywood Hills home that consisted of just two bedrooms and a bathroom and a half.

Ellen Page
Photo Courtesy: @rosesgreenx/Twitter; @amluxmag/Twitter

Even when Page upgraded by purchasing Venus Williams' old home, it wasn't the most extravagant piece of property in the area. The home's square footage comes in at 1,528 for just three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The house does sit above the canyon, with a deck that offers spectacular views.

Pete Wentz

Pete Wentz, the rock star from pop-punk band Fall Out Boy, did not let his fame and wealth go straight to his head. He started out with a modest home in Studio City, California, that was far from indulgent. The home was worth about $1 million and was surrounded by exotic plants, trees and waterfalls to help him relax and escape the crazy rock star life.

Musician
Photo Courtesy: Yahoo! Blog/Wikimedia Commons; @HipcraftCo/Twitter

When Wentz eventually decided to start a family, he moved from that simple home into something a bit bigger. Still, compared to many of his celebrity peers, he has always lived a relatively humble lifestyle.

Paul McCartney

As one of the most famous musicians in the world, Paul McCartney could have chosen to live in complete extravagance. Instead, he lives in a home that is very modest, at least relative to his $1.2 billion worth. Let’s just say if you walked down his street, you wouldn't be able to tell which house was his.

Paul Mccartney
Photo Courtesy: Jimmy Baikovicius/Flickr; @WSJRealEstate/Twitter

McCartney has a reputation for being frugal, so it's no surprise that he would be the same way about his living quarters. Perhaps when you have everything lavish in the world at your fingertips, the cozier things in life start to sound a lot more appealing.

Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal is a legendary athlete whose name has already gone down in basketball history. The subsequent wealth he accumulated didn’t lead him to purchase the most grandiose of homes, however. From the curb, his house in Mount Dora, Florida, doesn’t look very fancy at all.

Shaq
Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons; @MadlangbayanPH/Twitter

Inside, it’s a bit more lavish, with five bedrooms, four bathrooms and granite counters, but it's still not anything like many of his wealthy basketball peers have bought for themselves. Shaq is worth $250 million, and his home only cost him $235,000. That’s good money management!

Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson, the NFL star mostly known for his time with the Minnesota Vikings, is worth about $20 million in 2019. Despite all that money, he has lived with his wife and four kids in a fairly modest house in Minnesota — purchased for $665,000 — for 10 years.

Nfl Character
Photo Courtesy: Arvee5.0/Wikimedia Commons; @_happilyerica_/Twitter

It wasn't until Peterson moved on to play for other teams that the family relocated and left that home. Like any other parent, celebrities have to decide how they want their kids to be raised. In Peterson's case, it seems like he opted for a less extravagant lifestyle to model for his family.

Brooke Shields

Actress and model Brooke Shields — worth $25 million to date — didn't opt to live in the kind of crazy mansion that many people of her financial status would. Her house in the Hamptons, which she bought in 2013, wasn't exactly cheap, but that has more to do with its location than its size.

Brooke Shields
Photo Courtesy: Joella Marano/Wikimedia Commons; @CelebrityHouses/Twitter

From the outside, Shields' home looks like any ordinary family house, although the inside has been completely renovated since she bought it. The idea she and her husband had when purchasing it was to provide a wholesome space in which to raise their two daughters.

Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker, most famous for her role on Sex and the City, didn't differ much from the New York City character she played. She and her husband lived a very long time in a brownstone in Greenwich Village that was worth $12 million. For the location and relative to their joint combined worth of $135 million, that amount was a drop in the bucket.

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Photo Courtesy: MiamiFilmFestival/Wikimedia Commons; @Herdotie/Twitter

The couple finally put the house up for sale in 2012 to find a bigger space for their family of three children, but it wasn't an easy sell, considering how small the space actually was. They renovated a larger location that is also located in Greenwich Village.

Jack White

It's an interesting decision for someone as famous and rich as Jack White to buy a home for just $510,000 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Of course, being worth $45 million doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend your money on gigantic, garish place to live.

Another Musician
Photo Courtesy: Bill Ebbesen/Wikimedia Commons; @StuffLifeStyle/Twitter

The Kalamazoo home, with its quirky architecture, isn’t ordinary by any means, but it’s not what you would expect a rock star like White to choose as his home. Maybe it was his humble beginnings as an upholsterer's apprentice that led him to take an interest in this unique property.

Tim Cook

As the CEO of Apple, one of the most successful companies in the world, Tim Cook could have purchased the most extravagant living quarters in the world. Instead, he chose a modest home in Palo Alto, California — a simple condo with a small yard and four bedrooms.

Tech Character
Photo Courtesy: Valery Marchive/Flickr; @Realty_Today/Twitter

His reasons for living modestly are quite logical. Cook came from humble beginnings, and he likes to be reminded of this in his day-to-day life. Money has never been the primary motivation in his life. Despite that, he is worth more than $625 million — not bad for someone who isn’t trying to get rich.

Vincent Kartheiser

Mad Men star Vincent Kartheiser spent more than 10 years living in a tiny but smartly designed Hollywood home. He bought the property for $547,000 in 2003 and then had it completely redesigned by Funn Roberts, a specialty designer of small spaces, in 2010.

Pete Campbell
Photo Courtesy: FOX/Getty Images; @Curbed/Twitter; @CurbedLA/Twitter

Originally, it would have been hard to call the property a one-bedroom, as the double bed was suspended from the ceiling unless he pulled it down. Although he could have upgraded at any time, he liked this style of living. It wasn't until Kartheiser got married that he moved into something a bit larger and more suitable for a family.

Tori Spelling

Tori Spelling, who is known for moving around more than usual, tends to choose homes that are more on the modest side for herself and her family. While living humbly was never necessary in the past for the actress, who also had a famous and wealthy father, she did so anyway.

Tori Spelling 1
Photo Courtesy: Gage Skidmore/Flickr; @Zillow/Twitter

Spelling's many homes have generally been understated and simple, often with a rural feel to them. Unfortunately, she and her husband have had financial troubles in the last few years, which might explain why they have had to move nine times in the last eight years.

Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl, a founding member of the legendary rock band Foo Fighters and the former drummer for Nirvana, is worth $280 million. So, why did he live so long in a basic looking beach house that was worth a mere $3 million? Some stars find lavish mansions to be too much for their taste, it seems.

Grohl
Photo Courtesy: Ryanw2313/Wikimedia Commons; @TheLeyGroup/Twitter

It was only in 2015 that Grohl left his former modest home for something a bit more luxurious. In fact, he is now planning to build his dream home — literally a home he saw in one of his dreams.