Oprah Strikes Again

Oprah Winfrey has expanded her Montecito estate once again—this time, with the purchase of actor Jeff Bridges’s adjacent four-acre property, says Variety’s real-estate site, Dirt.

That means Winfrey now has 70 acres of prime Montecito real estate. In 2001, she started out with the 42.6-acre Promised Land estate (with a 23,000-square-foot mansion); it’s to the upper left in the above photo. In 2015, she added the 23.3-acre Seamair Farm, to the left of the highlighted area.

Dirt thinks she was crafty in waiting six months to buy Bridges’s place, paying less ($6.85 million) as a result, but the red-zone location—the San Ysidro Creek runs right into a retaining wall near the house, then gets directed east—was always going to make it a tough sell. Don’t get me wrong: the property is really lovely, a charming 1919 Spanish house renovated to let light in, with one of the prettiest courtyards I’ve seen. (Bridges is said to have moved nearer the beach.)

Why might Winfrey have bothered? Perhaps she wanted more buffer. Or more staff quarters. Or another guest house. Or a way to create an exit to the south. Or maybe it was the fantastic entertaining area, complete with covered parking in the old stables.

We may never know. The Bridges property used to be visible from the Ennisbrook Preserve across the creek, but Winfrey has already put up her trademark chain-link fence with barbed wire at the top. While one can certainly understand her need for security, it’s a shame that visitors to the preserve have to look at the fencing, which calls to mind the tennis court at a white-collar prison. Surely, she could afford something better.