Chances are you've heard a thing or two pop up about Michael Jackson's former home, Neverland Ranch, over the last few weeks. Perhaps it's because of the news surrounding HBO's two-part documentary, Leaving Neverland, which details sexual abuse allegations against the singer, or because it's back on the market for a fraction of its original asking price. But, regardless of the reason, you might be wondering exactly how it got its name or even its history. Here's a complete breakdown of the place and its backstory.
What is Neverland Ranch?
Most famously, Neverland Ranch was the Disney-inspired home of the late Michael Jackson, who purchased the massive property for a reported $19.5 million in the late 1980s from real estate developer William Bone.
William had stumbled upon Zaca Laderas Ranch, a 2,700-acre plot of land, while searching for the perfect property in 1977. After dreaming up a fantasy world, which Architectural Digest describes was "complete with a 13,000-square-foot main house and multiple outbuildings, spectacular gardens, and a four-acre lake with a five-foot waterfall and stone bridge," he renamed the place Sycamore Valley Ranch and moved his family there.
In 1982, with the help of his architect, Robert Altevers, and other master craftsmen, William's Tudor-style house was complete, and a few years later, he sold it to the pop music artist, who renamed it Neverland Ranch.
Where is it located?
Neverland Ranch is located in Southern California about five miles north of the town of Los Olivos. The main residence is approximately 12,598 square feet, but it is not the only building on the lot. It's joined by three other guest homes, a 5,500-square-foot movie theater with a stage, several barns, animal shelter facilities, corrals, and a maintenance shop.
Esquire s that while Michael Jackson lived there, he transformed the ranch into a "magical land where children never grow up," like in J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. "The property included a private amusement park with a ferris wheel, roller coaster, carousel, bumper cars, and an arcade, as well as two steam locomotives. He often hosted children at the ranch, including a 1995 gathering of 46 kids from around the world for a 'World Congress of Children.'"
Jackson moved out of Neverland after his 2005 trial for charges of child molestation, closing the property, and allowing it to go into foreclosure in 2008, Esquire reported.
Who currently owns it?
Currently, Neverland Ranch is back on the market, listed at $31 million by Suzanne Perkins and Kyle Forsyth of Compass. This asking price is nearly $70 million less than its original 2015 listing price, People reports. "The timing is right for new stewardship. The ranch is well maintained and the approximately 2,700 acres are a naturalist’s paradise," Kyle d, to which Suzanne added, "This TRULY is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Why are people talking about it now?
The short answer to this is that HBO aired filmmaker Dan Reed's two-part documentary on March 3 and 4 called Leaving Neverland, which "explores the allegations of sexual abuse against Michael Jackson." The controversial film originally premiered at Sundance Film Festival.
The television network also recently premiered After Neverland, in which Oprah Winfrey hosted a conversation with Wade Robson and James Safechuck, the two young boys whose stories were featured in the documentary film.
WATCH NOW "Leaving Neverland" and "After Neverland," hbo.com
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