After nearly five years on the market, Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in Los Olivos, California has finally sold, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The buyer? Billionaire businessman Ron Burkle who, interestingly enough, in addition to being the co-founder of an investment firm (Yucaipa Companies) and co-owner of an American football team (Pittsburgh Penguins), is also a former associate of the late pop star.
The WSJ reports that Buckle saw the 1,093-hectare property, which features a main residence, pool house, movie theatre and dance studio saw the property from the air and put down, which wound up being accepted. Buckle paid $28.96 million for Neverland – over $100 million less than its initial asking price of $131.5 million.
The bargain was on account of the estate long being the subject of dark stories. A 2016 report claimed that Jackson, who died at the age of 50 in 2009 from an acute drug overdose, had kept a triple-locked closet in a guesthouse filled with photos of naked boys and children’s toys. And last year’s Netflix doco Leaving Neverland chronicled alleged incidents of child molestation by Jackson at Neverland, as well as other locations.
So, what other facts about Neverland might you not know? Ahead, we share everything else we’ve dug up about Jackson’s epic hideaway.
Michael Jackson was only 29 when he bought Neverland
The singer bought the property, then called Sycamore Valley Ranch (which it’s since been renamed), in 1987 from entrepreneur William Bone and lived in it during the height of his fame.
The ranch had been named for its majestic sycamore trees and rolling, green hills. Jackson’s name for it, Neverland, came from the tales of fictional character Peter Pan, a boy who never grew up. “I totally identify with Peter Pan, the lost boy from Never Neverland,” Jackson once said.
Neverland is home to an amusement park and once had a zoo
Jackson also once said, “I never had the chance to do the fun things kids do.”
In Neverland, he gave himself that missed childhood, tricking it out with an amusement park, which included a Ferris wheel and merry-go-round that reportedly played Jackson’s song “Childhood”; a zoo with orangutans and an elephant; two railroads, including one with a steam locomotive named Katherine after Jackson’s mother; and a station house modelled after the one at Disney World.
After Jackson’s molestation charges, he never moved back
After being acquitted of molesting a 13-year-old boy at Neverland in 2005, Jackson never moved back. He died four years later, in June 2009, at another home in LA after suffering a cardiac arrest induced by a drug overdose.
His three children also lived on the property
Jackson’s three children, Paris, Prince and Blanket, also lived at Neverland at one point and were educated there by tutors.
In 2017, Paris opened up to Rolling Stone about her seven years at Neverland. “We couldn’t just go on the rides whenever we wanted to,” she said.
“We actually had a pretty normal life. Like, we had school every single day, and we had to be good. And if we were good, every other weekend or so, we could choose whether we were gonna go to the movie theatre or see the animals of whatever. But if you were on bad behaviour, then you wouldn’t get to go do all those things.”
Kim Kardashian once had a birthday party at Neverland
And finally, probably the most fascinating fact of all: Jackson, who was known for throwing parties and events at Neverland, once hosted the 14th birthday party for Kim Kardashian. At the time, she called the ranch “the most magical place on earth.”